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Old 10-08-2011, 03:03 PM   #1
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Charging Chassis Batteries through BIRD or Echo Charger

My chassis batteries don't charge when plugged in. I've done a search on the BIRD and the echo charger, and not sure what would be the better or easier way to make this mod. Below is a picture of my roadside panel. I did not see a BIRD so I'm presuming my coach wasn't set up for it. Not sure how I would go about installing a BIRD. I do see an IRD label on the panel but have no idea on the wiring. Also I don't think my house batteries charge well when the coach is running. I read some info on the Trombetta being a common problem on the Monaco models of my vintage. Please let me know where to start on that issue as well or a replacement part number.

Thanks in advance.


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Old 10-08-2011, 04:20 PM   #2
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You should be getting input from Monaco, owners soon, but I'll throw 2c worth in, in the mean time. My BIRD is in the power cord bay , , beside the Transfere Switch . 4"x4" x1" clearly labled. Also the Bird will not srart to charge the chassis batteries until the coach batteries are fully charged. So if you have weak coach batteries or even dirty connections the BIRD may never start to charge the chassis batteries.
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Old 10-08-2011, 08:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
You should be getting input from Monaco, owners soon, but I'll throw 2c worth in, in the mean time. My BIRD is in the power cord bay , , beside the Transfere Switch . 4"x4" x1" clearly labled. Also the Bird will not srart to charge the chassis batteries until the coach batteries are fully charged. So if you have weak coach batteries or even dirty connections the BIRD may never start to charge the chassis batteries.
Thanks for the input. I checked my power bay and didn't see anything. I am aware that the house batteries need to be full. This is not a new problem. I noticed it ever since I purchased the coach used earlier this year. Hope someone else with a HR Scepter like mine can chime in.
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:43 PM   #4
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I don't know if you have any sort of bird for your model but I can address the Trombetta relay issue with a lot of exeperience as an rver and as a Certified ET that works on 12 volt electrical systems every day. Look in you battery compartment and you should see a large solenoid that has two large terminals and two small ones. There might be a usable label still on it. Take a picture and post it here or e-mail me. I can get you through this in about two voltage measurements. Maybe three if necessary. Carefully touch, do not grab, the solenoid after you have been plugged in to shoreline for several hours. It should be hot to the touch. Uncomfortable hot so be careful. If it is then it is energized. Now using a voltmeter measure the voltage on each large terminal. If you see any difference at all the solenoid is sick.

That said my 08 had a sick one from the start. As a curious ET and wanting to learn every detail of my coach I found the relay was a problem right away. I took mine apart and it was green and gooey inside. With a replacement in hand I took the old one apart and rebuilt it. This is extremely easy to do and requires two wires to be unsoldered inside and four rivets to be drilled out.

Now after finding my relay once again failing this week I decided to take some drastic measures and then it occurred to me. How many relays in my career of 35 year have I seen mounted upside down. I have found many filled with water.

So I got to thinking about this issue and really think this relay is being installed upside down. With the terminals up, the tremendous amount of heat the thing creates and then it cools in the evenings or after shutting shoreline etc off and it could easily suck air along the terminal edges. That air contains moisture. There is no way with the solenoid mounted with the terminals up that the moisture could escape.

So, long story short. I overhauled my solenoid once again and mounted it with the large terminals down. I would bet a very good steak dinner and lots of beer that this solenoid will last for many years now. This just might be an ah ha moment for all of us that have this relay configuration.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:58 AM   #5
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Both the BIRD and IRD were used on Monaco products. The older models used the IRD (Isolator Relay Delay) which sensed the engine battery voltage, and when it rose to a little over 13 volts, it energized the Trombetta relay, connecting the house batteries in parallel with the engine battery. The engine batteries were charged primarily by the alternator.To charge the engine batteries when the coach was plugged in, or on generator,and the engine was off, they used a "Battery Maintainer" which fed current to the engine batteries when the house batteries were up to sufficient voltage.

At one point, Intelletec came up with the BIRD (Bi-directional Isolator Relay Delay) which combined the functions of the IRD and the battery maintainer. If either charging source was available (Genset, shorepower, or the alternator ) and the charging battery was up to 13 volts or more, the Trombetta was energized, connecting all the batteries to the charging source. There is a good description of the BIRD and IRD at the Intellitec website.

The first thing to check is that the Trombetta is being energized when the engine is running. There should be 12 volts at one of the small coil terminals. If there is 12 volts, measure from one of the large terminals to the other. There should be a small voltage (a tenth of a volt at most) between them. If there is more than a tenth of a volt, it is likely that the contacts are corroded and the Trombetta should be replaced. If there is no voltage at the small contacts, then you have a problem with the IRD or its wiring.
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