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SpongeBob's Power Management System
10-10-2014, 20:39 (This post was last modified: 10-10-2014 22:21 by travelite.)
Post: #1
SpongeBob's Power Management System
All the magic happens in what Vantare calls the Bay Interface Module (BIM). The BIM is probably the most complex portion of the conversion's electrics. It allows remote control of the 120VAC motorized circuit breakers in the Main Distribution Panel (breaker box). A momentary push button switch panel upstairs in the living quarters lets the user select which loads are on or off. Pushing a switch sends a signal to the BIM instructing the BIM to change the state of the circuit breaker.

To accomplish this Vantare used a product developed by Square D called Powerlink AS. The unfortunate part is that Powerlink AS has been superseded by Powerlink G3 which will soon be superseded by G4... Sigh! (This only proves to me that it's wise to be able to debug and support the AS version rather than chase newer products that seem to have very short lifetimes). Fortunately, there are many NOS parts available for the AS; furthermore, I'm told that the system is very reliable but having a couple spare 15, 20, and 30A motorized circuit breakers on hand seems prudent.

The breaker box houses the Powerlink AS Programmable Interface Module (PIM) which is essentially a programmable controller. The PIM uses a low voltage bus to control each motorized circuit breaker. It does this by receiving Square D Sy/Max commands over an RS232 or RS485 bus. (I'm sure you recall the age old and venerable RS232 and RS485 protocols). Sy/Max is Square D's communication protocol.

The Bay Interface Module receives a signal from the upstairs switch panel, it decodes the signal and translates it into a Sy/Max command and sends it out it's RS485 interface to the Powerlink Programmable Interface Module (PIM). The PIM then signals the motorized circuit breakers to make a change in state. The Bay Interface Module also drives the LEDs at the user switch panel: Green - circuit energized; Red - circuit deenergized; Blinking - load automatically pruned by the Automatic Power Management System.

The Automatic Power Management System is simplicity onto itself. It looks for available shore or generator power. If neither is available it sends a "phase-loss" signal to the PIM and the PIM uses it's internally pre-programmed configuration to prune off pre-configured loads preventing inverter breaker tripping. As far as I can tell, all configuration and circuit breaker state is stored in the PIM and it's fully programmable meaning that I can choose which loads get pruned.

So, the system uses two discrete components from Square-D, the Powerlink AS PIM and the 15/20/30 amp motorized circuit breakers. Vantare then homebuilt their control circuitry implementing Square D's Sy/Max protocol to drive the PIM and to drive the user switch panel LEDs and interface with the switch panel momentary buttons. The Power Management System is gotten virtually for free from the PIM. The BIM contains circa 2000 componentry. I really think that if I should have any issue with the Vantare portion, much of it can be replaced by an Arduino or similar single board computer, which would be a lot of fun! Smile

Here's a pic of the Powerlink PIM (A) in the pic and how it bolts cleanly into the panel box:

─░mage

david brady,
'02 Wanderlodge LXi 'Smokey' (Sold),
'04 Prevost H3 Vantare 'SpongeBob'

"I don't like being wrong, but I really hate being right"
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10-10-2014, 21:13
Post: #2
RE: SpongeBob's Power Management System
VERY INTERESTING , BUT WAY OVER MY HEAD, DR BRADY !!

Now I can have a conversation with benny down there at Parliament hahaha good stuff keep it coming Smile

al perna
2000 LXI
ormond beach fla
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10-11-2014, 01:02 (This post was last modified: 10-11-2014 10:34 by travelite.)
Post: #3
RE: SpongeBob's Power Management System
Hey Al,

When are you and Erika gonna stop by for my specialty flank steak and salad, or scallops and salsa, or my world-class swordfish??? Big Grin You know I'm always looking for an excuse to crack open my favorite vintage of chateau neuf du black box! Say Ernie! Ha! Smile

Folks may wonder what all this power management is about. Well, Vantare is unique among the converters in that all the power goes thru the inverters. Whether it's shore, genny or battery, the inverters see and source everything. The only transfer switches in the system are the transfer switches in the dual Trace SW4024 pure sine wave inverters. The generator can source 60A per leg, the shore 50A per leg, and the batteries 35A per leg, so load management is crucial as the power source capability changes. Imagine parked at four-corners on a cool day of 110 deg F with Fido on board. If you're away and you happen to lose shore power you want to be sure that the four cruiesairs you left running won't trip the inverter circuit breakers. Vantare made sure this won't happen by using its automatic power management system to prune off two cruiseairs allowing the remaining two to run off inverter and battery power. The idea is to not allow loads to overcome the available energy source. Being a geek, I think this is way cool! Cool

david brady,
'02 Wanderlodge LXi 'Smokey' (Sold),
'04 Prevost H3 Vantare 'SpongeBob'

"I don't like being wrong, but I really hate being right"
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10-11-2014, 10:49
Post: #4
RE: SpongeBob's Power Management System
David,
We look forward to a visit , but it will be Fine Reds from our we will be drinking hahaha . we have been running back and forth from Chicago, and King of Prussia, and have 2 more trips before we head south in Nov .

So you loss 110 v and you left Fido and 3 airs running ? Now in BB we will continue to run off of the front air on the invertor for how long ? Not to long as I recall .

so how long will the vantari run the air off battery ? With Lolas we always leave a window open and door unlocked , along with word to the park Mgr on how long we will be gone . Many times we have even hired a child of the park to walk her at a given time Smile Last week Dave & Tina were kind enough to walk Lola daily for us while we were gone for the day . Sure is nice to have BB owners Nation wide Smile

al perna
2000 LXI
ormond beach fla
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10-11-2014, 12:06 (This post was last modified: 10-11-2014 12:45 by dentmac.)
Post: #5
RE: SpongeBob's Power Management System
Hi,
Sounds like a great system with the 2 large Sine Wave inverters (4000 each?-what is charge output? ) and the Power link keeping the breakers etc in one area and not wasting wall space.
The last of the 450's (at least one) got 2 pure sine wave inverters . The others got 2 Vanner modified sine wave and a 2000 pure sine wave in a cargo bay . It seems to run the fridge only.
Of the 4 roof air/heatpumps, the front and rear run through the inverters so they will stay on with a shore power loss. You can set the auto gen start to start at 12.2 volts but sadly that has to be reset every 24 hours . I don't think of setting it everytime I leave the coach for the day, but should.
The 450 has a Smart EMS system (energy management system) having 3 integrated but separate controls. One 50 amp for the shore power-- senses 30 amps and can be set to 20 amps. Sheds loads in preset order as required.
Then two 30 Amp EMS units for each of the inverters. They shed loads as required also.
The Vanners are strong as I understand they will accept overloads without damage better then pure sine wave (but with EMS, who cares?)
Modified sine wave will destroy some small electronic controls and I'm surprised that the TV/ audio receptacles are not from the pure sign wave.
The Vanners have no adjustment for the battery charger voltage .Lifeline battery folks don't like them.
Regards,




(10-10-2014 20:39)davidbrady Wrote:  All the magic happens in what Vantare calls the Bay Interface Module (BIM). The BIM is probably the most complex portion of the conversion's electrics. It allows remote control of the 120VAC motorized circuit breakers in the Main Distribution Panel (breaker box). A momentary push button switch panel upstairs in the living quarters lets the user select which loads are on or off. Pushing a switch sends a signal to the BIM instructing the BIM to change the state of the circuit breaker.

To accomplish this Vantare used a product developed by Square D called Powerlink AS. The unfortunate part is that Powerlink AS has been superseded by Powerlink G3 which will soon be superseded by G4... Sigh! (This only proves to me that it's wise to be able to debug and support the AS version rather than chase newer products that seem to have very short lifetimes). Fortunately, there are many NOS parts available for the AS; furthermore, I'm told that the system is very reliable but having a couple spare 15, 20, and 30A motorized circuit breakers on hand seems prudent.

The breaker box houses the Powerlink AS Programmable Interface Module (PIM) which is essentially a programmable controller. The PIM uses a low voltage bus to control each motorized circuit breaker. It does this by receiving Square D Sy/Max commands over an RS232 or RS485 bus. (I'm sure you recall the age old and venerable RS232 and RS485 protocols). Sy/Max is Square D's communication protocol.

The Bay Interface Module receives a signal from the upstairs switch panel, it decodes the signal and translates it into a Sy/Max command and sends it out it's RS485 interface to the Powerlink Programmable Interface Module (PIM). The PIM then signals the motorized circuit breakers to make a change in state. The Bay Interface Module also drives the LEDs at the user switch panel: Green - circuit energized; Red - circuit deenergized; Blinking - load automatically pruned by the Automatic Power Management System.

The Automatic Power Management System is simplicity onto itself. It looks for available shore or generator power. If neither is available it sends a "phase-loss" signal to the PIM and the PIM uses it's internally pre-programmed configuration to prune off pre-configured loads preventing inverter breaker tripping. As far as I can tell, all configuration and circuit breaker state is stored in the PIM and it's fully programmable meaning that I can choose which loads get pruned.

So, the system uses two discrete components from Square-D, the Powerlink AS PIM and the 15/20/30 amp motorized circuit breakers. Vantare then homebuilt their control circuitry implementing Square D's Sy/Max protocol to drive the PIM and to drive the user switch panel LEDs and interface with the switch panel momentary buttons. The Power Management System is gotten virtually for free from the PIM. The BIM contains circa 2000 componentry. I really think that if I should have any issue with the Vantare portion, much of it can be replaced by an Arduino or similar single board computer, which would be a lot of fun! Smile

Here's a pic of the Powerlink PIM (A) in the pic and how it bolts cleanly into the panel box:

Ross MacKillop
Wiarton Ontario
2006 450 Lxi
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10-11-2014, 19:51
Post: #6
RE: SpongeBob's Power Management System
David- this information is right up your alley. Good mental exercise. I'll probably forget what you wrote when I go open the proverbial box!

Ernie Ekberg
Prevost Liberty Classic XL
Weatherford, Tx
http://www.ernieekbergflooring.net
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10-12-2014, 20:48 (This post was last modified: 10-12-2014 22:24 by davidbrady.)
Post: #7
RE: SpongeBob's Power Management System
Ross,

Good stuff! Thanks for giving us a window into the workings of the M450. If the amperage demand exceeds the Smart EMS's limit of 30A is there some wiggle room in the over amperage before load pruning takes place? For example, a surge current could push you over for a brief period and within the circuit breakers slow-trip specs.

SpongeBob's answer to that is to taper off the charging amperage or to start drawing battery power and syncing with the shore power to satisfy the transient load. It's required that I reach into the inverters to set the shore, generator, and charger max AC amps level. Once I do this then the inverters will do their best to taper off charging or sync up battery power to meet the demand as it exceeds the available shore power.

Al,

I have 8 4D Lifeline batteries which theoretically should power two full-time cruiseairs for three hours, maybe a gnats hair longer if they cycle in the usual manner. With the AC off and using the bus in the normal manner including running the fridge, I've gone 60 hours without starting the generator. The generator auto start is built into the Trace inverters and it's one of the few that actually look at rate of power depletion and not simply voltage.

david brady,
'02 Wanderlodge LXi 'Smokey' (Sold),
'04 Prevost H3 Vantare 'SpongeBob'

"I don't like being wrong, but I really hate being right"
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10-12-2014, 23:07
Post: #8
RE: SpongeBob's Power Management System
WOW!!! 60 hours ? that is awesome Smile

al perna
2000 LXI
ormond beach fla
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10-13-2014, 11:06
Post: #9
RE: SpongeBob's Power Management System
Interesting stuff David......I follow what you are saying about the Automatic Power Management System, and I believe it makes sense that all power be assessed and assigned from the inverters. I'm wondering how Bus-ta-move (aka. Smokey) relates to this issue. With our limited time aboard so far, (fortunately that's about to change in the next week or so) ... I am not very well versed in power management yet. Ransom, our 1978 GB 42 is not nearly as up to date with regard to this discussion. Every thing is manual switches. We are indeed getting "psyched" to be aboard the Lxi for the winter.

chuck colley
'02 Wanderlodge LXi Bus-Ta-Move (aka Smokey)
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10-13-2014, 11:24 (This post was last modified: 10-13-2014 12:38 by dentmac.)
Post: #10
RE: SpongeBob's Power Management System
I'll check into the manuals and answer your questions. As for 60 hours. The 450 gets 10 hr with luck. And that means turning off slide power converter and few other small drains. I expect the main drain is Vanner inverters. Checking into current draws is next project. . There are 8 4d batteries and 2 start 4 d. Because of the incorrect Big Boy in most, they are all connected and drain equally.
In California at the 1st showing of the Premier (2008) ,Ben from BB told me that if I wanted to dry camp,I should have bought a different bus. Wasn't impressed.


(10-13-2014 11:06)chasfox Wrote:  Interesting stuff David......I follow what you are saying about the Automatic Power Management System, and I b4 delieve it makes sense that all power be assessed and assigned from the inverters. I'm wondering how Bus-ta-move (aka. Smokey) relates to this issue. With our limited time aboard so far, (fortunately that's about to change in the next week or so) ... I am not very well versed in power management yet. Ransom, our 1978 GB 42 is not nearly as up to date with regard to this discussion. Every thing is manual switches. We are indeed getting "psyched" to be aboard the Lxi for the winter.

Ross MacKillop
Wiarton Ontario
2006 450 Lxi
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