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Old 06-26-2011, 06:02 PM   #1
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Starting batteries

We've been plugged into shore power for 2 weeks (50amp) and something is draining our batteries, therefore, they're dead. Help (We're newbies). We have a 2004 Alpine Avalanche 40' diesel. Is it possible that the batteries are connected the wrong way?

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Old 06-27-2011, 08:18 AM   #2
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At least on my 2001, the starting batteries do not charge when you're plugged in, it's not wired to. This is common on many motor homes. I use a separate charger, but you're starting batteries I would think would not normally discharge in two weeks.

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Old 06-27-2011, 09:39 AM   #3
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I believe that WRV started incorporating an "Echo Charger" designed to keep both battery banks charged from a single source. My year (2003) has one so WRV must have started using it in 2002 or 2003.

FWIW - If my coach did not have an Echo Charger I would definitely add it ASAP.
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Old 06-27-2011, 10:55 AM   #4
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I posted this before but: Mine drove me crazy. Same thing. I got an amp meter, hooked it up to the chassis battery and saw a draw on it. I then had the wife watch the meter while I pulled out the fuses 1 by 1 until the draw went away. It was the air conditioner circuit. I found the air conditioner switch was burnt on. It was draining the battery overnight. Good luck
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Old 06-27-2011, 07:57 PM   #5
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Willing- the Avalanche probably did not come w/an Echo Charger as original equipment. Would be a good addition for your situation.
You may have a momentary boost switch on the dash that will jump the start batteries off the house bank. If so you may get the coach started that way. Not good for deep cycle batteries, but works in a pinch.
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Old 06-27-2011, 08:58 PM   #6
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Another consideration is that if the chassis batteries are original, that would make them 7 years old, and they might be giving up the ghost.

Since you mentioned some concern that they might be wired wrong (hopefully not), the 12 volt starting batteries should be connected in parallel, giving you the same 12 volts but double the amps of a single battery. Negative sides connected together should go to ground somewhere. I don't remember where, and an Avalanche might be different anyway.
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:26 AM   #7
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My '07 with 30k miles is on its third set of starting batteries. One of the pair will fail to take a charge and of course both have to be replaced. Once a twelve volt battery fails, it is history. Interstate has a very short warranty because they consider RVs "commercial use".
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Old 06-28-2011, 07:02 AM   #8
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Recommend you do a search on "chassis batteries" or "batteries" on this forum. You will learn a lot about Alpines and battery use/maintenance. The problem for you is the Avalanche was a very limited production run, so very few of us on the forum have first-hand knowledge with your model. So far, all of the suggestions are good--old chassis bat wont hold a charge, old house bats wont allow full charge so echo charger [if you have one] wont share charge from house to chassis bats, the newer solenoid charger set-up can fail too. Trust me--even the simplest of things like: is your inverter/charger even charging?--have to be verified.

On Alpines, small but persistant drains on the chassis bats are an on-going issue. It will be hard to isolate and fix the cause[s] for these small drains [whereas a larger drain like a short-out would be obvious in a day or two]. Solving the charging issue is the key.
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Old 06-28-2011, 06:30 PM   #9
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I've learned how to deal with this both with and without a Xantrex Echo Charge. I liked the Echo Charge we I installed it on another coach but I've been trying something different on our Alpine.

When we're plugged into shore power at home (but not paying any attention to the coach for weeks at a time), I've got two "smart chargers" (such as the Deltran Battery Tender, and putting out about 2 amps each-look on Amazon.com). One charger charges up my House bank of six 6-volt batteries. The other charges our two Starting (or Chassis) Batteries.

With all the little goodies that are always on in your coach (called parasitic loads) you've usually got a draw of a couple of amps at all times, even if you think everything is off, and that's probably how your batteries got to be dead.

While camping, and in-and-out of the coach on a daily basis, we monitor the battery panel up in the cupboard. That tells us the voltage of the batteries and reads in green (if the voltage is high enough) or yellow (if I should start getting concerned) or red LEDs (if I really need to be concerned. Then I will turn on the Inverter and the Charger. It takes the charger a few hours to go thru the cycle that is programmed into it (it is a tapering charge, starting with a bulk charge, then tapering off).

This Charger that is built into the Inverter is about a 100 amp charger. My thought is that this is too much to leave in automatic mode while the rig is stored and plugged into shore power and we are not paying attention to the rig for a few weeks. That's why I use the little 2 amp chargers. But, if we're around the rig while camping, I don't mind personally turning on the big charger and turning it off when the batteries are fully charged.

Welcome to the forum and I hope you enjoy your Alpine!
Mike and Mike (Michele)

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Old 06-28-2011, 06:45 PM   #10
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I would start by testing the batteries either drive it or pull them out take them to auto store have them load tested. Then check for fathom draws on the battery. If you own a volt meter it will be your best friend for this project. If the batteries are good then look into a small charger plugged in cigarette lighter make sure it is powered off the engine batteries not the house baterry.
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Old 06-28-2011, 07:00 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Rick J Fisher View Post
My '07 with 30k miles is on its third set of starting batteries. One of the pair will fail to take a charge and of course both have to be replaced. Once a twelve volt battery fails, it is history. Interstate has a very short warranty because they consider RVs "commercial use".
WOW!! Our 2002 DSDP still has it's original house and starting batteries and it's 9 years old as of June 26th We picked it up from the dealer on June 26th 2002.
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:17 PM   #12
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Another area to check is to make sure the chasis battery disconnect switch is in the disconnect position when you put the coach in storage for more than a few days. Hope this helps.
'99 Alpine Coach
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:08 PM   #13
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My first Alpine was a 2004 Avalanche, it did not have an echo charger and did have a tendancy for the chassis batteries to discharge. The only remedy for this without the addition of an echo charger is to use a trickle charger when plugged in for a longer period of time or add a relatively smaller solar panel connected to the chassis batteries.

It would be interesting to know, does your coach happen to have solid wood cabinets in the front and a very nice, solid wood surround on the main light fixture in the living area?

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