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Old 10-09-2010, 03:15 AM   #1
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House charging system

I have a 2005 LaPalma, is there a automatic charging system from the alternator to charge the house batteries while running?
Thank You
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Old 10-09-2010, 09:03 AM   #2
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Categorize my this answer as (maybe) "partially helpful" ...

If you have a volt meter (ideally permanently installed w/i the coach), you can observe the voltage of the chassis battery-bank and then the house batt-bank. Have the main engine running and unplug the RV from shore power. If the two banks are within several tenths-of-a-volt of each other, you PROBABLY have a charging-path between the engine's alternator and the house batts. But, for example, if the chassis bank reads 14.0 and the house reads 12.8, there is no charge-path...or the charge-path is not functional.
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Old 10-09-2010, 09:28 AM   #3
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Robi hit it on the head. That should be the easiest way to check. Also, you probably have a switch on the dash somewhere which connects the two battery banks. It's probably labeled "aux battery" or "battery boost" or some such thing and it allows you to start the coach if the chassis batteries are too low by connecting both battery banks while the momentary switch is being pressed. This same switch is often wired so that it energizes while the engine is running which in turn charges both banks while driving.

Good Luck

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Old 10-10-2010, 06:43 AM   #4
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I've been there on checking the system with engine running, but thank you. I get 14.5 on chassis but no increase on house system. Problem is I don't know if I have a system to charge house with engine! Much less expensive coaches I've owned, I had the system. I'll keep looking, and thanks for any help.
Yes I have the boost system.
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Old 10-10-2010, 07:49 AM   #5
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I had the same issue in my coach just after I bought it. Turned out the large solenoid in the battery compartment (clearly connected between the two sets of batteries) did not make contact and the coach batteries did not charge when the engine was running, nor did the battery boost work. The solenoid did indeed engage, but did not connect electrically. I looked at the solenoid and got the manufacturer, called them and ordered for around $30. It was a 20 minute job to replace, and now everything works fine.

After I got the new solenoid in place, I disassembled the old one, cleaned the contacts and still could not get it to pass current. I just pitched it.

Don
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Old 10-23-2010, 12:47 PM   #6
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Don....I think I have the same problem. House batteries not charging with engine running. I get a solid "click" on the selenoid when I press the battery boost switch, but it is only passing 9-10 volts between the top terminals. I get NO selenoid click when I start the engine (shouldn't I?). Are these symptoms similar to yours?

Shouldn't the voltage between the selenoid terminals be at least 12 volts? What is the "trigger" to turn on the selenoid to feed both banks of batteries (like the boost switch) when the engine is running?

Thanks in advance to anyone with some insight into problem.

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Old 10-23-2010, 07:11 PM   #7
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The house batteries will only charge when the alternator charges the chassis battery fully then it should switch over to the house, make sure the water level is at the proper level.
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Old 10-24-2010, 12:29 PM   #8
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Dick,
Let's define the voltages found at the battery-boost solenoid, then you'll be further armed to discover what "system" you actually have. FYI, my 2004 Dip does not have the ability to charge house batts while driving. My loss.

As you know, the large-wire connections (two) at this particular solenoid represent one connection to chassis batts and the other to the house batts. When the solenoid is "open" (de-energized), and you measure voltage to GROUND, you'll measure each battery bank's voltage. Let's assume you're not plugged into shore power, thus house batts may read 12.6 to ground. With engine not running, chassis (starting) batts may read 12.2 to ground. Reading ACROSS the solenoid at the large terminals will read .4v (12.6 - 12.2 = .4). When the solenoid contacts close (solenoid is energized), the very-very-low contact resistance will cause both batts to be at virtually the same voltage (i.e., they are physically in parallel at this point).

So apply the above logic to other scenarios. Example: If engine is running, chassis batts may be at 13.6 volts. ACROSS the "open" terminals of the de-energized solenoid will be 1.0 volts (13.6 - 12.6 = 1.0). If the solenoid is energized?....voltage ACROSS should be VERY close to 0 volts.....and voltages to GROUND should be nearly identical.

So with this "understanding" of the solenoid's terminals, you can determine if this solenoid is EVER going to cause house-battery charging while the main engine is running. Your answer (like on my Dip) may be "never". As other blog-writers have pointed out, there are other ways to accomplish this (a battery isolator for example). You just need to continue your fact-finding tour. Let us know what you find!
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Old 10-25-2010, 02:48 PM   #9
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According to my manual and Monaco tech, my house batteries are supposed to charge when travelling. After narrowing my problem down to the selenoid, and then discovering it was about a $100 to replace, my brother and law and I opened up (drilled out 4 rivets) and checked the inside of the suspected culprit. We found quite a few pieces of plastic "floating" around inside, apparently from the manufacture process, because we could find nothing broke in the case. We cleaned it out and polished up the points and reinstalled it. It now seems to be working correctly, at least on the volt meter. Will check it out further later, but if it works, it was for the cost of 4 bolts to put it back together (about 80 cents) !
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:27 PM   #10
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Dick, you're on a roll. Sounds like the very-very-low-resistance contacts may not have been quite so low!!

I'd be interested to hear what else you find as you run your main engine (and hopefully charge those house batts as the Monaco rep said). Here is something else to help you determine what the charge path really is.... When you use the BATTERY BOOST switch at the dash location (when you need to assist the chassis batts with amps from the house batts when starting), you're applying a ground or perhaps 12VDC to one of the small terminals on the solenoid....causing it to energize ("close"). If this same solenoid really is the CHARGE path for the house batts while driving, then this solenoid must be energized during driving time. Sooooooooo: If you understand what voltage (or ground) is being applied to the smaller terminals of the solenoid when using the BATTERY BOOST switch, you're now "armed" to discover (measure) voltages (or ground) on those same terminals when the main engine is running. My point: If you don't find similar small-terminal voltages (and/or ground value) there, then it probably means that the solenoid is not the charge-path from the engine alternator to the house batts. But maybe it is!! Let us know what you find.
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