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Old 10-15-2017, 09:55 AM   #1
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2008 38F Bounder battery question

I have a 08 38F DP. When I stop and plug into a current bush I notice the amp rate on my charger is high 100+ amp/hr charge. Is the chassis alternator supposed to charge house batteries when running? If it is, do they use an isolator in the path to the batteries? I don't want to screw up anything with the switching/charger/converter/inverter system trying to check this out if it isn't supposed to charge them.

Thanks in advance for any help

Steve

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Old 10-20-2017, 05:10 PM   #2
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The engine alternator should charge the house batteries when driving. There is a relay that should connect the two battery banks together when the engine is running. This relay is normally engaged by a separate wire from the alternator that has power any time the alternator is turning. I have seen bad relays, bad alternators, and a broken wire causing this problem.

If you are handy with a volt meter it is easy to tell if it is working.

1 - Unhook shore power.
2 - Connect the volt meter across the house batteries
3 - Note the voltage reading.
4 - Crank the engine
5 - Note the voltage reading again.

With the engine running, the voltage should be a few volts higher than when the engine is not. If the voltage reading is the same, the relay is not operating. This assumes your alternator is keeping the coach batteries charged properly. To check that do the same measurement on the coach batteries. The voltage should dip while the starter is running and rise higher when the engine is running smoothly.

Your next job is locating the relay. It should be near one of the battery banks with large battery cable wires from the + side of each bank going to the two large terminals on the relay. There should be two small terminals on the relay. One of them goes to the ground, The other goes to the special wire from the alternator. There should be a fuze in that wire near the alternator. If you have a blown fuze look for a bare spot along the wire. If the wire is intact, replace the relay.

This is an aggravating problem, and I hope you find the problem is just a loose wire at the relay as I did.
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Old 10-20-2017, 05:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by APhotoWizard View Post
The engine alternator should charge the house batteries when driving. There is a relay that should connect the two battery banks together when the engine is running. This relay is normally engaged by a separate wire from the alternator that has power any time the alternator is turning. I have seen bad relays, bad alternators, and a broken wire causing this problem.

If you are handy with a volt meter it is easy to tell if it is working.

1 - Unhook shore power.
2 - Connect the volt meter across the house batteries
3 - Note the voltage reading.
4 - Crank the engine
5 - Note the voltage reading again.

With the engine running, the voltage should be a few volts higher than when the engine is not. If the voltage reading is the same, the relay is not operating. This assumes your alternator is keeping the coach batteries charged properly. To check that do the same measurement on the coach batteries. The voltage should dip while the starter is running and rise higher when the engine is running smoothly.

Your next job is locating the relay. It should be near one of the battery banks with large battery cable wires from the + side of each bank going to the two large terminals on the relay. There should be two small terminals on the relay. One of them goes to the ground, The other goes to the special wire from the alternator. There should be a fuze in that wire near the alternator. If you have a blown fuze look for a bare spot along the wire. If the wire is intact, replace the relay.

This is an aggravating problem, and I hope you find the problem is just a loose wire at the relay as I did.


Good post!
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Old 10-20-2017, 07:14 PM   #4
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Thank You APhotoWizard!! I will certainly check that as soon as I get it back from the shop. I made the mistake of swerving to avoid some kids in a car hitting me head on in a Walmart parking lot at about 1:00 am last Feb. Been waiting on Fleetwood for the basement door since June. Took out a door, real wheel skirt and some trim strips. The supposedly had a door to ship 9/15 but it was damaged. Now the were supposed to ship a new one 10/19. I'm running out of good weather to have the new parts painted.
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Old 10-20-2017, 08:24 PM   #5
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Actually the relay that connects the 2 battery banks for charging is also used as the boost solenoid.

It is controlled by the dash boost switch AND by a voltage sensing relay. There is no connection to the alternator.

Three types are,

BIM, Battery Isolator Manager,

BIRD, Bi-directional Isolation Relay with Delay. This one maintains the chassis battery while on shore power.

IRD, Isolation Relay with Delay

They all sense 13.2 or more charging volts on the chassis battery and with a delay of 5 to 10 minutes, will signal the solenoid to connect the 2 battery banks together.

The solenoid fail often. Hold the boost switch, with the engine running, and see if the house batteries voltage rises to 13.2 volts, the same as the chassis batteries. If not find the solenoid and see that its getting power to the small terminal on it, to activate it.

To find it, you should be able to switch the boost switch on and off, you should hear it activating.
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Old 10-21-2017, 02:41 PM   #6
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Twinboat - Thanks for the added information. It is good to know there are other options. Mine has a separate feed from the alternator. Which by the way I thought was stupid. when I found it.

The tip about using the boost switch to test the relay is a good one.

On a slightly different note. In my rig, the relay was mounted horizontal from the factory and the relay manufacturer says it must be mounted vertical. I installed the new one vertical and have had no further problems.

May all your problems be fun ones.
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