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Old 01-07-2017, 08:07 AM   #121
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Syncro,
Probably better, to start a thread on you're specific issue, rather then tag on here. There have been numerous post on this problem, one within the last few months. I would say with the age of the van, it may be time look at replacing the Surepower Unit.

If you are inclined, you can disconnect the unit and check-out the actual solenoid, one common issue is resistance build up, you will need to power it on a bench.

And, yes do you have Solar, have you checked solar connections. Is the problem only with solar, if you plug in to a shore charger does it happen, and does it happen while engine running (idle should be fine)

I also have a relatively new "Surepower" that I could send as a test unit. PM me. If it is bad, I would recommend to change to a BlueSea version
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Old 01-07-2017, 10:44 AM   #122
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[QUOTE=Flux;193671]The clunking noise is when the van is running right?? Would like to know where that voltage reading comes from, maybe the house side of Sure Power??

Last and biggest question is if your alternator is your only charge source for the house battery? If so it could be cooked.

Thank you for you interest.

No, the clunking noise I notice is when the van is parked. I am not actually sure if it occurs while I am driving. I will drive and make that determination today.

The voltage reading is from the read out on my Mark PV charge controller reading my two original solar panels.
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Old 01-07-2017, 10:53 AM   #123
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Originally Posted by rockbender View Post
Do you have solar panels?
Yes, I have two original solar panels installed by Sportsmobile. I should have mentioned that. I am reading the voltage from my Mark PV charge controller, also original.
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Old 01-07-2017, 11:47 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by Scalf77 View Post
Syncro,
Probably better, to start a thread on you're specific issue, rather then tag on here. There have been numerous post on this problem, one within the last few months. I would say with the age of the van, it may be time look at replacing the Surepower Unit.

If you are inclined, you can disconnect the unit and check-out the actual solenoid, one common issue is resistance build up, you will need to power it on a bench.

And, yes do you have Solar, have you checked solar connections. Is the problem only with solar, if you plug in to a shore charger does it happen, and does it happen while engine running (idle should be fine)

I also have a relatively new "Surepower" that I could send as a test unit. PM me. If it is bad, I would recommend to change to a BlueSea version
Thank you Scalf77 for your reply.

I thought about starting my own thread but made the decision to use this thread thinking it was a better idea. My mistake. I have done a good amount or research here looking for a similar issue to mine. I have not run across the thread your referring to. I will look for it. Thanks

I thought about replacing the separator but did not want to start chasing parts without some trouble shooting first. If I do end up replacing it I will consider the Blue Sea. I have seen that referred to often in the many posts I have read.

I am inclined to tear into the separator. I understand that cleaning out any corrosion build up on the inside contacts might solve my problem.

I do have two original solar panels and have not checked the connections. I will check them. I have not plugged in to shore power so don't know if the problem is their also. The truth is I have never used shore power so I will find out where the plug is and if it even works. I have not checked if the problem occurs while I am driving either. I will check that too.

Thank you for the offer of using your unit to trouble shoot. I will go through the list of things I still have to check and the decide if I need to.

Thanks for you suggestions.
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Old 01-08-2017, 10:42 AM   #125
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Originally Posted by syncrow View Post
Thank you Scalf77 for your reply.
I thought about starting my own thread but made the decision to use this thread thinking it was a better idea. My mistake. I have done a good amount or research here looking for a similar issue to mine. I have not run across the thread your referring to. I will look for it. Thanks
Syncrow,
I should have finished my cup of coffee before responding yesterday. I apologize for coming off harsh. the main thing is people are responding to your input.

The concern about solar is that many times this time of year you're solar output get's used up just powering the relay, which could cause this issue.

If you pull it out and check it on the bench that would be great. You can of course drill out the rivets and clean the internal relay contents. The coil resistance itself should be about 7.7 ohms, and then of course the output connections. For your issue we would be looking fore a higher resistance when the solenoid is closed.

Happy Hunting,

-greg
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:43 AM   #126
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Great summary and history..

Scalf77,

Thanks much for the wonderful explanation of Separators and Isolators. Wish I had this info years ago.

I first heard about the SurePower Separator at one of the 4x4 rallies. Johnathon Koback (sp?) gave a class on SMB electrics and talked about their switching to the separator. After talking about the start assist feature, I asked him how would one know if the van battery(s) were going bad if the House battery automatically assisted. He didn't have a good answer and promised to get back to me. True to his word he called me later and told me that when the van batteries started to go downhill there would be a sulfur smell as an indication.

During my next visit to the factory for some more "required" add-ons, I had the Sure Power 1315-200 installed by them. Some 30 miles down the road on my way home the spedo maxed out lights blinked on the dash then went out followed by the engine quitting and a cloud of smoke behind me. SMB responded to my dilemma by sending a tow truck that arrived promptly. Alan Feld met me at the factory, put me up in a hotel and promised it would all be fixed the following day which it was. Kudos to SMB for the great customer service. Turns out that the separator was not installed correctly. Not sure exactly how but it resulted in a short to ground in one of the battery cables and a subsequent electrical fire. Fortunately there is minimum damage and the wires affected were easy to replace. I'm just mentioning this experience to those that might want to do this install themselves. Be very careful to get it right or your next trip might be a short one.

So some years later I started to notice a sulfur smell which I first thought was some dead animal in the garage. My wife remembered the comment from Johnathan about the van battery issue and sure enough the smell was coming from one of the batteries which we promptly replaced. We replaced the lifeline AGM battery some time later when it was not holding a charge. Some 6-7 years later (a few days ago), we went on a one day dry camping trip with our grandson. He wanted to watch a movie and I figured that with a full charge to start (I always plug in at home), that would not be a problem. When we went to start the engine the next day it barely turned over but did eventually start so we made it home without a problem. Didn't get the sulfur smell that time unfortunately. All of which is what led me to this thread in the forum and the great article that Scalf77 wrote. Scalf's comment about the auto start assist masking van battery problems is right on.

As it has been over 6 years since the AGM battery was replaced we are getting a new one and starting fresh battery wise. I am exploring options to help avoid the surprise van battery failure in the future. I am thinking about installing a momentary contact switch instead of wiring for auto start assist. I noticed that there is a terminal for a light that would indicate (if I understand it correctly) when the start assist was active. If I installed this light I'm wondering if it would come on even with fresh and fully charged van batteries? If not then would monitoring it over the years provide an indication that start assist was being activated more often and provide an indication of van battery deterioration?

Sorry for the rambling and thanks for any advice, and extra thanks again to Scalf77.

Darryl
2003 7.3L rb50 with the SMB 4x4 conversion. 97,000 miles
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Old 08-12-2017, 12:15 PM   #127
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The start assist led indicator circuit will only come on when it is in start assist mode. That mode is entered when the start assist circuit has 12 volts, that is wired to the start circuit on the van key switch. So it does not really monitor the voltage of your batteries to determine health. (actually I do think it won't activate it the start signal is less then 3 Volts, which would be a indication of a dead battery, but far to late to do any good)
You're best bet if you choose to use start assist is to install the momentary switch.

Another thing you can do is add a switch to the ground tab, this allows you to disconnect the surepower when you have it plugged in, while your float charge should not cause issues with the AGM, a standard starting battery may loose enough fluid, that you will prematurely kill it on a constant float charge. If should also check and make sure there is a 10 amp fuse on the ground wire, this may have been a requirement after your sportsmobile was built.

It also may be time to look at replacing the surepower or at a minimal the solenoid.

-greg
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Old 08-13-2017, 12:25 PM   #128
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Thanks Greg...
Clearly I don't understand how the start assist mode functions. My thinking was that if it only activated when the van batteries were in a low state then over time the light would indicate that it was being activated more often. Certainly that light would not be a direct indications of battery health. I agree that the best solution if I decide to keep the 1315 (or replace it as you suggest) would be to add the momentary contact switch. If I go that route what minimum amperage requirement would that switch need?

I'll check to see if I have a fuse in the ground circuit. The Separator is located below the coolant reservoir and I haven't had the time to move it to get a better look.

As for adding a switch to the ground, we have PV panels on our house and utilize time of use billing. As a result I have the Van shore power on a timer that only comes on for abut 8 hours at night. I have not had any problems with fluid loss with the van batteries and both the house and van batteries lasted 6 and 7 years respectively. Our charging is managed by the inverter and from my experience the inverter cycles off once the batteries are topped off.

I'm also looking at the Blue Sea unit as a replacement. I live in way northern California and while I have found a great diesel shop I have yet to find someone that really understands the matters pertaining to battery management for RVs. Not sure I understand the issues well enough to have the confidence to do it myself.

Thanks again for the great posts and for your personal advice...

Darryl
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Old 08-19-2017, 12:54 PM   #129
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Hello DaveB,
I'm replying to your post that is almost 4 years so sorry for the delay. I have a Sure Power 1315 with start assist active and just had an issue with undetected Van Batteries going bad and almost not starting after one nights camping. (Got over 6 years on both the van and house batteries so no complaints).

Anyway, I'm switching to the Blue Sea 7622 and have a couple of questions for you. The instructions for the manual Override Knob are not that clear to me. With the knob rotated to the left and the button out, is automatic separation and connection active? I'm assuming that it is. To Active Start lockout can I just connect the brown wire to the start connection and the black wire to ground without installing the remote switch?

Thanks for you help.
Darryl
2003 E350 7.3l SMB 4x4
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Old 08-19-2017, 04:21 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by darryldickie View Post
Hello DaveB,
I'm replying to your post that is almost 4 years so sorry for the delay. I have a Sure Power 1315 with start assist active and just had an issue with undetected Van Batteries going bad and almost not starting after one nights camping. (Got over 6 years on both the van and house batteries so no complaints).

Anyway, I'm switching to the Blue Sea 7622 and have a couple of questions for you. The instructions for the manual Override Knob are not that clear to me. With the knob rotated to the left and the button out, is automatic separation and connection active? I'm assuming that it is. To Active Start lockout can I just connect the brown wire to the start connection and the black wire to ground without installing the remote switch?

Thanks for you help.
Darryl
2003 E350 7.3l SMB 4x4
Not sure Darryl. It’s been a long time since I even looked at my separator. On mine (IIRC), I had to connect the brown wire to the Ignition wire. When I was having separator & starting battery problems I had SMB re-route the automatic starting function circuit (ignition wire) through a normally open push button switch at the dash. That stopped the auto assist start function. The only way to make the Surepower assist jump start was by pushing that button on the dash while turning the engine over. We just pulled that switch, jumper it, and used the existing wire that was installed during the vans construction. Connecting that brown wire to the ignition provides start isolation. So I’d be looking for that circuit at the Surepower unit and connect the 7622 brown wire to that.
Maybe Greg can comment on this because I’m not sure what would happen if you didn’t use one of the start isolation wires. I’d assume there is some kind of delay incorporated to prevent relay chatter, so if the separator sees a charge voltage w/o the engine running (such as solar), the 7622 would stay closed while you crank the engine. That's my guess anyway. I want the relay to always be in an open state when I start the vehicle, especially a diesel with two starting batteries.
As far as the remote switch, you probably don't need to install it but in some circumstances it does function as a trouble indicator as well. I didn't think you could even order it without the remote anymore???
Here is the separator control knob operation. Basically auto, force to combine, and force to open, lockable. The button on the knob has over/under voltage protection like a circuit breaker. Push it in to reset to auto. I've only had to do this once during an over voltage incident several years back. Once it locked out I had to reach that button... the remote can't reset the separator.
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