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Old 05-14-2016, 06:26 AM   #1
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Batteries Not Charging from shore power

On our way to Townsend, TN in the Smokies and stopped in Tuscaloosa, AL to visit friends (2003 Dutch Star). Came in late last night and noticed all the trouble lights were lit up on the dash and Chassis batteries were almost completely dead. No headlights and eventually all the trouble lights went out. House batteries were at about 12.1V. I had noticed earlier that step cover was slow to come up and down but did not make the connection at the time. It appears the solar panel is charging the house batteries since they are up to12.4V as the sun is rising. I guess that could be a temperature affect as well. The only other observation is the transfer from generator to shore did not go smoothly. Usually I turn off A/C followed by generator and then connect to shore power. This time I plugged in to shore and turn the shore breaker on with both A/C and generator running. Transfer appeared to go slow and tripped the microwave and rear A/C breaker. Took about 30 hrs for chassis batteries to go dead. Thought they were in better shape than that.

Any suggestions on where to start? Transfer switch, inverters, etc?
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Old 05-14-2016, 07:02 AM   #2
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I just dealt with a similar problem last week.

Mine ended up being the battery kill switch, even though it was ON, it was not letting power through to the battery from the converter/charger. Flipped it off and back on, and it worked again. BUT....

First I pulled and checked all fuses.

Then battery tester on the converter, hot.

Followed the hot wire toward the battery, hot all the way until the kill switch. Found my problem.

Start at the power source of the charger, and work your way toward the battery.
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Old 05-14-2016, 07:46 AM   #3
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Well now that it is daylight I have been able to check out things a bit better. Power compartment contains to inverters and one had come unplugged from the 110v receptacle. Plugged it back in and there is a 
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coil in the upper middle of attached photo that cycles about every 5-10 secs. House batteries jumped to 13.3v and there is some power to the dash trouble lights and step cover again. Not comfortable with the cycling/clicking though. Cannot tell from the owners manual wiring diagram what is connected to each inverter. I suspected that one was for chassis batteries and one for house batteries but symptoms don't seem to support that.
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Old 05-14-2016, 09:22 AM   #4
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Hi zjgc03,
The factory solar panel mounted on the roof maintains the chassis batteries only. It may not produce enough power to charge the chassis batteries.

The components pictured in your post is the BIRD system (your vintage coach). The BIRD system will charge the coach and chassis batteries. This happens under certain circumstances. Information about the BIRD is attached.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf BIRD System Information.pdf (784.8 KB, 29 views)
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Old 05-14-2016, 09:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zjgc03 View Post
On our way to Townsend, TN in the Smokies and stopped in Tuscaloosa, AL to visit friends (2003 Dutch Star). Came in late last night and noticed all the trouble lights were lit up on the dash and Chassis batteries were almost completely dead. No headlights and eventually all the trouble lights went out. House batteries were at about 12.1V. I had noticed earlier that step cover was slow to come up and down but did not make the connection at the time. It appears the solar panel is charging the house batteries since they are up to12.4V as the sun is rising. I guess that could be a temperature affect as well. The only other observation is the transfer from generator to shore did not go smoothly. Usually I turn off A/C followed by generator and then connect to shore power. This time I plugged in to shore and turn the shore breaker on with both A/C and generator running. Transfer appeared to go slow and tripped the microwave and rear A/C breaker. Took about 30 hrs for chassis batteries to go dead. Thought they were in better shape than that.
Any suggestions on where to start? Transfer switch, inverters, etc?
I don't know about your 2003 Dutch Star but on many coaches, (including my 1996 Safari), the chassis battery ONLY charges via the alternator when the engine is running.... (just like a car or truck).

In the 15 years, (118,000+ miles), I've owned my coach that has NEVER been a problem.

Mel
'96 Safari, 146k miles
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Old 05-14-2016, 10:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mel s View Post
I don't know about your 2003 Dutch Star but on many coaches, (including my 1996 Safari), the chassis battery ONLY charges via the alternator when the engine is running.... (just like a car or truck).

In the 15 years, (118,000+ miles), I've owned my coach that has NEVER been a problem.

Mel
'96 Safari, 146k miles
As Gary pointed out in his post, the BIRD System in the Dutchstar charges both the House and Chassis batteries when on Shore Power, Generator or Engine Alternator.
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Old 05-14-2016, 12:15 PM   #7
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As Gary pointed out in his post, the BIRD System in the Dutchstar charges both the House and Chassis batteries when on Shore Power, Generator or Engine Alternator.
dennis45
Thanks.
Mel
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Old 05-14-2016, 01:28 PM   #8
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Thanks so much guys for all the comments. It appears the clicking I was hearing was the BIRD system cycling between the coach and chassis batteries as both needed charging. As charging progressed, the frequency of the solenoid clicking decreased from 5-10 seconds to 3-4 minutes and eventually I stopped observing and all batteries were charged. Another day of education 😁. The culprit of course was accidental disconnection of the inverter from the 110v source. I'm not sure when or how that happened but I will be sensitive to it in the future.
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Old 05-14-2016, 01:32 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by zjgc03 View Post
Thanks so much guys for all the comments. It appears the clicking I was hearing was the BIRD system cycling between the coach and chassis batteries as both needed charging. As charging progressed, the frequency of the solenoid clicking decreased from 5-10 seconds to 3-4 minutes and eventually I stopped observing and all batteries were charged. Another day of education 😁. The culprit of course was accidental disconnection of the inverter from the 110v source. I'm not sure when or how that happened but I will be sensitive to it in the future.
Thanks for the update. Glad to hear you're back in business.

So many things to learn, so little time.
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