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Old 12-12-2017, 03:55 PM   #1
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Dead Bird: Digital Gauge for Chassis Batteries?

Well, I guess my BIRD is dead. I have been finishing the Samsung refrigerator install in the back yard and ran too far into winter I guess. I have started the coach and generator monthly with no problems until last weekend. Chassis batteries down to 9.5 volts. House batteries fully charged because I always have it plugged in. OMG. Those are brand new lifeline batteries. I sure hope it didn't hurt them. I charged the system back up after talking to Newmar and the coach started fine. I ordered both the controller and the relay. They should be here by the weekend and then I will change them in 32 degree weather. Battery boost didn't work for me either, but I am glad it didn't given how discharged they were (not good for alternators).

I did find out that the digital multifunction gauge (tank levels, propane, and chassis battery) is pretty much worthless and doesn't tell you much. I was wondering if anyone had installed a led digital gauge to at least monitor the chassis batteries better. I would think you could just tap into the leads going into the MF gauge? I would have caught it if I had something to look at in the control panel.
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Old 12-12-2017, 03:59 PM   #2
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At least this worked out!
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Old 12-12-2017, 04:36 PM   #3
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Not sure what you have done if your coach is always plugged in unless you have removed a ground wire someplace so your BIRD can not charge your chassis batteries.
Here is a link to your BIRD SYSTEM.
Your BCO only reads your house batteries if you pull shore power plug out of outlet, other wise your reading the converter charging voltage.
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Old 12-12-2017, 04:42 PM   #4
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Nice fridge install ! Also wondering about your BIRD........your chassis batteries should of been charged up to a certain voltage per the BIRD , then it should connect the chassis and house together .......Chassis always first to receive a full charge then the BIRD commands a solenoid to close combining the Chassis and house together .
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Old 12-12-2017, 04:48 PM   #5
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Not sure what you mean. Newmar told me how to diagnose the relay. It seems like that is the problem, but I don't want to take any chances draining the chassis batteries again. They are not very expensive parts. Controller just tells the relay what to do. I have not altered the electrical system on this coach at all.

Not much sun where I am now, so I am assuming that the solar panel was doing it's work when the sun was out.
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Old 12-12-2017, 04:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by palehorse89 View Post
Nice fridge install ! Also wondering about your BIRD........your chassis batteries should of been charged up to a certain voltage per the BIRD , then it should connect the chassis and house together .......Chassis always first to receive a full charge then the BIRD commands a solenoid to close combining the Chassis and house together .
From my discussion with Newmar, it is the reverse. Inverter charges house first and then the chassis. That's why they have me checking the relay. Otherwise it makes no sense that the house was fully charged while plugged in.
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Old 12-12-2017, 04:59 PM   #7
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The BIRD operates in conjunction with a continuous duty solenoid to provide the isolator/battery charging functions of a motor home. It senses voltage on the coach and chassis batteries. If the voltage on either one is above 13.1 volts, indicating the battery is being charged, it closes the isolator relay, paralleling the batteries, charging both. It operates in two directions, charging the batteries from the engine alternator and charging the batteries from the converter. These functions are similar but operate at different thresholds.
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Old 12-12-2017, 05:06 PM   #8
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My fingers were faster than my brain ......I typed/posted how the Bird works backwards! sorry..........You are correct, and on the right path with Newmars help........sorry again for my mistake posting.
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Old 12-12-2017, 05:08 PM   #9
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Interesting. What Newmar said is that the house batteries had to be at 13.2 volts for the relay to open and charge the chassis batteries. If the house batteries were at 13.2 V, the test was to verify that the voltage on both sides of the relay were the exact same. They were not in my case. They said the controller simply monitors for these conditions and then opens the relay.

I guess we could all be saying the same thing. I was specifically asking about charging from the Magnum versus the alternator. I guess it would go the other way when the engine was down.
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Old 12-12-2017, 05:19 PM   #10
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I believe these solinoids are normally open, and when the BIRD senses the proper voltage it closes it combining the big wires on the big lugs. When it is open there should only be voltage on one side.
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Old 12-12-2017, 05:27 PM   #11
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Old 12-12-2017, 05:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I believe these solinoids are normally open, and when the BIRD senses the proper voltage it closes it combining the big wires on the big lugs. When it is open there should only be voltage on one side.
The solenoid is normally open. When open, the voltage on each side will be present but different (12vdc from chassis and 12vdc from house). When closed, the voltage will be the same (or nearly so) on both sides (connected together). When closed, if you measure across the 2 big lugs, the voltage should be nearly zero. If it is not zero, either the solenoid has not picked or the contacts are faulty.
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Old 12-12-2017, 05:45 PM   #13
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The solenoid is normally open. When open, the voltage on each side will be present but different (12vdc from chassis and 12vdc from house). When closed, the voltage will be the same (or nearly so) on both sides (connected together). When closed, if you measure across the 2 big lugs, the voltage should be nearly zero. If it is not zero, either the solenoid has not picked or the contacts are faulty.
Thank you! I am giving up tonight..........
Funny, I have had to troubleshoot mine years back and fix it......but I sure balled up all of my posts tonight........again, sorry for my mistakes tonight and thanks for helping to strengthen my bad posts out
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Old 12-12-2017, 06:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
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The solenoid is normally open. When open, the voltage on each side will be present but different (12vdc from chassis and 12vdc from house). When closed, the voltage will be the same (or nearly so) on both sides (connected together). When closed, if you measure across the 2 big lugs, the voltage should be nearly zero. If it is not zero, either the solenoid has not picked or the contacts are faulty.


The voltages should be different on the 2 large lugs until the solenoid is turned on. Measure ground to each lug.
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