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-   -   Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches? (https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/forums/f20/battery-isolators-separators-and-switches-7991.html)

daveb 08-30-2013 02:31 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
On 50 style models most of the separators were installed under the bench seat near the left rear of the seat. Usually if solar was installed at a later date there is a strong possibility they ripped out the isolator (if it had one) and re built the system like the more modern vans. This would make sense if you have a solar boost controller.

With the 7622 there is no reason to add a switch to jump start the chassis system other than ease of access. The separator has full control built into it. You can set it to:

A)Normal automatic operation which monitors and connects or opens depending on the state of charge of each battery bank or if the separator sees a charge.

B)Full isolation (always open) which keeps the batteries from ever connecting.

C)Full connection (always closed) used to jump start etc.

You can also lock it open with a zip tie or small lock so others can't accidentally operate it. The problem is seeing it. On the 50 model SMB usually mounts it in an out of the way spot. I added the remote switch so I have full control at an easy to see spot, something you might want to keep out of the hands of kids. I also wired mine to automatically open during vehicle starting. After about 15 seconds it closes and returns to normal operation. That way I'll know if I'm having starting battery issues. Jumping is rare so when needed you can use the jump mode at the push of a button (on the remote) or turn of a knob (on the separator itself).
Kind of just depends on your SMB model and/or where they put the separator.

So, do you have a diesel or gasser?

DosMars 09-07-2013 01:59 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Update and a few more questions...
So it turns out my alternator was bad along with a bad second starter battery (this is my first diesel, didn't realize it was located remotely next to the house battery). Things are running smoothly now, but they were unfamiliar with the Blue Sea unit & didn't feel comfortable trying to figure things out.

Question:
I'm located in Long Beach California. Can anyone from around here recommend a shop that is familiar with this installation? I'll see if google can find me a van-conversion shop but I'd prefer a recommendation if it's reasonably close by.

You mentioned the Blue Sea has a switch or remote that you can use to toggle between the starter battery and the house or use both in the event you have to jump start the van. I don't see any switch on the unit? What am I looking for, I wasn't shown a remote when I was shown the unit?

The AAA guy had a hard time helping me jump start the van so I could get to the shop. It took his booster along with the truck running before I was getting enough juice to turn over. Once I get the Blue Sea installed and figured out, will the house battery alone be able to handle the job, or will it take both systems running in tandem to get me started if I have to jump start myself ?

Thanks again for taking the time to walk me through this system. Getting more comfortable with things but expect more questions to come!

-Mark...

daveb 09-07-2013 03:03 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
1 Attachment(s)
Depends on what unit you have. Blue Sea makes several models including isolators. The 7622 I have is actually called ML-ACR Automatic Charging Relay with Manual Control - 12V DC 500A
The yellow knob is the control and the red switch is the optional remote.



For safe and correct jump starting you need to use heavy enough gauge wire connecting the battery systems.
Face it, if you have a dead and/or shorted starting battery you might have a hard time getting the vehicle started unless you take it out of the loop. Low voltage is rough on the FICM also. You can allow the house system to equalize a dead battery that is not bad by connecting the battery systems for several minutes and then attempt to start the vehicle. If the bad battery is shorted it will just kill the others and even if you do get enough to start the vehicle, it's very possible the bad battery will boil, get hot and off gas as the alternator charges. This is bad also. I lost my first alternator due to this. I've never seen a battery explode during the engine being ran, but it's possible.

flyfisher 02-10-2014 10:41 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Wow! this just makes my old head hurt! I'm getting ready to have a 135 watt solar panel installed on The Van, and wandered into this thread thinking I might find some answers to my questions...

Why can't it be easy? I've never had any problems with two days of camping and having my house battery run the reefer, and maybe a few lights. After that I've taken a 1/2 hour drive to charge up the battery. I want to get the solar panel installed to keep the reefer running, and maybe not have to start The Van up to top off the battery.

I have a 2005 SMB and a Lifeline 4D AGM battery for the house battery, and The Van is always plugged into shore power when I'm not using it.

Here are my questions:

The Van alternator charges both House and Van batteries when I'm driving, so they should always be topped up when I get to my campsite?

The "separator" keeps me from discharging my Van battery when I'm camped, so even if I run the House battery down, I should have power to start The Van?

Should I have to add anything to the system to make what SMB installed when I bought The Van better?

What do I need to know about the Solar system to tell the installers? The folks who are going to install it work on RV's and have a good track record for installing solar. (I'm leaning towards a Samlex 135 watt kit that includes everything needed to get the juice to the battery, I hope).

Auto electronics have always scared me, I don't have any problem wiring my house, Hell, I've even mastered 3 way switches, but somehow the electrical stuff in my SMB is way off the edge of my understanding, so any help would be appreciated.

I just want The Van to start after it's been sitting in a nice campsite way the Hell and gone off the grid for a couple days.

thanks...

Tom

daveb 02-10-2014 11:16 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
The Van alternator charges both House and Van batteries when I'm driving, so they should always be topped up when I get to my campsite?

Almost. Alternators generally get you to about 95%. Not an issue though because most of the float voltage drains off quickly. That 5% is more important during storage.

The "separator" keeps me from discharging my Van battery when I'm camped, so even if I run the House battery down, I should have power to start The Van?

Provided the separator is working correctly yes. There are different types of battery separator though. Also if you have a radio that pulls off the starting battery you still might have an issue if it's left on all night. Same as leaving your headlights on.

Should I have to add anything to the system to make what SMB installed when I bought The Van better?

Solar and a good battery monitor gauge. I replaced my Surepower separator with a blue sea which helped me.

What do I need to know about the Solar system to tell the installers? The folks who are going to install it work on RV's and have a good track record for installing solar. (I'm leaning towards a Samlex 135 watt kit that includes everything needed to get the juice to the battery, I hope).

A good correctly rated controller (MPPT type). Always plan for the future. Try to find panels that are somewhat universal in size. You want a panel that will still be around when one fails. A good mounting system. Proper entry of cables into the van, you don't want water leaks. If they don't understand SMB tops be very careful. Just letting them punch holes might be a disaster. Size the panels to the house battery but just remember when it's foggy or overcast more is better. Don't expect to run heavy loads off your solar...there isn't enough roof to add that many panels. 135 watts is generally enough to supply a charge while also adding a bit of charge.



Auto electronics have always scared me, I don't have any problem wiring my house, Hell, I've even mastered 3 way switches, but somehow the electrical stuff in my SMB is way off the edge of my understanding, so any help would be appreciated.

There is some info in this sections FAQ's

I just want The Van to start after it's been sitting in a nice campsite way the Hell and gone off the grid for a couple days.


It is a nice backup to have Tom, good luck.

I probably missed something. I'm sure others will chime in

flyfisher 02-12-2014 09:25 AM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Thanks for the reply Dave, this is a great help.

Tom

daveb 02-12-2014 10:57 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by flyfisher
Thanks for the reply Dave, this is a great help.

Tom

I'm sure you've read Greg's post:
Quote:

Originally Posted by Scalf77
I would think key attributes to look for would be:
- make sure that your Voc and Isc ratings of the controller match that of your panels.
This is where the in series or parallel becomes important. It would also drive if you stayed with MPPT or went with PWM. Your panel Vmp is high enough that you could get some benefit from MPPT especially in cooler weather. If you keep them in series you have to go MPPT.
- at least a 3 stage charger (4 if you include equalization)
- different set points for absorption, float, and equalization. (can you match your battery type)
Programmable option would be even better

Additional items (especially if you are picky about the voltage levels for charging
- Battery sense wires, these are no load wires that measure the actual battery voltage, it has improved accuracy
-Temperature sensor, this will compensate the voltage levels based on temperature of battery.

As far as monitoring functions, it really depends on how much of a data junky you are. I would think at a minimal that I would like to be able to see PV voltage and current, some units will keep track of total power generated.

I would put myself in the category of having a separate battery monitor.

-greg

Maybe print this Tom and take it with you. If they don't understand what Greg is talking about they might just be generic as far as installation goes. Not saying they can't do it right.

Dave

Chance 03-06-2014 11:42 AM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Scalf77
.....cut......

What do I use now? I use a variation of the second solution, instead of using a switch to turn on the solenoid I tap into the “Run Circuit”.

I am currently using the Trombetta 114-1211-020 Solenoid that came off of my SurePower 1315. It is rated at 225 Amps continuous duty, 1.5 amps closed, silver alloy contacts, 50,000 lifetime cycles. If purchased new it would go for $42.00. The primary mode that is used every day is that the Solenoid is tied the “Run Circuit” on the key switch, you could also tap off of the trailer light relay. In either case if the van is running the solenoid is closed and both batteries are being charged. The small relay let’s me use a switch to turn it on when not in “Run” mode. I also have a switch on the ground connection of the coil, this just disables the solenoid. I also have a Blue Sea 6007 switch, this is my back up switch. If the solenoid goes bad I move the Blue Sea switch to bypass the solenoid. I did have my SurePower develop a problem while on Vacation; this could have made dealing with that issue a lot easier. So I have less than $100.00 dollars invested in a pretty robust solution. I may move to a Magnetic Latch Relay at some time also, but they are more difficult to wire up to the run circuit, because they only need a pulse and the polarity or input changes.

.....cut.......

Very nice and informative post.

I like your simple solution above. A solenoid tied to the run circuit seems to avoid the main problem of forgetting to disconnect the battery, or to accidentally bump the switch to on position. The thing that's hard for me to accept of myself is that I could forget to manually disconnect the house battery any more than driving off with the parking brake on, or driving away from a camp site while still connected. I don't know at what point we should rely on automation to avoid having to remember things when it complicates other factors. Regardless, I like your system knowing that I too would forget at some point.

I'm curious about the use of the Blue Sea switch to bypass the solenoid relay in case of failure. Could you not do the same with an on/off switch across the solenoid? That way the normal power wouldn't have to go across an additional contact. I'm assuming such a switch is made, but are there any downsides to that versus what you show above? Cost-wise I'm sure it wouldn't make much difference. Just not sure if I'm overlooking something.


Also, while on this subject, have you looked at multiple solenoids and/or manual switches to allow charging multiple house batteries one at a time? Is there an automated device to do this? Or a simple way to limit current when too many batteries are in parallel? If I upgrade my present van or build another homebuilt (not that I'm seriously thinking about this) I'd include at least two house batteries, and I'd prefer to charge one at a time over a longer period to keep from potentially overheating the alternator. My preference would be a second independent alternator system but that's a different topic entirely -- and an option not available on most vans anyway.

daveb 03-06-2014 12:46 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chance
Very nice and informative post.

I like your simple solution above. A solenoid tied to the run circuit seems to avoid the main problem of forgetting to disconnect the battery, or to accidentally bump the switch to on position. The thing that's hard for me to accept of myself is that I could forget to manually disconnect the house battery any more than driving off with the parking brake on, or driving away from a camp site while still connected. I don't know at what point we should rely on automation to avoid having to remember things when it complicates other factors. Regardless, I like your system knowing that I too would forget at some point.

I'm curious about the use of the Blue Sea switch to bypass the solenoid relay in case of failure. Could you not do the same with an on/off switch across the solenoid? That way the normal power wouldn't have to go across an additional contact. I'm assuming such a switch is made, but are there any downsides to that versus what you show above? Cost-wise I'm sure it wouldn't make much difference. Just not sure if I'm overlooking something.


Also, while on this subject, have you looked at multiple solenoids and/or manual switches to allow charging multiple house batteries one at a time? Is there an automated device to do this? Or a simple way to limit current when too many batteries are in parallel? If I upgrade my present van or build another homebuilt (not that I'm seriously thinking about this) I'd include at least two house batteries, and I'd prefer to charge one at a time over a longer period to keep from potentially overheating the alternator. My preference would be a second independent alternator system but that's a different topic entirely -- and an option not available on most vans anyway.

You nailed the reason that SMB suggests not to have a remote switch. Forget how it's set or the fact that little kids like to push buttons. One nice thing about the blue sea remote is that it's lighted so one glance and you know what setting it's on. It doesn’t help if you drive 300 miles and pull into camp with low batteries.

With the separator itself, the unit still has the same full manual controls as the remote. So you can do what you want to with that separator and in most cases you would be setting it to Jump (manually close it) in an emergency or lock it out such as if you are working on that circuit and you don't want it to close. In my case the solar is hooked to the house battery side so with the separator open I still charge the house system. If the shop is working on the starting vans electrical system and I don't want the solar to cause the separator to close, it can be pad locked in the off position. I do this when the van goes into the shop (although I use the remote switch).


As far as charging and being able to isolate two or more batteries, there are some good reasons to be able to do that. One is if a battery failed, the separator would open and protect it from the other. You could also pick which battery or all the batteries to charge. It would also give you the opportunity to run off one or more batteries if you choose. But there is the KISS factor to throw in the mix not to mention oops, I forgot to open this or close that. Lastly there would be the overall cost. The more lugs, spades, and wiring there is, the more that something could be compromised. But the cool factor would be huge...3 or four remotes all lit up and all those switches would be impressive. Just think what a little kid could do with those.

Scalf77 03-06-2014 01:50 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
The reason I use the blue sea switch, is that it takes a possible failing component out of the equation. If I rely on a separate switch to enable the solenoid as a backup, it does not help if the solenoid itself is failing, (Dirty Contacts, failed return spring). By using the hard wired circuit, I can get around the failing solenoid. It may be somewhat inconvenient, but if you are in the middle of a trip when it happens, it would be worth it

Switch 1: Solenoid ( Normal everyday position)
Switch 2: Hard Wired ( for debug or redundancy)
Off: Full disconnect (great if you taking van into shop) or Debug



The same switch could be used in a two separate house battery system. It would be manual, but still pretty easy to deal with. I expect there may be a automated way that exist, if not it would be in the realm of possibility.

-greg

Chance 03-06-2014 03:01 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Scalf77
The reason I use the blue sea switch, is that it takes a possible failing component out of the equation. If I rely on a separate switch to enable the solenoid as a backup, it does not help if the solenoid itself is failing, (Dirty Contacts, failed return spring). By using the hard wired circuit, I can get around the failing solenoid. It may be somewhat inconvenient, but if you are in the middle of a trip when it happens, it would be worth it

Switch 1: Solenoid ( Normal everyday position)
Switch 2: Hard Wired ( for debug or redundancy)
Off: Full disconnect (great if you taking van into shop) or Debug



The same switch could be used in a two separate house battery system. It would be manual, but still pretty easy to deal with. I expect there may be a automated way that exist, if not it would be in the realm of possibility.

-greg

Thanks, but that's not exactly what I was asking. I was asking why not a simpler way to bypass a solenoid failure? Like if you didn't have the Blue Sea 6007 switch at all and the solenoid failed, a jumper across the solenoid switch (the power contacts, not the coil) should allow the van to keep working. Instead of a jumper I was asking about possibly using an on/off switch thinking it would do the same as the Blue Sea switch but a little simpler.

Regardless, I see from your reply that your switch adds the additional "OFF" position which wasn't clear to me from diagram. That's an advantage that would not exist otherwise. Although for service I'm not sure I wouldn't be OK with just turning power off to solenoid.

daveb 03-06-2014 03:37 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Every time my surepower failed I just jumpered it out. Done it several times. I made up a little jumper and keep it in the van. I also have one of those battery switches but have never used it. 7622 has been flawless

Scalf77 03-06-2014 03:47 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chance
Thanks, but that's not exactly what I was asking. I was asking why not a simpler way to bypass a solenoid failure? Like if you didn't have the Blue Sea 6007 switch at all and the solenoid failed, a jumper across the solenoid switch (the power contacts, not the coil) should allow the van to keep working. Instead of a jumper I was asking about possibly using an on/off switch thinking it would do the same as the Blue Sea switch but a little simpler.

Regardless, I see from your reply that your switch adds the additional "OFF" position which wasn't clear to me from diagram. That's an advantage that would not exist otherwise. Although for service I'm not sure I wouldn't be OK with just turning power off to solenoid.

OK, I am in sync with you now. Yes, you could use a on/off switch (6006 or 6005), it would not help you if you had a broken return spring or stuck on condition. I agree the disconnect to the coil would be fine.

Daveb.
Yes, a jumper would work, but again it does not solve the stuck condition, but then again you could just undo it. The point was to build in the redundancy and ease of use.

I also agree the 7622 is a better option but more costly option

-greg

daveb 03-06-2014 04:14 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Yep, I agree Greg. While in Colorado I bought one when the surepower began to chatter. I killed the Surepower then temp rigged the switch so at night I could isolate from the starting system. I might do as you did one of these days and install it permanent.

Chance 03-07-2014 08:32 AM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Scalf77
......cut.....

Wait let’s say I was running the Starcool on high for three of those hours, 20 amp draw at three hrs would be 60 amp hours, now we are down to 42.8 Amp Hours left.

......cut......

I know the Starcool here is used only as an example and is not pertinent to battery-charging discussion, but out of curiosity on my part, what does 20 AMPS represent? Wasn't Starcool an air conditioner? A current draw of 20 AMPS seems high for fans only and too low for air conditioning. AC fans normally use very little power and I would have expected around 200 AMPS for AC cooling; which is one reason running air conditioning off batteries requires so much capacity. Just want to learn if Starcools had unusual features compared to other systems. If only a typo it's understandable too.

Scalf77 03-07-2014 10:10 AM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
1 Attachment(s)
The blower for the Starcool III is DC, the starcool III operates in two modes, and extension of the E350 stock air conditioning or when parked it has it's own 110 volt compressor. But in this case I expect I was referencing driving and having the AC on high. With a broken separator you could be drawing a lot of current off of your house battery. So the 20 amps was referring to the DC Blower. The Starcool was a somewhat unique system, that has been replaced by a newer system referenced as the "Danhard" system. It is independent of the stock system, and you would need to run the inverter while driving.

I hope that answer the question, I have added a some documentation on the system

Chance 03-07-2014 02:19 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Scalf77
.....cut......


I hope that answer the question, I have added a some documentation on the system

Yes, it does answer my question. Thanks. And thanks for the attachment too, I'll study it later. Should be interesting reading.

I have to admit that 20 AMPS X 12 Volts seems like a lot of power for an AC blower but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. My small AC uses a fraction of an AMP at 110 Volts. Although it probably moves a lot less air.

Scalf77 03-10-2014 08:01 AM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Well for clarity it is actually a 12 volt blower and condenser fan (SMB manual list it at 24 amps with Blower on High)
-greg

ProfessorPaddle 03-10-2014 03:55 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Just thought I would say thanks for the great post. Very helpful.

Now if only they made a silent model of the 7622 so you didn't hear the clunk each time it engages or dis-engages, although it is nice to know it is doing it's job back there.

BroncoHauler 03-10-2014 03:57 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ProfessorPaddle
...

Now if only they made a silent model of the 7622 so you didn't hear the clunk each time it engages or dis-engages, although it is nice to know it is doing it's job back there.

That's so you know it's working.

ProfessorPaddle 03-10-2014 04:17 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
I am guessing that the sound is not really purposefully to let you know it is working, the flashing LED on the remote does that, I just figured it was a by product of the Magnetic Latching Process which would be very difficult and costly to buffer or insulate the sound out of.

Speaking of ... I have one of those wireless inductive chargers for my Android phone and if you want to know about STUPID programmers, google this "turn off android inductive charging sound" the stupid notification is blazing loud, you can't turn the volume down and you can't turn it off. It blurts out this stupid sound 3 or 4 times and has woken up my kids twice... Laying in bed one night I went to lay my phone down on it and realized it was gone... I rolled over to my wife and asked where is my charger, she said I put it in the garage, use the damn cord so you don't wake me up. The next morning I went out to the garage to get it and found that she had driven a lag bolt through the thing and screwed it to the wall... NICE. Not sure why I felt like adding that other than I am bored at the moments wasting my time, oh and yours.

ProfessorPaddle 03-10-2014 04:20 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Oh and you can turn it off but it requires gaining root, and you have to replace the sound file with a something silent or different. I did that but apparently not quick enough to please my wife.

BroncoHauler 03-10-2014 04:25 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ProfessorPaddle
I am guessing that the sound is not really purposefully to let you know it is working, the flashing LED on the remote does that, I just figured it was a by product of the Magnetic Latching Process which would be very difficult and costly to buffer or insulate the sound out of.
....

No, that was just the sound of me being a smart-a$$ (or attempting to be)

ProfessorPaddle 03-10-2014 04:46 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Gotcha... Can you do that silently next time. lol :l1:

BroncoHauler 03-10-2014 05:43 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ProfessorPaddle
Gotcha... Can you do that silently next time. lol :l1:

But then you won't notice me. :b1:

daveb 03-10-2014 08:20 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ProfessorPaddle
I am guessing that the sound is not really purposefully to let you know it is working, the flashing LED on the remote does that.

Flashing???

Scalf77 03-11-2014 02:10 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by daveb
Quote:

Originally Posted by ProfessorPaddle
I am guessing that the sound is not really purposefully to let you know it is working, the flashing LED on the remote does that.

Flashing???

I agree Flashing means 1 of three things:
  • LEDs OFF - Batteries are isolated

    LEDs ON - Batteries are combined

    LEDs slow steady blink, ON-OFF -Start or Engine Isolation is causing batteries to be isolated

    LEDs quick steady blink, ON-OFF -Undervoltage lockout--either battery is below 9.6V@12V DC
    operation or 19.2V@24V DC operation. Overvoltage lockout--either battery is above 16.2V@12V DC
    operation or 32.4V@24V DC operation.

    Remote Switch Set to OVERRIDE “ON” or “OFF”—Automatic operation is suspended for 10 minutes after remote switch is returned to “AUTO”

    LEDs double blink,Blink-Blink-Pause, Repeat -Manual override--check ACR for switch states OR
    ACR mechanical failure

daveb 03-11-2014 06:21 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Exactly... it usually indicates an issue/condition. Mine has only done that when one of my starting batteries was failing. But I also have my separator set to auto open during ignition start. Before I set it to that I don't remember it flashing slowly during a start. I'll have to check mine out. I only had it set that way for a few days so I don't recall.

[edit] the separator is very loud.

LFFE 03-17-2014 05:03 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
OK, I am starting to figure this all out. I think...
I have an 03 diesel with a 50 layout and solar. I have a solar boost 2000e and I found a surepower isolator under the hood mounted to the front drivers side wheel well.

I have been having some battery issues for a while now, and I think it is time to replace the isolator. I want to switch over to either a surepower or bluesea bi directional separator. If i want to mount this under the back seat will I will have to replace the wires connecting the house and starting batteries correct? I am about to hit the road for a month plus. Anybody know of a place near Jackson Hole, Denver, or the north east that deals with this type of thing?

coyotearms 03-22-2014 05:53 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Looks like this thread drifted away from the topic for a bit, but my 2nd Sure Power separator in three years stopped working. So I visited this wonderful thread to see what folks are doing. My build (SMBI) was delivered with a DOA bi-directional 1515, go figure. Van Specialties in Portland put in a 1514 while fixing a bunch of other things SMBI did wrong. I chose the uni-directional 1514 at the time for the same reasons stated numerous times above (Solar should have highest priority when camped, problems with main batteries getting masked until you NEED to jump them, having a manual switch on a bi-directional unit such as the Bue Sea 7622 is not idiot proof). Since then I also had a telling experience at home one morning when I could not start the beast because I was a bad boy and let the van sit for about a month (something I rarely do---6.0 diesel!). When I hit the AUX START switch . . .nothing. It turned out there was a low current short circuit somewhere in the the engine compartment Ford found (and most likely done during a previous Ford service/repair) AND the fricking AUX START circuit in the Sure Power ALSO failed! Now we are about to head to Alaska and need to address it. Also note we have all-AGM's so no worries about mixing battery types except for relative age of each bank.

I read with some optimism:
Quote:

Daveb,8/9/2013: Myself, I have enough solar to charge both battery systems. I had nothing but trouble with Sure Power and after several units replaced I went with the Blue Sea 7622. I have had no issues since. I also purchased the remote kit but if you have access to the separator it has full controls on it. By having the separator connect while the van sits outside not in use, the solar keeps both battery systems fully charged. Usually by morning my all systems are fully up w/I two hours. With the blue Sea, if either battery banks fall below 12.8, the separator opens. In the open position the solar only charges the house bank. Once the house bank is up, the separator closes and charges both systems as normal. The solar controller ramps down as the banks reach full charge.
This seems to imply the 7622 can automatically solar charge the house first and then charge the mains. I don't see how that is possible with any position of the manual switch. Certainly that will not happen with that switch set to connected or disconnected. If it is set to auto and assuming the solar is connected to the house bank, very soon into the bulk charge phase, during the accept phase (~14.4v) and even after the float phase starts (~13.2V) the 7622 will connect until nightfall because it connects when either battery sees 13.5V for 30s or 13.0V for 90s. These voltage/times were in fact chosen to make sure the 7622 will connect during float, "SI ACR Performance during Charger Float Mode," https://www.bluesea.com/resources/500...ger_Float_Mode. The good thing is that after the sun goes down the batteries would disconnect, but given the entire range of weather and seasons (we live in Seattle), this could lead to charging both banks, yes, but not fully before the sun goes down when camping and using stuff, i.e. not giving priority to the house while the sun shines.

So as much as it seems clear that the Blue Sea is more reliable than the Sure Power, and given all I have to do is swap out an old 1514 for a new (~$70), that's the plan. I will also replace is the existing dashboard momentary switch with a rocker that lights up brightly when on, such as I use for my compressor:
.
That could make jump starting a bit easier if only because Van Specialties mounted the dash switch below the ignition switch (need two right hands!). Given that it is on the dash and very bright, if it does accidentally get turned on, it should be readily notices(?). I have no plans to have that switch on long term, because it draws power. Sure Power told me up to 50W---it can get hot! And who knows, having it on may be necessary to get a broken van to the garage. Once I drove all the way from Reno to San Francisco in a sedan without a generator!

And after reading about all the additional tips, I know I should also have the capability of 1) bypassing and 2) turning off the separator: 1) a wrench available to connect both cables to one terminal of the separator should do, easy as pie :a2:, and 2) a rocker switch or in-line push connector to disconnect the separator coil ground wire, pretty easy :a3:.

In conclusion I view these my plans as nothing more than a work-around because Blue Sea only makes uni-directional version of the 7622!

Please try to shoot holes through this plan so I will be sure I am doing it right! Note, a number of interesting ways to go about this did not appear to be applicable in my case (like using Ford parts) given that the two mains are under the chassis and the three house batteries are inside the van in the rear, but resulting in the need for only about three feet total and two cabls to connect both banks to the separator in the present configuration.

Scalf77 03-22-2014 06:47 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
OK, I have not actually tried this yet. If had a Blue Sea 7620 or 22 I could try it out. But I believe this modification will make the 7622 unidirectional. I know many members here really like the bidirectional feature, but I like you do not. I use a traditional relay that will turn on when the van is running and thus disconnect the 12 volts that I have attached to the NC side of the relay, to the two start isolation circuits. According to the Blue Sea documentation two of the start isolation circuits tied to 12 volts will isolate the batteries. This way, when you are not driving the it will be in isolation mode.

Like I said I have not tested this, and I don't know if the switch will be able to override the isolation so that could be a drawback. Even so a simple switch could be added before the relay and you could go back full Bidirectional mode.



A second way would using the same idea but having the output of the switch go through the relay. In this case the switch would have to set to the off position. When the van was running the relay would pick the NO contact and put the 7622 into auto mode. When the van was not running the switch would work as normal, so having it off would isolate the batteries.



Not sure if any of these two methods interest you.
I think if I was going to do it I would use the second one.
-greg

coyotearms 03-22-2014 10:17 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
That's a lot of food for such a quick replay! If I understand what you are thinking by the 2nd diagram is to use the manual switch in its auto position to act as it usually does when the engine is running and act like it's in the disconnect position when the engine if off, correct? I cannot tell right off because I don't know the functional diagrams for either the relay or the manual switch.

But after thinking about what you are proposing and looking at the manual again, what about something simple that puts one of an ISOLATION leads positive when the engine is off? One way would be with a small relay that connects an ISOLATION lead to house 12V only when the engine is running. What do you think? I haven't thought through how the manual switch would work or how jumping for emergency starting would work, again because I don't know how the manual switch functions, but wanted to throw that out to you.

Scalf77 03-23-2014 07:13 AM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
1 Attachment(s)
Ok, I changed it a bit and added a few details for clarity, also 7622 or 7620 will be interchangeable.

First I removed the 6007 Manual Blue Sea Switch, to simplify the whole thing and I added a switch to the Van Run Circuit (switch 1) that I should have put in previously.

Switch 1 SPST enables van run circuit to control SPDT relay #2 (85).

In normal applications the Blue Sea Switch PN2146 (on -off -on), would be in the middle position and the 7622 would monitor the voltage and connect the batteries accordingly. The off position of the switch would disconnect the 7622, while the on position would connect the 7622.

SPDT Relay #2 controls the output of the Blue Sea SPDT switch, when Relay #2 is active (Van Running). ( 87 -Normally Open) puts an open value to the output of relay#2 (30). This would be equivalent to the Blue Sea SPDT Switch being in the (middle) position putting the 7622 in Auto-mode. The position of the Blue Sea SPDT switch will be irrelevant, as it essentially disabled, the LED indicator will still work.

When Relay #2 is not active (Van Off – or Switch#1 Off) ,the (87a -Normally Closed) input or the output of the Blue Sea SPDT Switch to the relay#2 (30) output. This makes the Blue Sea SPDT switch fully functional. If the Blue Sea Switch is left in the off position, when the van is not running it would forced the 7622 off.

Note: if you don't want to wire in the Blue Sea SPDT PN2146 switch then I would wire a ground wire to (87a -Normally Closed) input of the relay.

So when the van is running you get the full features of the Voltage Monitoring capabilities of the Blue Sea 7622 ML-ACR. It will cost you the power turning on relay #2.

If you wanted to add the Blue Sea 6007 switch back in, the switch has four position

Off- Neither circuit 1 or 2 are connected
1- Circuit 1 is connected (or the Blue Sea 7622 is being used)
2- Circuit 2 is connected (manually connecting the batteries together)
Combined - Both circuit 1 & 2 are active


I hope this helps make it a little clearer, although I have not had my second cup of coffee yet. I believe this is better then using the isolation connections.

-greg

1der 03-23-2014 11:55 AM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Just want to check in on something I am wanting to do and get input on its merits and pitfalls.

Is there another downside, other than forgetting to select the right position when camping, to using just a Batt 1 / Batt 2 / Both barrel switch like I had in my boat? If that is the only downside, then I am willing to live that since there is nothing more "encouraging" then being 50 miles from port in a remote anchorage and not being able to start the engines! :a5:

For our van set-up, I would like to have two frame mounted batteries for the house running off the stock 135 A ?? v10 alternator plus a circuit to allow external charging (generator, battery charger, solar, etc) of the house battery bank when stationary. I already have a 1500w inverter currently running off the starter battery and would switch this and its loads (currently refer, computer, future mwave, some led lights) over to the house bank.

If the house batteries are AGM and starter is lead acid, how to do I make sure to get proper charging profile each bank? Or is better to go with sealed lead acid all around?

Thanks for any input :a3:

coyotearms 03-23-2014 02:28 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Scalf77
SPDT Relay #2 controls the output of the Blue Sea SPDT switch, when Relay #2 is active (Van Running). ( 87 -Normally Open) puts an open value to the output of relay#2 (30). This would be equivalent to the Blue Sea SPDT Switch being in the (middle) position putting the 7622 in Auto-mode. The position of the Blue Sea SPDT switch will be irrelevant, as it essentially disabled, the LED indicator will still work.

So when the van is running you get the full features of the Voltage Monitoring capabilities of the Blue Sea 7622 ML-ACR. It will cost you the power turning on relay #2.



-greg

Yes, just knowing your relay #2 is a normally closed 87a-30 connection that opens when the engine is running makes your plan clear. And I am assuming you only mentioned 87 to just clarify that 87-30 are connected when engine is of, but since 87 is not connected to anything, it really doesn't matter. So to summarize what I think your circuit does: 1) when the engine is running a) the Blue Sea control switch position has no effect and b) both battery banks are connected and both the alternator and solar both have the ability to charge both battery banks and 2) when the engine is off a) the Blue Sea control functions normally and b) therefore if left in the middle position, the 7622 is bi-directional again.

That last observation means if one wants all solar to go to house when camped, the Blue Sea control switch has to be moved to the batteries disconnected position (down), and before driving one has to remember to turn it back to normal. That would not be entirely bad since there are nice sunny days when one is sure whacking both banks will charge both before the sun goes down, but on questionable days that would not be the case.

[quote="Scalf77"]
Note: if you don't want to wire in the Blue Sea SPDT PN2146 switch then I would wire a ground wire to (87a -Normally Closed) input of the relay.[\quote]

I am afraid I don't understand what this means. If SPDT PN2146 is relay #2, 87a is part of it. Do you mean SPDT PN1246 is the Blue Sea 6007?

If you would like to, we could PM each other until we figure this out (maybe after you respond to this post so other folks don't get entirely confused by my response)? Your choice.

-Fred

daveb 03-23-2014 03:40 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by 1der
Just want to check in on something I am wanting to do and get input on its merits and pitfalls.

Is there another downside, other than forgetting to select the right position when camping, to using just a Batt 1 / Batt 2 / Both barrel switch like I had in my boat? If that is the only downside, then I am willing to live that since there is nothing more "encouraging" then being 50 miles from port in a remote anchorage and not being able to start the engines! :a5:

For our van set-up, I would like to have two frame mounted batteries for the house running off the stock 135 A ?? v10 alternator plus a circuit to allow external charging (generator, battery charger, solar, etc) of the house battery bank when stationary. I already have a 1500w inverter currently running off the starter battery and would switch this and its loads (currently refer, computer, future mwave, some led lights) over to the house bank.

If the house batteries are AGM and starter is lead acid, how to do I make sure to get proper charging profile each bank? Or is better to go with sealed lead acid all around?

Thanks for any input :a3:

A manual switch is fine and used by many boaters and RVers. It also takes out any complexity that could create more field issues. But I still haven't had any problems with charging whether shore or even solar in limited light using the 7622. Automatic is the key reason I think its better. In my case I would leave the switch in the wrong position and end up with low or dead batteries using a manual switch.
I did replace my starting batteries with AGM's because IMO standard wet cell auto batteries were having an issue with the day to day solar charging.

Scalf77 03-23-2014 03:48 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Quote:

Yes, just knowing your relay #2 is a normally closed 87a-30 connection that opens when the engine is running makes your plan clear. And I am assuming you only mentioned 87 to just clarify that 87-30 are connected when engine is of, but since 87 is not connected to anything,
I mention 87, only because when the relay becomes active, it becomes closed, which you are correct has nothing on the input, so it would default the 7622 to be in auto mode or Bidirectional.

Quote:

it really doesn't matter. So to summarize what I think your circuit does: 1) when the engine is running a) the Blue Sea control switch position has no effect and b) both battery banks are connected and both the alternator and solar both have the ability to charge both battery banks and 2) when the engine is off a) the Blue Sea control functions normally and b) therefore if left in the middle position, the 7622 is bi-directional again.
That is correct, but if you leave the blue sea switch in the off position, it would disable the 7622. So yes , if you want all your solar to go to the house leave the switch in the off position. You don't have to remember to change the switch because when you start the engine, the run circuit relay will put the blue sea back into auto mode or bidirectional voltage monitoring capabilities. The open input of the relay is the same as the Blue Sea Switch being in the middle or auto. The main importance of this is that if you had a excessive load that pulled your alternator low, it would disconnect hopefully in time to protect FICM since you are a diesel. This also make the 7622 look unidirectional, because now when the engine is off it will be off and not monitoring the house voltage and turn on if you have a solar charge.

Quote:

That last observation means if one wants all solar to go to house when camped, the Blue Sea control switch has to be moved to the batteries disconnected position (down), and before driving one has to remember to turn it back to normal.
Actually you only have to move the Blue Sea Switch if you are camped and want to put some of your solar power to your van batteries, other wise just leave it off. The relay circuit will always turn it to auto mode when the engine is running.


Quote:

I am afraid I don't understand what this means. If SPDT PN2146 is relay #2, 87a is part of it. Do you mean SPDT PN1246 is the Blue Sea 6007?
Yes, I am sorry that was a little confusing, the SPDT PN2146 is just the Blue Sea Switch, PN2146 is the Blue Sea Part Number. If you did not want to use the Blue Sea Switch you could just tie 87a to ground. That would disable the 7622 while parked, just like if the switch was off.


Yes, feel free to PM me

-greg

coyotearms 03-23-2014 04:33 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Greg, Great! I forgot that engine off means control comes back to the Blue Sea Control switch (PN 2146) and as long as that switch is down (banks disconnected position) all solar goes to house when engine is off and to both banks when engine is on. Don't touch anything and it functions just like the Sure Power 1514 (uni-directional) separator. And with one possible caveat, if a dash switch is used to apply +12v from house circuit to terminal 30 of your relay #2, one also has the emergency start function from the drivers seat. That one caveat is that I wonder if it is o.k. if the dash switch in the on position would hurt anything when the engine was running, because in that case the 6722 is connected due to sensing charging of the mains by the alternator AND by that dash switch. That seems to be an issue that could need more knowledge of the inner workings of the separator circuit. What do you think?

-Fred

Scalf77 03-23-2014 07:31 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Should be no problem to use the switch for a emergency start, when the van stats running the 7622 would go back to auto. It would be no different then having the switch on, starting the van and then turning the switch to auto. Even if you did not have the extra relay, and had the switch on while running it would not hurt the 7622. But you would loose the auto disconnect if the voltage went to low.

-greg

coyotearms 04-05-2014 08:53 PM

Re: Battery Isolators,Separators, and Switches?
 
Today I purchased the Blue Sea 7622 and will very shortly install it in the simplest way possible with the connection to engine and house batteries, ground and connecting the "remote" wire to my existing dash button circuit that provides 12v from the house bank to combine battery banks for emergency starting "left over" from the Sure Power uni-directional separator the 7622 is replacing. I will leave for later the wall mounted switch, which in my case is somewhat difficult to do. I will also see how it goes with bi-directional battery management, i.e. whatever bank gets to the threshold voltages via the alternator or solar connects the banks. If that does not work to my satisfaction, I will then add the relay and wiring so nicely figured out by Scalf77 in his most recent past schematic above.

What convinced me to try bi-directional for a while was a call to Blue Sea. I was told that even though boaters usually give much higher importance to making sure start batteries are always charged, the reason Blue Sea only makes a bi-directional separator is because, "it all works out." First of all, bigger boats usually have engine generators, auxiliary generators AND solar. Those systems usually incorporate high current switches such as Blue Sea also sells (also seen on some of Scalf77's schematics) to manually deal with that important task. I was told that it is a different story for smaller boats with outboard engine(s) that bristle with electronic gear. There a uni-directional separator makes sense. This is because the engines usually don't have more capability for charging than it takes for their use, yet the electronics is so important and demanding that solar systems need to work hard to keep up that fancy stuff like radar and fish finders, and rope starts are available in many cases---makes sense to me. They also told me that a bi-directional separator in an RV ends up "favoring" the house bank when solar is working because both banks will not be connected when either 1) the house bank is low, even with solar coming in, the battery voltage won't be high enough and 2) when there are house loads on that bank, again, the voltage will at times be too low to connect the banks---makes sense to me too. And let's face it, if you cannot start your RV with the help of the house bank, it is usually not a life/death situation!

So by installing the 7622 now in the simplest manner as described above and given a trip to Alaska that is coming up shortly, this is a good time to see how well bi-directional charging works. That solution also seems appropriate because I just replaced my six year old AGM engine batteries with top of the line Diehard AGM's (https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/vie...p?f=14&t=11960). Since my three Deka house batteries are still in pretty good shape, I also feel more comfortable using the bi-directional system for those times when the van does not get driven as frequently when at home, even though I try to get 'er out every week or so if it is a long enough drive to get everything to operating temperatures and have a chance to accelerate strongly at least once.

I also made a call to Blue Sky, whose solar controller I use and had a fascinating discussion with them about tweaking some of my three-stage charging parameters. The most interesting aspect was the suggestion to "equalize" the batteries, something I thought of as a no-no for AGM's. By "equalize" I was told that means enable equalizing in the controller and set the Accept Charge voltage to the maximum allowed for about an hour once every 15 days or so. For example Deka gives optimum and maximum Charge voltages of 14.45 and 14.75 @ 60-70F, so using 14.4 and 14.6 for Accept Charge and Equalize makes sense, and it is still a little conservative for both as over charging is the WORST thing for AGM's. I am also a little conservative with Float voltage. Where Deka says optimum and maximum Float voltage should be 13.55 and 13.85, I use about 13.4. NOTE what I actually set the Blue Sky controller to is slightly different (lower) than the above voltages because what they want are values that correspond to 25C (77F). The built-in temperature compensation takes care of actual temperatures. In fact, the unknown exactl accuracy of the temperature compensation is the main reason I like to go a little conservative with set voltages.

The only mystery left to figure out is to make sure Deka house battery voltages are also o.k. for The Diehard engine batteries. The reason this worries me is because engine charging systems really are not designed to charge batteries to their ultimate charge state as that takes multi-stage charging electronics that is not usually (never?) found in vehicles. ANYONE OUT THERE HAVE SOME KNOWLEDGE IN THAT AREA? Sears is not the best place to get that kind of info!

I am sorry this post got so long! But I learned so much from this thread and was motivated by it to learn more that I wanted to share some of it. It is amazing how deep some of this stuff gets when the main goal is to just get out of town at hit the open road once and awhile.

Edited 4/7/2014: The Deka house batteries I have are model 8A27M. And the actual (@ 25 C) voltages that I input into the Blue Sky controller (Solar Boost 3012iL with IPN ProRemote) were: Accept Charge Voltage = 14.3, Float Voltage = 13.4, Equalize Voltage = 14.6 for 2 hr every 15 days. I also chose a temperature compensation slope = -4.3 mV/degree C/per battery cell, which I calculated from Deka voltage vs temperature data in their their Technical Manual, "Valve-Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA): Gelled Elecgtrolyte (gel) and Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) Bateries."

Editted 2/5/2015: Above I mentioned a planned three-month trip to Alaska (https://www.lugnutlife.wordpress.com) when we would get more experience with the default bi-directional function of the Blue Sea. Even when we used campgrounds we rarely picked sites with power. Admittedly, with 24 hours of sun during part of the trip, the amount of solar was not typical for many places, but the sun wasn't high in the sky much of the time either. Anyway, under those conditions we did not have concerns with the bi-directional functioning. It became clear that quite often during solar charging and when we were using electrical things, especially 110v stuff with the inverter on, we could hear the Blue Sea disconnecting (it is quite loud) as those things brought down the battery voltage enough. I have to say, however, I don't remember hearing such when our all-electric DC refrigerator cycled on. From that experience we don't see it a necessity to modify the circuitry of the install to make the Blue Sea uni-directional, but it would be nicer to install the three-way switch (connect, disconnect, auto) that comes with the unit to manually choose to disconnect the engine and house banks at those times when solar does not seem quite adequate and we want every photon of charge to go to the house bank. After all, we have a 2.5 gal AC water heater that we are able to use at times of abundant solar, say, traveling around the SW USA in summer. While the van sits at home and not driven every week, however, keeping both banks charged (which we can do even through a Seattle winter with at least the CO and propane detectors on) by throwing the switch to auto (the default mode w/o the switch) would be very nice. So installing that switch is now on the to-do list.

EDITED 2/26/2015: I finished the installation of the Blue Sea remote control switch P/N 2146 for the battery isolator 7622. I wired it slightly differently than the instructions with terminal 3 getting +12V when the existing dashboard emergency start button is pressed and with terminal 8 getting +12v from a wire near the location of the switch (instead of both terminals getting +12V all the time. So now in the CONNECT position of the switch, the house and engine battery banks are only ENABLED to be connected via the dashboard switch. The AUTO and DISCONNECT positions of the switch work normally and all lighting modes of the LED's (both are either on or off) work normally. Most importantly, when in the DISCONNECT position, I can be assured that solar charging is totally dedicated to the house battery bank when camping and when solar might be limited (the whole idea behind installing the remote switch).

Also note that the switch is installed in a 1 gang 14 cubic inch "old construction" plastic electrical box and the fuse holder shown below provides protection for the +12v for the LED circuit using a 2 Amp AGC glass fuse.


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