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Old 02-01-2010, 07:01 PM   #1
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More electrical problems or operator error, please advise

My last question on this forum produced evidence that I do not know much about my own MH and I am hoping that this new set of problems will also prove the same. I noticed that when I replaced my house batteries a few months ago they were dead in a week. I did engage the shut off switch every time and even heard the unit click off. I now disconnect the negative battery cables and the batteries no longer lose the charge. I have the feeling that something is wrong and my solution is not fixing the real problem. On a related issue I had to make an emergency call to North Trail this weekend because my slides would not go out. The keys were out and brake on and all the other things that the helpful service tech could think of did not work. In a moment of frustration I rapidly jiggled the ignition switch and found that permitted the unit to make the right connection and all seemed to be resolved. I again have the feeling that I did not fix the real problem. I have a Baystar which may not be as upscale as many of the units but I am hoping that someone with experience with the Ford Chasis has had any similar problems or should I resign myself to driving the unit to Ft. Myers for service.

Denis
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:27 PM   #2
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It could be something simple. I would reconnect the batteries and check all the lights and electronics inside and in the basement to make sure nothing has been left on.
Tom
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:39 AM   #3
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If your disconnecting BATTERIES while in a park your converter cannot charge your batteries.
If you are in storage you would than disconnect batteries with battery cut off switch.
Your slides should work off converter voltage if your parked and plugged into a park pedestal with battery cut off switch on and batteries to low.
When your driving both your chassis and house batteries will be charged by alternator off engine. Your BATTERY CUT OFF SWITCH will always be on, only in storage will you use your BCOS, if you plug into 110 outlet at home leave switch on will charge both sets of batteries through the BIRD.
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:48 AM   #4
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Hi Denis,
You are correct in that the root cause of the problems has not been determined.

On the slide problem, does your coach's engine need to be running to move the slides? If no, is their a special position the ignition switch needs to be in to move the slides?

On the dead battery problem, before I provide the process for you to determine the root cause, can you tell me if you have and are comfortable using a meter than can measure 12 VDC and current draw?

My apology if these sound like dumb questions. Before providing help, I need to have a baseline of what you are able to do.

From a user point of view, the coach battery switch should be left in the on (use) position whenever the coach is in use or not in use and connected to shore power. If when not used and not connected to shore power, moving the coach battery switch to the store position does allow the batteries to discharge at a much slower rate. If storing for a long period of time (over one month) turning off your propane detector will also help reduce battery drain.
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:49 AM   #5
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Many things could cause this leakage, here are a few I thought of based on experience with our Canyon Star:

On our Canyon Star the converter is directly connected to the house batteries, it does not go through the battery cut-off switch. Yours may be the same. If the converter has a problem it be draining the batteries when it is powered off.

Also, check the electric step. If I remember correctly, the step on our coach is wired on the house battery side of the cutoff switch. If left on, it could discharge the battery.

I have had two bad solenoids which prevented my BIRD from charging one battery bank to another. You may not have this problem, but the BIRD is connected directly to the house battery so if it is not working right it could drain the battery.

The BIRD and associated relays should be in a box with a clear cover. The box is above the radiator in our coach, hopefully you'll be able to find it in a similar position. It will have the battery cutoff relay and the isolator relay (goes to the BIRD) in it.

This box will also have the fuses for the electric step and any other stuff that is on the house battery side of the cut-off relay.

You can trace the wiring from the battery positive side to see if it splits and goes to the converter or fuses for steps, etc. before the battery cut-off relay. If I remember correctly, the house batteries are up front under the hood in Baystars so this should be relatively easy.

The slideout controllers on your unit should be in one of the compartments. In ours, they are in the compartment with the fresh water tank. They have inputs for ignition, slide switch, power, etc.

With a DMM you can check the pins while they are working properly so you know what to look for when they are not. I suspect the Ignition input should have 0V on it in order to operate the slide.

Intellitec has service manuals for the battery disconnect, BIRD and slideout controller on their website, they can be a great resource: Service Manuals

Good Luck!
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:21 PM   #6
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Thannks 007, Gary and Luv2go.
I'm going to print out your responses and borrow my fathers mulimeter and follow the suggestions you offered. I may have not made my original post detailed enough. When I was trying my slides and they wouldn't work I tried with shore power, I tried with generator power then battery power and I tried with the engine running with the Store/use switch in the on position with no effect until I jiggled the ignition key and found that sweet spot where the ignition made the right connection and then removed the key from the ignition, to permit operation of the slides. The Tech advised that Newmar ran the slide activation through the ignition switch and designed it to work only with the key removed so that the slides could not be opened while the vehicle was in motion. Seems sensible. I understand what a BCOS is but what is a BIRD. Just asking. The converter is an interesting lead. I have completely inspected my unit to see if anything was left on that would drain the battery and found nothing but the stairs do operate off of the house batteries so I will reinspect them. I thought I would start by isolating individual circuits to see if there is still a voltage drain on the batteries when the BCOS is in the store position.

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Old 02-03-2010, 08:58 PM   #7
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With BCOS operated you should not have any drain on any batts. That is if you have also closed the thermostat switch off, the refridge off, your LP detector off, hot water heater off, radio will have a trickle discharge but small solar panel on roof should compensate.
Your steps will work off your coach battery wouldn't operate if off house batteries with a BCOS OPERATED.
One thing not mentioned yet is your Battery grounds both house and coach. You need a good clean connection from both to your chassis frame. If you find anything loose use a star washer so it will not become loose again.
While at it check the ground wire to frame from Gen and from your converter.
You also have one from your load center and Transfer switch to frame in your power cord bay.
As I said before your slides should operate off converter voltage if your are plugged into power with low batteries.
There have been some ignition switch problems but its rare.
This LINK to BIRD will explain.
You may find the BIRD in box with clear plastic cover on your fire wall with also solenoids and heavy power wiring for chassis.
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Old 02-04-2010, 06:17 AM   #8
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A couple of things: if you had to jiggle the ignition switch to get the slides to operate I would guess there is a loose connection related to that switch, and when "off" could be drawing some juice (I'm surprised and disappointed that the techs at North Trail did not jump on that). Also, it sounds like this is an ongoing issue, and that is why you replaced the batteries, so I would find a good service tech to find out what the problem is. Members of this group might suggest someone who can analyze and fix. I know folks in Phoenix, Tucson, and Gatlinburg but it doesn't sound like you'll by there!
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:57 AM   #9
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In many coaches there are what are called "parasitic" loads, these are loads that are present on the battery EVEN when it's turned off.. Often the propane (Explosive gas) detector is one such load, Step controllers are another.. And there may be more (in my coach several radios are on the list)

Now in some coaches the converter is hooked battery side of the disconnect so the batteries can charge while disconnected

In others (mine for example) the thing is house side.

Your disconnecting of the battery negative lead is the absolute best way to insure no current flows.. There are several ways to do this.

A Knife type switch is a positive disconnect however some folks have warned that if the battery gasses, and there is a spark as you open/close the switch.... Bad things may well happen (KA-BOOM!) Most other means of disconnecting.... Same
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:13 AM   #10
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Hi Denis,
Newmar changes how they run the slide interlock too much. The tech you spoke with may be correct. However, consider calling Newmar just to be sure. My slide interlock with the ignition is not the same as yours.

Looking for a drain off the coach batteries is a good place to start. I do have one suggestion, before you begin that task. Fully charge the house batteries. Let them sit for a couple of hours. Take a reading across points that connect to the coach. You should get 12.6 VDC or more. If that is true, remove the negative wire(s). Wait 2 days. Reconnect the negative wires and take another reading across the same points. You should get 12.6 VDC or more. I suggest this to establish a baseline for the batteries. If they are good, then it is time to check the coach for drains on the batteries.
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Old 02-04-2010, 07:14 PM   #11
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Thanks, I will start with the simple things first. I really do appreciate everyones suggestions. When my unit was in warrantee I got great response from Newmar but not so much anymore. I choose not to do things that might irritate me so I prefer the friendly responses from this forum. Thanks again.
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