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Old 12-30-2010, 05:09 PM   #1
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Chassis batteries

I keep my MH plugged into shore power all the time during winter, however i start the engine and generator about three times a month and let the engine warm up and let the generator run under the load of two ACs for about 15 minutes. I then shut everything off. Today i went to start the engine and it only turned over about three times and then just started clicking or sounding just like a car with a low battery. I have a Freedom Combi inverter and it was my understanding it would keep both the house and chassis batterys charged. The model Number of the inverter is 81-2022-12(208) Is this a fact or not? My inverter has two breaker switches on it, one 25 ac out and one 15 ac out. Maybe the info i have posted will help someone answer my question. Also i have connected a charger to the chassis batteries, I have two 12 volts wired in series. My question is: Do i connect the black wire to the negative of one battery and the red wire to the postive of the other battery. I hope so, that is what i have done. Sorry for the long post, but being a newby to Motorhoming i need all the help i can get. I have a 2000 tradewinds model 7373. Thanks, Rivrduk
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Old 12-30-2010, 05:19 PM   #2
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Hi rivrduk,
Your two chassis batteries will be wired in parallel (not series). The engine needs 12 VDC. The two batteries in parallel will provide 12 VDC. If two 12 VDC batteries were wired in series, it would put out 24 VDC. If you have a meter, ensure the terminals you'll connect the charge to at 12 VDC. Connect the black to the negative terminal and the red to the positive terminal. If you use the same terminals the manufacturer used to go to chassis ground and the engine you should be okay.

The only way I know shore power charges a chassis battery is if the coach has a Bi-Directional Relay Delay (BIRD). I do not know your brand of coach. Determine if your coach has a BIRD. If it does, the diagnostics to determine why the chassis batteries did not charge can take several paths. Post again and we can begin that work. If your coach does not have a BIRD you'll need to put a Battery Tender or similar device on the chassis. batteries.

Even though you did not ask, IMHO do not start your coach engine during storage. Change the oil and let it sleep. Consider running the generator for one hour once a month on at least 1/2 load.
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Old 12-30-2010, 06:49 PM   #3
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National RV coaches like your Tradewinds do indeed charge the chassis batteries from shore power, so it should be ok. Do you by any chance have the battery disconnect switch for the chassis batteries turned off? That will typically prevent charging.

Were you able to start the engine by engaging the Aux Start switch on the dash? Push it on and hold it on, then turn the ignition key. Release it after the engine starts.

Were your house batteries charging ok? What does your battery status display show? The House batteries should show a voltage of about 13.3-13.6 if the Freedom Charger is working.
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Old 12-31-2010, 09:03 AM   #4
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My Tradewinds chassis batteries charge when plugged into shore power.
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Old 12-31-2010, 09:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Do i connect the black wire to the negative of one battery and the red wire to the positive of the other battery. I hope so, that is what i have done
Yes that is the correct method for charging two batteries connected to each other. Two 12 volt batteries connected in parallel or two 6 volt batteries connected in series it doesn't matter. Charge pairs of batteries from pos of one to neg of other.
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Old 12-31-2010, 12:14 PM   #6
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I have a charger on the chassis batteries now, and left it on all night, but no luck with the batteries. I did not hit the disconnect switch until this morning, i still have the charger on the battery, and i will go to MH and turn it on to continue to see if chassis batteries will charge. I tried the extra jump on the dash and it only turned over a couple of times then started clicking kinda like a car with a low battery. House batteries are fully charged according to the remote inside, I called the people who make the inverter and gave them all the readings on the remote on the wall and they said all is well with the unit and the house batteries. I have added water to the house batteries 3 times since i winterized the unit. The chassis batteries are the non serviceable type i guess. I called the RV place where i purchased the unit and a service person said the inverter i have did not charge the chassis batteries, but i dont know if he know what he was talking about. I have had some faulty info from him before. According to the literature i have it should charge both the house and chassis. Any more info you can give me short of purchasing two new batteries will be appreciated. Rivrduk
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Old 12-31-2010, 12:42 PM   #7
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If the batteries show charged, and the alternate holding down to use the coach battery to assist also did not work - you could have a relay, or ground or starter problem??

Agree with letting the engine sleep, unless you take it out for a full ride to get all of the seals, tires etc. excercised. If just sitting, let the engine rest - and keep doing the generator excercise as you have been. Full tanks is best, to reduce chance of moisture build up in the tank.

Best of luck,
Smitty
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Old 12-31-2010, 12:43 PM   #8
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Thanks for straightning me out on the parallel and series as i am special Ed in Electronics LOL. I seem to be the dumbest on on this forum, but i will admit it. LOL Rivrduk
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Old 12-31-2010, 12:48 PM   #9
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My motor home is a 2000 tradewinds, model 7373 rear pusher diesel. Dont know whether it has a BIRD or not. It has been starting ok.
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Old 12-31-2010, 01:38 PM   #10
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I have a charger on the chassis batteries now, and left it on all night, but no luck with the batteries. I did not hit the disconnect switch until this morning, i still have the charger on the battery, and i will go to MH and turn it on to continue to see if chassis batteries will charge.
The disconnect switch does not affect charging from an external charger. I keep my batteries disconnected and charge both sets periodically with an external charger. Look for the BIRD. It will be a black box clearly labeled BIRD. It takes a month of very cold below freezing temps for my chassis batteries to discharge to about 80 percent and of course thats with battery disconnects on ( disconnected). How long did it take for you batteries to discharge if infact they did. If you are not having luck with the charger perhaps you have a bad ground or connections to batteries ie corrosion. When you say bad luck, what is the charger telling you? Does it give you a status reading?
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Old 12-31-2010, 01:57 PM   #11
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Hi rivrduk,
Do you have a meter? If not, it would be good to purchase one. A fully charged 12 VDC battery will read 12.6 - 12.8 VDC. We need to start with the chassis batteries before you go crawling under the coach looking for ground wires. If the chassis batteries read 12.6 - 12.8 VDC and the engine will not start, take the batteries to your local battery store and have them load tested. That will tell you if the batteries are really good and can handle a load. I know this suggestion is a PITA, but it is really the best place to start diagnosing the problem. If the batteries are fully charged and read under 12.4 VDC it is time to consider replacement.

For me, I purchased my own battery load tester (after having a nightmare battery experience of my own recently). It is about $100. I have a coach, two golf cars and two cars. That's 14 batteries! Having one's own load tester eliminates pulling the batteries and carting them to the battery store. All one needs to do is disconnect the battery leads and then test. Go to ActronŽ and take a look (for the future).

This post refers to two separate tools. The volt/ohm meter is needed now. The battery load tester could be a now or future purchase.

If you do not care to purchase either tool, take the batteries to your local battery store for load testing. Consider taking all the batteries to be load tested. One bad coach battery may keep your BIRD from charging the chassis batteries when on shore power. One bad chassis battery may keep the charger and BIRD from keeping the chassis batteries charged when on shore power.
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Old 12-31-2010, 06:26 PM   #12
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I have a volt-ohm meter and just learned how to use it. I will purchase the load tester when the stores open if they have it. If not i will order it. Thanks. I dont know whether i told you or not, but the MH started when i went back up to where it is. I used the boost, killed it and it started with just the chassis batteries the next time. Maybe it is ok now, but i will load test the batteries. Thanks again, Rivrduk
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Old 12-31-2010, 09:11 PM   #13
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Rivrduk's Tradwinds does not use the Intellitec BIRD device - it has different electronics to control. For that matter, many coaches use a different make or model of battery charge control. The BIRD device is just one of several possibilities.
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Old 01-01-2011, 09:16 AM   #14
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The electrical basics articles here http://www.firstgens.com/tech-articles.html may be helpful.

And I know this isn't another storage post, but the best thing you can do for expensive flooded lead acid batteries is disconnect them and take them indoors, somewhere the temp will not go below freezing.

The moho can just sleep. Won't hurt her a bit.
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