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Old 01-22-2018, 07:49 AM   #1
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1997 National Tropical Battery Disconnect

Good Morning!

Just bought a 1997 National Tropical built on a Ford 460 chassis as a first RV to see if we'll like RVing. Have two questions about the battery disconnect.

1) Do the batteries charge when connected to shore power if the disconnect is in the STORE position?

2) The light that shows this switch engaged has failed but the switch seems to still work OK. Is this light replaceable?



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Old 01-22-2018, 12:35 PM   #2
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I leave my disconnect switches on and let my converter charge my batteries when hooked up to shore power or generator. I turn the disconnect switches off before storing the RV for a period of time. Best way to check is with a volt meter at your batteries. You should see 13.6-13.8 volts to your chassis battery and around 6.5 to7 volts to your coach batteries if 6 volt. Congratulations on your purchase and welcome to your forum. Tom

1997 Southwind 32V Ford F53 Chassis
460 Ford cu. in.
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Old 01-22-2018, 01:02 PM   #3
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I can't really answer whether you can charge batteries when the disconnect switch is in store position, but I can tell you how to find out. Get a multimeter and experiment.

First, take readings at house and chassis batteries with disconnect switches on and shore cord unplugged. Fully charged, healthy batteries should read 12.7v. If less than that, remove and clean all battery connections, including connections to ground.

Next, plug in shore cord and take readings at both house and chassis batteries. Reading at the house battery should now be over 13.4v, showing the converter/charger is working. If you also see a voltage increase at the chassis battery, that's good news, your chassis battery is also charging when plugged into shore cord. Now turn off the battery disconnect switch and see if the charging current is still flowing from the converter/charger to the battery.

Disconnect the shore cord and start the engine, you'll now test voltage to see if the engine alternator also charges the house batteries when on the road. If all batteries again show charging, that's a good thing.

There may be a delay in the charging across both battery systems, many relays have built-in delays to allow the chassis battery to recover a bit before connecting to the house batteries.

How to test the isolator solenoid.

If you have solar panels charging when parked, you'll have to disconnect them for testing.

If you store the RV and have access to even just a 15 amp outlet, your shore cord (with adaptor) can keep batteries charged, according to what your testing discovered. If storing without shore power, turn the disconnect switches off. However, often some things are still connected to the batteries and can cause issues over time. The chassis battery will probably still be connected to the engine ECU, the stereo memory presets/clock, etc. and can run down the battery. The House battery might still be connected to the CO or LPG detector, a bedroom radio memory presets, etc. If you leave the TV antenna amplifier on, that can also cause 'phantom draws' on the house battery.

You can test the phantom drains that don't get disconnected through the disconnect switches by removing a battery cable and bridge the gap with either a test light or multimeter.

The 'light' on the disconnect switch may be a small bulb or LED, it will depend on whether it's soldered into a circuit board or just a socket. It could also be integrated into the switch or a separate socket. Look up the make and model of the isolation remote switch board.

Good luck learning about your 'new' RV!

Bob & Donna
'98 Gulf Stream Sun Voyager DP being pushed by a '00 Beetle TDI
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Old 01-25-2018, 11:54 AM   #4
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Thanks everybody. I was able to trace down the manufacturer of the battery board with help from one of the members here. I've got a schematic on the way. Thank you again.
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battery, battery disconnect, national

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