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Old 10-27-2021, 09:43 PM   #1
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Safari charging problem

My clueless friend has a 2001 Safari Zanzibar with a charging problem. 4 new 6 volt coach batteries are fine but almost new (2/21) engine batteries have a problem. I used a VOM to test voltage when plugged into shore power, with generator running and with engine running. The voltage on engine batteries only show a charge when the engne is running, do NOT show a charge on shore power or when running the generator. (Engine batteries will no longer hold a charge and are under 10v resting but go to 13.8v with engine running, he uses a button on the dash to jump the coach batteries to start the engine or generator.) I would appreiate any suggestion as to where to look for the source of the problem as I seem to be his troubleshooter.
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Old 10-28-2021, 01:50 AM   #2
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This is a universal problem across brands. I'm not sure if there was IRD , BIRD or Trickle/Ample Start "a dc to dc charger" to charge the chassis battery when plugged in. There may not be any from factory at all. One possible problem would have been combiner solenoid but it is okay since he can jump start it. The IRD and BIRD use pull in that solenoid .
If they are dying quickly the chassis batteries are probably toast.
Can always put chassis batts on car charger when plugged for now.
A amp draw test of chassis batts for parasitic draw while sitting is also a good idea.
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Old 10-28-2021, 04:13 PM   #3
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The generator and shore power go through the inverter charger, or the separate converter if it has one. Check for fuses there and see if you can meter at the inverter/converter.

On my '98 there's a couple of fuses on the wall of the bed pedestal in the engine compartment. You'll have to lift the bed to access them. They are large flat fuses.. Mine are right below the blue battery charge isolator. The fuses may look fine so be sure to meter on either side of the fuse. If you find a bad fuse, be careful when you install the new one. They are easy to break by twisting when you tighten the nuts.

When charging the batteries with the engine running it will take quite a while to fully charge the batteries. Don't be fooled into reading voltage right after shutting the engine off. You'll only be reading the surface charge. If you have one, place each battery set on a regular battery charger and charge for at least 24 hours. After that, let the batteries rest for an hour then take a voltage reading. Ideally, if they are regular flooded cell batteries, get a hydrometer and measure all the cells after a charge and rest. This will tell you true state of charge.

If the batteries are going dead in storage - even with the storage/salesman switch turned off, there are phantom loads which will drain the batteries. Only way to prevent it is to remove the negative cable from each set or install disconnects.

Although it for an older model, attached is the primary 12v distribution schematic. Note the 250amp fuse between the inverter charger and the coach batteries.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf SafariPrimary12vdcDist.pdf (78.2 KB, 10 views)
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Old 10-28-2021, 06:16 PM   #4
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Thanks for your response. Mr friend has taken the Safari on his 1st trip and will be boondocking with a group. He brought a portable generator and plug-in charger with him in case he has problems. We'll test the batteries after he returns, I think they're toast, and I'll install a battery cutoff until I can find the problem.
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Old 10-28-2021, 06:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astrnmrtom View Post
The generator and shore power go through the inverter charger, or the separate converter if it has one. Check for fuses there and see if you can meter at the inverter/converter.

On my '98 there's a couple of fuses on the wall of the bed pedestal in the engine compartment. You'll have to lift the bed to access them. They are large flat fuses.. Mine are right below the blue battery charge isolator. The fuses may look fine so be sure to meter on either side of the fuse. If you find a bad fuse, be careful when you install the new one. They are easy to break by twisting when you tighten the nuts.

When charging the batteries with the engine running it will take quite a while to fully charge the batteries. Don't be fooled into reading voltage right after shutting the engine off. You'll only be reading the surface charge. If you have one, place each battery set on a regular battery charger and charge for at least 24 hours. After that, let the batteries rest for an hour then take a voltage reading. Ideally, if they are regular flooded cell batteries, get a hydrometer and measure all the cells after a charge and rest. This will tell you true state of charge.

If the batteries are going dead in storage - even with the storage/salesman switch turned off, there are phantom loads which will drain the batteries. Only way to prevent it is to remove the negative cable from each set or install disconnects.

Although it for an older model, attached is the primary 12v distribution schematic. Note the 250amp fuse between the inverter charger and the coach batteries.
Great information. I didn't know to look under the bed platform and the schematic is priceless. I'll get a chance next week to spend more time trying to familiarize myself. I know where to locate things on my own RV but tis is all new.
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