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Old 10-18-2013, 08:46 PM   #1
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Charging house and chassis batteries with Freedom 20

Hi folks, I am new to my well used 1999 Allegro Bus and am trying to assess the charging system. The Freedom 20 charger/inverter appears to be working, I can hear it humming a bit, however, my chassis batteries went dead while the coach sat in my driveway. I was using the temperature activated ceiling vent fans to keep the air circulating, apparently they are wired to the chassis battery bank for some reason. The four house batteries were fine, I jump started the diesel using those.

My guess is that the chassis batteries are not being charged when the inverter/charger is plugged into shore power, just the house batteries are charging. I would like to resolve that situation, and being an "old" boat person, was thinking perhaps a battery combiner might work, however, given the constant state of charge from the charger may end up overcharging one bank or the other.

This all leads me to believe that I will need to install a second charger and wire it directly to the 120v panel to charge the chassis batteries. Am I incorrect in my assumptions?

Regards,

MR
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Old 10-18-2013, 09:10 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkey Run View Post
Hi folks, I am new to my well used 1999 Allegro Bus and am trying to assess the charging system. The Freedom 20 charger/inverter appears to be working, I can hear it humming a bit, however, my chassis batteries went dead while the coach sat in my driveway. I was using the temperature activated ceiling vent fans to keep the air circulating, apparently they are wired to the chassis battery bank for some reason. The four house batteries were fine, I jump started the diesel using those.

My guess is that the chassis batteries are not being charged when the inverter/charger is plugged into shore power, just the house batteries are charging. I would like to resolve that situation, and being an "old" boat person, was thinking perhaps a battery combiner might work, however, given the constant state of charge from the charger may end up overcharging one bank or the other.

This all leads me to believe that I will need to install a second charger and wire it directly to the 120v panel to charge the chassis batteries. Am I incorrect in my assumptions?

Regards,

MR
Your configuration (charging House Bats only) is not unusual in an RV of your vintage. There are many solutions but this is one of the best and not ridiculously expensive. It can usually be installed near your Boost Solenoid (the solenoid that activates when you press the button on the dash ... usually labeled Boost or Aux Start). This solenoid has a cable from Chassis on one side and a cable from House on the other side. Amp L Start connections at this location will keep your wires short.


AMP-L-START Starting Battery Charger/Maintainer - Overview Page
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Old 10-18-2013, 09:27 PM   #3
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Monkey Run,
As has been stated, your situation is quite normal for coaches primarily in or around, '06 and earlier. For some odd reason, many chassis and coach builders just seemed to "forget" about the chassis batteries in these beasts and basically take care of the house batteries. Never have figured that one out.

But, in any case, I did EXACTLY what you're thinking of doing. Our coach, an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the C-7 330 HP CAT, also did not come with any source for charging the chassis batteries while on shore power. So, since I had no knowledge of the "Trik-L-Start" or "Amp-L-Start" units, I simply purchased a NAPA, three staged battery charger and, hard wired in into an open circuit breaker in my 110VAC panel, under the bed. I bought the correct circuit breaker and all for it.

Then, I ran the 12V wires through a bulk head and right to the terminals on the Chassis batteries. It's been like that for two years now and those chassis batteries are always up and topped off. And, if for any reason, I should have any type of issue with that battery charger, all I have to do it, flip the breaker and, it's out of commission.

Many folks are happy with the Trik-L-Start and I see no reason why they shouldn't be but again, I didn't know about them so I did what I did. And, personally, now that I look at the both of them, I'd still rather have what I have instead of the Trik-L-Start or the Amp-L-Start. It's a preference thing. Good luck.
Scott
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Old 10-18-2013, 10:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkey Run View Post
Hi folks, I am new to my well used 1999 Allegro Bus and am trying to assess the charging system. The Freedom 20 charger/inverter appears to be working, I can hear it humming a bit, however, my chassis batteries went dead while the coach sat in my driveway. I was using the temperature activated ceiling vent fans to keep the air circulating, apparently they are wired to the chassis battery bank for some reason. The four house batteries were fine, I jump started the diesel using those.

My guess is that the chassis batteries are not being charged when the inverter/charger is plugged into shore power, just the house batteries are charging. I would like to resolve that situation, and being an "old" boat person, was thinking perhaps a battery combiner might work, however, given the constant state of charge from the charger may end up overcharging one bank or the other.

This all leads me to believe that I will need to install a second charger and wire it directly to the 120v panel to charge the chassis batteries. Am I incorrect in my assumptions? Regards,MR
Why invest in another charger when you can simply put a small jumper (use anything from a standard jumper cable to a small wire with alligator clips) and place it across the large terminals of your boost/aux start solenoid. This will connect the two batteries together the same as is done when driving. Just remember to remove the jumper when dry camping or boondocking, to preven drawing down the chassis battery.

OR -- just jam a toothpick alongside the boost/aux start switch to hold it depressed and you are good to go.

I'm not familiar enough with the Tiffin to suggest that it should normally charge the chassis batteries, along with the house, from the Freedom 20, but I would be willing to bet that it was designed to do just that. ....and using that boost solenoid, as well.
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Old 10-18-2013, 10:34 PM   #5
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Why invest in another charger when you can simply put a small jumper (use anything from a standard jumper cable to a small wire with alligator clips) and place it across the large terminals of your boost/aux start solenoid. This will connect the two batteries together the same as is done when driving. Just remember to remove the jumper when dry camping or boondocking, to preven drawing down the chassis battery.

OR -- just jam a toothpick alongside the boost/aux start switch to hold it depressed and you are good to go.

I'm not familiar enough with the Tiffin to suggest that it should normally charge the chassis batteries, along with the house, from the Freedom 20, but I would be willing to bet that it was designed to do just that. ....and using that boost solenoid, as well.
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.
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Old 10-19-2013, 06:51 AM   #6
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I need some clarification, the ideas here are wonderful but open another door. When I purchased this coach, the solenoid which controls the 12 volt to the coach was shot. The previous owner had jumped the large lugs with a small wire in order to continue his trip the last time out (so he tells me). Then, while parked at the dealer lot, both battery banks went dead, coach batteries froze. When they installed four new coach batteries, that small wire burned to a crisp. I replaced the solenoid, all works fine now. On my coach, I did not find a parallel start switch.

Would it be prudent to jump the terminals on the 12 volt solenoid? Reason I ask is that chargers generally are charging a battery bank of similar batteries. The house and the chassis are not similar on my coach. How would the charge be monitored between the two banks when using a charger/inverter with one lead hooked to the coach bank of four batteries?
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Old 10-19-2013, 07:09 AM   #7
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All you need is to add a B.I.R.D to your system.
And your present Inverter/charger will keep both house & chassis charged.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf BIRD BatteryDirectional Isolator Relay Delay.pdf (126.6 KB, 63 views)
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Old 10-19-2013, 07:25 AM   #8
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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.
Which it isn't!
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Old 10-19-2013, 07:41 AM   #9
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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.
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Old 10-19-2013, 07:51 AM   #10
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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.
You need to survey what you have now as I'm sure you have some type of setup to isolate the battery banks it's not uncommon to have set ups that do not charge the chassis batteries when on shore or genset power.

Here is a system that will do what you want:

http://www.flemingsalesoem.com/intel...5300839000.pdf
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Old 10-19-2013, 08:25 AM   #11
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Which it isn't!


Mine is ... but didn't start out that way ...
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Old 10-19-2013, 08:33 AM   #12
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You need to survey what you have now as I'm sure you have some type of setup to isolate the battery banks it's not uncommon to have set ups that do not charge the chassis batteries when on shore or genset power.

Here is a system that will do what you want:

http://www.flemingsalesoem.com/intel...5300839000.pdf

The survey is a good idea ... you probably already have a BIRD/IRD system. If it is the Intellitec as shown above, it is full of failure points ... don't believe me ... search this Forum under "BIRD" or "SOLENOID" or "INTELLITEC". You can fix it if you throw dollars and time at it. Or, you can go with an Amp L Start or a simple charger as you were originally thinking.
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Old 10-19-2013, 08:40 AM   #13
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Here is the setup use by Newmar coach's and will work with yours both battery systems are charged by Bird System mentioned before.
Never had a dead battery and still using same ten year old chassis battery.
Coach has power from house when home and while traveling your alternator will charge all batteries in reverse operation of Bird.
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Old 10-19-2013, 11:54 AM   #14
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I certainly agree, I need to determine what I have in play here, that in part is my reason for starting this thread. To date, all I have found is that Intellitec solenoid, which was jumped so I replaced it. Going out now to see if I can find a Bird or a parallel start, have not noticed that as I had looked previously.
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