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Old 10-19-2013, 12:25 PM   #15
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So I can safely assume that the house batteries are not being charged by the alternator under the current configuration? Never gave that much thought but could be an issue during the "mostly driving" maiden voyage next spring. The isolator replay might be the ticket, need to look more closely. Originally had thought of the Yandina battery combiner, had one on my boat, however, still have that charge control issue with two differing banks.

Monkey Run,
I've stated this, as well as many other guys on these forums, about 99.99999999% of all coaches ever made, have the chassis AND HOUSE batteries being charged by the alternator as you drive or, the engine is running. You can do a simple test to verify it or not. Take a reading of your house batteries with a VOM without the engine running. Then, take the same test WITH the engine running.

There at things like "BCC" or, Battery Control Center on some of these coaches and other type systems but, I have yet to see and or work on any coach, Class C, A, B, or anything else that did/does not have the engine alternator charge the house batteries.

Now, also as has been stated, charging the chassis batteries with shore power has been "forgotten" by many manufacturers for several years/makes/models. That's why there is such an item, "Trik-L-Start" and others.

A BIRD system will also work as I'm told but, I've not installed one and, have no idea of what, if any, complications there are when installing one. Owners of them will jump in here and advise. You have lots of choices here. The one I suggested is not only cheap, around oh, say, about $35-40, for a permanent battery charger that's sole job is to take care of the chassis batteries. And, if done like I did it, you can flip a breaker if any issue (which there never should be but,.....) should ever arise. It's simple to do, and works flawless. And, by doing it that way, and, since you've mentioned it, the chassis batteries and the house batteries are NEVER the same type so, the charge rates and requirements are different.

It's your choice. As long as you do something to get your chassis batteries charged while on shore power or generator power, you're good to go.
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Old 10-19-2013, 01:40 PM   #16
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Here's my Intellitec BIRD, the isolation relay, the battery disconnect ... all in the same compartment as Chassis Bat. The BIRD could be almost anywhere since it doesn't draw that much current. Mine is disabled via a switch because I had "issues" with my solar panel and controller while the RV was in storage with no shore power available (details on request).
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Old 10-19-2013, 05:50 PM   #17
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Update with Pictures and Voltages

I checked my voltages, the house bank with AC plugged in is at 12.8 volts, four battery bank. The chassis two battery bank is at 12.5 volts, no load except parasite. Once I turned on the headlights and the ceiling vents the voltage on the chassis dropped to about 12.2 volts. Turned on some lights in the coach and the house bank went up to 13 volts. The link posted here to the Tiffin specs tell me that they wired for the chassis to be charged using a BIRD 2 controller. I looked everywhere except the engine compartment for that thing and don't find it, so I'll check after church on Sunday in hopes that is where it is. I'm thinking something happened to that controller, perhaps a fuse blew or a wire came off of it. I believe it was working all summer while I recovered from surgery, this problem started after I had a full maintenance done to the engine and transmission. Within a couple of weeks the chassis batteries went dead.


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Old 10-19-2013, 07:05 PM   #18
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I checked my voltages, the house bank with AC plugged in is at 12.8 volts, four battery bank. The chassis two battery bank is at 12.5 volts, no load except parasite. Once I turned on the headlights and the ceiling vents the voltage on the chassis dropped to about 12.2 volts. Turned on some lights in the coach and the house bank went up to 13 volts. The link posted here to the Tiffin specs tell me that they wired for the chassis to be charged using a BIRD 2 controller. I looked everywhere except the engine compartment for that thing and don't find it, so I'll check after church on Sunday in hopes that is where it is. I'm thinking something happened to that controller, perhaps a fuse blew or a wire came off of it. I believe it was working all summer while I recovered from surgery, this problem started after I had a full maintenance done to the engine and transmission. Within a couple of weeks the chassis batteries went dead.


The BIRD is fused ... between 5 and 7.5 amp. Mine is in the main distribution box (Holiday Rambler). The fuse will blow if the solenoid has a bad coil. If it's an Intellitec Bird it's about 4 inches square and 1/2 inch thick.
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Old 10-19-2013, 08:28 PM   #19
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My error, not certain where I got off the train (must be the anesthesia still wearing off), however, the link posted was for Newmar, not Tiffin. Still need to check tomorrow for the BIRD as it does not make much sense that those chassis batteries were OK for three month, driven to the diesel mechanic, returned, two weeks later are dead. Granted, I was using the ceiling vent fans intermittently for a couple of days while cleaning inside but similarly, they were on from time to time over the previous twelve weeks and the batteries were fine. I am stumped.
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Old 10-20-2013, 08:39 AM   #20
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Jamming the toothpick under the switch causes the pick circuit to the solenoid to be activated. This causes the solenoid to be picked continuously. This is not only a battery drain but tough on the solenoid even if it's rated for continuous duty.
This is exactly the way all Fleetwood coaches are designed to operate, and have worked that way since the early 1990s. Remember, the OP said he wanted all batteries to charge when plugged in.

You wouldn't want to do this when NOT plugged in, and I stated that in my post.
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Old 10-20-2013, 08:45 AM   #21
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This is exactly the way all Fleetwood coaches are designed to operate, and have worked that way since the early 1990s. Remember, the OP said he wanted all batteries to charge when plugged in.

You wouldn't want to do this when NOT plugged in, and I stated that in my post.
I'd be interested in seeing the wiring diagram or a link to it if you have one.
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Old 10-20-2013, 02:45 PM   #22
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After church today I spent a bit of time tracing the wiring from the inverter to the battery bank, not difficult due to them being in adjacent compartments. By*tugging on the wires I found that the negative and positive from the inverter/charger go directly to the coach battery bank, no BIRD or anything else in between. Seems there is a reason to install a charging system for the chassis now so I'll ponder my options.

I fired the engine, all banks receiving 14 volts, so that at least is working fine.
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Old 10-20-2013, 04:14 PM   #23
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After church today I spent a bit of time tracing the wiring from the inverter to the battery bank, not difficult due to them being in adjacent compartments. By*tugging on the wires I found that the negative and positive from the inverter/charger go directly to the coach battery bank, no BIRD or anything else in between. Seems there is a reason to install a charging system for the chassis now so I'll ponder my options.

I fired the engine, all banks receiving 14 volts, so that at least is working fine.
So, if I understand correctly, you have 2 independent charging systems. 1) Alternator charges Chassis batteries and 2) Shore/Genset/Freedom 20 charges the House Batteries ... correct?

If that's the case, the easiest for you is an independent AC powered trickle charger for just the Chassis or, either a Trik L Start or Amp L Start. Any of the 3 provide isolation so there is no issue with mis-matched banks of batteries.

You may find this an interesting read:
Sketchy Battery Solenoid Relay ?

You still have the question of what is driving your Isolation Relay.

My switch is here (or maybe the one below that ... I forget). It's usually pretty close to the ignition switch:
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Old 10-20-2013, 05:26 PM   #24
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By isolation relay are you referring to the battery switch in the step well or the 12 volt relay in the photo I posted? All I know is that nothing 12 volt worked in the coach before I replaced it.The engine is charging both banks when running, that I verified.
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Old 10-20-2013, 06:44 PM   #25
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I'd be interested in seeing the wiring diagram or a link to it if you have one.
Bruce, ask and you shall receive. Notice, on the last page of the attached diagrams, that the Aux Start/Isolation/Charge solenoid (electrically placed between the House and Chassis batteries) is continuously picked any time there is charging voltage present from either the alternator or from the converter. Picking the solenoid bridges the batteries together just the same as using the aux-start switch (no tooth pick required). The tooth pick was suggested, tongue in cheek, to get the batteries charged while the real fix was discovered.

This design has been used by Fleetwood and many others since the early '90s. The BCCs and BIRDs are built by RV-Custom Products and Intellitec.

BTW - I am the (Just Lou) who posted in the RV Forum thread you provided the link to. Small world.
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Old 10-20-2013, 06:52 PM   #26
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By isolation relay are you referring to the battery switch in the step well or the 12 volt relay in the photo I posted? All I know is that nothing 12 volt worked in the coach before I replaced it.The engine is charging both banks when running, that I verified.

I assumed you were posting a picture (#2) of an Isolation Relay but I can't really tell from the picture. Do you know the function of the relay you replaced?

Got a part number on the relay?

Does one large battery cable go to Chassis battery and the other large cable go to House battery? ... or do the cables go somewhere else?

You may have a Diode Isolator ... got anything like this (about 9" x 4" x 3"):

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Old 10-20-2013, 07:14 PM   #27
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I found this in my schematics. As far as the relays are concerned, I did not see a way to reset the ones on mine (also shown on one of my pictures) so was thinking I may need to purchase couple of spares.

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Old 10-20-2013, 07:16 PM   #28
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Better picture

Here is a direct link, sorry for the fuzzy picture.

http://i40.tinypic.com/2agt18h.jpg
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