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Old 03-03-2013, 07:09 AM   #1
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Genny start up - which battery?

Hi folks. I went down to start up the MH in winter storage yesterday. The batteries are removed, so I installed the engine battery and started up the engine. No problem. However, the genny wouldn't turn over. I thought it used the engine battery to crank. Does it use the coach batteries (not installed) to crank or did I miss something else. Not a problem really, just want to know how things work.

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Old 03-03-2013, 07:14 AM   #2
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I know my Outlaw uses the coach batteries. I am not sure but I thought the only thing the engine battery is for is to start the engine.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:19 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kliwks View Post
Hi folks. I went down to start up the MH in winter storage yesterday. The batteries are removed, so I installed the engine battery and started up the engine. No problem. However, the genny wouldn't turn over. I thought it used the engine battery to crank. Does it use the coach batteries (not installed) to crank or did I miss something else. Not a problem really, just want to know how things work.

2003 Seabreeze, workhorse, gas.

Thanks
Always the coach battery, if you need to start the generator for emergency you can always jump start from the engine battery to the coach battery.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:24 AM   #4
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Yep, what Corbra1 said, The engine, or Chassis battery runs what is original from the factory. Think about it as anything that would be on your car, lights, motor etc. Everything the coach builder installed, lights, furnace, fridg, generator, runs from the House or coach batteries.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:24 AM   #5
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Thanks. Good to know if you run your coach batteries down, you can still start from the engine battery. I guess the genny will have to wait to get started for another month. I'm not lugging the coach batteries down there for that.

Thanks for the replies.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:42 AM   #6
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Generally speaking, and in my experience, Motorhomes are wired to ensure the primary purpose of the coach. That is - start and run you down the road. Some things like power seats, ECM, headlights etc are probably powered by the cranking batteries and there is a draw on them even with a battery control box switched off inside the coach (ask me how I know).

In the case of the generator there are two features usually built in to achieve primary purpose. 1. Uses house batteries. 2. Shuts off or won't start at 1/4 tank fuel.

The emergency start switch is wired to allow the coach to start using the house batteries - but not the other way around.

If you have your battery control box owners or trouble shooting manual / guide, it should list what gets it's power from where. Having that information is a useful step in knowing where and why batteries and powered things are behaving / misbehaving.

Currently waiting on two battery cutoff switches now to eliminate the need to pull my batteries or disconnect leads. When I asked the local Freightliner tech why it isn't standard practice to include actual full cutoff switches the reply was - they want to sell you what makes them money, not what makes sense. Given the number of people that either don't have power at storage or use their coaches year round, it would make sense to have cutoff switches that actually cut of all draw - not just enough to require you to run out in rain, cold and snow every three weeks and run the generator and or go for a drive. I had planned to always do that, but winter got in my way this year.

Again, all generally speaking but the thing to remember is that the batteries are wired to have the highest probability of achieving the primary purpose of the coach. And that's a good thing.
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:05 AM   #7
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Interesting debate--Ive tried wiring the genset both ways and each has pros and cons. If genset is wired to the coach bats for starting, you run the risk of depleting the coach bats overnight and gen wont start. If you wire to the chassis bats, again you might leave the ignition, radio, etc. on and deplete these bats. Thats why most coaches have a bat boost button that momentarily ties the bat banks together to overcome either situation. Not sure but in you case, I suspect the genset is sensing that the coach bats are missing [ie no circuit to charge to] so it wont start, even with the chassis bats in place to crank the genset.....
PS -- most gensets an inverters are wired directly to the coach bat bank [so not impacted by/from the main cut-off switches]
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:16 AM   #8
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Quote "The emergency start switch is wired to allow the coach to start using the house batteries - but not the other way around."

So Steve, based on what you said, if you run your coach batteries down to low to start your genny, then you are SOL? Or would starting the engine then provide the power to the coach batteries to start the genny?
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:27 AM   #9
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Both of my RV's were house to start genset. I found out that marker and brake lights are off the house battery on my current RV. Still have to figure that one out to get them the correct way. I carry jumpercables just in case I need a boost on house battery. Mine is suppose to switch to boost if needed I have no button hope it works though.
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kliwks
Quote "The emergency start switch is wired to allow the coach to start using the house batteries - but not the other way around."

So Steve, based on what you said, if you run your coach batteries down to low to start your genny, then you are SOL? Or would starting the engine then provide the power to the coach batteries to start the genny?
Start it up and - give it a bit and the generator starts. A friend suggested I let it run enough to get some charge into the house batteries before turning it off. The thought was the generator might die if not enough juice. It wasn't necessary. Proven in practice last weekend. Hence two cutoff switches ordered. One for both banks. I believe the routing of my override is directed by the battery control box to the starter - not everything else. Also as someone noted, you can jump from the crank to the house but starting works. Again, I think different coaches are wired differently - so generally speaking. How a specific coach works can be found in the battery control box manuals. YMMV
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:46 AM   #11
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There is no hard and set rule for which battery to use. I have found the generator wired to either one. Some manufacturers went with the chassis battery. Others went with the house batteries. By far, most used the house batteries.
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donhoward49 View Post
Yep, what Corbra1 said, The engine, or Chassis battery runs what is original from the factory. Think about it as anything that would be on your car, lights, motor etc. Everything the coach builder installed, lights, furnace, fridg, generator, runs from the House or coach batteries.
Don, on my Winnebago, the chassis battery also runs the power step and HWH hydraulic pump for the slides and jacks. I think the manufacturers are all over the place in how they wired things.
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