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1986 Mini Cruiser House Flow Diagram or description???


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I was reading the "battery charger adjustment" thread over here, and wanted to speak up with an interesting thought I have had, but realized I don't have a full comprehension of how this system interconnects.  I have no flow diagram, or even a basic schematic I can puzzle over.  I tried to google it, but am not asking the right questions or looking with the right terminology...  My file folder with all the original manuals and diagrams went missing long ago and I haven't dug up replacement schematics and manuals (doesn't help that I don't know what was actually IN there either...).  

 

I am missing some key pieces in how my system was setup from the factory, and how it is actually setup now...   The simplest path would seem to be "Power up everything and see what happens, try it out, poke buttons..."  But I have never been able to get a few systems to power up at all...  Like the tank monitors and 12v water pump for one.  Some of the interior lights work, some don't.  I have a switch I can't figure out what it is supposed to turn on.  Things like that.  

 

As far as how it is setup now, I have tried to eliminate all the extra crap that has been added and get it back to the original build configuration.  I think I have it back to original now, but R.B.R.'s wiring was kinda messy to begin with and sorta hard to tell apart from some of the 'hacked since" wiring...  

 

Having a hard time trying to explain what I am trying to figure out to ask the right question or questions here...  I guess what I am trying to sort out is what powers up when it is on shore power, and what powers up when only on house battery?  

 

From what I can tell the main charger/inverter/"battery boiler" box plugs into shore, has power out for the 12v bus in the house as the 12v lights mostly come on, and has crappily inverted 120vac power going to two electrical sockets in the house, the AC unit, refrigerator, and hot I think the hot water heater.  In mine I do not have working 12v water pump or tank monitors.  Seems like these should work off the 12v bus without the house battery connected if we are plugged into shore.  Since the lights (some) work.  

 

But when off shore power and just on the house battery, does the "battery boiler" box actually power the 120vac side of things?  There are breakers I believe  for all the 120v powered stuff.  Nothing is reasonably/easily accessible though so I suspect you are just supposed to switch power over on the refrigerator to 12v, and turn the AC unit off.  Not sure if the hot water heater is just propane, or dual power.  I know that the AC unit won't kick start on just the house battery.  But then again is the house battery just powering up the 12v system or does it power the AC side through the original charger box???  

 

I am trying to grasp a few things:

 

1)  How the system is supposed to work on shore vs on house battery? 

 

2)  Since a bunch of systems ARN'T working I need to know if it is something procedural I am not doing, IE on shore power breaker x has to be flipped on, or if I am looking for a wiring fault(s) or some bad component in the mix?  

 

3)  Can I disable the 12v charging output from the converter/battery boiler box (lol)?  Obviously, I could just completely disconnect it from the 12v system...  But is this...

 

4)  ...12v "charging" output separate from the 12v input from the battery that I am assuming powers up the 120vac side?  

 

If the charging output is separate from the 12v input for the 120vac inverter, then keeping this heavy antique charger/inverter makes some sense, at least for now.  

 

5)  If not, is there another strategy that makes sense (other than replacing the whole system)?  Perhaps simply unplugging the 120vac shore power cord to it and rewiring that to a mini breaker box?

 

I need to know how this system is supposed to work first, so I can then figure out specifically what isn't working...  There is an ugly rats nest of wiring and fuses that I am sure need some attention.  I didn't find any blown fuses with a quick look, but there is plenty else going on in that mess...  

 

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when unplugged the house runs off of the house battery. no inverter,so no ac anywhere.   when plugged in, switching relay energizes by converter output, all dc is now rectified ac, and the battery is disconnected except the charge wire. ac is provided directly from the shore power

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Ahhhh alright that makes a LOT MORE sense than my assumptions on how it all worked...  And answered most of my questions with one simple paragraph too, thank you Extech!!!  

 

Mmmkay, so it sounds like my idea I was contemplating for my setup and almost posted for the battery charger adjustment thread is actually a valid idea.  Also sounds like Gary_M is essentially doing the same thing.  

 

20 hours ago, Gary_M said:

Just buy a cheap Stanley 1.5 amp battery charger/maintainer, that's what use and it's plugged in all the time. I have an old Triad converter that's a battery boiler so I have it unplugged. I rarely use 12v with exception of the lights and only go through the battery for it. If I need the extra juice I'll plug in the Triad for the time I need it and not harm the battery.

 

  

Verified, I have a Triad converter too.  I just  went out and stared at the setup for a while now that I have a better idea of how it "should" work.  I can see it has two heavy gauge outputs for the 12v buss, no additional wires.  So it is simply dumping 16v (or whatever crazy amount it is) to charge the battery through those.  Yuck, no wonder these boil house batteries.  

 

My thought was to simply plug into the 120vac side something like the Stanley charger/maintainer, or use one of my own favorites, a Deltan maintainer.  Deltran has a cool, and cheap, wifi module that can be used to send text notifications.  Only difference in my thought process and Gary's, I was hoping the charging output could be disconnected without eliminating the 12v buss output.  Not the case, oh well.  

 

The original R.B.R. Triad converter sounds essentially useless.  Can't leave it connected long term or it boils the battery.  No inverter, just a rectified (ie probably noisy noisy) 12v.  Probably weights 50lbs...  Does it have ANY redeeming qualities???  It is easy to unplug at least!  So utilizing it to rapidly recharge the battery like Gary said above isn't a half bad idea in an emergency...  In fact I wonder if that weird LONG cable I found was so it could be used to recharge the engine battery in a pinch...

 

Alright I know what I am looking at now!   Can't figure out why the previous owners didn't just unplug that cord, or eliminate the Triad  altogether, and hook the solar charge converter up to the battery.  They were probably just as confused when they looked at it!  I think even my cheap solar charge converter is smart enough not to boil the battery...  

 

As for my shurflow, it has multiple tap connections...  I am sure one of those isn't making a solid connection.  The positive side has it going through two...  Durrr!  Can't see why the tank panel isn't working, but that looks simple enough to sort out.  I am going to go hunting for replacement options and ideas.  Chances are high I will need to rewire the 12v side of things.  It is a MESS underneath the couch.      

 

   

 

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Old transformer power supplies bottom line suck, they  are very poorly regulated and will boil the water out of the battery long term. Switching supplies are close to 60% lighter far more efficient and will not over charge your battery. Beyond a doubt it is one of the best upgrades for any older motor home. It can operate 24/7 year round with out damage to the battery. The output current rating generally is greater than the old clunker chargers so that not an issue either They will charge equally as fast as old chargers if not faster. Solar collector chargers are also switching regulated and can be used with modern chargers. Their only redeeming value they have lot's of copper windings if you are into collecting scrap metal.  

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1 hour ago, thewanderlustking said:

 Can't see why the tank panel isn't working, but that looks simple enough to sort out.  I am going to go hunting for replacement options and ideas.  Chances are high I will need to rewire the 12v side of things.  It is a MESS underneath the couch. 

 

You might want to check the tank sensors to make sure they're not corroded. Mine was and the cause for my tank panel not working.

 

IMG_4758.jpg.d7f73b145d4a8951641bac4347714d11.jpg

 

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9 minutes ago, Maineah said:

Old transformer power supplies bottom line suck, they  are very poorly regulated and will boil the water out of the battery long term. Switching supplies are close to 60% lighter far more efficient and will not over charge your battery. Beyond a doubt it is one of the best upgrades for any older motor home. It can operate 24/7 year round with out damage to the battery. The output current rating generally is greater than the old clunker chargers so that not an issue either They will charge equally as fast as old chargers if not faster. Solar collector chargers are also switching regulated and can be used with modern chargers. Their only redeeming value they have lot's of copper windings if you are into collecting scrap metal.  

 

Well said! My buddy is moving to LiFePO4 batteries and is replacing his modern converter out of his 2015 Winnie, he is giving me the old converter one when he makes the change. For now I'm using a maintainer and keeping the Triad unplugged.

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2 hours ago, Gary_M said:

 

You might want to check the tank sensors to make sure they're not corroded. Mine was and the cause for my tank panel not working.

 

 

Interesting!  Alright I will take a look at those.  My whole tank panel has no life...  I think it is pretty easy to get access to the backside of the panel too.  And it is the common one installed in most/all vintage RV's, other than it is vertical instead of horizontal.  Horizontal is the more common it seems. 

 

2 hours ago, Maineah said:

Old transformer power supplies bottom line suck... Their only redeeming value they have lot's of copper windings if you are into collecting scrap metal.  

 

Lol yeah for sure I am coming to this conclusion!!!!  

 

I have been staring at various remote monitoring systems for a while and I am likely going to utilize a Thornwave Labs bluetooth battery monitor combined with an RVWhisper station.  The Thornwave Labs monitor does everything I want in a monitor, including a second simple voltage input for the engine battery (I don't need to monitor power consumption on that one).  The RVWhisper system turns this into a wifi setup and will let me configure push notifications for the batteries, and give me room to add in many more features like tank level monitoring (including LPG), temperature, humidity, door sensors, and a whole slew of other things.  

 

The RVWhisper setup also interfaces with some of the Victron stuff.  This could potentially be useful, but the Thornwave monitor probably does anything I could need.  Where this gets really interesting is it can control this little device: TL-SSR – 12V / 100A DC UNIDIRECTIONAL SOLID STATE RELAY (SSR)

 

That could be used to turn off the output from the Triad...  Although with just setting up the basic power monitoring, I can should be able to safely get away with charging the house battery off the solar panels alone...  I need to at least move the Triad from its current location anyways.  But I am not sure I actually need to replace it with anything.  

 

How about this Renogy though?  Renogy 1000W Pure Sine Wave Inverter Charger RV Trailer DC to AC w/ Eco Mode  That looks like it is pretty smart, will swap over and select the correct power source, and give me a reasonable 120vac off my battery to power some small devices.  And the size and price are both manageable.  That looks like it will be several steps up from the Triad and add in an inverter too!  

 

 

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Interesting device, charging a battery only to discharge it! Don't forget to take into account battery chemistry, house and truck. The inverter is capable of drawing 80+ DC amps so that some thing to think about when you start plugging things in!

Edited by Maineah
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On 7/30/2022 at 9:05 AM, Maineah said:

Interesting device, charging a battery only to discharge it!

 

Not sure what you are saying here?  It will only top off the house battery when it is on shore power.  

 

On 7/30/2022 at 9:05 AM, Maineah said:

Don't forget to take into account battery chemistry, house and truck. 

 

Ugh good catch, I missed that.  It won't charge LFP bricks.  As for power output, not sure I need a whole lot unless I am trying to run the AC off the inverter...  That is a whole nother problem to sort out.  I currently have just one really nice deep cycle AGM.  So this is still a valid option I guess.  But if I am going to spend $300 or more on this, then I want the ability to upgrade later.

 

I was just out in there working on trying to remove the Triad and reorganizing that area.  I actually have room for 3 battery boxes if I use the space a little smarter.  Not sure I would want the WEIGHT of three boxes, but removing the Coleman AC sure gave me the weight back!!!  

 

I am seeing a lot of inexpensive options like the WFCO WF8955PECB Black 55 Amps Power Center Converter Charger.  I REALLY like the power distribution panel especially since mine needs to be replaced anyways.  Not going to live with glass fuses...  Some thought is needed here though, I can quickly wire up simple ATC fuse panel for $10 in about half an hour.  And probably have a few already on hand in my parts bin...  Plus that is going to require making a place for it, cutting a hole, trying to make pretty.  

 

 The PowerMax PM4 55A 110V AC to 12V DC 55 Amp Power Converter with Built-in 4 Stage Smart Battery Charger is another good one.  But not surprisingly, these inexpensive options don't have built in inverters.

 

I keep going back to Renogy stuff though.  They have a whole lot of pretty awesome products with some cool interconnectivity.  I would seriously consider them, but none of them seem to specifically interface with the RVWhisper monitor systems.  I can pay less for other options (like above) or perhaps a little more for Victron stuff with IOT functions that do interface with RVWhisper.  

 

Not sure that is worth it though.  I want to start with the Thornwave Labs as my main power monitor sensor.  So it kinda frees me up to utilize whatever I want the rest of the system.  Save some money there...  It is all a shell game.  

 

At the moment I have zero need for any power hungry AC devices.  My AC outlets don't need to do much more than power up a laptop charger and a few small things like that.  I have a microwave, that is probably getting removed for the counter space.  Air conditioning is another story, but unless I get one for 12v, I have no expectations of running it off an inverter.  

 

I am leaning towards a more simple Powermax PM4, and a separate cheap/basic inverter.  I don't think monitoring AC consumption on shore power matters.  If I am on the house battery, the Thornwave PowerMon will do everything needed.   Well back to work, lunch is over!  The dog and I am are tackling the 12v system and trying to get the shurflow and tank monitors online.  I will post this a little later.  

----------

 

WOW!!!  EVERYTHING IN THE BACK JUST POWERED UP!!!   So way back when we got this, I had some weird power issues and after some hunting found the main 80amp (maybe 60? I forget...) fuse popped in the engine bay.  I thought this was a bit odd, but it is over 30yrs old so I didn't suspect any more.  I had some other weird issues going on too like the ignition switch worked for a brief bit again, then didn't....

 

Some moron used black wire to replace a portion of positive side wiring at some point. Somebody not knowing this, hooked it back up backwards.  It is going to an electronic breaker or something next to the house battery. So I guess it was dumping the battery, short, dump, reset...  A portion goes upfront somewhere to the engine bay. So this is likely what took out the main 80amp fuse.  

 

I still need to poke and prod a few things into life, but we are mostly there now.  The panel is powering up, pump light on, tank levels all reading low.  Switches between tanks.  Lights came on I didn't realize I had.  The pump isn't kicking on yet, but there is no water in the fresh tank.  And I keep getting drips from the lines anyways.  I need together some water in the tank and sort those out.  

 

I am wondering if the refrigerator will now work...  Would be really nice.  Not counting on it though as I couldn't get it powered up on propane or AC either.  

 

Alright, I have some more testing to go do!  Big breakthrough though!         

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Between the AC and your converter the battery, you are becoming the unfortunate poster child for a criminally insane Previous Owner 

Edited by WME
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Black or red that's pretty much + in RV's but when wires have been tinkered anything goes.

 

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I've used Renogy products in my rv and in several systems for friends. There is cheaper stuff, but I never had a failure with Renogy.

This is an overly simple diagram, http://livinginmycar.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/draft-of-my-rv-electrical-system.jpg

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On 8/4/2022 at 6:55 PM, Maineah said:

Black or red that's pretty much + in RV's but when wires have been tinkered anything goes.

 

 

Black AND red are used for positive?  Thats dumb...  Well whatever, at least I have figured it out now!!!  Anything I redo, I will standardize to red for positive and black for negative.  There isn't a whole lot 12v wiring back there, I could easily redo it all in only a few hours....  I want to replace the fuse panel anyways.  

 

I need to redo the floor underneath the couch area where all of that is anyways.  It is disintegrated and delaminated, but not soft and moldy.  I can stabilize and seal it with some z-poxy PT40, then bolt a new piece of plywood down on top of it, and seal that up too.   PT40 is awesome as you can thin it down slightly with denatured alcohol and it will go on almost like paint.  But it soaks in and created a hard and waterproof epoxy layer. I always have some on hand for my hobby projects.     

 

On 7/31/2022 at 10:39 PM, WME said:

Between the AC and your converter the battery, you are becoming the unfortunate poster child for a criminally insane Previous Owner 

 

No kidding!  And time is not a friend to ANY RV.  There looks to be a "Golden Era" in an RV's life.  Seems to start about 5yrs after it is built and then goes for maybe 10 after that.  The first 5 years, it is new and anything not built perfectly will break.  After 5, it is broken in.  Then you have a nice stretch where just routine basic maintenance seems to be enough.  After that though, anything that has been let go is going to come back and haunt you.    

 

In my case I am lucky that I have a VERY LOW mileage chassis at 30k.  But it is still 37yrs old and ANY poor or neglected repairs have had enough time to do serious damage...    

 

Hopefully I chronicled my research of the previous owners and its history I uncovered...  I was going through my thread to see if I had.  And yes, I did!  Here we go! 

 

Unfortunately, I also added some bad repairs on top of those just trying to get the roof sealed up.....  But it is getting sorted, better now at least.  Perfect would be replacing the whole roof, that isn't realistically going to happen.  

 

 

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You see more black positive in more modern campers it follows house wiring black hot white ground. Red is also used as + in house wiring also. My Nova Star was green and blue go figure. My 1990 camper is black and white on lighting, heavy DC loads red+. The RV DC stuff does not have to follow NEMA excet on AC wiring (outlets, AC, water heaters any thing that's AC powered.

Edited by Maineah
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