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Old 04-19-2019, 12:41 PM   #1
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How to test if Trickle Charger is working

So the chassis batteries were dead and coach batteries were pretty weak when I got the coach out for annual maintenance this week after the long sleep. Our unit has the trickle charger that once the coach batts are topped off it will keep the chassis batts charged up - well it's supposed to anyway...

I made sure (at least I thought I did) all the disconnects were in the proper position for the charger to work and the rig had 110volt power all winter long. but obviously something was amiss... Having the chassis batts replaced by the FL dealer as part of our annual maintenance right now as they seemed weak last year but they did always turn over the CAT.


I figure either:

- I did something wrong (definite possibility)
- Trickle charger not working
- Batteries are just shot

Question I have is the best way to verify the trickle charger is actually working - any ideas?
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Old 04-19-2019, 12:46 PM   #2
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On some setups mine included. If the battery disconnects are off then the batteries do not get charged.

You can verify this by measuring the voltage at the batteries hooked up to 120v and check with the disconnects on and off. I think my float charge is around 13.5 volts.
If you are seeing less than 13 volts then most likely no charge taking place.
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Old 04-19-2019, 05:07 PM   #3
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How many amp is the trickle charger and what is the total Ah of you bank(s)?

Self discharge rate of a healthy battery is 5%/month. So a 400Ah house and 300Ah chassis bank need 700*5=35Ah/month.... that's over 1Ah a day.

This is assuming nothing is drawing.... CO alarms, inverter brains, chassis brains. I think it's safe to say there's at least another 2-3 amp there.

So, if it were me I would have at least a 5-6A charger on there....

I like this one, have it on a 300Ah backup bank for my sump pump in my S&B

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 04-19-2019, 06:09 PM   #4
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smp005-

As far as I know, your 2006 should have come with a Trik-L-Start installed to maintain chassis battery charge. These may be of help:

https://winnebagoind.com/resources/s...ik-L-Start.pdf
Ultra TRIK-L-START Starting Battery Charger/Maintainer
http://www.lslproducts.net/UTLS_Instructs.pdf

By the operation description, the Trik-L-Start not work by charging the house batteries "first," then charging the chassis batteries. It simply connects the two battery banks together if a charge voltage is detected on the house batteries. The charging source charges both banks at the same time.

If someone has replaced the factory-supplied Trik-L-Start with a different device, then never mind.
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Old 04-20-2019, 09:28 AM   #5
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On our coach, when plugged in, the house batteries are maintained in float mode from the inverter/converter. The chassis batteries are charged by a separate 120v trickle charger. Our trickle charger went bad and I found our chassis batteries were dead on my monthly check while in storage. Replaced the charger and now all is good.
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Old 04-20-2019, 09:32 AM   #6
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Most such systems will NOT put any charge on the chassis batteries until the house batteries reach some minimum level of charge, usually determined by house battery voltage. If one or more house batteries are in poor condition, they may never reach that threshold.


If your Journey is equipped with the actual Trik-L-Start brand battery maintainer, see this info sheet:


http://www.lslproducts.net/UTLS_FAQs.html


If it has some other brand maintainer or a Battery Control Center (BCC) module of some sort, you can find the battery parameters for that brand via Google.
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Old 04-20-2019, 10:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
Most such systems will NOT put any charge on the chassis batteries until the house batteries reach some minimum level of charge, usually determined by house battery voltage. If one or more house batteries are in poor condition, they may never reach that threshold.
Hmm.. yes and no.

A battery can be discharged to (say) 11V and have 14+ VDC at its posts, because the charging system is active.

The Trik-L-Start senses voltage at its inputs. House bank is charging and chassis bank is low and boom- it connects the two banks for cross-charging. I suspect it would work when the house batteries were removed from the coach, as long as the house battery charging voltage was present.

Some cross-charging circuits I've seen use timers and/or overload sensing to modify their behavior, but at their core they work the same as the Trik-L-Start.
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Old 04-20-2019, 03:41 PM   #8
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So I have searched everywhere I could think of where the trickle charger would have been installed and I cannot find one. Coach batts are sitting at 13.8 and chassis batts (brand new now) are sitting at 12.6 on the meter in One Place.

Does anyone have a picture of where the charger would be located on a 2006 Journey? I'm getting the feeling I don't have one...


I will soon though!!

Also my documents package does not have a book or sheet on the trickle charger and I did not see one where it says it should be - under the panel in the front over the generator... I'm assuming it would be fairly obvious...
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Old 04-20-2019, 05:04 PM   #9
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The wiring diagram book for your coach (link here) shows a Trik-L-Start on the "Front End Wiring Installation" diagram (link here, Sheet 2, which is page 3 of the PDF document, Zone C-5).
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Old 04-20-2019, 05:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l1v3fr33ord1 View Post
Scott-

The wiring diagram book for your coach (link here) shows a Trik-L-Start on the "Front End Wiring Installation" diagram (link here, Sheet 2, which is page 3 of the PDF document, Zone C-5).
That's what I saw as well - it "ain't there" so I guess I am ordering and installing one! Actually I am going to get the AMP-L-START upgraded one...
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Old 04-21-2019, 09:04 AM   #11
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The Amp-L-Start is a great product and will keep the chassis bank charged as soon as the House charging bank is at 13.2 volts unless you add the jumper. Many coaches come with a trickle charger (NOT the Trickle-L-Start) just for the chassis batteries that is plugged into 110 volt ac. This is what came with my 2013 Bus. It's fine as long as the coach is plugged into shore power. The problem is that when stored and not plugged into shore power, it will drain the chassis batteries unless you pull the fuse or unplug it. I didn't know that and drained my new batteries five years ago. I charged them back up and installed the Amp-L-Start and they have been good ever since.
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Old 04-21-2019, 09:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crasher View Post
The problem is that when stored and not plugged into shore power, it will drain the chassis batteries unless you pull the fuse or unplug it. I didn't know that and drained my new batteries five years ago.

The trickle charger that came with my coach would actually slowly drain the batteries if not plugged in. However, the Battery Tender that I installed has a diode that prevents it from draining the batteries when not in use. It seems each charger is different.
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Old 04-21-2019, 09:16 AM   #13
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Surprisingly I found the Amp-L-Start not available anymore..

So... I went with the Magnum Energy ME-SBC Smart Battery Combiner. All the research I did showed it to be a good unit and I like the option to be able to adjust the trigger voltages should it ever be required.

I am planning on replacing my standard inverter with a 2000W Magnum Energy pure sine later this year so I thought it made sense to keep it all in the family LOL!

I flipped the chassis disconnect until I receive and install the new SBC - don't want to chance running down brand new batteries!

I was surprised when I found my coach did not have the Trickle-L-Start installed - maybe it was an early 2006 and came off the line before they started installed them???

No worries - problem will be solved soon enough :-)
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Old 04-21-2019, 09:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12amNSX View Post
The trickle charger that came with my coach would actually slowly drain the batteries if not plugged in. However, the Battery Tender that I installed has a diode that prevents it from draining the batteries when not in use. It seems each charger is different.
Wow - never would have expected that! The SBC seemed to be the best approach for us. Our coach is always connected to shore power when parked in the garage and we rarely boondock so I do not expect a repeat of the weak / dead chase battery scenario!
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