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Old 11-06-2011, 05:56 AM   #1
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Electrical guru please!

You guys have all been great!

I need to consider plugging in my 2010 diesel soon with cold weather. I have 1 solar panel and up to now have not even used my stock smb west plug set-up.

Question is this: In the manual it speaks of not using any extension cord, but my distance to a standard outlet which is in my garage, (vehicle outside, won't fit!) is about 20 additional feet. It also says something about turning off circuit breaker which I think is the one on my rear bench seat front lower section.

Can I use an extention and if so, what type?
How long should I leave it plugged in? (all the time, just few days, etc...)
What switches if any are needed inside the van if plugging it in?

thanks!
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:44 AM   #2
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Re: Electrical guru please!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl
You guys have all been great!

I need to consider plugging in my 2010 diesel soon with cold weather. I have 1 solar panel and up to now have not even used my stock smb west plug set-up.

Question is this: In the manual it speaks of not using any extension cord, but my distance to a standard outlet which is in my garage, (vehicle outside, won't fit!) is about 20 additional feet. It also says something about turning off circuit breaker which I think is the one on my rear bench seat front lower section.

Can I use an extention and if so, what type?
How long should I leave it plugged in? (all the time, just few days, etc...)
What switches if any are needed inside the van if plugging it in?

thanks!
I plug in my SMB once a week for 24 hours. I use the extension cord that came with the SMB, 25 foot. The further you go to power the heavier guage wire you want in the cord. I keep the brakers off in the SMB until I plug into external power then I switch them on.

Woody
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:01 AM   #3
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Re: Electrical guru please!

For clarification, you are talking about the RV/SMB plug and not the engine block heater, correct? While we have less daylight during the winter, solar panels are actually more efficient in the cold so you may be just fine if you are concerned about the maintenance of your house battery. Do you have a battery monitor?
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:06 AM   #4
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Re: Electrical guru please!

Unless you are using a microwave or other hi amperage product in the van, you won't have much current in the cord.

A standard 14gauge extension cord will be fine for charging the batteries. If you have a 12gauge cord use it. Just plug the SMB cord into the extension. Turn on the breakers inside the van after you plug in. The same cords will work for the block heater, just not at the same time.

Stay away from cheap 16-18gauge cords.

Mike
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Old 11-06-2011, 05:11 PM   #5
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Re: Electrical guru please!

Will my solar panel keep things charged if sitting? Is it charging all three batteries, or just the larger house battery?

My thought on what you say is to get a 14 ga. extension and charge every few weeks for a day or two, is this fine? I also plan to keep snow off the solar panel if possible.

Also, do I have a block heater, and if so, where is the plug located?
(have the 6.0 diesel)


thanks
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:05 PM   #6
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Re: Electrical guru please!

Solar should keep you house and chassis batteries charge, IF they are wired to do that. Did SMB wire the solar panel?

As for a block heater, your van will probably have one, but it may be a Ford option. If you have one, there should be a female plug at the front of you rig. Mine is near the trac bar, on the passenger side of the van.


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Old 11-07-2011, 10:25 AM   #7
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Re: Electrical guru please!

Carl ,
If it is a Gas engine you may not have an Engine Block Heater . If it is a Diesel it should have the plug mounted up under the passenger side front end as Herb pointed out . I took about half an hour and rerouted mine to the top passenger side of my Aluminess Bumper . Much nicer than crawling around in adverse weather conditions to plug in !
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:02 PM   #8
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Re: Electrical guru please!

I have the 6.0 diesel and SMB wired the solar panel and did the entire vehicle.

If I do plug it in, and use a 12-14 ga extension, how long should I leave it on to charge and how often is best. I may have a period of time when the solar panel is covered.

thanks
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:34 PM   #9
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Re: Electrical guru please!

I'll go out on a limb here and say 1 day every 2 weeks.

Of course the correct answer is to monitor the voltage of your batteries and charge them when they need it.

Mike
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Old 11-12-2011, 09:33 AM   #10
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Re: Electrical guru please!

Just plugged in for the first time and wonder if there is some indicator that the system is in fact charging?

thanks,
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