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Old 06-25-2012, 01:45 PM   #1
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Engine not charging house battery

THe engine doesn't charge the house battery while are driving and using the inverter. Battery shows low charge. Battery charges fine on shore power. Engine battery charges fine while driving. Any ideas?

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Old 06-25-2012, 01:53 PM   #2
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My guess is that your "bird" solenoid is on strike. If I understand it correctly, it's supposed to pass current through from your alternator to your house batteries while driving... so long as your house batteries have dropped to a certain level.

Do you know if your "batt boost" switch is working? I think it uses the same solenoid and this could be an easy first thing to check.

We've got a lot of experts on this stuff and I'm sure they'll be along soon.

Best of luck.

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Old 06-25-2012, 02:23 PM   #3
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Ok, how do I check "bird" solenoid and batt boost? Btw, ran generator while driving and battery took an immediate charge, so it's just the engine that isn't charging the house battery.
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Old 06-25-2012, 03:49 PM   #4
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With the engine off, check your voltage reading on the house battery using your one place control panel. It'll probably read something over 12.8v, or there about. Start the engine. The chassis batteries will probably read around 13.6v I believe. Check your house battery voltage again (with engine running this time) and if they're truly not getting charged by the engine, it will read the same as it did the first time you checked it... ~12.8v.

With the engine still running, have someone press and hold the battery boost switch while you monitor the house battery voltage from the one place panel. If the bird is working I would expect your house battery voltage to match your chassis battery voltage while the batt boost switch is being held down because it should be connecting both battery banks together.

Again, I'm certainly not an expert on this stuff but had one of these puppies go bad on me a couple of years ago and our coaches are similar. Hopefully one of the pros will be along soon to help out.

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Old 06-25-2012, 06:36 PM   #5
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when we got our rv the boost solenoid did not pass voltage when it was pulled in. after hitting the boost switch a bunch of times it started working, and has worked since then.
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:25 PM   #6
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Just replaced mine on the Journey. It is also called the "charge solenoid". As soon as the engine is started (or the boost switch pressed), voltage is applied to the soleniod and it connects the house batteries to the chassis batteries. In my coach, it was located in the rear power compartment on the drivers's side holding the tansfer switch and inverter and was behind a metal cover holding 12v house circuit breakers. Removing a few screws holding the panels provides access to it. Mine was a Trombetta 12v continuous rated soleniod - i couldn't find a current rating on it but I suspect it is in excess of 100 amps.
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Old 06-25-2012, 10:47 PM   #7
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Is this a change from before?...Not all rigs are wired to charge the house batteries with the engine - mine didn't until I changed that. But, I do not have a Winnie either

An RV mechanic told me that this set-up was because of a risk to the engine mounted alternator if left connected when the gennie is started.


And the dash mounted "Battery Boost" aka "Start assist" on my rig is a one-way path for power from the house batteries to help start the engine. It didn't work in reverse - until the fix mentioned above.

There's a lot of "nanny engineering" in RV's. But nothing that can't be fixed
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarab0088 View Post
Is this a change from before?...Not all rigs are wired to charge the house batteries with the engine - mine didn't until I changed that. But, I do not have a Winnie either

An RV mechanic told me that this set-up was because of a risk to the engine mounted alternator if left connected when the gennie is started.


And the dash mounted "Battery Boost" aka "Start assist" on my rig is a one-way path for power from the house batteries to help start the engine. It didn't work in reverse - until the fix mentioned above.

There's a lot of "nanny engineering" in RV's. But nothing that can't be fixed
Ask your "mechanic" what happens when an engine starts with a battery charger still connected. Especially in the "Engine Start" mode.
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Old 06-26-2012, 10:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarab0088 View Post
Is this a change from before?...Not all rigs are wired to charge the house batteries with the engine - mine didn't until I changed that. But, I do not have a Winnie either

An RV mechanic told me that this set-up was because of a risk to the engine mounted alternator if left connected when the gennie is started.


And the dash mounted "Battery Boost" aka "Start assist" on my rig is a one-way path for power from the house batteries to help start the engine. It didn't work in reverse - until the fix mentioned above.

There's a lot of "nanny engineering" in RV's. But nothing that can't be fixed
Scarab0088,
I'm not disputing you here but, we've had (4) RVs over the years. Two Class Cs and two As. Each and every one of them charged the house battery(ies) when the engine was running. There are some different ways accomplishing this task but, it was still done. The most primitive way was the old, small mechanical solenoid that looked like the Ford starter solenoid only it was a continuous duty one. Then they went to an "electrical" battery isolator in which no moving parts were present. In my last coach, a '99 Bounder with the F-53 Chassis, has what's called a "BCC" or, Battery Control Center. There's all kinds of electronics and solenoids in that thing.

Our present coach, an '04 Itasca Horizon D/P with the 330 CAT, charges the house batts with the engine running but, I've not dug into how it does it. It may be doing it with the auxiliary start solenoid, I just haven't proved it yet. So far, I haven't had to. But, if you say your rig does not charge the house battery(s) with the engine running, and, let's say your generator is down for some reason, and, you're at the beginning of a camping trip and are camping remotely, then what's going to charge those house batts if some lights are left on accidentally or other appliances?


I guess you could be right here. Just because all of our coaches we've had to it, doesn't mean EVERY coach ever made do it.
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Old 06-26-2012, 10:26 AM   #10
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My BCC uses the "Aux Start" solenoid to charge the house and/or chassis batteries. It all depends on a certain criteria being met to do so. Less/More that XX volts triggers the solenoid to operate/release, and then there is a time delay. The parking brake also has to be set for it to work when parked. I almost wore out my steps figuring out when it did what; key on/off, brake on/off, etc.
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Old 06-26-2012, 02:41 PM   #11
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While many mfgs used a "BIRD" controller setup, Winnebago uses the AUX Start switch to power the AUX START relay in two different ways for something like 2000 and later models. AUX START relay is powered ON when:
1. Ignition wsitch is ON (Engine Run). Yes, this means AUX START relay is always energized when driving so the alternator can charge the coach batteries. Chassis alternator typically runs right at 14.1 Volts so you should see close to that value at the one place when the coach batteries are nearly charged and the engine is running. You will see lower values if either the coach or chassis battery are low (value rises as batteries are charged).
2. User presses and holds the AUX START switch. AUX START relay remains energized as long as the user holds the switch in the momentary position. Coach batteries are used to assist the engine battery for starting the engine.

2006 Itasca Meridian 36G Wiring diagram TOC: Table of Contents

As shown on the last page of http://www.winnebagoind.com/diagram/...ire_152113.pdf, the Coach Battery Disconnect relay "does not" have to be energized to use the AUX Start relay on this coach.

The problem in this case is either the AUX START relay is defective (most likely case), AUX Start switch on dash (on dash left side of steering wheel above fog light switch) is broke, wiring to from switch/relay, or something wrong in chassis circuit to smaller AUX Start relay.

AUX Start solinoid is loacted in front electrical box as shown on pdf page 3 of http://www.winnebagoind.com/diagram/...ire_152098.pdf.

For momentary AUX START switch position, power to the switch (circuit LS) comes from the 15 amp Radio CB in the forward electrical box.

For engine run, power is provided to the switch (Circuit LLJ) via an additional AUX START relay (not sure where it is located, pdf page 3 of http://www.winnebagoind.com/diagram/...ire_152113.pdf). Ignition ON signal (circuit LLH) is supplied to the relay to energize it.

Dave

PS: on the 2000 to roughly 2005 Winnebagos, the coach converter (or inverter) did not charge the chassis battery via the AUX Start relay. Parasitic loads were known to pull down the chassis battery in storage. Winnbago started adding a Trick-L-Start around 2005 to many rigs so the converter could charge the chassis battery via the AUX start relay (Battery Disconnect switch has to be ON to use this feature). Winnebago recommends adding a Trick-L-Start to earlier rigs that have parasitic load issues draining the chassi battery during storage (http://www.winnebagoind.com/resource...ik-L-Start.pdf).
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Old 06-26-2012, 05:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIRE UP View Post
Scarab0088,
I'm not disputing you here but, we've had (4) RVs over the years...But, if you say your rig does not charge the house battery(s) with the engine running, and, let's say your generator is down for some reason, and, you're at the beginning of a camping trip and are camping remotely, then what's going to charge those house batts if some lights are left on accidentally or other appliances?
I guess you could be right here. Just because all of our coaches we've had to it, doesn't mean EVERY coach ever made do it.
Scott
EXACTLY!!! I might have something broken in the coach, but everything else works well and has all along.

I found this out when I drained the house batteries the first time I put the coach in storage (didn't think about the propane sensor). After 8 days, I went to check it in the storage lot. The house bank wasn't dead, but didn't have enough juice to start the gennie.
No problem, I thought. Just start the engine and it should charge everything - nope.
So I thought, maybe the "Start Assist" button (a momentary switch on the dash) would create a circuit to charge the house bank - nope...the owners manual specifically states the Start Assist will momentarily transfer power from the house battery to help start the engine if needed.

I ended-up jumping the house bank with my truck to get the gennie started. So, now the house battery is always disconnected when stored

I installed a fused/switched cross-over cable to "fix" the quirk, but reading this thread has inspired me to research it more deeply to see if maybe there's something wrong
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Old 06-26-2012, 05:29 PM   #13
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When I got my Breeze, the propane detector was always on. I took apart the control panel and found some taped up, switched 12V leads. Reconnected to them and now the detector is only on when the house battery switch is turned on.
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Old 06-26-2012, 07:54 PM   #14
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Here's an old thread with a bunch of good info: Yet another solenoid bites the dust! It's long, but it's worth a read. As detailed in the thread I ended up switching to the silver contact relay with some series resisters to drop the voltage a bit.
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