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Old 06-12-2013, 10:25 PM   #1
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Unusual Electrical Issue

Ours is a 2005 National Dolphin. It has 2 - 6v house batteries, 1 -12 chassis battery, xantrex invertor and a 7000 watt Onan Gold generator.

It stays hooked up to a 15 amp circuit on the side of the house when we're not taking it out. Battery terminals are clean and tight. Battery electrolyte levels are good. Voltage reading on chassis is a squeak over 13 volts, house batteries are a squeak over 6.2 volts.

Getting ready for a weekend camping trip today, I pulled it from the side of the house. I disconnected the power and all the other things. About 13 minutes later I got in it, started it up and pulled out of the side yard.

Parked it in front of the house and proceeded with sanitizing the fresh water tank and some other routine things. Ran the pump a little bit and opened and closed the door and steps a few times as I was going through my activities.

Went to drive it around the neighborhood after about 30 minutes to slosh the sanitizing solution and the engine wouldn't turn over and the steps extended very slowly. Used the boost switch and it still wouldn't turn the engine over. Primed the generator and it started right up. Ran it for 15 minutes, turned it off and the engine started up fine. Steps extended and retracted normally too.

Can't find my battery hydrometer, so I can't verify specific gravity of electrolyte.

Really odd occurrence. Looking for suggestions for the next thing to check out. Thanks in advance for any helpful replies.
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:36 PM   #2
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Wolfpack You say you have 2-6volts they should be wired in series and be about 12.6 volts not 6 volts so I would start looking at the battery wiring or one of the 6 volts is realy bad.
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Old 06-12-2013, 11:25 PM   #3
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They're wired in series and they were connected when I metered them. I tested with the meter probes against the terminals of each battery individually.

Should I have gotten 12v+ with that test method?
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Old 06-13-2013, 12:11 AM   #4
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If you measured from pole-to-pole on each house batteries it should read 6+ volts for each battery, but across the series connection it should be 12+ (~13)v, or about the same as the chassis battery.
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Old 06-13-2013, 12:12 AM   #5
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Check the voltage of the 2 6v together they should be around 12.6v . Sounds like the starting batteries are running down. Check the voltage after they set for an hour or so not being charged.
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:15 AM   #6
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You need new Batts.

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Old 06-13-2013, 09:48 AM   #7
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If these are by any chance the original batteries that came with the coach, I would say they're due for replacement.
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Old 06-13-2013, 09:00 PM   #8
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Have your chassis battery load tested and check the connections. The steps and engine starter use the chassis battery.
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Old 06-13-2013, 10:51 PM   #9
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So it wasn't such an unusual issue after all. And I kinda feel like a dummy . Dearly departed chassis battery. You are dead and today we lay you to rest

Picked up a new one today everything is copasetic.

Things I learned.
1. Steps run off of chassis battery.
2. Plugged into house, batteries stay charged nicely.
3. Generator starts off of house batteries.
4. Generator charges all batteries when it's running.
5. And last but not least. There's good folks in the world and a whole bunch of them are right here on iRV2!

Thank you all for your replies and suggestions! I absolutely love the iRV2 community and the culture that exists in this forum. It's a culture similar to the that of the company I work for. When you love where you work and love the people you work with and those that work for you, then you come home and get to experience it again in a social media outlet like this, it's just GREAT.
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Old 06-14-2013, 11:25 AM   #10
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A couple other lessons from this:

(1) A squeak over 13 volts is not a good reading on a 12v battery.Freshly charged, or with the charger active, it should read 13.3-13.6v.

(2) 6.2v is not a real great reading for a 6v either - should be at least 6.3 with no charger connected and 6.65-6.8 if connected to a functioning charger (shore power or generator running).

A 100% charge is 2.1 volts/cell (3 cells on a 6v and 6cells on a 12v). That is measured with the battery at rest (no charger) and after the "surface charge" from the charger has dissipated. The surface charge from a recent or active charging brings the normal voltage to 2.2-2.3 volts/cell.
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Old 06-14-2013, 11:56 AM   #11
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Now you have good batteries have you connected to shoreline again and checked to see if the engine battery is getting charged ? Some RV's do not charge both banks when on shoreline. Simple devices to handle the situation. I just don't want you to kill your new battery.
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Old 06-17-2013, 06:27 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by YC1 View Post
Now you have good batteries have you connected to shoreline again and checked to see if the engine battery is getting charged ? Some RV's do not charge both banks when on shoreline. Simple devices to handle the situation. I just don't want you to kill your new battery.
Thanks! Yeah we're good to go now. Both batteries getting their charge on house hook up.
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:33 AM   #13
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A battery tender type charger extends the life of a battery. Use one on each of our motorcycles. Our new coach has a float/tender type charger. It has eight batteries. Eight! So, I'll be checking the electrolyte levels regularly. And, then when we need new ones? Holey moley!
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Old 06-18-2013, 01:58 PM   #14
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I bought and installed Battery Life Savers (about $100/ea.), also known as a desulfator. They reverse sulferization which is a big destroyer of batteries. They will also restore a weak/old battery.
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