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Old 03-26-2008, 09:40 PM   #1
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Testing Battery Separator?

This model 1315-200 200a from Sure Power Industries was taken out of my van. I had 13.1v (starter) on one side and 12.3 (house) on the other (brass pins at top) a cold red wire hooked with the 12.3 side (house).

With the cold red were a small black hooked to ground and a green hooked to "start signal". "start lamp" was empty.

I believe that the starter side was hooked to "MAIN" and the house side was hooked to "AUX" along with the cold red.

I just got back from driving 6 hours to charge everything and when I took this out it was hot. Not to hot to touch but too hot to hold.

With brand new starter batteries fully charged from the first 3 hours of the trip the glow plugs pulled the house side of the batteries down several volts.

So... how do I test this unit to see if it's fried?

and then
everything changed
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Old 03-27-2008, 08:44 AM   #2
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I know I'm getting myself in trouble here, but I would think that you can just hook up 12 volts to it to see if the relay engages. Then check the resistance of the relay before and after activation. As far as what terminal does what, I'm not sure there. My isolator also gets hot when the rig is running.
The 13.1 volts on the starter batteries must have been pretty soon after you shut the rig off. 12 V batteries won't maintain that high of a voltage for very long after the charging system is shut off.
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Old 03-27-2008, 08:56 AM   #3
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Googled up some documentation on this item:

You can also email Sure Power's Tech support at

The company also has a toll free number 800 845 6269, maybe they could direct you to tech support.
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Old 03-27-2008, 08:58 AM   #4
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If it is pulling down the house batteries, then it is making a contact when it should be open.

First, (and you've probably already checked this) are the house and starting sides shorted together? Do you have continuity between the two brass posts when both are below the turnon voltage? Or even when it is in your hand?

Second, I would try it with the 'START' terminal disconnected. It should connect in both directions for charging and disconnect at other time. It is possible the 'START' terminal is connected to something other than the START' signal.

Next, I would hook it up to a couple of loads (batteries). Make sure the ground is connected to both loads. Then connect a battery charger to one side and monitor the voltage - possible on both sides at the same time - see if it switches to the charging the other side at the proper voltage. And see if it will disconnect at the proper voltages. Then check the other direction.

Let us know what you find.

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Old 03-27-2008, 11:33 PM   #5
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Battery Separator

To test operation of the Separator;

1. Disconnect the 14 gauge green wire on the "start" terminal. Confirm it only has power when the ignition switch is turned to "start". If it has power when the ignition switch is turned to "on", it will need to be rewired. Re-connect it to the "start" terminal once verified.
2. Confirm the 14 gauge black ground wire is securely grounded to the chassis. The Separator will not function properly unless it is grounded.
3. Check voltage on each large battery terminal (engine and house) with engine and 110 volt charger "off". If both batteries are fully charged they should both be at 12.8 volts.
4. Start the engine and take another voltage reading on the battery terminals. They should both be above 13.2* volts. If the Separator is "clicking" off and on, this is usually a sign that one of the battery banks is very low, or that there is a loose connection somewhere. You would know which battery bank is low when you perform step #3.

You can also check that your 110 volt charger is charging both battery banks by confirming both battery terminals on the Separator have more than 13.2* volts when the charger is turned "on".

*Please note that the battery voltage readings should be above 13.2 volts when a charge current is present. It is possible they will both be as low as 12.8 volts because one of the battery banks is very low. The Separator joins the battery banks at 13.2 volts or higher, and "separates" them when either battery bank drops below 12.8 volts. This is why you can get the constant "clicking" of the Separator if one of the battery banks is low. The Separator does not need the 14 gauge green "start" wire for anything but "boosting" the starting battery which occurs when it is .8 volt or more lower than the house battery. The Separator does get hot.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have questions.
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Old 03-29-2008, 11:42 AM   #6
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A couple notes from our experiences:

When engaged the seperator draws a few watts of power to hold the connection, which will add up in terms of heat over hours of charging from the alternator, solar panels, or power-hook-up. Especially sitting in an area of stagnant air circulation.

After a year or so our seperator seemed to function (it clicked at the right time, it got warm, etc), but was not joining the battery banks very well (alternator was not resulting in charging of house-batteries). I dismantled it and found corrosion on the internal contacts. After cleaning this up with some steel-wool and reassembling it was all good again.

We now do a periodic dismantle and clean of the contacts (~every 6mo of van living) to prevent this from happening again.

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Old 03-29-2008, 09:52 PM   #7
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I'm talking to some people from the yahoo group with similar problems and one of them tested the "Starter" wire and found it is constantly hot in his van. Not only is the separator constantly joined, but the joining is helping drag his batts down.
and then
everything changed
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Old 03-30-2008, 11:49 AM   #8
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And the answer is: Bad Separator

As far as I can tell.

Both sides of the van are holding power just fine.

Removed the separator has connectivity bettween the two power poles.

Connecting power on either side at 12.4v makes it click multiple times and the there is either power on the other terminal or not. I couldn't get any consistent results.

Hitting the "starter" tab with 12v did nothing, whether or not there was power to one of the terminals.

So the question is should I go with another 200A separator or is there a better option?

I can't remember if SMB went from separators to isolaters or vice versa. I know my van was built right at the time they were changing and I figure if I'm going to replace I want to get the better thing... thoughts?
and then
everything changed
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Old 03-30-2008, 12:56 PM   #9
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I was thinking of adding one of these until I found my problem. I still might as insurance. ... s_id/29877

I don't know what they are rated for because I dropped the idea when all was corrected and never researched it.
They also make a bunch of separator stuff. ... l|wire.jpg
Check out the electrical section if the link won't work.


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