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Old 09-27-2012, 07:13 PM   #1
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Experienced help regarding batteries...

I just lost my previous post while previewing it, so this will be a condensed version..... I guess my main question is : Is the engine battery responsible for cranking the gen, or does in run from the house battery? Reason being that when moving my older class c around the yard, it seemed to crank slowly, then it wouldn't start at all.... I tightened the connections and put it on the charger...so far it is about 3/4 charged, but it is late, and so I'm leaving on over night. Recently, the serpentine belt broke, and it was in the shop for a few days. Wondering if that could have killed my battery, or perhaps the mechanic left something on while it was there... Any input would be appreciated as I have no mechanical skills....Thanks....
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:14 PM   #2
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House battery usually powers the generator starter. There can be many parasitic loads on house and chassis batteries, best bet is to disconnect when not in use.
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:19 PM   #3
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Bflinn is correct. House batteries crank your genny. Your serpentine belt being broken would have an affect on your battery because it powers the alternator. The alternator is what puts the charge into the battery as the engine is running. If the engine is running without the serpentine belt you're pulling electricity from the battery without the alternator putting some back in. As far as the mechanic leaving something on. Yeah, it's possible and it would have an effect on the battery dying. It's unknown though and the serpentine belt is a known issue. After you charge it overnight it should be good. If after the charge it still goes dead quicker than normal, buy a battery tester and check the liquid in the battery. The battery tester looks like a miniture turkey baster or slightly oversized eye dropper. It's got color balls in it that should float when you fill it with battery acid. If only 1 or 2 balls float after a lengthy charge the battery is probably in need of replacment. I suggest the battery tester because it's a cheap device to test the battery's health. There are more expensive models with a rotating needle, but the cheapy will let you know what you need to know.

If the battery's health is good and it's still dying prematurely, you've got a drain somewhere. There's a lot of sources for a drain. The short term resolution would be disconnect the battery when it's parked for an extended period.

Kept it simple as possible for you.

Keep us posted after you get your battery nice and charged up.
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Old 09-28-2012, 02:20 PM   #4
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More on the battery situation

So the battery charged, and my motorhome started this morning, but not the gen. So how do I charge the "house battery"? Same as the chassis? Do I need to disconnect anything? It just seems strange that "it " and the chassis battery went dead at the same time. The only thing that has been different, is that since it returned from the serpentine belt, I haven't had it on shore power. It's basically been sitting there(approx. 3 weeks) with no outside juice. I've cranked it up to move it around the yard, but not run the gen. So....there you have it! Would appreciate any advise on charging the house battery....(I guess). Thank you...
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Old 09-28-2012, 02:42 PM   #5
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Hook the house batteries to your charger. That's the simplest. You could start the engine and charge them-- after many hours. You could jump start the generator and charge them -- after many hours....and much gas. Or...plug in to shore power and let your converter do the job, but if you've got a battery charger, use it.
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Old 09-28-2012, 03:02 PM   #6
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Thank you....This is exactly the info I need. Just one more question. If I hook my charger up to the house battery to charge it, do I shut down everything,ie. disconnect shore power? This may sound stupid, but I do not know about this kind of stuff....Thanks for the education......
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Old 09-28-2012, 03:06 PM   #7
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If shore power is plugged in that should charge your batteries as long as the on board charger is turned on.
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Old 09-28-2012, 03:57 PM   #8
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If your converter/charger is working on shore power it will take care of the batteries. Never hook up a charger in addition to the built in -- one or the other. If you house battery doesn't show a charge after a day, then disconnect the shore cord and hook up the charger...and hunt for why your converter/charger isn't working. They often have a circuit breaker or fuse on the side of the box.
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Old 09-28-2012, 04:17 PM   #9
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With all this charging going on......monitor your water level...very important don't let the battries cook
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Old 09-28-2012, 04:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireflymin
If I hook my charger up to the house battery to charge it, do I shut down everything,ie. disconnect shore power?
Your battery will charge faster if you turn off all 12v items (with a home charger). You should have a "battery disconnect" switch near the steps. Using this switch will turn everything off rather than doing it individually.

Your coach batteries are charged 3 different ways:

1. When engine is running. Charges them while driving so they will be charged at destination.

2. While plugged into shore power. The 120v powers the converter to convert to 12v to run the 12v systems and charge/maintain the battery.

3. Running the generator. Same as #2, just costs gas

Optionally, you can use a home battery charge, just not when using any of the other above methods. Hope that makes it all clear.
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Old 09-28-2012, 04:50 PM   #11
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Battery situation....

Thanks to you all on educating me about house batteries, charging, etc. I've got it hooked up to shore power, so I'm going to let in charge up over night and see how that works.... I also had another thought on why it may have gone dead....That being the day that the serpentine belt broke, I drove about 1 mile to get to a safe location, so that was driving strickly off the chassis battery...(and overheating as well). Then I had to set for a couple of hours before AAA came to tow me, so I sat and watched tv during that time...and had inside lights on as well. That was with the gen running though...Maybe that ran the house battery down? Plus, not sure what the mechanic had on, or running while he was working on it...So, basically, I'm hoping that once charged up all will be fine....I am going to take it to have both batteries checked though, and the alternator too. Thanks again...
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Old 09-28-2012, 04:56 PM   #12
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YUP - probably the largest concern with a broken serpentine belt is NOT the generator, but the engine water pump and other power assists like braking and steering - the generator is pretty low on that priority list...
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Old 09-28-2012, 06:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireflymin
Then I had to set for a couple of hours before AAA came to tow me, so I sat and watched tv during that time...and had inside lights on as well. That was with the gen running though...Maybe that ran the house battery down? Plus, not sure what the mechanic had on, or running while he was working on it...So, basically, I'm hoping that once charged up all will be fine....I am going to take it to have both batteries checked though, and the alternator too. Thanks again...
Watching TV, running lights or whatever, did not run the batt down if running the generator. It's also very doubtful the mechanic did anything to run coach batt down. Also, driving as long as you did with no belt did not contribute.

However *if* your converter is malfuctioning, that could cause this. It could also be contributed to a weak battery. What is a bit puzzling is that it did start the generator. Anyway, yes have the batt load tested. While on shore, if you have a volt meter, the battery should show 13+ volts. If not, your converter/charger is not working properly.

I have no idea what kind of batt you have now for the coach except it is 12v. If you need a new one, get a TRUE DEEP CYCLE. If you have room, two 6v deep cycle golf cart batteries would triple your reserve capacity.
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Old 09-28-2012, 06:35 PM   #14
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Yeah, I agree. I was pretty sure that the mechanic had kept the rv long enough to check out those items, but no reason to check the gen. I had driven it home from the shop with no problems. It was only after sitting for a few days when the problems were discovered. I did call the shop, and my mechanic offered to check out the charging system etc. so I'm gonna take him up on that as soon as I can get the time.... I truely appreciate all of the information covered here...I love this site!
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