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Old 07-24-2023, 11:46 PM   #1
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Not using solar?

Hey all, I've been wondering what is the effect on the buses alternator when not using solar? In my mind it would cause the bus to go dead lol I haven't been able to find a helpful answer

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Old 07-25-2023, 07:19 AM   #2
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Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
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Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
Rated Cap: just the 2 of us
Battery functions are separated. You have the starter batteries which most of us leave alone, leaving them to their original function.
Then you have the "house" battery or batteries, which will power all the 12v stuff in the RV/living section of the bus. Things like interior lights, fresh water pump, some refrigerators and maybe some fans.
Items that have a heavy draw such as A/C units are only used with "shore" power.
My bus has 2 A/C systems, one on the roof which needs shore power and one that came with the bus and is powered by the engine.
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Old 07-25-2023, 10:27 AM   #3
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Chassis: Ford E450
Engine: V10 Gas
Search these forums. There's a lot of good intro material there.

Like Barnyard said, there's chassis (the bus, it's engine and body and drivetrain and wheels), and there's 'house'-whatever is inside the back.

A typical skoolie will have one or more chassis batteries connected to the engine and alternator, then (usually) a completely separate system in the back consisting of a battery and some 12 volt wiring for lights etc. These systems can get elaborate.

Solar if any is used to recharge the chassis batteries.

Sometimes people put in a DC to DC charger that takes power from the alternator to charge the house battery-that's the only place the twain might meet.

And apologies to Kipling, but hey, who's ever referenced Kipling when it comes to Skoolies? First time for everything. 'We're all islands shouting lies to each other across seas of misunderstanding.'
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Old 07-25-2023, 03:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wanderlusttravel1408 View Post
Hey all, I've been wondering what is the effect on the buses alternator when not using solar? In my mind it would cause the bus to go dead lol I haven't been able to find a helpful answer
As has already been said; these are different systems entirely--and have been for a long, long time. Some of the oldest RV's I've seen have had separate batteries for the "lights" and other things inside the 'home', and the electrical systems have always been separated. Even one of my very first looks under the hood of an old '70s class-C RV had two batteries under the hood, and it was explained to me that one was for the engine, and the other was for the "house/RV".

Most RV's use a generator when they're not connected to shore power, but solar is the new fad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rucker View Post
Sometimes people put in a DC to DC charger that takes power from the alternator to charge the house battery-that's the only place the twain might meet.
One of my favorite solutions is one of these little buggers:
https://www.amazon.com/Cole-Hersee-4.../dp/B00LMGPHW2

Essentially, it's a "smart" battery isolator that can work in two directions. If the voltage is high enough on either side of the switch, then the side that is charging will begin to charge the lower battery bank. So the alternator can charge the house batteries and the solar/genny can charge the truck batteries.

The limitation of using one of these is that batteries on both sides HAVE to be of the same chemistry, running the same voltage, and preferably of the same make/model as well.

You don't want to put Li-Ion on one side and Pb-SO4 on the other. To do that, you would require a DC/DC charger. If you're also running at a higher voltage on one side, you would also need a transformer as well.
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Old 07-25-2023, 05:14 PM   #5
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Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
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Year: 2005
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Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
Rated Cap: just the 2 of us
[QUOTESolar if any is used to recharge the chassis batteris.'[/QUOTE]

I think Rucker meant to say house batteries, not chassis batteries.
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Old 07-25-2023, 05:46 PM   #6
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Chassis: Ford E450
Engine: V10 Gas
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnYardCamp View Post
[QUOTESolar if any is used to recharge the chassis batteris.'
I think Rucker meant to say house batteries, not chassis batteries.[/QUOTE]

Just checking to see if anyone's paying attention

Thanks BYC for the catch!
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Old 07-28-2023, 08:03 PM   #7
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Depends on your setup, but generally any halfway decent system design will have some form of isolation between the starting batteries (the vehicles batteries) and the house batteries (batteries for the living space).
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Old 08-03-2023, 01:10 PM   #8
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Battery Separator

I don't have solar, I have two group 31 chassis batteries and two 6v golf cart batteries that are 210 amp hour and hooked together for a 12v bank. They are hooked together with 1/0, I think, cable and I have a battery separator from All Battery Sales an Service that keeps them separate but also lets the the 200amp alternator charge them if the bus is running, the 45amp converter also charges both sets of batteries any time the generator is running or we're plugged into shore power. We have been coast to coast and border to border and very seldom stay in parks with shore power. If we're parked any place more than a couple days we run the genny an hour or so each day and the batteries stay charged. All Battery has several models of isolators and separators and customer service is great to help you choose the right on for your set up. Mine joins the two banks any time the voltage is between 12.4 and 13.4 but any time one goes above or below that it splits them. Always leaving at least 12.4 on the chassis for starting. Works for me and I don't have the expense or aggravation (my opinion) of solar.
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