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Old 04-06-2015, 10:35 AM   #1
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Another battery question - chassis battery and inverter

OK, I previously posted about how one of my chassis batteries froze and split this winter and that I had assumed my inverter/charger (a Trace 2000) would keep the batteries charged.

I've had conflicting comments that the inverter/charger does not keep the chassis batteries charged and some that say it does.

One person has said that my mistake was turning off the house battery disconnect ("salesman" switch) above the door. Turning that off means the inverter will not charge the batteries. Sort of makes sense.
- chassis batteries were not disconnected so phantom draws would have discharged them allowing them to freeze as the inverter could not charge them.

There is nothing in the Trace 2000 manual (will have to re-read to be sure) about the disconnect switch.

So the question is, if I had left the house battery switch on, my chassis batteries would have remained charged?

Thanks

Chris
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Old 04-06-2015, 10:52 AM   #2
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I don't have your set up so this is just a comment.
The question will be easy enough to answer , once the frozen batteries are replaced.
Volt meter in hand, coach unplugged from shore power, test the voltage at both sets of batteries; should be 12.6> 12.8 volts , plug the coach in with the battery disconnect on , after approx. 2mins. battery volts should be 13.1 or higher indicating both sets of batteries are being charged.
Repeat the test with the disconnect off, if no increase in voltage at the batteries , you'll have your answer.
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Old 04-06-2015, 11:59 AM   #3
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My coach came with the echo charger that went out so I installed the Magnum combiner then got this, plug it in to a power port shows the condition of my chassis battery every time I walk in.
http://www.amazon.com/INNOVA-3721-Ba...ords=voltmeter
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Old 04-06-2015, 12:52 PM   #4
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Your salesman switch only disconnects 12v from your house accessories....has nothing to do with your chassis batteries.

Obviously your chassis batteries were not being charged while on shore power. This indicates that either the chassis batteries' main disconnect switch (located in the battery compartment) was turned off, or the inverter/converter/charger has malfuntioned.

As previously mentioned. Replace chassis batteries and measure voltage with the main disconnect switch off. Should read about 12.6 volts (indicating fully charged). If batteries are fully charged, then (while connected to shore power) turn the switch on (wait a couple of minutes) and if the inverter is functioning correctly, you should read over 13 volts. If the batteries initially read less than 12.6 volts, with the inverter working you may even see over 14 volts.

However, with the inverter on and you don't see any increase in voltage on the batteries, the inverter is not charging. May be a fuse, may be a bad connection, may be a bad inverter.

Hope this helps

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Old 04-06-2015, 02:32 PM   #5
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The reason you got conflicting answers about shore power charging the engine batteries is because it depends on the motor home manufacturer. Many (all?) Fleetwood motor homes have a "BIRD" or another similar system that does charge the engine batteries but a lot of other brands don't. Winnebago's didn't until recent years and they don't use the same system as Fleetwood but use a TrickleStart or something similar. It is not uncommon for the brands that have them to experience a control board failure or solenoid failure. The solenoid has been the most common failure in my experience. I have replaced or helped replace several of them.
It appears that Newmar may install the BIRD system see HERE and scroll way down to "Gas BIRD SYSTEM----------DP BIRD SYSTEM -------- INTELLITEC CONTROLLERS"
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Old 04-06-2015, 03:17 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the comments so far.
It seems (from other Newmar owners same vintage) that by disconnecting the house batteries, it keeps the inverter from charging the chassis batteries.
And yes I do have A BIRD but I'm guess from the Trace wiring that the disconnect (for house) breaks the whole charging circuit.

When the weather warms up (snowing again right now) I'll do some checking with my trusty volt meter. Either way, I'll change the way I store it next winter.

Thanks

Chris
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Old 04-06-2015, 03:24 PM   #7
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Hi cvbdsl,
For your 2003 DSDP there is no reason to turn off the chassis or house battery switches if you are connected to shore power. Why the chassis battery froze is a symptom, not a cause. The bottom line is once replaced coach and chassis batteries should remained charged when connected to shore power. If this does not happen, the BIRD system needs to be checked out. The chassis batteries have a solar panel (5 WATT) that will also help maintain the charge that was in the chassis batteries when the engine was turned off.

To make sure we are talking the same terminology:
1. chassis batteries = engine and automotive component 12 VDC battery power
2. coach batteries = 12 VDC battery power to coach (living area) components
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Old 04-06-2015, 03:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cvbdsl View Post
OK, I previously posted about how one of my chassis batteries froze and split this winter and that I had assumed my inverter/charger (a Trace 2000) would keep the batteries charged.

I've had conflicting comments that the inverter/charger does not keep the chassis batteries charged and some that say it does.

One person has said that my mistake was turning off the house battery disconnect ("salesman" switch) above the door. Turning that off means the inverter will not charge the batteries. Sort of makes sense.
- chassis batteries were not disconnected so phantom draws would have discharged them allowing them to freeze as the inverter could not charge them.
There is nothing in the Trace 2000 manual (will have to re-read to be sure) about the disconnect switch.
So the question is, if I had left the house battery switch on, my chassis batteries would have remained charged?
Thanks
Chris
Chris
The house battery disconnect ("salesman" switch) should have nothing to do with your Chassis batteries.
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Old 04-06-2015, 04:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryKD View Post
Hi cvbdsl,
For your 2003 DSDP there is no reason to turn off the chassis or house battery switches if you are connected to shore power. Why the chassis battery froze is a symptom, not a cause. The bottom line is once replaced coach and chassis batteries should remained charged when connected to shore power. If this does not happen, the BIRD system needs to be checked out. The chassis batteries have a solar panel (5 WATT) that will also help maintain the charge that was in the chassis batteries when the engine was turned off.

To make sure we are talking the same terminology:
1. chassis batteries = engine and automotive component 12 VDC battery power
2. coach batteries = 12 VDC battery power to coach (living area) components
Thanks Gary;
Only problem with solar is that a couple of feet of snow sorta stops it from working - snow only melted off just over a week ago.
Agree with the terminology - we're on the same page.

I've been going back and reading some of your (and others)posts and checking out diagrams so I can get a better understanding of what may have happened.

Hopefully I'll replace the chassis batteries this week, if it warms up enough so I don't freeze my fingers. Local NAPA has them in stock.

Hoping the weather improves - I'm leaving for a road trip to Newfoundland (not with the MH) to visit 1st grandchild before the end of this month.
Then I'm only back for 3-4 days before our first scheduled outing for the 15th-19th of May. Oh yeah - have to work those 3-4 days.

I'm hoping once the batteries are replaced (and I leave switches alone!) that everything will be OK.

Thanks

Chris
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Old 04-06-2015, 04:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Chris
The house battery disconnect ("salesman" switch) should have nothing to do with your Chassis batteries.
Mel
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That's what I thought, but others seem to disagree. I've been looking at DP wiring diagrams and there could be several things at play here. Another option is that the BIRD failed - just reading the manual on how to trouble shoot.

Thanks

Chris
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Old 04-06-2015, 05:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cvbdsl View Post
That's what I thought, but others seem to disagree.
People will disagree since there are so many different ways things can be wired up. Not only do different manufacturers tend to do things differently, different models from the same manufacturer can be wired differently. In fact, different years of the same model might be significantly different. Changes can even be made in the middle of a model year.

There is no such thing as a standard configuration. People tend to assume that they way their coach is wired is the way all of them are wired. That isn't the case, so the answers you get will vary. Ask the same question from 10 people and you will get 12 different answers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cvbdsl View Post
There is nothing in the Trace 2000 manual (will have to re-read to be sure) about the disconnect switch.
Don't bother re-reading it, it won't be in there. The inverter manufacturer knows nothing about how the inverter was actually wired into your your motorhome, knows nothing about any disconnect switches, and knows nothing about the impact of switching any switches. (There is no way they could now all of these details -- see the previous comment.)
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Old 04-06-2015, 05:22 PM   #12
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Chris, there has been at times questions as to what happens when the battery cut off switch is shut off, some people have said there coach battery charges and others say no, best thing to do is leave it on if you have a shore power hook up and it only needs to be 110-120 outlet.
Newmar does not have a so called salesman switch, the house batteries are the only ones to be cut off by BCO switch.
Also you do not have SOB you have a Newmar.
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Old 04-06-2015, 05:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cvbdsl View Post
There is nothing in the Trace 2000 manual (will have to re-read to be sure) about the disconnect switch.
Will save you some eyestrain.. The inverter manual will make no mention of the disconnect switch,,,Nor can it,, Since it has nothing to do with the disconnnect

When it comes to wiring motor homes there are many options... OFTEN if you have a big inverter (#,000 watt class) the wiring is like this

Inverter---Batteries--Disconnect--House

if you disconnect then ONLY the house batteries are charged.

Small (300 watt) the inverter may be part of the "House" (nothing left of the batteries in above diagram) and the action of the disconnect in regard to charging is ... I can not guarantee.

Add to that SOME RV's the house charges the chassis (normally) on shore power if all are connected. Others it does not (Trick-L-Start fixes those).
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