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Old 03-13-2008, 09:54 PM   #11
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I thought the isolator is supposed to keep that from happening. One poster made a comment that the isolator itself pulls some too but I'm not to sure about that. Jeremiah, sounds like you have 2 different problems. One pulling on your house bank and the other pulling on your starting bank. I had a shorted starting battery cause all kinds of hell and the van still operated OK with a few particularities (where's that spell checker). Because it is a daily driver and I have solar panels I never got to experiment with a long no-start no-charge period. But the house batteries should not have went dead just the starting batteries in my case. John K said to pull the ground off the isolator to force the vehicle to use the starting batteries without aid from the house batteries. My isolator is behind the inverter under the bench seat. Pull that ground off and try to charge your starting batteries. Wet cells are not damaged by low voltage as much as AGM batteries from what I have read, but it still hurts them a bit. On the other hand two 4 D AGM batteries...yikes! Hope they come back up. $800!!! I agree about changing the entire bank. AGM's will also hold a full charge for along time, so if I were to park my vehicle for an extended time, a heavy duty disconnect would sure be worth looking into. Two 4 D's are very expensive. Very hard to believe the detectors would pull down two 4-D's and the starting batteries without some extra help. A friend with a shop said with the correct charge you might be able to get the AGM's back up where a standard charger will not. Never tried it though. Good luck.
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Old 03-14-2008, 04:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
In AZ I kept it on shore power 24/7 here I've only done it once because the garage isn't grounded and the Xantrex won't charge on an ungrounded circuit, therefore it involves going through the open kitchen window.
Jeremiah, what do you mean by the garage is not grounded? Are you saying the plugs are 2 prong not the typical 3 prong. You do know that the ground wire and the neutral wire go to the same lug in your panel. Now I didn't suggest this but a bird told me that you can change the plug to a 3 prong and jumper the ground portion to the neutral at the plug. The problem with doing this is if the neutral opens up some bad stuff can happen. PM me if you wish to go over this. On a plug you must know what side is neutral and which is hot plus varify it's correct at the panel before doing anything like this. Some people have been known to put switches on carbon monoxide detectors and even I have pulled a lable or two off a mattress.
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Old 03-14-2008, 07:08 PM   #13
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I found this jewel last summer. The cable had rubbed through and was touching bare metal. Yes it did kill the 4D AGM, ouch. I now own a Xantrex XBM to monitor my usage. I just pull the fuse to kill power to the detectors.




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Old 03-14-2008, 09:37 PM   #14
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Did the isolator let the starting batteries go dead? It's something I have wanted to varify for over a year.
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Old 03-14-2008, 11:24 PM   #15
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As we got our van from SMB:

The CO/Propane monitor draws a fair amount of power for what it does. We replaced ours (no propane) with a standard house CO detector using regular double-As.

The radio is powered off of the engine batteries. Even when the "house battery" switch is flipped it pulls the main amplificaiton power from the engine batteries. (only the ignition sense lead is sent through this switch) This power draw will not be recorded by a battery monitor on the house-batteries.

Dash 12v cigarette lighter plugs are pulled from engine battery, not house battery (we were told otherwise at the factory)

Our battery-seperator is a solenoid operated seperator. It draws a fair amount of power, but only when joining the battery banks (i.e. system is above 13.2v). When just sitting with no charge coming in it draws no measurable power.

A battery monitor will draw a few milliamps, not enough to matter for many many months.

If you have a CB it may be one that is always in "standby" mode listening for emergency broadcasts. Ours is like this, and cannot be turned off unless you pull the fuse. This draws some power all the time. It pulls power from the house battery from SMB installed wires in the overhead console area.

Inverters draw a fair amount of power even when not being used. Some have a "sense" mode where they ping the 120v outlets periodically instead of being permanently on, but this still draws some power. Our inverter draws about 7watts just being on with nothing in use. Less than 1 watt in "sense" mode.

If you are leaving it parked for more than a week I would suggest either having charge coming in (solar, plugged into the wall), or pull all the fuses.

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Old 03-15-2008, 09:37 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etbadger
Dash 12v cigarette lighter plugs are pulled from engine battery, not house battery (we were told otherwise at the factory)
I use the dash cigarette lighter outlet to monitor the starter batteries with a cheapie plug in, which is good... uh.. if you pay attention.

Dave, I think your question was for Scalf but for me the starter batts were dying and I compounded that by leaving something on and the near total drain killed them and they didn't seem to take a charge. I parked the van (haven't wanted to take any of the replacement options) and my house batteries drained. I think the house drain is seperate because of previous events, but I've had problems with both sides which might point to a bad separator. I don't really want to contemplate the cost of straightening everything out... which of course is part of how I got to this point. Sigh.
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Old 03-15-2008, 10:43 AM   #17
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Dave,
When I had my cable short the House batteries died but the isolator worked and did not draw down any power from my starting batteries. So from that perspective everything worked as expected. One of the things that made this difficult to find was just getting in the van, walking around inside, or starting the van was enough to make the short go away. I would have it parked at the house plugged in and I would find that the charger shut down. and the batters low. When I investigated I could not find anything wrong and all would start working.

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Old 03-17-2008, 12:44 PM   #18
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I think this is how the isolator works.


The battery separator is designed for use in multi-battery applications as a solenoid priority system to protect the chassis charging system from excessive loading while allowing auxiliary batteries to be charged. The battery Separator has two basic operational characteristics:

1. Assist in engine starting.
When the starter is activated, the battery separator compares the voltage of both banks. If the chassis battery is lower than the auxiliary battery bank, the battery separator will engage allowing the auxiliary battery bank to aid in vehicle starting. (The start signal must be at least three volts for this operation to occur.

2. Protecting the charging system.
Once the engine has been started, the separator monitors the chassis battery (twin starting batteries in the case of a Ford diesel) and charging system. When the charging system reaches 13.2 volts indicating a charged main battery and functioning charging system, the battery separator will engage, connecting the auxiliary battery bank to the vehicle charging system. If the drain on the charging system by the auxiliary battery bank reduces the system voltage below 12.8 volts, the separator will disconnect the auxiliary battery bank, thus protecting the chassis charging system. The process is repeated until the charging system is turned off. A delay function has been incorporated in the circuit to prevent the separator from reacting to momentary voltage fluctuations and chattering. The priorities are to assist in starting, if required, and to protect the charging system from excessive drain.


I assume the types we have in our vans are the bi-directional type units because if you were to leave something on in the van you would want to protect one bank or the other depending where the draw is coming from. Of course if you leave one item on pulling off the starting batteries and one item on pulling off the house battery the isolator can’t do much for that. I do know that SMB upgraded to a 200 amp model in my van and I think it is made by Surepower.
An intermittent short is the worst thing to find. The post about the Starcool wire causing the engine computer to smoke really bugged me. Yes I have major qualms with how the wiring jobs are done at SMB.
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Old 03-17-2008, 06:10 PM   #19
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Dave,
I think you're explanation about the isolator is correct. They do use Surepower.

http://www.surepower.com/pdf/separatorinterconnect.pdf

I tend to agree with the wiring statement.


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Old 03-18-2008, 01:30 PM   #20
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I e-mailed peter @ SMB to find out if it's a 2-way unit.
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