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Old 01-28-2011, 10:58 AM   #1
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Battery Problem

I've been parked here at Gulf State Park, AL for a month, plugged into 50amp--haven't started the coach since we parked it. This morning I went to start the coach, and nothing--absolutely dead. Put the voltmeter on the battery and it showed zero volts! I was able to start it using Battery Boost, and the alternator is charging at 14.4V. After starting, I did notice one of the courtesy lights inside was on, but even if that was drawing power, my B.I.R.D should have kept the battery charged. Before I call Workhorse (the coach is only 6 months old), anybody have any ideas on what I can check? Please bear in mind that I am seriously mechanically challenged, so detailed instructions would be appreciated! Thanks in advance.

One other thing, before we left home to come down here, the coach was plugged in for over a month without starting, and no (apparent) problems then.
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:49 AM   #2
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BOB: asuming you have a BIRD, you are correct that it "should" have allowed the converter to also keep the chassis battery charged. However, I believe that the bird only allows the chassis batty to receive a charge AFTER the house battys reach a min of 90-95 % fully charged state. So, if there is a problem with the house battys, then that "may" have prevented the chassis batty from getting charged. However, I doubt the chassis batty would have gone to "zero" volts in only a month and I suspect that zero volts means the chassis batty may have a developed a fatal condition.

My suggestion is to remove the chassis batty and have it tested at an auto parts store that can attempt to charge it and then test it with a load tester. Good luck!
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Old 01-28-2011, 12:24 PM   #3
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Hi RetiredBob,
Before you do what edgray posted, do you have a portable battery charger? If so, consider charging the chassis battery(s) with the portable charger. This is going to take a couple of days to get them to the best charge they can be. Once the chassis and house batteries are at full charge, then see if things mysteriously work correctly. I think you had another thread with some difficulty with a radio alteration you were making and lost power during that project. I'm not sure if these are connected.

A battery needs to be a full charge first, before it is load tested.
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Old 01-28-2011, 03:06 PM   #4
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Yes, Gary, there is a connection. See my follow-up post over on the Newmar forum.
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Old 01-28-2011, 03:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
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One other thing, before we left home to come down here, the coach was plugged in for over a month without starting, and no (apparent) problems then.
Bob, The exact same thing happened to me so I pursued this solution. You're welcome to take a look.

Assured Automotive Power - BatteryMINDer Model 12248
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Old 01-30-2011, 07:32 PM   #6
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Bob, The exact same thing happened to me so I pursued this solution. You're welcome to take a look.

Assured Automotive Power - BatteryMINDer Model 12248
Driver, are you saying that the charger/converter on your coach keeps the house batteries charged, while the BatteryMinder keeps the chassis battery up? I've talked with several other motorhome owners, and none have had a need for an additional battery charger. I find it hard to believe that my usage pattern would be so much different from others that I would require an additional charger.
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Old 01-30-2011, 08:14 PM   #7
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Driver, are you saying that the charger/converter on your coach keeps the house batteries charged, while the BatteryMINDer keeps the chassis battery up?
Yes sir, That's how is works in my house. In my Blog I reported that my automotive battery died dead while my coach battery was metered at 13.x. When I went to pull in the slideout I checked the voltage on the automotive side and it didn't even light the meter. it was sooo down that it didn't even read 0. I sat in the seat and pushed the boost switch, the IP lit up and I was able to start the engine using the coach batteries.

Your charging circuit may be different than mine. The strategy that I employ works for me. I checked the new BatteryMINDer this evening and its blinking and the IQ Smart Charge is also blinking. Metering both sides in the One Place, 2 different voltages are observed.

On Page 25 of my BatteryMINDer owner's manual it says; Never mix batteries of different type construction / chemistry, or condition (old with new) always test each.

Perhaps I'm missing the boat here but I have learned that you don't charge Deep Cycle batteries (2 - 12V) and a Starting battery (1 - 12V) at the same time.

I finished the installation and I wrote a follow up Blog.
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Old 01-31-2011, 07:29 AM   #8
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Perhaps I'm missing the boat here but I have learned that you don't charge Deep Cycle batteries (2 - 12V) and a Starting battery (1 - 12V) at the same time.
I understand that, but I thought that with the BIRD the house batteries were charged first and then the charger was switched over to the chassis battery. So, both aren't being charged at the same time. What am I missing?
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:28 AM   #9
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Your not missing anything Bob you have it correct, unless you have some poor battery connections to chassis frame or wiring in Bird system or defective Bird.
You need to take voltage readings when plugged in on shore power, with engine running and charging off alternator.
You should see the difference when just operating these different functions.
Just read your chassis battery alone for starters with + lead disconnected and see if its fully charged if not put it on a battery charger.
Your radio works off engine battery.
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:57 AM   #10
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Gotcha, thanks. Keep looking for me!
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:32 PM   #11
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[QUOTE=DriVer;781006

Perhaps I'm missing the boat here but I have learned that you don't charge Deep Cycle batteries (2 - 12V) and a Starting battery (1 - 12V) at the same time.

[/QUOTE]

I guess this make sense but my converter has charged my 2- 6 volt house battery and my 12 volt starting battery for the past 6 years. I just replaced the 6 volt batteries after almost 6 good years, they have never been dead. I think 6 years is pretty good but maybe they would have lasted a few more years if they did'nt have to share the charge with my starting battery, which is original and still works and still on the job, and it has never gone dead. Just yesterday, I read about and ordered the 'Charge Wizard' for my 9160 converter, so maybe my new 6 volters will last even longer.
My alternator also charges the starting battery and the 6 volt house batteries so I would be interested to know what Driver has learned about not charging them together. Or do they charge one at a time? When mine are charging and have been for awhile, my 2 house batteries combined and my starting battery check pretty much the exact same voltage, about 13.6 V.
It seems if one had the 'Gel' batteries for the house and a wet starting battery, that would add even more confusion.
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I understand that, but I thought that with the BIRD the house batteries were charged first and then the charger was switched over to the chassis battery. So, both aren't being charged at the same time. What am I missing?
I don't believe I have a bird.
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:27 PM   #13
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My alternator also charges the starting battery and the 6 volt house batteries so I would be interested to know what Driver has learned about not charging them together. Or do they charge one at a time? When mine are charging and have been for awhile, my 2 house batteries combined and my starting battery check pretty much the exact same voltage, about 13.6 V.
Deep cycle batteries are not the same type of animal as a high amp starting battery. Their charge requirements are different and each should be optimized for purpose. This is why the BatteryMINDer is so useful because it can be adjusted for many different situations.

My rig does charge both sets of batteries down stream when the engine is running it just does not work the other way around.
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:28 PM   #14
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Max49, I'm in the same think tank as you. My alt will charge both chassis and house batt's. My understanding is that Fleetwood in the 90's started using a system where once the house batteries were charged to apx. 13.2 V the chassis started to receive some additional charge, like a trickle charge, from the converter charger.I'm pretty sure this is also industry wide. I also recently purchassed the converter with the "Charge Wizerd." Pretty neat converter.
I don't think when your charging different type batteries together in this method it's the same as a standard charge and probably causes no problems. Them engineers surely thought of this. I hope.
Max, 6 years is great for those batteries, I'm at a little over 5.
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