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One Relay, Big Trouble!


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#1 crkazebeer

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 04:57 PM

     On a recent trip from Nebraska to Denver Colorado in January in my 2004 Monaco Diplomat the following events happed. I have had this coach for 4 years and with regular up keep it is almost "bullet proof". Conditions were cold, 15 degrees, wind blowing and light snow. With the generator off and inverting for AC we had the TV on in the back and the gas furnace (front and back) keeping us warm and cozy. All of a sudden the TV quit working and my family in the back were complaining about the cold. I pulled off at a rest stop and checked the information panel by the back bath. The inverter had faulted due to low voltage and the house batteries were reading 9.2 volts. The alternator on the engine was working fine but it was not charging the house batteries.Plan "A" was to start the generator and charge the batteries. Also remember, It was cold because the gas furnace fans run off of the house batteries. Oh, by the way the fridge quit working because it needs 12 volts from the house battery to control the system. Well guess what! The house batteries are used to start the generator, after two slow rotations on the generator starter it was clear it would not start. Next thought, use the emergency start switch to pair the House and chassis batteries. Sorry, won't work, they only pair to assist the chassis batteries and will not assist the house batteries to start the generator. After a call to my Tech man "Larry" at Leach Camper in Lincoln Nebraska, (they are great) it was determined that a relay between the chassis and house batteries had failed. Not good news at 4:00 pm on Saturday, 300 miles from home and 15 degrees outside. The engine heater had no chance of keeping up. Temp about 50 degrees in side now. That's when I had an idea, the batteries for the house and chassis sit right next to each other. Why not use jumper cables to start the generator for AC and charge the batteries for the gas furnace? Oh, wait, I never thought I would need jumper cables with all of these batteries and gadgets.Next stop was Flying J for a set of jumper cables. Hooked the cables to the house and chassis batteries and Presto-Change-O the generator fired right up. Wasn't long and all systems were up and running, we had Heat and AC. 

 

Leach camper replaced the relay with a heavy duty one and everything works fine. I will always have a set of jumper cables with me.

 

Cal Kazebeer

F398498

Lincoln Nebraska

 


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#2 DickandLois

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 07:18 PM

Hi Cal,

Welcome to FMCA Forum.

 

Excellent post with the importance of having jumper cables as part of your supplies. Glad that everything ended well.

 

Rich.


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#3 desertdeals69

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:19 PM

Make sure that the solenoid/relay is a continuous duty one.


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#4 crkazebeer

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:40 PM

I guess I wouldn't know the diff. I did notice the new relay seems to click on and off alot. never notice the old one doing that. Can I tell vrom the plate on the new relay?

Cal


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#5 desertdeals69

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:52 PM

If you can find the part number it can be verified.  The outward appearance is hard to determine as they look identical.  The description with the part number should get you the correct one.


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#6 crkazebeer

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:54 PM


Thanks I will take a look and check with the dealer.

Cal


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#7 wolfe10

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:10 PM

Correct, a CONTINUOUS DUTY solenoid is different from an INTERMITTENT DUTY solenloid.  Intermittent duty solenoids are more common, as that is the duty cycle used for starting.


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#8 DickandLois

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:00 PM

Hi Cal.

 

You can test the circuit that drives(powers) the device. A Latching relay requires only a momentary pulse to energize and a solenoid needs a continues 12 volts any time its powered.

 

By connecting a test light across the coil contacts. They are the smaller wires connected to the small terminals.

If its a latching relay you will see just a flash of the bulb and if its solenoid the light will remain on.

 

Should the light flash and the circuit remain on, then its a latching relay.

 

Its hard to tell if its a latching relay or a solenoid with a meter when a latching relay is used on a failed circuit or latching relay coil failure.

 

Rich.


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#9 desertdeals69

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 10:26 AM

The 2 different types of relays look different.  The latching relay is taller because the of the swinging rod that holds the contact washer down.  The application is different.  Usually the latching relay is used as a disconnect for the battery, requiring no current other than to change position.  The other type is used to connect the 2 battery banks together requires current to stay closed.


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