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Old 08-07-2019, 11:23 AM   #1
Capt_Bill_USMC
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Default Electrical System

I have a '94 Tourmaster 8391 and I am trying to understand it's electrical system.

Background: Recently, all batts were completely drained and required a charge. After charging, the coach started right up as did the gen. Each day since then, (Sunday night until today, its Wednesday) I've been going out to the coach to make sure everything is holding its charge. No issues. This the result for today:

-Engine starts right up. I have to wait for about a minute and then the gen is able to start. If I don't wait long enough, nothing happens when I try to start the gen.
-After a few seconds of the gen spooling up, the roof A/Cs come on and they run fine.
-Today is the first day that the refer did not come on, the microwave won't come on, the radio doesn't work. Basically, the only things that work under coach/gen power is the roof a/cs and the lights inside and out.

Yesterday, everything worked fine inside, no issues.

What could be happening?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-07-2019, 12:23 PM   #2
Chuck v
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Bill,


If your generator is run on diesel fuel as mine was, it does require a "pre-heat" cycle to operate the glow plugs prior to the generator cranking. Actually, your diesel main engine for the coach has glow plugs as well and particularly in cold weather also needs a pre-heat cycle. There was a dash light indicator on my 2007 Tourmaster that would time out to show it was ready to crank the engine after first turning the ignition to on. Above about 70 degrees ambient, most diesel engines will start without the glow plug cycle...but the generator controls on my coach never allowed the cycle to be skipped even in warm weather.


Yes the generator must run a bit before the transfer switch allows electrical loads to be added to the generator -- this would include the roof air conditioners and all AC appliances/loads in the coach. If you were connected to shore power, this transfer would cause the AC loads to be switched FROM the shore power TO the generator. Since you are not on shore power, the AC available from the generator does go through this short delay to allow the generator to stabilize its running after startup.


Is your refrigerator an RV style (gas absorption cycle with either propane or electric power...either 12 volts DC or 110 volts AC) or a residential style full size one that ONLY runs on AC power? If your coach has a residential refrigerator and does not run on Propane when electrical power is not available, then you will be pretty much tethered to shore power for a live-aboard lifestyle. I did have a large Inverter in my coach powered by a separate set of 4 each 6 volt golf cart batteries that could run the fridge for several hours without either generator or shore power, and that was adequate for driving between sites. If you don't open the fridge unnecessarily (particularly the freezer door if it has two separate doors...) it will stay cold overnight without power, but not much longer.


I will observe that letting the batteries on your coach go 'flat' will have shortened their life - even if they have accepted a full recharge. It sounds like the chassis batteries are being charged by the engine alternator now as you are running it often, and while the generator runs the converter it should be charging the house batteries. If your interior lighting is like that on my coach, it is entirely run at 12 volts DC. Your ceiling lights should work even when the shore power is not connected and the generator is not running if the house batteries are not discharged. When you start the generator and you already have a ceiling light on, you may notice it brighten when the generator transfer switch comes on-line, as that is when the converter begins charging the house batteries and taking on the load of the house lighting.


In summary, the power distribution in a typical diesel pusher coach with generator, inverter, and converter is as follows:
Shore power AC --> main transfer switch (where generator power comes in if shore power is not present) --> inverter transfer switch (where DESIGNATED loads such as the residential refrigerator would be powered by the inverter if other upstream power sources are absent...) --> to AC loads in the motor home. Note that the Converter (which is powered by 110 volts AC and makes 12 volts DC to power the lighting and charge the house batteries...) Your couch may not have an INVERTER, but it surely has a CONVERTER as that function is needed in the smallest travel trailer through the grandest coach.


Hope this helps a bit, but feel free to ask additional questions.


Your observed loss of microwave function and refrigerator function could possibly be a sub-panel breaker issue. In my coach the Inverter powered the residential refrigerator, the microwave, the TV and a few other designated loads, and it had a separate breaker panel for that reason.



Chuck
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Old 08-07-2019, 01:59 PM   #3
Capt_Bill_USMC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck v View Post
Bill,


If your generator is run on diesel fuel as mine was, it does require a "pre-heat" cycle to operate the glow plugs prior to the generator cranking. Actually, your diesel main engine for the coach has glow plugs as well and particularly in cold weather also needs a pre-heat cycle. There was a dash light indicator on my 2007 Tourmaster that would time out to show it was ready to crank the engine after first turning the ignition to on. Above about 70 degrees ambient, most diesel engines will start without the glow plug cycle...but the generator controls on my coach never allowed the cycle to be skipped even in warm weather.


Yes the generator must run a bit before the transfer switch allows electrical loads to be added to the generator -- this would include the roof air conditioners and all AC appliances/loads in the coach. If you were connected to shore power, this transfer would cause the AC loads to be switched FROM the shore power TO the generator. Since you are not on shore power, the AC available from the generator does go through this short delay to allow the generator to stabilize its running after startup.


Is your refrigerator an RV style (gas absorption cycle with either propane or electric power...either 12 volts DC or 110 volts AC) or a residential style full size one that ONLY runs on AC power? If your coach has a residential refrigerator and does not run on Propane when electrical power is not available, then you will be pretty much tethered to shore power for a live-aboard lifestyle. I did have a large Inverter in my coach powered by a separate set of 4 each 6 volt golf cart batteries that could run the fridge for several hours without either generator or shore power, and that was adequate for driving between sites. If you don't open the fridge unnecessarily (particularly the freezer door if it has two separate doors...) it will stay cold overnight without power, but not much longer.


I will observe that letting the batteries on your coach go 'flat' will have shortened their life - even if they have accepted a full recharge. It sounds like the chassis batteries are being charged by the engine alternator now as you are running it often, and while the generator runs the converter it should be charging the house batteries. If your interior lighting is like that on my coach, it is entirely run at 12 volts DC. Your ceiling lights should work even when the shore power is not connected and the generator is not running if the house batteries are not discharged. When you start the generator and you already have a ceiling light on, you may notice it brighten when the generator transfer switch comes on-line, as that is when the converter begins charging the house batteries and taking on the load of the house lighting.


In summary, the power distribution in a typical diesel pusher coach with generator, inverter, and converter is as follows:
Shore power AC --> main transfer switch (where generator power comes in if shore power is not present) --> inverter transfer switch (where DESIGNATED loads such as the residential refrigerator would be powered by the inverter if other upstream power sources are absent...) --> to AC loads in the motor home. Note that the Converter (which is powered by 110 volts AC and makes 12 volts DC to power the lighting and charge the house batteries...) Your couch may not have an INVERTER, but it surely has a CONVERTER as that function is needed in the smallest travel trailer through the grandest coach.


Hope this helps a bit, but feel free to ask additional questions.


Your observed loss of microwave function and refrigerator function could possibly be a sub-panel breaker issue. In my coach the Inverter powered the residential refrigerator, the microwave, the TV and a few other designated loads, and it had a separate breaker panel for that reason.



Chuck
Thanks Chuck!

All of that sounds reasonable. My only issue with what you said was that as of last night, I observed a cold fridge/freezer. Today not at all. Also, the panel in the back next to the sink behaved differently today than last night. The panel I speak of is the AC Input panel. I will post a photo of it. Last night it was lit up. Today it was not.

My coach is diesel. I do not have a glow plug light, but I am very familiar as I used to work on diesels and prefer driving them. I just put the key in wait about 15 sec before cranking the engine. I'll use the preheat function for the gen from now on. Good catch!

Again, everything you are saying sounds very reasonable but when I compare the operation of yesterday to today (in my driveway) nothing is the same. If my roof ACs work fine, I cannot understand why other things aren't, unless it is a breaker issue. Where are the breakers? Under the driver seat in the basement?

Thanks!

Bill
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Old 08-07-2019, 02:09 PM   #4
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[IMG]http:/[/IMG]

This was all lit up last night when I ran the Motorhome but not today. This is the only other thing different than last night when I ran it.
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File Type: jpg 14489E24-7CED-438D-A592-04DB5652911A.jpg (115.3 KB, 9 views)
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Old 08-07-2019, 02:45 PM   #5
Chuck v
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Bill,


You still have not verified if your refrigerator is a propane/electric model (2-way or 3-way) instead of an AC only residential model as used in the later Tour Master units. So I did a bit of searching in the archive Gulf Stream literature and find that the 8391 came as either a side entry or a front entry floor plan and has no slide out sections (see the attached PDF document.)


I now know from that brochure that your coach was only offered with a 2-way (or optionally 3-way) refrigerator. 2-way means that it would run on propane or 12 bolts DC, and 3-way means that it could run on propane, 12 volts DC or on 120 volts AC. In any event the refrigerator should get cold if it is burning propane and there is propane in your tank, unless it is forced to run on DC or AC via a selector switch on/in the refrigerator itself. How is that selector control presently set?


The AC breakers should be in a cabinet inside your coach and not in the basement if it is anything like mine. Maybe another member of this forum has a similar model and can give more specifics. I will continue to look for some pictures of similar coaches to help us in this discussion, but posting some images of your interior control panels (generator start control, battery and tank levels, etc.) would definitely help.


Chuck
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File Type: pdf Brlochure 1995-Tourmaster.pdf (1.33 MB, 3 views)
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Old 08-07-2019, 02:58 PM   #6
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Bill,


I was researching/typing when you posted the image of your Heart inverter controller so sorry for the crossed communications. That panel is the status of your INVERTER, which must have some batteries supplying power to it so it can make 110 volts AC when neither the shore power nor the generator are available. If the panel is no longer lit -- either the battery bank supplying it is discharged or the rocker switch is set to the off position.
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Old 08-07-2019, 03:05 PM   #7
Chuck v
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The Heart control panel you pictured is the user interface for the inverter, which must be somewhere in a basement compartment of your coach. Look for a metal enclosure that is about a foot cube or thereabouts and has two HEAVY 12 volt battery cables entering it. An inverter pulls a very high number of amps when operating (hence the short operating time capacity on battery backup...) so this inverter unit will be very close to the batteries to keep the high current low voltage cables short. I still think you might find a third bank of batteries associated with this inverter, but if not it must run off the house batteries and would definitely explain what is draining your batteries. Please post a picture of your refrigerator control that switches it to propane, and turn the inverter control rocker to OFF to allow the batteries to come up to charge and stay there.
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Old 08-07-2019, 03:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck v View Post
The Heart control panel you pictured is the user interface for the inverter, which must be somewhere in a basement compartment of your coach. Look for a metal enclosure that is about a foot cube or thereabouts and has two HEAVY 12 volt battery cables entering it. An inverter pulls a very high number of amps when operating (hence the short operating time capacity on battery backup...) so this inverter unit will be very close to the batteries to keep the high current low voltage cables short. I still think you might find a third bank of batteries associated with this inverter, but if not it must run off the house batteries and would definitely explain what is draining your batteries. Please post a picture of your refrigerator control that switches it to propane, and turn the inverter control rocker to OFF to allow the batteries to come up to charge and stay there.
Thank you! Where would that inverter rocker switch be located?

I will take some more photos and post them.

Thanks!
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Old 08-07-2019, 03:49 PM   #9
Chuck v
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The inverter rocker switch ins the on on the right side of the panel you pictured with the ON, OFF and LOW CHARGE labels next to it.


Also note that in your picture, the AC INPUT lamp (fourth from the top in the left hand column of lamps...) is not lit so it is not receiving AC power from the shore or the generator at the time of the photograph...
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Old 08-07-2019, 04:07 PM   #10
Chuck v
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Bill,


I could not readily find a Heart manual for your exact inverter and control panel, but here is one from a slightly newer model. Note the later control panel also has both voltage monitoring for the battery bank as well as how much current is being pulled from the battery. These inverters can pull over 100 amps so they can drain a battery bank pronto if left on with a large wattage AC load such as refrigerator or microwave.


Chuck
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File Type: pdf Heart Interface Freedom_combie_Owner_manual.pdf (345.2 KB, 1 views)
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