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Old 06-16-2015, 09:30 AM   #1
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Battery Disconnect and Inverter Issues

I'm new to Forest River so I don't know how often this occurs but let's be honest - their documentation sucks. I don't know if there is just a lag in updating but the info that came with my Georgetown 378XL is sorely lacking in almost every aspect. And don't get me started on how useless the dealership Service Dept. is, they keep telling me to find out via this Forum - so here goes.

I need help/info regarding the battery disconnect - how it works and how/when to use what. The toggle switch has Connect on top and Disconnect Coach on the bottom. My documentation doesn't even look the same - it shows Use and Store? I have the following questions and I hope someone has the answers:

1) If I'm in a park connected to the parks power, where should the toggle switch be - Connect or Disconnect.

2) If I'm not in a park, not connected to any power supply, where should the toggle switch be - Connect or Disconnect.

3) If I'm in a park connected to the parks power, are the battery's charges being maintained?

4) Where should the toggle switch be if I am storing - Connect or Disconnect?

Now on to my inverter questions/issues. There is a PROwatt SW Power Inverter interface near the entry steps with and On/Off switch and while no documentation was supplied by Forest River I was able to find the User
Guide on line. This still leaves me with questions.


1) When should it be turned On and when should it be turned Off?

2) In lay terms, what exactly does it do?

Sorry for what may seem simple questions to some of you but we're fairly new at the RV experience and are still learning. Thanks in advance for any help you may be able to provide.
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Old 06-16-2015, 10:06 AM   #2
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I can't help sorry, but your dealer is the one that should have showed you how everything works and why during pdi.
Quite honestly they "suck".
With that being said you will get answers here
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Old 06-16-2015, 10:21 AM   #3
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Not at all. Ask away.

1. Connect
2. Connect
3. Yes
4. Disconnect

Inverter.
1. Many people turn it on and keep it for the duration of their trip. I only turn mine on when I intend to use it, and off as soon as I'm done with it. The inverter will draw down your battery/ies even when no load is applied.

2. The inverter takes 12vdc power from your battery bank and converts it to 110v electricity to power your standard wall plugs.
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Old 06-16-2015, 10:21 AM   #4
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The disconnect switch should be in the connected position most of the time when using or moving the unit. The disconnect switch should be disconnected when you store your unit with no power source. When connected to power and the disconnect is connected you will be charging and maintaining your batteries. But you will find that the disconnect does not remove all of the DC loads in the camper in some RV's, so your battery will still discharge over time is storage with the disconnect disconnected. You will just have to trial and error to see how long your unit can go without being charged.

The inverter takes 12v DC input and outputs 120V AC to run an AC item when you are not plugged into AC and your Gen set is not running if you have one. Many times they feed the residential type frig so that it stays cold during drive times. So this should be on when you are driving and off when you are in a park connected to AC or the unit is in storage. Hope this quick overview is of some help to you.
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Old 06-16-2015, 10:31 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sauce View Post
I'm new to Forest River so I don't know how often this occurs but let's be honest - their documentation sucks. I don't know if there is just a lag in updating but the info that came with my Georgetown 378XL is sorely lacking in almost every aspect. And don't get me started on how useless the dealership Service Dept. is, they keep telling me to find out via this Forum - so here goes.

I need help/info regarding the battery disconnect - how it works and how/when to use what. The toggle switch has Connect on top and Disconnect Coach on the bottom. My documentation doesn't even look the same - it shows Use and Store? I have the following questions and I hope someone has the answers:

1) If I'm in a park connected to the parks power, where should the toggle switch be - Connect or Disconnect.

2) If I'm not in a park, not connected to any power supply, where should the toggle switch be - Connect or Disconnect.

3) If I'm in a park connected to the parks power, are the battery's charges being maintained?

4) Where should the toggle switch be if I am storing - Connect or Disconnect?

Now on to my inverter questions/issues. There is a PROwatt SW Power Inverter interface near the entry steps with and On/Off switch and while no documentation was supplied by Forest River I was able to find the User
Guide on line. This still leaves me with questions.


1) When should it be turned On and when should it be turned Off?

2) In lay terms, what exactly does it do?

Sorry for what may seem simple questions to some of you but we're fairly new at the RV experience and are still learning. Thanks in advance for any help you may be able to provide.
First off I think your battery disconnect switch is a momentary push/push illuminated rocker switch. Top half pushed applies battery power to your coach. Bottom half pushed removes battery power from your coach. The switch actuates a latching relay in your power bay to do this.

1) When connected to park power the batteries will be charging if the battery disconnect switch top half is pushed. Note: the light in the switch is not an indication that battery power has been applied (you should press the top half to verify). You don't need battery power when connected to shore power or running the onboard generator because you have a converter that will supply the 12 volts instead and also charge your batteries. However; your battery will not be charging if you have disconnected the batteries via the switch. So it is your choice.
2) Without shore power and generator not running you will have no power to the coach with the batteries disconnected.
3) See (1)
4) When stored, unless you have your coach connected to shore power to keep the batteries charged they typically are disconnected with the switch. However; there is probably some parasitic drains on the battery and a periodic charging will be required.
5) Your batteries will also be charged while driving (from engine alternator) if the batteries are not disconnected.
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Old 06-16-2015, 12:27 PM   #6
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A lot of what you ask depends on what you are doing with the coach. General rule of thumb should be that when you are using the coach, the batteries are turned on.This means everything works (lights, pumps, etc) in the RV. When you are connected to shore power, the converter will be supplying most of the power to your 12V circuits and simultaneously charging your batteries. When driving down the road, your alternator will be supplying most of the 12V power to the coach...and also charging your batteries. If you are leaving the coach unused for an extended period of time, either plug it in and leave the batteries connected, or don't plug it in and disconnect the batteries.

Now, when you add a residential refrigerator and an inverter, things get just a little more complicated. The refrigerator only operates off of 110 volts AC. When you are plugged into shore power, it is powered by the shore power. However, when you have no shore power it needs to get 110V from somewhere. The inverted takes 12V and converts it to 110 Volts (I know...convert...invert may sound like strange terminology but that is beyond our scope.) A decent sized residential frig draws maybe 800 watts or more when it is running and that will translate into a lot of amps at 12 volts DC (like maybe 70 or so when the compressor is running.) You batteries will keep the reefer running for a while but not for days and days. Most coaches that have residential refrigerators have two 12 volt, deep cycle house batteries (in addition to the engine battery.) Forest River also installs automatic transfer switches on their inverters. This means that as soon as any 110VAC is provided (shore power or generator) the reefer will automatically be powered off of the supplied 110 and the inverter will merely idle with no electrical load. Xantrex inverters draw very little power in this mode and you can ignore that, in other words, leave them ON when you are using the coach. If you are following my narrative, all that is left is when you are driving down the road! In that case, the inverter can be drawing 70 or more amps from your batteries, but all is good since the engine alternator is capable of supplying at least 100 or more amps of 12V, so the reefer is fine running off of the inverter and the batteries are still being kept charged by the alternator with its excess capacity.

So, i leave my inverter on when I am using the coach and reefer and the main switch is on. Shore power or generator will top off the batteries and supply the rest of the loads in the RV.

You only need to think about what you do when you go into town for a while and the coach isn't connected to shore power. The inverter will run the reefer and will automatically shut down if the batteries get too low. Nothing will happen in this case except that eventually (a day or more) the reefer will no longer be cooling, but with the door closed you should be fine.

Connect to shore power or run the generator each day if you are not travelling. If you are on the road for an hour or two, you should be back at full charge when you shut down the coach for the night.
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Old 06-16-2015, 01:14 PM   #7
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Yarome had it all right in #3.
And the inverter IS primarily used to run things like the 110V refrigerator when not connected to 110V power...THIS is a BIG drain on the batteries so the inverter should only be turned on when you need 110V power and aren't connected to anything and don't want to run your generator.

The only thing I'd add about the battery disconnect switch is that parasitic loads from things like your propane detector are NEVER disconnected by the switch and WILL drain your batteries if you leave your coach for weeks at a time. If you are going to do that...remove the negative wire from the battery bank OR buy and attach one of these 8 buck switches to your negative terminal to accomplish the same thing.


And you're right...the documentation does suck...but it is beginning to get better on line. A long way to go still....but I love my G'town.
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Old 06-16-2015, 02:31 PM   #8
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Actually, the transfer switches will take care of the inverter loads. If you are running the reefer off of shore power or generator, the additional inverter load is very minimal. Now, if you turn off the reefer, then the inverter should probably be turned off as well.
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Old 06-16-2015, 09:49 PM   #9
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This is all very good to know. We just got our Georgetown in the Fall and didn't have a clue how this inverter worked or what it really did. Same goes for the battery connect / disconnect. I was turning on the generator every time I wanted to run something on the 110 plugs, now I know.
Thanks
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Old 06-17-2015, 02:52 AM   #10
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You may not have been wrong. I have a 2015 Georgetown 335DS with the residential reefer option. Seems that they apparently install a 2000 watt inverter to run the refrigerator...but it runs nothing else! I added a 1000 watt xantrex and identical transfer switch in the power bay and connected it to one of the 15 amp receptacle breakers. (really easy to do in the 335) This means that all my non-GFI plugs and all the TVs work no matter what. The GFIs in the galley are powered by another breaker so they require the Genny, as does the microwave and the AC. We can plug most things (computer and phone chargers, etc) into the outlets on the drivers side of the RV anytime now. I hated to run a 5000 watt genny for a 30 watt TV!
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Old 06-17-2015, 03:36 PM   #11
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Thanks

Thanks to all the responders - excellent info - awesome people.
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