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Old 09-12-2009, 12:43 AM   #15
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Basil

We had our trombetta replaced this last May at Smith Auto Electric in Yakima. Jim recommended and installed a Sure Power Ind 'Battery Separator'. Model 1315-200. (This is a Trombetta solenoid with a Sure Power brain box attached). At 13.2V, it will join both battery banks; at 12.8V, it will separate the battery banks, protecting the respective banks from excessive drain. It gets rid of the WRV supplied isolator. We have had no solenoid issues since, it runs very smooth.

Call Jim at Smith Auto Electric, 509-453-8275

Ed
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:08 AM   #16
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My Chassis batteries would also go dead hooked up to shore power and I tested the solenoid and found it was dead. After reading everything written here, I purchased a Trombetta solenoid. Well, it is too large and will not fit in the box on rig so I purchase a Cole Hersee and , wonders of wonders, it is now charging the chassis batteries just fine. Has any one install the Trombetta on their 05 and how they did it.
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Old 04-17-2010, 02:18 PM   #17
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Hey EMike,

First, THANK YOU if you feel like spending a moment on this. I recently purchased a 1987 Ford Diesel C Class (28ft) with two 12 volt deep cycle batteries in parallel in the coach and two regular batteries up front. The orginal alternator was 60 amp, so I bought a new G3 130 amp and installed as per instructions. Though it could charge the house batteries as I uncharged them while driving via the 3000 watt inverter and TV, Microwave, etc.

Well, the RV had been sitting for several months without charge and after I had hooked up the new alternator but before I started the engine, I heard a "clicking" noise coming from under the hood (or doghouse). I continued to start and run the engine and discovered that it was not charging the house batteries like I had hoped. Don't hear the clicking noise any longer.

After reading here, I assume that I must have somehow grounded/shorted the original solenoid/relay and hence have no charge getting to the house batteries.

Notes: I DO NOT have the invertor connected in any way. The (old) converter works fine and charges the house batteries via generator and/or shore at 13-13.75 volts. Never did see (or look for) a soleniod/relay and don't know where it is located. Haven't measured yet, but I assume that the alternator is charging the engine batteries via no "idiot light" as well as good indication on the analog guage. Intend on confirming that they ARE getting charged next time.

Assuming that I find/test the solenoid and discover that it is indeed "fried", what would be the best and most cost effective replacement? Trombetta? Thanks Mike.
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Old 04-17-2010, 02:42 PM   #18
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Dog- (I assume that's your real name ) Welcome to iRV2 and a lot of good friends and information!

To find the solenoid, follow all the battery-size cables till you get there. It'll be in line w/one or more of them.

For the size & application, I'd go w/a Cole Hersee #24059 (ryderfleetproducts.com) solenoid which should handle the amps you are working with, is readily available and a better made gizmo than the Trombetta's IMO (Trombetta has some minimalistic and therefore easy to manufacture cheaply designs, and is a good choice for the high amp contactors, but I keep spares because the contacts are not as well made as they should be and will fry out over time).

The real question is what method you will use to activate the solenoid. The chassis came w/some method which may be intactive (i.e. switched off) or it may be fried and therefore no longer activating the charge solenoid. Ideally IMO the charge solenoid connects house & chassis when either the alternator is making amps or the house charger is. For this you need a capable alternator (sounds like you've licked that issue), and a capable charger (might want to check capacities). The charger is the more important of the two as that tends to be the source for most of the charge hours the batteries will see; it should be a 3 stage charger at least, and I like the sweep-desulfation feature of some of the newer setups. AGM logic is needed if you go to AGM house batteries at any point. The original charger from a 1987 rig won't meet those requirements, it'll be a flat rate, boil-the-batteries type. There are good replacement converter/chargers w/3-stage charging at reasonable prices these days. IIWMI'd do a search for "3 stage charger" on the travel trailer forum for a start and you should find many threads on replacing an old style converter with a drop-in modern setup.
Once you have adequate charging, and the solenoid found, figure out how it was activated and if it needs updating or augmenting, come on back. You could assemble a simple relay setup that activated the solenoid whenever Alternator or charger charge volts were present; the alternator side is easy, but the charger side needs some study to find the "signal" trigger circuit you can tap (might be the 110v side, but that's for another discussion).
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Old 04-18-2010, 01:21 PM   #19
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Hi Emike,

Haven't seen or removed the original isolator, but after researching online, what do you think about:

Store Locator | NAPA Online

Thanks again.
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Old 04-18-2010, 03:16 PM   #20
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Took this photo of what looks like might be an isolator(?) It is mounted right next to where the old regulator was near the front right headlight. "IP" stands for the Injection Pump on the diesel engine.





Also, after doing some reading, I discovered that it's usually better to NOT have all four batteries ever connected without some one-way device (aka diode, etc.), as the coach batteries can draw an excessive amount from the engine batteries when fully discharged, thereby putting a tremendoud strain on the wires/fuses/breakers/etc. I'm looking at the solid state diode isolator from Napa (link above). What do you think? Thanks again for your TIME!
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Old 04-18-2010, 03:32 PM   #21
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Looks like NAPA has a couple of the Balkamp isolators and a couple of NAPA branded ones that would be useful.

As to the foto, that looks to me like a relay for a starter relay. On diesels, the starter takes a huge draw, maybe 750A. You need a large contactor to take that kind of hit, and do it 1,000's of times reliably; an ordinary bakelite starter solenoid like you'd find on an old Ford won't cut it. So many diesel's have an old- Ford-like solenoid powering a larger heavy-amp solenoid to kick the starter. This looks like that kind of setup to me, with lines wired to the injection pump (which wants good, reliable voltage for its functions or else the motor won't go) directly in line w/battery cable (i.e. not jumpered thru the relay). This is a guess, but the starter (black) line is the relay'ed line in this case so that fits. The small red line is the "signal" wire that signals to connect the contacts of the relay or solenoid.

So to make a short story long, this doesn't look like a charging solenoid to connect two banks of batteries. If you have one, it probably has a fat cable in, and fat cable out, with one or two small studs w/#14 or so wire that do the "signal."
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Old 04-18-2010, 04:21 PM   #22
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InTheDogHouse,

The item in the NAPA link is a battery isolator. It isolates one battery from the other. It is two big diodes that allows an alternator to charge two sets of batteries at once, but not allow one battery to draw power from the other in use. Diodes allow DC current to flow one direction, but not the other. My class C had that system.

The diodes in the battery isolator system has no moving parts to wear or stick. It works great. The problem is that the current is limited. It worked fine for a Class C with two coach batteries. But the diodes can't support the current level that you need for charging the 6 or 8 coach batteries in class A motorhomes. Too much heat to dissipate. (Note the cooling fins on the unit in the NAPA picture.) The maximum current on that unit appears to be 95 amps.

The Alpine Coach system, and most class A's, is different as EMike states. It has a relay/solenoid circuit that will charge one set of batteries, then the other, depending on whatever unit and input controls the relay. Much better for higher current levels. I haven't looked at the specs, but I assume it is rated at more than 95 amps. But it has contact points that can and do sometimes wear or stick.

Completely different approaches to the same goal.
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Old 04-18-2010, 04:38 PM   #23
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InTheDogHouse,

In looking at your earlier post and seeing that you changed the alternator from a 60 amp unit to a 130 amp unit, I suspect you burned out the coach side or both sides of the isolator at some point. You can test it with an ohm meter. The isolator was probably sized to handle the stock alternator output. The NAPA one in your link would not handle the 130 amp output either. Sorry!
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Old 04-18-2010, 06:15 PM   #24
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Minnie Winnie Solenoid

Year two in our MW and having a blast. Quick questions for the more experienced on these solenoids. I am assuming that my OE solenoid is not working as well as when I checked the coach battery level when the coach is running it they are only showing 13amps. These are new batteries and I know they charge with shore and solor. I would also like to say that I have two of these solenoids in parallel. One has a 5amp fuse that seems to be ok. Any thoughts as to if I am off base with my assumption that this part could be faulty and if it is I am assuming that the house batteries are not charging when the motorhome is running.
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Old 04-18-2010, 07:20 PM   #25
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THANK YOU everyone for the input!

I suspected what you wrote EMike, as it doesn't look like any other isolator that I've seen and IS a Motorcraft/Ford part. Would have been surprised to find out that Ford had installed an isolator to their chassis. Well, I'm going to visit the vehicle tomorrow and crawl around until I find the original isolator. Will be back with PICS then!

P.S. From what I understand, even though I have a 130 amp alternator, the coach batteries won't draw nearly that no. of amps no matter how discharged they are. The 130 amps is only a MAXIMUM number, so I don't have to worry about melting wires, right? If wrong, do I need a regulator between the isolator and the rear batteries? Or do I need to make sure to buy a >130 amp isolator?
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