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Old 07-15-2015, 03:33 AM   #1
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ISOLATION MANAGER SOLENOID Problem?

ANYONE out there have a problem with their 2012 - 2016 Motorhomes having charging problems with the engine not charging their HOUSE batteries? We have taken it in 7 times to be repaired and now we just went on our annual vacation to Lake Tahoe and spent 12 days in 3 camps DRY CAMPING. After each camp we had run our 3 house batteries down to 12.1 volts and when we started the engine the engine charge went from 12.9 volts to 14.4 volts instantly but the house stayed at 12.1 volts! and when we start the generator the house goes up to 14.0 volts but the engine battery wont charge. The First time we took it in for this we found out that our 2014 coach had Batteries dated early 2013. batteries in it that were 1 1/2 yrs old.. I ended up having to pay for 3 new Interstate batteries to resolve the problem. We got in two more dry camp trips before it started the problem again. This time they replaced the ISOLATION MANAGER, which supposedly handles BOTH the chassis (engine ) charging the house AND the generator charging the engine battery which worked 3 more dry camps. So now we went to Lake Tahoe for 12 days of dry camping. The first 4 days drained the batteries and when we started it up to move the engine would not charge the 3 dead house batteries AGAIN! ANYONE having the same problems or have any experience with an Isolation Charging Manager? We love this motorhome but this problem has gone on for seven months and we are now back to square one...HELP! Hotseer Dave And Cindy, Ventura
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Old 07-15-2015, 04:25 AM   #2
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Call Winnebago customer service and express to them the issues you have been having. They will be the best source of help.
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Old 07-15-2015, 06:16 AM   #3
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Sounds to me to be your Battery Isolator Relay "Big Boy" not working.
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Old 07-15-2015, 11:04 AM   #4
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Obviously the isolator relay is not closing (whether it is the "Big Boy" brand/model or not), but that could be either the relay itself or the lack of a signal to make it close. Some coaches use a direct +12v wire from the ignition switch "run" position, while others use a fairly sophisticated charge controller to handle that. A loose wire or bad controller would cause those symptoms too. However, a charge controller won't close the relay until the engine battery reaches a certain threshold of voltage, so it may not happen immediately. Especially if the chassis battery is in poor condition.

Try using the Aux Start "boost" switch to see if that makes charging happen. The Aux Start switch closes the same relay to connect the two battery banks. Press and hold the Aux switch and see if the house battery voltage starts to come up.
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Old 07-15-2015, 03:15 PM   #5
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Gary's suggestion to check if pressing (and holding) the Boost / aux start switch will cause the isolator to close and charge both batteries from either engine or generator source is a good one. This would help determine whether it is the solenoid itself that is failing, or the controlling circuitry.

However, if it's the Precision Circuits Inc. Battery Isolation Manager that we are discussing, it really makes no difference, as the BIM solenoid and circuitry are an integrated package.

Charging values you listed in your first post would indicate that your engine alternator and your converter (operating from the generator) are both good. The problem seems to be confined to the BIM.
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Old 07-16-2015, 03:10 AM   #6
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Gary and Old Bounder, thanks for ideas and advice. Yes I did hit that temp start/ jump switch and yes it did kick the charge on to the house from the engine. I even did it one better. I bought a heavy duty marine battery switch and some 4 guage battery cable and mounted it in my battery compartment under my stairs so I can kick it on manually if this iso mgr keeps failing. the weird thing is that when the batteries get charged up from power and get close to full THEN the iso mgr comes on, when I need it least! no word from Winnebago yet . thanks again
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Old 07-16-2015, 04:54 AM   #7
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Hotseer

I had a similar problem. The isolater relay was getting very hot, not warm, but extremely hot to touch and my house batteries were not charging from the alternator. Did all the voltage checks and my Alternator and Converter put out the appropriate voltages and the control voltage to the Isolator relay was also OK. I did a quick fix by moving the battery lead going to the isolater relay so both were on the same post (just taking the relay out of the circuit.) Batteries were charging from whatever power source I was using but this was a quick "on the road" fix. Did not want to leave this as a permanent situation. You did the same thing by putting a bypass system in. Anyway, local RV dealers had no relay/solenoid in stock, so I went to a local NAPA outlet and bought a "continious duty solenoid" and replaced the one that came with the BIRD system and it worked fine. No more problems. Moving the wire was so simple but I thought of putting in a bypass switch also. I do not have an emergency start switch on my RV and such a switch would work, or I could just engage the relay also. Must look into that aspect. Anyway, my Isolater relay/selonoid was defective.
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Old 07-16-2015, 06:37 AM   #8
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[QUOTE=hotseer;2651772] the weird thing is that when the batteries get charged up from power and get close to full THEN the iso mgr comes on, when I need it least! /QUOTE]

That's a clue!

Here's how a BIRD works. When on shore power, the coach batteries get charged first and when close to full the BIRD closes to solenoid to allow the chassis batteries to charge. When on alternator (on the road) the chassis batts are done first and then the coach. This is so the battery charger or alternator don't overwork.

Look at your BIRD carefully and see if the volts from both sets of batteries may be inverted??
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Old 07-16-2015, 11:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotseer View Post
Gary and Old Bounder, thanks for ideas and advice. Yes I did hit that temp start/ jump switch and yes it did kick the charge on to the house from the engine. I even did it one better. I bought a heavy duty marine battery switch and some 4 guage battery cable and mounted it in my battery compartment under my stairs so I can kick it on manually if this iso mgr keeps failing. the weird thing is that when the batteries get charged up from power and get close to full THEN the iso mgr comes on, when I need it least! no word from Winnebago yet . thanks again
Can you post the make and model of your Battery Isolator Manager? Pictures would also be helpful. It may not be wired correctly.

The solenoid seems to be operating correctly since your aux/Emerg start function works.

Your statement that I flagged in red seems to indicate that the BIM will attempt to work when the charge load decreases. The experts do recommend that, when your house batteries get significantly discharged while camping, you use your generator to partially charge them before beginning the drive home and putting such a large load on your engine alternator. The BIM may be correctly rejecting the connection until the house batteries do not present such a heavy load. This would NOT account for the BIM not charging your chassis battery from the converter, via the generator, however.

The algorithm, or voltage thresholds, established for controlling the solenoid associated with a BIM or BIRD are a bit more sophisticated than HHIDan explained in his reply, but the expected results are the same.
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:19 PM   #10
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Old Bounder, not sure how to post a picture of this thing on this forum site. It is a Precision Circuit Inc. B.I.M. on its front cover is: 00-10021-000. I googled this company and that number and it does give a picture, description, and wiring diagram. It DOES say in the description that it will shut down connection if the system is drastically overloaded...so maybe an answer, but I thought these big motorhomes have BIG alternators (our salesman said like 150 amp) that can handle a big charging task! What do these guys do with 6 batteries that have residential fridges do? I just have 3 12 volt deeps..and 1 chassis starting...Im thinking of putting a solenoid on with a switch on the dash to manually connect the two after dry camping if we are headed to another dry camp and need the charging from the alternator. I would replace that temporary jump switch on the dash with a on- off switch but im afraid I may burn up a relay.. If you do look at that diagram please tell me if you see where the alternator goes into the Iso Mgr..don't see it! thanks
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:34 PM   #11
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Libero and Old Bounder, thanks friends for your thoughts and help, this IS a GREAT SITE! This is my first motorhome but I did have 3 trailers and 2 campers and 5 boats before this thing...remember the"old days" when all those old RVs (at least all mine) had a single isolater that just came on when you turned on your ignition and charged whatever extra house battery you had it hooked up to? I never had a problem with one of them! My batteries were always charged when I got where I was going and after I shut off my ignition it kept my trailer from discharging my truck battery...I guess they worked SO good they stopped using them! ha ha
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Old 07-18-2015, 03:25 AM   #12
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ISOLATION MANAGER UPDATE...I got an email from a service mgr from our dealer at Camp World confirming that the description of the Iso Mgr was correct. It will NOT charge a bank of even 3 discharged batteries if it senses its too much of a load! So THATS why when we are done at a dry camp and start our engine it will not charge the HOUSE that needs it , only the chassis starting battery. So I guess I need to manually override it or use my portable generator and charger for a while, unreal...why didn't 3 service mgrs and 4 techs and NO ONE at Winnebago know that? All these people had me buying new batteries and even put in a NEW Iso Mgr on instructions from Winnebago... This has been going on for 7 months!
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Old 07-18-2015, 04:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotseer View Post
ISOLATION MANAGER UPDATE...I got an email from a service mgr from our dealer at Camp World confirming that the description of the Iso Mgr was correct. It will NOT charge a bank of even 3 discharged batteries if it senses its too much of a load! So THATS why when we are done at a dry camp and start our engine it will not charge the HOUSE that needs it , only the chassis starting battery. So I guess I need to manually override it or use my portable generator and charger for a while, unreal...why didn't 3 service mgrs and 4 techs and NO ONE at Winnebago know that? All these people had me buying new batteries and even put in a NEW Iso Mgr on instructions from Winnebago... This has been going on for 7 months!
This is true for almost all charging systems in our industry. I should have asked how low the voltage was on the house bank at the beginning.
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Old 07-19-2015, 05:36 AM   #14
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Indeed RV Wizard provided good info.

Although I related to me havng to repace my isolation relay I checked all voltages before I did that. I should also have asked what the voltage was on the house batteries. My golf cart charger is the same way. There must be sufficient voltage on the batteries to be charged or the safety relay on many chargers or battery management systems will not engage. I have used a small external charger to bring the voltage up on my golf cart batteries to the point where the charger engaged (had to do a series parallel arangement for the golf cart to use a 12v charger) and also used the small external charger on one of my Monaco's when the house batteies became too low for the Intelec converter/charger to charge the batteres. The internal resistance on discharged batteries is very low; thus causing high current flow when connected to a voltage source, and if there is no current limiting circuitry, one could exceed the capacity of the charging device or even exceed the capacity of the wires.
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