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Old 05-25-2013, 07:00 AM   #1
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Large power draw on chassis battery '94 Kountry Star

Does anyone have a problem with a large power draw on their chassis battery while parked? My 1994 Kountry Star does not have a disconnect for the chassis battery, only the house batteries. I have found that even after fully charged, if I park the MH for about a week, the battery is too weak to start it.

I have put a manual disconnect on the battery in the mean time, but it is kind of a pain having to pop the hood each time.

Also kind of concerning, because when camping, the chassis battery is kind of your last resort for power (at least in my mind). I can easily see the following bad scenario:

1. House batteries dead, no problem, just start the generator.
2. Generator is actually tied to the chassis battery. Chassis battery has gone dead from sitting, no generator.
3. Start engine. Normally last resort to get some power, since the alternator will charge the house batteries as well. Oh wait, chassis battery is dead. Battery boost function not going to do any good either.

Also, for the record, do others have the generator tied to the chassis battery? That seems odd. I would think I SHOULD be able to disconnect the chassis battery and camp my little heart out, but if I need the genny, I need the chassis.
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Old 05-25-2013, 07:29 AM   #2
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Lots of different ways to wire these coaches. My generator starts from the chassis batteries. But I have a B.I.R.D system that allows me to connect the battery systems for whatever reason with the emergency start button. My chassis battery will discharge over 2-3 weeks. I did install a battery disconnect. We don't boondock much so dead batteries are not a huge problem. You can pick up a "jump box" to take with you. You can pick one up with around 1200 watts for about $100.00. Then you have a backup that is not subject to any draws from your coach. A week to run down does seem a little quick. If it is a starting battery and is being repeatedly run down and recharged it will not last very long.
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Old 05-25-2013, 07:51 AM   #3
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Your Gen SHOULD start off your house batteries unless if its a DP.
Your chassis battery should have a small solar panel on roof with the red led on dash to indicate its charging the chassis battery.
The solar panel is only to make up for current draws from your RADIO, LP detector, ECM,TCM if electronic.
The LP Detector has a switch in display area to shut off its power feed to it.

You need your coach description in your signature to make posting easier.
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:18 AM   #4
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Sorry, for clarification, it's a 1994 Kountry Star gas model.

I'm not familiar with any solar for the chassis. There is solar for the house batteries (not sure what wattage, kind of curious. There's 3)
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:23 AM   #5
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Quick followup based on last info from 007. (I do my best thinking in the shower )

From the chassis battery, there are 3 large positive cables connected. My assumption is that these are a) the actual chassis connection, b) the levelling jacks and c) the generator. Would there be any harm in moving the generator connection to the house batteries assuming the connection is long enough to reach? I assume the genny is just grounded to the chassis itself somewhere and no actual cable would need to be connected, or is there more to it than that?

My radio and at least one gas alarm are actually ran off the house batteries. The alarm is mounted higher on the wall (in addition to one right below it on the floor level) and has an indicator light. It definitely goes off when the house batteries are off. Same with the radio. I actually always thought this was a neat idea, as that way I can listen to tunes even with the engine off. Note that the radio has definitely been changed out (I'm sure 1994 didn't have much in the way of 10 CD changer packs with remote control, and the dash actually has storage bays for cassettes, which the radio will not use)

Any hints on where on the dash the red indicator light mentioned should be? I looked over everything pretty closely before I took it out, and the only red indicator light on the dash was a warning for when the jacks are down, unless I totally missed it.
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:41 AM   #6
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Sorry I misspoke (mistyped). My generator starts from thecoach batteries when the isolation relay is open. Most of my reading indicates this is usually the case.
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:07 AM   #7
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Buy or borrow a clamp style amp meter. It has a claw like end that goes around your battery leads and senses the current flow passing through the wire. With everything off you should see a current reading on it if there is a draw on the battery. Start pulling fuses 1 at a time until you see the current reading go to zero. Whatever the last fuse pulled was for is causing you draw.
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:21 AM   #8
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Hi omegacanuck,
I looked through the 1994 Newmar brochure. Me thinks you do not have a roof solar charger for the chassis battery. There will be no red charging light on your dash. Go to http://www.newmarcorp.com/uploads/br...94/1994ksb.pdf to read and download the brochure for your coach. Not knowing all the details of the battery and coach, my suggestions are:
1. Carry a portable battery charger (with booster for quick start) and or a portable starting battery. I carry both.
2. If the chassis battery is sealed (no place to put water) consider placing a clamp on AMP meter to the positive post. With everything off, this will tell you if there is an AMP draw and how much it is.
3. If the battery will accept water, make sure the water is just above the plates. Use only distilled water. Check each cell with a hydrometer.
4. With the chassis battery fully charged, take a VDC reading. The reading should be 12.6 VDC or more.
5. Let the battery sit for a couple of days with nothing on, except the parasite draws. Check the VDC again. It should remain within .1 VDC of the reading in step #4.
6. If any of the VDC readings mentioned above do not check out, take the battery to your local auto parts store. Have them do a load test. The load test will tell you if there is a dead cell or if the battery is shot. It will not tell you if the battery almost worn out.
7. Based on the results of these steps, consider replacing the battery.
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:29 AM   #9
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Hi omegacanuck,
There should be no problem moving the positive cable going to the generator to the coach batteries. My assumption is there is enough battery(s) there to start the generator.
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:35 AM   #10
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I'm pretty sure the battery itself isn't the problem. It's brand new. The last battery froze in the winter (not knowing how much drain was on it, likely fully discharged and then it got cold). Not to say that a brand new battery can't be bad, but with the manual disconnect on it, it holds a charge fine. Might have to try the fuse trick.
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Old 05-25-2013, 11:54 AM   #11
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I can see you have some different options back in 94 as Gary said I can agree and GEN can be move to house batteries for start the Gen, ground cable would be to your chassis frame as your house neg battery cable is.

The lower alarm is the LP Detector the higher one maybe smoke or CO2 detector.

The small solar panel you could add you must not have it.

As someone mentioned a knife switch on ground cable for chassis battery would clear that battery from discharge.

All this would be null if you have the BIRD System and can keep your shore line plugged in to 110 outlet while in storage or not in use.
The BIRD System would keep both house and chassis batteries fully charged.

Coach 12v wiring system. Some of this wiring may or may not apply only for reference.
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Old 05-25-2013, 12:00 PM   #12
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They put so many different things on the batteries. My last coach ( winnebago ) had the steps connected to the chassis battery. I had to take the step light out as it would make the battery go dead if I left the door open.
I put a battery disconnect on it and would use it only for longer stays when boondocking, or when parking at home.
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:47 PM   #13
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Its on the chassis battery for safety reasons in case you have house batteries cut off switch off, when you open the door you will have steps out and not fall to ground.
If your screen was shut the step light should be off, if not there is a trouble with step control door switch or brake pedal switch.
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Old 05-26-2013, 06:06 AM   #14
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Well, turns out I won't be moving the generator cable to the house batteries :( Cable that was long enough to reach was the one for the levelling jacks. Genny cable isn't long enough to reach the house batteries. I'll have to continue to try to see what the source of the drain is. Thanks for all the info.
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