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Old 04-05-2015, 09:59 AM   #1
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Batteries discharging when on shore power

We have a 2004 Alpine Coach.

I purchased new house and engine batteries last month. I still had electrical problems and took it in for repairs. They found that I needed a new transfer switch, which they replaced. At that time they found that the problem was still there and found a 0.25 amp switch needed to be replaced in the inverter. (I hope that wasn't the problem all along.)

After that repair, everything seemed to be working fine. The Xantrex had stopped flashing and the inverter worked to run the residential refrigerator and everything seemed fine. The generator powered all the 110 v.

We traveled with the RV and plugged into shore power. Everything worked. However after we were there two days, the batteries had lost almost all power. They were not being recharged using shore power. I was able to recharge them using the generator.

Is there some sort of switch that needs to be turned on for the shore power to recharge the batteries? And why would the batteries drain anyway when plugged in?

Bill Vietti
Shawnee, KS
2004 Alpine Coach
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Old 04-05-2015, 10:07 AM   #2
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Which batteries are running down? The engine or the coach batteries? If it is the coach batteries you need to measure the incoming AC voltage to the charger.
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Old 04-05-2015, 10:21 AM   #3
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If your genset recharges all your bats but shore power does not--the problem points back to the transfer switch. Since everything down stream from the x-fer switch is the same for genset or shore power, it appears no shore power is getting passed the x-fer. However, the inconsistence with your observations is that the rest of the 120v functions appear to continue working on shore power???? At this point I am thinking your inverter is providing 120v from the bats, thus causing your to think the shore power is otherwise working, Curious, do your roof A/C units work on shore power?

Ref your post on brake issues and your admitted lack of experience with "all things mechanical," I think I would look for an experienced RV owner or trustworthy local mechanic [sometimes hard to find] in the area to mentor you on basic RV ops. Once you get a baseline of knowledge established, these issues will be easier to diagnose and resolve. Right now, you run the risk of spending/wasting a lot of money chasing symptoms rather than root causes.....keep us posted
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Old 04-05-2015, 10:27 AM   #4
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Not all motor homes are set up to charge the house batteries while just on shore power....my previous Safari was that way.

Solution? Purchase and install a Trik-l-start....about $50 and very simple to install. Requires NO 120vac (unlike a battery maintainer) and only three small wires to connect.

This (or its big brother: Amp-l-start) will take care of your problem.

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Old 04-05-2015, 10:43 AM   #5
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The Alpine is designed to charge the bats thru the inverter while on shore power....the typical "trickle" charger doesnt have the capacity to maintain house and chassis bats....
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Old 04-05-2015, 11:48 AM   #6
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I assume your coach has the same Freedom 458 inverter remote panel that my '04 came with. When you are plugged into shore power (or the generator is running), the charger should turn on by default. Is the green LED for the charger on? When it is on, you should be able to read the amount of amps going to the batteries using the DC Amps scale above the inverter button.

It should stay on as long as you are plugged in. It does not turn off after a period of time. (Or at least it shouldn't.) It will change the charge status from "charge" to "acceptance" to "float" mode eventually.

My new Magnum inverter remote does the same thing. Most inverters should be similar in function even if you have something other than the 458 remote.

If you indeed do have this inverter remote, download a copy of the instruction manual from the internet. Since it is new to you as a second owner, and the inverter was worked on by a mechanic per your original post, I suspect that the inverter is either not working properly, or is improperly set up.

Most of your interior lights are 12 volt, and will draw power from the batteries even if you are on shore power, along with assorted other 12v goodies. So will the 12v water pump if you are using it. Usually the charger will keep the batteries charged when on shore power. If the charger is not working, they will draw the batteries down. You need the charger/inverter to work as designed.
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Old 04-05-2015, 11:58 AM   #7
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If you had any recent work done on the RV and the batteries charged fine before the service and your 12v side of the house is working fine than check if the reverse polarity fuse has been blown. This is common when reconnecting batteries incorrectly.
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Old 04-05-2015, 01:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcham View Post
If you had any recent work done on the RV and the batteries charged fine before the service and your 12v side of the house is working fine than check if the reverse polarity fuse has been blown. This is common when reconnecting batteries incorrectly.

And the possible location(s) of that fuse would be where?
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Old 04-05-2015, 02:43 PM   #9
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OldScout - Trik-L-Charge or Trik-L-Start are devices like the Echo Charge used on earlier Alpines. They can supply 20 amps or more depending on the model.
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Old 04-05-2015, 06:15 PM   #10
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Steve, the Xantrax inverter supplies upwards of 120 DC amps at max charge, why would you substitute with an after market solution vs rectifying the OEM design--just saying....
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Old 04-05-2015, 08:31 PM   #11
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Bill, on the Xantrex, one of the functions, (enabled/disabled by the control panel), make sure that it is enabled.


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Old 04-05-2015, 08:50 PM   #12
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In response to Old Scout -- yes, the roof A/Cs worked on shore power. Everything works on shore power.

In response to Dave -- where can find "enable"?

Also -- there are two places indicating battery level on the Xantrex remote panel. Both indicated low battery charge. So I assume that means both the house and engine batteries were discharged.

I appreciate everyone's help.

Bill Vietti
2004 Alpine Coach 40'
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Old 04-05-2015, 09:46 PM   #13
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As I think about this, I wonder if I don't just have the remote panel set incorrectly for either the charge level or for the input amp level. The RV is in storage and I will need to check on that when I get the time.

Bill
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Old 04-05-2015, 10:47 PM   #14
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Bill, if you get a chance while you are there, take a picture of the remote panel so we can tell which one you have. Then we can direct you to the correct manual for the setup.
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