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Old 08-09-2019, 04:19 PM   #1
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DC Issue Causing Full Reset (Firefly)

Warning, long post. Iím troubleshooting and interested in your theories.

We have a 2017 Fleetwood Discovery with the Firefly system. When plugged into shore power, the use of a DC motor intermittently causes the Firefly to reset and display a low voltage warning for the house batteries. The steps and vent covers are the two most frequent triggers, but any large DC current draw will do it.

The reset is the biggest issue. When the Firefly resets, it resets everything, both DC and AC systems. As a result, the lights, air conditioner, microwave , induction stove and water heater are shut down and have to be restarted.

The facts:
1. I got out the hygrometer and checked the fluid in the house batteries. The specific gravity was good in every cell, though the fluid level was low. I topped it off with distilled water. But the issue continued, though it seemed to happen less frequently.

2. The voltage, as measured by the Firefly, seems to be okó12.9 to 13.3 volts. Iíve monitored it while my granddaughter triggered the fault by triggering the steps. It never dipped below 12 volts on the display yet the system will reset and display the warning.

3. The issue is intermittent, but tends to happen more often in the evening.

4. The motor home is plugged in to a 50 amp circuit when stored. The inverter and appliances are left on.

5. Chassis batteries are also checking well. They are sealed batteries, and the voltage is good. All of the batteries are factory original. 3 years old.

6. Charging seems to be happening normally.

My Theories:
1. The house batteries can no longer handle spikes in demand. The sudden current draw causes the voltage to dip and trip the Firefly, but it recovers before the display indicates the drop.

2. The Firefly voltage sensor is out of calibration and is reporting a low voltage when there isnít a significant drop. (false negative).

Iíd love to hear your ideas, along with how to test them. Frankly, Iím not confident my dealer could handle this one.

Thanks,
óRod
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Old 08-09-2019, 04:51 PM   #2
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"My Theories:
1. The house batteries can no longer handle spikes in demand. The sudden current draw causes the voltage to dip and trip the Firefly, but it recovers before the display indicates the drop."

House batteries or a bad connection can cause a sudden drop when a large demand for current happens.

A digital voltmeter will miss those quick changes. I love my old analog meters. Even a cheap one from HF can be helpful.

If you have a spare battery or one you can substitute you should sort it out quickly.

I would be all over every wire and connection and especially any wires that run to the frame for grounds.
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Old 08-12-2019, 01:36 PM   #3
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YC1.

I think you are right. It looks like I have 2 batteries with bad cells. Iíll be replacing them soon.

Thanks for your advice.

-Rod
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Old 08-12-2019, 05:44 PM   #4
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I believe you will be making a mistake if you only replace two of your six house batteries. The two bad batteries have hurt the four other batteries. So when you replace the two bad ones, the four marginal batteries will begin to suck the life out of your two new batteries. You would be better served by bitting the bullet and replacing all six batteries.

I watched a friend make this mistake, his problem could have been solved in one action. Instead after the replacement of two, he went on a road trip that required Walmart over-nighters. He discovered his house batteries dropped below the AGS threshold in two hours. So while on the road he had to find four more replacement batteries.





Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclist922 View Post
YC1.

I think you are right. It looks like I have 2 batteries with bad cells. Iíll be replacing them soon.

Thanks for your advice.

-Rod
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:05 PM   #5
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You can replace 2 of your 6 batteries. Old batteries don't suck life out of new ones.

This is from Yandina.com, an expert in batteries.

Q**Can I parallel old and new batteries within one bank?
Q **Can I parallel different size batteries within one bank?

A**Although the conventional recommendations are not to mix old and new, good and bad, big and small, etc. in parallel, those misconceptions actually only relate to batteries in SERIES.

You should understand the reasons and make up your own mind. The truth is that you can parallel just about anything. The downside is, if they are not matched, one battery (the newer) will tend to carry more of the load and the total capacity will be slightly less than the sum of the individual capacities. If your new battery has a capacity of 100AH and the old one still had 45AH left, then in parallel you will get something around 145AH, where had they both been new 200AH would fit in the space, but it will help and it will work.

When the old one eventually dies, it will drag the new one down but this happens whenever two batteries are in parallel and one dies, the only difference here is it is going to happen sooner than it would had they both been brand new. So big deal, you gained some residual use out of the old one and the new one will not be permanently damaged - just charge it up again.

The bottom line is the batteries in parallel provide more power - never less - than either one on its own - it just may not be the "ideal" way to do it.
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:31 AM   #6
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Twinboat,
The explaination is pretty convencing EXCEPT our 6 volt batteries are in a SERIES-Parallel configuration. So yes, bad batteries can suck the life out of new batteries in your battery bank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
You can replace 2 of your 6 batteries. Old batteries don't suck life out of new ones.

This is from Yandina.com, an expert in batteries.

Q**Can I parallel old and new batteries within one bank?
Q **Can I parallel different size batteries within one bank?

A**Although the conventional recommendations are not to mix old and new, good and bad, big and small, etc. in parallel, those misconceptions actually only relate to batteries in SERIES.

You should understand the reasons and make up your own mind. The truth is that you can parallel just about anything. The downside is, if they are not matched, one battery (the newer) will tend to carry more of the load and the total capacity will be slightly less than the sum of the individual capacities. If your new battery has a capacity of 100AH and the old one still had 45AH left, then in parallel you will get something around 145AH, where had they both been new 200AH would fit in the space, but it will help and it will work.

When the old one eventually dies, it will drag the new one down but this happens whenever two batteries are in parallel and one dies, the only difference here is it is going to happen sooner than it would had they both been brand new. So big deal, you gained some residual use out of the old one and the new one will not be permanently damaged - just charge it up again.

The bottom line is the batteries in parallel provide more power - never less - than either one on its own - it just may not be the "ideal" way to do it.
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:18 PM   #7
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Thanks for the advice everyone. My response could have been cleareróIím replacing all six batteries. Going with AGM batteries too. Itís probably overkill, but I suck at battery maintenance, so I want to eliminate as many potential failure points as I can.

BTW, the six batteries are in series parallel. Though only two had bad cells. Two others had cells that were marginal.
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Old 08-26-2019, 01:49 PM   #8
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Update. I replaced all 6 of the house batteries over the weekend. Everything looks nominal. I checked the voltage on each of the old batteries as I disconnected the load. One of them read 3.x volts, so Iím pretty confident this was my issue. Thanks for the succinct and solid advice everyone!

óRod
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