Inverter Update, Auto Gen Start & ComBox. And We Have a Winner!

TheRVgeeks Electrical, Generator, Great RV Products, Replacement, Updates & Upgrades 36 Comments

After installing our new Xantrex inverter/charger last summer, we promised to provide an update. Now with 6 months of flawless performance under our belts, we’re also sharing our AGS system and our ComBox, which is one of the coolest pieces of elec-tech ever!

Not only can we set our generator to operate autonomously, but we can now monitor and control our energy management system from anywhere in the world. Without telling Xantrex that we’d already installed our ComBox (the system that allows remote monitoring and control, among other things), we paid a visit to their headquarters in Western Canada. The staff got a big surprise when we started up our generator by remote control… from our iPad!

Check out the video above for an update, plus an overview of our Xantrex visit.

In other news… the first RVgeeks Giveaway of 2017 came to a close on Sunday, March 12th. A hearty congratulations goes out to Mary A., the winner of our $500 Mattress Insider Giveaway. Mary’s entry, #1,052, was the lucky random winner drawn from 1,431 entries. She’ll be putting her prize to good use in her new-to-her 2003 Travel Supreme.

We also want to extend a special thanks to Mattress Insider for providing such a generous prize. If you didn’t win this time, you can still get a 10% discount off your entire order by using the Coupon Code “RVGEEKS” when ordering from or over the phone: (888) 488-1468.

Thanks to everyone who entered, and best of luck in our next giveaway, which will be announced right here on Wednesday, March 29th. So if you’re reading this, and not already receiving e-mail notifications of our posts, be sure to subscribe today. The two valuable prizes we’ll be announcing are surely something every RVer would love to have. Stay tuned! wink

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Comments 36

  1. Hi guys,

    Really enjoy and appreciate your videos, you guys do a great job.

    I have a 2009 Newmar Dutch Aire dp that is similar to your Mountain Aire. Last fall I swapped the Magnum 2000w inverter with a Xantrex 3012 and changed to lithium batteries. I also bought Xanbus ASG that I am looking to install over the winter. When I look at the install manual I see it list 14 different generator “types”. I have an Onan 10k diesel. Because it’s a diesel I assume it has glow plugs, also when I press the start button there is a delay of 3-5 seconds before it starts cranking.

    When reading through the descriptions it sounds like I need Type 2.
    What “type” number did you use for yours and how did you determine that?

    I only want it to run generator when the batteries get low.
    What trigger setting did you use for your lithium batteries?

    Did you wire it directly to the wires on the gen start switch inside on the dash?

    Did you need any additional hardware other than connectors for splicing into the gen start switch wiring?

    Thanks for any advice and guidance you can provide,

    1. Post

      Hi Joe! We have our AGS set to a “Generator Type” of “2”… and we’d bet yours would be the same (don’t think there’s a lot of difference between the 7.5 and 10K Onans). We don’t actually have our AGS configured to run at the moment. We REALLY want to be able to set it to trigger based on the eGEN lithium battery’s reported state of charge… but the eGEN isn’t integrated into the XANBUS network yet, so the system doesn’t know. And since lithium batteries have such a narrow voltage range between fully charged and fully depleted, we were a bit leery of setting the AGS up. Plus now, with our solar, it’s less of an issue.

      If it helps, here’s the settings that we have in place for the AGS settings:

      As for the install… we originally thought it was going to be a piece of cake and that we’d be able to just tap into the wires at the switch. But that didn’t seem to work for us. So we ended up following the wires from the switch out through the firewall to the main generator control cable. Using the Onan Owner’s Manual, we were able to identify all of the wires that the AGS needed to tap into… and used Scotchlok connectors (like these on Amazon: to tap into them with the new wires. No other hardware/parts were needed, that we recall.

      Hope this all helps!

      1. So here’s an update. I wasn’t in a hurry to install the AGS for the same reasons you mentioned about not being able to reliably trigger based on lithium battery voltage. I was pretty much giving up but then when I was looking for a battery monitor I ended up finding the Xantrex LinkPRO kind of by accident. I should of thought to look there first since everything else I have is Xantrex. Feature wise it’s a lot like the Victron or Renogy but it also has a relay that you can close on low SOC alarm. What you can do is use the relay to trigger the AGS using the thermostat trigger wires,Unfortunately It doesn’t integrate into the rest of the Xantrex products, which is disappointing,

        I wired the AGS at the dash switch which was easy without the problems you ran into.
        I haven’t been able to really test out in real life but initial tests went good. I set it to trigger when it got down to 99%. I Unplugged shore power, turned on a heater and waited. The generator started when it got below 99% and ran until the charger went into float. I tested about 6 times and worked reliably each time.
        We’ll have to see how accurate the SOC % is when we can get out travel. The nice thing is that even if it is off a little, you can set to whatever % you want to compensate. For now it’s at 20%.

        Thanks for your help,

        1. Post

          Hi Joe! Thanks for giving us your update! Really clever solution… nice job! We’ll have to check to see if we can rig a similar solution using the BMS from our eGEN battery (although wiring it will require bringing a line ALL THE WAY up the chassis… which includes going over the dual rear axles… not fun! 😜)!

  2. Hello John and Peter, Jonathan and I enjoy your videos and hoping you can lead us in the right direction.. We built a tiny home on wheels and had hired Tom and Cait from Mortons on the move to design a totally solar setup using tesla batteries. it worked amazingly and we totally loved our build. It was perfect for us. We had planned a 1-2 year trip traveling the lower 48 states starting in Early August 2019.. But 2 weeks ago we had some kinda fault or lighting strike that burnt our build down. Nothing is reusable with 44K invested and Insurance is fighting on the claim since I built it myself.. So my Husband wanted a factory built RV with no time to rebuild before our trip and we loved our build and we wanted a back porch and still stay under 30′. We found 1, a Coachman Ramp and Camp not perfect but will be fine. My questions or need help with is I want to replace the current original (noisy and energy hard starting) AC with a Furrion Softstart AC and add another one to the garage. We are a gas unit 55 gallon tank, 30 amp service, and a Generac 4000 watt generator. I want to use the generator to be mostly for the AC and use Batteries ( most likely battle Born Per suggestion from Tom ) and add 3-400 watts of solar to the roof. I have changed the 42 light bulbs in the coach with LED replacements bulbs, The refrigerator is dual fuel and do not plan on being in much cold weather so propane heat and water should be fine. We are wanting to do lots of boon docking and not RV parks with staying only a few days in one spot. Lots of BLM , harvest host, and just off the road locations. I have traveled in a coach very similar to you guys I had a Newmar Dutchstar 4320 with a Ram truck Toad, but really wasn’t comfortable going off road or worrying about the paint job..

    So my questions are
    1 will the Xantrex 809-0915 remote start control the generator and have some kinda way of knowing the AC needs to run?
    2 Do i need another connection from the ac to the remote starter?
    3 Do you think the 2000 watt Xantrex inverter be a good choice for running most everything
    4 who or what batteries would you recommend?
    Or any other things i need to do or think about..
    Thanks for any advice. (I am feeling the pressure trying to be ready for our trio in 30 days.) If you would like to see our build and kinda what we are about I will leave you a link to our site

    Curtis and Jonathan

    1. Post

      Hi Curtis & Jonathan! First off… OMG! Fire?!?! We can’t even imagine how we would respond to something like that what you’ve gone through. We’re SOOO sorry to hear about it all. But good for both of you for dusting yourselves off and moving ahead with your plans… and not letting this disaster stop you from pursuing a dream!!

      Now… in answer to your questions:

      1. Yes, that Xantrex auto-gen start (AGS) module can control the Generac. It will be a bit of a process to identify the correct wires in the generator wiring harness, and tapping into them to wire it up to the control module. And then, you’ll have to configure the AGS with the right settings for your generator (how long to warm up the glow plugs, how many retries, etc). The documentation from Xantrex is very thorough, so just take your time and you’ll figure it out. By default, it won’t have any idea of knowing when the air conditioning needs to be run… read on… 😉
      2. Yes. The AGS module has inputs for triggers from 2 Air Conditioning units. But that’s about all we know about that (we didn’t wire that into our setup as we don’t have need for it… no pets). Where that trigger signal comes from depends on the air conditioning system (totally UN-familiar with the Furrion unit). We do know that with Dometic A/C’s, when ordering the AGS system as a factory-installed option from the RV manufacturer, there is a wire that’s run from the front A/C unit (which has the electronic “brains” for both A/Cs) to the trigger input on the AGS module. You’d think it would come from the thermostat… but nope! So you may need to do a bit of quarterbacking between Furrion and Xantrex to figure out how that trigger signal needs to be sent… and from where. Googling for the install manuals for both units would be a good place to start.
      3. A 2,000W inverter is likely to be a good fit… but it’s hard to say 100% for sure without knowing the details of your typical power usage. Our old 2,800W Magnum was (and now our 3,000W Xantrex is) more-than-capable of handling our typical loads when not on shore power (running the microwave os our occasional “big” load). But one thing you may want to consider will be charging capacity. Larger inverter/chargers come with bigger chargers. And since lithium can virtually take every amp of charging you can throw at it, bigger is DEFINITELY better. So you may need to consider the size of your battery bank when planning the size of your inverter/charger. Oh… and we definitely recommend biting the bullet and going with pure sine wave power from your inverter. Modified Sine will work most stuff just fine, but Pure Sine is cleaner & easier on electronics.
      4. On batteries… we’re, of course, partial to our Xantrex eGEN… but since it’s not available as a DIY, aftermarket install (other than through authorized installers), we’d say Battle Born is probably your best bet. They seem to be dominating the industry… and everything we hear about them (including from all our friends like Tom & Cait, etc) is that they provide excellent pre- and post-sale support. Just make sure you take into account any issues with how they may (or may not) be charged from the alternator when driving. Alternators are dumb devices… and, typically, rely on the voltage & charge characteristics of flooded lead-acid batteries… which means you risk OVER-charging lithium (which is bad… VERY bad). The BMS in the batteries would stop that… but it’s never a good idea to rely on just a single system, when the end result of a failure could be fire!

      Hope this helps! And best of luck with your final preparations! It’s been a while, but we still remember what a whirlwind it was… WITHOUT having to start from scratch TWICE!

  3. Hello
    I need suport, I have a new eu70is honda generator, and I would like to connection on Schneider Conext AGS. I have on the autostart Honda generator connector 5 pin,
    W/Bu -main switch –
    Br/Bu-main switch +
    W/G -push switch2
    G/Bu – pl remote
    G- Gnd .

    What wiring type of should I use? on manual I can not find the right type.
    It should be one relay to make a contact stendby ( function of the key on the generator) and
    relay 2 to make contact signal 0,5-1-S for the ignition of the engine

    Please help if there is any other way wiring


    1. Post

      Oh boy, nejc. We don’t really have any idea how to guide you on this one, as we don’t have any experience with a Honda Generator. Not sure that a Schneider/Xantrex Auto Generator start will work with it! We can tell you that we used some 12-gauge wire that we had around in order to make the necessary connections between our Onan generator’s wiring and the Xantrex AGS unit… as the wire is only carrying low-voltage, low-amperage “signals” from one to the other. There’s no heavy loads being applied. If it helps, you can download the Owner’s Manual for the Conext AGS unit here: and, hopefully, match up what the Honda generator needs as far as start/run/stop signal wires with the outputs from the AGS.

  4. Hey guys, this may not be the place to ask this. If you could just point me in the right direction, that would be great! We just recently got a 2005 Monaco Knight diesel pusher and it doesn’t have the Ags. We would love to have that feature tho so, do you know if I would have to buy a whole new system to get Ags or just a module? I really don’t know where to start… I do know it was an option when our rig was being built but, they didn’t go for it because of the expense. Can you help? Thank you for all you do, your videos are AMAZING! !!

    1. Post

      Hi Doug! Congrats on the new coach! Hope you’re enjoying it! For the AGS, there’s 2 routes you can go. If you have an Onan generator, they mKe a standalone AGS module that works with their generators. There are some limits to its functionality, but it can be a good (and fairly simple-to-install option as a retrofit). The other route would be to get an AGS module that will integrate with your inverter/charger (likely either Xantrex or Magnum). Start by identifying tithe brand, then contact them with the model and serial number to determine if it will be compatible with the AGS module (for instance, Magnum will need to know the version numbers for your control panel and inverter/charger to ensure that all functionality will be available). From there, it’s a matter of getting the right module and wiring it into the system.

  5. Great videos on the Xantrex products. One feature I’m very interested in is the ability to start my generator from anywhere in the world. Could you give a little more detail as to how you were able to accomplish this? My fear is the system would work when I’m on the same LAN, but not externally from across the internet. What is your internet source to accomplish this?

    1. Post

      Hi Douglas! Glad you liked the videos! There are a lot of different ways to accomplish what you want… more than we could go into here. But we can certainly give you some more insight into how we accomplished it. First… we don’t use it remotely that often. Typically, if we’re away from the RV for any length of time, it tends to be for a long time (a month or more), so we empty/defrost the fridge and shut everything down… and, thus, don’t NEED to remote in to monitor/control anything. Our solar panels keep our batteries topped up (since there’s no drain on them), so we don’t have anything to worry about.

      But if we WANT to remote in, it’s accomplished with a combination of the following:

      • Conext Combox: this connects via Ethernet cables to both the Xantrex System Control Panel (so it can read/control items on the Xanbus network) and to our…
      • Wireless Router (Airport Extreme Base Station): this provides the connection from our iPad/iPhone to the ComBox over our local network. We have this configured to provide a static (internal) IP address to the Combox so that we can also create port-forwarding rules for remote access. Last piece of the puzzle on here is the…
      • Dynamic DNS Service: we use DynDNS (although there are plenty of other free options) to provide a static URL we can access that will connect to our Airport Extreme, regardless of its public IP address. Depending upon your router and your Dynamic DNS service, you may need to have another device (like a laptop) on your network that regularly pings the service to provide the IP address you’re accessible from. Otherwise, you would need to know the public IP address of your network in order to be able to access things remotely… which, of course, can change.

      With all of the above in place, it just comes down to the RV having access to the internet. If you’re parked in one spot for an extended time, that could be cable/DSL internet. Or you could use a WiFiRanger (or similar device) to connect to an available WiFi network… OR to connect to a phone/tablet/MiFi device providing connection through your cellular data plan. We’ve tested using all three options… and it works great for us, regardless of the connection type.

      Not sure of what your situation is… but if you just need to ensure that your batteries don’t go dead on you while you’re away from the RV, it might be best to just get the Auto Gen Start module. That can be configured to monitor your battery voltage and fire up whenever needed in order to top the batteries up. You can even configure Quiet Hours to ensure that it won’t do that overnight, if the RV is someplace that running the generator at 2AM would be a problem! ;)

      Hope this info helps! If you have any more specific questions about this, please go ahead and ask and we’ll do our best to answer (or point you to where you may be able to find/get an answer if we can’t).

      1. Thanks for the very detailed reply. Your setup sounds like what I have imagined.

        My plan was to go from a Verizon 6620 via usb to my Mikrotek AC lite, then to the Combox via ethernet. However, I’m seeing two potential problems.

        First is I don’t think I can access my 6620 or anything behind it via the internet.
        Apparently Verizon uses CGN or carrier grade NAT which would prevent this.
        Second, even if I could get into my network the Android Tablet app seems to only support IP addresses not domain names, which would prevent the use of DDNS. Does the IOS app allow of the use of domain names?

        So, I’m a bit stuck. But since you got it to work, it must be possible.

        Have you been able to get this to work, using a 4G LTE internet source via your WiFi ranger.

        As far as what I’m hoping to accomplish, I would like to be able to turn the generator on before heading home so the A/C will come on and cool the coach down.

        Thanks again for any help,

        1. Post

          Hey Douglas,

          Replies below inline:

          First is I don’t think I can access my 6620 or anything behind it via the internet. Apparently Verizon uses CGN or carrier grade NAT which would prevent this.

          This is certainly a possibility. When we tested, we were using T-Mobile, which may not block the same ports. Chris & Cherie over at the RV Mobile Internet Research Center (you can save $5 on your first year of membership using code “MIAGEEKS” if you’re not already a member) would be the best resource for finding out about that kind of restriction on Verizon’s data plans… and they might know of a way around it. The only thing we could think of would be to see if Verizon would set you up with a static IP address (for a fee, of course), so that you could use that to access the network.

          Second, even if I could get into my network the Android Tablet app seems to only support IP addresses not domain names, which would prevent the use of DDNS. Does the IOS app allow of the use of domain names?

          When accessing our network remotely, we don’t use the app at all… we just use our DynDNS address (with port # appended) in the browser of whatever device we’re using remotely… phone, iPad, laptop, whatever. The iOS version of Schneider Electric’s app for the Combox (called Network Explorer) really just “sniffs” the network for the Combox and provides us a link to the web-based interface for accessing the ComBox which, when we’re on the local network, is just a local IP address with port number (like When we’re outside the local network, the app can’t detect the ComBox, so we just manually access it, since we already know the address.

          Have you been able to get this to work, using a 4G LTE internet source via your WiFi ranger.

          Yes, we have. Again, it was with T-Mobile, so that may be a factor. And if we recall correctly, we were using our iPhone as the cellular modem, connected via USB cable to the WiFiRanger. Then we had to move the ComBox’s ethernet cable over to the WiFiRanger (from the Airport Extreme) and configure the WiFiRanger to do the port forwarding, etc. We would assume your Microtik AC Lite would provide similar (if not more robust) capabilities to configure this than the WiFiRanger does, but we’re not sure. There were probably a couple of other “tweaks” we had to make to get it to work… but can’t remember all of the details… it’s been a while (we just wanted to see IF it was possible).

          Plus… you may also have to access the Admin panel for the JetPack and configure port forwarding THERE… otherwise, it could block things. Again, Chris & Cherie may be the best resources for answers on this, as they’re the mobile connectivity gurus! ;)

          You could test some of it out by setting up a laptop as a local web server… configure everything up to port-forward to the laptop, etc… and then see if you can access the web page using your phone over its cellular network. That would at least let you test all of the basic network configurations out before going ahead with getting the ComBox, only to find out it won’t work the way you want!

          Oh… and one other thing that may be important/helpful: you can configure the ComBox to be accessible on whatever port you want (accessed through the Combox Setup… under “Web”)… so if you can get a local web server running on your laptop to be accessible over your Verizon Jetpack, etc, you can set the ComBox to use Port 80 (typical web/http port) so it should work, too.

          Hope this helps!

        2. Post

          One other thought: you could use a service like TeamViewer (we just tested it through our T-Mobile internet… over our iPhone 6S+… in Canada) or LogMeIn to remotely connect to an extra laptop setup in the RV. Since TeamViewer/LogMeIn operate over standard IP ports (and they handle all of the network/port traversal), it makes it very easy. Leave the extra laptop computer turned on, connected to the local WiFi in the RV. When you’re leaving work, use the TeamViewer/LogMeIn client to remote in to the laptop in the RV and access the ComBox using the browser on the laptop (at its LOCAL address on the RV’s network) and start the genny that way. Requires having an extra computer you can leave behind in the RV… but doesn’t require Dynamic DNS or worrying about port forwarding, etc with the MiFi, Microtik or anything. Both TeamViewer and LogMeIn offer free plans for personal use.

          Might actually be the easiest solution.

          1. Thanks for all the help. I just successfully used TeamViewer to log into my computer in the coach, which is connect to my MiFi, from my tablet which is on 4G. So it works.

            Thank you very much for the idea!

          2. Post

            Excellent! Glad it worked! (it’s much easier than manually setting up static IP addresses, Dynamic DNS, port forwarding, etc… isn’t it?!?!)

    1. Post

      LOL! We’re just playing catchup with Chris & Cherie’s wicked-cool Victron setup… and your “beastly” solar/lithium!! :) But we have to admit… the ComBox IS pretty geeky-cool! Just the other day Peter asked me whether or not the quiet hours were set on the Auto Gen Start. Without moving from the couch, I replied “Yup!” in about 10 seconds thanks to having the iPad in hand. LOL! Being totally lazy AND getting instant gratification? Win-Win!

      Glad to see you enjoying the Keys! Dry Tortugas looked really cool… haven’t made it out there ourselves (yet), but now it’s on the list again!

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  6. You guys are the best! I am sometimes called the gadget man but that system is great! I currently have an older version RS2000 with AGS and the SCP and it is still working! I know now what to upgrade to when it does finally fail.

    1. Post

      Aw, thanks, Ralph! Glad we could help light the way for any future upgrade! We know how it goes when you’ve got a perfectly functional system, but have your eye on something new. We get antsy and want the “new” as early as possible. LOL! Thank goodness for Craigslist! Great way to sell functional equipment to help offset the cost of the new. Or at least that’s how WE justify it. ;)

  7. I have watched you make many upgrades to your motorhome, I would think you are planning to keep the motorhome until the axles fall off.

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  8. Yesterday there was an open house at an RV Resort in Coachella CA and several new Class A coaches were available for viewing. One of the coolest things was the electronic systems control panel in the new Prevost coaches. For example: the air conditioning page showed the coach information in sections (like on big airlines). The window shade page let you operate the shades individually or all at once. Fun.

    Your Xantrex ComBox looks like it has the same information as one of the electric pages on the electric system. Although I’m not sure about the remote monitoring and gen starting on the Prevost. If I had seen this video two days ago I would have asked.

    Thanks for this update. Once again you have given us something to think about.

    1. Post
    2. How are you getting wifi to the router? Just installed DW 3012 purchased the com box but all I have is unlimited cell but don’t know how to get signal to the router. To make the com box work so I can monitor it remotely

      1. Post

        Hi Chuck. We use our WiFiRanger system to do that. The Go2 router we have (now replaced by the GoAC) has ethernet ports for connecting additional devices to (like the ComBox)… AND it can connect to your cell phone or MiFi device (either with USB or via WiFi as WAN). There are other routers out there (like PepWave or CradlePoint) that can do similar things, but for less money, if you don’t need the WiFi range extending capabilities of the WiFiRanger.

        Hope this helps!

        1. Thanks but for us old 64 + non I T geeks it would be a plus if you did a video on this . Still don’t understand how to do or set up or what I might need. I just got rid of Verizon and switch to visible love it. I have been watching and using your tips for a long time first time to ask a question.

          1. Also to add to this I watched your video about the Combox and thought it was neat that is why I added it

          2. Post

            Hi Chuck. We’ll consider making a video about how to set this up, but it’s fairly involved, requiring setting up a dynamic DNS service, setting up port forwarding on your router, etc. It’s not for the technologically-faint-of-heart. If you’re really interested in having this set up, and aren’t that good with computer & networking “stuff”… you’re probably going to need someone who is to be physically there, hands on, to get things set up for you. All that said… we can tell you that, other than the original novelty of being able to remotely see the status of systems while we were away from the RV, we honestly don’t use that feature any more. We use the Combox locally (usually when feeling too lazy to get up off the couch to look at the System Control Panel, LOL!). But we don’t ever access it when we’re away from the RV any more.

  9. You guys are amazing! I get the gist of what you’re doing but this one way over my head. I’m still trying to figure out how to get good Wi-Fi and cellular signal-LOL!

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