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Old 04-23-2016, 07:48 AM   #1
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Woke up, all batteries dead

... while on AC power.

Background: 2003 Bounder 32W, purchased about a month ago, low miles, overall condition seems very good. I've been sitting on a hookup for about four weeks (driven once a week) packing and finding all the problems like this one that I knew I'd find.

Coach batteries were new at purchase, engine battery was replaced this week. Yesterday, everything worked fine. Engine started first crank, Voltage read 14.5+ when running. Coach batteries are charged by a Progressive 9160A charger, which seemed to be working last time I checked. Everything has been fine for four weeks.

Last night I fell asleep with the radio on, a couple of LED bulbs, and one fluorescent, and this morning, both the engine and house batteries are dead dead dead. Propane detector is telling me it has low power, the meters on the dash read 6-7 Volts, although I don't really know what it's measuring. Still learning all the parts.

Two clues: My PC is running on a UPS, and it reported 80% capacity this morning, so perhaps there was an outage overnight? PC was asleep so maybe 10-20 watts drain for about 6 hours.

Other clue was that I've had problems with the engine battery... I replaced it, and in the process noted the + terminal was loose. Tightened that on the new one, and all seemed well, engine started right up, voltages measured as they should. But maybe there's something I'm missing.

I still need to go check the house charger, but I'm stumped how both batteries could die overnight.

BTW, the radio was running on the house battery, I have that switch figured out.

Edit: Come to think of it, the radio was new this week, I wonder if they installed it so it always draws something from the engine battery, even though the house/chassis switch works.
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Old 04-23-2016, 08:17 AM   #2
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Progressive charger... I found it a couple of days ago. I measured the output terminals and they read nothing, but a few minutes later I heard the fan start whirring and then they measured 13.5V or so. I figured that made sense. But if it were directly connected to the battery, there should be some voltage even when it's off.

Right now, with the engine running (jump start) it shows zero.

There's a battery management box in the engine bay, it looks like both batteries and the generator feed into it. What does that box do? Is that a suspect component?

FWIW, even with two dead batteries, my house LED lights were working, but the radio wouldn't work off either battery.
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Old 04-23-2016, 09:43 AM   #3
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We have the same coach. I cannot run the radio off the coach batteries for more than 4 hours at a time without power issues. I believe the Progressive 9160A charger can't provide the current output required to power the coach over a long period under higher loads as you described. I could be wrong in this thought but anyway, the chassis battery is not charged from the Progressive charger. When you start the engine the alternator powers all of the batteries and should provide the 14 volts you are seeing on the meters on the dash. The Progressive charger should sense this and shut off. The radio should have a power feed from the chassis battery to maintain the memory in it. This is a small drain but will over time, several weeks or months, discharge the chassis battery. This is normal for these newer radios.

Your PC running on a UPS should have no issues with the coach 12VDC system as I suspect it is powered thru the AC outlet. One clue I use is the microwave. If the clock shows 8888's the AC power has been out. I also installed a AC LED Night Lite in the receptacle near the floor by the bathroom door so I can tell at a glance if the AC power is active.

Your problem with the engine battery and that you replaced it and noted the + terminal was loose but tightened that on the new one has no effect on your current issue. It would have possibly before you replaced the battery but not now since you tightened the terminal. So you are good to go there.

The battery management box in the engine bay connects the chassis batteries and coach batteries as well as circuitry for a lot of other components. Open the cover and look at the fuses and you'll see the CO2, Power Seats, Aux Battery connect switch, and the like that are fed power from it. It has the relays in it that connect the coach batteries and chassis batteries to the coach's 12VDC system. These are controlled through the 2 switches over the entry door. If you cycle these switches you can hear the relays making contact up front. One indication for this is to flip your switch for the steps by the entry door to see the red light. Then reach up and cycle the Main Battery Disconnect off. The red light should go out.

So finally the LED lights don't draw much power and they still may be able to illuminate with low battery voltage. I think your coach may be running normal and you just had a loss of AC while running 12 VDC loads and the batteries ran down.
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Old 04-23-2016, 11:44 AM   #4
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Ahhh, that makes sense, thanks so much.

First time I've fallen asleep without shutting everything off, and it looks pretty likely that we had a power outage, since the UPS is back up to 100% charge now. Apparently two new situations that I hadn't encountered before. Thanks goodness for the display on the UPS or I'd never have guessed an outage.

I've been running the radio all day with no apparent problems, so I assume the house batteries were getting charged. I can't figure out how to check the charger, though. Something seems to turn it on and off. There are some red and black leads on the front, they measure voltage when the fan is running but none when it's off. If they were the output, I'd think they'd reflect the battery voltage, but they measure zero when the charger fan is off.

I'll run some of the checks you suggested, to familiarize myself if nothing else. Thanks again.
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Old 04-24-2016, 11:03 AM   #5
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Well, I'm still not getting it.

Today, no power outage, but the radio ran down both batteries again while set to house power.

I don't see why the house charger can't keep up with the radio, and why it should affect my chassis battery.

One thing I don't understand.... the meters on the dash, Main and Aux, always read within a few hundredths of a volt, charged or not. I assume those are chassis and house batetries respectively.

Obviously something about that battery management box that I'm not understanding. If it were three separate systems, I could make sense of it, but that box seems to combine them for no reason I can fathom.
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Old 04-24-2016, 11:38 PM   #6
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When my Progressive 9260 started turning on and off it had internal fault. It would put out about 13.5 V when it was on but the amps were very low and would not charge the batteries. Called Progressive to find out the cost to repair it. Cost to repair mine our exchange it for reconditioned one was almost the cost of a new one, I just bought a new one.
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Old 05-24-2016, 08:05 AM   #7
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Following up.... The problem turned out to be the circuit board on the RV Custom Products battery control center, some diodes had fried. That got replaced and the earlier symptoms cured. But now...

Sometimes when I go to start the engine, it turns, fires briefly, and then all the dash power goes off. I think there's a "click" from a solenoid but not sure. The jump start switch for the house battery is also dead.

When this happens, I can jump start with a tiny portable battery starter, but it's a small one, it shouldn't be able to start something this big. And the battery is not dead, it starts right up, voltage reads good. But something about that jump starter seems to make it all work.

It seems very random, it will work normally one day and be cranky the next.

Could this just be the solenoid for the house battery jump? Are there any other solenoids to look for? Slightly mystified why the jump start makes a difference.
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Old 05-24-2016, 08:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobk3d View Post
Following up.... The problem turned out to be the circuit board on the RV Custom Products battery control center, some diodes had fried. That got replaced and the earlier symptoms cured. But now...

Sometimes when I go to start the engine, it turns, fires briefly, and then all the dash power goes off. I think there's a "click" from a solenoid but not sure. The jump start switch for the house battery is also dead.

When this happens, I can jump start with a tiny portable battery starter, but it's a small one, it shouldn't be able to start something this big. And the battery is not dead, it starts right up, voltage reads good. But something about that jump starter seems to make it all work.

It seems very random, it will work normally one day and be cranky the next.

Could this just be the solenoid for the house battery jump? Are there any other solenoids to look for? Slightly mystified why the jump start makes a difference.
I don't know anything about this type of coach but the particular symptom you are describing sounds like a poor ground. I would follow the negative battery cable from the battery and see where it goes..clean all the connections you find.
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Old 05-24-2016, 01:11 PM   #9
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Bobk3d - Sounds like loose connections. I had something simular on my motorhome. The positive termal was loose. I'm not sure what chassis you have, but if it is a Workhorse P32, it could be the starter switch at the bottom of the steering wheel. I also had this switch fail. It can cause the same problem. It is very common for P32 chassis. There is a modification to fix this failure. Only applies to P32 chassis as far as I know.
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:04 AM   #10
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A bunch of fried diodes is a big red flag. Something caused those diodes to fry. They are very robust devices and do not try easily. Keep looking.
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Old 05-27-2016, 05:27 PM   #11
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Well, there was a burn on the circuit board, I only think it's diodes, but yes, there's obviously something else wrong. The new circuit board solved the previous problem; when I was on a hookup everything seemed fine. But after four days of dry camping, the engine battery needs a jump start. Now on a hookup, I'll see if that still works right.
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Old 06-30-2016, 01:53 PM   #12
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Just to follow up... the original problem was the Battery Control Center, and after that repair, it worked for a while. But once I got on the road, the engine seemed to need jump starts more often than not... turn of the key and everything went dead, radio lost its time settings. Some days it would work okay, but mostly not.

The battery voltage always tested good, the charging voltage tested good, tested well under load.

It turned out to be (and I found the answer in another thread) the battery post... it's a side-mounted terminal, and the original screw post was rusty; it was making contact but apparently not good enough to pass high current. I replaced it this morning and now it starts up just fine.
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Old 07-02-2016, 03:09 PM   #13
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Thank you for the update, they are important for future use by those using the search feature.
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Old 07-02-2016, 09:38 PM   #14
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This is a good example of why I read posts. I learned something new! Thanks for letting us know the resolution.
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