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Old 12-06-2021, 05:06 PM   #1
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Chassis and House battery charging

I'm a newbie, so please have patience with me. I recently purchased a 98 Dutch Star DP3658. Haven't taken her out camping yet because I want to get as familiarized as much as i can before I do.

I wrote all details, maybe too much:

I have her on shore power at my house and I the voltage at the chassis battery were 12.25, House battery were 13.06 (Trickle charging).
I thought they were charged independently so I read some where to connect in parallel the house with the chassis batteries to charge with shore power (thru charger)at the same time.
Checked the next day, I unplugged shore power and disconnected the jumper cables and tested the voltages after a few minutes. Chassis batteries were up to 12.83V, House batteries a little higher 12.9V.
Looked all good so I plugged in shore power and went to reconnect the jumper cables to leave them all charging together, but stupid me I inverted the cables and of course it sparked. I checked the voltages again with the charger powered up and now I have the same voltage at both house and chassis batteries without the jumper cables.
This means both house and chassis batteries are being charged by the charger.
I started the engine and both batteries house and chassis have the alternator voltage 13.85 V
Figured I screwed up something, found two blown fuses at the BIRD. Replaced them, still getting charger/alternator voltage at both batteries.
Went online to see how the Bird works and found its supposed to charge both batteries if necessary.

Is this correct?

Thanks to all
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Old 12-06-2021, 06:59 PM   #2
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With the bird system working properly, you don’t need jumper cables.

While driving, once chassis batteries get topped off and stable, the relay in the bird sends a charge to the house. When on shore power, the reverse happens. House gets topped off and it sends a float charge to your chassis.

As to what you did when you shorted it with the cables, one of the smart guys will have to help you. Good luck
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Old 12-06-2021, 07:36 PM   #3
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The solenoid that carry the charging current between the batteries often carbon up from the arc created when connecting and disconnecting.

Many of the solenoids can be opened up and the contacts can be cleaned.

It's possible that your sparking cables may have sent a strong current thru it, burning thru some of the carbon.

I noticed that your charging voltage is a bit low at 13.06. Most BIRD controls require 13.2 volts to close the solenoid.

If you still have issues, try unplugging the BTS wire on your inverter/charger. They can fail and change your float voltage.
Unplugged, the inverter/charger default to 77°F and the voltage may come up to 13.4.

BTS = Battery Tempeture Sensor. Phone jack looking plug.
If you have the remote instruction book, you can find out how the pick thru the setting to see what the BTS is reading.
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Old 12-07-2021, 04:38 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses.
My charger doesn't have the BTS. Maybe I should get one and install it

My question now is:
Is it normal for both battery banks to be charging at the same time?
Thanks
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Old 12-07-2021, 04:55 PM   #5
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Yes, the inverter/charger charges the house battery.
The isolation/charging solenoid closes and connects the house battery to the chassis battery thru battery cables.

When the chassis battery is being charged by the alternator, the same solenoid closes and connects them together.

BIRD means Bi-directional Isolation Relay with Delay.

Relay = Solenoid.

Delay is so it doesn't cycle on and off to frequently.
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Old 12-07-2021, 06:04 PM   #6
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OK, I think I got it now.
The previous owner told me that the only way to charge the house batteries was to connect to shore power or turn on the generator.
The BIRD makes sense now. it'll charge whatever battery needs charging and it will use one of the alternate sources. shore power/charger, alternator/Chassis diesel

Thanks
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