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RV Doctor
10-04-2015, 12:03 AM
New to the forum here as a new Plateau XL owner. I am trying to get more capacity and would appreciate any owners input on this. We will be living in this unit for 6 months each winter and are hesitant to stay with the single 100 Ah. Another can be added just in front of the main entry door under the body. I know PW is using the Lithium twin 100 Ah under the sofa. Anyone found a different solution?
Thanks

bl_smith25
10-04-2015, 08:51 AM
You can squeeze in 2 6V AGM batteries under the hood with some custom manufacturing and doing some minor relocating of items located under the current battery tray. This would be the best arrangement with your current setup and will avoid any wiring balancing you'd need to do with batteries scattered like you're suggesting. If you add another battery, you'd better also add another solar panel or two to keep them charged as the one panel won't keep up with two batteries if you are a big power user while not plugged in.

RV Doctor
10-05-2015, 11:20 PM
Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I was concerned about the differing locations of the two 12V batts.
I would love to change to 2 x 6v 232Ah but how? I see having to relocate the components under the tray and then scrap the tray and fabricate a new one... I am okay with all of this but the unit is spanking new and there is always the MB warranty issues to contend with.
Is there any documentation around here with pics or is it just a "common sense" mod?

Thanks!

bl_smith25
10-08-2015, 05:47 AM
If any pics were posted, they'd be over on the yahoo group, where the main PW group corresponds.
It's not necessarily a common sense mod because not everyone either wants or is capable of doing it and it is rather custom.

RV Doctor
11-23-2015, 02:49 AM
Just finished getting my solution.
Changed the stock MB 100Ah to a FullRiver DC-115-12 group 31 115Ah under the hood. Direct replacement.
Added another FullRiver DC-115-12 group 31 115Ah under the passenger seat. A simple add on and cabled under the floor aisle to under the drivers seat. Joined up the supply from under the passenger seat (cable exact length as from under the drivers seat to under hood group 31.
I am in the midst of adding another two FullRiver group 31 under the sofa bed. This will be a total of four 115Ah.

sheral
11-26-2015, 11:31 PM
Just finished getting my solution.
Changed the stock MB 100Ah to a FullRiver DC-115-12 group 31 115Ah under the hood. Direct replacement.
Added another FullRiver DC-115-12 group 31 115Ah under the passenger seat. A simple add on and cabled under the floor aisle to under the drivers seat. Joined up the supply from under the passenger seat (cable exact length as from under the drivers seat to under hood group 31.
I am in the midst of adding another two FullRiver group 31 under the sofa bed. This will be a total of four 115Ah.

Nice work! We haven't received our 'new order' yet, so excuse the possibly goofy question... Would there be any value - if there isn't already one or something similar - in having a three way battery switch like the Blue Sea (https://www.bluesea.com/products/11001/e-Series_Selector_3_Position_Battery_Switch_with_AFD ) that will switch between the batteries?

bl_smith25
11-27-2015, 05:17 AM
Sheral,
If you want to have two different battery banks, there's nothing stopping you. The problem is switching back and forth and keeping track of the state of charge of two battery banks and making sure each is fully charged when not in use. You need a very smart battery management system if you don't want to be a slave to your own system.

RV Doctor,
With three different battery locations, how are you ensuring that all batteries are getting charged/discharged equally? This is very difficult to do with batteries scattered all over the place. Did you break them up into different banks or did you do all the cumbersome wiring techniques to make it work right?
If you didn't, you won't get full usage out of the entire battery bank and chronic undercharging will kill all the under-charged ones in very short order. This can happen as quickly as under a year.

RV Doctor
11-29-2015, 03:52 AM
Hello. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I am not a fan of breaking the bank into two or three different placed battery(ies) but given the choice of butchering the Underhood area as RoadTrek is doing to place 2 6 volts there is still not an option for me. I have major problems in ripping that area apart and relocating hugely expensive modules for just placing two 6 volts there.
Since I posted about adding another two group 31 under the bed, I have been very impressed with the results. With the two group 31's currently in use, I am getting exactly the same voltage readings at both batteries under the exact same charging parameters. Alternator, PD charge converter and solar (albeit only 95W) and have found the discharge and recharge voltages to be identical. I feel that with the two group 31's in place now, both are connected to the MB terminal block under the drivers seat and then each battery is on its own 6 foot cable from that terminal block.
My questions are these, and I hope you could be more specific about the problems associated with this current setup and having the need of a "complicated" wiring setup and what benefits it would bring. I realize the two batteries are on their own 6 foot cable but they do connect at a common point where they are fed a charge from all sources. I fail to see how one battery could be chronically under and or overcharged. Also I have a hard time understanding your claim that they could only last a year at most.
If you have the wiring schematic which is complicated or convoluted to install I would really welcome looking at it. Like I said, the under hood 6 volt setup was not an option for me. I really fail to understand the problem in the current setup but would love to hear your suggestions.
Having worked with electrical and electronic systems for over 40 years, the only thing I could see that could equalize the charge to both batteries would be the addition of another, uninterrupted cable between both batteries positive terminals (not running through the terminal block). By the way, the existing wiring layout from MB and PW utilizes chassis ground for all battery interconnections and their power to all coach circuits. There is no negative wiring at all. It is all through the chassis. This means that both batteries are connected in a fully bonded way on the negative side of things to every source of charge and every source of draw. Do you feel a separate cable that would go between both positive terminals would create a better source of equalization? Any input would be helpful!

Thanks!

loumue
11-29-2015, 08:49 AM
Hi, I can easily understand your lack of desire to re-arrange MB's placement of important modules under the hood just to allow placing a second battery there.
I consult often with bl_smith and I am the case of a chronically undercharged battery that failed in a year. This admittedly was an most unusual situation, but it does happen.
Your system of connecting the positives to a common point for charging and discharging is the perfect way to handle that part of the system. BUT while connecting a single battery to the chassis for a common connection to all the loads and sources works just fine, when you add an additional battery things become more complicated. The recommended practice for multiple batteries in parallel is that ALL the leads should be the same length i.e. positive leads all 6 ft. to a common point and negatives connected similarly to a common point which is grounded with all the leads of an identical length (it doesn't need to be the same 6 ft., just all the same).
Another part of the problem with having several batteries in parallel is that the optimum charging voltage is temperature dependent usually taken to be -2 mv/degree F. Usually with the batteries in different locations it is problematic to keep the temperatures this close. The reason for connecting the negatives to ground this way is that the chassis grounding is not designed for this task and the wires and terminal would be.
When you say the voltages are identical, I hope that you mean to the millivolt level. The easiest way to verify this is to measure the voltage between the positives. My Harbor Freight meter has a 20mv scale which reads to 0.1mv which is adequate for this level of testing. By the way, you could use this same measurement between the negatives especially while you are charging at a high current such as with the engine alternator doing the charging. There is no safety consideration here it is all about protecting your investment in batteries. If you every decide to include a monitor such as the TriMetric, you will need a common single point ground connection since the shunt is located between the battery negatives and ground.

sheral
11-30-2015, 12:17 AM
While I'm not saying that this monitor is the equivalent of the Trimetric, (I AM NOT) it is very user friendly and is a great and - at the very least a great adjunct monitor - to keep you informed of what's really going on with your system... I have found that many people who are not that interested in battery health can and do 'get it' with this monitor. We live off grid and I have had so many people tell me that it's been really helpful to them. So fwiw...

http://www.midnitesolar.com/productPhoto.php?product_ID=445&productCatName=Battery%20Accessories&productCat_ID=39&sortOrder=3&act=p

the beauty of it is in its simplicity...

RV Doctor
11-30-2015, 03:17 AM
Hello all.
Well I'm sure from my last post you could probably hear some frustration in my tone. No frustration with anyone here at at. Frustration with the MB/PW factory layout. I lay awake a lot last night thinking about this layout and it clearly is not what I wanted. The chassis ground dual location changes the balancing aspect a lot. I have to agree with BL and others on this. It is just so anti typical of the way things are done in the industry today.
Anyways, after getting choked about this around 4 am, I decided I would take out the second battery and go with the PW method of doing the LiPo batteries in the Plateau XL. So today removed all of the previous work. Picked up 2 gauge and placed the two group 31 under the sofa similar to the PW literature I got from Phil Nickle. Life is good again that I don't have a pink elephant battery setup. Have both positive and negative lines routed from under the drivers seat to under the sofa. Lines are connected in the proper NORMAL way now and batteries are centered with the drawers (3 ft ). They are in opaque plastic trays for visability and "just in case of a leak". Now have ONE chassis ground point under the drivers seat and ONE positive feed point at the MB block.
Two benefits occurred to me: Temperatures are a bit more moderated as they are both inside. And the batteries are going to do better in low temps as they are in a room temperature environment.
Now.... Who will weigh in on the debate about having TWO auxiliary batteries? I mean the MB alternator can't "handle the load" debate.
There are thousands of Sprinter Class C's utilizing two group 27's under the entry step. They tie into the MB block and all coach wiring.
I can't see the difference using two group 31 AGM's over two group 27 Interstate flooded (as most setups use) But are these MB alternators (220A I believe) prone to failure or are they fragile with AGM's?
Thanks again for all your help and suggestions (bl)

RV Doctor
11-30-2015, 03:27 AM
Duplication

dtw56
01-23-2016, 11:01 PM
Just finished getting my solution.
Changed the stock MB 100Ah to a FullRiver DC-115-12 group 31 115Ah under the hood. Direct replacement.
Added another FullRiver DC-115-12 group 31 115Ah under the passenger seat. A simple add on and cabled under the floor aisle to under the drivers seat. Joined up the supply from under the passenger seat (cable exact length as from under the drivers seat to under hood group 31.
I am in the midst of adding another two FullRiver group 31 under the sofa bed. This will be a total of four 115Ah.

Did you need any special attachments to install/secure the FullRiver under the hood. I noticed that the base of the DC-115 was different from the stock battery. I just ordered a DC-115 for my 2013 Plateau TS. Thanks.

RV Doctor
01-27-2016, 03:04 PM
Hi. No, the FR DC - 115 fits right in. You will not be able to use the MB tie down plates. Instead if you go to AutoZone and get a battery tie down setup with two rods and top hold down bar it will work. Terminals are stud with post spin on's. Just remember that the terminal polarities are reversed positions over what you have now.
The MB battery is simply a basic battery. Not a dept cycling battery. Going to the FR is a huge increase in performance. I eventually put two inside my coach.

Tony

dtw56
01-27-2016, 07:40 PM
Wow, that explains a lot. When I had the rig into a local garage for an oil change they tried to sell me a starting battery to replace the stock house battery. When I questioned them they were quite firm that the interstate battery they suggested was recommended as a replacement. Fortunately I declined their offer and ordered the FullRiver online. It arrives on Friday so I will install it this weekend. Thanks.

bl_smith25
01-28-2016, 01:54 AM
Wow. Glad you declined. Never put a starting battery as a replacement for a house battery. You'd think they'd know better. Although perhaps they were confused with the house battery being under the hood thinking it was the engine battery? Doesn't seem like it, but perhaps I'd be looking at a more competent garage for the future.

fsantore
02-21-2016, 04:18 PM
Does the Progressive Dynamics automatically account for the change from a flooded battery to an AGM? We have one 95w solar panel, and I've not yet located a controller for it. So would there be any potential issues here? This has been a wonderfully helpful thread, and I'm considering just the under hood swap out of the stock battery to the FR DC-115? Thank you. 2014/15 Plateau TS.

bl_smith25
02-22-2016, 07:27 AM
See answers inline below.
Does the Progressive Dynamics automatically account for the change from a flooded battery to an AGM?
***No.

We have one 95w solar panel, and I've not yet located a controller for it. So would there be any potential issues here?
***No not really. I believe the controller is the same as the actual display panel on the wall, which is not with the house battery of course. You may want to get a different controller that can sense the temperature of the house battery and adjust the voltages accordingly. I'm not sure if the current one will do that or not.

This has been a wonderfully helpful thread, and I'm considering just the under hood swap out of the stock battery to the FR DC-115?
***Don't know the exact specs and can't look them up right this minute but it should be fine. Others have done that already. All lead acid batteries regardless of their type (flooded, AGM) require different charging voltages as the temperatures change. For example, if under the hood is 110F, and inside the coach where the charge controller is located is 75F, the batteries will be overcharged unless the battery temperature monitor is part of the control circuitry. This will kill an AGM but it would only require you to add water to a flooded cell but not kill it.

Thank you. 2014/15 Plateau TS.

fsantore
02-22-2016, 06:10 PM
HI BL. Thanks for the reply. If the Progressive Dynamics needs a change from charging a flooded vs AGM house battery, how does one accomplish this task? Also is it capable of a temperature input, which would be a very long run from the PD under the rear bench/bed to the hood area. Also, I did not quite understand your reply on the solar panel charger. The only wall display I have is the two multiplex touch panels, so a separate controller must exist rather than the solar panels being directly connected to the house battery. Perhaps behind the small panel next to the furnace? I'll try and check with Phil. Thanks again. 2014/15 Plateau TS

bl_smith25
02-23-2016, 10:05 PM
If you want the PD converter to be totally compatible with AGMs, you need to install the AGM compatible one. I don't know the exact model, but the PD website should help there. It was invented after mine came out as we talked with the PD engineer and told them they needed one as the charging profiles are different. So, they made one. I don't know what they called it. My AGMs have been happy with my 9245 that's been in there 10 years now.

For the temperature sensor control, I was referring to the solar charger. I thought there was a Go Power solar display mounted on the wall to show the voltage of the panels and battery. If you don't have that, then I'm not sure what's installed in yours. Check your manuals or call Phil. Yes, it would be a long run, but it's just sensing temperature, not carrying current.

Hope that helps.

fsantore
02-24-2016, 02:28 AM
It does help. Thanks much. I'll check into the updated PD, or give them a call directly. -Frank.