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Everything posted by oldjohnt

  1. QuestVent, regarding your GFCI. A GFCI ONLY deals (senses and measures any difference between Hot and Neutral) with current flow that passes through its Torroid Coil and DOES NOT control what's happening upstream and before it. That being said, if there is a load attached with current passing through it and input voltage rises that will affect its load current (Yet its still only the DIFFERENCE in Hot and Neutral current that matters). While the GFCI may or may not have a problem, I don't see it as affecting your genset operation but NEVER SAY NEVER Its possible a fault or short etc that's fed via the GFCI (either direct or downstream via the LOAD terminals) might draw excess current and somehow cause the genny to shut down (or EMS trip) for over current and/or the GFCI to trip, BUT THATS THE FAILT OF THE DEFECTIVE OR SHORTED LOAD,,,,,,,, NOT THE GFCI WHICH IS MERELY DOING ITS JOB CORRECTLY... Any weak or loose or carboned or resistive connections or excess dirt or moisture can affect your gennys, especially electronics and circuit boards etc, operation. John T
  2. I upgraded from wet flooded lead acid to AGM AND AM VERY SATISFIED. I don't have to worry with checking and adding water, believe they can accept a faster/higher charge, HOWEVER their cost was a bit higher. I see no reason why Id ever go back to wet FLA. Now if I (who does a lot of dry camping) were younger and knew Id camp say 7 to 10 more years and/or keep the same RV that long, I'd choose Lithium, that's up and coming technology for long term dry campers. If you're looking at AGM consider the single 12 Volt Deep Cycle units which may be in the 100 Amp Hour range or the Frame size 4D 200 Amp Hour units if you have the space. My 208 Amp Hour 12 Volt Frame Size 4D batteries weight 129 lbs each grrrrrrrrrrrr. I looked at Full River, Lifeline, Trojan and Renogy and there are several other good brands out there. Your money, your space requirements, your budget, your choice John T
  3. Jim & Alice, Congratulations and thanks for the feedback, I appreciate hearing what the problem was. That's one more (among a ton in the past) solenoid failure I can add to my list of causes to your problem. Best wishes, take care John T Live from The SKP Resort in Wauchula Florida
  4. Just FYI and unlike as readily available many years ago, you can buy true Deep Cycle Batteries in EITHER Wet Flooded Lead Acid or AGM in SINGLE 12 volt units to avoid using two six volt batteries in series. IE Two 6 Volt Trojans (or other brands) isn't the ONLY WAY to get 12 volts and still have true deep cycle. There are other brands in addition to Trojan such as for example Rolls Surette and Crown and Interstate etc plus cheaper (perhaps lower Amp Hours ??) units like sold at Sams Club. Of course, so called RV/Marine dual purpose hybrid 12 volt batteries is a cheaper (less energy storage capacity ??) option, although they aren't full true deep cycle and lack their advantages for those (unlike yourself) who do dry camp a lot. For infrequent dry campers the cheaper 12 Volt RV/Marine dual purpose hybrid batteries can "work" but even if a bit more expensive the next step up (my personal advice) would be the cheaper lower amp hour although still "Deep Cycle" Sams Club units. FWIW I agree with the Interstate Battery guy. Prior to a meaningful Load Test the battery needs to be fully charged and if you look at for example Trojans website it describes the proper way to Equalize (Desulfate) which may help revive an abused battery. If you do as he suggested and desulfate then charge it to 100% SOC and then they perform a Load Test NOW THAT CAN ANSWER YOUR QUESTION OF THE NECESSITY OF REPLACEMENT...Once full charged the Load Test can provide the final verdict lol The final decision of using a cheaper lower capacity RV/Marine battery or true deep cycles (be they wet flooded lead acid or AGM) or two sixes in series or a single 12 volt unit is YOURS ALONE subject to your energy requirements use and BUDGET. Your time and research should help you make an informed decision and choose the best option FOR YOUR NEEDS Congratulations and best wishes, let us know what you decide John T
  5. Its been years ago but I recall being taught water, NOT acid, is what one ads since that's what was lost and requires replacement. John T NO warranty, this chemical stuff is over my pay grade lol I would just give them a good charge (as much as possible) then after stabilization perform a voltage followed by a LOAD TEST to decide if and when replacement is necessary. Sure, before add distilled water if necessary.
  6. Master, to answer your questions 1) Is there a way to monitor the battery standing voltage to determine at what age to replace a pair of 12 volt wet cell batteries? NO the standing voltage of a battery at rest and stabilized can provide an indication of its "State of Charge" HOWEVER that ALONE can't predict when its time to replace it, unless of course no matter what's done or how much its charged, it cant ever achieve full charge status meaning its TIME TO REPLACE. If its a flooded lead acid a Hydrometer can indicate EACH INDIVIDUAL CELLS state of charge but again that cant say when its time to replace it, unless of course a cell is totally shot meaning its TIME TO REPLACE 2) Is the age a good guide for both AGM and old style wet cell? NOT necessarily if a battery has had good maintenance, kept well charged, and few of its X number of Life Cycles used up it can last longer then one that's been abused HOWEVER after many years of use sulfation and accumulation eventually start to affect its performance. NOTE another good test which many shops will do for free that can measure a batteries ability/capacity to store and deliver energy into a load is A LOAD TEST. If voltage readings at rest and stabilized plus a hydrometer check if applicable are all okay THEN A LOAD TEST MAY INDEED ANSWER YOUR QUESTION OF WHEN ITS TIME TO REPLACE NOTE regardless of all the above and if your dual purpose hybrid RV/Marine batteries have some age on them, I WOULDNT WAIT TOO LONG BEFORE REPLACING THE WITH FULL TRUE DEEP CYCLE BATTERIES for dry camp purposes. John T
  7. CONGRATULATIONS thanks for the feedback. Indeed any loose resistive connection and resultant voltage drop can cause problems. On starters or other electrical devices with an insulated pass through connector/stud if the inner terminal is allowed to turn the connection may break or become shorted. Good job John T
  8. DITTO to that. I've owned several Onan's and few experienced failed starters. HOWEVER I've NEVER seen a GENERATOR starter fail so badly that it caused the "HOUSE BATTERY" bank (assuming its okay??) voltage "TO FALL OFF FIVE OR SIX VOLTS" as the OP indicated. But likewise indeed saw engine starter motor failures (Dodge 360 or 413 or 440 or Chevy 350 or 454) draw extreme high current grrrrrrrrrrrrrr lol It would take one heck of a HUGE current draw and/or bad batteries to cause a 5 or 6 volt drop. It seems to me if the generator starts fine as soon as the Engine battery comes on line as the OP indicates, the generator starter and solenoid are okay BUT HEY IM NOT THERE AND HAVE NO DATA SO I FOR ONE JUST CANT SAY THE CAUSE. Again this all takes me back to EITHER a bad house battery,,,,,,,,,,,or the house battery bank has a bad frame ground connection (Check house battery ground terminal/post and its cable to frame connection),,,,,,,,,,or some other cable or connection (Maybe bad on POS side ??) DARN IF I KNOW LOL PS Many of the genset starter failures I saw were its starter drive (like spring and plastic screw etc) mechanism failed or stuck even thought the starter motor itself was fine otherwise. I also experienced several generator starter solenoids fail but that didn't cause any 5 or 6 volt house battery drop. Oh well were trying, that's all we can do remotely God Bless yall and best wishes John T Live in the RV from the Florida Flywheelers in Fort Meade Florida. Its HOT here
  9. If one of the house batteries is bad it will drag down the good battery. If voltage is greatly different if one or both are in parallel I SUSPECT THE LOW VOLTAGE BATTERY, HAVE IT CHECKED. Regardless if all else was good (cables and connections and grounds) even only ONE 12 Volt battery (used separate) should crank the genset no problem. That leads back to a cable or ground or connection issue if one battery alone still cant start it. YES there's a starter solenoid on the genset but it seems to be fine when the engine battery and alternator are used to jump start. The fact it starts when jumped makes me think the genset and its starter and solenoid are all okay. Back to a bad battery or cable or ground or connection grrrrrrrrrrrr lol NOTE I dont know how your RV is wired butttttttt the house batteries may use frame ground as a current carrier to the gensets ground cable (also to frame) ground and likewise the engine battery is frame grounded which is the engine batteries current path to the genset ground when jumped. IF THATS THE CASE A BAD HOUSE BATTERY GROUND MAY NOT ALLOW THEM TO START THE GENSET WHILE A GOOD ENGINE BATTERY GROUND (with engine running and relay engaged) ALLOWS IT TO START IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Moral of the story, after batteries are checked CHECK ANY HOUSE BATTERY TO FRAME GROUND CONNECTION AND THE FRAME GROUND CABLE at the house batteries. John T
  10. NO I don't think you need a new "engine" battery. YES house and engine batteries are different items HOWEVER on some RV's when the engine is running a solenoid engages so the engine batteries and alternator essentially jump in parallel to the house batteries to charge them when driving. Typically (maybe not yours???) the house batteries start the genset but if they are bad and your engine starts and its wired to jump house to engine that can allow the genset to start even if the house batteries are low. Have batteries tested then check all cable and ground connections...... John T
  11. Homeless, lets address this one step at a time: 1) Voltage falling off five or six volts: Ifffffffff the batteries PLUS connections are ALL ?? good it would take one huge current draw (like a near shorted generator starter) to drop BATTERY voltage that much. HOWEVER since it starts once the engines alternator and battery essentially jump starts it, I don't see the generator starter as the problem. Since its hard to drop BATTERY voltage (provided they are good???) that drastic, I question just exactly where the voltage is being measured. If measured right at the batteries is one thing but if somewhere downstream there may be an I x R voltage drop. -------------ONE prime suspect is a bad battery (even if new) which a load test at a shop can find. --------------The other prime suspect is a faulty resistive loose/burned cable or connection which may well be one of the GROUND connections. I would check and if necessary remove clean and wire brush each and every ground connection at BOTH the batteries and genset. SO OFTEN A BAD GROUND CABLE OR CONNECTION IS THE PROBLEM 2) Engine starting allows genset to start: On some RV's if the engine is started the engine battery and alternator are then jumped in parallel with the house batteries which charges them plus can jump start/boost enough to start the genset. SUMMARY Have new batteries tested at a shop (many will do that for free),,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Check each and every battery post and terminal connection and cable ESPECIALLY all frame grounds and cable to ground and genset to ground (cable or frame) connections,,,,,,,,,,,,,If you have two sixes in series check that series connection...……..Two twelves in parallel can still have a bad connection but if that's what you have even one battery can start a genset easily Not being there my "pure guesses" remain a bad house battery or a bad cable or connection including the GROUND..Its easy to check all those cables and connections and grounds and if NONE of those are bad have the batteries tested John T
  12. Rusty AMEN TO THAT I've seen several that way. HOWEVER I will say the more expensive spec grade sold at our local electrical supply houses last longer then the cheapies sold at big box store...….Just sayin John T
  13. Hey not being there absent any testing or data whatsoever I CANT PROVIDE THE ANSWER EITHER ???? The GFCI still functions as it ONLY measures the current in versus current out of the two conductors inside the toroid coil. When it started tripping the current in one conductor had to have been at least 0.005 amps different then the other, so it must have been leaking/flowing elsewhere BUT DARN IF I KNOW WHERE AND WHY LOL Nice chatting with you John T
  14. Poohbear, Indeed you're correct, an RV Panel is configured as a SUB PANEL, therefore, the Neutral and Ground Buses are electrically insulated and isolated from each other, UNLIKE a typical homes main distribution panel in which two buses (G & N) may be bonded together (cross tie bar) or even only one common Neutral/Ground buss where BOTH Neutrals and Grounds are attached. A GFCI works by having Hot/In and Return/Out current conductors (whatever they may be) pass through a Torroid Coil and if both currents are the same (as should be unless there's a leak/fault) it doesn't trip, HOWEVER if there's as little as 0.005 to 0.006 amps difference (due to a leak/fault) a voltage is induced signaling it causing a trip. John T
  15. If the GFCI wasn't tripped and still has power (assuming all is wired correct and working??) that means no device plugged into it NOR any downstream receptacles (and their loads) that were fed off its LOAD terminals encountered a ground fault OTHERWISE it would have tripped killing it PLUS any downstream receptacles fed from its LOAD side terminals. HOWEVER if other downstream receptacles were effectively wired off its LINE supply side they are NOT protected nor would they go dead if the GFCI tripped. The GFCI always protects itself PLUS it can be wired so it also protects any regular receptacles wired to its LOAD side terminals. A receptacle cant work unless the branch circuit (consists of a black hot a white neutral and a bare/green ground) is hot with 120 VAC Line to Neutral,, no tripped or open circuit breaker,, and all wires are continuous (no bad wire nuts or other splices) intact and properly connected including where the black hot attaches to the circuit breaker and the white neutral attaches to the panels Neutral Buss Use a light or meter to SAFELY insure the black hot and white Neutral have 120 VAC, if not a receptacle wired to it cant work. NOTE if the circuit breaker is OPEN there's no voltage getting out to that circuit nor any receptacles wired to it, any test for voltage to the circuit and its receptacles needs to be done SAFELY AND PROPERLY FULLY PROTECTED AGAINST CONTACT OR SHORTS with the breaker CLOSED... Open breaker = no voltage on that circuit..... If receptacles are daisy chained together all the connections and wires must be good and continuous. If no even new receptacles are hot (yet panel has sufficient voltage) I suspect the circuit is the problem maybe caused by a bad or tripped breaker,,,,,,,,,,,,,non connection of the hot or neutral in the panel,,,,,,,,,,,,,,bad/open wire nut or butt or crimp connection of wires together,,,,,,,,bad connections in a receptacle,,,,,,,,,,a tripped GFCI which kills it plus any load side wired receptacles downstream. There may be a hidden GFCI that's tripped which would kill it PLUS any load side wired downstream receptacles. Look in bathrooms and kitchens and outside storage compartments and outside receptacles and check the breaker and neutral connections in the panel and any junction boxes and receptacles...……. You can do this just BE SAFE John T
  16. Jim, you're welcome, thanks for the update. Based on it here are a few more thoughts: On units that indeed connect the house to engine battery WHEN ON SHORE POWER there may be a mechanical isolation relay that's engaged under those conditions (or by using an emergency switch). They use a 100% duty rated high current solenoid (resemble old Ford starter solenoids) AND IN 49 YEARS OF RV OWNERSHIP I SAW MANY OF THOSE FAIL. They can develop burned resistive contacts or a missing or broke wire or blown fuse prevents their proper operation. Just last week I helped a buddy remove and repair his isolation solenoid/relay which like yours failed to adequately connect his engine battery to house battery. Still the KISS principle may hopefully lead to easy simple fixes like a broken wire or missing connection or a blown fuse etc...Still find and cure the cause of why the engine battery is discharging ??? John T
  17. Jim & Alice, you state your Dolphin is set up for shorepower recharging, can I assume that means its set up so the RV's Converter/Charger (for house batteries) also has a connection to your engine battery to charge it when plugged to shore power ??? (often NOT the case) If that's actually the case ?? I suspect a blown fuse,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, or tripped circuit breaker,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,or a faulty diode,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,or a bad/open/missed wiring connection between house and engine batteries. If that's the system you have when plugged to shore power Id expect your engine battery to go to 13 to 14 or so volts similar to your house batteries. Stick a voltmeter on your engine battery and see if voltage begins to rise when plugged to shore power??? If it never changes your onboard Converter/Charger must not be connected... I have also seen solid state dual battery isolators used for connecting the house and engine batteries and they can go bad or a wiring connection open. Often an RV has no permanent connection between house and engine batteries UNLESS an emergency switch/solenoid is pushed/activated or there's a simple switch or some sort of a relay to connect the two if and when needed, but many RV's don't use the onboard Converter/Charger designed to charge house batteries to ALSO charge the engine battery. I have seen SEVERAL of those systems that use a 100% duty rated high current solenoid (connects house and engine when activated) fail. There could be a diode wired between engine and house batteries to allow the Converter/Charger to charge the engine battery but NOT allow the engine battery to discharge into your coach loads. If that's the case and its bad or got disconnected and your system is as you state ?? if it is bad or got disconnected the onboard Converter/Charger cant charge your engine battery. REGARDLESS you need to find the cause why your engine battery is discharging and cure that. SUMMARY look for a blown fuse or tripped breaker or a missed wiring connection or a bad diode and make sure the system is as you stated can help other troubleshooting if required. Put your best glasses on and look for wires that aren't connected or fuse holders (round glass or blade type) with blown fuses. I have seen a rats nest of a bunch of wires connected to the battery terminal, maybe its simply that one didn't get reconnected like Darryl was talking about above ?? John T
  18. That's about like You Tube "reviews" you can find one praising a certain product while another condemns the very same one lol. Opinions and anecdotal evidence orrrrrrrrrr scams to promote a vendor or website, is NOT the same as pure technical in depth accurate "reviews". John T
  19. Dennis, Getting back to your original question, for what its worth ??? Here's a review of surge protectors I found interesting. I'm ONLY the messenger remember, no comments otherwise. https://www.rvweb.net/best-rv-surge-protectors-reviewed/ Hope this helps John T
  20. That's (floating Neutral) what the Generlink data indicates. The PDF file I posted states in part (see below) the Honda EM 3000 (assuming that's his exact model and the Generlink data is correct ??) indeed uses a Floating Neutral. If that's the case and if he wants to use it exclusively with his RV, I suggest he hard wire a Neutral/Ground Bond. One purpose of creating a Neutral/Ground Bond (for those gensets utilizing a Floating Neutral) is to prevent an EMS or other protection device from throwing an Error Code... HOWEVER, if he might use it as a home emergency Generator (subject to configuration) and wants to keep his options open I would just go with a temporary cheap n easy Bonding Plug using a typical residential NEMA 5-15P Plug with a wire to connect the Neutral and Ground terminals together. Then simply unplug if used for example at home ifffffffffff configured and described as below. NOTE: If used as a home emergency backup Generator with Neutrals NOT switched (Utility Neutral attached to Genset Neutral) IT SHOULD REMAIN CONFIGURED WITH A FLOATING NEUTRAL !!!!!!! I think we have him pretty well covered, now its HIS decision... John T Honda EM3000 2,800 L14-20 Yes Floating Neutral
  21. NOTE: "Some" (but NOT all, see the link below) Honda models come from the factory with Floating Neutrals and if using one of those an easily created Neutral Ground Bond will prevent a protection device from throwing an error signal. I make my own Bonding Plugs by using a 15 Amp NEMA 5-15P Plug with a short jumper wire connected from the Neutral to the Ground terminals, cheap as dirt and a piece of cake...…...I prefer a Hard Wired Neutral/Ground Bond instead of a plug if the genset is always being used that way. NOTE There should be ONLY ONE Neutral/Ground Bond. That's why in the RV AC Distribution Panel separate insulated and isolated (NON Bonded) Neutral and Ground Busses are required since the single Bond was already created in the parks distribution system. I have a PDF file showing which Honda and other generators have Bonded and which have Floating Neutrals, here's a link (NO warranty to its accuracy, its NOT my data) http://www.generlink.com/files/123356851.pdf NOTE Many onboard from the factory built in RV Gensets such as Onans are equipped with Bonded Neutrals. However, subject to how you use a genset, a Floating may be required in other cases. John T
  22. Regardless of the brand you choose, if you hard wire it inside the RV it reduces the chance of theft PLUS can offer protection regardless if you're connected to shore power or a genset provided its wired accordingly. Many don't use such a device when running off their genset but it shouldnt hurt (see below). NOTE some makes and models of Gensets are purposely configured with a Floating Neutral while others are Bonded. If floating a protection unit will throw an error code which is easily corrected by creating a Neutral Ground bond. John T
  23. Following up on Greg's post. Speaking of GFCI's, I have seen many RV's that used a single GFCI as Kirk pictured above in perhaps the bathroom (some in kitchen) with 2 or more other downstream regular (NON GFCI) receptacles located for example in the kitchen area. In that wiring scheme any regular/normal receptacles located after and downstream of the first GFCI (PROVIDED THE DOWNSTREAM CIRCUIT IS WIRED TO THE LOAD (NOT Line) TERMINALS) also have Ground Fault protection such that any faulty/leaking appliance (Coffer maker or microwave etc) plugged into them will still cause the initial GFCI (maybe in bathroom or elsewhere) to trip WHICH ALSO KILLS POWER to any of those downstream receptacles, like maybe one in the kitchen where a coffee maker etc is plugged ???? Look around (especially in a bathroom) for ANY GFCI's to see if they are tripped ?? There may or may not be an indicator lamp to indicate tripping. They generally have Test and Reset buttons like the picture Kirk posted LOOK FOR GFCI'S,,,,,,,,LOOK FOR ONE TRIPPED,,,,,,,,,,TRY TO UNPLUG OTHER LOADS AND RESET see what happens ????? I have seen RV exterior GFCI receptacles, but often other downstream (like kitchen or bath) outlets DO NOT connect through them, but sure anything is still possible PS just because a GFCI trips (ONLY requires 0.005 or 0.006 Amps of leakage fault current, and that's NOT MUCH) the branch circuit breaker in your panel does not also trip..Be aware of that for safety sake If that's not the problem go back above for suggestions regarding bad connections ……….. John T
  24. JC, here are my thoughts: 1) Four receptacles on a single 20 amp branch circuit is in no way too many. I have seen as many as 10 I seldom specified over 7 2) Are you sure you used a 20 Amp "double breaker" ???? A two pole (double) breaker is generally used on 240 volt appliances as its 240 from L1 to L2. Sure its still 120 from EITHER Leg L1 or L2 to Neutral. I NEVER specified multi wire branch circuits in residential only for some commercial. 3) If there's no power yet the breaker isn't tripped, here would be one order of troubleshooting: THIS ASSUMES THERES GOOD VOLTAGE AT THE PANEL ITSELF ?????????????????? and its ONLY that one branch circuit served by that one breaker that has a problem RIGHT ??? A) With breaker switched OFF, check the black hot wire connection on the breaker itself. I have seen the breaker screws loose and even the insulation wasn't striped back and I have seen breakers that weren't plugged in tight and fully causing a problem CHECK ALL THAT Check the White/Neutral connection to the Neutral/Ground buss bar (where Bare/Greens and/or Whites attach) for that particular branch circuit plus all other circuits C) If BOTH the Hot/Breaker and Neutral connections are good work back through that branch circuit to see if ANY of the four receptacles have power ???????????? D) If NONE, even the first in that branch circuit string, has no power, revert back to A and B above. Insure the wires on every connection screw on the receptacle are good and tight and free of insulation under the screw and if any splices like twist on wire nuts are used CHECK ALL OF THOSE they may not have been installed properly or the wires are broke open or there's heat damage and carbon E) If you locate a hot receptacle in that string but the next is NOT again check for loose screws and broke wires or the insulation wasn't stripped back or splices or wire nuts are bad LOOK FOR BURNED OR BROWN WIRES FOR EVIDENCE OF OVERHEATING F) Often those four branch circuit receptacles are wired daisy chain, In and Out, one to the next and if so of course ALL connections need to be good and tight G) Insure the connection tabs on each side of the receptacles HAVE NOT BEEN BROKEN OFF thereby separating the circuits NOTE heat and carbon and poor loose resistive connections might allow voltage to appear under a no load condition but as soon as you plug in a coffee maker etc it can open and fail. QUESTION do you mean there are four individual receptacles orrrrrrrrrrr there's a multi four outlet device in which NONE of the receptacles are working????????? REGARDLESS check connections and look for heat or burning or carbon at the circuit breaker terminal,,,,,,,,,,,on the Neutral/Ground Buss Bar where the White Neutral and Bare/Green wires attach,,,,,,,,any splices BOTTOM LINE Im thinking a loose or broken wire or a loose connection or bad splice or heat damage (look for evidence of burning). It may be in the panel or one of the receptacles or a junction box or a plug in ?????? Get a non contact voltage tester or else a simple volt meter and start tracing BACKWARDS from the failed outlet to and through all the others upstream to the panel and breaker and Neutral TO FIND ANY GOOD VOLTAGE !!!!!!!! PS If there are any of those pinch/push connected RV receptacles that DO NOT use connecting screws like residential receptacles I HAVE SEEN MANY OF THEM GO BAD Look for lose and burned connections in those causing a problem. John T
  25. Great, a reading of 12.6 volts under those conditions is indicative of a full charge and you're sure welcome FYI but I bet you already know this, a GFCI "receptacle" only senses the current (Line, Neutral, potential Fault) that pass through its coil but not ahead of it. Some use instead a GFCI "circuit breaker" in the panelboard and nowadays Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters AFCI are required. You're really getting on top of this !!!!!!! John T
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