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Old 03-24-2021, 07:01 AM   #1
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Does engine alt charge house battery when driving?

Greetings all:
I was told by the used RV dealer tech that the powertrain will charge the house batteries while driving (and it seems like I read this also somewhere in the Ford chassis manual); this is on a '16 Bounder.

Unfortunately, we now know the RV tech lied to us about numerous items concerning the RV. My RV engine, Ford V10, does not charge/maintain the house battery - just trying to find out if this is normal.

I have a number of potentially interconnected issues, possibly tied to the weak house batteries, that I am trying to work thru. I had to run the generator from KY to MI to have a functioning rear view cam and wipers (why the wipers were not on the powertrain batt/electrical system is just mind boggling to me).

One more interrelated question, should the house side (generator) also charge the chassis/powertrain battery? Mine does not, at least with the controls as set.

If I have posted in the wrong subforum, please direct me to the appropriate subforum.
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Old 03-24-2021, 09:10 AM   #2
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Yes, you should have charging both ways, bi-directional charging.

Press the Boost switch on and off, listening for a clunking solenoid.
That solenoid is the boost AND the charging solenoid.

Although they clunk, they don't make contact internally. A very common problem.

Test by running engine and measure voltage to ground on the 2 big terminals. Should show 13 volts on both. If 13 on one and 12 on the other, and it clunks from other test, probably bad.
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Old 03-24-2021, 10:04 AM   #3
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Twinboat is correct. Either should charge the house batteries. Your tech was correct and did not lie about this charging functionality.
This is all done via the BCC (Battery Control Center). There are multiple solenoids in this box and they go bad after time.
Many many threads on troubleshooting the BCC in this forum. You can do a search for tone more info on the topic. And this is a Fleetwood thing not a Ford thing.
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Old 03-27-2021, 09:51 PM   #4
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twinboat:
When I first read your response, it made no sense to me. I have spent several days reading and now have even found the "boost switch" - I am guessing this is the Aux Start Switch in the manual. I pressed the switch (key off), heard a relay clunk and the power step tried to open up onto the milk crate I was using as a temp step since the power step was not working on the weak battery and the door was open.

In the Fleetwood manual it states that one should hold this switch for at least 30 sec after starting the engine - why?

computerguy:
Thank you for your posting. I had opened up the BCC cover a few days earlier but did not realize its full function. I've since downloaded the BCC manual and schematics and am slowly working my way thru them.


Additional interrelated question.
The two battery disconnect switches are marked "main" and "aux". Would that be house and chassis respectively?

I was going to ask more questions as to the normal operation of the BCC but I think the BCC trouble shooting guide I downloaded will/has covered a number of my questions.
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Old 03-27-2021, 10:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aribert View Post
...Additional interrelated question.
The two battery disconnect switches are marked "main" and "aux". Would that be house and chassis respectively?
Just the opposite.
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Old 03-28-2021, 07:34 PM   #6
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RRR: thank you for the correction as to house and chassis disconnect!

Problem solved
This afternoon I replaced the chassis battery - still the original Motorcraft battery and rather weak. As I was removing the battery, I noticed the two fuses behind the battery - hiding in plain sight. The 125A fuse was dead. After replacing it, the engine was able to charge the house batteries and the generator was able to charge the chassis battery. I'm thinking the BCC is still functioning correctly at this time.
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Old 03-30-2021, 12:05 PM   #7
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New problem after R&R house batteries

I replaced the house batteries, original batteries had been run dry, and the batteries were still weak after adding 30 to 46 oz water, per cell, and slowly recharging them. I forgot to disconnect the house batteries before replacing them. As I made the final connection there was a spark, I said an expletive as I realized I had not disconnected prior to removing the house batteries. I disconnected before completing the final connection. I am guessing the spark at the final connection point might have been a voltage surge.

Steady 12.65v at the house battery, I reconnected the battery disconnect switches and now:
1. the 12 LED puck ceiling lights are strobing, about once per sec.
2. The generator will not start (no crank, dash switch is illuminated when pressed)
3. The engine alternator only charges the chassis battery and not the house battery.


I checked the 125A fuse that I replaced two days ago with replacing the chassis battery - still good (this was the fuse that, after replacing it, allowed the powertrain to charge the house batteries and the generator to charge the chassis battery).

Since the ceiling lights are on the multiplex system, I checked for error messages and failed fuses in the multiplex - none.

I checked the resetable fuses in the BCC. I read the circuit board fuse descriptions and did not find one for the generator.

Where should I focus on to trouble shoot?
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Old 03-30-2021, 03:15 PM   #8
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"strobing" LED lights in the unit has happened to me. I recall it was having the house batteries disconnected and somehow there was voltage leaking thru from the chassis battery. Not enough to fully power them but enough for some light and I called it pulsing.
First thing I would check is the house battery wiring. I presume you replaced it with 4 6v batteries. Many people have sworn they rewired them exactly the way they were but after double checking they messed it up.
There are a couple disaster fuses in line. So I would look and search them out. You'll need a multimeter to check voltages and then figure out what is not connect properly.
You could have blown the BCC board. Go through the troubleshooting steps in that manual to determine if anything is wrong there.
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Old 03-30-2021, 03:38 PM   #9
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Take internet info carefully.


Unless someone has the exact make, model and year as yours...it could be different.


My 2019 Winnebago 22C I am almost sure charges the house batts when the engine is running, but the converter does not charge the engine start battery when plugged in.


That''s what I was told at the sale briefing, and that has been my experience. The boost switch connects for a dead start batt.
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Old 03-30-2021, 08:09 PM   #10
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Further update:

I disconnected the house and chassis batteries for about 4 hrs. I came back reconnected both house and chassis batteries and had no house lights, no multiplex action. I started the engine and then the house batteries began to charge. With either the engine running or ign on, I was able to start/run the generator. With ignition on, engine off, the generator charged the house batteries (I did not check the chassis battery). When turning off the ignition, the generator will stop within a couple of minutes. With out either the engine charging or the generator charging, there is no power to the multiplex switches. With either the engine or generator charging, the house lights work OK (no strobing) and slides move. I have no shore power available where I have the MH parked in front of my garage so I could not check what would happen on shore power.

computerguy: Yes, (4) 6v deep cell. I took pictures of the old battery cabling, printed the pictures and used them as a reference when I installed the new batteries. I have gone back and double checked the cabling. I have checked continuity on the (4) high current fuses that I am aware of - two near the chassis battery and two near the house batteries - all were still functional. I'll wait a day and look again at the cabling with fresh eyes and then start the BCC trouble shooting sequence.

Since the house batteries are not able to actuate anything (even the fried old house batteries would power up the house lights), I am guessing the issue is in the BCC. Beyond frustrated, knowing that I created this problem and now this problem is keeping me from working on other issues on my RV agenda.
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Old 04-04-2021, 04:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aribert View Post
Further update:
Since the house batteries are not able to actuate anything (even the fried old house batteries would power up the house lights), I am guessing the issue is in the BCC. Beyond frustrated, knowing that I created this problem and now this problem is keeping me from working on other issues on my RV agenda.
computerguy was correct about surmising that the battery cables might have been miswired. I looked at the cabling and the images I took of the original batteries and saw nothing wrong. I checked the power coming into the BBC and noticed it was only 6.3v. Back to the house batteries - 12.6v between terminals at the pack. Then from underneath, wiggling on every cable I found a ground cable that had slipped down out of sight and not connected to the neg terminal of the first battery. Looked once again at my images and sure enough it was attached to the original battery. Connected the ground and now all is well - a huge relief.
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