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Basic converter question


saflyer
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I have a motorhome with a Magnum ME2012 inverter/charger. I have read some things about converters and am in need of an education on them. I know they change AC current to DC but wonder if they are the same as a rectifier? Do they act as chargers or would a charger be used with a converter? If there is a charger or inverter/charger installed would there be a need for a converter?

Ed
2005 Holiday Rambler Ambassador
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Ed, to me a rectifier may be a component of a charger but not the same. A rectifier may be used to convert an AC signal to a DC signal (rectify it) and then it might be used for battery charging purposes. All DC output devices are unfortunately not battery chargers  either because a battery charger needs to output the correct DC voltages and monitor the current outputs to be an effective battery charger; i.e. it needs some more smarts to be a battery charger.  

Your Magnum inverter/charger takes shore power (AC), converts it to DC power and then regulates the output to be a battery charger. When you don't have shore power (AC), the inverter side takes battery power (DC) and converts it to a 120 volt AC signal to run your AC appliances. The conversion of DC voltage to AC voltage is usually not very efficient and that is why you need a large battery bank or solar or something else to replenish the DC supply. Hope this helps.

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From the beginning.  An INVERTER is a device that "transforms" DC power into AC power.  A Converter is a device that "Converts" AC Power into DC power.  Technically, a Converter is a Rectifier as the definition of a rectifier is a device that converts AC to DC.

Typically, a Charger is a device that "charges a battery".  An Inverter changes DC to AC.  You can have BOTH.....which you do.

Your ME2012 is a Modified Sine Wave (some call it a Square Wave) inverter with a very sophisticated charging circuit.  So it is an Inverter Charger.  You do NOT need a "converter" or a rectifier.

Hope the following explains it....

The device has incoming power of 30 Amps from the main panel.  It also has incoming DC Power from the Batteries.  NOTE....the Inverter is connected, via a 300 Amp fuse, DIRECTLY to the batteries .  It does NOT run or go through the House Battery Disconnect switch.  So, whenever, the MH has AC power (from shore or Genny), ASSUMING that you have not defeated or turned off the "auto modes" or default settings, the AC power will do two things.

First.....inside the ME2012, there is an Automatic Transfer Switch or mini ATS.  So, you pass through all the incoming AC power.  You will have around 3600 watts or power (30 X 120).  When there is NO AC power, the Inverter will take the 12 VDC and inverter or transform it into 120 (actually 115 is the correct voltage).  SO, you have 2000 watts or power.  That will run the Microwave.  It will NOT run the Microwave and a hair dryer or an electric skillet.  You have TWO circuits of AC in the MH.  One is directly wired to the Microwave.  The OTHER is for all the REST of the stuff.  It will be fed or passed through a GFCI so that you have ground fault protection.  There are THREE circuit breakers on the Magnum.  All are Pin Type.  They POP out when tripped or open.  One is for the incoming 30 Amp AC.  That protects the printed circuit or main control board.  The OTHER two are for each of the two circuits.

The Charger is a very sophisticated device.....needed to preserve your batteries and prevent damage.  This is a Three State Charger.  Bulk is when the amperage approaches 90 or 95 amps and the voltage will be around 14.2/3 VDC.  As the Bulk (sock it to it) charge is hitting the batteries, the charger "senses" and eventually backs off the current (lowers it slightly) and then also the voltage.  This is called "absorb".  I think that when the battery is maybe 95% that it then changes to "Float Charging"....and it stays there and maintains the battery.

 

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Guest Cruzbill

Its not that your inverter/charger is 'inefficient' at converting battery power to AC power, its just the math: volts x amps =watts. Or 10a at 120v (1200watts) = 100a at 12v.  100amps out of a 12v battery is a lot.(about 50% of a typical 2x 6v GC2 battery bank). 

Your inverter is about 85% 'efficient', so for any DC to AC conversion, add 15% to compensate for 'efficiency'.  

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30 minutes ago, Tom Cherry said:

From the beginning.  An INVERTER is a device that "transforms" DC power into AC power.  A Converter is a device that "Converts" AC Power into DC power.  Technically, a Converter is a Rectifier as the definition of a rectifier is a device that converts AC to DC.

Typically, a Charger is a device that "charges a battery".  An Inverter changes DC to AC.  You can have BOTH.....which you do.

Your ME2012 is a Modified Sine Wave (some call it a Square Wave) inverter with a very sophisticated charging circuit.  So it is an Inverter Charger.  You do NOT need a "converter" or a rectifier.

Hope the following explains it....

The device has incoming power of 30 Amps from the main panel.  It also has incoming DC Power from the Batteries.  NOTE....the Inverter is connected, via a 300 Amp fuse, DIRECTLY to the batteries .  It does NOT run or go through the House Battery Disconnect switch.  So, whenever, the MH has AC power (from shore or Genny), ASSUMING that you have not defeated or turned off the "auto modes" or default settings, the AC power will do two things.

First.....inside the ME2012, there is an Automatic Transfer Switch or mini ATS.  So, you pass through all the incoming AC power.  You will have around 3600 watts or power (30 X 120).  When there is NO AC power, the Inverter will take the 12 VDC and inverter or transform it into 120 (actually 115 is the correct voltage).  SO, you have 2000 watts or power.  That will run the Microwave.  It will NOT run the Microwave and a hair dryer or an electric skillet.  You have TWO circuits of AC in the MH.  One is directly wired to the Microwave.  The OTHER is for all the REST of the stuff.  It will be fed or passed through a GFCI so that you have ground fault protection.  There are THREE circuit breakers on the Magnum.  All are Pin Type.  They POP out when tripped or open.  One is for the incoming 30 Amp AC.  That protects the printed circuit or main control board.  The OTHER two are for each of the two circuits.

The Charger is a very sophisticated device.....needed to preserve your batteries and prevent damage.  This is a Three State Charger.  Bulk is when the amperage approaches 90 or 95 amps and the voltage will be around 14.2/3 VDC.  As the Bulk (sock it to it) charge is hitting the batteries, the charger "senses" and eventually backs off the current (lowers it slightly) and then also the voltage.  This is called "absorb".  I think that when the battery is maybe 95% that it then changes to "Float Charging"....and it stays there and maintains the battery.

 

Thanks Tom,

I pretty much knew all of that but a friend tried to confuse me when he said converter and I said “Yeh, rectifier” and it went downhill from there. He insisted a converter is not a rectifier.  

So a converter can charge the batteries but only at one voltage, am I correct?  Would that be much like charging from a solar panel directly without the use of a solar controller? Is a charger a converter also but more sophisticated so it can vary charge rate and precise voltage? 

You say the inverter is connected directly to the batteries.  I just checked mine and when I disconnect shore power and turn the battery switch off there is no inverter operation.  With shore power on and battery switch off there is no charger.  So my inverter/charger is wired through the disconnect switch.

Let me ask this.  I forget between my dealings with it what a Big Boy is.  If it was referred to by it’s technical name or function I might be able to remember. What is it?  Also, what is a Trombetta?  I ask because I have been told if I go with lithium batteries I should not charge them with the engine alternator.  I guess it has a single charge voltage which is not good for the lithium batteries.  So I need to know what to disconnect alternator charging., if that is true.

Thanks again

 

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41 minutes ago, Cruzbill said:

Its not that your inverter/charger is 'inefficient' at converting battery power to AC power, its just the math: volts x amps =watts. Or 10a at 120v (1200watts) = 100a at 12v.  100amps out of a 12v battery is a lot.(about 50% of a typical 2x 6v GC2 battery bank). 

Your inverter is about 85% 'efficient', so for any DC to AC conversion, add 15% to compensate for 'efficiency'.  

magnum says 95%.  That is about the same for the ME as well as the MS series....  SOME folks have issues with how Magnum measures.....but the Magnum is top of the line....or at least in the price ranges that most folks will pay....

https://www.magnum-dimensions.com/product-inverter/2000w-12vdc-modified-sine-inverter-charger-me-series

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Guest Cruzbill

Lithium uses a simpler single stage charging scenario-14.6v 'till 100%, then turn off the charging-no three or 4 stage charging , no float or trickle. See what Battle Born uses instead of a Big Boy and BIRD relay 

https://precisioncircuitsinc.com/product/battery-isolation-manager-225-amps-lithium-battery/

Charging lithium at 13.6v or whatever will only reduce the charge state, won't harm the battery. You don't want too high a voltage though.

 

 

The BIRD / Big boy system uses the engine alternator to charge the house batteries when underway. It also charges the chassis batteries when on shore power. Google Intellitec for more info. Trombetta is a similar, but more problematic device. 

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1 minute ago, saflyer said:

Thanks Tom,

I pretty much knew all of that but a friend tried to confuse me when he said converter and I said “Yeh, rectifier” and it went downhill from there. He insisted a converter is not a rectifier.  

So a converter can charge the batteries but only at one voltage, am I correct?  Would that be much like charging from a solar panel directly without the use of a solar controller? Is a charger a converter also but more sophisticated so it can vary charge rate and precise voltage? 

You say the inverter is connected directly to the batteries.  I just checked mine and when I disconnect shore power and turn the battery switch off there is no inverter operation.  With shore power on and battery switch off there is no charger.  So my inverter/charger is wired through the disconnect switch.

Let me ask this.  I forget between my dealings with it what a Big Boy is.  If it was referred to by it’s technical name or function I might be able to remember. What is it?  Also, what is a Trombetta?  I ask because I have been told if I go with lithium batteries I should not charge them with the engine alternator.  I guess it has a single charge voltage which is not good for the lithium batteries.  So I need to know what to disconnect alternator charging., if that is true.

Thanks again

 

One at a time.  You do NOT have a Converter.  You have an Inverter/Charger.  You could have an Inverter (which changes DC to AC) and it would NOT charge.  You could have a Charger (that is NOT a converter) and it would not provide 120 VAC.  SO.....stay with the definition.  A converter is like your cell phone charger.  it CONVERTS 120 VAC to approx 5 VDC.  

Maybe Monaco wired yours different.  On the 2009, the Battery Cables (actually the positive....the negative is chassis grounded) Goes from the Positive to a Copper Buss.  There is a 300 Amp Fuse attached to the buss and the other side of the fuse goes to the Inverter.  SO, the inverter is fused.  So, the ONLY way you can disconnect the inverter is pulling the Positive.  NOW....follow the logic....and yours MAY be different.  Battery Positive to Buss.  On the same buss, there is a cable that goes to another Buss or Distribution strip.  There are four FUSES on that strip.  Genny so you can start it, Hydraulic slides for mine, other slides and FINALLY the idiotic Salesman's switch.  So, my 200 Amp Blue Seas House Switch will NOT disconnect the Inverter.  I have attached a PDF of the schematic.

Now....the BIG BOY.  OK....that is like saying Kleenex and meaning tissue.  There is a BIG solenoid that "connects" both battery banks together.  That is the Battery Boost Switch.  That relay or solenoid is TYPICALLY....for your MH, a NON CONTINUOUS Duty solenoid.  I DOUBT that you have what is called BIRD or Bi Directional Charging.  That is when you drive down the highway....your House and Chassis Batteries are BOTH charged.  When you are plugged in or on Genny, the same.  You need a BIRD (Intellitec brand name) control device.  There were TWO types of BIG BOYS.  One was rated for low voltage (less than 4 vols) to HOLD the solenoid closed.  If you have the standard one....the NON Continuous duty, then if you put a full 12 VDC to it and keep it energized....you burn up the coil.  That is why your owner's manual says to use it for only a few seconds.  The Trombetta is another brand of the Big Boy or more technically, the Battery Boost or Interconnect Switch.

As to Lithiums....  WOW.....that is way over my head.  BUT, I would warn you NOT to trust anybody and make sure that you know EXACTLY what your MH has (does it have Bi-Directional Charging)....or does it have something like a Lambert maintainer.  The NEXT question.....since if you abuse the Lithiums, you are out a BUNDLE.....  What does Magnum say?  Will your older ME2012 work with them....or can you charge Lithiums with your Charger?  My gut feel is NO, but Magnum will know.  I have a MS2012.  It was a 2008.  I had to replace the Remote.  Mine was new enough that I had a lot of builtin features that the new remote would support.  If your old remote does not give you the option of Lithium.....then Magnum needs to advise.  

Just going out and letting some battery distributor sell you expensive lithiums and them then blowing up or failing since you have the "Wrong" charging system will be a high learning cost item.  As I said, maybe here or another place, if I were going Lithiums....I would upgrade to a NEW PSW inverter/Charger.  I don't have a clue as to which type of charging system and such you need.....and that is the best I can do.  Tread lightly.....the cost could be staggering by just "bought me Lithiums".  I have a neighbor that has blown up his boat batteries as the folks keep selling him the WRONG batteries.  He was told to buy "Combo Start/Deep Cycle" for his boat.....he has a starting battery and two trolling motor batteries and a high priced "maintainer".  It fried all the batteries and dried up the electrolyte.....so he was out over $500.... 

You need to do some reading and get conversant with the devices and the technology....and then pull the prints for your MH and understand WHAT you have (and make sure that it matches what Monaco put on the print) and then learn about Lithiums.....and THEN make the call.....otherwise....??

12V High Current Dist..pdf

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Thanks again Tom,

>>One at a time.  You do NOT have a Converter.  You have an Inverter/Charger.  You could have an Inverter (which changes DC to AC) and it would NOT charge.  You could have a Charger (that is NOT a converter) and it would not provide 120 VAC.  SO.....stay with the definition.  A converter is like your cell phone charger.  it CONVERTS 120 VAC to approx 5 VDC. <<
 

I understood your first post.  It confirmed what I already knew.  I was just making sure my buddies information was incorrect.

>>Now....the BIG BOY.  OK....that is like saying Kleenex and meaning tissue.  There is a BIG solenoid that "connects" both battery banks together.  That is the Battery Boost Switch.  That relay or solenoid is TYPICALLY....for your MH, a NON CONTINUOUS Duty solenoid.  I DOUBT that you have what is called BIRD or Bi Directional Charging.  That is when you drive down the highway....your House and Chassis Batteries are BOTH charged.  When you are plugged in or on Genny, the same.  You need a BIRD (Intellitec brand name) control device.  There were TWO types of BIG BOYS.  One was rated for low voltage (less than 4 vols) to HOLD the solenoid closed.  If you have the standard one....the NON Continuous duty, then if you put a full 12 VDC to it and keep it energized....you burn up the coil.  That is why your owner's manual says to use it for only a few seconds.  The Trombetta is another brand of the Big Boy or more technically, the Battery Boost or Interconnect Switch.<<
 

My forward electrical bay below the drivers seat has an IRD which I guess does some but not all of the functions of a BIRD.  I need more education on that. I installed a Trik-L-Start to keep the chassis batteries charge.  But I have been admonished online that was unnecessary as the batteries should stay charged well enough to start the engine for months.  I’d love if they would just use a technical name and not some cutesy pie one like Big Boy.  It’s easier for me to remember terms that relate a somethings function.

 

15 hours ago, Cruzbill said:

Lithium uses a simpler single stage charging scenario-14.6v 'till 100%, then turn off the charging-no three or 4 stage charging , no float or trickle. See what Battle Born uses instead of a Big Boy and BIRD relay 

https://precisioncircuitsinc.com/product/battery-isolation-manager-225-amps-lithium-battery/

Charging lithium at 13.6v or whatever will only reduce the charge state, won't harm the battery. You don't want too high a voltage though.

 

 

The BIRD / Big boy system uses the engine alternator to charge the house batteries when underway. It also charges the chassis batteries when on shore power. Google Intellitec for more info. Trombetta is a similar, but more problematic device. 

Thanks Cruzbill,

I think you posted the Precision Circuits, Inc. link on the other tread I started.  I’ll look into it but will have to find someone who knows how to install one, beyond my level.

If I don’t have a BIRD what is charging my house batteries from the alternator.  I am very sure they are charging while driving.  I think my method of confirming this was to check the voltage of the house batteries at the start of a day’s driving then check again at the end. It was the same.  This with the large draw of the residential refrigerator.

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Guest Cruzbill

https://www.intellitec.com/products/#battery-isolation-and-management

 

See if you have the BIRD control box back by your battery compartment. The BIRD controls the BiG  BOY relay which should also be near the BIRD.

Checking your owners manual, page 327 says your alternator charges both chassis and house batteries. 

 https://www.holidayrambler.com/resources/media/manuals/2005_Ambassador.pdf

 

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18 hours ago, Cruzbill said:

Time to get up to speed on Lithium, rather than rehash the past. Read all about them here from those who make 'em.

What are your charging parameters:

https://battlebornbatteries.com/faq/

 

I did do that.  The article says that the ME2012 works fine.  I guess that you set it to a "custom" battery mode so that all you get is the full (Bulk) absorb rate of 14.2 (+/-) as the article states.  

Now this where theory and reality and practicality might "come to a parting of the ways".  I will give you the reader's digest from my own experience and also what Magnum told me.

If the ME2012 is say, more than 15 years old, then it may not be the best choice for using on the pricey Lithiums.  The Inverter/charger is nearing the end of its useful life.  

I have a 2008 MS2012 so it is about 12 years old.  I started acting a bit funky.  I worked on it and found that the battery or setup parameters were "wandering" or changing.  There was an electronic gremlin.  I had the original Remote.  The battery amp hours would not hold when set to 450.  After a few cycles of Shore ON and Shore OFF, the new parameters were 1050 Amp Hours.  Talk about frying your batteries.    I spent several hours on the phone with Magnum.  I ran all their diagnostics and trouble shooting.  Bad remote....MOST LIKELY.....but with the age....you NEVER know.

SO, I persevered and called back and talked to another Magnum Tech.  She finally said.....  TRY THIS.  I FORGOT to mention that many times, after you did a reset and then plugged in the Remote that it would freeze and you could not set the parameters or program int.  She said.....only a couple of things to try...

Take apart the remote and clean the push button pads.  THAT MIGHT (but said probably will NOT) fix it.  OK....NO JOY.  

Then, I asked......do you NEED the remote.  Technically, NO.  The Magnum is designed or has "Built in Chip defaults".  SO, it will work without a remote.  All you do is disconnect and then hook back up and do a reset.  That sets it for 450 Amp Hours and all the "Astericked" defaults in the manual.  Did that.  I load tested or did the drain test.  Perfect.  My few month old Trojans were happy as could be and my calculations showed they were discharging properly.  

SO.....why was the Magnum remote to do funky things.....like NOT come back on.  Like NOT being able to be turned off.  Like freeaing up.  Like resetting the paramters....the list of afflictions is long and distinguished.  The answer.  WELL, it is an electrical device.  It may be bad and is sending a "Turn me off" signal instead of the "OK....auto ride from AC to inverting"....

SO, I said....WHAT remote do I need?  Don't buy the ME-ARC was the response.  There were a LOT of software and electronic incompatibilities with my NEWER MS2012 and the sophisticated ME-ARC which would support, FULLY, the BMK.  Their advice.....skip the BMK and get the new ME-50RC and you will have no issues.

Bottom line....If you use an older ME or MS with flooded cells, worst case scenario is that you will be out maybe $500 for a set of four batteries is the remote goes south (and I was told at that age....it was common)..  The AGM's are more persnickety and also more pricey. 

If I understand it....then you would need FOUR of these....and they are "Drop IN" as you can get 4 of them into the space of the existing 4.  These are 12 VDC so I assume that they all go in parallel.  That will give you 400 Amp Hours of capacity vs the stock 450 Amp Hours.  That is enough to run a Refer for 24 hours (see my other posts).

Therefore, you will have maybe $4800 or so instead of $600 and the ampacity is the same.  That is about 7.5 times the cost.  YES....they will last forever and forever.....  BUT, based on a lot of tinkering with LiPO RC small batteries and trying to use the original chargers for the NiMH batteries, the LiPO's rarely last forever.  They fail from abuse when charging.  So, you need the nicer RC Lithium chargers.  Most folks upgrade and then kill the expensive LiPO's and go back or just buy a new charger when they replace the LiPO's.  I have been down that path and talked to a LOT of RC guys that know their stuff.

Bottom line.  YES.....Lithium is NEW SCHOOL.  But my 2009 Camelot ain't exactly Old School.  The OLD school is the ME2012.  I would be really cautious, if I were going to convert without some type of ironclad warranty that says...  Use a Magnum 2012 and we guarantee that they will not be damaged.

That's my take....and I did do a lot of reading.  Reality and experience are hard to beat.....and in the case of making a $4000 GOOF....I would upgrade the whole Inverter to a MS2812 or whatever the larger 2800 or 3000 Watt unit is and get the ME-ARC and the BMK and make sure that they batteries are being charged properly. 

I do NOT know about the lower voltages of the older MH's that used the LN Alternators......

My thoughts and my knowledge and my experiences.....

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Guest Cruzbill

RC Lipos compared to LiPO4 is like comparing a steam locomotive to an electric car- there is no comparison. RC lipos because they use a completly different chemical make up are simply not comparable to the LIPO4.  Remember flooded cells shouldn't be discharged below 50% so your 450 AH becomes 225ah. LIPO4 doesnt have that limitation. 

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6 hours ago, saflyer said:

Thanks again Tom,

>>One at a time.  You do NOT have a Converter.  You have an Inverter/Charger.  You could have an Inverter (which changes DC to AC) and it would NOT charge.  You could have a Charger (that is NOT a converter) and it would not provide 120 VAC.  SO.....stay with the definition.  A converter is like your cell phone charger.  it CONVERTS 120 VAC to approx 5 VDC. <<
 

I understood your first post.  It confirmed what I already knew.  I was just making sure my buddies information was incorrect.

>>Now....the BIG BOY.  OK....that is like saying Kleenex and meaning tissue.  There is a BIG solenoid that "connects" both battery banks together.  That is the Battery Boost Switch.  That relay or solenoid is TYPICALLY....for your MH, a NON CONTINUOUS Duty solenoid.  I DOUBT that you have what is called BIRD or Bi Directional Charging.  That is when you drive down the highway....your House and Chassis Batteries are BOTH charged.  When you are plugged in or on Genny, the same.  You need a BIRD (Intellitec brand name) control device.  There were TWO types of BIG BOYS.  One was rated for low voltage (less than 4 vols) to HOLD the solenoid closed.  If you have the standard one....the NON Continuous duty, then if you put a full 12 VDC to it and keep it energized....you burn up the coil.  That is why your owner's manual says to use it for only a few seconds.  The Trombetta is another brand of the Big Boy or more technically, the Battery Boost or Interconnect Switch.<<
 

My forward electrical bay below the drivers seat has an IRD which I guess does some but not all of the functions of a BIRD.  I need more education on that. I installed a Trik-L-Start to keep the chassis batteries charge.  But I have been admonished online that was unnecessary as the batteries should stay charged well enough to start the engine for months.  I’d love if they would just use a technical name and not some cutesy pie one like Big Boy.  It’s easier for me to remember terms that relate a somethings function.

 

Thanks Cruzbill,

I think you posted the Precision Circuits, Inc. link on the other tread I started.  I’ll look into it but will have to find someone who knows how to install one, beyond my level.

If I don’t have a BIRD what is charging my house batteries from the alternator.  I am very sure they are charging while driving.  I think my method of confirming this was to check the voltage of the house batteries at the start of a day’s driving then check again at the end. It was the same.  This with the large draw of the residential refrigerator.

You need to find out WHAT devices (BIRD Diesel or Diesel2 and/or Big Boy Intellitec....there are TWO different solenoids and each works totally different).  One Big Boy is a "Latching" style.  You get a Voltage signal....momentarily....and it latches or turns ON.  Then the signal goes to the OTHER terminal and it turns off.  The continuous style, (Newer) gets an initial 12 VDC.  BUT, that needs to be "reduced".  The BIRD Diesel2 module puts out a 12 VDC for maybe 30 seconds.  IF all the parameters are OK, it drops the voltage to <4 VDC and the Big Boy stays energized.

The method of "OK....are they charged" is not conclusive.  If you had BIRD charging....then you can use a Volt Meter and check.  Plug into SHORE.  Then you should hear a CLUNK a minute or two later.  If the Big Boy is energized, it will be buzzing and warm to the touch.  That does NOT mean that it is charging or working as the contacts are often pitted.  You need to use a good DVM and measure the voltage on each of the large terminals.  I do it to GROUND.  the charging voltage will vary.  If your Magnum is putting out 14.2 or so VDC and is Bulk Charging, then you should get that.  But, if it is in the Absorb or Float mode, it will be lower.  The voltages (to ground) should be within a few tenths of a volt.  THAT means that the Magnum is charging the House batteries and the Big Boy is energized so that the Chassis Bank is in parallel.  THEN you know that you have BOTH banks being charged.  

You can ALSO use your DVM and measure across the large terminals.  There should be little or almost ZERO Volts.

OK.....that means that the Magnum be working.  BUT....what about the Engine.  Simple.  UNPLUG the shore.  Do NOT turn on the Genny.  Start the Engine.  Run the test again.  If you DO have the Intelltiec BIRD Diesel 2 and the Big Boy, then you will have the same scenario.  The alternator will be charging the Chassis and the Big Boy (or your Battery Boost Solenoid) will be closed and you will be charging the House in parallel.

The ONLY want to determine WHAT you have to find the components.  Then trace the circuits.  Use a DVM and see.  Your 2005 was one of the Transition years.  It was also one of the years where Monaco in Oregon and Monaco in Indiana were acting like two separate companies.  The left hand did NOT care what the Right hand was doing....or if it was even THERE.

For the level of your MH, my bet would be that you do NOT have BIRD charging.  At best, you might have a Lambert Maintainer and that does NOT charge the House when you drive.  it was meant to charge the Chassis when you were plugged in so that the Chassis did not run down.

More understanding and research might be needed.  See my other comments about why an ME2012 will, TECHNICALLY "work"....assuming that is is just brand new and that the Remote is 100% and such.  If any issues of age or vibrations or  "Just quit working" exist....as mine did....and then a $4.5 - $5K LiPO set have the POTENTIAL to be very expensive boat anchors....and if you use them for that, from an environmental standpoint, you must encapsulate them in concrete...

Do your homework and don't anyone's advice WITHOUT determining WHAT you have....if it is working....and such....

2 minutes ago, Cruzbill said:

RC Lipos compared to LiPO4 is like comparing a steam locomotive to an electric car- there is no comparison. RC lipos because they use a completly different chemical make up are simply not comparable to the LIPO4.  Remember flooded cells shouldn't be discharged below 50% so your 450 AH becomes 225ah. LIPO4 doesnt have that limitation. 

OK....  I am OLD school.  You is NEW school.  So, you don't need but two of the LiPO's  That is about $2500 and you have 200 amp hours of REAL capacity.  The Flooded cells are $650 and your have 225 amp hours of REAL capacity if you do not drop below 50%.  Trust me....  I DO get that.  I understand that.  

BUT, the original concept or maybe I lost it....was about a Res Refer.  Two LiPO's will NOT get you but the same run time as a four bank flooded set.....assuming that you do NOT run down past 50%.  Magnum and Trojan will tell you that you can safely go down maybe to 30%, on a constant and low drain.....but it is not recommended.  The 100 Amp Hours for the LiPO's is KAPUT after they are discharged and the low voltage cut off has kicked in and then the Inverter is OFF and the Res Refer is getting HOTTER.  You still need the AGS or more batteries if you want another day....

So, myself and several others here typically get 7 - 8 years from flooded batteries by good maintenance and also verifying charging and checking the circuits.  Therefore, if you get 32 Years or so out of the LiPO's, then we are even....except that I have about $2,000 to invest in technology stocks like TSLA and ZOOM and such.... 

My only point.....with that expensive battery pack and the OP NOT knowing what condition his 15 YO MSW ME2012 is in as well as the condition of the remote, then there is a high risk that PERHAPS.....the LiPO's will be abused and then not give the anticipated 32 years of life.  

SO, we buggy whip guys will just plod along and check the electrolyte and either use or exercise our old tech cells.  We also will be looking for corroded or faulty cables and such.  

If the LiPO's were as robust (ask how many here have killed AGM's without fully realizing their limitations) as they are purported to be....I would probably look seriously at them.

I have stated the facts and have enough experience and electrical understanding (I was an EE for two years in college) and also have been trouble shooting 12 (originally 6) volt circuits for well over 50 years....so I do know a little about such....  

I am not going to argue with the technology.  It is improving every year.  It will eventually, I think, be cost effective.  As of now, many of us with advanced degrees and experience feel that even the AGM's are not "our cup of tea" and there are glowing posts every week about an AGM set failing and someone is unhappy as they were told that the AGM's were the wave of the future...

 

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On 7/9/2020 at 1:28 PM, saflyer said:

What does a Big Boy look like?  Who makes it?  Does it have a model number?

Here's a picture of some big boys that I snagged off the internet. From what I understand, the "big boy" is used to automatically combine battery banks for charging purposes.

I don't know about your 2005 HR, but my rig  doesn't have a bigboy per se. I've got diode-based battery isolation between the alternator and the house bank (so alternator can charge house batts), and another between the house and chassis batteries (so the charger and/or solar can charge the chassis batts).

I do have one  really big relay to combine the chassis and house batteries, but it's for intermittent manual battery boost, triggered from a switch on the dash. 

bigboy.jpg

Edited by wamcneil
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17 hours ago, wamcneil said:

Here's a picture of some big boys that I snagged off the internet. From what I understand, the "big boy" is used to automatically combine battery banks for charging purposes.

I don't know about your 2005 HR, but my rig  doesn't have a bigboy per se. I've got diode-based battery isolation between the alternator and the house bank (so alternator can charge house batts), and another between the house and chassis batteries (so the charger and/or solar can charge the chassis batts).

I do have one  really big relay to combine the chassis and house batteries, but it's for intermittent manual battery boost, triggered from a switch on the dash. 

bigboy.jpg

That can’t be a Monaco installation. Wiring is way to nice and tidy.

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On 7/9/2020 at 2:28 PM, saflyer said:

What does a Big Boy look like?  Who makes it?  Does it have a model number?

There are TWO "Big Boys".  Note that the term, BIG BOY is typically MEANT to be an Intellitec item.  BUT, technically, any INTERCONNECTING Solenoid (Trombetta makes then as well as others) is or could be called a BIG BOY.  

Intellitec make two style.  The Latching.  This unit is a bit strange....or to me.  It required a LATCH (close) and an UNLATCH  (open) signal.  Here is a link to this relay.

https://rvpartsexpress.com/product/intellitec-big-boy-12volt-battery-disconnect-relay-200-amp-00-00507-512/

you have a Momentary contact switch.  It has current or voltage to the center contact.  When you push it UP (for example), it supplies a momentary signal to the CLOSE contact.  That then latches (magnetically) the relay in the CLOSE position.  Nothing ain't gonna open it.....except....another signal.  So, if you push the switch DOWN (momenentarily), that then UNLATCHES the relay.  

NOW....look at the picture of the panel above.  The one on the RIGHT (it appears) is the Latching.  You can see the "Schematic" or the instructions on the body of the Relay.  

OK....the OTHER type is a CONTINUOUS duty.  I have attached a file on it.....

That, I believe, is the Relay or Solenoid on the RIGHT.  This one operates TOTALLY differently.  It is designed for TWO different voltages.  

When you apply (Hold in a Momentary contact switch), there is 12 VDC applied.  That solenoid (assuming it is the 200 amp) will then STAY CLOSED.  BUT, if you leave it held in (you would NEVER, EVER use a snap or a toggle switch), then it will BURN OUT.  Your Battery Boost (Most Likely) has a momentary contact switch.....and if you read the manual, it explains that you ALWAYS let off on it.  You are NOT supposed to crank the engine through it.  It is rated for 200 amps and the starter takes 1200 - 1400.....so you just KILL the contacts.

NOW.....if you DO want the Solenoid to be FULLY CLOSED FOR A PERIOD OF TIME.....then it has another feature.  It will "HOLD" the solenoid (relay) closed with only 3 - 4 VDC.  Thus, you CLOSE with 12 VDC and then you drop the voltage to 3 - 4 (maybe as low as 2.5) and it will hum and get warm, but not do any damage.

GOT ALL THAT?  There will be a quiz...

OK....the "Rube" system above is interesting.  In the MIDDLE, there is a Intellitec BIRD DIESEL2 Module.  THAT is what is typically used for "BIRD" or Bi-Directional charging.  When all conditions are OK (there are voltage limits), then the BIRD is signaled and "energized" and the BIRD D2 sends out a 12 VDC Signal to the Big Boy (the continuous kind on the LEFT).  That 12 VDC is held or maintained for maybe 30 seconds.  As long as the charging system is OK and both batteries are not run down or shorted or whatever....and the charging voltage is not too high or too low.....then the BIRD drops the Voltage down to around 3 - 4 VDC and the puppy stays CLOSED and is happy....

NOW, you know.  

OK.....Bonus info or BOGO.  

The Salesman Switch that we lovingly hate and remove is a LATCHING relay.  It is the 100 Amp version of the Big Boy.  It ain't as BIG as the Big Boy 200 amp.  It has the same schematic as the one of the RIGHT.  You have to PUSH the button to the ON position (and the switch pops back) and it is LATCHED in place.  To kill or open the circuit, you then push the button in the opposite side and that unlatches or opens the system.

Study hard....you will get an email and if you fail....we might take disciplinary action....LOL.....

That's how they work.  Thats what they (the Intellitec units) look like.  That is a strange panel above......it APPEARS that you have to have ONE relay (latched) or the RIGHT ONE ON and then the LEFT one is controlled by the BIRD Module.  Who knows.....interesting....but probably NOT a Monaco panel....but hey, Monaco has built strange things....and they one may be for an upper end MH or one that I am NOT familiar with.....

Dr. Frank would  have to wade in...

GOOD Big Boy PDF 77-9006-120 Continuous - Camelot.pdf

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/1/2020 at 8:48 AM, Cruzbill said:

https://www.intellitec.com/products/#battery-isolation-and-management

 

See if you have the BIRD control box back by your battery compartment. The BIRD controls the BiG  BOY relay which should also be near the BIRD.

Checking your owners manual, page 327 says your alternator charges both chassis and house batteries. 

 https://www.holidayrambler.com/resources/media/manuals/2005_Ambassador.pdf

 

OK, I've done some testing and come up confused.  I the front distribution panel is an Isolator Relay Delay.  Is that anything like a BIRD but not Bi-directional?  There is also what appears to be the relay/solenoid for the salesman switch.  One other item that is just dangling by it wires so not connected to anything that is labeled is in the picture I have attached.

In the battery bay the chassis and house banks appear to be connected by a Trombetta 114 1211 020.  I also have a Trik-L-Start that appears to be working properly.  That was installed because I was told without a BIRD or Big Boy, or both, my chassis batteries do not charge on shore power.  (In hindsight I wonder if I need the Trik-L-Start since I rarely stay in one place for long enough for the chassis batteries to get low.)  Now I disconnected from shore power, turned the house battery disconnect switch off and ran the headlights to get the chassis voltage definitely below the house voltage.  I had my wife turn the ignition switch to on while I was back at the battery bay.  When she did I believe I heard the Trombetta clunk and there was a few seconds of muted clicking and humming then silence.  I then had her push the battery boost switch.  When that happened I was watching the chassis battery voltage assuming it would increase to near the house battery level.  But it didn't change at all.  Does this mean something isn't working properly in that switching?  

I need to sort this out before I proceed with installing lithium batteries and possible replacing my ME2012 inverter with, most likely, a MS2012.

BTW, what might be behind the black box above the inverter in the last image?

Thanks 

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IMG_4616.JPG

IMG_4615.JPG

IMG_4694.JPG

IMG_4695.JPG

Edited by saflyer
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1 hour ago, saflyer said:

OK, I've done some testing and come up confused.  I the front distribution panel is an Isolator Relay Delay.  Is that anything like a BIRD but not Bi-directional?  There is also what appears to be the relay/solenoid for the salesman switch.  One other item that is just dangling by it wires so not connected to anything that is labeled is in the picture I have attached.

In the battery bay the chassis and house banks appear to be connected by a Trombetta 114 1211 020.  I also have a Trik-L-Start that appears to be working properly.  That was installed because I was told without a BIRD or Big Boy, or both, my chassis batteries do not charge on shore power.  (In hindsight I wonder if I need the Trik-L-Start since I rarely stay in one place for long enough for the chassis batteries to get low.)  Now I disconnected from shore power, turned the house battery disconnect switch off and ran the headlights to get the chassis voltage definitely below the house voltage.  I had my wife turn the ignition switch to on while I was back at the battery bay.  When she did I believe I heard the Trombetta clunk and there was a few seconds of muted clicking and humming then silence.  I then had her push the battery boost switch.  When that happened I was watching the chassis battery voltage assuming it would increase to near the house battery level.  But it didn't change at all.  Does this mean something isn't working properly in that switching?  

I need to sort this out before I proceed with installing lithium batteries and possible replacing my ME2012 inverter with, most likely, a MS2012.

BTW, what might be behind the black box above the inverter in the last image?

Thanks 

fullsizeoutput_26ed.jpeg

IMG_4616.JPG

IMG_4615.JPG

IMG_4694.JPG

IMG_4695.JPG

OK...based on my limited knowledge.  Here is where you are.  The first picture is just a basic Bosch 5 Pin 30 Amp relay.  What it does, you need to trace the circuits on the power in (from a Fused source) and then where the output(s) go.  You need to understand what circuit or device or switch or whatever provides the coil voltage.  In other words, you need prints or a good troubleshooting RV tech.

As to your explanation.  Here is HOW your system, I think , is supposed to work.  The IRD is a bit over my head.   You MIGHT try to PM Larry Laursen.  He is the only "Resident Expert" that I would trust and he knows all the older circuits that Monaco used....and they had more variations than Carter had pills (or Peanuts).  

BUT, back to your Trombetta.  Regardless of what is supposed to pull it in and such, it's PRIMARY circuit was to "CONNECT the BANKS".  The Battery Boost switch controls that.  Now, you have to have VOLTAGE for the Trombetta to work.  So, the Battery Boost Switch is powered from the HOUSE Batteries.  SO, if you ran down the House Batteries, guess what?  You ain't got no JUICE.  I learned that from an unfortunate experience.  SO.....assuming you have good house batteries....then you MIGHT try this.

NO SHORE.  No GENNY, NO Running of the engine.  Now measure the voltage, to ground, on either side of the Trombetta.  You SHOULD have 12 - 13 VDC to Ground.  That means that the Batteries are Charged.    NOW....use your OHM setting on the or the resistance scale on the meter.  You should have NO Continuity across the Terminals.  The Trombetta is OPEN.  NOW.  all that proves is that you have no "welded" or burned Contacts.  

What I would do....I would then switch back to the Volt Scale.  NOW....have your wife do this.....carefully.  Put your Voltmeter on the two terminals.  REMEMBER, you should have NO voltage reading.....as there is no current flowing.   Therefore....she holds or pushes the Battery Boost Switch.  You should hear it go CLUNK.  it is a heavy duty solenoid....so it will make noise.  You should also see SOME voltage reading across the terminals.  If it don't CLUNK and you still have zero volts or NO VOLTAGE, then the Trombetta is toast.  The contacts are pitted or burned or the coil is bad.  

OK....she is holding in the boost switch.  ORDINARILY, I would NOT tell you to do this.  BUT, since you have FULLY or at least GOOD charged Chassis, then START the engine.  You should at least see a voltage drop or a reading.  The Battery BOOST was NOT designed for starting the Engine.  Read the manual.  It is a 200 amp contact.  You need 1400 or so.  BUT, since you have good chassis batteries, there should be a drain so the House will kick in to help it's buddy.  NO VOLTAGE or Voltage Drop or reading.....THEN bad Trombetta.

NOW.....to your plan.  Get your pocketbook and get a competent RV tech.  Don't know where you are located, but I would drive to M M Electronics in Ohio City, OH and let them do your conversion.  Put in the NEW MS2XXX inverter.  BUT, get the 2812 so you can have the extra capacity for a Res Refer.    THEN, they CAN install a Big Boy and the BIRD.  BUT, the option is to go with the Blue Seas Relay or Solenoid... ML-ACR  Van Williams picked up on that and he is sharp.  It is CHEAPER than the cost of the Big Boy and the BIRD Diesel2 and the install is a heck of a lot easier.  It replaces the Trombetta or your Boost Solenoid.  That is the NUTS.

Now, you have a modern system.  That will (assuming Magnum says that their system will charged Lithium Batteries) be what you need.  Then purchase whatever capacity Lithiiums that you feel you need.  The debate and the cost justification of the Lithiums will rage.  BUT, if you scrimp on the INVERTER and also try to cobble up and use an antiquated system, then you will find that you have a really nice and expensive BOAT ANCHOR(s) or the Lithiums are SHOT.  

That is my advice.  If you are willing to sink the big bucks into the Lithiums....why set them up for failure.  Do it RIGHT.....you will, eventually....or you will say....  WOW   that was a bust.

PS.....the Trickle Charger or whatever is merely a "voltage thief".  The original ones were the Lamberts.  Overpriced.  Then there are the cheaper ones.  They STEAL the House Battery's voltage and siphon it off to the Chassis.   A cheap, but typically ineffective....or as someone described it...  A poor man's BIRD system....that will not work and give you a false sense of security.  If you use the BIRD Diesel2 and the REAL intellitec Big boy, then you don't need it.  Neither will you need if you use the better, more robust, Blue Seas ML-ACR.  If my BIRD system fails....I might just replace it with the Blue Seas....

 

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Your coach is like ours and has the IRD. It does not charge the chassis batteries from the inverter/charger thus the Trk-L-Start. The contactor to the left of the Trk-L-Start is the clunk you hear when the battery boost switch is depressed. The IRD will engage that contactor when the engine is running and the chassis batteries are fully charged allowing the alternator to charge the house batteries. That contactor is notorious  for corroded or burned contacts that prevent the two battery banks form being connected.

The black plastic housing in the rear of the battery compartment has the slideout control circuit board and if you have the option the solar charge control board. The big black box above the inverter houses the controls for the air heaters that start the Cummins engine. The Cummins does not use glow plugs and heats the incoming air to start the engine.

If you are referring the the Bosch type 87 relay with the mounting tab in the photo as the dangling by the wires device, it should be bolted to the right side of the battery box enclosure. There should be several of these relays there and some fuses. One of the items there is the charging relay and fuse for the charge connection to the 7 way trailer plug at the hitch on the rear. That relay engages when the engine is on and supplies power to charge the battery in the vehicle you are towing. Very handy if you have a supplemental brake that uses 12 volt power in the towed vehicle. If I get a chance I will take of photo to show you.

Edited by Bob Nodine
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On 7/19/2020 at 6:46 PM, saflyer said:

OK, I've done some testing and come up confused.  I the front distribution panel is an Isolator Relay Delay.  Is that anything like a BIRD but not Bi-directional?  There is also what appears to be the relay/solenoid for the salesman switch.  One other item that is just dangling by it wires so not connected to anything that is labeled is in the picture I have attached.

In the battery bay the chassis and house banks appear to be connected by a Trombetta 114 1211 020.  I also have a Trik-L-Start that appears to be working properly.  That was installed because I was told without a BIRD or Big Boy, or both, my chassis batteries do not charge on shore power.  (In hindsight I wonder if I need the Trik-L-Start since I rarely stay in one place for long enough for the chassis batteries to get low.)  Now I disconnected from shore power, turned the house battery disconnect switch off and ran the headlights to get the chassis voltage definitely below the house voltage.  I had my wife turn the ignition switch to on while I was back at the battery bay.  When she did I believe I heard the Trombetta clunk and there was a few seconds of muted clicking and humming then silence.  I then had her push the battery boost switch.  When that happened I was watching the chassis battery voltage assuming it would increase to near the house battery level.  But it didn't change at all.  Does this mean something isn't working properly in that switching?  

I need to sort this out before I proceed with installing lithium batteries and possible replacing my ME2012 inverter with, most likely, a MS2012.

BTW, what might be behind the black box above the inverter in the last image?

Thanks 

fullsizeoutput_26ed.jpeg

IMG_4616.JPG

IMG_4615.JPG

IMG_4694.JPG

IMG_4695.JPG

 

14 hours ago, Bob Nodine said:

Here is a photo of where the dangling relay should be mounted.

 

284579426_Whererelayshouldmount.thumb.jpg.d320fa24486320c66fe7555fadb2748f.jpguld be mounted.

Bob,

What I'm asking about is the black item in the first picture.  It is not in the battery compartment but rather the from distribution panel.  It has 4 wires as I recall, all white.  They go into a wire tube that disappears into the front end cap so I can't follow them do determine what that are connected to.  I was hoping someone just happened to know what it's for.

Ed

IMG_4611.JPG

fullsizeoutput_26ed.jpeg

Edited by saflyer
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13 hours ago, saflyer said:

 

Bob,

What I'm asking about is the black item in the first picture.  It is not in the battery compartment but rather the from distribution panel.  It has 4 wires as I recall, all white.  They go into a wire tube that disappears into the front end cap so I can't follow them do determine what that are connected to.  I was hoping someone just happened to know what it's for.

Ed

Ed,

Our Front Run Bay has three relays like that all mounted on the left hand side of the box. The bottom one is for the high beams, the middle for the fog lights, and the top one for the low beams. I determined this from reading the lettering on the white wires. Monaco use black lettering on the white wires to indicate the function of the wire. Take a look at the white wires on the relay in question for black lettering. I have enclosed a photo of the relays in our FRB.

 

953093184_Relaysinfrontrunbay.thumb.jpg.cd9ba34bb30178c3e8303340e702e6e9.jpg

 

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Bob Nodine has the battery charging and inverting down right.  I haven't followed too much lately.  On my 05 Endeavor the inverter supply does go through the battery cut-off and as someone said, depends on your coach and who did the wiring that day.

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