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Old 09-23-2017, 11:13 AM   #1
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Batts not charging off Genny

Hi! We have a 2015 Forest River FR3 30DS.

So for the past week or so we've been dealing with this issue where the only way the house batts charge is by driving. We weren't sure if the genny was actually charging them because the percent on the battery monitor wouldn't budge when we'd be running it. The numbers are def moving down, sometimes even with the genny running and not a full load (not working the appliances, nothing charging, etc, just the house being "on").

All house appliances and outlets are working just fine with the genny on, so we know it's definitely supplying juice. David checked the breakers, the shore plug, and the battery disconnect several times and as recently as yesterday, and everything looks good. Yesterday we took a drive to empty the holding tanks and refill our fresh water. The battery monitor read 105 when driving, then 100 when we parked back at camp. Before bed I checked the "convenience center" monitor panel and it said 1/3 despite the battery monitor reading in the mid-90s. This morning the battery monitor read 90, and when David reset it, it was then reading 100, then began dropping rapidly. We ran the genny for about an hour, and it's still not matching up at all. The photos attached were just taken when I turned the genny off.

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We don't know which monitor to believe, and regardless, something funky is going on. We are boondocking in Newfoundland so RV stores and the like are nowhere close by.

We left for a few hours and came back to turn the genny on and see the battery gauge barely hitting 1/3, largely just staying on Empty. The Tri-Metric was 11.4volts at start up and struggled to climb to 11.5, where's it's staying. We're not running anything on it.

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Also, there is now an hourglass looking icon flashing at me that I've not noticed before.

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With the engine on the Tri-Metric climbed all the way to 14.0 and stayed there, regardless if the genny was running.

Thoughts?

Thanks everyone.

- Maybelle
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Old 09-23-2017, 11:39 AM   #2
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The gen set doesn't supply 12 volt power to the batteries , it supplies 120 volt power to the inverter and the inverter should switch from invert mode to battery charge mode and charge the batteries .
Find the inverter and make sure the breakers on the unit haven't tripped.
If you don't have a users manual for the inverter or can't find the breakers on it , post the make and model info here , or visit the manufacturers web site for a users file.

EDIT: Has the electrolyte level in the batteries be checked ?
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Old 09-24-2017, 06:51 AM   #3
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The Tri-Metric was 11.4volts at start up and struggled to climb to 11.5

BTW...
Put your MH information into your signature
Take a couple of minutes to fill out your signature with information about your motorhome (MH). This will really help in all future posts, so you don’t have to type it in each time.
You do this by:
1) Going to the top of this page and click the top left tab named “User CP”
2) Look at the menu on the left and scroll down to “Settings & Options” and click “Edit Signature”
3) In that text box type all the information about your MH. Year, model, length, mileage, any aftermarket extras installed and so on.

Letting your batts get to the levels you mentioned will more than likely permanently trash them or awfully close to it. Maintenance on your batts is very important to not only supply good constant supply of power but enable them to last a long time. Once a battery has developed any dead cells, they are NOT repairable and cannot ever be made whole again. Our batts normally are always around 13.1 - 13.4.

Want to learn more about maintaining your batts?
Do a forum search:
• Go to the top of the page with the different forum options and choose:
• RV Forums - drop down menu to Class A Motorhomes
• Once that main forum page loads, go to the green search box at the top and to the right and type in "Battery maintenance". You'll find 1000's of posts.
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Old 09-24-2017, 07:29 AM   #4
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Skip426 said it. The charger isn't charging.

I do not know what kind of charger you have for the house batteries. It could be as simple as pushing an on/off switch...like on my Magnum Energy remote. Or you may have a stand alone charger. Check all inline fuses. There are usually catastrophic fuse holders too...near the battery bank.

Most Motorhomes have a relay which allows the house side to tend the chassis, and the chassis to tend the house. This is why you get a charge on the house, while the chassis is being charged by the alternator. That relay is usually defeated when the Genny, and engine run simultaneously....because they don't want two sources working against each other. The Genny puts out alternating current...so it has to go thru a converter to become direct current. Some are built into the Inverter....some are stand alone converter/chargers....

One other thing....

I'm thinking there is something fishy with the way your Battery Monitor is setup.

If your tri-metric is monitoring the same battery bank as your system monitor panel...and one says 98% and the other says 1/3... something is terribly wrong with the setup. The system monitor is reading a voltage... the tri-metric is calculating charge % based on a continuous measurement of amperage flowing thru the shunt...in or out. It uses the "aH capacity" of your battery bank which you have to tell it (P3 programming parameter)..and refines "100%" when it reaches a full charge.

If the voltage is making the monitor panel say 1/3...and the Tri-metric says 98%...The aH capacity programmed in was too high, there are drains from the battery bank that are circumventing the tri-metric shunt...or both. Provided they are both monitoring the same house battery bank. I would definitely get someone that understands battery monitors to review the setup. It's about worthless if it leaves you to believe you are at 98% when the monitor says 1/3. The Tri-metric even agrees that your batteries are low...showing 11.5v with B1 selected. 98% full should be more like 12.5 volts...
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Old 09-24-2017, 07:47 AM   #5
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hmmmm....they fixed this yesterday over on the Forest River Forum... http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ny-145043.html

Turns out the converter was unplugged!
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Old 09-24-2017, 07:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sbrownstein View Post
hmmmm....they fixed this yesterday over on the Forest River Forum... http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ny-145043.html

Turns out the converter was unplugged!


Yeah... I crossposted. You caught me! I meant to take this one down and I forgot.
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:03 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C.Martin View Post
Skip426 said it. The charger isn't charging.

I do not know what kind of charger you have for the house batteries. It could be as simple as pushing an on/off switch...like on my Magnum Energy remote. Or you may have a stand alone charger. Check all inline fuses. There are usually catastrophic fuse holders too...near the battery bank.

Most Motorhomes have a relay which allows the house side to tend the chassis, and the chassis to tend the house. This is why you get a charge on the house, while the chassis is being charged by the alternator. That relay is usually defeated when the Genny, and engine run simultaneously....because they don't want two sources working against each other. The Genny puts out alternating current...so it has to go thru a converter to become direct current. Some are built into the Inverter....some are stand alone converter/chargers....

One other thing....

I'm thinking there is something fishy with the way your Battery Monitor is setup.

If your tri-metric is monitoring the same battery bank as your system monitor panel...and one says 98% and the other says 1/3... something is terribly wrong with the setup. The system monitor is reading a voltage... the tri-metric is calculating charge % based on a continuous measurement of amperage flowing thru the shunt...in or out. It uses the "aH capacity" of your battery bank which you have to tell it (P3 programming parameter)..and refines "100%" when it reaches a full charge.

If the voltage is making the monitor panel say 1/3...and the Tri-metric says 98%...The aH capacity programmed in was too high, there are drains from the battery bank that are circumventing the tri-metric shunt...or both. Provided they are both monitoring the same house battery bank. I would definitely get someone that understands battery monitors to review the setup. It's about worthless if it leaves you to believe you are at 98% when the monitor says 1/3. The Tri-metric even agrees that your batteries are low...showing 11.5v with B1 selected. 98% full should be more like 12.5 volts...


Like Sbrownstein mentioned, we did resolve the main issue by simply plugging in our converter. We're newbies and it really shows at times like these.

However, I agree with you that something does seem fishy about the Tri-Metric readings. We don't know a lick about electric so will need to wait til we get back home to have someone take a look at it.

We're super grateful there's such a knowledgeable internet support system though, because we were freaking out yesterday that we'd be stranded in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marjoa View Post
The Tri-Metric was 11.4volts at start up and struggled to climb to 11.5

BTW...
Put your MH information into your signature
Take a couple of minutes to fill out your signature with information about your motorhome (MH). This will really help in all future posts, so you don’t have to type it in each time.
You do this by:
1) Going to the top of this page and click the top left tab named “User CP”
2) Look at the menu on the left and scroll down to “Settings & Options” and click “Edit Signature”
3) In that text box type all the information about your MH. Year, model, length, mileage, any aftermarket extras installed and so on.

Letting your batts get to the levels you mentioned will more than likely permanently trash them or awfully close to it. Maintenance on your batts is very important to not only supply good constant supply of power but enable them to last a long time. Once a battery has developed any dead cells, they are NOT repairable and cannot ever be made whole again. Our batts normally are always around 13.1 - 13.4.

Want to learn more about maintaining your batts?
Do a forum search:
• Go to the top of the page with the different forum options and choose:
• RV Forums - drop down menu to Class A Motorhomes
• Once that main forum page loads, go to the green search box at the top and to the right and type in "Battery maintenance". You'll find 1000's of posts.


Thanks for that. We have a lot of reading to do, the problem is neither one of us really understands much about electric. We do know letting your house batts get low is damaging, part of why we were so freaked out when we realized the extent of the issue (and potentially for how long it'd been going on).

Luckily it was resolved yesterday, turns out our converter had somehow come unplugged (our basement is a mess so it's a good chance it got tangled and pulled loose based on how I found it and the amount of potholes here in NL/Labrador). We are gonna look into better ways of protecting the working end of the basement from the piles of stuff end of the basement... it's pretty packed in there.
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:09 AM   #9
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No problem, I have done the same.
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
The gen set doesn't supply 12 volt power to the batteries , it supplies 120 volt power to the inverter and the inverter should switch from invert mode to battery charge mode and charge the batteries .
Find the inverter and make sure the breakers on the unit haven't tripped.
If you don't have a users manual for the inverter or can't find the breakers on it , post the make and model info here , or visit the manufacturers web site for a users file.

EDIT: Has the electrolyte level in the batteries be checked ?


As Sbrownstein mentioned, we did resolve it yesterday... by simply plugging the converter back in. We still have a lot to learn, having never RVed before and deciding to go full time in June. Thankfully there's a whole community of kind, knowledge folks like y'all.

How pray tell would one go about checking the electrolyte levels? Electricity is a different language I'm not well versed in.
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:14 AM   #11
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No problem, I have done the same.


I read through your thread yesterday about the battery tray install and all of that jazz. When the time comes, may we pick your brains? I don't know if you saw the bit where we told RV Pilot that we would eventually like to go to solar, and 4 deep cycle 6v batts.

Though, based on how little I understand electric jargon we may just invest on having someone install for us so we don't accidentally blow Big Bertha up. 🤦🏻*♀️
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:19 AM   #12
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Pop the caps and look into the cells, electrolyte should cover the plates...

Sometimes its hard to see in and you may need a mirror.
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Old 09-24-2017, 11:08 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaybzNDave View Post
How pray tell would one go about checking the electrolyte levels? Electricity is a different language I'm not well versed in.
Go to Walmart and buy a hydrometer. About $5. Remove the Batt caps, draw a sample and test each cell. The meter will tell the story. Do this BEFORE your add any distilled water if they need it. Or, you can fill the cells to the proper level, make sure the batts are fully charged THEN test with the hydrometer. DO NOT filled the cells all the way to the top.

If you want to make filling your batts easy from now on and never have to worry about the levels again......get one of these.

Flow-Rite, Qwik-Fill On-Board Battery Watering System
Installed a Flow-Rite, Qwik-Fill On-Board Battery Watering System for both of my house batts and my chassis battery with Kit A that took care of both house batts, Kit B which was for the chassis battery and then Kit C which is the Squeeze Bulb Filler that has to be bought separately.

These kits came with plenty of hose (black & clear) to cut and modify each length that was needed with plenty left over. Also comes with extra small fittings and red caps so you can switch and modify each manifold the way the lines need to be routed for your situation. They are well supplied kits with good instructions and great packaging.

Purchased from the rvupgradestore.com
https://www.rvupgradestore.com/categ...rand=Flow-Rite

Oh, ya....one more thing...come on MaybzNDave get those bays organized for gods sake. What would your mother think?
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Old 09-26-2017, 01:42 AM   #14
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The first thing I'd do is make sure your power inverter is on after you start up the generator. Never start it under load. Most people don't understand that your generator charges your batteries through the inverter by providing AC power to the inverter so the inverter can charge the batteries. The inverter is your battery charging mechanism. This because most RV generators have a 12 volt electric fuel pump so the genset which relies on the inverter to keep your batteries charged in order to keep providing the generator with fuel. Make sure all your braker switches are on including the ones on the generator (usually located near the start/stop button) This is especially true of Onan generators. My RV has an Emerald genset and if I run the generator without turning the inverter on I just run the batteries down and they get no return charge. On the other hand, with the inverter on, it charges my batteries up instantly like a car.
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