Power Systems: Tips and Tricks for Maintaining Peak Performance
Updated March 25, 2021
Entegra Coach luxury diesel models are built with elaborate power systems, designed to keep you comfortable throughout all the different stages of travel. While distribution and control options are amazingly advanced, there are just three possible sources of power: plugging in (shore power), a generator and the batteries. Here are a handful of tips and tricks for keeping your systems healthy and operating them safely and efficiently.
PROTECT POWER SWITCHES
Each Entegra Coach has two main power switches, one at the entry door and one on the driver’s console. Before you leave your furry friends roaming free inside your coach, cover the switch in the cockpit to prevent them from accidentally turning the power off. You may be thinking, “Well, I’ll just leave auto-gen on.” But, if a main power switch is turned off, auto-gen is disabled. This will help ensure the A/C isn’t accidentally turned off while you’re away. Fido will stay cool in the summer and your food will stay fresh.
WHAT ACTIVATES AUTO-GEN START
Auto-gen start is a really nice feature that’s built into our luxury diesel coaches. There are two scenarios that will start the generator automatically when the system is on: temperature changes and battery voltage. In other words, when auto-gen is on, it will activate the generator to power the heating and cooling systems until they are back to the desired temperature, and then turn it off. It will also activate if the battery voltage drops below a factory-programmed level.
KNOW YOUR CHARGE RATES
There are four different states of charging, all with different power loads. Understanding the differences will help you manage your power flow and have batteries charged when you need them.
- Bulk – When the highest voltage and amperage the charger is rated for will actually be used.
- Absorb – At this point, most chargers will maintain a steady voltage, while the amperage declines. The lower current going into the battery safely brings up the charge on the battery without overheating it.
- Float – Similar to “trickle charge”, float charge compensates for any self-discharge, in a way refilling the battery as it goes.
- Full/standby – Battery has reached full charge. The charger will return to charging after the battery voltage falls below a certain voltage.
PREVENTING DAMAGE TO YOUR TRANSFER SWITCH
When you plug into shore power, you should notice a fairly loud “click” sound. That’s a good sign. It means that the transfer switch is engaged. But, if you hear a repetitive chattering sound while you’re plugged into shore power, that’s a bad sign. It means you’re getting inconsistent power, causing the switch to quickly engage and disengage repeatedly. This is not good for the life of the switch. Unplug from the post immediately, turn off your generator and let the campground know that there’s something wrong with your power source.
PLUGGING INTO SHORE POWER PROPERLYAlways turn the breaker off at the post first before plugging in to protect the coach from unexpected surges. While luxury diesel coaches are equipped with internal surge guards for added safety, these are only for one-time use. We highly recommend using an external surge guard every time you plug in. Think of it this way, a surge guard may cost a couple hundred dollars, but a new transfer switch could cost thousands.
It’s smart to have adapters on hand should you find outlets below 50 amps. There are also energy management systems available that can help control the power flow in almost any setting.
WHICH ITEMS NEED SHORE OR GENERATOR POWER
As you travel, keep in mind there are certain powered features in the coach that require shore or generator power. There’s a quick and easy way to remember which they are. In the driver’s side overhead compartment, you see two breaker boxes. The left one is always the main and the items shown there are what need shore or generator power, including:
- Aqua-Hot® Electric Element
- Inverters (the inverters will work on their own with the batteries, but to charge the batteries back up you need the shore or generator power)
WHEN TO TURN OFF THE INVERTER
The only time you should turn the inverter off is if you are storing your coach unplugged, or at a location you can’t monitor closely for more than two weeks. If you’re storing it at a remote facility, even if it’s plugged in, we recommend turning the inverter off. In the case of a power outage, you may not know right away or be able to respond before the batteries are drained, which takes about six hours.
As always, if you have any questions about your power systems, do not hesitate to reach out to us.
Give us a call at 800-283-8267