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Old 01-01-2014, 06:17 PM   #15
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"I do have what I think is a solenoid that keeps my camper from discharging the truck batteries."

Yes, this same "solenoid" (most of us know what you mean) connects your engine and house batteries together when certain conditions are met so the house battery is charged, and then when the engine isn't running, or the conditions aren't meant, it disconnects the house battery from the engine so the house power can't be drawn from the engine battery and run it flat leaving you stranded.

Simplest method is a manual switch but prone to be forgotten. Next comes an oil pressure switch which is very simple and mostly foolproof. Then there are various electronic circuits that sense the state of charge (voltage) of the starter battery and only allow the house battery to connect when the engine battery is reasonably well charged.

The coil in your solenoid/contactor/power relay may have failed, or whatever controls the relay may be faulty.

All you need for fault finding is a cheap multimeter AND some knowledge of how your particular system operates. If you haven't got both these then you will have to hope that the "expert" you are paying does, and that isn't a given

From Wikipedia

Quote:
In engineering, the term [Solenoid] may also refer to a variety of transducer devices that convert energy into linear motion. The term is also often used to refer to a solenoid valve, which is an integrated device containing an electromechanical solenoid which actuates either a pneumatic or hydraulic valve, or a solenoid switch, which is a specific type of relay that internally uses an electromechanical solenoid to operate an electrical switch; for example, an automobile starter solenoid, or a linear solenoid, which is an electromechanical solenoid.
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Old 01-01-2014, 07:40 PM   #16
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Tony:

Good info but I believe that would be a relay, not "like a starter solenoid" and what you say makes perfect sense. One would not want the two batteries connected without the engine on and that is the intent as I understand the situation. Never gave it much thought before. I still say a tone signal tracer will enable one to track back to an open in the circuit. Especially if no schematic is available.

However as a very long long time very senior Aeronautical Engineer I would never confuse the functionality between a relay and a solenoid. Aircraft are full of both devices and I believe any engineer would readily see a discernable difference between the two. A lay person may indeed not be so pedantic on such matters. I noted the definition in Wiki but we would not refer to a simple relay as a solenoid. WiKi is not always correct,

I think the OP has the info now to enable more trouble shooting. Hope to hear back on how that goes and what his findings are,
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:31 PM   #17
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So I found the problem. It was a dead relay in the box with other relays and fuses. Problem was is that it wasn't labeled as such, so I somewhat ignored it. After following wires and tracking down individual circuits I found the dead relay. I went to the auto parts place and bought a heavy duty unit as I am charging as many as 6 batteries at a time. All is being charged now.Thanks for all of the help!!
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Old 04-19-2014, 08:32 PM   #18
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Did you run 12Vdc to the plug?
I don't think that is standard.
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Old 04-20-2014, 06:46 AM   #19
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Two things to consider!

[1] Their was a problem with certain Battery isolators requiring a recall.
See here at this link:
Sure Power Battery Separator Recall - Can-Am Commander Forum

If you need a new one if the company will not supply one here is another link:
Sure Power 12V Uni-Directional Battery Separator (100 Amp) - Part#: 1314

[2] If you consider driving with your fridge running on 12 volt it will eventually drain your camper batteries. The gauge of the truck harness wiring is not big enough to provide the amps to run this appliance. I have installed #8 gauge dual wires with an in-line 30 amp resettable breaker from one of my batteries back to the wire harness of the camper. This will provide the necessary amps to power fridge. Currently if fridge cannot get the amps it will draw what is needs, it would draw from your camper batteries and run them down and cause the above referenced battery isloator to possibly trip in. If you don't want to run this wire for higher amps, then I suggest you run fridge on propane. You will also find the fridge is colder running on propane VS 12 volt. PS: With the bigger gauge wiring back will provide more amps to camper batteries to charge up!

You never mentioned the brand of Truck camper to assist with your questions.

Just my 2 cents!
Good Luck and enjoy!
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Old 03-14-2015, 03:48 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Lee View Post
"I do have what I think is a solenoid that keeps my camper from discharging the truck batteries."

Yes, this same "solenoid" (most of us know what you mean) connects your engine and house batteries together when certain conditions are met so the house battery is charged, and then when the engine isn't running, or the conditions aren't meant, it disconnects the house battery from the engine so the house power can't be drawn from the engine battery and run it flat leaving you stranded.

Simplest method is a manual switch but prone to be forgotten.
Next comes an oil pressure switch which is very simple and mostly foolproof. Then there are various electronic circuits that sense the state of charge (voltage) of the starter battery and only allow the house battery to connect when the engine battery is reasonably well charged.

The coil in your solenoid/contactor/power relay may have failed, or whatever controls the relay may be faulty.

All you need for fault finding is a cheap multimeter AND some knowledge of how your particular system operates. If you haven't got both these then you will have to hope that the "expert" you are paying does, and that isn't a given

From Wikipedia
I would very much like to learn how you do this??
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Old 03-14-2015, 08:20 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trucker101 View Post
I would very much like to learn how you do this??
Instead of running the solenoid off the ignition or a manual switch, you run it off an oil pressure switch that is open when there's too little pressure. This is what Tony is referring to as mostly foolproof, it won't close unless the engine is actually running and making oil pressure. Still doesn't help if the alternator fails, that's why it isn't totally foolproof.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Libero View Post
...Hmmm - why or how would a solenoid be used for this application...
Here's why I call it a solenoid: This is the solenoid that is used for battery isolation by many RV manufacturers, White Rodgers (the manufacturer), refers to it as a solenoid in the data sheet. However, even the manufacturer has different names for it, here is a page from White Rodger's catalog titled "DC POWER CONTACTORS" that has the part in it.

BTW, the right one to buy for continuous charging in a 12V system is the one with the 14V continuous duty coil per their note in the second link.
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