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Old 09-07-2013, 06:52 AM   #1
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Chassis Battery Charging Issue (I think)

I have a 2000 Country Coach- 37' Intrigue. Both house as well as starter batteries have been tested and are fine per the battery shop. Problem is after a weekend camping plugged to shore power, the rig (Cummins 8.3 diesel) starts and the alternator warning light comes on for the first hour of the ride home. When parked for a longer period I have had to use the jump switch to get the motor to crank. It appears the chassis battery is getting run down when parked and requires 16 plus volts to recharge off the alternator.

I have a battery monitor that indicates that while on shore power, house batteries are at 12.8 to 13.4v and the chassis battery is at 12.4 to 12.8v. I have checked the trickle charger and fuse is good. How can I test to see if the trickle charger for the chassis battery is in fact operating while on shore power?

Thanks for any advice and insight you can offer.
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:37 AM   #2
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While plugged in, read chassis battery voltage. Disconnect the trickle charger and read the voltage. You should see lower voltage with the charger disconnected. Keep in mind a true trickle charger will only put out 1-1.5 amps. They are designed to keep a fully charged battery full. If your parasitic draw is more than the charger output, it may still draw down. Turn on the headlights for a minute to remove the surface charge and the test will work for you.
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:13 AM   #3
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First it sounds like your alternator has failed. Alternator warning light and run down chassis batts couldn't be a better indication.

I would proceed by testing voltage at chassis batts. A fully charged batt at rest, no charging and with no load is 12.6v. Now start engine, wait 15 secs and check batts again. They should be reading 14.0 - 14.5v. If not, your alternator is not charging.

As far as the trickle charger, I agree with tompen. I would only add if the chassis batts won't crank the engine, they are down around 11v. In that discharged state, it could take a trickle charger a week to recharge them, if it could at all. If your alternator is shot, use a 10a charger until you get it fixed.

In the aftermath, you might consider tossing the trickle charger and install an AMP-L-Start.

http://www.lslproducts.net/ALS_Overview_Page.html

Easy to install and forget about it. Anytime you have shore or genny running, this will monitor both banks and supply up to 10amps to the chassis to charge or maintain them.
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:25 AM   #4
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I'm not sure on the alternator. OP states that it charges 16V. While this is a little high, not impossible with dead batteries plus running the coach while driving. The alt light can come on if the charging voltage is too high as well as too low. He needs to see what the charging voltage is with a charged battery. There may be two problems. If the light goes off after an hour and charges at a normal rate, I might suspect a bad, or very discharged, chassis battery.
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:42 AM   #5
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I mis-read the 16v, only warning light. So yes, 16v (if actual) is too excessive for an automotive system and could have fried a battery. I would still run a voltage test on the alt, and probably use a hydometer on each cell of both batteries, if not MF.
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tompen View Post
I'm not sure on the alternator. OP states that it charges 16V. While this is a little high, not impossible with dead batteries plus running the coach while driving. The alt light can come on if the charging voltage is too high as well as too low. He needs to see what the charging voltage is with a charged battery. There may be two problems. If the light goes off after an hour and charges at a normal rate, I might suspect a bad, or very discharged, chassis battery.
I agree!
As I understand it the alternator should put out only 14 volts.
I would have the charging system. (alternator and voltage regulator) checked.
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Old 09-07-2013, 12:18 PM   #7
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An alternator can put out 15.5 volts if the demand is there. It will usually charge at about 14 volts when all is well. Depending on what kind of meter you are using, you may see higher voltages. What does the voltage get to after the light goes off after driving an hour ?
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:38 PM   #8
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Thanks for the help. The voltage drops off gradually as the coach recharges the batteries and then stabilizes around 13.5-14.5v. the battery is at 12.8 after the coach is turned off.
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Old 09-08-2013, 07:02 AM   #9
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While the reading of 16V is a little high, I wouldn't replace the alternator. You need to find out why your battery is going so dead. The regulator senses the low battery and gives maximum voltage to recharge it. It is unusual for the light to come on for a high voltage condition, but it is possible. Your normal voltages seem normal. You could disconnect the battery and see if it still goes dead. That would be a first diagnostic step.
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Old 09-08-2013, 11:20 PM   #10
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There is an oil pressure switch that is in the circuit. It needs to see pressure before it allows the alternator output to the batteries. It could be gunked up and not start working until it gets warmed up.

To figure out if the Echo Charger is working, read your manual on it. If you don't have the manual go here http://www.xantrex.com/documents/Acc...4-01-01%29.pdf
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:13 AM   #11
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There is an oil pressure switch that is in the circuit. It needs to see pressure before it allows the alternator output to the batteries. It could be gunked up and not start working until it gets warmed up.
dons2346
I didn't know that there is an oil pressures switch in the alternator/battery charging circuit.
I would like to learn more about it.
Where did you learn about it?
Thanks
Mel
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:05 AM   #12
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The problem seems to be a high voltage (maybe) problem. Not a failure to, or delayed charge. I also am not familiar with the oil pressure delay. However the main thing I have learned from this site is all the stuff I don't know.
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Old 09-09-2013, 12:47 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by mel stuplich View Post
dons2346
I didn't know that there is an oil pressures switch in the alternator/battery charging circuit.
I would like to learn more about it.
Where did you learn about it?
Thanks
Mel
I found mine by looking at the wiring schematics. If you have yours, take a look. Safari might have done something different.

CC did some weird stuff, I sometimes think it was an exercise of "what if" with the design engineers.
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Old 09-09-2013, 01:21 PM   #14
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I believe the alternator might have a shorted diode in it. That could cause the high voltage and excessive battery drain.
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