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Thursday, October 8, 2015

What's that Receptacle?

Dear Doctor, I just bought my first RV. It is a Winnebago Minnie Winnie 25B. I didn't receive any manuals so I am learning as I go. What is the service receptacle in the electric cord compartment? It says close when not hooked to outside power. I have left it open since I got it 6 weeks ago. I am also unclear if the house battery disconnect switch should be left on all the time, even when hooked up to outside power. Is this connected to my engine battery and if it is left on will it drain the engine battery? I have heard many different viewpoints. Thank you! Cathy R.

Cathy, if what you are seeing looks similar to this photo, that is the RV's generator output receptacle. In order for the generator to power the coach, the shore cord must be plugged into that receptacle. Some larger motorhomes come equipped with an automatic transfer switch that makes the connection automatically soon after the generator is started. But on some of the smaller coaches, in order to power the coach with 120-volts AC electricity, the shore power cord must be plugged somewhere; either into the pedestal at the campground, or into that receptacle inside the compartment.

When activated, the house battery disconnect solenoid removes the battery from the system during a period of storage or non-use. The house and engine batteries remain separated so it will have no effect on the engine start battery. Also, if the solenoid is activated while the coach is plugged in to shore power, the battery charger will not be able to charge the house batteries since they are now “disconnected” from the system. So typically you’d activate the disconnect switch during storage so the battery won’t be drained. But when using the coach, leave it off.

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