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Old 02-04-2013, 10:42 AM   #1
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Converter failing ???

We have a 1995 class A Europa, with a Todd Engineering Convertor. It has always been plugged in to shore power since we got it (unless traveling of course) and the chassis and coach batteries have always read 13.5-13.6 volts. NO boiling over, only needed to add water once to batteries since we got it over a year ago. The 350 Chevy has always cranked slower than I thought it should,, but I'm a Mopar guy.. I figured the starter was going away. Yesterday I went out in the garage to start it up, (42 degrees inside) and it barely cranked... It did start on the second try, the new alternator we had replaced read 14 volts like it should. I checked battery voltage on both batteries after shut down (10 minutes) and both batteries read 12.4-12.5 volts after shut down. Good I figure. So I plugged it back in last night, the inside control panel I always check said it was charging.. This morning I went out, and with it plugged in to shore power, the coach battery read 13.15 volts, a little lower than normal,,, BUT the chassis battery read 11.44 volts.. Not Good !! So,, after learning so much from this site, I have cleaned/repaired many ground connections.. I don't think I have cleaned where the one negative cable goes to the engine block from the chassis battery... I will do that first.. Both batteries are less than 2 years old.
What should I check ?? We have our big trip coming up in a couple months,, 2400+ miles, I don't want any trouble !! I'll say again, it has always cranked slower than I thought it should,,, the engine /trans has been replaced before we got it, but most times they reuse things like starters.. That does not explain the low voltage on the chassis side ...
Idea's ??? Thanks so much for the great people on this site... When it rains, it pours,,, putting down one of our Danes next week... geez....
Darel
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Old 02-04-2013, 05:27 PM   #2
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you are on the right process, but slow down, BEST IS TO MEASURE FIRST!

What i mean is verify what you think by measuring, perform the repair, measure again, that way you are sure.

Battery could be grounded to frame or block.

MEASURE first, place voltmeter from Battery negative and block, have someone hit the starter, voltage indicates drop across any wires or connections.

You already know about good connections, now get the voltmeter and start looking with the correct tool!
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:40 AM   #3
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More than likely your chassis batter is not being charged by the converter charger, charging your house batteries. The alternator will charge both banks but the converter only chargers the house.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:00 AM   #4
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More than likely your chassis batter is not being charged by the converter charger, charging your house batteries. The alternator will charge both banks but the converter only chargers the house.
I have heard (read) of that before, but before now while plugged in both batteries (chassis & coach) have read approx 13.5 volts.... until now..... And thanks RV Wizard for putting this thread in the proper forum... Sorry...
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
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you are on the right process, but slow down, BEST IS TO MEASURE FIRST!

What i mean is verify what you think by measuring, perform the repair, measure again, that way you are sure.

Battery could be grounded to frame or block.

MEASURE first, place voltmeter from Battery negative and block, have someone hit the starter, voltage indicates drop across any wires or connections.

You already know about good connections, now get the voltmeter and start looking with the correct tool!
Thanks !! I will do the voltage drop test ! (batteries were tested with a voltmeter)
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:54 AM   #6
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Monkey,

You have good advice and the right attitude, don't let either slip.
If you don't find your problem in short order, dig around the web for other ideas as to how to diagnose a starting circuit problem.

Just try not to feel stupid when you do find it.....
Remember, you could be paying some kid 90$/hr to tell you he can't find a bad battery terminal.

As TQ60 said.... Start measuring things

Good Luck

Matt
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:55 AM   #7
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Monkey,

You have good advice and the right attitude, don't let either slip.
If you don't find your problem in short order, dig around the web for other ideas as to how to diagnose a starting circuit problem.

Just try not to feel stupid when you do find it.....
Remember, you could be paying some kid 90$/hr to tell you he can't find a bad battery terminal.

As TQ60 said.... Start measuring things

Good Luck

Matt
Thankyou Matt... I've built many a hotrod ground up, been an aircraft mech several years, so I understand the basics. But I still learn so much from people like you and others on this great forum !! Thanks SO Much !!!
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:49 AM   #8
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Measure the posts...

Voltmeter onto Center of Battery post and into wire away from post.

Many bad connections on the post either at the interface or wire crimp.

Some clean first, if intermittent you need to sneak up on it.

Use reamer style Battery terminal tool it insures perfect fit shiny metal, then use electrical contact grease, works great.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:01 AM   #9
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Today I checked again,,, coach battery charging at 13.18 volts,, good I figure,, (plugged into shore power) but chassis battery at 11.8-11.9 volts... I checked battery cable connections, all very clean and tight. Why would I go from 13.5-13.6 volts on both, to 11.8 on the chassis battery ? I still figure the starter is getting weak,, but that does not explain lower voltage on the chassis battery where it was not before.. One thing I have not cleaned is the ground cable to the engine block from the chassis battery... I'll do that next... I did check inside the "battery control center" and at the solonoids the voltage is the same as at the battery... Thanks again,, hard to concentrate on this as we'll lose a 'kid' (Dane) this weekend, but I need this to be fixed for our trip again to AZ...
Darel
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:15 AM   #10
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Hi monkey,
I do not know your brand of coach. There can be unique methods of charging the chassis battery when on shore power. If you can contact the manufacture, that would be best. Many coaches do not charge the chassis battery when on shore power. Some use a solar panel and some use a more complicated system to detect chassis battery level and charge accordingly. Newmar uses a BIRD system.

The bottom line is if the connections are clean and the parasite draws are normal then the battery is suspect.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:21 AM   #11
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Is their a malfunctioning solenoid in the system that would have to close to enable charging of the chassis batteries?
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkey View Post
Today I checked again,,, coach battery charging at 13.18 volts,, good I figure,, (plugged into shore power) but chassis battery at 11.8-11.9 volts... I checked battery cable connections, all very clean and tight. Why would I go from 13.5-13.6 volts on both, to 11.8 on the chassis battery ? I still figure the starter is getting weak,, but that does not explain lower voltage on the chassis battery where it was not before.. One thing I have not cleaned is the ground cable to the engine block from the chassis battery... I'll do that next... I did check inside the "battery control center" and at the solonoids the voltage is the same as at the battery... Thanks again,, hard to concentrate on this as we'll lose a 'kid' (Dane) this weekend, but I need this to be fixed for our trip again to AZ...
Darel
Darel,

Sorry, I know that hurts.

But with the coach, most do not charge the chassis battery from shore power. The chassis battery may have a phantom load or just be old. Clean cables or not, 11.8 is way down for a 12V (12.8 nom) chassis battery,

Cheap fix...
That solenoid that connects the two to charge the house bank from the engine-- Put wires on a small light bulb (this is just to prevent disasters) and clip it across the two big terminals, that will make the converter charge the chassis battery slowly and make up for the phantom load.

Good Luck

Matt
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:48 AM   #13
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Monkey, If your system charged both chassis and coach batts. It may use a solenoid that engages at 13.2 volts on coach batteries. If not enough volts on that solenoid it wont close to charge the chassis battery.


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Old 02-07-2013, 09:23 AM   #14
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Darel,

Sorry, I know that hurts.

But with the coach, most do not charge the chassis battery from shore power. The chassis battery may have a phantom load or just be old. Clean cables or not, 11.8 is way down for a 12V (12.8 nom) chassis battery,

Cheap fix...
That solenoid that connects the two to charge the house bank from the engine-- Put wires on a small light bulb (this is just to prevent disasters) and clip it across the two big terminals, that will make the converter charge the chassis battery slowly and make up for the phantom load.

Good Luck

Matt
Geez, you All never cease to amaze me with your knowledge !!!
Today coach batt @13.49 volts, chassis @12.18 V . Like you said Matt, could I not just use a battery jumper cable around the auxiliary start solenoid to connect the two batteries while on shore power ? I'd leave the hood open of course (inside shop) and it would be impossible for me to drive off and forget it ... Right ???
Thanks again and again Everybody !!!!
Darel
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