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Old 11-10-2014, 02:58 PM   #1
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Battery Charging Issues

I have a Thor Tuscany with an issue the Mfg has not helped me resolve. While traveling my inverter kicks off after about 6 hours due to low coach battery voltage and recently, my chassis batteries got low while plugged into shore power. I assumed the alternator would keep the coach batteries up and the shore would do the same for the chassis. I believe there is a device that determines how batteries get charged but my owners manual is of no help. Any suggestions as to what device I should be looking at and whether it is supplied by Freightliner or Thor and other help greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-10-2014, 03:09 PM   #2
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It could be that your inverter is using more current then the alternator or charger can put out.
The input current at 12 volts DC is about 10 times the output current at 120 volts AC.

If you are running a 5 amp AC load, the inverter is using about 50 amps.
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Old 11-10-2014, 03:22 PM   #3
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First thing I would check would be the BIRD relay. I had similar issues (when plugged into shore power engine start batt would not get charged) and that was the problem.

Products - DC Power Management - Intelligent battery charging - The BIRD
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Old 11-10-2014, 03:23 PM   #4
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Inverters come in a lot of different flavors. Some need to be on to power devices such as the TV and sometimes the microwave or refrigerator (if it is residential). Other manufacturers power several or all of the outlets when the inverter is on. I do not turn my inverter on unless I need to power something with 110 vac. If I am hooked up to shore power, I don't need the inverter. If the generator is running, I don't need the inverter. My MH has an inverter with a transfer switch. Whenever the generator is running or I am connected to shore power, the transfer switch passes the AC power through the inverter without the inverter being on to all of the AC outlets that are powered by the inverter when I don't have shore or generator power. Do you have any specs or a manufacturer/model for your inverter?
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Old 11-10-2014, 03:33 PM   #5
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Hello Big Dude. I know that my Fleetwood does not match your but I will help lead you down the right road. Most RVs have a system knows as a BCC or BIRD. A BCC is a Battery Control Center. This BCC is a control board within a area close to the batteries, both chassis and house batteries. It will have many wires , large and small wires. It will also have fuses that also control slides, electric steps, fog lights, solar charger and charging balance of both sets of batteries. It charges from engine alternator, shore power, and generator. It will also have two relays. One for battery disconnect, and also AUX START. Aux start ties both batteries together to either start chassis engine or generator. I replaced my BCC board and solved every problem I had because the old board was burnt out.
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Old 11-10-2014, 04:41 PM   #6
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Might check to see if the house batteries are being charged at all. With the engine running vs not running, you should see about one volt difference. If no change, then the batteries are not getting charged.

Unless you have substantial loads on the inverter, the alternator should keep the batteries up.
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Old 11-10-2014, 04:55 PM   #7
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Just curious, why would the inverter be on while you are rolling down the road?
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Old 11-10-2014, 05:35 PM   #8
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I don't know about your Thor setup, but I do know for a fact that my Itasca does not charge the house batteries from the engine alternator, nor does the house converter charge the chassis battery. I have tested the house batteries with the engine off and running and there is no change. I discovered the chassis battery is not charged from the converter after camping for a week and leaving the map light over the copilot's seat turned on for a couple of days. The chassis battery was drained and wouldn't start without a boost from the house batteries even though we were on shore power the whole time.

As a previous post said, it's easy to check. Take a voltage reading of your house batteries with the engine off while not on shore power. Crank the engine and take a second reading. If they are the same, then you are not getting a charge from the alternator.

If yours does have a BIRD or BCC system, then the controller is not working correctly.

Just my findings, other will vary.
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Old 11-10-2014, 05:43 PM   #9
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I have never seen a MH that doesn't have a way to charge the house batt while running, Check the house batt with engine running and if not charging you have bird problem or charging solenoid problem.
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Old 11-10-2014, 06:02 PM   #10
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Lt Dan:

I have had two Winnebago (more recent than yours) manufactured coaches. When driving, the alternator charges both House and Chassis batteries which are bridged by a Charge Solenoid when the engine is started. When using shore or generator power, the converter/charger will only charge the house batteries unless you have installed a Trik-L-Start that will direct a portion of the charge output to the chassis batteries.
If your house batteries are not being charged by the alternator, check to see if you have / or if the charge solenoid is defective - I have had two fail - and they are a likely culprit for the problem you are describing. You should also consider adding a Trik-L-Start to your coach to keep your chassis batteries charged on shore power. There is a Winnebago Service Tip from 2006 on the product.
Good luck,
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Old 11-10-2014, 11:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobmac View Post
Lt Dan:

I have had two Winnebago (more recent than yours) manufactured coaches. When driving, the alternator charges both House and Chassis batteries which are bridged by a Charge Solenoid when the engine is started. When using shore or generator power, the converter/charger will only charge the house batteries unless you have installed a Trik-L-Start that will direct a portion of the charge output to the chassis batteries.
If your house batteries are not being charged by the alternator, check to see if you have / or if the charge solenoid is defective - I have had two fail - and they are a likely culprit for the problem you are describing. You should also consider adding a Trik-L-Start to your coach to keep your chassis batteries charged on shore power. There is a Winnebago Service Tip from 2006 on the product.
Good luck,
Is the charge solenoid you are referring to the "Battery Mode Solenoid"? That is the only solenoid I have other than the main disconnect. I had always thought that this was just the battery boost for when the chassis battery was down. That's the only way it has functioned, so maybe it is defective if it's supposed to link the batteries together. I will test it out and see if it has power applied to the coil all the time when the engine is running.

I have the full 146 page wiring book for the 06 and that is the only other solenoid I can find associated with the batteries.

Thank you for the tip on the Trik-L-Start, I'll look into that.

Blessings for the info, that's what I love about this forum.
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Old 11-11-2014, 09:13 AM   #12
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FACT there are MH's that DO NOT have BIRDS or similar. If you are inverting while traveling and the coach batteries are down either you do not have this option or it is malfunctioning. If the chassis batteries are down while on shore power you either don't have a bird or it is malfunctioning. Plus you may have an unwanted parasitic drain on the chassis batteries.

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Old 11-11-2014, 09:18 AM   #13
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Just curious, why would the inverter be on while you are rolling down the road?
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Units with household 120 volt refrigerators need the inverter running all the time.
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Old 11-11-2014, 01:36 PM   #14
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"Just curious, why would the inverter be on while you are rolling down the road? "

It runs the frig
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