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Old 05-04-2013, 12:53 PM   #1
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Charging Batteries

Hi everyone,

I just got myself my first motor home! It's a 1998 Shasta Cheyenne on a Ford E Super-duty chassis. We went boon docking last weekend and had a fantastic time, in the mornings I would run the on board generator to make coffee and charge the batteries. All seemed to be well, I would kill the generator and check my battery indicator it would be full or 2/3. When we got back home I parked it and turned the battery master switch off and plugged in the shore power cord. It sat in the yard all week. I just went out check on things, unplugged the big main cord, turned on the master battery switch and my batteries were dead!! Shouldn't this thing keep the batteries charged when plugged in? Do I need to keep the batterie switch on? Both batteries were new installed when I bought the unit. When it's plugged in I can here my inverter thing ( where the breakers are) humming and when plugged in the battery meter shows full when you hit it. I'm confused......
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Old 05-04-2013, 01:05 PM   #2
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If you disconnect the batteries from the system, they are disconnected 100%, from discharging OR charging.
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Old 05-04-2013, 02:14 PM   #3
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Leave the coach battery disconnect switch on when on shore power or generator. Disconnect when storing the coach and are not hooked to shore power. The generator uses the same convertor as shore power to recharge the batteries.
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Old 05-04-2013, 02:38 PM   #4
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In addition to what has been said about leaving the disconnect switch ON when hooked to shore power, be aware it takes many HOURS of generator time to charge batteries. You need a more accurate volt meter to monitor batteries. Also be aware that after charging, a battery needs to be allowed to 'rest' for a few hours before an accurate measure of charge can be read.

A 12 v battery is at half charge when it reads 12 v. To discharge it repeatedly below that level will dramatically shorten it's life.
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Old 05-04-2013, 02:52 PM   #5
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You need a stand alone battery charger now to get batteries fully charged.
As said leave BCO always on when ever you have shore power plugged into 110 and your batteries will always stay fully charged.
Some coach's your engine alternator may possibly charge your house batteries plus couch, engine battery while traveling.
12v battery systems
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Old 05-04-2013, 03:00 PM   #6
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My brother has a 2009 Class C and his, like many Class A rigs, needed a float charger for the engine battery. When plugged into shore power, and with the switch ON, only the house batteries were charged.
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Old 05-04-2013, 03:59 PM   #7
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Oh thank you all for the info. I do know that with the coach engine running it does charge the battery, that's how I got the generator to start. I will now go out and put my battery charger on. This is such a Great Forum to get expert advice! Again thanks and happy camping to all!!!
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trainwire View Post
Hi everyone,

I just got myself my first motor home! It's a 1998 Shasta Cheyenne on a Ford E Super-duty chassis. We went boon docking last weekend and had a fantastic time, in the mornings I would run the on board generator to make coffee and charge the batteries. All seemed to be well, I would kill the generator and check my battery indicator it would be full or 2/3. When we got back home I parked it and turned the battery master switch off and plugged in the shore power cord. It sat in the yard all week. I just went out check on things, unplugged the big main cord, turned on the master battery switch and my batteries were dead!! Shouldn't this thing keep the batteries charged when plugged in? Do I need to keep the batterie switch on? Both batteries were new installed when I bought the unit. When it's plugged in I can here my inverter thing ( where the breakers are) humming and when plugged in the battery meter shows full when you hit it. I'm confused......
Several things. Apparently when you use the BDS (Battery Disconnect Switch) that isolates the batteries from the charger. Some coaches do not do that, but your's does. So don't do that anymore

Running your generator for an hour or two is not necessarily going to charge your batteries. You cannot go by the "idiot" battery indicator in the coach. When the generator is running, or you just hook up to shore, that indicator will show 100% charged. It's only an hour or so after the generator is turned off or disconnected from shore will you get an accurate reading.

You mentioned an inverter. Some inverters are used to charge the batteries as well as convert 12vdc to 120vac. Other inverters are only there to convert 12vdc to 120vac for the TV and a few other small current drawing 120v items.

If your coach is the later, you should turn the inverter off when stored. If it is the source of your battery charging, then of course you shouldn't do that. You really need to read the docs for your coach and/or talk with others with knowledge of you coach.
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Old 05-05-2013, 08:04 AM   #9
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Clyon51-

I came here for thoughts and advice because I don't have manuals to refer to. I've got 3 manuals for the chassis though!!! Only having it for a couple weeks we are still discovering how to properly do everything. I am not new to rving, I have always had trailers, and have just traded my truck camper for this motor home. Being a used unit I'm never show if things have been rewired or just quite not sure how charging works. I have come to the conclusion that I need a good volt meter, not just the idiot lights, I don't like idiot lights on vehicles. And again, thanks everyone for the fast response and info, I left the motor home plugged in all day/ night with the battery switch on, I will unplug and check idiot lights to see if I got some charge in 24 hours! I was very nervous to leave the battery switch on last week and have the unit plugged in for fear of frying something.
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Old 05-05-2013, 08:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trainwire View Post
Clyon51-

I came here for thoughts and advice because I don't have manuals to refer to. I've got 3 manuals for the chassis though!!! Only having it for a couple weeks we are still discovering how to properly do everything. I am not new to rving, I have always had trailers, and have just traded my truck camper for this motor home. Being a used unit I'm never show if things have been rewired or just quite not sure how charging works. I have come to the conclusion that I need a good volt meter, not just the idiot lights, I don't like idiot lights on vehicles. And again, thanks everyone for the fast response and info, I left the motor home plugged in all day/ night with the battery switch on, I will unplug and check idiot lights to see if I got some charge in 24 hours! I was very nervous to leave the battery switch on last week and have the unit plugged in for fear of frying something.
You need a volt meter. The best thing is you can buy a digital volt ohm (DVOM) at Walmart for $20.00. A must have..
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Old 05-05-2013, 08:44 AM   #11
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You'd be fine being plugged in and charging for a week or two. Any longer, you'd want a converter (120VAC --> 12VDC) that will vary voltage and actually maintain the batteries.
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Old 05-06-2013, 06:21 AM   #12
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There's a pretty active Shasta owners group on Yahoo, you might want to check them out, they'd have specific knowledge (maybe even copies of manuals) about your unit.

You can find the users group here. http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/...tasMotorhomes/
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