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Old 04-13-2009, 07:33 AM   #1
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Exclamation engine not charging coach batteries

I have a 2005 gulfstream friendship G7 motorhome. the engine will not charge the coach batteries when the coach is underway. I suspect there is a bad solinoid but i can only find one which is located on the chassis frame next to the engine. Any idea where the second one is located.
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Old 04-13-2009, 07:59 AM   #2
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Some but not all MHs will charge coach batteries from the alternator when the chassis battery reaches a specified voltage which is 13.6V on mine as I recall. When on the converter this works in reverse. The first question is whether your alternator charged your coach batteries in the past. If your MH has the capability to charge coach batteries with the alternator you will have a solenoid, probably located very close to the chassis battery, that does the needed switching.
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Old 04-13-2009, 07:13 PM   #3
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ellerich, welcome to iRV2.com. We are glad to have you join us here. I am sure you will enjoy this website. What chassis is your coach on?
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:53 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ellerich View Post
I have a 2005 gulfstream friendship G7 motorhome. the engine will not charge the coach batteries when the coach is underway. I suspect there is a bad solinoid but i can only find one which is located on the chassis frame next to the engine. Any idea where the second one is located.
It is likely near the coach batts. And that is the likely candidate. Get a decent VOM and check voltages. Report back. And you will likely get some incorrect info so 'trust but verify'!
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Old 04-14-2009, 01:07 PM   #5
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Another method manufacutures used to charge the house battery with the alternator is the a solid state isolator. Here's what they look like:
These can sometimes burnout (visually evident). The alternator output goes the the center post, chassis battery to one of the side post and the house battery to the remaining other post.
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Old 04-14-2009, 05:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ellerich View Post
I have a 2005 gulfstream friendship G7 motorhome. the engine will not charge the coach batteries when the coach is underway. I suspect there is a bad solinoid but i can only find one which is located on the chassis frame next to the engine. Any idea where the second one is located.
Hi,
I hope this will help. First, do it step by step my friend. Check first the output of the alternator using a digital meter. Secondly go to your isolator/ input and then the ouput terminal of the isolator. You should get a voltage reading on the first and the second test almost the same voltage reading. Now, if there is no alternator reading, of course the problem is alternator and if there is no reading on the input terminal of the isolator, it means something wrong between the alternator and the isolator. Now if there is no reading on the output of the isolator then your isolator is the problem.What I usually do, if I don't know what a part looks like, I go to the right store and ask the part that I want just to get some idea how it looks like. So, in your case, an isolator is an electrical part separating the charging current from the alternator going to your chassis batteries and to your house batteries. Usually this is an aluminum heat sink type with diodes inside, some are painted like the one above by Johnfitz (nice pic) Another way of seeing it is thru internet. Don't jump to any conclusion without proper diagnose, you might end up buying things which are not needed.I do all my electrical things on my MH for the last 10 years. Have fun, i love fixing things on my own, it's fun. ....You are welcome.
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Old 04-19-2009, 04:21 PM   #7
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Well guess what. After many phone calls to Gulf Stream I finally found someone who knew what he was talking about. My motorhome does not have the option to charge the house batteries from the altenator. Now I'm
searching for a system to do this. Any one had experience with a sys called Power stream, or any other recommendations? Ellerich
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Old 04-20-2009, 12:06 AM   #8
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hi,
AN ISOLATOR AS ABOVE will fix your problem.
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Old 04-20-2009, 03:26 AM   #9
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Ellerich, find out what size alternator is on the coach and use and isolator of at least the same if no great amp rating. You will need to connect the cable to the chassis batteries now on the input of the isolator and then feed both banks of batteries from the respected outputs.
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Old 04-21-2009, 12:26 PM   #10
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Although I have never used one I think the Power stream (I assume the PST-SBI-3112) device your mentioned above looks very good. Thats what I would pick. I believe these are relatively new to the market and will become very popular.

I think it's superior to the solid state isolators (like the one I pictured above) for two reasons: 1. With a SS unit you will need to increase the alternator voltage by .9 volts, and 2. You will need to mount the SS unit somewhere were the heat it generates can escape (probably on chassis where it's exposed to water spary and can corrode). The heat a SS isolator produces is just wasted energy your alternator has to produce. Assuming 150 amps x .9 volts = 135 watts

One word of caution: Your alternator can now be overloaded (and burn-out) more easily. The extra load of the house batteries (if they are depleated significantly) can be too much. I would talk to the guy you reached before to discuss the specifics on your coach. Remember, they selected the alternator on your coach assuming it would only be charging your chassis battery. I've heard it said that an alternator can only comfortable put out about 1/2 it rated amperage over long periods. Some coach manufatures recommend running the gen set if your house batteries are too low either before or when you first start driving.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-21-2009, 01:17 PM   #11
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JohnFitz's warning about alternator capacity is important. You will burn up your oem alternator if it is asked to charge up significantly discharged house batt's very often. The upgrade package should include an alternator upgrade.

Make sure the new one is wired the same as the old one; not all have the same outputs and getting the wrong config will cost more time, trouble and probably additional cash to replace than the upgrade is worth, whereas first time correct will be a sweet new feature.

Here is a link about what happens when you get the wrong type of alternator (these folks had a 160A that was too small & had fried, then replaced w/a 200A but incorrectly suited for the chassis):
http://alpinecoachassociation.com/ch...20Problems.pdf
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Old 04-21-2009, 02:11 PM   #12
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As a point of reference, I have a 160 Amp alternator and charge both my coach and chassis batteries with it via a relay that senses voltage. My coach batteries have been near fully discharged and the alternator has not failed. I have had this configuration for eight years with no alternator replacements. I have two 6V coach batteries in series. The alternator is Leece-Neville. Alternators do fail but it is not necessarily due to overload.
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Old 04-21-2009, 02:32 PM   #13
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Alpine Coaches that came w/6 or 8 U2200 6V batteries also came with a Leece Neville 160A alternator, and most have held up well. The Apex coaches mentioned in the link I posted came w/8 6V batts, but also have a bunch (and I mean a lot) of 12V wizardry not found on other rigs; those Apex'rs that dry camped a lot are the ones that have fried the 160A alternator.

FWIW, I think a 160A alternator is a good match for most large motorhomes.
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Old 04-21-2009, 03:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ellerich View Post
I have a 2005 gulfstream friendship G7 motorhome. the engine will not charge the coach batteries when the coach is underway. I suspect there is a bad solinoid but i can only find one which is located on the chassis frame next to the engine. Any idea where the second one is located.
I find it very hard to believe that your coach will not charge the House batteries while the alternator is running. Every coach I have had since 88 had that capability.
That said, the chassis battery is the first obligation the alternator takes care of. When it/they are charged, then it will begin to charge the house batts. Could be a bad engine/chassis battery, bad alternator, could be a bad solonoid, or bad house batts.
Does your coach have the button to allow you to start the engine from the house batts when the chassis batts are low.
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