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Old 12-07-2012, 08:42 PM   #1
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Batteries and Winter Storage

There is a switch on the dash of our motorhome that ties the engine starting battery to the house batteries in the event that the engine starting battery goes dead and you need to start the engine with the house batteries. This switch has to be held in place to keep the batteries tied together.

Question:
Is there any problem with rigging the switch for the winter so that the house batteries and the engine starting battery stay tied together and can be maintained by the converter charger all winter long? We have a progressive dynamics converter with several stages of charge.

thanks.

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Old 12-07-2012, 11:03 PM   #2
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Might be better to temporarily bridge the relay rather than leave it energised for months.
The other alternative is to fit something like a triklestart unit to keep the engine battery topped up from the house battery
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:56 AM   #3
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You do not want to do that. I HIGHLY recommend you get one of these. A snap to install then just forget about it. Best $50 I ever spent.


http://www.lslproducts.com/TLSPage.html
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:47 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by clyon51 View Post
You do not want to do that. I HIGHLY recommend you get one of these. A snap to install then just forget about it. Best $50 I ever spent.


Ultra TRIK-L-START Starting Battery Charger/Maintainer
I would recommend you take cylon 51's advice. When you activate the dash switch what you are really doing is energizing a solenoid that ties the batteries together. The solenoid is rated for 100% duty cycle in that it is activated anytime the engine is running. However leaving it activated for weeks or months at a time will certainly shorten its life.

A new solenoid is in the $30.00+ range, and the Trik-L-Start is only about $40.00. Winnebago now installs the Trik-L-Start on some models. In the long run it's a better alternative.
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:15 AM   #5
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Thanks for the advice guys.

cheers
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:24 AM   #6
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If the batteries are charged and properly filled there is no action required. They should winter just fine unless they are too old. 3 coaches, 25 years, no problems. I just turn off the coach and chassis switches on the "battery storage controller".
Well, I used to. Fulltime now.
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:41 PM   #7
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Hey, here's a cool thing I just realized... the engine starting battery is an AGM type battery. I think those are a little more resilient when it comes to cold weather?

I'll spend some time out here in the motorhome working and fixing things up over the winter... I also want to get this thing out on the road a few times over the off season just to keep things from sitting unused for long periods of time. When I'm out here, I'll just wedge the switch on the dash and let the converter do it's thing for a while to all 3 batteries. Can't hurt.

Thanks again for all the input.

cheers
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:54 PM   #8
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I'm no expert but I was an electronics geek. Keeping the switch wedged will keep the relay engaged. Very possibly not good. They can get hot, get burnt?

Hope a pro can chime in here.

I suspect all batteries are charging while driving. I know mine are.
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Piker View Post
Hey, here's a cool thing I just realized... the engine starting battery is an AGM type battery. I think those are a little more resilient when it comes to cold weather?

I'll spend some time out here in the motorhome working and fixing things up over the winter... I also want to get this thing out on the road a few times over the off season just to keep things from sitting unused for long periods of time. When I'm out here, I'll just wedge the switch on the dash and let the converter do it's thing for a while to all 3 batteries. Can't hurt.

Thanks again for all the input.

cheers
You don't have to wedge the switch in the on position when the engine is running. There's a hot wire from the ignition switch that automatically energizes the solenoid when the engine is running.

To make sure the solenoid is working start the engine and go back to the OnePlace monitoring station (with the engine still running). When you push the button to check the engine/chassis battery charge it should read between 13.2 and 14.7 volts. If the solenoid is working you should see the roughly same voltage when pressing the button for the house batteries. If the house battery voltage reads 12.6 volts or less the solenoid is not working and needs to be replaced.
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:07 PM   #10
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I'll have to open up the control box and see what type of relay they're actually using... if the switch on the dash controls the same relay that gets energized once the engine is running to allow the alternator to charge all the batteries, then I would think it should definitely be rated for 100% duty cycle. Most relays that I have experience with (used to design plumbing and heating systems and controls on the side) don't get very hot. They do wear out over time though... usually a very long time.

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Old 12-08-2012, 07:13 PM   #11
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You don't have to wedge the switch in the on position when the engine is running. There's a hot wire from the ignition switch that automatically energizes the solenoid when the engine is running.

To make sure the solenoid is working start the engine and go back to the OnePlace monitoring station (with the engine still running). When you push the button to check the engine/chassis battery charge it should read between 13.2 and 14.7 volts. If the solenoid is working you should see the roughly same voltage when pressing the button for the house batteries. If the house battery voltage reads 12.6 volts or less the solenoid is not working and needs to be replaced.
I don't know what this "oneplace" monitoring system is... something on a newer coach maybe?

The relay definitely works... at least from the switch on the dash... whether it works once the engine is running I do not know. I do know that the alternator is supposed to charge everything when the engine is running.

I do understand that the switch does not need to be wedged when the engine running. I would like to know how the system determines whether or not the engine is running..?? It's not just a matter of having the key turned on... this does not of and by itself energize the relay... thus the need to hit the switch on the dash to tie the batteries together to get more juice for starting. So what kind of control strategy is used to determine whether the engine is running? This is an old 12 valve cummins... no electronics on it...

cheers
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:15 PM   #12
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... the allison transmission does have a computer on it...

cheers
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:52 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by clyon51 View Post
You do not want to do that. I HIGHLY recommend you get one of these. A snap to install then just forget about it. Best $50 I ever spent.


Ultra TRIK-L-START Starting Battery Charger/Maintainer
Strange. I suggested the OP fit a Triklstart and you said not to do that. Then you suggested he fit a Triklstart.
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Strange. I suggested the OP fit a Triklstart and you said not to do that. Then you suggested he fit a Triklstart.
The OP wanted to rig the Boost MOM switch to be on contiuously. I said he didn't want to do that. Do it right and get a Trik-L-Start. Clear now?
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