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huffypuff

Battery replacement not going so good.

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I decided to replace the house batteries because they are 6 years old and we will be dry camping in Quartzites, AZ the last week of January.  Everything worked before removing the batteries yesterday or when last parked a few months ago.  When I went to install the new batteries today I noticed the front steps was only about 3/4 on the way out.  Odd I thought as how they could move without battery power.   I cut all power to the batteries before disconnecting them and reinstall the same as the old ones with clean cables. 

I got four 6 volts GC2 types of about 210 amp hours batteries.  They are wired in series and parallel to make 12 volts and about 420 amp hours with temperature sensor.  The batteries  I got from batteries plus bulbs was in stock but dated 09/18 which makes them 3 months old.  I didn't expect that to be a problem and the fact that each battery was about 10 oz low which I added distilled water.  When I got it all install I turned on the main switch and it had only 11.6 Volts.  I plugged in shore power and the inverter/charger started charging at a rate of 15.1 volts and 85 amps bulk charge.  I went through setup and made sure it's set to  400 or less and flooded batteries.  I also set the search watts to 10 watts which has something to do with taking out of sleep mode.  I'm not sure of the setting but choices are 3 watts to 50 watts.  If someone know a best setting let me know.  After charging a few hours I check on it and now down to 13.9 volts 35 amp float charge.  I hope to see better after charging overnight.  

The front step did not turn back on and neither did the patio awning.  The CO detector was flashing orange  but turn to solid green when I checked for propane flow at the stove.  I turned on the ignition, open and closed the door flip the dash switch to reset the steps but nothing.  Tomorrow I will try to reset it direct at the step motor as owners manual refers to sensor and fuses.  One for the motor 25 amp and another for the sensors 7.5 amps.   I gotta get that fixed as can't go anywhere with steps down.  

   

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Ray, Battery Hydrometer readings,(battery voltage readings) A fully charged battery will test at 1.275 - 1.280 while a discharged battery will read in the 1.140 range. Do not perform a hydrometer test on a battery that has just been watered. The battery must go through at least one charge and discharge cycle in order to permit the water to adequately mix with the electrolyte.

Regarding the step issue. Sounds like it has been a few week or a couple of months sense they have been cycled and I know you keep them lubricated.  So I would check the primary ground connection - that grounds to the step steel frame and that the frame has a good ground to the chassis. Then check the motor power connection and the control board connections.

Rich.

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3 hours ago, DickandLois said:

Ray, Battery Hydrometer readings,(battery voltage readings) A fully charged battery will test at 1.275 - 1.280 while a discharged battery will read in the 1.140 range. Do not perform a hydrometer test on a battery that has just been watered. The battery must go through at least one charge and discharge cycle in order to permit the water to adequately mix with the electrolyte.

Regarding the step issue. Sounds like it has been a few week or a couple of months sense they have been cycled and I know you keep them lubricated.  So I would check the primary ground connection - that grounds to the step steel frame and that the frame has a good ground to the chassis. Then check the motor power connection and the control board connections.

Rich.

 

2 hours ago, bm02tj said:

Check each 6 volt battery then check the pair 

you may have one bad battery 

 

After they charge 24 hours will see what voltage the batteries come up to.  If not all fully chage in that time it be time to take them apart.  Rich i thought about them being watered down as part of the problem and three months shelt life also. I have to give it time before I panic. I added the water during installation when it was easy. 

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6 hours ago, huffypuff said:

The front step did not turn back on and neither did the patio awning.

I'm scratching my head! You did everything exactly as I would have (disconnected them from the circuit before pulling cables). The only thing I can think of since you didn't ark the cables or cross polarities is a defective battery that your meter isn't catching due to the series wiring. I guess all we can do is wait to see if its some sort of fluke that goes away once the batteries stabilize and if not test them individually. 

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Please don't torch me here, as I don't know a whole lot about electricity. If I can't see it, touch it, smell it or sometimes taste it, I don't want anything to do with it.

Having said that, I seem to remember that sometime--a long time ago--I was told to touch the battery cable to the battery post, pull away and then attach the cable back onto the battery. Why this was I don't remember but it might be something to try if your batteries all test good.

Again, my disclaimer as to my expertise: I used to think that putting electrical tape over the outlets on the walls would keep the electricity from running out on to the floor.😊

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As for the steps, had that happen to me but in my case the step was free floating. Came out about 1/3 the way but moved like a swing.  Friend told me to keep the step turned on, go out and pull/push on the step. That's what I did and it reset the control board, I think.  Hey, what do you have to loose.

 

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8 hours ago, jleamont said:

I'm scratching my head! You did everything exactly as I would have (disconnected them from the circuit before pulling cables). The only thing I can think of since you didn't ark the cables or cross polarities is a defective battery that your meter isn't catching due to the series wiring. I guess all we can do is wait to see if its some sort of fluke that goes away once the batteries stabilize and if not test them individually. 

This morning the charge was float 14.0 volts at 0 amps.  
I disconnected shore power and the batteries was at 13.5 volts and dropping.  I gave it an hour to see how it goes.  When I checked later the basement heat kicked on and batteries was reading 12.3 volts under that load.  I plugged the shore line in and charger went to 15 volts and 85 amps bulk charge.  Later when basement heat has cycle off charge rate dropped to  14.5 volts absorb charge.  Looks like I be load testing them all  individually tomorrow.   

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4 hours ago, wayne77590 said:

As for the steps, had that happen to me but in my case the step was free floating. Came out about 1/3 the way but moved like a swing.  Friend told me to keep the step turned on, go out and pull/push on the step. That's what I did and it reset the control board, I think.  Hey, what do you have to loose.

 

I tried that this morning and heard a faint buzz but no movement.  Later today I'm going to shut all batteries off and try again when turned back on.  

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Puff, have you tried to Equalize that battery bank to de-sulphate the plates with the charger and see how that turns out? I know...they are new and you shouldn't have to but.....

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I haven't read all the fine print in this thread, but I did notice one thing....front steps and house batteries being changed.  Don't know about HR, so this might be a mute point, but on my coach the chassis batteries power the steps, not the coach batteries.

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Huff,

I would start by disconnecting the linkage between the electric motor and stairs to determine if the problem is the stairs binding or that the motor isn't producing any torque.

Jim

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OK during lunch I shut down chassis and house batteries and check all house batteries with voltmeter.  They all check out at  6.5 - 6.6 volts.  Turn main switch back on and voltage reading is 13.2 volts.  The basement heater turn on and voltage dropped half a volt to 12.7 volts.  It appears that the batteries are good but the basement heater draws lots of amps.  As for the step, while I  was looking at the control panel and I heard the front step.  I went to look and it closed from 3/4 to about 1/3.  I'm hope I can disconnect the motor run it in or out to reset it.  That has to be done tomorrow.  

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I believe the travel on the stairs monitors the current (amps) when the stairs reached full travel in or it, the current increase to a high set point and the power to the motor is interpreted. The controller automatically reverses the polarity of the power supply to the motor and moves the stairs in the opposite direction when activated again.  If the friction in the stair linkages is to much it will automatically stop in a mid position, thinking it has reached its end of travel.

Jim

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4 hours ago, F433921 said:

I believe the travel on the stairs monitors the current (amps) when the stairs reached full travel in or it, the current increase to a high set point and the power to the motor is interpreted. The controller automatically reverses the polarity of the power supply to the motor and moves the stairs in the opposite direction when activated again.  If the friction in the stair linkages is to much it will automatically stop in a mid position, thinking it has reached its end of travel.

Jim

I know the steps themself is not jammed as I can shake them back and forth with some play.  I will have to take the motor off and bench test it and see if anything is binding.  Looks like it has to travel all the way in before it will come out.  I looked underneath and I can see the big gear move with the only thing stopping it is the motor itself.   

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I checked the monitor panel tonight and the float charge rate is 13.9 Volts 0 amps.  I guess that means they are fully charged or close to that.  

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Ray, Unplug the motor from the control board harness. Using a 12 volt battery charger/10 amp setting. Connect it to the motor cable, that will run the motor in - or out it does not matter.

Caution !!!  When you connect power to the step motor  Do Not Lay under the steeps !  It can get very tight between them and the ground real quick. With the step motor connected directly to a power source, the current limiter circuit is not enabled!

This process re sinks the step location to the motor gear stop point(s)  CYCLE the motor in and out, if the door is closed - run the steps in to the closed point / remove the power - reconnect the motor power cable to the control board / harness. It should then work fine. Had this same problem happen 2 times over the years. 

Loosing power at exactly,  the right or wrong time . depending on how you look at it - The motor gearing to step gets stuck in never never land. 

It happens when the door is opened an quickly pulled closed or open at that never never point.

Happy New Year !

Rich.

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I couldn't get enough ump to the motor using the power probe with 50 foot extension.  I had lots of fun removing the motor with six small spacers on three long bolts.It appears to run fine on the bench so I wire brushed the gear and applied a coating of anti-seize .  step_motor.thumb.jpg.3c91306bb67f7699857e3cefc09b8076.jpg

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1 hour ago, manholt said:

Ray, don't forget to lube your step at all joints.  Inside/outside.

 

40 minutes ago, F433921 said:

Is there anyway to grease the input shaft?

Jim

The steps moves freely with the motor out.  These steps require very little lubrication as per Lippert Coach Step manual page 4 

 https://www.lci1.com/assets/content/support/manuals/Steps/CCD_0001619.pdf

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Looks like bad motor after all probably the internal gears or windings.  Even though it ran on the bench it wasn't fast and may have internal problems.  After reinstalling the motor it still wouldn't run unless I hook up my 900 amp auto jump box.  Then the motor wouldn't bring the steps all the way up but will bring them down.  To make matters worse, I think it burnt out the controller.  I ordered both the controller and motor on Amazon and will install and test the operation of the motor first.    Once that pass I will plug in the old controller and see if it will kick on.  If not I will install the new controller.  If the old  controller works then I will return the new controller.  These parts are expensive.  

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019QGLWT6/ref=ppx_od_b_detailpages01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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