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Old 09-06-2013, 05:00 PM   #1
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Battery issues

last weekend on the way home from camping the voltage meter on the dash started dropping. It finnaly droped down to 10 volts and the coach started to run real sluggish, tranny started slipping. Swaped out the chassis battery with the house battery and made it the rest of the way home. I have since put in a new chassis battery, but here is the kicker... When sitting with both the disconnects on I get 12.49 volts at the chassis battery and 12.80 volts at the house battery. When running the chassis goes down to 12.17 and the house goes up to 13 and some change. Shut it down and the chassis starts to back up. I have only 12.09 coming out of the back of the alternator. For what its worth... the coach caught on fire a couple years ago. Edmunsons Rv in Edinburg, Indiana re-wired all the wires under the dash.While they did the work they eliminated the BIRD relay and put in a new solinoid which has both batteries connected to it.
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Old 09-06-2013, 06:18 PM   #2
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Well the BIRD is how the house charges the engine battery when you are camping... (And how the engine charges the house but more common "Isolators" do that as well).

Sounds like you have a battery with a shorted cell, that will cause the 10.x volt reading you cite. Don't know which one though I likely could figure it out if I tried hard enough.

Charge batteries INDEPENDENTLY of each other and load test.


Also possible you have other issues, Some of which can be very expensive.
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Old 09-06-2013, 06:34 PM   #3
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I somewhat agree with the shorted cell on the old battery but I put in a new interstate battery on the chassis side after we got back home. Is it normal for the alternator to only put out 12.09 volts?
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Old 09-06-2013, 07:09 PM   #4
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Your alternator should be putting out 14-15.5 volts. If the voltage dropped to 10V while driving, most likely the alternator.
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Old 09-06-2013, 07:12 PM   #5
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We have very different coaches, but I had the same symptom of the chassis batteries dropping while driving... until it would only limp off the highway... and I too swapped it with a house battery so I could get to an RV park.

Turned out to be a bad alternator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post
Well the BIRD is how the house charges the engine battery when you are camping...
I'm certainly not challenging this, but I'd like to understand more.

My 2007 Winnie DP has what I think they call a "Big Boy" instead of a Bird. I thought it did the same thing but maybe not because (while on shore power) my chassis batteries are maintained via a factory installed Trik-L-Charger.

Do you know if this is because of that "Big Boy" thing?

Thanks

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Old 09-06-2013, 09:55 PM   #6
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I believe the Big Boy is basically a heavy duty isolator relay. The BIRD is the circuitry that makes intelligent decisions based on battery and charging voltages as to when to close the Big Boy and connect the chassis and coach batteries together. Simply stated. Lots on information here on the BIRD system.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:22 AM   #7
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Ours did the same thing one time while on the way to Vegas about 2 1/2 years ago. Turns out it was the Voltage Regular plug that was coming off and so no complete connection. Once we figured that out and plugged it back in all the way and zip tied it to stay on we were fine. No more voltage dropping.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:48 AM   #8
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Given the age of your rig, I'd look also at any and all connections related to the alternator. Many rigs of that age have a wire that goes from the start switch to the alternator with a diode in-line close to the alternator. Bad diode or bad connection can cause your symptoms. That wire is connected to the 'F' (Field) terminal on the alternator.
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Old 09-07-2013, 02:22 PM   #9
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To RickO

TomPen did a very good job of explailning the BIRD

Bidirectional Isolator Relay Delay.

As I said, when the Engine is running, it senses the voltage and after so much time (The "Delay part" a few seconds) engages the isolator relay to charge the house.

When the house is charging and gets there, the unit senses that as well and again engages the isolator relay to charge teh chassis.... And in my case my car as well. But that is another modification not standard.
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Old 09-07-2013, 02:32 PM   #10
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So is the fact that the shop took the BIRD out and put in just a new continuous duty solenoid okay? It is a White Rogers brand, don't know the model number right off hand though.
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Old 09-07-2013, 04:22 PM   #11
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We need more info. If they actually removed or disconnected the BIRD then the relay will only work with the emergency start switch. I wonder if they replaced the isolation relay and said it was the BIRD. They work together. Do you know if your chassis battery is being charged when on shore power ?
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Old 09-07-2013, 04:38 PM   #12
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Well the bird is definitely not in there. There was a solenoid when the bird was there, now just a new solenoid. The last trip out the chassis battery was dead when we got ready to leave, had to use the aux start switch to get started. It seem like the tech told me to shut off the chassis battery when connected to shore power because the house would be the only one getting a charge. The house gets a charge off the alternator when running but the chassis was draining. I pulled the alt out and had it tested, it failed all 3 tests. So I don't know why the house would be getting a charge.
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Old 09-07-2013, 04:43 PM   #13
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The solenoid I speak of has 2 large cables on one terminal( one goes to the chassis battery the other goes to the disconnect relay) the other terminal has a cable going to the house battery
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Old 09-07-2013, 04:47 PM   #14
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I am out and about trying to track down an alternator someplace other than Auto Zone. I will take pics when I get back home
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