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Old 08-04-2014, 12:02 PM   #1
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1999 Safari Zanzibar Charging Battery Problem

Hi Out there...I'm a new member and happy to be a part of this connection. I have been trying to figure out my battery charging system. When the motor is running the dash voltmeter shows discharging . I took the rig to a mechanic who only tested the battery cables and found that the chassis batteries were not getting a charge but the house bank was. He said the alternator is good but the isolator is his guess. not having time to go further he sent me off with that information. I could order a new isolator but if anyone has an idea that I should check something else please let me know. I have checked all fuses. The batteries charge with shore power, the batteries are new last summer. connections are tight. Should I order the isolator? Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-04-2014, 12:25 PM   #2
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Buy a Volt Ohm Meter or VOM and start trouble shooting. What kind of isolator do you have? Is it solid state or a big relay?
Paul R. Haller
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Old 08-04-2014, 12:39 PM   #3
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Welcome to iRV2.
If a member with a similar coach can't provide you with the information you need , you will have to examine the whole coach, looking for a dual battery isolator, similar to the blue one in this picture; or a large charge solenoid/relay, by tracing the heaviest wire from the alternator.
The black wire in the photo, is from the alternator , and the reds are connected to the different batteries. To test , with the engine running, VOM, should show the same reading at all terminals 13.9 to 14.3 volts
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Old 08-04-2014, 01:30 PM   #4
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sure power 1202 I will pick up a vom tomorrow and start testing. Thanks for your help.
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Old 08-04-2014, 01:32 PM   #5
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Thanks skip 426. I will check that.
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Old 08-04-2014, 05:57 PM   #6
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Question Charging problem on motorhome. Cont

Well it's a holiday here and I can't get a VOM today but I did try something else. I connected the alternator terminal to the chassis battery terminal with jumper cable, and started the engine. Theory... If the volt meter on the dash goes to charge then the isolator is faulty. If it still discharging then it must be something else, but what? Any other suggestions?

Thankyou

Zanzi
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Old 08-04-2014, 06:27 PM   #7
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You'll have to try the same test with the VOM in hand. To see if your getting the alternator out put to the battery.
If you have approx. 14v from the alt. at the battery, engine running , and the gauge shows discharge , the gauge or the wiring from the gauge to the battery is at fault.

What engine does your coach have . Cummins?

C/T not open on a holiday, what's the world coming to.
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Old 08-04-2014, 08:03 PM   #8
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It's a cat 300 hp. I will try the VOM tomorrow. Thanks again.
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Old 08-07-2014, 02:40 PM   #9
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Still discharging

Hi thanks for your patience:
I tested the batteries both chassis and house banks and sitting still I got 12 volt reading. When I start the engine and test I get the same, 12 volts. The voltmeter I assume is working. it shows discharging slightly. I tested the isolator and it seems to be ok, I checked two 250 amp fuses in line with each bank they too are good.
Not sure what to try next, I'm not near any dealers or mechanic shops that will deal with this problem. I'm still trying to figure it out myself. I suppose I could remove the alternator and take it in for testing but the one mechanic that ran a test said the alternator is good.
Any other "try this next suggestions?"
Zanzi
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Old 08-07-2014, 03:16 PM   #10
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Alternator dead? Related wiring, Fusible link? With the engine running the alternator should produce about 14 volts. Rev the engine and see if that does anything. It should produce max voltage above 2000 RPM. if it still says discharge you have a problem somewhere in the charging system. You could disconnect the alternator wire at the alternator and test with a vom between alternator output lug and ground. Whats your voltage? Im still thinking bad alternator or voltage regulator if equipped with an external voltage regulator.
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Old 08-07-2014, 05:56 PM   #11
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Paul. I'm a dummy when it comes to this electrical stuff. Are you saying to unscrew the output nut only and put the positive tester probe on the lug the nut came off of and the other probe to the frame or ground while engine is running? The reading should be 14 volts? Just don't want to ruin anything by doing it wrong. Thanks and pardon my ignorance.
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Old 08-08-2014, 02:39 PM   #12
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Zanzi charging problem solved

And big THANK YOU to the helpful people who guided me through my problem.
It turned out to be a small wire that had disconnect ted from under the alternator post. Only found it when undoing the terminal to test voltage output. I hooked it back up and started the engine and the volt meter went back to show it was charging.
Thank you again for all your help . We are ready to roll and head for southern destinations this fall.

Kind regards
David and Suzan
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:49 PM   #13
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Thanks for posting that you're fixed up , glad it was an easy repair, as with most electrical , finding the problem is 99% of the job.
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