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Old 07-01-2015, 12:44 PM   #1
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Newbie needs to jump house batteries

Howdy,
new owner of a 1998 national dolphin 37' gasser with tag. Apparently the disconnect for house batteries is not working so within a week, they are dead. (i'm NOT plugged into shore power).

There are 3 batteries under the steps. Looks like two are house batteries and the 3rd is the engine battery. can I just jump from the engine battery to one of the two batteries by connecting neg to neg and pos to pos? if so, does it matter which house battery I jump?

Hopefully, i can then start the generator and get them recharged. At that point I'll try to figure why the disconnect battery switch in the panel by the steps doesn't work; (or figure what i'm doing wrong.) I don't see a light to indicate if the disconnect is on or off.

Thanks!
Bud
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Old 07-01-2015, 01:16 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bud01234 View Post
Howdy,
new owner of a 1998 national dolphin 37' gasser with tag. Apparently the disconnect for house batteries is not working so within a week, they are dead. (i'm NOT plugged into shore power).

There are 3 batteries under the steps. Looks like two are house batteries and the 3rd is the engine battery. can I just jump from the engine battery to one of the two batteries by connecting neg to neg and pos to pos? if so, does it matter which house battery I jump?

Hopefully, i can then start the generator and get them recharged. At that point I'll try to figure why the disconnect battery switch in the panel by the steps doesn't work; (or figure what i'm doing wrong.) I don't see a light to indicate if the disconnect is on or off.

Thanks!
Bud
Bud,
But, first off, you can tell if the house battery disconnect is working by simply having any lights on in the coach, i.e. ceiling, bathroom, kitchen etc. and, then shut off the house batteries via the disconnect switch. If the lights go out, your switch is working correctly. If they don't go out, either your switch is NOT working correctly or, you're not working the correct switch. You may in fact, be turning off the chassis battery, if it has a disconnect switch. Most don't.

As for jumping from the chassis battery to either or both of the coach batteries, while it can be done, it's not too wise. First off, at this point, you don't know just what's wrong with the house battery system, if there is. And, by hooking up the chassis battery to them, you could possibly damage that battery too. You'd not like that.

The first thing I'd do is, get those house batteries charged up and tested to make sure they're in good enough shape to keep. If they're found out to be worth keeping, make sure all connections are clean and tight. Make sure your disconnect switch is functioning correctly. Once that's done, you're in good shape as far as your original question is concerned.
Scott
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Old 07-01-2015, 01:29 PM   #3
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When we had our Class C MH's, we 'killed' the house batteries often while boon docking. For us, we just started the vehicle engine, which in turn supplied enough power to start the generator. The generator thus started charging the house batteries. I would not wanting to 'jump' the house batteries and possibility kill the chassis battery. Any idea how old the house batteries are? It might be that they just might be wasted. Also as has already been suggested, make sure the battery disconnect switch is working. Another thing to check, is for either a short some place of some thin being left on.
Good luck!
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Old 07-01-2015, 02:42 PM   #4
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thanks fireup and R2home.

The batteries are newish. (less than 6 months old).
I hadn't thought of starting the engine then trying to fire up the generator. I'll try that tomorrow and report back.

Also, good info on checking the ceiling lights to see if the disconnect switch is working.

Thanks guys-
Bud
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Old 07-22-2015, 12:18 PM   #5
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Just to follow-up...
The engine does charge the house batteries and after a few minutes, i was able to start the generator which I let run for an hour or so.

The disconnect switch has a red LED which i assume is supposed to shine when the switch is off (or maybe ON) but it doesn't work. I'll see about replacing it. Meantime, as suggested, leaving a ceiling light on tells me when the switch is OFF.

Thanks everybody,
Bud
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Old 07-22-2015, 02:15 PM   #6
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Batteries can still go dead when the disconnect is engaged. A few things from the factory bypass it (for safety reasons), and it's common for aftermarket adds on get wired direct as well, sometimes just cause the installer is lazy. Or ignorant.

The red light will go out when the batteries are dead too.

An hour is charging is practically nothing, so your house bats are well short of a full charge. It would likely take 24 hours to reach full charge, and 3-4 to reach 80%.
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