Originally Posted by jronne
what is your opinion with regards to having an automatic isolator in the first place ?
If one is dry camping for the most part, can't one simply just manually isolate the batteries with a dumb switch for days on end relying on the solar panels for charging ?
The only point in joining them manually again would be when the vehicle is driven for substantial lengths of time.
This is exactly what I'm doing with my rig (and already helped a friend do on his). We removed the Sure Power and instead fit a Blue Sea On/Off switch. We used one that has an alternator field disconnect but (since that was not needed) used those terminals to wire a light. It's a red flashing LED and is in the kitchen area. It flashes when the two banks (start/house) are connected (switch "on"). Since said friend doesn't want/need to leave the start and house banks connected when not driving, this works well. One could also have a green LED near the dash to show when connected, if desired. The light could also be wired to the second terminals of a dual circuit switch vs. the one with AFD terminals.
The reason this seems like a good/simple way to go is that there is ample solar power to charge the house bank, and also good battery monitoring on the house bank. This means a couple of things:
1) There is no huge need to have the banks connected when driving, most of the time. Although of course there are times it is desired, what I mean is no harm done if they are not connected (if one forgets), since the solar panels are typically adequate to charge up the house bank.
2) Conversely, if forgotten in the connected position when camping, there will likely be no harm done. The house bank is carefully monitored (as one does) and wouldn't be taken below "X" percent of charge in any case (whether or not the switch was connecting the banks). Also the solar would then be charging the start bank as well. Start battery is AGM, so same battery type as house bank.
3) A jump start battery pack (Anti-Gravity) is along for the ride just in case.
We both like the straightforward/robust switch style of connecting the banks (btw, the switch is just behind the driver's seat, and so it's reachable from the driver's seat or from "the living room").
There would be more consequences of forgetting to connect or disconnect in a rig that had a minimal house bank and/or minimal independent house bank charging (solar) and/or no battery monitoring. My SMB was like this, and I kept the ACR on that rig. If you left them connected while camping you could run down the house AND start bank. This type of setup would also be one where you would not want to forgo the alternator charging (which would happen if you forgot to connect), because you need it more.
So I'd say it kind of depends on how your rig is set up, and what kind of mindset you have about things like switch routines, vs. "fit and forget."