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Old 08-04-2015, 03:42 PM   #15
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So what does the writing on the lug labels on the green finned box in the upper right. I bet that what your battery maintainer is hooked to. Most likely another isolator box. I would think you should have a LED on the battery maintainer if you are plugged into shore power
That IS the maintainer, says so on a label on the end. Made by Lambert. The three lugs are labeled Coach (aux), Negative and Chassis (engine) from left to right. Yes, there is an LED but it has not been lit at any time I have looked at it today.

Bob
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Old 08-04-2015, 03:55 PM   #16
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Read below link. It says the LED will not be on if the batteries are charged but it would also seem to me if it wasn't on the LED would not be on. I think you know your batteries are not charged.

LE-415 Instructions
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Old 08-04-2015, 04:05 PM   #17
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Reading more on your Lambert battery maintainer it says that it is not a battery charger but is used to route the inverter/converter charger that charges your house batteries to also feed that charger voltage to maintain the charge in the chassis battery. So now the question is if your inverter/converter is powered up and if so is it supplying 14 volts to your house batteries?
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Old 08-04-2015, 06:15 PM   #18
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Reading more on your Lambert battery maintainer it says that it is not a battery charger but is used to route the inverter/converter charger that charges your house batteries to also feed that charger voltage to maintain the charge in the chassis battery. So now the question is if your inverter/converter is powered up and if so is it supplying 14 volts to your house batteries?
Mike,

First the good news: After charging the chassis batteries for about 3 hours each on a 30A charger, the coach started as if nothing had happened. All systems appear to be up and working properly.
I called Lambert and discovered that the company is now owned by the parts manager at Monaco, and tech support is via the Monaco guys. Anyway, the maintainer tests out ok. The boost solenoid is not in the circuit so whether or not it is working is irrelevant to the batteries going down.
Basically, I'm stumped, and a little spooked. I feel like I am trying to prove a negative. I was going to go dry camping for a week, but if the house batteries go down again, I can't start the generator. Without the generator I can't charge the chassis batteries, and around we go. I keep trying to think of a reason why having the chassis batteries went down so low, and what role, if any, the house battery disconnect switch being off played.
Barring a surprise overnight, we will hit the road in the morning.

Thank you for all your help. I really appreciate the time and effort.

Cheers,

Bob
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Old 08-04-2015, 07:04 PM   #19
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I agree it is possible you muffed the ignition switch install. .Doubtful though on modern rides.

I would jumper (perhaps via a high wattage 12 volt lamp at first) the house batteries to the starter (you can get 100 watt 12 volt drop cords)

Then as the voltage comes up jumper with a jumper cable

Then try after about six hours that way.

Many possible problems but beyond what I wish to deal with on line tonight.

One issue is your frequent starting of the engine.. Unless you let it run long enough UNLESS you have a bi-direcitonal isolator device (BIRD or equal) you are not charging them after starting.

ALso at your current voltage. STARTING batteries are toast.
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Old 08-04-2015, 07:33 PM   #20
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I believe that he is charging them after he starts. Look carefully at the blue finned isolator on the left. I think that middle cable probably comes from the alternator and is charging both sets of batteries.

Bob, a question for you now that they are all charged up and that is if your inverter/converter is charging the batteries when on shorepower. You need to find that out. Disconnect from shore power and let the MH sit for about three hours then measure the chassis and house battery voltages. If fully charged they should be reading up around 12.5-12.7 volts. Then plug back into shore power and read the battery voltages again and if being charged they should be reading 13.5+ volts on both battery sets. If not then your inverter/converter is not charging.
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Old 08-04-2015, 07:50 PM   #21
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That solenoid could be defective. It can be a real pain to prove it. I can go into a long narrative that might just muddy the waters. Once you got batteries close to their proper levels things may act seemingly proper. However it is very common for one of those large solenoids to become defective and not really provide the proper bi-directional charge. It can be very apparent when trying to use the emergency start button when the engine will not crank. The solenoid contacts can be very intermittent. Working some times and other times not. When I bought our 08 it was a learning curve without a lot of schematics at the time. My BIRD relay was defunct very early on. I finally sorted out how it was supposed to work. I am an ET with 40 yrs experience. This system can mystify the most talented technician.

So I guess I am saying that all may not be well. It is not difficult to disassemble these things and inspect. I found a green gooey growth inside my solenoid.

So take some measurements at least and write them down. Take pictures and print them out. Then annotate them with those measurements. Trust me, you will not remember with absolutely certainty. The two large post should be dead on when the solenoid is activated. IF you see even .2 volts difference it is defective. There should be an absolute short across those contacts.
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Old 08-04-2015, 08:03 PM   #22
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That solenoid could be defective. It can be a real pain to prove it. I can go into a long narrative that might just muddy the waters. Once you got batteries close to their proper levels things may act seemingly proper. However it is very common for one of those large solenoids to become defective and not really provide the proper bi-directional charge. It can be very apparent when trying to use the emergency start button when the engine will not crank. The solenoid contacts can be very intermittent. Working some times and other times not. When I bought our 08 it was a learning curve without a lot of schematics at the time. My BIRD relay was defunct very early on. I finally sorted out how it was supposed to work. I am an ET with 40 yrs experience. This system can mystify the most talented technician.

So I guess I am saying that all may not be well. It is not difficult to disassemble these things and inspect. I found a green gooey growth inside my solenoid.

So take some measurements at least and write them down. Take pictures and print them out. Then annotate them with those measurements. Trust me, you will not remember with absolutely certainty. The two large post should be dead on when the solenoid is activated. IF you see even .2 volts difference it is defective. There should be an absolute short across those contacts.
Correct on the short. the contact or shorting bar device is a copper washer that jumps across the 2 lugs when the solenoid is energized. Ive replaced these before.
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Old 08-04-2015, 08:08 PM   #23
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Myron, I think the original readings on the solenoid lugs is wrong. How can you only have voltage on one lug when the solenoid is not energized and then only have voltage on the other lug when it is energized. Put your ET hat on and think that one out because it is not logical.
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Old 08-05-2015, 12:33 AM   #24
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I believe that he is charging them after he starts. Look carefully at the blue finned isolator on the left. I think that middle cable probably comes from the alternator and is charging both sets of batteries.

Bob, a question for you now that they are all charged up and that is if your inverter/converter is charging the batteries when on shorepower. You need to find that out. Disconnect from shore power and let the MH sit for about three hours then measure the chassis and house battery voltages. If fully charged they should be reading up around 12.5-12.7 volts. Then plug back into shore power and read the battery voltages again and if being charged they should be reading 13.5+ volts on both battery sets. If not then your inverter/converter is not charging.
It is so hot here that I am not going to unplug today, but will try that tomorrow if we can get on the road to the Park City area. The house batteries have always been 14-14.4V measured at the batteries, indicating that the charger is working. I will measure the chassis batteries again in the morning. When I took them off the charger, they read about 13V, but usually meter closer to 15V, so I'll see what effect the maintainer has on them overnight.
A friend suggested that there might be a dead diode in the maintainer or battery isolator that allowed the chassis batteries to carry the 12v house load when the battery disconnect was off, but I am having a hard time following that scenario. I have a couple of tests in mind to see if I can duplicate the problem, but if it starts in the morning we are heading out.

Again, thanks for all the help.

Cheers,

Bob
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Old 08-05-2015, 04:52 AM   #25
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A diode is a one way gate so if the house diode failed the chassis batteries would not pick up the load. The house batteries just would not charge and would go dead but the chassis batteries would be isolated and still good.
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Old 08-05-2015, 05:31 PM   #26
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Myron, I think the original readings on the solenoid lugs is wrong. How can you only have voltage on one lug when the solenoid is not energized and then only have voltage on the other lug when it is energized. Put your ET hat on and think that one out because it is not logical.
Mike, I take symptoms reported and measurements with a grain of salt. If I am talking to a person directly I warn them that I will seemingly ask the same question. It is often them reporting a tiny bit of information or changing their story that the real solution comes up. There is no way to know if the OP is competent with a voltmeter. No insult, even old techs get fooled. No way to know if they are using a good ground.

The symptoms he related in the first thread really sounds like a charging solenoid acting up. They can be intermittent and drive a person nuts.

I would disconnect from shoreline and turn on lots of heavy current items, and while they were loading things down I would turn on the headlights and dash fans and radio to try to get a load on the chassis batteries.

Now in thirty minutes turn everything off and measure the voltage on each of the large wires on the solenoid. They should be a bit different. WRITE the voltages down. Forget trying to remember them.

Now plug in the shoreline cord and measure the same posts again. WRITE it down.

If the house batteries seem to be getting charged indicated by 13.5 volts or so that is good. WRITE it down.

Measure the voltage on the other side of the solenoid. WRITE it down.

IF the voltages are exactly the same the solenoid is probably getting a bit warm. NOW measure the voltage on the little terminals. WRITE it down.

IF the voltages are exactly the same AND you have voltage on one of the little terminals and no voltage on the other the solenoid is energized.

Does this mean the solenoid is good. YES, at this moment in time it is good. That does not mean the next time it cycles on that it will hit a good spot on the internal contacts.

Hope no one thinks I'm shouting by the caps. Writing measurements down totally eliminates the I think, or I'm not sure issues. Sometimes the most subtle written down measurement will sort out an intermittent.

I love the hunt for these issues. It can take a lot of patience to work through and when the OP has it figured out he will have some incredibly valuable information to pay forward on this forum.
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Old 08-05-2015, 05:46 PM   #27
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His system does not have a charging solenoid. It has a battery boost solenoid. The rest is handled by diodes for isolation.
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Old 08-06-2015, 09:47 AM   #28
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Mike, I take symptoms reported and measurements with a grain of salt. If I am talking to a person directly I warn them that I will seemingly ask the same question. It is often them reporting a tiny bit of information or changing their story that the real solution comes up. There is no way to know if the OP is competent with a voltmeter. No insult, even old techs get fooled. No way to know if they are using a good ground.

SNIP

Hope no one thinks I'm shouting by the caps. Writing measurements down totally eliminates the I think, or I'm not sure issues. Sometimes the most subtle written down measurement will sort out an intermittent.

I love the hunt for these issues. It can take a lot of patience to work through and when the OP has it figured out he will have some incredibly valuable information to pay forward on this forum.
Myron,

You certainly got it right, I am barely competent with a meter. I have clearly generated bad info from the start. I replaced the meter leads a few months ago and didn't realize until yesterday that they were not making good contact in the meter sockets. I have fixed that and appear to be able to get repeatable results now.
When we arrived at the new campsite yesterday afternoon, before connecting to power, the chassis batteries read 13.9. At 7 PM and again at 8 AM: 13.8. At those same times the house batteries measured 13.9 - 14.2.
By luck I happened to be standing next to the rear electrical panel this morning when the maintainer clicked on and I measured 14.2 on both the input and output posts.
I am going to do the test you suggested because we want to go dry camping next week. I'll post results.
I am still trying to figure out why, OR IF, having the house batteries disconnected caused the chassis batteries to discharge so badly. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place?
I wouldn't be as concerned about figuring this out if I had a way to start the generator if the chassis batteries went flat. I don't think jumper cables from my toad batteries will start the main engine, but will they start the generator? If I can get the generator going, I can hook up a battery charger to restore the chassis batteries to get the engine started. Feasible?

Cheers,

Bob
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