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Old 12-30-2019, 12:14 PM   #1
coeranch's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 66
Alternator Charging Properly?

Merry Christmas, everyone! But it's a melancholy time for us, seeing my coach (2017 Palazzo 33.2) under cover until March...

But I start it up every 2-3 weeks, just to make sure everything's running correctly in the Omaha area winters. I've normally had my dash show "Low Battery" when I go to start it, whether sitting over the winter or a week at a campground; but the last two times I started it, it showed "Low Battery" as usual, but the voltage meter also showed 9 volts charging. Then the gauge jumps up to 13 volts and the "Low Battery" warning goes away; then I would hear the "ding" - and the dash would show "Low Battery" and the gauge would show 9 volts charging again. This cycles about every 5 seconds - for the first 5 minutes or so. Then everything reads normally.

Has anyone else run into this? Is it something about the cold, are my chassis batteries really that weak, am I getting feedback from being plugged into my garage, or is the alternator going?

The amazing community of people on this forum have already helped me out with many things, certainly saving me thousands of dollars in service costs; so I would appreciate any help or experience you folks may be able to provide! Thanks!

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Old 12-30-2019, 12:34 PM   #2
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Location: Roseville, Ca
Posts: 422
What you are describing is normal.

The Low Battery Voltage Warning is a part of the Freightliner start up software systems check. In colder weather, it may come on twice. The voltage swing from 9 to 14 volts is also normal. That is the warmers/blowers that to hear in the engine compartment. As they turn on, they draw power from the chassis batteries. Keep the coach quiet when starting and you'll hear the blower come and the voltage gauge dip. As the blower goes off, the gauge will return to 14V or so. Depending on how cold it is, the process may take up to 5 minutes or so.

If you don't want to see the Low Battery Voltage Warning, turn on the Engine Block Heater switch for 10-20 minutes prior to starting and that will most likely prevent that. CAUTION: The Engine Block Heater, as any heating element, takes quite a bit of power. Make sure you have 12.7VDC or better before you turn it on.

Stand by for haters and nay sayers.

2016 Thor Palazzo 33.2
14 Honda CRV, Roadmaster Tow Bar, Air Force 1
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Old 12-30-2019, 02:19 PM   #3
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They are air intake grid heaters that cycle during cold starts. That's what's drawing your battery voltage down. The colder it is the more they cycle.

The alternator can not produce the 200+ amps they draw. Think of having 2, 12 volt toasters in the engine intake manifold.

Its normal.
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Old 01-02-2020, 07:47 AM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Omaha, NE
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Gentlemen - appreciate the feedback! Always nice to know something is normal. Fortunately, when I need to use my block heater, I have my coach plugged into my garage...

Thanks for your responses!
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Old 01-05-2020, 06:08 PM   #5
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Location: Louisville, Kentucky
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Thanks so much for posting this question.
I was in our coach today & it was doing the exact same thing . I noticed it a while back but I had forgotten about it.

Good to know this is common. It has always leveled off at std voltage reading after about 3-5 minutes.

Think Spring !!!
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Old 01-06-2020, 08:07 AM   #6
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Location: Omaha, NE
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Agree, Ky Bob!

Yes, we're always looking forward to spring! Our lives seem to revolve around planning our next trip; so that time period where our coach is covered is indeed a sad time. One of the hardest tasks I have is to put the cover on at the end of November...

We have 18 months until our "second retirement", and we're looking forward to being able to travel more. We've decided that the best way to winterize our coach is to take it somewhere it doesn't freeze!

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