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Old 11-17-2017, 12:35 AM   #1
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ETI battery disconnect switch

Looking for answer regarding Battery Disconnect switch and how the one Escape installs handles the battery disconnect job. I understand how battery disconnect switches work, but the one Escape installs seems way too small to handle the job at hand?

I'm use to seeing much more robust battery disconnect switches in car's, RV's and boats, then got to thinking the small switch may control a remote relay that disconnects the batteries from system.

I remember asking about it at ETI, but never received answer other than it disconnects the batteries. At the time I told myself I would come back to the question, but fell off radar screen until tonight.

Does anyone know if the switch is controlling a relay, wired directly to battery or wired in some other way I'm not familiar with?

Cheers!
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Old 11-17-2017, 02:05 AM   #2
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There isn't a relay in the system - all the current being shut off goes through that switch. It is the only (positive side) connection between the battery and the power centre.

Very high-capacity switches are used for circuits which must handle very high current, but the Escape's switch is only handling what the DC fuse panel distributes to various loads around the trailer. There is typically a 50-amp fuse in this connection, so it doesn't need more than a 50-amp switch. An inverter can use much more current, but when Escape installs an inverter, it gets its own connections to the battery; it doesn't use the storage/shutoff switch. The battery (or batteries) can provide much higher current than the switch can handle, but there's no reason for that much current to flow.

If you decide to run an unusually large amount of 12 V DC stuff from the fuse panel, you could need to upgrade the switch and the wires connected to it... but the usual approach is to wire large extra loads directly to the battery (appropriately fused, of course), like the inverter.
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Old 11-17-2017, 06:23 AM   #3
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I have never used that switch except when changing batteries.
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Old 11-17-2017, 07:10 AM   #4
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I had thought about replacing the toggle switch with one of the bigger disconnects, mainly to keep it from getting inadvertently knocked. I don't recall if it's 30a or 50a, but it is sufficient for the load. I believe it's 8 awg from the batteries to the switch so the switches lugs are big enough to handle the ring connectors. ETI uses the non battery side of the switch as a tie point for a few circuits, it'd be a challenge to connect those little wires to the lugs on one of the bigger disconnect switch. The one I looked at had either 1/4" or 3/8" lugs.

I did add a home made guard to the toggle, the store bought were for smaller switches.
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Old 11-17-2017, 10:01 AM   #5
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I remember well the night we stopped on our maiden trip home with the new trailer and going nearly nuts trying to understand why suddenly none of my electricity was working. First thing done when we got home was make a switch guard.

For those who might not know where their battery disconnect switch is, here's a picture of mine in the 19.
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File Type: jpg switches.jpg (137.6 KB, 74 views)
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Old 11-17-2017, 01:37 PM   #6
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The details of wiring this switch vary by model, by year, and by equipment... all of which makes sense. What is consistent is that
  • opening the switch disconnects the battery from the main power centre (WFCO box), where all circuits that might drain power during storage should be connected, and
  • the inverter is not connected to the battery through this switch.

Steve (St3v3) traced the wiring in his 15A, drew it up, and shared it: 15A Wiring Diagram
In Steve's relatively simple trailer, the breakaway brake switch is the only item not shut off by this switch (labelled "Main Shutoff"), and only the power centre is on the non-battery side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
ETI uses the non battery side of the switch as a tie point for a few circuits...
Just curious... what other circuits are connected there, and how are they fused?
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Old 11-17-2017, 09:59 PM   #7
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Thank you all for your responses. Now I understand how they are able to use an On/Off toggle switch as battery disconnect.

I've asked ETI to not install the monitors for inverter and surge protection as I will mount those where I want them later. They responded they have to wire in the monitors, but can leave unmounted. Works for me!

I've also made a request to not install their battery disconnect switch. If they have to install it then my request was to mount it underneath the bench. Regardless of outcome I will replace their switch later with a marine grade battery disconnect accessible through rear access hatch.
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