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Old 01-19-2009, 11:26 AM   #1
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I thought my battery problems were over (for the moment) when I replaced the solenoid with a new Big Boy a couple of weeks ago. Wrong!!!

I showed up at the coach about a week ago to find ALL the batteries dead, both chassis and house. I'll try and describe the scenario without boring you all with more battery tales of woe than you can stand.

I was tethered to 50A service, the new solenoid checked out o.k.. Checked the transfer switch- it was o.k.. The details given me by my tech (since this electrical stuff floats over me) is as follows: Battery voltage 11.7V, and NO current in or out. The remote inverter control inside over passenger seat showed 13.7V, and NO current flow, amperage 0.01, in float, internal battery temp 103 degrees! It was approximately 75 degrees outside. After trying to source the problem with no success, my tech had to leave and said he'd come back in a couple of days when he had more time. We put a charger on the house batteries and after a while they had enough juice to get the transfer switch to give us 110V power. We spent the next two days with slides in (not enough power to open them) but we had a working coffee pot, microwave, and TV- not too bad a weekend.

Tech came back 3 days ago and all was fine??? Battery voltage at 13.6V, internal battery tem showed 68 degrees. Came back this morning and called me to tell me all was still o.k..

What gives? Good news is that all is working great now. Bad news is that I'll be more than a little nervous about going anywhere. As someone who knows nothing I'm guessing the problem is the inverter- it's telling the batteries they are fine and don't need to charge when in fact they do need charging, yet now the remote control and the batteries are in synch.
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Old 01-19-2009, 12:53 PM   #2
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The inverter/charger is a computer, and has occasional brain farts as computers will do. There is a red "Reset" (reboot) button on the grey top or side panel (depending on position in which the inverter was mounted); in case of brain farts, i.e. reading outputs that make no sense or finding activity that makes no sense- press the red button.
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Old 01-19-2009, 03:48 PM   #3
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I was hoping to hear from you Mike...but I did press the red button, but not until late in the episode. I'm of the opinion that I have an equal amout of brain flatulance as my inverter, maybe more. But like you said there is no figuring what these computers do on their own. If it happens again I will press the red button first!

Thanks again
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:15 PM   #4
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Rick,

Did you look at your "view fault log"? With the batteries at 103 degrees, the charger may have kicked off. Have you had your firmware upgraded? I would also check all of your battery connections, due to the remote reading 13.7 volts while the batteries showed 11.7 volts.
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Old 01-21-2009, 06:47 PM   #5
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Dale:

When was the firmware upgrade released. Is there a serial number cutoff?
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:31 AM   #6
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takepride,

The only thing I know is there was a firmware update available and installed on our inverter at the Redmond rally in '07. The update to fix the "charge state on restart," as stated here AGS shutdowns , was suppose to have been done mid-year last year, but I have never had confirmation on that. I do plan to look into it for our new RS3000.
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by dgerstel:
Rick,

Did you look at your "view fault log"? With the batteries at 103 degrees, the charger may have kicked off. Have you had your firmware upgraded? I would also check all of your battery connections, due to the remote reading 13.7 volts while the batteries showed 11.7 volts.
Dale, I will have to ask the tech who looked into things. I did not look at my "view fault log". In fact, this is the first I have heard of such a thing. Where would I have my firmware upgraded? Is firmware a computer upgrade to the inverter? I doubt that was done as a matter of course when I had my annual service done unless I asked for it, and I didn't. I will also check all the battery connections as you suggested. Thank you for your input.
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Old 01-23-2009, 02:39 PM   #8
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Given that it is a good idea to have a spare Big Boy solenoid along and how expensive a new unit is, is it possible to have one rebuilt after it goes bad to keep for a spare?
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Old 01-23-2009, 06:55 PM   #9
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Rick- I kept my last Trombetta to drill out the rivets & check the contacts. No reason I couldn't polish them w/the Dremel & re-rivet it shut. Might have to make a new cork gasket if I rip up the old when splitting the case. Good idea.
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Old 01-24-2009, 07:13 AM   #10
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Thanks Mike- I haven't a clue as to what the solenoid looks like inside, but I'll open 'er up and see what it looks like. Hopefully it will be obvious. I have a Dremel. How would one test the solenoid to see if it is repaired? Will the contacts look really fried?

Sorry I didn't get to Quartzite to meet you. You have been a great source of advice since I bought my Alpine. Remember that large, sweaty wad of cash you told me to have in my box of spares? Well, it ran out a long time ago!
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Old 01-25-2009, 03:55 PM   #11
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You can test for burnt contacts first by applying 12V to the small terminals (+ to one, - to the other), then measure resistance across the two big contacts. remove & reapply the 12V contact voltage & repeat the resistance measurements several times. Last time I did that (on my 06) the ohms varied a lot between actuations. Then I opened the solenoid (it was a Fat Boy or a Big Boy, not Trombetta or Cole-Hersee, but I'm guessing they all react the same) and found blackened burn marks along w/small black particles in the oil on the contacts. I'm guessing the oil is to reduce burning, and that the variable resistance was due to the random way the burn debris gets smashed between contacts when the solenoid actuates. Clean contacts should give near zero resistance & do so consistently.
When reassembling, I have no clue what type of oil is being used. Maybe use a dab of No-Ox grease? If carried as a short-term spare just in case (to be replaced w/a new solenoid after returning to civilization) you could leave the contacts clean & dry, since it would only see short duty.
I'd reassemble w/small nuts so the next cycle will be simpler than drilling out steel rivets and trying not to damage the case.
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