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Old 08-08-2015, 10:06 AM   #1
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Using the onboard battery

Sorry for the newbie battery questions. Owned a 5th wheel for over 10 years, no generator, and just upgraded to a 2015 Georgetown 364TS, and this will be our first dry camping trip to a country music festival!

As I understand it the way the battery works is dependent on how it was set up in each Motor Home.

We have a generator and a set of batteries under the entry steps. As we understand it, we can run the coach on battery and then run the generator daily / as needed to recharge them. First question, is that true? And how do we know the battery level / need for recharge?

There is a “Battery Control” switch as you enter the motor home with Connect and Disconnect settings, so we have a few questions since we have never used this before.

Does the battery charge when on hooked up to electric and when the generator is running regardless of the position of the battery control switch?

What is the proper procedure for switching back and forth from generator and battery?

What can be run on battery? Frig? A/C? Water Heater? Anything else?

Again, sorry for the newbie questions, just want answers from people who have actually done it!

Our first “guess”, and this is purely a guess, is to press the connect side of the switch as it sits in the driveway hooked up to electric to pre-charge the batteries to full level. Can they overcharge if left a week like that? Drive to the festival and leave the switch in the connect position and run the Generator at the Festival whenever we use the A/C or at least X hours a day. Again, is this the right thing to do?

Thanks in advance for all replies to our newbie questions!
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Old 08-08-2015, 01:18 PM   #2
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Using the onboard battery

Good questions
As for the "Battery Switch" I leave mine connected all the time whether on shore power, generator or driving the coach. All three conditions will keep the coach and chassis batteries charged. Though the type of charger I have it is okay to leave it charging all the time. Some charges are not made that way. When my coach is in storage I hook it up to 110 volt power to keep all the batteries charged.
As for what you can run depends on how many coach batteries you have and if you have a residential fridge.
Just a rule of thumb is if you have only 2 12 volt coach batteries then it would power the residential fridge for about 4 to 6 hours. 4 batteries then up to 24 hours. You won't be able to run the A/C's at all nor the water heater on electric. If you have a propane fridge then the batteries would last days if not weeks. Same goes for the water heater on propane mode. Both fridge and water heater use very little battery power.
What else can you run on battery power is dependent on what is hooked up to the inverter if you have one. You could add more inverter(s) to run things like TV's, mixers, toaster hair dryers and such. Though the more 110 volt items means more inverter power and more batteries. Keep in mind your 12 volt lighting works on the battery in the coach.
As for does the batteries charge in connect or disconnect mode, I am not sure but I don't think it does charge in disconnect mode.
Now for how do one turn off the generator, it may be a good practice to turn off your A/C's then the generator because the A/C's use a lot of amps and that could cause the contacts in the ATS to arch and burn out quicker but just a theory.
We have used our generator for days at a time with no issues and always keep the disconnect switch engaged.
Never hesitate to ask question since this is how we all learn whether we are newbies or veterans.
What type of coach do you have?
Enjoy you coach and camping.
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Old 08-08-2015, 03:22 PM   #3
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Thanks for the answers. We Spent our Kids Inheritance (SKI Club Members) on a 2015 Forest River Georgetown 378XL.

I’m fairly certain we have two switches for the battery and hate to just click both of them, “and let’s see what happens!”

The first is a simple rocker switch mounted on the panel with the Awning, Steps, and lighting switches. It is labeled “Battery Control” and toggles to connect or disconnect setting. An indicator light comes on it indicates the connect position. It is also labeled COACH under the switch. Fairly certain this should be left in the connect position, light on, think it is like disconnecting the ground wire from the battery as you might do for winter storage, or storage on a remote lot with no available electricity.

The second is a separate switch plate which is labeled “PROwatt SW” with a small “status” light and an “On/Off” button. Again, fairly certain that this is the switch that turns the inverter on and off.

So if I understand your post, since we leave our “baby” in the driveway hooked up to a dedicated 50 amp outlet, we should leave the battery control toggled to connect, light on, and the PROwatt toggled to status light on also. Leave it like that at home, as we drive down the road, as we hook up, as we camp, always. And also, turn the A/C off when we start and stop the Generator, also when we hook up to and unhook for a 50-amp outlet. “Turn it all on and forget it!”
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Old 08-08-2015, 03:50 PM   #4
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I think you got it.
We have a 2013 378XL
The Prowatt button is for the inverter and the inverter is dedicated to only the residential refrigerator. When hooked up to shore power or when the generator is running a small ATS switches the the refridge to those powers. When those power goes off line then the inverter should turn on. If it doesn't then push the Prowatt button on. It doesn't hurt to have the green light on all the time. In other words if you want the refridge to stay on then the green light must be on when no shore power or generator power is on.
We learned the hard way, our selling dealer fail to inform us to turn on the green light while traveling and the refridge stopped cooling. We freaked because by the time we noticed it it was night time at our first campsite. We thought we had a bum refridge.
Also when the battery disconnect is de-energized you will not have power to the inverter or starting power to the generator. I learned that the hard way again last summer. But that is another story.
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Old 08-08-2015, 10:10 PM   #5
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Our thanks to everyone for the replies. It is too bad that this is way we have to find out information after paying all that money for a motor home. The manuals from the manufacturer are far from accurate and precise and the dealers rarely know what they are talking about. Thank God for forums like this one!
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Old 08-09-2015, 03:37 AM   #6
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Since my original question was really related to how we were going to keep the frig running on a dry camping trip, I did more research on the web and came across this related video:



I talks about the amount of power you needd to perform this task. Hope it is helpful to others reading this thread later.
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Old 08-09-2015, 08:24 AM   #7
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All great and timely questions since this weekend is our first 'dry' camping experience.

We have a 2015 328TS. Does anyone know if any of the 110 outlets work without the generator running? I know the refrigerator works off the inverter without the generator running but I have not been able to find any outlets that do. It just seems like overkill to run the generator to make a pot of coffee.

Thanks
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Old 08-09-2015, 08:28 AM   #8
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On my '14, none, other than the refrigerator, are connected to the batteries/inverter. A coffee pot uses a lot of juice during the brew cycle, so I doubt you'd be able to run it without the gen-set anyway...
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Old 08-09-2015, 08:36 AM   #9
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It is our understanding also that the only thing attached to the inverter is the frig.

DarrenK,

Did you watch the video?

I think the most important item in the video is that you should turn your A/C off "BEFORE" you stop your generator to minimize the power level at the point you cut it off.
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Old 08-09-2015, 01:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrapperman View Post
Now for how do one turn off the generator, it may be a good practice to turn off your A/C's then the generator because the A/C's use a lot of amps and that could cause the contacts in the ATS to arch and burn out quicker but just a theory.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandy and Shirley View Post
I think the most important item in the video is that you should turn your A/C off "BEFORE" you stop your generator to minimize the power level at the point you cut it off.
Yep.

My understanding is that you should disconnect the load from the generator and then let the generator run another 10 minutes (without a load) before shutting it down. The same is true when starting the generator.......let it run without a load for 5 or 10 minutes before asking it to work.
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