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Old 06-16-2021, 10:22 AM   #1
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Educate me on Aux start procedures

Last winter I had a problem with my engine start batteries being weak; I know I have an aux start button but apparently I was operating it incorrectly. I think I just tapped it (or maybe held it down) but nothing happened. I presume I left the key off prior to attempting to start - but don't know.

I'm now thinking (I read somewhere) that the key must first be on and then the aux button held down - until I hear some relay click - then I can crank the engine.

Not planning on needing it but wish to next time be better prepared.

Please jump start my medulla oblongata (thanks google).
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Old 06-16-2021, 10:24 AM   #2
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Normally, you press the aux start (Boost) button and hold it for a minute. It's kind of like using jumper cables in that it ties the house batteries to the chassis batteries and gives them a boost. After holding the button for a minute, then turn the key on and try to start.
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Old 06-16-2021, 06:07 PM   #3
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I guess my failure was thinking it'd be much quicker.
Thank you.
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Old 06-16-2021, 06:15 PM   #4
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When my start batteries where low once and holding the aux button didn’t help much I started the generator, luckily it had enough juice to start it, I then wedged a piece of cardboard to hold the aux button in the on position and then I let the generator charge the start and house batteries for about 10 minutes. Cranked right up after that. This was on my previous Winnebago Journey.
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Old 06-16-2021, 06:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lt Dan View Post
Normally, you press the aux start (Boost) button and hold it for a minute. It's kind of like using jumper cables in that it ties the house batteries to the chassis batteries and gives them a boost. After holding the button for a minute, then turn the key on and try to start.
Whenever I needed to, I held the button while turning the ignition and that worked. I wasn't thinking about how it was connecting though. If it's a straight connection through the switch, the wire gauge is probably insufficient for the amperage needed to crank the engine, so your procedure makes more sense. If holding the button trips a solenoid that connects the battery banks using heavier gauge wiring, there probably would be no issue in keeping the button pressed while cranking. Does anyone know how it's connected?

If it's just a straight connection through the switch, I'm thinking that may be a good place to connect to the "Battery 2" terminals of my solar controller. If it's a decent 10-gauge set of wires, all I'd have to do is run wires from the controller (directly over the dash gauges) down the "A" pillar to the wires connected to the switch. When the solar controller determines that the house batteries on the "Battery 1" connection are fully charged, it will divert energy to the "Battery 2" bank. That should help to keep the chassis batteries from losing charge, just sitting around for weeks on end.
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Old 06-16-2021, 09:28 PM   #6
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According to your user manual: "If the chassis batteries cannot themselves start the engine in the “normal” mode, hold down the battery-boost switch and

retry starting the engine."

If you don't have the manual, it is on the Tiffin web site.
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Old 06-16-2021, 09:43 PM   #7
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According to your user manual: "If the chassis batteries cannot themselves start the engine in the “normal” mode, hold down the battery-boost switch and

retry starting the engine."

If you don't have the manual, it is on the Tiffin web site.
This is how it worked on my Fleetwood.
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Old 06-16-2021, 10:20 PM   #8
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From personal experience: press & hold the AUX button for a good 30 seconds (maybe longer - depends on how drained the chassis battery is), then try to start the engine.
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Old 06-16-2021, 10:39 PM   #9
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As others have suggested, the aux switch ties the house batteries and engine battery together. If the engine batteries are completely dead, they will drag the house batteries down to a point that they won't provide enough power to start the engine either. After holding it down for a bit they will begin to equalize and, assuming the engine battery is just dead and doesn't have shorted cells or such, it will equalize enough to provide enough power to start the engine.
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Old 06-17-2021, 03:11 AM   #10
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Page 59 of my manual says:
"If the chassis batteries cannot start the engine by turning the ignition key, hold down the battery-boost switch for at least 60 seconds and retry starting the engine.
When attempting to use the auxiliary start switch function, it is recommended that the owner press and hold the switch for about 60 seconds before trying to start the engine. This gives the two sets of batteries (house and chassis), a chance to equalize prior to engaging the starter. The multiplex system that controls most chassis functions will need to reach optimal voltage range to insure proper operation as well."

Although it doesn't specifically say that the button should be released after 60 seconds, I think it's implied. That tells me my setup does a direct connect of the battery banks and not through a solenoid or relay. And if the chassis battery is really low, holding the button for just 60 seconds may be inadequate.
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Old 06-19-2021, 04:42 PM   #11
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My guess would be that most if not all modern Aux Boost switches engage a solenoid between the engine and house batteries to connect the 2 systems together. Its usually pretty obvious when you look at the battery compartment. Mine has beefy cables running to the solenoid from the batteries.
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Old 06-19-2021, 04:52 PM   #12
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The boost solenoid doubles as the isolation solenoid, use for charging the house batteries from the chassis batteries.

Here is a general layout of the solenoids. Some use 3 others of them, some use 2.

Some are bi-directional, meaning they charge the chassis battery when the house battery is plugged in.

Trobetta, Big Boy, Cole Hersch, White Rodgers are brands used.Click image for larger version

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Old 06-20-2021, 02:50 PM   #13
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Our 2014 Allegro Bus did not come with a BIRD (BI-DIRECTIONAL ISOLATOR RELAY DELAY) to recharge the chassis batteries from the inverter/ charger on the house side. I added one from Magnum. About $100 for the device & $50 in misc wiring connections.
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Old 06-22-2021, 04:37 PM   #14
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I agree with checking out the boost solenoid. Mine is a 2011 Allegro Bus 40QXP and the solenoid was intermittently fully engaging. If your Phaeton is the same, then the solenoid will also charge the house batteries from the alternator when you are riding down the road. My dash cigarette receptacles are powered from the chassis batteries and I have a 12V accessory plugged in that also has a digital voltmeter. This came in handy as I noticed the boost did not increase the voltage despite the solenoid clicking.
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