Swap-out of a stock Winnebago Dimensions inverter/charger for a Xantrex RS2000 and Automatic Generator Start
Note: While I believe this information is factual, do NOT rely on it for any work you do on your RV. Do your own homework and just use this as a general guideline. Use this information at your own risk! If you are not competent working with electricity, please let a technician/electrician do the work for you.
Update July 12, 2013
Last summer we were having a problem with the 7.5 KW Onan QuietDiesel gen set shutting down with a code 27 error which was ultimately diagnosed as a firmware issue in the RS2000 (it's a long story.) Xantrex issued a firmware upgrade sometime in the past and when I inquired about it, Xantrex said they no longer support the RS2000. WHAT?! So, I'm out of luck with getting the proper fix for this issue, the non-elegant solution is shutting off the Xantrex battery charger when the generator is running and the main engine is running (again, it's a complicated situation.)
Since Xantrex dropped support on a product that wasn't really that old, I have dropped them and would never buy another product with their name on the label. If you need a good inverter system, look to Magnum Energy - they were founded by ex-Xantrex engineers.
Initially I thought this was going to be relatively easy because I assumed (yup - never assume) the eight conductor control cable that Dimensions used from their inverter to their control panel would be compatible with Xantrex Xanabus. Bzzzz - wrong! Dimensions uses eight conductor phone-type cable (although with an RJ45 plug), and Xantrex uses good old Cat5 cable.
Running the new Cat5 cable took a good half of a day - an hour of that time was spent in deep thought.
Here is the path I used from the Winne "One Place" to the electrical compartment:
- Panel area to floor, remove grill on shower pan
- From there to the sink area
- Sink area down to plumbing/dump compartment
- Drill a 3/4" hole out the rear of the plumbing compartment
- Run wire along the frame wiring bundles (man are there bundles of wires down there!) to aft of rear wheels
- Drill 3/4" hole out the back of the electrical compartment
- Secure the wiring every 18" or so with cable ties
- That's all there is to it ;-)
Cat5 was run down to under shower and over to sink area
Directly under this "box" or chase is the plumbing and dump compartment. I started the wire run at this point. I went down to the plumbing bay and then with a coat hanger, I could grab the cable from the access panel on the front of the shower. Then coat hanger time to go up to the "One Place" center
You can see the Cat5 cable that I have pulled down from the sink chase. High up and to the left I drilled a 3/4" hole out the rear of the compartment to begin the run back to the electrical compartment
Here is my Xantrex living nicely where the Dimensions was. This was a bear to lift into position to bolt it - we used a long board as a fulcrum which worked really well. Make a cardboard template FIRST and be sure that you don't move the template too far to the rear. If you do, the Xantrex will not clear the black box directly behind the Xantrex on the rear wall. However, give yourself as much room as possible to the front for ease of wiring.
Speaking of wiring, the AC cables were plenty long enough. The 1/0 gauge 12V cables needed terminal lugs swaged on. Dimensions used a screw capture of a bare wire end, Xantrex uses bolts through terminal lugs
Meanwhile, back at the OnePlace panel....
Now we get to the easy and fun part - wiring up the Auto Gen Start!
Your voyage of discovery begins here! Follow the wires from the gen start switch and hour meter back to the wiring harness connector
And - here is where they lead! I will make my connections of the other side of the plug due primarily to the larger gauge of the wire and more working room
Here we are now "tapped" in to the Winnebago generator start/stop switch from the Xantrex AGS wiring harness
The color codes are:
__AGS wiring _______________________Coach wiring
Run - 12 - violet__________________________ red
Gnd - 13 - black __________________________black
Stop - 14 - blue __________________________brown
_____16 - gray ___________________________black
Start - 17 - white __________________________yellow
_____18 - gray ___________________________black
The two gray wires are the "other side" of the AGS relay contacts and need to be tied into the black ground. So your coach black ground will have two gray wires and one black wire from the AGS. IMPORTANT: There are several gray wires in the AGS harness - use the correct ones! Refer to the pinout diagram in the instructions!
Now we wire in another thermostat to start the gen on temperature demand:
There was NO easy way to get to the cabinet end over the sink (where the thermostats are located) from the "One Place." I wound up drilling using an 18" long bit and being VERY careful (I mean VERY, VERY careful) from here to there. Fortunately I calculated the angle very closely and only needed to make a slight angle correction to exit in the thermostat area exactly where I wanted. IF you do this, drill SLOWLY and watch the area on the other side. You should be able to correct a mistake without making an unwanted hole
So - is this luck or skill? Maybe some of both! Here is the bit exit right where it was supposed to be located!
The wiring side of the cheap manual thermostat. You need a heat AND cool thermostat although you only use the cool contacts. I cut all of the resistors off of the board and used terminals "C" and "G" which gave me a nice contact closure on thermostat trip and thanks to the lack of resistors, a nice open otherwise
My favorite President (Ronnie Regan) once said, "Trust but Verify." I trusted my thermostat work but thought I should try it out since I was in uncharted waters. Good thing, too! I had to make a couple of minor mid-course corrections!
Finally - pictures of the finished installation inside the coach:
The Xantrex control panel fit nicely into the space of the former Dimensions control panel
And here is the Auto Gen Start control module living on the very bottom. The cables on the bottom of the module are not really very noticeable from a normal viewing position