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Old 05-11-2021, 03:49 PM   #1
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House batteries discharged

Because of a serious miscommunication, our coach was parked and not powered, nor was the house disconnect switch turned off. Its been about 10 days and I discovered that the parasitic load has resulted in no lights, no power, no nothing on the house side of the coach. (As far as I know, no one left any of the lights on. The refrigerator and water heater were turned off for sure.) The question is what to do next. Plugging the RV power cord into the storage location, which has a dedicated 20amp GFCI receptacle just makes the GFCI trip after about 10 seconds.

I'll bring the coach home, where I have a 50amp drop and can get the charger/inverter and EMS fired up and working. I don't know whether it will bulk and float charge the batteries if they are completely flat, or not. I think they are AGM deep cycle. Not sure how old. Is it likely they can be brought back? Any pointers or advice are welcomed. What a pain...

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Old 05-11-2021, 04:21 PM   #2
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You can try to charge it by starting the engine or gen set. However, if it is a magnum charger, they usually won't kick on if the voltage in the battery is too low. Do you know the battery voltages? Is the chassis battery good?
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Old 05-11-2021, 05:17 PM   #3
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Had the same problem couple months ago...RV service place ran the two 6 volt AGM batteries clear down.

Brought it home and plugged into my 50 amp outlet and the next day all was well.
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Old 05-11-2021, 05:21 PM   #4
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If you can you get engine or genny started. Start engine .Put a jumper cable between engine battery and house main positive, as well if inv. charger wont recognize/charge batteries until it will if on generator. Bring batteries all the way back to full ,maybe run an equalize charge on them check fluid levels first.
The GCFI might hold after the charger is not looking to charge 100amps.
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Old 05-11-2021, 05:26 PM   #5
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If your bi directional charging system works your batteries should see a charge after the engine is running for a couple of minutes. Run at high idle if possible for 15 minutes or so. I do not normally recommend any idling time but you need to get a decent surface charge going again.

Put a voltmeter on them and watch of course. IF you can get the generator running then after it runs for 2-3 minutes measure the house batteries.

You can leave the engine running for the moment. At this point, compare the voltage on your engine batteries to your house batteries. Shut the engine off, leaving the generator on. This should be enough to wake up your inverter/charger and get it to working hard.

Just a note. If the generator and engine are running at the same time the device that combines the battery banks will be disables so the alternator will not compete with the onboard charger. This should muddy the water so sorry about that.
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Old 05-11-2021, 09:47 PM   #6
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I forgot to mention that the generator didn't start, didn't even turn over. I later realized it might need priming. However, maybe it starts off the house battery, since the owners manual states that the house battery disconnect (in the battery compartment) must be on, but it doesn't say why. In any case, I guess I won't be using the generator for charging the house batteries.

Another problem... I read somewhere that the EMS shuts off the charger (the built in, inverter/converter/charger, Magnum if memory serves) if the house batteries voltage drops below 11 volts. So I guess the batteries have to be back up to 11V before the EMS will enable the built in charger... and since the alternator is for topping off batteries -- how am I going to charge the house batteries back up to 11V? Is isolating them and using an external charger the only choice?
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Old 05-11-2021, 09:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YC1 View Post
If your bi directional charging system works your batteries should see a charge after the engine is running for a couple of minutes. Run at high idle if possible for 15 minutes or so. I do not normally recommend any idling time but you need to get a decent surface charge going again.

Put a voltmeter on them and watch of course. IF you can get the generator running then after it runs for 2-3 minutes measure the house batteries.

You can leave the engine running for the moment. At this point, compare the voltage on your engine batteries to your house batteries. Shut the engine off, leaving the generator on. This should be enough to wake up your inverter/charger and get it to working hard.

Just a note. If the generator and engine are running at the same time the device that combines the battery banks will be disables so the alternator will not compete with the onboard charger. This should muddy the water so sorry about that.
@YC1 - I keep re-reading this, and i think i get what you're saying. I'll drive the coach home tomorrow which is about a 15 min trip, then see if the charger will activate, and plug into my 50A and hope some combination works. If not, I'm opting for a nervous breakdown. #grin
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch Hoagland View Post
Had the same problem couple months ago...RV service place ran the two 6 volt AGM batteries clear down.

Brought it home and plugged into my 50 amp outlet and the next day all was well.
Arch -- I'm hoping this works for me... heading home to my 50A tomorrow. The chassis battery is fine and the coach starts and runs. Hoping for the best outcome.
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:03 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by 153stars View Post
If you can you get engine or genny started. Start engine .Put a jumper cable between engine battery and house main positive, as well if inv. charger wont recognize/charge batteries until it will if on generator. Bring batteries all the way back to full ,maybe run an equalize charge on them check fluid levels first.
The GCFI might hold after the charger is not looking to charge 100amps.
@153stars - I'm not quite following you. Can you repeat in more detail in case i need to use this technique? Thanks!
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:07 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by iluvuk View Post
You can try to charge it by starting the engine or gen set. However, if it is a magnum charger, they usually won't kick on if the voltage in the battery is too low. Do you know the battery voltages? Is the chassis battery good?
@iluvuk - the chassis battery is fine. I will check house batteries voltages when i get it home tomorrow. I guess i do that from + to - without the engine running and then with?
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:37 PM   #11
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@iluvuk - the chassis battery is fine. I will check house batteries voltages when i get it home tomorrow. I guess i do that from + to - without the engine running and then with?
Hopefully after you drive the coach or run the engine, it will put a surface charge onto the coach batteries and it will be enough to trigger your charger. There are batteries that are so dead that the built in charger wont charge them. They need to be something like 9 volts for the charger to kick on or thereabout depending upon the charger so some people have had to actually hook a separate home battery charger on or jumper cables to boost them to the point that the motorhome charger will take over.

I am hoping that by running the engine you will get enough surface charge to trigger your charger. Let us know.
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Old 05-12-2021, 12:05 AM   #12
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If your house and chassis batteries are near each other just take a car jumper cable hook the main chassis pos. to main house batt pos. . Your now charging what ever set is the lowest. In your case I would do this after engine running. The are both heavily grounded to frame so no need to ground. You will need to exercise caution as not to ground the cables out. 15 minutes high idle isn't going to hurt your motor. Then try to start your genny if it takes off you can probably remove the jumper once the inv. charger kicks in. If all your house batts are all the way down it will take the better part of a day get to full float charged. But in and hour or so maybe the gfci will hold if you coach doesn't normally trip one. That's a whole nother thread or 20.



Quote:
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@153stars - I'm not quite following you. Can you repeat in more detail in case i need to use this technique? Thanks!
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Old 05-12-2021, 05:39 AM   #13
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Once you get home and while the engine is still running, try to start the generator.

If the battery combining system is working properly (bird system) or whatever is on your rv, then the generator should start.

IF the generator runs fine for 5 minutes (thats a long time tapping your feet), then shut the RV off but leave the generator running.

Then get a voltage measurement on the house batteries quickly.

IF you see 13-14 volt things are getting charged. Leave the generator running while you connect your shoreline. Your transfer box will keep things isolated during this just fine.

IF you do not have a 30-50 amp shoreline outlet such as a wimpy 15-20 amp outlet then go to your EMS panel to see if you can do one or two things. You may be able to turn the charge current down on the converter from say 100 amps to 20. Or perhaps telling the EMS that you have a wimpy shorline connection and it will turn things down for you.

The point is the converter will be running full tilt boogie and trip a wimpy shoreline breaker and you may thing you have other issues.

Once you are ready, just turn the generator off and wait a couple of minutes to let things come alive. Again, the two minute toe tapping boring will the ice cream truck ever get here problem.

I'm hoping your battery combining system is working properly. Once your house batteries are getting charged be sure to put a meter on your chassis batteries to be sure they are getting some of the IV electron fluid as well.

Cheers.
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Old 05-13-2021, 09:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YC1 View Post
Once you get home and while the engine is still running, try to start the generator.
<sp> Nope, the generator wouldn't start... I guess the house batteries were still too weak.

If the battery combining system is working properly (bird system) or whatever is on your rv, then the generator should start.
<sp> I don't know enough about the BIRD. Since the generator wasn't running and I wasn't on shore power yet, was the BIRD in play? If so, it hadn't had enough time to charge the house.

IF the generator runs fine for 5 minutes (thats a long time tapping your feet), then shut the RV off but leave the generator running.
<sp> wasn't running, see above

Then get a voltage measurement on the house batteries quickly.
<sp> not applicable

IF you see 13-14 volt things are getting charged. Leave the generator running while you connect your shoreline. Your transfer box will keep things isolated during this just fine.
<sp> not applicable

IF you do not have a 30-50 amp shoreline outlet such as a wimpy 15-20 amp outlet then go to your EMS panel to see if you can do one or two things. You may be able to turn the charge current down on the converter from say 100 amps to 20. Or perhaps telling the EMS that you have a wimpy shorline connection and it will turn things down for you.

The point is the converter will be running full tilt boogie and trip a wimpy shoreline breaker and you may thing you have other issues.

Once you are ready, just turn the generator off and wait a couple of minutes to let things come alive. Again, the two minute toe tapping boring will the ice cream truck ever get here problem.

I'm hoping your battery combining system is working properly. Once your house batteries are getting charged be sure to put a meter on your chassis batteries to be sure they are getting some of the IV electron fluid as well.

<sp> When the generator wouldn't start, I shut down the engine and hooked up the 50A shore power. After a couple minutes the Magnum kicked on and the hallway remote showed it was charging (I think the BIRD detects which battery bank needs charging, and throws the relay in the battery compartment to the correct bank, in this case, the house). Time will tell whether or not the house batteries recover. Oddly, the remote showed that the Magnum was pulling 70A... I don't pretend to understand how that's possible, but it helps me understand why the GFCI 20A outlet at the storage facility was tripping before I could even adjust the Magnum at the remote.


Cheers.
See comments inline above.... Thanks again for ALL the help from everyone!! I'll post here again after a day
of charging.
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