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Old 06-26-2016, 12:33 PM   #1
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Beeping inverter switch

Battery charging question, I have a 2016 Challenger 37kt. It has four 6 volt house batteries. Last night we were dry camping and I charged the batteries using the generator for 2 hours. While the generator was running I had both AC's running and some of the lights on. At 2 o'clock in the morning the inverter switch started to beep telling me the batteries were low. So I shut the switch off and had no AC power for the rest of the night. My question is, when I ran the generator for 2 hours to charge the batteries did having the AC's on limit how much the battery charger was able to charge the batteries? In other words tonight when I charge the batteries should I have my lights off with no AC is running? Thanks, Marc
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:39 PM   #2
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I doubt it. An inverter alone, even with nothing on, can draw down the batteries pretty quickly.

But I don't know about it happening within 4 to 6 hours... maybe the batteries didn't fully charge? Or possibly the batteries have already been fried.

It's pretty common to get toasted batteries with a new rv or travel trailer if the dealer let them go completely dead, or overcharged them.

Residential fridge could be the culprit too.

I also have no issue with running a genset at night... i know, i know... carbon monoxide... I had two testers, one by the genset and one on my night stand.

What were the reading of your batteries last night when you shut off the genset?
Is the fridge wired directly to the batteries, or does it only run off the inverter?
Is it possible to turn your inverter off, but still have the fridge powered?

Theoretically, everything else in the coach should run on 12volt, no inverter needed, unless you have something like a CPAP machine where you need the inverter turned on.
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:41 PM   #3
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you should also have an auto gen start??
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:46 PM   #4
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When you say 'So I shut the switch off and had no AC power for the rest of the night.' Are you saying the air conditioning was operating off the inverter??
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
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When you say 'So I shut the switch off and had no AC power for the rest of the night.' Are you saying the air conditioning was operating off the inverter??
I took it as he was referring to 110 alternating current.

Surely the air conditioning compressor wouldn't even attempt to fire on batteries alone.
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Old 06-26-2016, 01:42 PM   #6
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The ac's were only running while the generator was on, the generator was on to charge the batteries. The batteries needed charging due to the fact the inverter was on because I have a residential fridge. My auto gen start is off due to the fact I'm in a campground and can't have it start in the middle of the night. I believe the batteries were fully charged after running the generator for 2 hours. I have the inverter on all night to run the residential fridge. When I shut the inverter off in the middle of the night it killed all AC power going to my fridge. That's my concern keeping the food cold. That's why I have four batteries. So again the question is, does running the AC's off the generator at the same time you charging the battery make it so the batteries don't get fully charged?
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Old 06-26-2016, 04:41 PM   #7
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In my case I do run the ac's while charging the batteries and I have the res fridge. Difference is that I have 6 6-volt batteries but also have 3 ac's so that evens it out I think. Anyway I run the generator for about 3 hours and check the batteries to make sure they are fully charged before I shut down the ac's then the generator. I always leave the inverter on to run DH cpap and fridge plus the bedroom fan. We are still at 12.1 in the am. I then run the generator in the am to recharge, make coffee, cool off etc. We boondock at the races for about 7 days at the time.

I think that you need to have your house batteries tested. As stated the dealer's abuse the initial set by running them down. I had the dealer replace ours when bought the coach since they were almost dead when looking at it. I never let mine get too low, below half charge, and that seems to work. Last set lasted nearly 6 years. I have wet cell and I watch water levels once a month.

I don't think running the acs while charging should be an issue but maybe not fully charging them and running them down too low repeatedly could be. 2 hours is pretty short. In any case , have them load tested and then you will know.
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Old 06-26-2016, 04:48 PM   #8
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Agree, start with checking batteries. Load test and specific gravity.

Charging while running air conditioning should not be a problem. Is your charging current adjustable? If so set appropriately.

Two hours of genny time is not a lot for charging, if the batteries are way down to start. Usually a couple three hours morning and maybe again in the afternoon will do. Then run it again in their evening if using television, lights, etc.
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Old 06-26-2016, 07:02 PM   #9
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Ok, thankyou. I'll get these batteries tested.
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Old 06-27-2016, 09:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
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So again the question is, does running the AC's off the generator at the same time you charging the battery make it so the batteries don't get fully charged?
No, there's plenty of power for everything in the coach with the genset running.
The charger takes little power comparatively
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Old 06-27-2016, 09:36 AM   #11
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agreed..,. You can run to autozone and pick up a specific gravity tester for about 12 bucks. and you can run that test right in the bay.

and as you open the batteries, first be careful... second make sure they are filled to the neck with water, if any one or two cells are a little low, make note of which cells they are. And if you see ANY lead exposed, certainly make note of those cells, i;d bet they would show bad on the SG test.

BUT it sounds to me that maybe they just weren't fully charged in the 2 hours, and you didn't push the button to see, so we can't really be sure of that one.

I wonder at what voltage does your alarm start to go off?

Fridges can be a decent draw for sure. But I would still want to get to the bottom of it.

I would check the water int he batteries, if all was good there...
I would charge the batteries all the way, then time how long the fridge draws them to beeping.
If that time was shorter than I thought it should be, I would then test the batteries.
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Old 06-28-2016, 02:39 PM   #12
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You have an inverter and a converter be sure to see if both are working properly.
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Old 06-28-2016, 03:18 PM   #13
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Check the charge voltage recommended by the BATTERY MANUFACTURER. It's typically much higher than you would think. Adjust your inverter to charge the batteries at that voltage.

My batteries (US Battery) recommend absorb charging at 14.8 volts.

If you are charging at less than the recommended voltage you are NEVER fully charging your batteries!

Your batteries may already be ruined from under charging.


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Old 06-28-2016, 07:03 PM   #14
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so the converter on my RV had a roll back feature in the program... it would charge full blast for 20 min and than start rolling back the charging voltage over the nest hour so at the end of 1 hour it was down to a slow charge... I did have the same issues as you.. and would have to turn off/on the gen set ever 45 min to keep the darn thing charging.... so a search on the internet found me a new converter... 120V AC to 12 VDC that would monitor battery voltage and continue up to 65 amps of charge based on battery voltage.... so I could try and draw down with the inverter and other 12 loads... and keep charging the batteries....

Could you have this problem.... my old converter was a cheep one... only supply 35 amps and limited controls...
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