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Old 08-10-2012, 08:16 AM   #1
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Question on charging house batteries...

Hello

I recently bought a 1988 Bounder with a 454 on a P37 chassis. It has been sitting since 2003, so I have been going through the whole thing getting everything running.

So I have a question regarding the charging of the house batteries. I get charge to them when on shore power and when the generator is running, but not when the motor is running. Is this correct, or should they be getting charge in this state too?

I have 3 modules (I think they are relays- photos attached) that seem to control all the power to and from the batteries (motor and house). Two of them are located in the front of the coach near the batteries on the firewall and one is mounted near the alternator in the engine compartment. Of the two on the firewall, one is controlled by a small black box (also on the firewall) labeled "isolator relay delay" and the other one is controlled by the relay in the engine compartment. I haven't determined where the leads that are controlling the engine compartment relay are coming from yet.

I would love help determining if I should be getting charge to the house batteries when the motor is running and also, if anyone is so inclined, a quick tutorial on the purpose and functionality of the relays in the different coach states so that I can better understand and troubleshoot them in the future.

Thanks in advance for any help. The membership here as been amazingly helpful and friendly. I'm really happy to have found this site. Thank you!!
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:46 AM   #2
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If you want to charge off the engine the cables must run through the chassis battery also. Do not know if that age coach would have been wired that way. Check the cables from the chassis battery and see if they connect to the house batteries. If so there will be a relay problem. If not you will not be able to charge without shore or generator power.
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:54 AM   #3
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I'm sure some of our experts will be along soon with advice but I think many rigs of that vintage were not wired to charge the house batteries from the alternator.

Good luck.

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Old 08-10-2012, 09:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacotory View Post
Hello

I recently bought a 1988 Bounder with a 454 on a P37 chassis. It has been sitting since 2003, so I have been going through the whole thing getting everything running.

So I have a question regarding the charging of the house batteries. I get charge to them when on shore power and when the generator is running, but not when the motor is running. Is this correct, or should they be getting charge in this state too?
They should be charged by the alternator so they are fully charged when reaching your destination.

Quote:
I have 3 modules (I think they are relays- photos attached) that seem to control all the power to and from the batteries (motor and house). Two of them are located in the front of the coach near the batteries on the firewall and one is mounted near the alternator in the engine compartment. Of the two on the firewall, one is controlled by a small black box (also on the firewall) labeled "isolator relay delay" and the other one is controlled by the relay in the engine compartment. I haven't determined where the leads that are controlling the engine compartment relay are coming from yet.

I would love help determining if I should be getting charge to the house batteries when the motor is running and also, if anyone is so inclined, a quick tutorial on the purpose and functionality of the relays in the different coach states so that I can better understand and troubleshoot them in the future.

Thanks in advance for any help. The membership here as been amazingly helpful and friendly. I'm really happy to have found this site. Thank you!!

Different mfgs have used different ways to do this and over the years different components. Older ones used Battery Isolators. A wire from the alt when to the isolater, from there another wire to the chassis battery and another to the house (coach) battery. The coach side had a diode which prevented current from the coach making it to the chassis battery. I'm guessing by the pictures, at one time the coach had a battery isolator because of the "isolator relay delay", which is just a delay circuit. No idea if it's being used now.

Those 3 modules are actually solenoids, which appear to be recently added, I'll assume to eliminate the battery isolator and add some features. Many of the newer coaches can also keep the chassis battery charged while on shore power, but I won't get into that right now. I will describe the setup on my '99.

There is a continuous duty solenoid that ties the chassis and coach and chassis batteries together. Power from the alt will close this solenoid, charging the coach batteries. There is also a momentary switch on the dash that will also energize this solenoid tying them together for emergency starting the coach if the chassis battery gets low. This is a hold and release switch and is for temporary use.

At this time I can't figure out why the PO would have used 3 solenoids, unless 1 is just the starting solenoid for the chassis. The second is still a puzzler as it's shouldn't be needed for what your are trying to do. Of course any one of those solenoids could be bad. Checking them all out may correct the problem.

Down the road if you would like to keep the chassis batt charged while on shore power. I would highly recommend one of these:

Ultra TRIK-L-START Starting Battery Charger/Maintainer
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:38 AM   #5
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My 1985 has the one on the alt bracket a second over drivers valve it the battery boost check the wires on isolator for power when motor is running
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:55 AM   #6
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I second what Clyon1 stated. Once you figure out what each of the solenoids are doing and if they are working correctly, the Trik-L-Start is a good investment that keeps on giving.

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Old 08-10-2012, 03:49 PM   #7
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My 1985 has the one on the alt bracket a second over drivers valve it the battery boost check the wires on isolator for power when motor is running
Can someone translate this to English please?
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Old 08-11-2012, 05:23 AM   #8
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Sorry the solinode on the alt goes to the isolator the one over drivers valve cover is fit battery boost you should have power to the middle post on the isolator when motor is running this is a 1985 southwind
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Old 08-11-2012, 07:44 PM   #9
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Is nobody going to comment on the incredibly weenie 12 gauge wire connecting the 2 house batteries???!

Replace ASAP! Use battery or welding cable, not lighting circuit wire.

FYI- it is a P30 chassis (sometimes referred to as a P32), not a P37
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Old 08-12-2012, 10:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senior Chief View Post
Is nobody going to comment on the incredibly weenie 12 gauge wire connecting the 2 house batteries???!

Replace ASAP! Use battery or welding cable, not lighting circuit wire.

FYI- it is a P30 chassis (sometimes referred to as a P32), not a P37
You just did and good observation and catch!

That didn't look right to me but then again it's not my rig.

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Old 08-15-2012, 04:04 PM   #11
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Is nobody going to comment on the incredibly weenie 12 gauge wire connecting the 2 house batteries???!

Replace ASAP! Use battery or welding cable, not lighting circuit wire.

FYI- it is a P30 chassis (sometimes referred to as a P32), not a P37
Good tip- thank you. Also, thanks for the correction on the P30. The P37 info came from the local Fleetwood dealer. Explains why NAPA didn't show anything for a P37 chassis...
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Old 08-15-2012, 04:34 PM   #12
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The P37 comes from the VIN and it is a P37 chassis. It is really a P30/32 but for the RV market. My previous 94 Fleetwood Flair was a P37, but when buying parts at NAPA you have to go by the P30/32 designations and most parts had to be found in the books, not the computer. Most, but not all parts will fit. Fan belts were a bear to figure out since mine got shredded and I couldn't look at the numbers on the belt. I always brought my old parts to NAPA for comparison, made it much easier.

Replace those skinny wires connecting the batteries, they will melt.

My 94 charged the house batteries from the alt. and when plugged in to 30A.
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