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Old 10-26-2012, 02:15 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by jofo777 View Post
My solenoid was so hot that I couldn't hold my hand on it. It takes a fair amount of wattage to create that much heat. But I am just guessing at how much it actually is. I like the idea of the relay you are referring to. You would only need a momentary switch to "latch it open". Nice, thanks.
Can you say motor home up in smoke. You have a bad solenoid, or other electrical problem. That is not normal. Should not be that hot.
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:59 PM   #16
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I just went thru a similar problem. It was my alternator going down. It would charge my drive battery but was not powerful enough to "trickle" to house battery. I had my alternator rebuilt for $60 and now it is charging the house again while going down the road. As others mentioned, it is good to use house charger first to make sure battery is hot. The best $4.00 I ever spent was on a voltmeter at harbor freight. This will eliminate a lot of guess work.
Good luck.
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Old 10-26-2012, 06:03 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by KSCRUDE View Post
Can you say motor home up in smoke. You have a bad solenoid, or other electrical problem. That is not normal. Should not be that hot.

Lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater here. I do 12 volt installations for a living. For over 30 years now. You can't put your fingers on a 20 watt halogen lamp and not get burned. With 1.5 amps and 12.5 volts you are close to 20 watts. We install continuous duty solenoids in cop cars all day and have never had one go up in smoke. Well they do fail on occassion.

As for one of the previous answers too, we never turn the control voltage down after pulling in the solenoid. It is done but is of no consequence if not designed that way.

So please don't panic those that find a hot solenoid.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:54 PM   #18
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Lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater here. I do 12 volt installations for a living. For over 30 years now. You can't put your fingers on a 20 watt halogen lamp and not get burned. With 1.5 amps and 12.5 volts you are close to 20 watts. We install continuous duty solenoids in cop cars all day and have never had one go up in smoke. Well they do fail on occassion.

As for one of the previous answers too, we never turn the control voltage down after pulling in the solenoid. It is done but is of no consequence if not designed that way.

So please don't panic those that find a hot solenoid.
Exactly, no panic on my part, but I did feel that the wattage could be better used somewhere else. Thanks for checking the amperage. This coach is a 1993 and I doubt they were dropping the voltage after a delay. It is possible, I can check it to see. But it is still better to have a manual switch. Joe
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:38 AM   #19
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Exactly, no panic on my part, but I did feel that the wattage could be better used somewhere else. Thanks for checking the amperage. This coach is a 1993 and I doubt they were dropping the voltage after a delay. It is possible, I can check it to see. But it is still better to have a manual switch. Joe

Since I boondock a lot I put a disconnect next to my solenoid. I have solar panels and that voltage is enough to keep it engaged which just wasted the amps. Those solenoids have a history of failing. Mine was defunct the first year. The contacts were green and gooey after dissassembling it. I replaced it and rebuilt it for later use. About a year and a half later I had to replace it again. Same issue. Contacts getting green. This time I inverted the solenoid to try to keep any moisture out. Same issue a year later but not quite as bad. This time I have drilled holes in the case to allow heat out and any moisture as well. I can shoot wd 40 inside with the current mounting position. It still runs very hot to the touch. Running cooler would probably help prevent the stuff growing inside. I have experimented with a small computer fan and it works great. I haven't mounted it permanently yet so won't have long term results for a year or two. Keep a spare for this thing. It probably should be replaced every couple of years because it is an integral part, cost about $30, and due to lack of understanding of the electrical systems causes a tremendous amount of grief.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:50 AM   #20
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Since I put the manual disconnect in I will be using the solenoid for temporary use only. It is a Blue Seas 50 Amp breaker like this one:

Amazon.com: Blue Sea 7183 50 Amp Circuit Breaker Surface Mount 285 Series: Electronics

These rigs were never designed for boondocking. Joe
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:58 AM   #21
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I think the silver selonid in the photo is for the engine starter. The black one is the transfer switch. As has been suggested check voltage on house batteries with a voltmeter and then start the engine and check voltage again. If no voltage increase the transfer selonid is not working. Check voltage to the transfer switch with the engine running, if above 13volts you can use a jumper around the transfer switch and the house batteries will be charging. You can leave the jumper on if it is heavy enough to carry the load but you would have to remember to remove it when engine not running if you start using things in the RV as it will also discharge the engine battery. If you decide to change out the selonid I would use a solid state transfer switch you can purchase at any RV shop and get rid of the selonid. Just my ideas, sure others will have different opinions.
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:46 PM   #22
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I appreciate all the comments! You all gave me great info and I think I'm down to the bottom of it all, at least I hope I am...

First, my dad said the low beams stopped working around the time the battery started dying, well that wasn't exactly true. Turns out one of the bulbs just popped and it took them both out. A trip to walmart and two H7 bulbs later, that problem fixed.

Second, my dad and I both assumed that the coach battery would be charged by the onboard alternator, but it turns out after check the voltage with a multimeter, it's not charging other than with the generator. This little bit of info has cleared up the loss of power, as my dad hasn't been using the generator, assuming the driving was charging the battery. Assuming this is correct, anyone know a good way to keep the coach battery without running the generator? I was thinking I could run a 12v lead from a ignition controlled source to the coach battery, therefore would only provide power with the engine / key was turned on.

Unless this conclusion sounds wrong, I think this was all a bunch of abad assumptions by us about how RVs work. This is the first trip they've made with their RV, after buying in 3 weeks ago.... so I'm going to chock it up to ignorance.

Thanks guys!
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:14 PM   #23
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Joe im sure your unit was set up to charge the house batts while driving off the engine alt. If it is not there is a problem. It will realy help if you can find a wiring diagram for your unit.Keep looking some one on the forum might have a copy. good luck
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:34 PM   #24
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Joe im sure your unit was set up to charge the house batts while driving off the engine alt. If it is not there is a problem. It will realy help if you can find a wiring diagram for your unit.Keep looking some one on the forum might have a copy. good luck
Hmm, Ok. Well I'll keep poking around to see if I can find anything... otherwise, if anyone has a wiring diagram for a 2000 Coachmen Mirada, I'd appreciate it.
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Old 10-28-2012, 12:54 AM   #25
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Joe, you likely have a solenoid that is triggered by the alternator. Mine is like that and the solenoid was not working when I picked it up. It picks up a 6 volt signal from the alternator and combines both banks, house and chassis, when the alternator is charging. Look for it along with the starter boost solenoid. Mine were right next to each other.
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Old 10-28-2012, 11:05 AM   #26
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http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004V3R5BO/...SIN=B004V3R5BO

Look at this page for pictures of solenoids. Look around your engine and battery compartments. If you find one, take a picture and post it here. They are very simple to troubleshoot. Look through your fuse panels to be sure no fuse is blown.

If you find a solenoid, measure the voltage on the big leads. You should have 13.5 volts or more with the engine running on one of the leads. If you find one that has voltage on JUST one of the big leads measure that and see if that voltage is the same as across your coach batteries. If the voltage matches those places or very very close then that solenoid is not activated or is broken.

You should be able to feel the solenoid engage when you turn the ignition on but just because you don't go ahead and put a voltmeter on one of the small terminals at a time. You should find 12 volts or more on one and 0 volts on the other. If you do and you have different voltages on each of the larger terminals then the solenoid is bad. Easy and cheap fix.
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