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johntelling

Generator starting

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Last weekend, my (four 6 v wet cell ) batteries died. I tried to start the generator, but it seems to use the very batteries that are dead. I tried using the switch that connects the chassis batteries to the house batteries to help start the coach motor, but that didn't work. I guess it allows the coach batteries to help the starter, but not the other way around.

Do you think that is the way it is supposed to work (it is a 2005 Fleetwood Excursion, Cat 350, Spartan chassis) because it seems illogical.

I was able to get the generator started by running the coach engine for a while to charge the batteries I was trying to charge. Ironic.

 

JT

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JT, the generator starting power comes from the chassis batteries, but very often the starter control circuit is power from the coach batteries.

So by running the engine - that put enough power in the 4 coach batteries to start the generator.  The  result you got when you tried the use the emergency starting circuit - makes me wounder if the battery connections and the condition of the 12 volt connections at the generator, along with basically dead coach batteries was caused by a combination of things.

Rich. 

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Thanks, Rich. I am replacing the batteries, and will look at battery connections etc when I do so. 

Do you think that the emergency starting circuit should work in both directions?

JT

 

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28 minutes ago, johntelling said:

Do you think that the emergency starting circuit should work in both directions?

Yes it works both ways, the switch is a momentary switch so you need to hold it down. 

Bill

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35 minutes ago, johntelling said:

Thanks, Rich. I am replacing the batteries, and will look at battery connections etc when I do so. 

Do you think that the emergency starting circuit should work in both directions?

JT

 

Have you got a crystal Ball ? 

That same thought crossed my mind, but not having the full wiring drawings it is one of those unknowns for now!

I will be off line for a few days starting tomorrow not because I want to it is a necessity.   So time is not free to dig into it for now.

Rich. 

Looks like Bill has a handle on it and I would go along wit Bill , that it is by directional .

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I do not have all the fancy equipment so I keep a 16 inch jumper cable to connect house a chassis batteries when needed  

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27 minutes ago, DickandLois said:

Have you got a crystal Ball ? 

That same thought crossed my mind, but not having the full wiring drawings it is one of those unknowns for now!

I will be off line for a few days starting tomorrow not because I want to it is a necessity.   So time is not free to dig into it for now.

Rich. 

No, but all the ones I have had hands on experience with were just a solenoid that when engaged made contact between the 2 cables. Yes someone probably makes one with a diode to limit/make the current flow directional but I see no benefit to doing it that way. The whole premise is if one set of batteries are low you can use the outhe to boost them.

Let me know what you find.

Bill

 

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The emergency switch is as mentioned above a solenoid, but depending on which bank the trigger wire is attached, if attached to the dead bank, probably doesn't have enough current to activate the solenoid. In which case may seem to be directional, when in fact if activated, it would be bidirectional.

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My AC is on a Spartan Chassis and it works both ways.  Like Bill said...you need to hold the button or toggle  switch down while turning engine or generator on!  Make sure that no load is on (other than normal gremlins)!

There are some coaches that use a designated house battery for the generator! :blink:

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Typically the boost solenoid is triggered by the house battery because the assist is for starting the engine.  Most generators start off of the house batteries although some have their own separate battery.  If you want to be bidirectional install a diode on each of the battery positive wires to the trigger switch.  That way either bank can activate the solenoid.

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Before you just replace the batteries cause they are dead, expensive, check the dates, recharge fully and have the electrolyte checked with a real hydrometer that tells what the specific gravity is to see if they need replacing.

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30 minutes ago, jhofeditz said:

What are the best coach batteries for the money?

Actually, a much more complex issue that one would expect.

Variables:

What is your current battery bank?  Room for more/different arrangement?

How often do you dry camp?

What are your battery needs (amp-hrs per day) when dry camping  (include use of your inverter)?

Are you willing and able to check water level or is "maintenance free" an important feature?

What converter, charger or inverter-charger do you have (having a huge battery bank with only a small charger is not a good match)?

If dry camping much, do you have solar-- if so, how much? Smart controller?

 

SO, the answer could be as simple as the least expensive pair of golf cart batteries from Sams/Cosco to a couple of Lifeline 8D AGM batteries.

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I have 2 Magnum 2,800  inverters, PSW....8 Napa 6v, AGM's.  2  AGM engine batteries, Interstate.  Not the most expensive...all 10 for $2,230 installed. :wub:

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Considering all the points that Wolfe laid out and all valid. I can not answer to AGM not on my radar as of yet. So that leaves flooded as likely came in you coach. My choice is Crown 260s and a hot second Trojan 105s. Believe me not all batteries are created equal and weight is you best friend when it comes to batteries. The Crowns are presently U.S. made and are more easily obtained in the East but still available in the West with a little effort. A good supplier is in Colorado Springs, Colorado of you Google Crown Batteries. I have had them in the coach for 3 years and expect a ten year life span. If you are shopping price the COSCO. Critical to a long life, is a means to track usage and the recharging especially flooded batteries. This is a lacking feature in most coaches.

If you are a heavy dry camper like we are then it is imperative to use a meter like the Bogart Engineering 2030 SC and the addition of additional solar as opposed to using a gen set all the time is just plain wonderful. The 2030 SC  and the 2030 controller are as close to an MPPT setup as one can get. This conversation could be developed widely with many perspectives. If you are a do it yourselfer then the costs are very manageable and not difficult. Consider a Solar 101-102 read at handybobsolar.com which includes batteries. 

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