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Old 11-06-2015, 03:33 PM   #1
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Chassis battery problem

We have a 2004 Alpine Avalanche 400. The chassis batteries are not charging with the coach plugged into 110 source. House batteries are doing fine. Any suggestions?
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:57 PM   #2
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Neither are mine. Designed that way to prevent overcharging.
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Old 11-06-2015, 07:10 PM   #3
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My coach is designed so that if the charge to the coach batteries is not at least 13.3 volts, the coach batteries will not let the charge go through to the chassis batteries, and the latter will not get charged. Doesn't make sense but that's how it works...my coach would not start and this was the reason.
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Old 11-06-2015, 07:25 PM   #4
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My coach is designed so that if the charge to the coach batteries is not at least 13.3 volts, the coach batteries will not let the charge go through to the chassis batteries, and the latter will not get charged. Doesn't make sense but that's how it works...my coach would not start and this was the reason.
Most big coaches have a "battery tender" installed.if working right ,should charge the chassis batteries. Mine replaced last month to a Xantrax up grade, still does not work . Just live with it., you always have the emergency start button.
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Old 11-06-2015, 07:51 PM   #5
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The emergency start button did not work either. I am just confused because my other motorhome always charged the chassis battery when it was plugged in.
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Old 11-07-2015, 12:00 AM   #6
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We have a 2004 Alpine Avalanche 400. The chassis batteries are not charging with the coach plugged into 110 source. House batteries are doing fine. Any suggestions?
Bigpower,
Your coach, especially in that era, is in the same boat (so to speak) as many others, even other brands/makes/models of the same era. A lot of manufacturers did not provide for chassis battery charging while plugged into shore power back then. And, in fact, some are STILL NOT today. Most diesel pushers, OF THAT ERA, will have what's called an Inverter/charger on board. And, most of those are 2000 watt or larger. They have a built in charging system that handles the charging of the house batteries ONLY.

But, many D/P owners would put their coaches to sleep for a few months, weeks, etc. and, even plugged into shore power, thinking that all would be well when they returned to use them. Well, not so. Due to parasitic draws from many sources on board, the chassis batteries would go dead while the house/coach batteries would be just fine.

So, the complaints poured in and, companies like Winnebago/Itasca did something about it, right around late '05 to early '06. They installed what's called the Trik-L-Start unit. What that little unit is, is a small black box, about 3" wide x 2" tall x 1/2" thick or so, and, it basically can be mounted in a few places. But, what Winne did was install it so that it was very close to the Aux Battery Boost solenoid and House battery disconnect solenoid.

That little box, is NOT A BATTERY CHARGER. It is simply a small brain that is linked between both sets of batteries via its simply wiring diagram. It simply detects the difference between what the voltage of the house batteries show and, what the chassis batteries are showing. If the difference is .5V or more, it steps in and, send some of the intended charging (from the Inverter/charger) for the house batteries, to the chassis batteries. The Trik-L-Start allows no more than maximum of 5 amps into the chassis batteries to bring them up to equal with the house batteries.

Well, many, many folks on here have installed that same little black box to remedy the same exact situation that you're presently experiencing. Not one person has shown any unhappiness after that install.

But, there's one better. There's a "Big brother" to that Trik-L-Start. It's called the Amp-L-Start. It's operation is identical to the smaller version only, it allows a maximum of 15 amps to be used for brining chassis batteries up to snuff.

The Trik-L-Start usually hovers around $25-$40, depending on where you'd purchase it at. The Amp-L-Start is a tad higher, around $50 and up. I just installed the Amp-L-Start and, I think it ran me about $60 or so. It was a a very simple system to wire. There's only three wires to either one of them.

There are other means for keeping the chassis batteries up to snuff but, either of these two items, will do it for you on a much cheaper and dependable platform.

But, the very first thing you need to do is, confirm that there was no factory system in place for keeping the chassis batteries charged, while on shore power. Yours may be broken, if it, in fact, had one from the factory. A call to your factory or, even other owners of the same coach might reveal whether or not yours did and, it's simply malfunctioning. If it didn't have any provisions for keeping the chassis batteries up, while on shore power, from the factory, then the Amp-L-Start or Trik-L-Start will be your simplest way out of this dilemma. Good luck.
Scott

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Old 11-07-2015, 08:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
The emergency start button did not work either. I am just confused because my other motorhome always charged the chassis battery when it was plugged in.
Some coaches do chassis charging and others do not. Not sure about your Alpine. However, if the Emergency start button also doesn't work, that may be a clue. The same solenoid that provides emergency start would be also used if the factory designed in the charging feature. You may have a bad solenoid, or simply a broken or corroded wire that triggers the solenoid. Hopefully somebody with an Alpine (Wetsern RV) coach can tell us whether it was designed that way or not.

It's not difficult to add a chassis charging gadget if needed. e.g. Amp-L-Start or Trik-L-Charge.
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Old 11-07-2015, 08:11 AM   #8
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Converters and charging systems 0.01

Converters come in several types, ranging from the Magnetek 6300 which is well known for boiling batteries dry if left plugged in too long to the Progressive Dynamics 9200 which is designed to be plugged in 24x365 (All year long) and not boil your batteries dry if properly sized (Trust me, I have a 9180 with optional charge wizard, What is the difference between the 9100 and 9200.. 9200 the wiz is not an option, he's standard).

Likewise there are uni-directional isolators (Engine charges engine and house, house charges ONLY house) and bi-directional isolators (both charge both)

Early 2000's was a time of transistion as more and more RV's switched to the better hardware. Still I find 'em today with stickers in the window and single stage converters (Often a Parallex 7300) which though better than the old Magnetek... Should still be upgraded to 3-stage.
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Old 11-07-2015, 09:17 AM   #9
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I installed the Amp-L-Start on my coach and it works great.


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Old 11-07-2015, 09:48 AM   #10
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Here's how my 2004 Monaco motorhome is wired: There is a heavy duty solenoid/contactor mounted in the battery compartment. It connects the chassis and house batteries together (after a pre-programmed short delay) once the alternator on the chassis engine is running. This charges both the chassis and house batteries as you are driving down the road. Found my solenoid/contactor had failed. Replaced it and all is good. This is also the battery boost solenoid/contactor used to start the chassis engine when the chassis batteries are low. Note: If both the chassis and house batteries are low, you will likely need a jump start.

When parked, the generator or shore power supply provide only 120 volts (the generator does not provide 12 volts) They feed the inverter which converts 120 volt AC to 12 volt DC to power 12 volt coach accessories and charges the house batteries. Mine does not charge the chassis batteries. Newer coaches may charge both. To charge my chassis batteries when parked, I just added a Xantrex Echo Charger. I mounted it in the battery compartment. It was easy to do. There are other chargers as mentioned above (Amp-L-Start or Trik-L-Charge) that do the same thing.

With this setup, all my batteries are being charged all the time.
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Old 11-07-2015, 12:41 PM   #11
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Installed in my Itasca (Winnebago) MH is a Precision Circuits battery isolation manager. As I understand the user manual, this device should charge both the chassis and house batteries, as required, whenever there is a charging source such as the generator, the diesel engine alternator, or shore power. Is this correct?
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Old 11-08-2015, 06:28 AM   #12
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Installed in my Itasca (Winnebago) MH is a Precision Circuits battery isolation manager. As I understand the user manual, this device should charge both the chassis and house batteries, as required, whenever there is a charging source such as the generator, the diesel engine alternator, or shore power. Is this correct?
All except Shore power. On most older coaches you can turn off chassis batteries......I use a smart battery charger that I attach to the open lug for jump starting
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Old 11-08-2015, 06:51 AM   #13
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Algonquin; You are correct. The battery Isolation manager is there to keep the Chassis batteries charged when hooked to shore power. Other companies refer to the same set-up as a B.I.R.D. system
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Old 11-08-2015, 03:55 PM   #14
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If you have a Magnum, be sure it it set up for your number and type batteries, correct charger, absorption time, charge rate, etc.
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