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Old 04-12-2013, 10:38 PM   #1
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Electrically trying to find my way back

You folks helped me in another thread having to do with my alternator problem. Now that it is working properly, I'm almost afraid to touch anything in the battery area. But I'm still trying to find my way back from having a whole slew of disconnected wires that are meant to be connected to either the chassis battery (12v) or the coach batteries (two 6v in series=12v). And, of course I'm not sure whether the connections should be to ground or to positive once its determined WHICH batteries are to be connected to.

For reference, I'm attaching photos with comments. Mine is a 90 1/2 Bounder with GM chassis and 454.

Starting with Photo 6, these would appear to be HEAVY positive cables. The one on the right goes to the top lug in photo 5, which appears to be a solenoid or relay. I believe the unattached end should go to the positive side of the coach batteries. And I believe the OTHER cable in Photo 6 is coming from the generator. Should BOTH of these cables attach to the positive side of the coach batteries?

In Photo1, the two unconnected lugs are coming from the fused lines that are labeled "LPG Leak Detector" and "Entry Step Switch". Where should these connect to?

In Photo 4, the unconnected lug contains two wires, one of which has an inline fuse (the orange wire). One wire goes to that relay in the photo, IF it's a relay. The other wire goes to the rear of the coach. I believe this has to do with the Bargman plug or something at the rear. Not sure.

In Photo 5, this is WHAT??? The top lug has two heavy red cables attached, one of which goes to/comes from the coach battery. I'm presuming the other cable, which goes behind the firewall is ether alternator or starter related, but I don't know.

In Photos 2 and 3 the disconnected lugs go to the relays or whatever that are shown in each photo. I don't know what these do, or where the unconnected lugs should attach to.

Photo 7 shows my storage batteries in series. The right-hand positive post is intentionally NOT connected until I sort all this out.

With the engine running neither of the cables in Photo 6 have any juice. And with the engine off, but on shore power they don't have any juice either. Since one of them probably is the positive cable to be coming FROM the storage batteries, I assumed that the convertor would have been sending volts to this cable, but it was not.

Any help you can offer to help me unravel this spaghetti would SURE be appreciated. BTW, my convertor looks like a fuse panel (all 20 amp fuses) and is made by Magnatek.
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Old 04-13-2013, 05:15 AM   #2
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Photo 6-
Check the cable wrapped in black tape with a volt/ohm meter(VOM) to make sure it's not a ground. If not a ground, then yes it is conceivable that it's a + from the generator that it would attach to the coach/house batteries as the power feed for the genset starter.

Photo 1-
Any nearby + power source.

Photo 4-
That is a 12v breaker - will reset automatically if tripped. Should have it's amperage rating stamped on one of the sides. It is conceivable that it could carry 12+VDC to the 6/7 way plug for a trailer.

Gotta head out, will try to address anything else not answered by others when Im back in later today.. you're headed in the right direction! :-)
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Old 04-13-2013, 03:01 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by 94-Newmar View Post
Photo 6-
Check the cable wrapped in black tape with a volt/ohm meter(VOM) to make sure it's not a ground. If not a ground, then yes it is conceivable that it's a + from the generator that it would attach to the coach/house batteries as the power feed for the genset starter.

Photo 1-
Any nearby + power source.

Photo 4-
That is a 12v breaker - will reset automatically if tripped. Should have it's amperage rating stamped on one of the sides. It is conceivable that it could carry 12+VDC to the 6/7 way plug for a trailer.

Gotta head out, will try to address anything else not answered by others when Im back in later today.. you're headed in the right direction! :-)
Re: Photo 1, my chassis (engine) battery has double posts. So, assuming it's okay, I have fitted the unused "+" post with a lug w/ vertical bolt and nut, and connected these there.
Re: Photo 4, it sounds like you and I feel it needs "any nearby + power source" as well. CORRECT? Like I mentioned, the line coming out of this "breaker" has an inline fuse and I do believe I traced it as heading back to the Bargman trailer plug.
Re: Photo 6, neither of these two cables had voltage coming from the DISCONNECTED, either when plugged in to shore power OR with the engine running. They ARE both heavy duty RED cables. HOWEVER, the one with the "black tape" is heavier and goes to that solenoid/relay in Photo 5. I actually believe that the OTHER cable in Photo 6 is going back to the generator. It is this large one going to the solenoid that I believe goes to the storage battery + post. But if it does not have voltage is that a problem OR is it that the storage batteries are to supply volts to the cable and then to the solenoid. I'm SO confused.
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Old 04-14-2013, 09:03 PM   #4
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You might have to check continujty on each individual wire. You would have to disconnect all battery power and then start one wire at a time. I had to do something similar when I was tracing TV coax wires on my coach. Keep plugging at it, you will get there. You can never tell what wire goes where because any number of previous owners might have wired in a flux capacitor somewhere. Good luck.

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Old 04-15-2013, 03:18 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ronspradley View Post
You might have to check continujty on each individual wire. You would have to disconnect all battery power and then start one wire at a time. I had to do something similar when I was tracing TV coax wires on my coach. Keep plugging at it, you will get there. You can never tell what wire goes where because any number of previous owners might have wired in a flux capacitor somewhere. Good luck.

ronspradley
Thanks for the reply RON! Actually, I AM the original owner, so I have the benefit of certain things never having been touched. Over the weekend, I made a lot of progress. I am now of the opinion that my Magnatek convertor is working properly. At least, 110v in and 12v out on all wires. And the alternator is working. But I don't seem to be getting the storage batteries (6v in series) to charge, either when the engine is running OR while on shore power.

Also, that "solenoid" looking thing is, I believe, the battery isolator. And I believe it's hooked up correctly with the chassis battery and starter cable entering (never touched) and the coach battery mounted on the "ear" opposite. The smaller wires have never been touched. HOWEVER, I noticed a couple of things...

First, because the the isolator is a "3-terminal", the housing has to serve as the ground attached to metal. Although that was the case, I noticed that one of the mounting screws was missing and the top screw was so loose as to wonder whether it was grounded. More importantly, one of the small wires going to the center terminal appeared to have shorted and burned by touching the isolator. Maybe the wire got pinched and THEN shorted.

Although I fixed the wire, I'm thinking the damage may have been done, either blowing a fuse I have yet to find OR damaging the isolator (I've ordered a new one just in case).

As things stand at present, I have 14.3v coming TO the isolator but only the voltage of the storage batteries being read on that ear of the isolator. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT SHOULD BE READING.

HOW DO YOU CHECK CONTINUITY OF WIRES??
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:30 PM   #6
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Continuity is tested with (drum roll please) a continuity tester. Comes with most all multi-testers. Mine makes a noise when test is positive, when wire shows continuity. All it is saying is this circuit, wire you are testing makes a continuous run from where you put one of the test leads to where you put the next lead. So in your case where you are trying to see if a wire runs to the generator, put one lead of the multi-tester on that wire and the other lead you can put on various wires until you get the beep. If you are dealing with distance, just use some kind of wire that is long enough. I usually use an extension cord of appropriate length. You can see that it works by putting your meter on say the ground lead on the jumper cable, one on the male end and one on the female end. Should get your beep. Then I use a jumper wire with alligator clamps on both ends and put one on the test lead and one on my extension cord, then when I touch the wire that is a winner, I get the beep. Running on I am. Hope this helps.

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