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Old 12-11-2007, 02:04 PM   #1
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I have a friend that recently bought a new Fleetwood Expedition DP, which is similar in design to my Providence.

He was told during pre-delivery that the MH's inverter will not charge the engine batteries, only the house batteries. To give the engine batteries an occasional charge during storage, he was told to slip something the size of a book of matches under the momentary start switch (the emergency switch that momentarily gives power to the starter from the house batteries), and leave the switch open for a few hours. He was told that this will allow a charge to the engine batteries.

This is the first I have ever heard of this. Anybody practice this method? Any dangers in doing so?

Craig
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Old 12-11-2007, 02:04 PM   #2
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I have a friend that recently bought a new Fleetwood Expedition DP, which is similar in design to my Providence.

He was told during pre-delivery that the MH's inverter will not charge the engine batteries, only the house batteries. To give the engine batteries an occasional charge during storage, he was told to slip something the size of a book of matches under the momentary start switch (the emergency switch that momentarily gives power to the starter from the house batteries), and leave the switch open for a few hours. He was told that this will allow a charge to the engine batteries.

This is the first I have ever heard of this. Anybody practice this method? Any dangers in doing so?

Craig
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Old 12-11-2007, 02:31 PM   #3
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Craig;

Many of us use the Trik-L-Start. It transfers some power from the house batteries to charge the chassis battery. It is automatic and once installed you can forget about it. RVupgrades sells this product. The process you describe will haunt you down the line I fear.

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Old 12-11-2007, 03:51 PM   #4
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Petro:
Many of us use the Trik-L-Start. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
The word "Trickle" made me think. I have a Battery Tender Plus left-over from the sale of my classic car. Duh! Why not just use it to keep the engine batteries charged. I followed Battery Tender's instructions on how to hook up two batteries wired in parallel, and whoa-loa! Problem solved!

The interesting fact here is that I always thought my inverter would keep all my batteries charged, not just the house batteries. This was a good lesson.

Thanks guys!

Craig
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Old 12-11-2007, 04:52 PM   #5
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Craig,
You might want to check with Fleetwood for sure. I don't know about the diesel chassis, but on the gas ones Fleetwood changed the controler in 1995 to also charge the chassis battery when on shore power. When the coach batteries get up to about 13.4 volts the Aux relay kicks in and starts charging the chassis battery also. The diesel rigs may charge differently though
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Old 12-12-2007, 01:54 AM   #6
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The emergency start or battery boost solenoid is not rated for continuous duty. THerefore if you were to pry this momentary switch to the on position and left if for a couple hours you will burn up the coil in the solenoid. Easy way to check to see if your chassis battery(s) are being charged while pulgged in; check voltage before and after you plug into shore power at the batteries. If voltage goes up it is being charged. As mentioned there are add ons that can achieve chassis battery charging off shore and generator power.
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Old 12-12-2007, 03:29 AM   #7
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Craig... most late model Fleetwood coaches came with a factory installed solar panel to charge the chassis battery. Mine's mounted on top of the front air conditioner. It's a small solar panel and it has a red LED that lights up when it's charging. The LED is mounted on the inside on the front air conditioner cover.

I've never had a problem with a dead battery since my coach was new. I look at the voltage on the chassis battery and it's always around 13.2 volts. Only at night and/or when it's real cloudy does it drop below this voltage.
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Old 12-12-2007, 01:03 PM   #8
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RV Wizard:
The emergency start or battery boost solenoid is not rated for continuous duty. THerefore if you were to pry this momentary switch to the on position and left if for a couple hours you will burn up the coil in the solenoid. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I was afraid of that, which is why I came here. Thanks Mike!


<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Bob (WA0MQE):
Craig... most late model Fleetwood coaches came with a factory installed solar panel to charge the chassis battery. Mine's mounted on top of the front air conditioner. It's a small solar panel and it has a red LED that lights up when it's charging. The LED is mounted on the inside on the front air conditioner cover. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I was told by another forum member that the solar panel was for the house batteries only. Either way, it was useless in my case as I almost always have my coach covered when it's not in use, which prevents the panel from receiving any sun. The only thing the solar panel did for me was rip my cover, so I removed it.

I've yet to have any problems with my engine batteries, I just wanted to make sure they remain charged during winter storage. The Battery Tender should work fine for that purpose.

Thanks Bob.

Craig
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:09 PM   #9
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In my case the solar panel charges the house batteries first, and when they are charged it then charges the chassis battery. Problem is that there a number of parasitic drains even with the batteries disconnected that it never charges the chassis battery. I am going to get it reworked so that it works the other way around. I have had a number of discharged chassis battery events, which are a pain and in the end will cost me a new chassis battery.
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Old 12-13-2007, 06:39 AM   #10
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I'm surprised to hear that the Expedition does not charge the chassis battery. Most Fleetwood products have a Battery Charge Controller that will do so once the house batteries are fully charged (reach about 13.3VDC). Heck, my old 1996 Southwind even did it. And my 04 American tradition certainly does it as well, but it has very sophisticated power management systems. The nature of the battery control system varies with the make and model of coach, though, so don't take any of this as gospel.

You and your friend might want to call Fleetwood and ask.
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Old 12-19-2007, 01:48 PM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RV Roamer:
You and your friend might want to call Fleetwood and ask. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I just did exactly that Gary, and you are right. The inverter/charger will first charge up the house batteries. It will then switch over and charge the chassis batteries once the house batteries are fully charged.

Guess I'll remove my Battery Tender now!

Craig
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:28 PM   #12
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I have an alternative I use. I bought a 400 watt inverter and put the battery clips on a pair of the rv house batteries to provide 12 volts to it (on the posts of (2) 6v batteries) Use a voltmeter if you are not sure. Then I plugged a small battery charger like a "Battery Tender into the inverter. I put the battery charger outputs on the chassis battery + and - correctly (on the posts of one of the 12v batteries). Then I turned the small battery charger and inverter switches to on. I always keep the rv plugged into shore power when stopped, or use the generator. I have left this in place for about 15 months and the chassis batteries are always charged (except when I left the rear camera and monitor on for over a month once - the power draw on the monitor are greater than the 2 amp output of the trickle charger). As long as the house batteries are kept charged, the chassis batteries are ready to go.
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Old 04-02-2010, 07:41 AM   #13
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I would wonder about this too. My old Fleetwood pace arrow gasser (99) also has a charge controller that is supposed to keep all the batteries charge by sensing voltage on both systems and engergizing the bypass solenoid once the "charging battery" has reached a certain voltage.
It's supposed to work in both directions, chassis / engine or coach / gen or shore power.
The bypass relay is absolutely rated for continuous duty on mine.

And oh BTW, these things break. Mine has been broken since I bought the coach and is on my list of things to fix right.

Again, it's hard to imagine fleetwood going "backwards."
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