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Old 11-14-2013, 06:28 AM   #1
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Auxiliary start not working

2004 Challenger 34ft F53 chassis, I have a problem with my Auxiliary starting system. My MH is always plugged into shore power and several times now I've ended up with a dead battery. Does the shore power not keep the chassis battery charged up? If the answer is that it doesn't, would it hurt to keep a trickle charger hooked up to it to keep it topped up? Second question, When I tried to use the Aux start it does not work. I explained this problem to the service manager at this "famous" RV dealership that I've been dealing with and was told by him that "these systems never work", charged me for his advise and didn't fix anything. Can anyone enlighten me what the problem could be? I've tried it with the battery disconnect switch off and on.
Bryan
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Old 11-14-2013, 06:48 AM   #2
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Maybe someone will jump in with a similar chassis. In general, the answer to your charging question is chassis specific. Some coaches have a BIRD system to control the battery charging. Some don't. Some have a Trikle-start system. The answer to your trickle charger question is yes you can put a charger on the chassis battery. However, diagnose the emergency boost system first because they may be connected. The booster switch closes a relay that connects the batteries together. If you have a BIRD system it uses the same relay. So if the relay isn't working it could be the problem with both systems. When you push the emergency start switch can you hear a relay click ? If so, that is the relay. Remember the switch is momentary so you have to hold it on while trying the starter. Even if the relay clicks it may not be connecting internally. Let us know if you can hear the click and what test equipment you have. Like a test light or volt meter.
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Old 11-14-2013, 07:35 AM   #3
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Bryan, most gasoline platforms do not have provisions to charge the chassis batteries and house batteries together. I have wondered why this is the case for the last 20 yrs as there is fundamentally no difference with their Diesel counterparts. That being said, as Tom mentions above there are exceptions to the rule and someone with your exact setup may be able to answer better exactly how yours is setup.

Meanwhile, if yours does not have/was not designed not to charge the chassis batteries, you can add a Trik-L-Start system to any system. Another setup I prefer to use and install is the SurePower 1315-200 bi-directional automatic isolator: Battery Separator Sure Power battery separator 1314 1315 1314-200 1315-200

This unit ties between the chassis and house batteries and is 100% automatic, very easy to install. If it sees charge on either side (13.2v on house or chassis) it automatically ties the 2 together. When the voltage on either side drops below 12.8 it automatically disconnects them. It's pretty hands-off for the most part. When driving the engine alternator will charge the house batteries and when plugged in your converter will charge the chassis battery(ies).
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:18 AM   #4
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Bryan, most gasoline platforms do not have provisions to charge the chassis batteries and house batteries together.
I'm not sure why folks keep making this statement.

All Fleetwood gas coaches have had dual battery charging for well over 20 years. MOST other gas coaches also adopted the practice as far back as the early '90s. The lone hold out was Winnebago which didn't provide dual battery charging on their gas coaches until about 2006, and then they chose the cheap trickle charger rather than an intelligent battery isolator like the BIRD.

The OPs Damon coach probably uses this BCC.
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:54 AM   #5
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Bryan, most gasoline platforms do not have provisions to charge the chassis batteries and house batteries together. I have wondered why this is the case for the last 20 yrs as there is fundamentally no difference with their Diesel counterparts. That being said, as Tom mentions above there are exceptions to the rule and someone with your exact setup may be able to answer better exactly how yours is setup.

Meanwhile, if yours does not have/was not designed not to charge the chassis batteries, you can add a Trik-L-Start system to any system. Another setup I prefer to use and install is the SurePower 1315-200 bi-directional automatic isolator: Battery Separator Sure Power battery separator 1314 1315 1314-200 1315-200

This unit ties between the chassis and house batteries and is 100% automatic, very easy to install. If it sees charge on either side (13.2v on house or chassis) it automatically ties the 2 together. When the voltage on either side drops below 12.8 it automatically disconnects them. It's pretty hands-off for the most part. When driving the engine alternator will charge the house batteries and when plugged in your converter will charge the chassis battery(ies).


There are a lot of diesel pushers that do not have capability to charge chassis batteries from shore power when they are delivered from the factory. Tiffin is one of the companies that do not have that capability at least the older ones do not. The newer ones might. So a trickle charger that is left on the batteries and hooked into the 115vac line is used and works well. I have an automatic charger hooked up on my Allegro Bus.

A lot of Diesel Pushers have a means of charging the coach batteries from the engine alternator as you are running the engine. They use a solenoid that detects when the coach batteries are lower than a set voltage. I am not sure if your isolator would interfere with that circuit. I am not saying it would just that it might be a problem. The other issue I have with an isolator is what it does. It connects batteries when the one side is lower than the other. If you have a shorted cell in a chassis battery then you are going to connect that to your coach batteries through the inverter and in a very short time you are going to have several dead batteries. By using the auxiliary start you are controlling when your coach batteries are connected to your chassis batteries for starting purpose.

You mentioned that your isolator was pretty much hook it up and forget it everything worked automatically. I have a small automatic trickle charger that I have permanently mounted. It was on the coach when I bought it and I have never had to do anything with it. I leave my coach plugged into shore power all of the time and when I go to start it my chassis batteries are fully charged and ready to go.

Everyone has their preference and I am sure yours works very well for you. I was just inputting my preference and opinion why i like that method.


We both agree the first thing the OP needs to worry about is fixing his auxiliary start circuit.
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:56 AM   #6
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Auxiliary switch solenoid is powered from the Engine Batteries. So there has to be a little charge in Engine Batteries for the solenoid to function.
Cures for this problem are obvious.
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Old 11-14-2013, 01:18 PM   #7
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The other issue I have with an isolator is what it does. It connects batteries when the one side is lower than the other. If you have a shorted cell in a chassis battery then you are going to connect that to your coach batteries through the inverter and in a very short time you are going to have several dead batteries.
This need not be a concern to you as the isolator solenoid/BIRD function that you are describing is not as simplistic as you think. The bird connects the batteries together ONLY when one set is receiving a charge voltage above 13.2, for a specified period of time, NOT simply because one battery set is at a higher voltage than the other. They will NOT connect just because one set is lower than the other. They would not connect just because one set developed a shorted cell. These systems use the aux start/isolator/cross charge solenoid, so using the Aux Start switch and solenoid should give you the same concern..

In simpler words, it's the higher voltage battery set that controls the connection, NOT the lower voltage set.

I'm not sure where the idea came from that the batteries are connected through the inverter. That's certainly a new one on me.
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Old 11-14-2013, 01:23 PM   #8
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Auxiliary switch solenoid is powered from the Engine Batteries. So there has to be a little charge in Engine Batteries for the solenoid to function.
Cures for this problem are obvious.
This is NOT a true statement for those coaches (all Fleetwoods) using the RV-Custom Products BCC and/or the BCCs made by Intellitec.

They use the coach/aux batteries to power the Aux Start switch function.
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Old 11-14-2013, 01:36 PM   #9
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Auxiliary switch solenoid is powered from the Engine Batteries. So there has to be a little charge in Engine Batteries for the solenoid to function.
Cures for this problem are obvious.
Actually...The auxiliary start relay on my Damon Daybreak is powered by the coach batteries. Yes I am sure. I guess, to really be a auxiliary start switch it should be powered by the batteries that are least likely to be discharged and not allow starting. If your problem is starting, you can't rely on the starting battery.

EDIT- LOULONG and I were posting at the same time.
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Old 11-14-2013, 05:04 PM   #10
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The other issue I have with an isolator is what it does. It connects batteries when the one side is lower than the other. If you have a shorted cell in a chassis battery then you are going to connect that to your coach batteries through the inverter and in a very short time you are going to have several dead batteries. By using the auxiliary start you are controlling when your coach batteries are connected to your chassis batteries for starting purpose.
No, they only connect coach and chassis when you either push the boost button and/or it sees a voltage over 13.2vdc from either side (which would indicate something is charging). They automatically disconnect if either side drops below 12.8vdc. No tuning, no setting, no worrying. Install and forget it.
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Old 11-14-2013, 08:46 PM   #11
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No, they only connect coach and chassis when you either push the boost button and/or it sees a voltage over 13.2vdc from either side (which would indicate something is charging). They automatically disconnect if either side drops below 12.8vdc. No tuning, no setting, no worrying. Install and forget it.
You said it better than I did.
Have you ever noticed how many folks can memorize the marketing/sales propaganda, but never bother to understand the actual operation of these things?
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Old 11-14-2013, 09:02 PM   #12
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From Intellitec.
I wonder how the OP is making out with his problem.

Bi-Directional Isolator Relay Delay by INTELLITEC
Intellitec Bi-Directional Isolator Relay Delay offers a new approach to charging batteries in an RV application. Unlike prior systems that only allowed charging the RV battery from the engines alternator, the Bi-Directional Isolator Relay Delay charges both batteries when either one is being charged. When the coach is being driven, both batteries will be charged from the engineā€™s alternator. When the coach is plugged into shore power, both batteries will be charged from the converter. If neither battery is being charged, the batteries are fully isolated. The controller also senses heavy loads on either battery to prevent the wrong battery from being inadvertently discharged.
It operates by sensing the voltage on both batteries. When either of these volts exceeds 13.3 volts for approximately 12 seconds, which happens when either battery is being charged, the control will close the isolator solenoid, connecting the two batteries together, charging them both. (Normal charging voltages are from approximately 13.8 to 14.4 volts.)
After the solenoid has been closed, the system continues to sense the voltage. If the ignition switch is off and the battery voltage drops below 12.8 volts for approximately 5 seconds, which might occur when the converter is heavily loaded, the solenoid is opened to prevent the chassis battery from being discharged by the coach loads. When the voltage goes above 13.3 volts again for approximately 5 seconds, the solenoid closes again.
If the ignition switch is on, the control allows the voltage to drop below 12.0 volts for approximately 5 seconds, before the solenoid is opened to insure the alternators full output is available for important chassis functions. When the voltage goes above 13.3 volts again for approximately 5 seconds, the solenoid will close.
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Old 11-14-2013, 09:51 PM   #13
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From Intellitec.
I wonder how the OP is making out with his problem.

Bi-Directional Isolator Relay Delay by INTELLITEC
Intellitec Bi-Directional Isolator Relay Delay offers a new approach to charging batteries in an RV application. Unlike prior systems that only allowed charging the RV battery from the engines alternator, the Bi-Directional Isolator Relay Delay charges both batteries when either one is being charged. When the coach is being driven, both batteries will be charged from the engineā€™s alternator. When the coach is plugged into shore power, both batteries will be charged from the converter. If neither battery is being charged, the batteries are fully isolated. The controller also senses heavy loads on either battery to prevent the wrong battery from being inadvertently discharged.
It operates by sensing the voltage on both batteries. When either of these volts exceeds 13.3 volts for approximately 12 seconds, which happens when either battery is being charged, the control will close the isolator solenoid, connecting the two batteries together, charging them both. (Normal charging voltages are from approximately 13.8 to 14.4 volts.)
After the solenoid has been closed, the system continues to sense the voltage. If the ignition switch is off and the battery voltage drops below 12.8 volts for approximately 5 seconds, which might occur when the converter is heavily loaded, the solenoid is opened to prevent the chassis battery from being discharged by the coach loads. When the voltage goes above 13.3 volts again for approximately 5 seconds, the solenoid closes again.
If the ignition switch is on, the control allows the voltage to drop below 12.0 volts for approximately 5 seconds, before the solenoid is opened to insure the alternators full output is available for important chassis functions. When the voltage goes above 13.3 volts again for approximately 5 seconds, the solenoid will close.
This is the way the RV-CP BCC works (and the way the so called Smart Relays all work). The threshold voltages vary somewhat across products, but the theory is the same.
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Old 11-15-2013, 12:40 AM   #14
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This need not be a concern to you as the isolator solenoid/BIRD function that you are describing is not as simplistic as you think. The bird connects the batteries together ONLY when one set is receiving a charge voltage above 13.2, for a specified period of time, NOT simply because one battery set is at a higher voltage than the other. They will NOT connect just because one set is lower than the other. They would not connect just because one set developed a shorted cell. These systems use the aux start/isolator/cross charge solenoid, so using the Aux Start switch and solenoid should give you the same concern..

In simpler words, it's the higher voltage battery set that controls the connection, NOT the lower voltage set.

I'm not sure where the idea came from that the batteries are connected through the inverter. That's certainly a new one on me.
LOL I know better than to try and watch tv while I am typing I meant to say isolator not inverter sorry. I had the impression the isolator was a passive device not active. I did not know it had to have a trigger to work. I thought it looked at higher voltage batteries and connected them to the ones that are discharged.
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