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Old 09-23-2013, 07:36 PM   #1
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Batteries and Voltages

We recently returned from a month long trip to the west coast in our new to us 2005 Damon Intruder. Everything functioned as it should and we had a great trip. We returned the RV to the storage lot when we returned. I turned the "salesman switch" off, locked it up and there it sat until I tried to start it a month and a half later. When I tried to start it I got the dreaded clicking followed shortly by nothing at all. I tried using the emergency switch and had the same results nothing. I thought I might be able to start the generator and thus start the RV but the generator would not turn over either. I put the volt meter on the chassis battery and it registered only 4.?? volts. I put the volt meter on the coach batteries, two interstate deep cycle 6 volt, new since April of this year, and got readings of only 1.??.

I thought I would first take care of the starting battery as I didn't know how old it was. I pulled the battery and took it home to charge. I let the charger on the battery for 8-10 hours. When I checked it I got a reading of only 11.4 volts. I figured the battery was shot and took it up to Wal-Mart thinking they would confirm my findings and find me the proper match in a new battery. Thier test showed the volts at 11.4 but the battery was still good. They asked if I wanted them to charge it for me. I said sure and they said it would be an hour or so.

The charge brought the volts up to 13.3. I put the battery back in the RV it started, the generator started and the house batteries are now showing full charge as well.

I don't understand how something drained the chassis battery and disabled the house batteries as well. The only thing that the salesman switch does not turn off, as far as I know anyway, is a small analog clock in the dash.

Any thoughts.

P.S. I have installed a knife style battery kill switch on the negative side of the starting battery.
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:57 PM   #2
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So tell me what a salesman's switch is.
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:58 PM   #3
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The memory of the engine and transmission control modules will run the chassis battery down in 3 to 4 weeks , Disconnect is a good idea , just remember that when you start up those modules will be in learn mode, the engine may stall and shifting may be harsh for 20 to 30 mins.
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:01 PM   #4
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So tell me what a salesman's switch is.
Salesman's switch or "coach battery disconnect" is to shut off all coach battery functions with a relay to keep batteries from going dead on the sales lot, or in storage.
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:54 PM   #5
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Get a BATTERY MAINTAINER or a portable Solar Charger.
Plug it in or disconnect the negative lead on both house and starter batteries.
Unless you have deep pockets, batteries are easier to keep charged than the expense of having to buy fresh ones, not to mention the fun involved in changing them.

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Old 09-24-2013, 07:08 AM   #6
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The memory items you mentioned that can run a battery down in weeks will only effect the chassis battery they should not bring down the house batteries would they?
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:11 AM   #7
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I think the knife style battery disconnect that I installed might be my best solution. I'm hoping anyways.
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:41 AM   #8
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Fully agree on the disconnects that You added. The salesman switch is connected to a relay that clicks and disconnects the battery. The relay could be bad. Plus their is no salesman switch on the chassis battery, so you did good
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:50 AM   #9
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The house and chassis/engine batteries should be separated by the BIRD - nothing should not drain both.
RV style refrig usually comes off the house batteries prior to the salesman switch relay and will drain the house batteries - but if your BIRD is working it shouldn't drain the chassis/engine battery.
Others have mentioned chassis components - add the parking/brake lights and radio to that list.
If this is the 1st time this has happened and you haven't added anything to both sets off batteries like a charger, I would take a meter to the BIRD and salesman switch relay - the Salesman switch relays often fail or may not 'switch' unless '12V Off' is held for a second or so.
Assuming all batteries are good, you'll need to find out what is draining the batteries and why the BIRD isn't isolating the two banks of batteries.
The knife battery kill will work, but you should still figure out what's wrong or you'll have the problem when the coach is left somewhere like at a shop for repairs.
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Old 09-24-2013, 08:34 AM   #10
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Check your isolator relay and make sure it is not bypassed or stuck closed. If all the batteries went down in 6 weeks they may be connected. Although 6 weeks may be enough to let them discharge. The coach batteries will look charged with the engine running, generator running, or plugged into shore power. You are seeing the charging voltage. You will still need to give them a good charge. 8-10 hours, depending on your charger, may not charge a dead battery. If it is under 10 amps it will take more like 24 hours. It mat show higher voltage (surface charge) but not be deep charged. The 2X6 batteries even longer. Also check your latching relay (salesman switch) it may not be opening to disconnect the coach batteries even if it clicks.
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:12 AM   #11
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X2, on checking the relay involved in the coach battery disconnect.
If the relay is working and the batteries still go dead, you may have a defective battery. New isn't always , good.
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Old 09-26-2013, 05:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raf0405 View Post
(snip, snip) I don't understand how something drained the chassis battery and disabled the house batteries as well. The only thing that the salesman switch does not turn off, as far as I know anyway, is a small analog clock in the dash. Any thoughts.

P.S. I have installed a knife style battery kill switch on the negative side of the starting battery.
The battery disconnect switch should do the job, but your chassis battery shouldn't go dead in 6 weeks. You might also want to check the parasitic load on the battery. Open the disconnect switch and then put a multi-meter across the switch (start on the 10A scale, just to be safe, then switch to mA) and see what readings you get. Supposedly anything less than 100mA is OK. If it's higher than that, start pulling fuses one-by-one until you find the offending circuit(s). Then figure out what's causing it.

Something's not right here and it might be worth a few minutes work to see if you can find it. Good luck. Keep us posted.

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Old 09-26-2013, 06:25 AM   #13
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Thanks all for comments and suggestions. I'll be taking the Rig out for the weekend and will have the time to check things out further.
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Old 09-26-2013, 06:39 AM   #14
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I subscribe to the battery maintainer as well. Be sure and get a decent 'smart' charger and not just a constant trickle charger. There are lots of good ones on the market. Had mine on every time I store the unit and have never had battery issues. Not expensive, especially compared too new batteries.
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