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Old 11-10-2013, 11:51 AM   #1
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Coach battery won't charge

Hi 1997 winny, has 2 coach batteries, 5000 onan gennie, and solar panel. We tried boondocking this weekend, and the batteries went dead, fired up the genset and evtything works except the batteries won't charge. Fired up the engine and voila 13.7 volts charge (Read out from the solar display) . I know 1 of the 2 batteries is suspect, but is this a batteries problem or generator.
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Old 11-10-2013, 12:27 PM   #2
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One solar panel is usually not a battery charger, but more of a trickle charger to keep the batteries topped off when not plugged in while in storage.

The generator should power the converter to charge the batteries. Check the voltage when the generator is running.
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Old 11-10-2013, 12:42 PM   #3
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Rlott,

I suggest that you try the Winnie groups for documentation of the coach electrics, your may end up needing them.

As was said, unless your solar is huge, (200+watts) it won't do much to bring up a dead house bank.

The reason one system worked and the other didn't is that (in most cases) they are completely different.

When you charge the house bank from the APU (genset), it charges that bank with the converter/charger just as it would if you were on shore power.

When you charge the house bank from the main engine, it charges that bank with the either and isolator (solid state device) or a combiner contactor (a big relay that connects the house to main engine charging system.

Now, in your case, it looks very much like your converter/charger is non-functional. There three possibilities for this to happen:
The converter is dead......
The AC supply to the converter is not there.
The connection from the converter to the battery is not there.

Now all you have to do is figure out which it is....

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Old 11-10-2013, 12:46 PM   #4
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Did the house batteries used to charge from the generator? When the generator was running, did you have 120 v power? The fact that they don't charge on generator could also point to the converter/charger not working. Also check for bad connections, dead battery, or a bad solenoid.
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Old 11-10-2013, 09:47 PM   #5
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Your batteries may be out of water or low water also,if ran out of water they are prob burnt up and need to be replaced,house batteries are used also for a filter system for your convertor voltage as a convertor produces dirty dc voltage and is filterd through the house batt which causes them to use up water.try and top them off with water but if they still dont charge and you get a sulfur smell they need replaced
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Old 11-10-2013, 11:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlott2k View Post
Hi 1997 winny, has 2 coach batteries, 5000 onan gennie, and solar panel. We tried boondocking this weekend, and the batteries went dead, fired up the genset and evtything works except the batteries won't charge. Fired up the engine and voila 13.7 volts charge (Read out from the solar display) . I know 1 of the 2 batteries is suspect, but is this a batteries problem or generator.
Many converters/chargers require sufficient voltage on the batteries that will activate a safety relay that disconnects the charger circuit from the batteries if the charge on the house batteries is too low. You may have discharged them below that threshold and they could be charged from the alternator but not from the converter/charger until the voltage has reached a level to activate the charger cutoff safety relay.

So after you brought the batteries up with the alternator, did you then try using your converter/charger?

I suspect you checked the electrolyte level in the batteries and ensured it was sufficient in all cells as a first step. It is also a good idea to check the specific gravity of the electrolyte in each cell in each battery with a hydrometer. These are routine preventative maintenance procedures that should be done regardless of having problems or not.

I also assumed you also checked all connections, switches, circuit breakers and fuses associated with the converter/charger system.

Good luck.
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