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Old 07-16-2010, 11:02 PM   #1
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Solar cells connected and charge Chassis batteries or House?

Boy.... Quite a surprise tonight..... With all the batteries out of the motorhome and the 110v hooked up, I thought I would measure if Im getting any voltage reading on either the house or chassis battery terminals...

To my surprise the chassis battery terminals were measuring 14v dc.....
The house batteries 0 unless I turned the Onan equinox inverter on and directed a charge to the house battery.........then 14v dc

Now I waited till dark and checked the chassis batteries again and there was nothing....
That must mean the solar panel is connected to my chassis batteries.

Is that correct? I thought the solar panel is connected to the house batteries??
Maybe i got it all wrong..... I really dont have much to go by as I never really got a education on the motorhome to begin with....

But I already had both chassis batteries literally explode on me...I came out one day and the whole top of one chassis battery was in small pieces... Then it happen to the other one later...
It's making me think that maybe it is because it is backwards???

When I added a new battery it seems to be charging all the time, even when it does not need it...I can hear it sizzling all the time . Even brand new with full charge to start.

Well, I can guess all I want... But soon enough, someone is gonna set me straight on this one...
My gut feeling is the solar panel is wired to the wrong set of batteries?
Did WRV make a mistake here?
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Old 07-17-2010, 05:56 AM   #2
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Sounds like the solar is connected to the chassis battery. Do you have a charge controller inline with the solar panel, how much out put is your panel rated for.
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Old 07-17-2010, 08:47 AM   #3
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If you're talking about the Solar panel that comes with the unit (I have a 2001), it's connected to the chassis batteries. These solar panels are low wattage and only designed to keep your chassis batteries "topped off."

I'm interested in what casued your batteries to expode. Being hooked up backwards I believe could cause that if you inverter was putting out a 100 amps or so in the charge mode. Hmmmmm?
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Old 07-17-2010, 10:10 AM   #4
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Wingding,

What year is your coach? Is your solar panel the 100 or 10 watt panel?

The 100 watt panel should be connected to the house batteries with a controller in line. The 10 watt should be connected to the chassis batteries and is too small to cause a problem with overcharging.
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Old 07-17-2010, 03:07 PM   #5
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Dgerstel- I have a Alpine 2005 FDQS #75236

That is the 100 watt solar panel connected to the chassis batteries...
Im going to attach a photo of the solar panels...

They are definitely connected to the chassis batteries...
I just measured 14v dc on those chassis battery cable ends and went up top and took a photo and threw a blanket over the solar panels, went back down and now measure 0 volts.....

I think I understand why my chassis batteries might have exploded.

That is a 100 watt solar panel I believe hooked up to my chassis batteries... I dont think that is 10 volts.

I am thinking I am going to have to move some wires around..... But where to start ???
Could this be the cause of my blown chassis batteries ?
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Old 07-17-2010, 03:46 PM   #6
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Richard, Im not that well acknowledged on my solar setup... Im not sure what the output might be, but it sure looks like im going to have to figure it out because it seems the chassis batteries are connected to the 100 watt solar panel....

Looks like Im going to have to find that inline charge controller{hopefully i have one} and figure out what needs to be moved in order to remove the solar charge to the chassis batteries and place it on the house batteries...
I got a feeling before it's over , Im gonna know this battery charging system pretty good.....
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Old 07-17-2010, 04:10 PM   #7
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here is how it should be wired....
http://www.alpinecoachassociation.co...schematics.pdf


Page 8
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Old 07-17-2010, 07:12 PM   #8
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Mike,

The diagram you linked to is for a 2001 coach and I don't think is the same as a 2005. WRV changed how they did things every few years.

Winding,

It sounds like someone changed some wiring on your coach. You should have 2 wires (pos and neg) running from the panels to a controller. Have you looked by the electrical/fuse panels inside the coach? From the controller there should be a fused wire going to the house batteries. Someone may have bypassed the controller and connected directly to the chassis batteries, or just wired to the chassis batteries and the controller is bad.

An option if you can't find the controller:

1. Find the solar panel wires inside the coach. Usually ran down behind the fridg.
2. Cut wires there, connect new wire to wires from panel and run to location for new controller. Possible inside a cabinet or the battery bay.
3. Install new controller to these wires.
4. Connect new controller to house battery bank with an inline fuse.
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Old 07-17-2010, 07:16 PM   #9
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Then aca is wrong cuz these are listed as 2004
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Old 07-17-2010, 07:26 PM   #10
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Mike,

May be they are they are the same as the 2004? The diagrams are dated from 2000 to 2002?

Winding,

Have you always owned the coach? How long ago did the batteries explode?

On my '07, there were 2, same size wires, run from the area behind the fridg for the solar panels. One ran directly to the chassis batteries, no fuse or anything. The other ran to a controller in the cabinet under the bathroom sink and from there to a fuse in the battery compartment that connects to the house batteries. If WRV pre wired for both panels in 2005, an improper connection behind the fridg could cause your problem.
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Old 07-17-2010, 11:26 PM   #11
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Gentlemen,
Thanks for all this valuable information.

Dgerstel, the coach was bought new by me, so it would have had to be the WRV plant itself. I have never changed anything. The first battery blew up early summer 2009 and the second late summer 2009. The coach has seen very little use and has 5000 miles on it.
Tomorrow, armed with all this information i will hunt out the solar line and give you what i find... I'll get behind the refrigerator.

Im almost certain the factory wired it wrong but we will find out.
If it is bad wiring.... It's almost certain a few others had this same problem.... I did do a search using solar cells but I have not seen a situation yet like mine... however it's all on the words used for search...
Somehow i vaguely remember someone going through something like this long ago but I just cant remember the specific thread.
I vaguely remember something about a specific number of coachs during short period of time having a house and chassis battery problem due to faulty wiring... and i think it was dealing with the solar cells..
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Old 07-18-2010, 12:27 PM   #12
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Ok, here is where we are today....

I have traced the solar wires from the roof to a panel before the bedroom.
There are two red leads and white leads.They come from the roof and disappear through the floor. I am guessing they end up in this black box above the batteries.

Now the question is {that's if I am where I belong to make the correct switch}
which wire is it and where to put it.... ?

...Im guessing it has to be attached to the far right terminal for the chassis battery...? But there is more than a few red wires attached to it....

Am I right so far or am i heading down the wrong road.....?
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Old 07-18-2010, 12:58 PM   #13
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OH YEA!..... I just disconnected all those red reds on the chassis terminal on the right, by reading voltage, I was able to single out the the only wire with voltage {14vdc} since shore power is disconnected and all the batteries are out...has to be the solar battery feed......

SHAME ON THE FORMER WRV EMPLOYEE THAT DID THIS !!!

100 watts constant on the chassis batteries {when there's sun} probably a bad thing.

I'll bet that's what was blowing up my chassis batteries!!!

Good thing I was never near them when they exploded... looked like a grenade went off....tiny pieces everywhere...

Well im guessing it belongs all the way to the left on the house terminal.....WAH !
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Old 07-18-2010, 01:28 PM   #14
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Glad you found it, Wingding!

After you relocate it to the proper place on the house battery side, you should monitor your house batteries. 14V constantly on them (when they are fully charged) is not good for them either, especially if they are AGM's. The charge controller may be bad. There are several good 3-stage charge controllers out there at reasonable prices that would replace your controller if it is bad, Morningstar is one brand to look at.

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