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rcieslak67

Dead Starting Batteries

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We purchased a 2009 Holiday Rambler Scepter in November and after 1 1/2 months of camping encountered dead starting batteries.

Our diesel pusher Expedition had the inverter charge the house and starting batteries. Is something I need to turn on with this motorhome

that would allow the chassis batteries to receive a charge when hooked up to shore power?

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wolfe10   

Some, but clearly not the majority have some means of charging the chassis battery bank in addition to the alternator.

So, first question is: does your coach have one?  Check with your coach maker for the answer.

If the answer is no, there are several options:

Small, dedicated smart charger

Smart "thief" device that takes some power from the house bank when house bank is above a certain voltage (house battery bank being charged by your inverter/charger when on shore power or generator).

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I added a small charger/inverter yesterday and it has charged the starting batteries back up to 54% from less than 20%. Just surprised that I would have to do

that on such an expensive motorhome when new.

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67,

I had a similar issue with our coach. Had a trickle charge in the coach. it had a difficult time keeping my batteries charged. Turned out one of my two 12 volt chassis batteries was bad. Changed out both and now the trickle charger keep then up very well. I have mentioned this before but will tell it again.

Most diesel coaches have a built in block heater. In most cases it is on a power cord that has to plug into a receptacle in the engine bay. That receptacle is only hot when on shore power or with the generator running. I mounted my trickle charger in the battery bay and connected it to the batteries. I then unpluged the block heater cord and plugged the trickle charger in the the receptacle . Now any time I am on the gen. or shore power the charger maintains the charge in the chassis batteries.  

A few but not many inverters will charge both house and chassis batteries.   

Hope this helps.

Herman 

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Our inverter/charger was never set-up to charge the chassis batteries.  Agree, that was pretty odd given the manufacturer/price etc..  This was a design condition when we bought it new.

Did the same thing Herman describes above.  Ours is a Battery Tender brand plugged into the 120v outlet in the engine compartment.

Blake

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manholt   

Since I don't have a 120V in engine compartment, I have my Tender hooked up in bay, when camped for more than a few days. by a extension cord.  Glad my Block heater is a flip of the switch away! 

rc.  Do you have acid batteries or AGM's?

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campcop   

Our Phaeton chassis batteries were not charged by the inverter but had a seperate charger near the chassis battery compartment.

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Holiday Rambler came equipped with a digital echo charger. Mine was in the battery compartment and got wet over and needed replacement.  I moved it to a dry location when I replaced it.  Check yours-- it should have a green light.  If it doesn't, it will need to be replaced. 

Check link below to see what it looks like.  

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/xantrex--digital-echo-charge-battery-charger--333669?cm_mmc=PS-_-Google-_-GSC%20-%20Product%20Type-_-333669&product_id=333669&adpos=1o1&creative=108421552324&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&mrkgadid=3085587794&mrkgcl=481&rkg_id=h-56101c905b29170091baa1f800ad7a7c_t-1515964156&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI4Ov7xK7Y2AIVkbbACh0mUQAeEAQYASABEgK-ffD_BwE

 

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FIVE   
All these coaches are different when it comes to what is charging what. FWIW, here's how mine work:
 
- When plugged into shore power. Coach batteries are charged. When that charge reaches 13.3, the system lets the charge pass through the coach batteries and the chassis batteries are charged, as long as that charge rate is 13.3 or higher.
 
- When driving. Chassis batteries are charged. When that charge reaches 13.3, the system lets the charge pass through the chassis batteries to the coach batteries and the coach batteries are charged, as long as the charge rate is 13.3 or higher.
 
It might not make sense, but that's how it works.

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abyrd   
1 hour ago, manholt said:

FIVE.  Wish it did on mine.  But, they had 4 years to work on it, between you and me!

 

Carl,

 

I converted mine to work like Five's.  It an easy conversion, you replace the solenoid that allows you jumper the coach bank to the  chassis battery in an emergency.  I will get the date sheet on the smart solenoid and post.  Cost less than $100 and 10 minute job on my coach.

 

Jim

 

 

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abyrd   
2 hours ago, manholt said:

OK.  Jim, but will it work with multiple inverters?  I have 2 inverters at 2,800W each!

Carl,

I only have one inverter/charger, I don't run the I/C in the charger mode when the chassis engine is charging the batteries.  When driving down the road the I/C in on in the inverter mode providing power to residential and chassis engine alternator is charging both battery banks.  When driving with generator running I have the I/C inverter and charger both OFF.

If you are running three battery banks ( 2 coach & 1 chassis) you would need 2 of the smart solenoids.  You would have to check with the I/C manufacturer to determine if you can run both I/C in the the charging modes at the time on battery banks that are in parallel.

Jim

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obedb   

If you own a motorhome you should know how to use a  multimeter.  When hooked to park power, check the coach batteries for voltage. Should be at least in the high 13 volt range. Then Check the chassis or starting batteries for voltage. If you have just shut down, your starting batteries should be in the high 12s if your coach does not automatically charge. Then figure out a way to keep the starting batteries charged for lengthy stays. A trickle charger is a good choice. 

I use a method that our Dear Moderator, Brett  warns about. Pull apart a set of jumper cables and use the red cable  to hook to the closest positive  terminal on house batteries  and then hook to the positive terminal on the starting batteries. All of the batteries have a common chassis ground. Works every time for me.

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I purchased a Sears battery charger/maintainer and it has a digital read out, when I installed it the first time, the readout indicated 20% charge.

After 12 hours of charging, starting batteries are now at 99% charge and I'm continuing to keep the charger/maintainer installed until I decide just what

I want to do.

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manholt   

rc.  Take a regular volt meter  reading of your batteries, one at a time...the old fashion way!  What are the Amp reading and voltage reading?

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rc,

This is how I check my batteries. I make sure they are fully charged. (if they will not charge then they are bad) I have a battery load tester and will test each battery on its own.

on a fully charged battery it will read close to 13 volts. Then I put a load on each. It will read in the Green = good, Yellow = marginal, or Red = Bad. You can have one battery reading in the Green and one in the Red. Even if the coach starts after being fully charged but you have  one bad  it will draw down the good one. Do not replace just one but both of them. 

Some coaches can have batteries that will last for years and some that will eat up batteries in no time at all. There are Demons that will have a constant draw and lower the life of your batteries. :angry:  That is why I have a trickle charge,r permanently mounted, that will monitor and maintain my batteries at all time. :)

Herman 

 

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