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Old 10-21-2012, 04:43 PM   #1
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Draining Batteries


I've got a 1994 American Eagle 38a diesel pusher.

All of the sudden, I'm draining the batteries while in storage.
I turn off main, aux and chassis batteries, but they all drain and I'm stumped.
Consider myself mechanically competent - I've run the main lines and can't see anything grounding itself out.

I had the generator serviced and the power stair motor replaced about six weeks ago. Wiring on stairs seem to be correct.

Inverter functions properly, or so the panel shows.

I welcome all thoughts or suggestions.
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Old 10-21-2012, 04:46 PM   #2
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Do you own a multimeter and a clamp-on current probe? How long was the RV stored?
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Old 10-21-2012, 04:52 PM   #3
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Try pulling the Pos cable off the battery and put a multitester in the circuit to measure current draw. If it is just a little, probably normal. If it is a lot, might have a short or something mis-wired. While the meter is in the circuit, try pulling each fuse until the current draw changes -- then you'll know what circuit has the issue.

Do you have solar cells on the roof to maintain charge? maybe it or controller/fuse is bad.
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Old 10-21-2012, 04:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
I had the generator serviced and the power stair motor replaced about six weeks ago. Wiring on stairs seem to be correct.
Something was changed.. need to find it..
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Old 10-21-2012, 04:58 PM   #5
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Your draining your starting and the coach batteries?
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Old 10-21-2012, 05:14 PM   #6
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Also possible that a battery has an internal short, making it discharge itself and any others connected to it. To check, you must disconnect all batteries in that circuit (negative side only is fine), then properly charge each battery, then monitor the voltage of each battery over time to see if one or more has excessive voltage drop.
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Old 10-21-2012, 05:16 PM   #7
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If you have a battery or combination of batteries with bad cells they or it will drain the other batteries. Take the positive off all batteries and wait about 8 hours. Bet you find your problem after checking the voltage of the batteries
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Old 10-21-2012, 06:59 PM   #8
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Talking

Hey, thanks for the quick responses.

Will try the multimeter suggestion.
She's been in storage for 3 weeks now, with new chassis (starting) batteries.

Silly me, I thought when you threw the chassis switch, it would cut all power.
Outside of OEM wiring, I have wiring for a winch to my motorcycle lift, but its disconnected when not in use.

Solar charger is registering on panel as charging, so I assume its functioning properly.

She's been a faithful rig, up till this summer.

Thanks for everyone's thoughts, I will post results next weekend - traveling for business all this week.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:17 AM   #9
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I have a similar problem in my 2006 TS Mid Engine. I shut the main power switch for the engine which has an actual manual switch by the battery, and i shut the main power swithch by my door which apparently causes a solenoid to open shutting off most of the DC power (I say most because the stair still functions and the map lights and fog lights still work). Also i shut off every breaker in the rig. When i look at the 2 inverter/charger controls there shows 6amp on one and 9 amps on the other. I have pulled every fuse inside the coach and outside for the chassis and the readings don't change. In frustration i removed the main battery cable from the coach batteries when i left it last weekend (i store it in FL and live in NJ). The weird thing is the step still operates with the coach batteries physically disconnected and the chassis battery switch in the off position. Obviously someone tapped the step into the chassis cable prior to the switch. The Chassis batteries don't drain though and the engine always starts.

I don't think it is a bad battery in the bank because there is a large arc when the main cable comes off indicating a load in the coach somewhere.

I don't think one of the inverters is bad because the display shows draw on each one 6amp on one and 9amp on the other and otherwise they function perfectly.

Would a short show up as amp draw if a cable is grounding out?

Would you recommend a solenoid in the main battery cable? Or should i just put a manual switch? I would like to find the draw.

Here is another clue: When the rig is plugged in and i turn everything off the inverter/charger displays will in fact show zero amp draw.

If any of you gurus can give some insight it would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:25 AM   #10
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Many rigs have 'disconnect' switches but then have power draws wired between batteries and the disconnect solenoid. Things like LP, CO detectors, radio, clock, etc. The only way to truly cut all power drains between batteries and coach is to install a physical switch at battery terminal or detach battery cable. My chassis batteries truly disconnect with the disconnect switch, but the house batteries still have a draw with disconnect switch off, so knife switches on battery posts ensures no power drain while in storage.

To measure, turn off disconnect switch, detach positive cable to battery and attach meter. ANY current flow shows the 'disconnect' switch doesn't.
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trackman View Post
If you have a battery or combination of batteries with bad cells they or it will drain the other batteries. Take the positive off all batteries and wait about 8 hours. Bet you find your problem after checking the voltage of the batteries
but how would that drain all chassis and house batterys?
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:10 PM   #12
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The first thing that you do NOT DO Is disconnect the positive battery cable first. The accepted method Is to disconnect the negative cable first. If a wrench connected to the positive terminal touch the side of the rig it can cause a big spark . Batteries give off hydrogen and oxygen gases that will explode. Take off the negative cable and Install an amp meter in series with the battery and the cable. This will tell you if you have any amperage draw while you have everything Off.
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:20 PM   #13
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One of the handiest small tools I have for fining a problem in a 12 V Circuit is a Fuse Buddy Fuse Buddy This measures the amps when plugged in place of an ATC fuse. The version I have came from Harbor Freight http://www.harborfreight.com/20-amp-...ter-67725.html and for $13 it cant be beat as a tool for finding parasitic/vampire drains.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:26 PM   #14
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Inverter problem

I had the same problem as you with the rv dealer letting the batteries go completely dead. I ran generator for 8 hours to completely charge the house and chassie batteries. While doing this before shutting everything down unplug both data cables from inverter ( they look like phone wires). Wait 30 to 45 seconds and plug back in and they do your shut down. This is give you back total control of the inverter and you can do a complete shut down. NOW after the shut down make sure inverter in OFF and making no noise. I hope this helps!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruzin_Bubba View Post

I've got a 1994 American Eagle 38a diesel pusher.

All of the sudden, I'm draining the batteries while in storage.
I turn off main, aux and chassis batteries, but they all drain and I'm stumped.
Consider myself mechanically competent - I've run the main lines and can't see anything grounding itself out.

I had the generator serviced and the power stair motor replaced about six weeks ago. Wiring on stairs seem to be correct.

Inverter functions properly, or so the panel shows.

I welcome all thoughts or suggestions.
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