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Old 06-09-2013, 06:29 PM   #1
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Help!! Is it the batteries, the converter/inverter or the alternator

We started a week ago on a trip to Canada/Alaska. All was going fine & we've been staying in campgrounds with full (30amp) hookups. Friday we had to stay in a provincial park with no hookups, which we thought would be fine. When we arrived, after traveling about 200 miles, our battery display showed low battery. We thought that kind of strange, but turned on the generator, thinking that would get them charged. After 2 hours, we still had about 6 amps. Knowing we couldn't run the generator continuously, we shut it down & hoped for the best. Of course, the batteries continued to go down even tho we turned on the generator intermittently. We got thru yesterday & today headed toward another town with a full 930 amp) hookup about miles down the road. Again, when we arrived, we still had a low battery. We're plugged into shore power & it shows the battery charging at 13.5 with 85 amps. We know nothing about electric so don't know where to begin. We're thinking it's the batteries, since they're original, but if that's the case, why do they charge on shore power. We don't usually dry camp, so we never really thought about the batteries before we started. We have a 2006 Monaco Diplomat. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated, especially since our option for repair service are somewhat limited & we'd like to aim in the right direction.
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Old 06-09-2013, 06:42 PM   #2
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You do have the battery disconnect switch on? It needs to be on so your batteries can be charged while traveling or in campground with power.
Also the batteries should be checked for water level above the plates, inside when you take off caps. If low add distilled water only.
If your batteries are real low with water they may need to be replaced.

Coach power systems ---Check care of batteries.
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Old 06-09-2013, 07:02 PM   #3
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The voltage at the battery will increase 1+ volts when being charged (via alternator, converter, other) vs. when not being charged. Check this with each charging source/scenario - those that don't increase when charging activated need to be investigated as to why they are not charging.
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Old 06-09-2013, 07:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karencollins View Post
We started a week ago on a trip to Canada/Alaska. All was going fine & we've been staying in campgrounds with full (30amp) hookups. Friday we had to stay in a provincial park with no hookups, which we thought would be fine. When we arrived, after traveling about 200 miles, our battery display showed low battery. We thought that kind of strange, but turned on the generator, thinking that would get them charged. After 2 hours, we still had about 6 amps. Knowing we couldn't run the generator continuously, we shut it down & hoped for the best. Of course, the batteries continued to go down even tho we turned on the generator intermittently. We got thru yesterday & today headed toward another town with a full 930 amp) hookup about miles down the road. Again, when we arrived, we still had a low battery. We're plugged into shore power & it shows the battery charging at 13.5 with 85 amps. We know nothing about electric so don't know where to begin. We're thinking it's the batteries, since they're original, but if that's the case, why do they charge on shore power. We don't usually dry camp, so we never really thought about the batteries before we started. We have a 2006 Monaco Diplomat. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated, especially since our option for repair service are somewhat limited & we'd like to aim in the right direction.
I don't fully understand what you are saying. It sounds like your battery (coach/house) is getting charged on shore power, but not while driving. Hopefully you have a hand held volt meter.

With the engine running you should have 14.0 to 14.5v on the coach batteries. When on shore, it should be at least 13.2 to 14.3v. If this is what you are seeing, then both charging systems are working properly.

However after a long drive or an hour or so of generator time, (waiting 30 mins) if your batteries are showing low (12.0v or less) your house batteries are not holding a charge and are shot and must be replaced. If my assumptions are not correct, please explain further.
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Old 06-09-2013, 07:37 PM   #5
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You quote voltage and amperage readings. Where and when are you getting these readings and what sort of instrumentation are you using?
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Old 06-09-2013, 08:35 PM   #6
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we took the readings off the panel on our monitor. I never thought to check it while we were driving, but will start engine tomorrow & see what we get. Will also unplug from shore power & see what happens there. The battery disconnect was not set to disconnect. If shore power charges, why wouldn't the generator do so.
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:59 PM   #7
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Seems like you said the batteries are original. I would suspect that you have reached the maximum life span for your house batteries if your coach is a 2006. I would replace those 7 year old batteries and start there... I think that's gonna cure your problem. If by some chance the batteries are not your problem now, they will be a problem real soon anyway. Change the batteries ...my two cents.
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Old 06-09-2013, 11:16 PM   #8
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Ours did that, had to replace the alternator. Just the part was $424 and I did the work.

Our OEM Interstate U-2200 batteries went one month short of 10 years.
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Old 06-09-2013, 11:55 PM   #9
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Since you are able to drive all day the engine batteries are ok and your alternator is ok.

Your issue is the house batteries are not getting charged while driving.

Running the generator for two hours is not enough to fill up a bank of four batteries that have been run down.

So your problem is the solenoid or control of it that combines the batteries. I will attach a couple of pictures in the next post that should help you sort it out.

A very simple test is to start the rv, measure the voltage on each bank of batteries. The engine batteries will be 13.5 or more and if the other bank is lower you have the issue I mentioned.
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Old 06-10-2013, 12:04 AM   #10
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Follow your battery cables to a large solenoid that may look like the one in the pictures. Those relays are a common failure item. If you have a violet wire on one lead, measure the voltage on it when on shoreline, then measure it with the engine running and shoreline disconnected. If there is voltage on it after being plugged in for a few minutes or after the engine is running for a couple then you should have the same voltage on each of the large terminals on the solenoid.

Again, if the voltage on the violet wire is there your voltage should be exactly the same on each of the large terminals. You may hear the solenoid go clunk which is an easy clue it is being energized.

For a temporary fix, shut off your battery switches in the compartment and put the large cables together onto one post or bolt them together and insulate them.

If you do not get voltage on the violet wire with the previous modes just take a small jumper from that post and touch it to one of the large posts. It may startle you when it closes. Once "hotwired" you can measure the large posts again.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf BATTERY COMPARTMENT).pdf (359.8 KB, 136 views)
File Type: pdf Battery Compartment.pdf (369.0 KB, 79 views)
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:21 AM   #11
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Thanks for all your thoughts & suggestions. We've decided to only stay at full hookup campgrounds til we get to a major city, like Whitehorse. Then we'll try to find someplace that can check our batteries & go from there. Hopefully it's something as simple as new batteries. As we all know, with these things, only time will tell. We appreciate all your help
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:35 AM   #12
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Try running your generator while driving. If your Bird circuit is defective the generator should be able to charge the house batteries. Start the generator and run your engine at the same time. If the batteries are charging you are good to go. Need to run the generator about two hours in the morning and two in the evening to keep them up.
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:00 AM   #13
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As old as your batteries are, I'd suspect them to be the problem first. If even one of them has shorted, it can drain them all pretty quickly. With batteries that old, you're living on borrowed time anyway so I'd consider replacing them.
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:06 AM   #14
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Fraserway RV Dealer in Whitehorse is very good, they took care of us last year when we had a problem at a reasonable cost. Talk to Stan the service manager.
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