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Old 08-23-2013, 11:18 AM   #1
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1997 Van: electrical questions

I tried searching for this and no luck. Here are my questions:

1. When I'm plugged in to shore power:
a. Are the batteries being charged?
b. Are all electrical systems being run from the shore power rather than the batteries (lights, CO2 detector, water pump, heater fan, etc.)?
2. Are the answers the same if I'm running the generator instead of being plugged in to shore power?

Can the answers to these questions be different depending on your individual setup?

Thanks!
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Old 08-23-2013, 12:52 PM   #2
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Re: 1997 Van: electrical questions

Can the answers to these questions be different depending on your individual setup?
Since the answer to this question is YES, I am answering it first. The other answers are based on general SMB build - your results may vary.

1. When I'm plugged in to shore power:
a. Are the batteries being charged? If the breakers are all on
b. Are all electrical systems being run from the shore power rather than the batteries (lights, CO2 detector, water pump, heater fan, etc.)?Generally yes.
2. Are the answers the same if I'm running the generator instead of being plugged in to shore power?Running the generator should be the same as shore power.

You can verify most of this with a simple voltmeter. Measure the 12V power, plug in (or start the generator and see if the voltage jumps from 12.X to closer to 14.X.

Mike
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Old 08-23-2013, 02:14 PM   #3
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Re: 1997 Van: electrical questions

I strongly recommend one of these to monitor your system

http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3721-Bat...+voltage+meter

It is cheap and simple and will answer most of your questions at any given time. Your voltage will probably sit in the 12-13 range most of the time when not connected to power or running generator. When you plug in or start the generator, the digital meter here will jump up to 13.3 or more. This tells you what the system is doing and also tells you what your voltage is. The meter doesn't use any power really to run. I leave mine plugged in and it has been for years, unless I'm using that power port for something else at the moment.
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Old 08-23-2013, 03:22 PM   #4
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Re: 1997 Van: electrical questions

Here is how my van was set up by SMB. It was a typical design in 2006 but just be aware that different builds had different equipment depending on what the customer wanted.


1. When I'm plugged in to shore power:

a. Are the batteries being charged?
On my van, only if I set my inverter/charger to the charge mode.
Some vans have no inverters and instead use converters. Others have simple battery chargers. It all depends on your build.
.

Are all electrical systems being run from the shore power rather than the batteries (lights, CO2 detector, water pump, heater fan, etc.)?
Most all of the 12vDC items SMB installed on my van work from the house battery system with a few exceptions.
The Starcool system on my van shares shore power and the house battery system. My audio system shares the house and starting battery system. Also my refrigerator is an AC/DC version and automatically switches to shore power when plugged in.


2. Are the answers the same if I'm running the generator instead of being plugged in to shore power?
Hard to say W/O seeing the van.
Your Generator can be wired in several different ways so it's best to have an RV shop look at it to tell for sure. There is no telling how your system was built. Some are wired to charge the house battery system directly from the generator plus supply AC power outlets (that is a rare setup). Usually an onboard Generator is wired to a transfer switch that lets the AC system toggle between the generator and the shore power input, so when the generator is running, the shore power is cutoff. With that design running the generator is the same as plugging into shore power. To add to the confusion, some RV's use converters. Converters change AC power to DC and are used to supply DC power to all the DC stuff. Some converters have an input for a generator and have their own transfer switches. Again it's best to have a qualified RV shop look at it if you're not sure. (Most SMB don't use converters)
The majority of SMB owners have portable generators and usually they simply plug their generator directly into the outside shore power plug via an extension cord.
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