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Old 12-14-2011, 08:23 PM   #1
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Question Low Voltage

I replaced my starting batteries about 4 months ago. I had to but them from an Autozone store in Morro Bay, CA and it was the only place in town that had batteries what would fit.

Beginning about a month ago whenever I start the engine I'm getting a voltage drop down to 11 volts according to the error message being shown by the Freightliner LCD display. In addition, my jack control panel is also showing a low voltage indicator and will not fully power on until the voltage gets back to normal. This takes a few minutes of high idle.

This happens even after we've been plugged into shore power for more than a week. Even after charging the batteries for a couple of hours with a 50 Amp charger.

I'm thinking the Autozone batteries might not be up to the task. (or to put it MY way, they're crap.)

I took the Bounder to have the windshield fixed (3'rd time) and asked them test the batteries but I'm wondering what else it could be. They mentioned the alternator but I don't think that's the problem. It reaches 14+ volts at 1500 RPM.

Anybody have experience with this problem?
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Old 12-14-2011, 08:55 PM   #2
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If you are charging your batteries at 50 amps they are fried.
The alternator may make voltage but does it produce amperage, amp check the batteries too.
Have you made sure they are filled with water?
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:05 PM   #3
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I don't think so

I guess I should have been more specific. The charger is capable of delivering a sustained 50A but the batteries only drew 10A for an hour.

They are both maintenance free and only a few months old. No way to add water.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:08 PM   #4
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I think it may be your alternator. I believe you have a single diode out. Your Alternator generates A/C Voltage which is converted to dc current by a group of three diodes. If only one of these fails then the alternator will still generate some voltage, but not enough to keep your batteries up. Good Luck
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Old 12-14-2011, 10:56 PM   #5
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Alternator

Is it possible to replace the diode, or the diode assembly, or will I be looking for a whole new alternator?
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:20 AM   #6
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Yes you can replace the diode assembly. It is tedious, but not difficult. You might take it to a auto electric place and have the alternator repaired. They would be able to confirm the problem and repair it.

Good luck.
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:07 PM   #7
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Still Waiting

I'm still waiting on the diagnosis from the shop. While waiting I've found out that the Autozone branded batteries are made by Johnson Controls and are probably pretty good batteries.

Another thing I've learned is that my starting batteries may not be charging when I'm plugged into shore power. I don't remember seeing an Echo Charge box in the power bay but I'm probably going to add one if it's not. Anybody know if a 2007 34H has one built in?

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Old 12-18-2011, 01:16 PM   #8
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Echo Charge by Xantres, or Trick-l-Start (Don't know who makes it) Many coaches have bi-directional isolators (mine does) and do not need those, However many also do not have that feature and thus do.. You need either the proper owner's manual or a voltmeter (Digital multimeter) to find out for sure.

Another thing that may mess you up is a bad connection (usually a dirty terminal) somewhere. I have, on occasion, had a "Dead Battery" per the symptoms. but when I crawled to where the battery hides with ye-old-tester (A good, dual meter, adjustable current, carbon pile, load tester from Harbor Freight) the thing passed 100% no sweat, no problem.

Dirty terminals. Cleaned and.. Well 2 years later did it again.
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Old 12-18-2011, 03:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muddypaws View Post
I'm still waiting on the diagnosis from the shop. While waiting I've found out that the Autozone branded batteries are made by Johnson Controls and are probably pretty good batteries.

Another thing I've learned is that my starting batteries may not be charging when I'm plugged into shore power. I don't remember seeing an Echo Charge box in the power bay but I'm probably going to add one if it's not. Anybody know if a 2007 34H has one built in?

Thanks,
Muddypaws
Your Bounder has a box called a BCC (Battery Control Center) that has a solenoid that should provide the cross charge function between both battery banks. It facilitates charging of all batteries from the converter (on shore or gen power) aand Alternator power from running engine. It is also the isolation relay and the aux start relay.

Follow the large cables from either set of batteries and you will find the BCC. It may be made by RV-CP or Intellitec, but you can use the document at this LINK to trouble shoot either box.
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Old 12-19-2011, 07:22 AM   #10
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AGM Batteries -- Editorial

Today I only use AGM Batteries. These batteries last for eight or more years and provide so many benefits over standard lead acid batteries. They are sealed so no need to worry about Hydrogen gas build up. They can be installed in any position sideways, upside down, on end. They don't care. No worry about acid damage to metal parts. No maintenance, never add water, just install them and forget about them. I bought my first ones in January of 2005 and have never had to replace one. They are expensive, but I consider them to be the best.

Buy AGM batteries, install them and forget about batteries for the next 10 years.
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:55 PM   #11
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Batteries. OK. Alternator. OK.

We went to get our Bounder this afternoon. All of the batteries are OK. The alternator is OK. The converter and charger are OK. Everything is OK. I gues it's just going to display the low voltage message.

Strangely enough, it didn't do that when I started it to bring it home today.
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Old 12-21-2011, 11:41 AM   #12
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Might have been a connection issue then.
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Old 01-03-2012, 04:51 PM   #13
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Not so lucky

We just spent 5 days in San Juan Bautista. We were plugged in to shore power the whole time but when I started the beast I got the low voltage indication again. I ran at high idle for about 3 minutes to get it back to 14.2V.

According to my Ammeter there is a wire going to the positive side of the starting batteries that is either drawing or pushing 0.01A with both battery switches on the control panel off. According to my conversion (in my head) that's about 100milliamps. About what you'd expect for the keep alive current for the radio, or about what you'd expect the dinky little joke of a solar panel on the A/C cover to push. Looks to be about a 16 or 18 Guage wire.

Every terminal of both batteries has multiple wires attached. Electrically it's all the same, but it sure makes troubleshooting a headache.

If somebody could post a picture of what the BCC looks like and where it might be located it would be a big help.

Weird question: If I am plugged in to shore power and both battery switches are 'off' will there still be a charge going to the batteries? House and starting batteries both?

Thanks,
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Old 01-03-2012, 04:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muddypaws View Post
Weird question: If I am plugged in to shore power and both battery switches are 'off' will there still be a charge going to the batteries? House and starting batteries both?
Use a VOM (Volt / Ohm Meter) and check it your self. Your system may not be the same as other coaches. If you have 13+ volts when configured as your question indicates then your batteries are being charged. Just wait 15 or 20 minutes after disconnecting to test with the meter.
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