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Old 06-28-2013, 02:40 PM   #1
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Bad alternator ?

We're due to head out tomorrow to Florida. Fired her up this morning and have no battery charge. I'm suspecting the alternator.
Tried several places and nobody can even look at it until next week.
I have run a power cable from the basement storage to the battery compartment and currently have it on charge.
I have a Trik-L-Start but don't think that is enough to keep up with the battery drain.
I'm planning on running the generator to power the charger (and A/C) while travelling. My primary concern is the alligator clips coming loose while driving and causing a spark. I'm planning on securing those with cable ties.
I know this is far from ideal but at the moment, the alternative is cancelling our vacation.
Anyone else done this?
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Old 06-28-2013, 02:54 PM   #2
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How long had it been sitting before this happened? Did you turn off the battery switches?

Test the alternator (after servicing the batteries) by starting the engine and going back and measuring the voltage on the starting battery. Should be 13V and up. After a couple minutes, a relay will close and start charging the house batteries. So you'll get 13V+ across them too. If you don't get 13V+, then yeah, it is probably the alternator.

If the Trik-L-Start is good, it's more then enough to keep your chassis battery charged while on shore power. Maybe your converters fuse/CB blew or one of your GFIs popped so the converters off-line?
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:11 PM   #3
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While I have not done what you suggested if you have an emergency start button you could put a jumper across that switch and you should be fine.

Failing the switch jumper, I would not rely on alligator clips to stay secure unless you used some supplementary securing device such as nylon straps or tape etc as you noted.

You could run direct cables from your house battery to your chassis batteries and this would work fine also.

Good luck but if you are running your dash AC/cooling fan and lights etc, a trik-l-start charger might not be enough to keep the battery charged.
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:23 PM   #4
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I fired it up a couple of weeks ago and took it for a run. About a mile down the road, I noticed the alternator light and not charging. Not wanting to get stranded on the road-side, I turned round and went back to the storage location. After I had backed it into it's space, I noticed it was charging normally again (13.5V).
Took it back out and did 40 miles with no problems. So 2 weeks since it last ran.
I do disconnect both batteries while stored. The Trik-L-Start does a good job of keeping the chassis battery charged while in storage and while parked on shore power (that's why I fitted it).
With motor running, the battery is around 12.3V. Drops to 11.9 if I switch on the headlights.
Was wondering if the TLS would be sufficient to keep the chassis batteries topped up while driving (assuming no headlights and probably turn off the dash AC fan as will have the house air running).
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
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While I have not done what you suggested if you have an emergency start button you could put a jumper across that switch and you should be fine.

Failing the switch jumper, I would not rely on alligator clips to stay secure unless you used some supplementary securing device such as nylon straps or tape etc as you noted.

You could run direct cables from your house battery to your chassis batteries and this would work fine also.

Good luck but if you are running your dash AC/cooling fan and lights etc, a trik-l-start charger might not be enough to keep the battery charged.
The emergency start hadn't occurred to me... I believe the solenoid is continuously rated so could be left on permanently. Just need to jam something under the switch....
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:40 PM   #6
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I never done that, but that is my plan for an alternator failure enroute. The TLS only has a max output of 5 amps, so no lights, AC or unecessary chassis 12v use. Doing that, you should be fine.
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:42 PM   #7
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It might be OK to jam the switch on but a jumper should really be easy. But I would try to put a jumper across the relay or move the relay cable so they are both on the same terminal if possible and take the switch and relay right out of the circuit and you could run lights and dash air plus roof air if required. This would work.fine as long as the genny was running.

Good luck
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:46 PM   #8
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All the Trik-L-Start is designed to do is to tie the chassis and house battery banks together. The effect is just a single, larger, battery bank. The TLS does not "charge" any battery.
A very simple and safe way to solve your problem is to run a cable from house + to chassis + batteries. Fasten it to battery studs on both ends. When you run your battery charger via shore power (or genset) it will charge all batteries. You can run this setup until you can get the alternator fixed whether it be tomorrow or next month.
Edit: You do not need to run a ground wire. use a #10 wire or larger.
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:52 PM   #9
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It could be the connectors for the alternator. It could be a wire loose somewhere else.

But yes we have had to run for about 1 1/2 days with the generator going just to keep volts up on the engine to run down the road. Your MPG will suffer but if you need to get somewhere by a certain time then that is what you might have to do.
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KIX View Post
All the Trik-L-Start is designed to do is to tie the chassis and house battery banks together. The effect is just a single, larger, battery bank. The TLS does not "charge" any battery.
A very simple and safe way to solve your problem is to run a cable from house + to chassis + batteries. Fasten it to battery studs on both ends. When you run your battery charger via shore power (or genset) it will charge all batteries. You can run this setup until you can get the alternator fixed whether it be tomorrow or next month.
Edit: You do not need to run a ground wire. use a #10 wire or larger.
KIX, the TLS does more than just tie them together. That's what the emergency start solenoid does.
The Trik-L-Start steals a 'small' amount of the charge from the house battery charge circuit to charge the chassis battery but it ONLY does that after the house batteries reach a certain charge level. Until the house batteries are charged, the TLS does nothing.
The wires on the TLS are definitely not capable of carrying much more than the 5A Clyon mentioned.
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Old 06-28-2013, 04:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chawkins99 View Post
KIX, the TLS does more than just tie them together. That's what the emergency start solenoid does.
The Trik-L-Start steals a 'small' amount of the charge from the house battery charge circuit to charge the chassis battery but it ONLY does that after the house batteries reach a certain charge level. Until the house batteries are charged, the TLS does nothing.
The wires on the TLS are definitely not capable of carrying much more than the 5A Clyon mentioned.
I would assume that a coach of the quality of a Beaver is equipped with a BIRD system. Using a Trik-l-Start in this case is redundant. My statement was meant to correct post #3 last paragraph which implied the Trik-l-Start would charge the battery. How the Trik-l-Start specifically works is just not important to help with your issue.
I understand your problem is that you need to drive and are concerned that your chassis batteries will discharge while driving AND running your genset. Additionally you are concerned that while running, the Trik-l-Start will not supply the needed amps to maintain your coach batteries.
If I correctly understand your problem my offered solution will allow you to maintain the charge in the chassis batteries.
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Old 06-28-2013, 04:40 PM   #12
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I had the same problem once, My coach at the time was gas, battery up front, I placed a battery charger on floor ran cables to the battery around dog house and drove over 400 miles with no problems. I did not have a problem with the clips coming off.
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Old 06-28-2013, 04:45 PM   #13
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I do love the Beaver but it didn't come with a BIRD.
On our first extended outing, the chassis battery ran flat after 3 weeks parked (on shore power). I added the Trik-L-Start after that and have not had that problem since.
I think I will go the way of jamming the dash switch for the emergency start as I don't really like the idea of it being semi-permanent. There is a reason there are 2 battery banks....
I just tested it and a 1/4" screwdriver bit fits perfectly under the switch to hold it in the on position.
Thanks for all the suggestions. Will follow up when (if) we make it without incident.
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Old 06-28-2013, 06:35 PM   #14
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I drove from Orlando to Naples (200 miles) with a similar setup. Genny running a 20 amp charger tyrapped to the inside grill with charge attached to battery with clips.

No problems at all probably could have gone another 1000 miles. YMMV depending on road conditions.
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