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

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

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 MattressInsider.com 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! ;-)


Save 10% Off Your Next RV Mattress
Use Coupon Code “RVGEEKS
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(Good on phone orders, too: 888-488-1468)


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Peter McDonald

Thursday 24th of June 2021

Hi Guys! I am trying to install the same Xantrex unit you have in my 2005 Dutch Star. I ordered the AGS too and I am wondering how you figured out which wire does what on the remote switch on your dash. Also, how did you hook into your thermostat. (Maybe you didn't use this feature since it's often used for people with pets).

Thanks for any input you can give me. I enjoy all your videos! Pete

TheRVgeeks

Friday 25th of June 2021

Hey Peter. Good question! It's been a while since we did that project, so our memories could be a little foggy. But we do recall that trying to use the wires from the interior generator start/stop switch didn't work. We had to get out the owner's manual for the generator and look at the wiring diagram. Once we did that, we were able to identify the various wires that were needed in the big wiring bundle for the generator... and tapped into them up front. We brought the wires for the auto gen start module through the firewall into the front generator compartment by expanding an existing hole and then re-sealing it.

On the thermostat trigger, we didn't use that. Partly because we don't have pets and, therefore, less need for it. But also because it requires a connection between the AGS unit and the front A/C control module. Since we didn't order that feature from the factory, we weren't (1) sure that wire would exist in our wiring bundle and (2) couldn't find any evidence that it was there. So we didn't want to run a NEW wire from the roof, down the A pillar to the AGS mounted behind the center of the dash.

You could check on the Newmar forums over at iRV2.com to see if anyone there has input on a 2005-era Newmar... and whether or not that trigger wire from the A/C to the AGS exists somewhere that you could use (i.e. Newmar uses a single wiring bundle and just doesn't connect it if you don't order the AGS option from the factory).

Hope this helps!

Joe Hayes

Tuesday 7th of January 2020

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, Joe

TheRVgeeks

Wednesday 8th of January 2020

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:

Our Xantrex 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: https://amzn.to/35BAirr) to tap into them with the new wires. No other hardware/parts were needed, that we recall.

Hope this all helps!

Curtis and Jonathan

Tuesday 25th of June 2019

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

Sincerely Curtis and Jonathan

OLOPrv.com

TheRVgeeks

Tuesday 25th of June 2019

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:

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... ???? 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. 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. 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!

nejc

Thursday 25th of January 2018

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

thenks

TheRVgeeks

Thursday 25th of January 2018

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: https://solar.schneider-electric.com/product/conext-automatic-generator-start-ags/ and, hopefully, match up what the Honda generator needs as far as start/run/stop signal wires with the outputs from the AGS.

Doug Turner

Tuesday 1st of August 2017

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! !! Doug

TheRVgeeks

Tuesday 1st of August 2017

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.

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