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Old 05-13-2021, 02:34 PM   #1
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STILL confused by battery disconnect switch!

I've read until my head spins previous threads on this subject, and still can't understand it! I really need a RV (or ETI) Electrical Systems for Dummies book.
In the process of doing some troubleshooting about battery/solar/electrical problems, I observed my disconnect switch is ON. Yes, it is labelled ON when set one way, and OFF when set the other way. But the double negatives still confuse me.
In any case, my thinking suggests to me that with the shore power not plugged in, i.e. the trailer relying on it's "internal" systems, when the switch is one way (regardless ON or OFF labelling) the 12-volt system will supply battery power to the trailer lights, fan, frig (on DC), propane detector, etc etc, and with the switch the other way, the 12-volt system will NOT supply battery power to the various elements, right?
I left the switch set ON, turned on all the lights, fans, set the frig to DC, everything worked, turned the switch OFF, everything still worked, nothing changed.
Why are all the elements working on my trailer regardless of which way the switch is set? It feels to me as if the switch doesn't do anything?
And is it feasible to relocate that switch? Or even the entire control panel? We leave our dinette set up as a mostly-permanent bed, complete with extra mattress etc, and it is a tedious nuisance to unmake everything every time I have to check something on the panel. Where are these devices located on those ETI trailers that are built with permanent beds?
Thanks for any help offered!
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Old 05-13-2021, 03:00 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maurerl View Post
I've read until my head spins previous threads on this subject, and still can't understand it! I really need a RV (or ETI) Electrical Systems for Dummies book.
In the process of doing some troubleshooting about battery/solar/electrical problems, I observed my disconnect switch is ON. Yes, it is labelled ON when set one way, and OFF when set the other way. But the double negatives still confuse me.
In any case, my thinking suggests to me that with the shore power not plugged in, i.e. the trailer relying on it's "internal" systems, when the switch is one way (regardless ON or OFF labelling) the 12-volt system will supply battery power to the trailer lights, fan, frig (on DC), propane detector, etc etc, and with the switch the other way, the 12-volt system will NOT supply battery power to the various elements, right?
I left the switch set ON, turned on all the lights, fans, set the frig to DC, everything worked, turned the switch OFF, everything still worked, nothing changed.
Why are all the elements working on my trailer regardless of which way the switch is set? It feels to me as if the switch doesn't do anything?
And is it feasible to relocate that switch? Or even the entire control panel? We leave our dinette set up as a mostly-permanent bed, complete with extra mattress etc, and it is a tedious nuisance to unmake everything every time I have to check something on the panel. Where are these devices located on those ETI trailers that are built with permanent beds?
Thanks for any help offered!
Mine was the same after I picked it up at Sumas. Didn't matter if the switch was on or off. Everything worked. It was a bad switch. The one ETI sent me to replace it worked for about 5 switches and then just flopped around. Dustin told me buy one I liked and send them the bill. I did and it was paid.

Replaced it with a rotary type switch. No problems since.

The switch wires had no slack at all in them, I mean None! Had to use butt connectors and add a bit of wire. No problem just a PIA.
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Old 05-13-2021, 03:28 PM   #3
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My guess

Sounds like your switch is kaput. Maybe lucky it's stuck on, but that can drain your batteries with the always on smoke and propane alarms.
Yes, the rotary "marine" switches are better. i swapped out my toggle to a rotary as shown. Quite a few Escape folks have had their toggle switches go bad.
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Old 05-13-2021, 03:37 PM   #4
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If the switch is working properly (at least as designed) when off, the battery is disconnected from the power station (converter) charger. If you have solar, the solar controller bypasses the switch and will still be connected to the battery.

If you have the trailer plugged into a 120V power source, with the disconnect switch on, the 12V distribution panel is powered by both the battery & the converter. If the disconnect switch is off, the battery is not any longer connected, however the converter still powers the 12V distribution panel (again, this is only if you are plugged into a 120V source). If you unplug the trailer from the 120V source & the disconnect switch is off, the 12V loads (lights, furnace, etc) will go off.

The switch is there to make storage easier - open the switch (off) to disconnect the battery so it doesn't discharge over the storage time. Even with the lights, etc off, there is still a small load on the battery (propane detector, USB outlet pilot light, etc). In my case it is about 1 amp, enough to discharge the battery in a month for so.

The battery will still lose a bit of charge each day even when not connected to any load, so you should still check them every month or so & charge if necessary.

As to moving the switch, as long as you have some #6 wire & connectors, it is possible to move it. As Tom suggests, changing to a rotary switch is a big improvement over the poor quality toggle switch Escape uses.
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Old 05-14-2021, 04:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by maurerl View Post
In any case, my thinking suggests to me that with the shore power not plugged in, i.e. the trailer relying on it's "internal" systems, when the switch is one way (regardless ON or OFF labelling) the 12-volt system will supply battery power to the trailer lights, fan, frig (on DC), propane detector, etc etc, and with the switch the other way, the 12-volt system will NOT supply battery power to the various elements, right?
That is correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maurerl View Post
I left the switch set ON, turned on all the lights, fans, set the frig to DC, everything worked, turned the switch OFF, everything still worked, nothing changed.
Why are all the elements working on my trailer regardless of which way the switch is set? It feels to me as if the switch doesn't do anything?
As Jon explained, either the converter/charger was still powered (shore power was connected), or the switch is broken. When it is not broken, the switch certainly does something - it disconnects the battery from most of the circuits in the trailer for storage.
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Old 05-15-2021, 02:57 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the explanations and advice.
Unfortunately, fixing and/or relocating my broken switch won't happen easily or quickly:
1) I'm not knowledgeable, or dexterous, enough to do it myself. As someone mentioned in another thread I ran across while researching the forum, all the wiring in this trailer seems to be "just barely long enough" -- the wires attached to the switch are a scant 2 - 3 cm long before "disappearing" into encased & zip-tied bundles of a dozen or more wires which are attached upside down in tight corners. And being down to one remaining eye (totally blind in one eye for past 15 years), I just can't cope with this stuff!
2) No RV service available -- Covid impacts? -- see separate thread I'm posting.
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Old 05-16-2021, 04:32 PM   #7
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If I am looking to charge my battery from shore power, what position would the switch be in?
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Old 05-16-2021, 07:28 PM   #8
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ON

Quote:
Originally Posted by MBtigger View Post
If I am looking to charge my battery from shore power, what position would the switch be in?

Your battery switch should be in the ON position. The only time it would be off is for long term (over a week?) storage.
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Old 05-17-2021, 09:02 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by maurerl View Post
Thanks everyone for the explanations and advice.
Unfortunately, fixing and/or relocating my broken switch won't happen easily or quickly:
1) I'm not knowledgeable, or dexterous, enough to do it myself. As someone mentioned in another thread I ran across while researching the forum, all the wiring in this trailer seems to be "just barely long enough" -- the wires attached to the switch are a scant 2 - 3 cm long before "disappearing" into encased & zip-tied bundles of a dozen or more wires which are attached upside down in tight corners. And being down to one remaining eye (totally blind in one eye for past 15 years), I just can't cope with this stuff!
2) No RV service available -- Covid impacts? -- see separate thread I'm posting.
Honestly I wouldn't sweat it. Some trailers don't even come with a battery disconnect switch. Since you have a 17B with batteries on the rear bumper just have whatever tools you need handy to lift the battery cables off the terminals. **The only caution is that if you have solar you need to be careful. Ideally you would be able to switch off power between the solar panel(s) and the solar controller before disconnecting the battery but I don't think that the stock Escape system provides that provision. You want to avoid damaging your solar controller by not having a battery connected. Short of covering the solar panels or disconnecting the panel inputs from the solar controller I'm not sure what to do. Maybe someone with the stock GoPower solar system will weigh in.
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Old 05-21-2021, 05:45 PM   #10
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I plan to have a new receiver welded on when I pickup the trailer in Sumas. Besides putting a battery switch between the solar controller and the battery, will putting the ETI battery switch if the off position be enough to protect the electronics?
Is there anything left on when the switch is in the off position?
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Old 05-21-2021, 06:05 PM   #11
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Not sure what you mean by receiver.
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Old 05-22-2021, 01:56 PM   #12
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Not sure what you mean by receiver.
Probably means "coupler", since that's the part of the hitch system which is welded to the trailer.
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Old 05-22-2021, 03:02 PM   #13
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I plan to have a new receiver welded on when I pickup the trailer in Sumas. Besides putting a battery switch between the solar controller and the battery, will putting the ETI battery switch if the off position be enough to protect the electronics?
Is there anything left on when the switch is in the off position?
Most would say to place the switch between the solar panel and the controller. If you use a breaker type switch don't use over a 50amp switch. Disconnect from shore power and Turn the battery switch to 'off' before doing this. Be safe!

The connection to the emergency brake away switch should be still be there. It should not go thru the battery on/off switch. I think I have read here at times where that is not the case.
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Old 05-22-2021, 04:55 PM   #14
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Most would say to place the switch between the solar panel and the controller.
That's appropriate to allow work on the controller; it would not address the concern with potential damage to the solar controller during welding

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The connection to the emergency brake away switch should be still be there. It should not go thru the battery on/off switch.
Sure, but it's not important to the concern with potential damage to electronics during welding, as the breakaway switch itself isolates the brakes (which don't have any electronics, anyway) from the battery.
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Old 05-22-2021, 08:40 PM   #15
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That's appropriate to allow work on the controller; it would not address the concern with potential damage to the solar controller during welding


Sure, but it's not important to the concern with potential damage to electronics during welding, as the breakaway switch itself isolates the brakes (which don't have any electronics, anyway) from the battery.
I ignored the possible harm to electronics. I was just addressing the panel/controller switch location and the question "Is anything left on when battery switch is off".
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Old 05-23-2021, 09:15 AM   #16
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I ignored the possible harm to electronics. I was just addressing the panel/controller switch location and the question "Is anything left on when battery switch is off".
Welding on a new coupler will probably take place on the first or second day of ownership, before I have an opportunity to make any other changes to the trailer. Therefore this my plan, please advise if there are flaws: Cover the solar panels, turn the battery disconnect to off and disconnect the battery cables. This will most likely take place before I have had a chance to make sure every thing works.

After reading what I just wrote maybe I should just have the AC installed then take a few at the nearby Campgrounds and check that all systems are working before having the couple welded on.
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Old 05-27-2021, 08:30 AM   #17
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Could you please provide a source for these switches? Thanks.
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