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Old 02-17-2011, 06:16 PM   #1
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Long winter, discharged chassis batteries. Possible solution?

Went out to start the motorhome and take it for the monthly 30 mile ride and the engine wouldn't start due to the chassis batteries being discharged. Guess the parasitic loads drained the batteries. Did the boost several times and got it started but I want to eliminate this problem once and for all.
Our motorhome didn't come with the function to charge the chassis batteries while plugged into shore power. I want to add this capability and it seems that I remember reading on here that there was a upgrade that can be made to a circuit board that will allow this. I can't remember what it was called. Maybe BIRD, not sure.
Anyone know what it was called? Or in place of that what are my other alternatives?
Appreciate any help as this can get costly if I have to replace the chassis batteries.
Letsgoagain
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Old 02-17-2011, 06:29 PM   #2
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I use a Trik L Start - inexpensive - easy to install - works.
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Old 02-17-2011, 06:34 PM   #3
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Maybe one of these

Or this one

Another type
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Old 02-17-2011, 07:41 PM   #4
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First the good news. Although batteries don't like to be fully discharged, wet cells will recover several times.

I like systems that have manual on/off switches for each bank for storage. You just have to make sure no one wired anything on the battery side of the switches.

I also like an automatic relay that charges all battery banks when there is a charge source available (engine or charger). There's no reason not to have such an arrangement.

There are many parts and controllers available. Some controllers where previously linked in a message. Here's a good option that combiners the high current solenoid and electronics in a small marine grade package. This is about $160. ML-Series Heavy Duty Automatic Charging Relay - PN 7620 - Blue Sea Systems
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Old 02-17-2011, 07:48 PM   #5
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An Ultra TRIK-L-START Starting Battery Charger/Maintainer is the easiest solution and only cost about $50.00. The Trik L Start only has three leads, so it can't be too hard to hook up. Black wire goes to ground, yellow wire goes to the house batteries and the blue wire goes to the engine starting battery. I connected ours across the boost relay because one side goes to the house batteries and the other side goes to the starting batteries. The hardest part of the job, for me, was finding a place to connect the ground wire. Our Trik L Start kept the engine battery charged as it should, but the LED indicators didn't function properly. The accompanying literature said this might happen and it is caused by the charger. We sold that coach a year and a half ago and I don't remember what type of inverter / charger we had.
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Old 02-17-2011, 08:29 PM   #6
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Not having access to an AC power source, I installed a 50 watt solar panel and simple charge controller in place of the useless "toy" factory solar panel. I just proved the value of it. Left the coach in storage in sunny Yuma on Dec. 8 and returned on Feb. 15 to fully charged batteries. I discovered I had left my underside blue neon "mood" light on the whole time, and yet the batteries were full up and fine. Guess I provided a bit of illumination to the storage lot.
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Old 02-18-2011, 01:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cottons View Post
An Ultra TRIK-L-START Starting Battery Charger/Maintainer is the easiest solution and only cost about $50.00. The Trik L Start only has three leads, so it can't be too hard to hook up. Black wire goes to ground, yellow wire goes to the house batteries and the blue wire goes to the engine starting battery. I connected ours across the boost relay because one side goes to the house batteries and the other side goes to the starting batteries. The hardest part of the job, for me, was finding a place to connect the ground wire. Our Trik L Start kept the engine battery charged as it should, but the LED indicators didn't function properly. The accompanying literature said this might happen and it is caused by the charger. We sold that coach a year and a half ago and I don't remember what type of inverter / charger we had.

Since you mention that you do have access to shorepower I would have to agree with the use/installation of the Trik-L-Start.
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Old 02-18-2011, 11:03 AM   #8
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Maybe I'm missing something here. From what I read on the Trik-L-Start, it simply charges the engine battery bank from the house bank. If you have the ability to interconnect the two battery banks when the start battery is low you would be much better off. If you don't have this capability, you should. All that I see this device accomplishing is draining your house bank in an attempt to TRY to keep your start bank charged. The result--both banks too low to start the engine.
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Old 02-18-2011, 01:09 PM   #9
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Maybe I'm missing something here. From what I read on the Trik-L-Start, it simply charges the engine battery bank from the house bank. If you have the ability to interconnect the two battery banks when the start battery is low you would be much better off. If you don't have this capability, you should. All that I see this device accomplishing is draining your house bank in an attempt to TRY to keep your start bank charged. The result--both banks too low to start the engine.
You are both right and wrong I think.

The Trik-L-Start do "sponge" off the house batteries, but as long as you are connected to shore-power (which is charging your house batteries) this is beneficial since now both banks are being charged up by shore-power.

If you are not hooked up to shore-power then maybe you could have a point. In this case the Trik_L-Start is of no use to you i believe.
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Old 02-18-2011, 03:37 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by The Danes Are Coming View Post
You are both right and wrong I think.

The Trik-L-Start do "sponge" off the house batteries, but as long as you are connected to shore-power (which is charging your house batteries) this is beneficial since now both banks are being charged up by shore-power.

If you are not hooked up to shore-power then maybe you could have a point. In this case the Trik_L-Start is of no use to you i believe.

I think the original post was related to not being plugged in. If they are plugged in, then I don't recommend this product as it's current limited to 5 amps. There are better options, previously described.

Gil
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Old 02-18-2011, 04:17 PM   #11
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Here's a bit of a followup on where I'm at on this problem.
I did a little searching around in the mods and updates section and found the original post I remembered reading about. Thanks to Robin_M who has done most of the research on this subject in the past.
Per his post and excellent write up, Mega Tech out of Oregon makes a Bi directional Isolater relay delay that may just be able to be placed onto the main circuit board in the front fuse and circuitry cabinet. This relay would replace the currrent one I have. This ability has always been on the higher end Monaco and Holiday Rambler coaches. Unfortuantely our coach is too far down the chain.
I have emailed Mega Tech and they are working on a response. I am hopeful that they still deal with the public as I clicked Robin_M's link and even though it did show some items it also said they had decided to get out of the RV aftermarket and concentrate on their other lines of business.
If the response from Mega Tech is favorable and they can provide this relay then I think it will be the best solution. I will then have the capability to also charge the chassis battery from shore power.
Thank you to all who have responded. All good solutions. The depth of knowledge and generosity of those willing to share it is what makes this forum such a valuable resource. I am grateful for it.
I will keep you posted on the outcome. Who know's, if successful then someone else may benefit from this upgrade.
If you are interested in reading Robin_M's post on the subject then his link is on page 5 of the upgrades and mod's section of the Monaco motorhome forum.
Thank You,
Best Regards,
Keith
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Old 02-18-2011, 05:53 PM   #12
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Letsgoagain......I'm going to relate my experience for what it's worth. Yes, MegaTech supplied the B.I.R.D., but many people had issues with it. It's REALLY hard on the battery relay and has caused some of them to fail. Many people that added the B.I.R.D. also replaced the rear battery relay with a better quality one. (This is information I acquired and believed to be true, but don't have any further information to provide.)

I originally bought the Trik-L-Start and it worked well for years, doing what you want done while parked in storage. It doesn't draw power from the house batteries when in use as previously mentioned. About 4 years after I bought it, I saw the body of the unit was bulging and the lights didn't work properly. I decided to buy the B.I.R.D. unit from MegaTech. I also bought the better quality battery relay and replaced it. After reading about some of the failures and the manner in which it charged while driving, I decided to remove the unit.

I replaced it with the Xantrex Echo Charger Battery Chargers | Auxiliary Battery Charger | Xantrex . I really like the quality of the Echo Charger over the Trik-L-Start. The Echo Charger works well and does EXACTLY what you want done. It will keep your engine batteries charged whenever you're plugged in.

There is also one other choice that came out a year or so ago. Magnum Products, the Charger/Inverter manufacturer for a lot of Monaco coaches, produced their own charger ME-SBC Smart Battery Combiner .

I hope this doesn't muddy your decision, but I think the best choice for what you want to do would be the Echo Charger.
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Old 02-18-2011, 07:02 PM   #13
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Trickle Charger

I have my m/h plugged into shore power at home. If I put a trickle charger on the chassis (motor) battery and I plug it into one of the 110 outlets in the m/h will that resolve the problem? (My chassis battery does not charge up from shore power when I am parked but my house batteries (2) do, through the converter.)
thanks
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Old 02-18-2011, 09:26 PM   #14
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I am going to jump in here with my opinion...
We (SacsTC and I) agree with Diplomat Don...We did in fact get one of the aftermarket daughter boards from MegaTech and we were not happy with it's performance - in fact we do believe it is what caused the solenoid to die shortly after the MegaTech product install. This board caused the solenoid to stay open at all times.



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