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Old 12-16-2020, 10:03 PM   #1
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House Battery Temp Sensor Placement

I'm the new owner of a coach that rides on a 2005 MM Cummins 370 chassis. The rig is in great shape, with most aspects reflecting pride in ownership and good maintenance. The battery bank pales compared to the rig's overall condition.

There are two one-year-old chassis batteries (12V Fleetrite Gold maintenance-free) that seem good. However, the house batteries are junk (6V Trojan T-105 in parallel/series without a date code, thought to be at least 3 years old). The house bank shows a 65% charge at best, never more than 12.6 volts after max charging time and the voltage drifts to 11.3 or so when off charger overnight. thee out of four have case bulging at both ends or uplifting at the positive post. The inboard forward battery also has an actual separation of the cap from the case (obvious upward lifting near the positive post). Interestingly, this most visibly damaged battery happened to be the battery on which the temperature sensor was mounted. Which leads to one of the questions that will follow.

I just picked up the replacements at Sam's Club today - Duracell GC2; 75 amp rating, 105 minutes. After weighing the cost/benefit differences between FLA, VRLA/gel, AGM and lithium, it was decided that this $360 bank is a great bang for the buck that can be re-purposed if we decide to go all-in on a serious boondocking set-up with LifePo4 batteries and solar (the Duracells could be rotated into our boat which will remain on FLA technology).

Is there any rationale regarding which battery on which to place the temperature sensor? I thought it odd or interesting that our most visibly damaged battery just happened to be the one that had the sensor, so absent any advice, I think I'll stick with that position.

How does one attach the sensor pad? I had to pry this one off. It was firmly bonded to the battery cap with an adhesive that looked a bit like black RTV. I plan to clean off the residual adhesive as I'm able, but I need to determine the proper means to re-bond the sensor onto the replacement battery.

BTW, my slide-out battery tray shows some signs of corrosive damage. Some of the bearings are disintegrating, but I think most of the corrosion on the tray and slides is on the surface. I plan to disassemble the whole affair and clean it up with baking soda. After a soap and water rinse, I will paint with Rustoleum. I will be sourcing new bearings tomorrow. This is a bit of effort, but it beats the factory replacement, at least in economic terms. I priced a new slide tray assembly from Newmar .... $1200+. Ouch!

Any tips for this house battery renewal/tray refurbish project would be appreciated.
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Old 12-17-2020, 05:26 AM   #2
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Today's battery temp sensors bolt onto any negetive battery terminal.

Its location will effect the whole bank, not just the battery its on, it adjusts the inverter/charger output.

If the sensor is defective, it can cause a chronc over or under charge condition.

The inverter/charger display should show what temp its sending. That should match with battery compartment air temps.
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Old 12-17-2020, 06:52 AM   #3
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For tray clean up info here are a couple links.
My sensor is fastened to one of the posts as mentioned. Note the added fender washers and packing the bearings for added corrosion protection.
Temp sensor visible in one of the middle rear battys (smaller wire)

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f103/battery-slide-refurb-484735.html

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f103/battery-tray-not-a-mod-just-a-cleanup-222066.html
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Old 12-17-2020, 08:02 AM   #4
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No mention of your current converter/charger/monitor setup. The battery trauma you describe is indicative of a wildly uncontrolled environment that in my estimation goes beyond the placement of a temperature sensor. So before you subject the new set to whatever it was that took out the old one, I'd be doing some testing with the current setup to make sure I understood what was going on.

Mark B.
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Old 12-18-2020, 02:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Winemaker2 View Post
For tray clean up info here are a couple links.
My sensor is fastened to one of the posts as mentioned. Note the added fender washers and packing the bearings for added corrosion protection.
Temp sensor visible in one of the middle rear battys (smaller wire)

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f103/battery-slide-refurb-484735.html

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f103/battery-tray-not-a-mod-just-a-cleanup-222066.html

Those threads were inspiring and helpful. Thanks! I need to re-read compartment clean-up posts because I never saw any information on replacement roller bearings (sourcing them). Keyline Sales (the slide-out tray fabricator) has nothing of the sort on their website, and they are closed today, and I fear until after Christmas or New Years. I could be facing over two weeks without power on the coach, which is a set-back for other projects. As much as I hate duplication of labor, I may have to do a temporary battery rig in the bare compartment.

As one of the thread OPs noted, these bearings have no stamped markings. I just came home from my local bearing speciality supplier. One guy at the counter has 40 years in the business and has never seen anything like this. The closest he could get was doubling two thinner (sealed) bearings side-by-side. Even then, the OD is a bit smaller. This solution might be a bit sloppy, so I'm holding some hope for availability through Keyline.

Any other suggestions about a bearing source would be quite helpful.
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Old 12-18-2020, 06:01 PM   #6
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"Any other suggestions about a bearing source would be quite helpful."

I would start by figuring out the slide mfg and contacting them. Are the old ones good enough to reassemble as a temp fix until you find replacements?
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Old 12-18-2020, 06:25 PM   #7
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Quote trimmed for brevity...
Quote:
Originally Posted by zippinbye View Post
... The house bank shows a 65% charge at best, never more than 12.6 volts after max charging time and the voltage drifts to 11.3 or so when off charger overnight.
11.3 suggests that you have a shorted cell.
Each 12 volt lead-acid battery is six cells, and each cell is about 2 volts.
Each 6 volt battery has 3 cells. Two 6-volt batteries in series look like 6 cells.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zippinbye View Post
Is there any rationale regarding which battery on which to place the temperature sensor?
I was told to mount it to the negative post of the battery, and if a series string to the battery nearest to ground.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zippinbye View Post
How does one attach the sensor pad? I had to pry this one off. It was firmly bonded to the battery cap with an adhesive that looked a bit like black RTV. I plan to clean off the residual adhesive as I'm able, but I need to determine the proper means to re-bond the sensor onto the replacement battery.
I was told that it had to be mounted to the metal of the negative post to actually read the internal battery temperature... so in your case it was feeding false info to the charger. Maybe I misunderstood the guy who was explaining the system to me.

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Old 12-18-2020, 07:29 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Winemaker2 View Post
"Any other suggestions about a bearing source would be quite helpful."

I would start by figuring out the slide mfg and contacting them. Are the old ones good enough to reassemble as a temp fix until you find replacements?
Yup. The slide out battery tray is a Journeyman by Keyline Sales in Elkhart. Their website replacement parts catalog has very few items, like latch handles and tie downs - no bearings. Evidently, they keep hours that would be the envy of bankers everywhere. Since I'm too impatient to wait for their holiday schedule to make contact, I found a production bearing that's available via special order through my local distributor. It's the Kilian Manufacturing D2500. Original quote for $29.50 each, but when the rep called me back he said "bad news, minimum order 10 units." I had told him four, but absolute minimum one based on the relative condition of eight total bearings. The quantity price is $18.50. A no brainer - replace all 8 and have two spare - for the cost of six at the individual price. What I thought would be a "quick and cheap" project is turning into something else. But in the end, I'll have a better than new battery compartment and zero time house batteries for something around $600, a bit of down time and some effort. Let's call it a bonding experience between new owner and coach.

Thanks everybody for the thoughts.
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Old 12-18-2020, 08:07 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mark_K5LXP View Post
No mention of your current converter/charger/monitor setup. The battery trauma you describe is indicative of a wildly uncontrolled environment that in my estimation goes beyond the placement of a temperature sensor. So before you subject the new set to whatever it was that took out the old one, I'd be doing some testing with the current setup to make sure I understood what was going on.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
New to the coach, so I'm learning and don't have all the answers yet. The controller is a Xantrex RC7. The coach is a 2005 model with a 2004 build date, so i guess it's not leading edge technology.

My speculation is the temperature sensor was somewhat thermally isolated as mounted. It seemed to have a thick layer of adhesive and was partially overlapping the Trojan's data sticker. The coach was domiciled in Las Vegas, where ambient temperatures are commonly above 100F/40C. Add in some reflective heat from the drivetrain and the asphalt beneath and these batteries are cookin' prior to adding a charge. If this sensor mount masked the true battery temp, it would be logical that abusive loads were applied. My fifth wheel has a charge controller that cavemen discarded in favor of fire. "Smart" doesn't enter the picture, and there's no temp sensor. I attained much better battery life when I switched to a pair of 6V golf cart batts from a single 12V marine deep cycle battery. But it's a ruthless environment. So I've been happy with two strong years followed by two years of declining performance before removal.

Once I identify the CC, maybe I can switch to the more modern negative post temp sensor. Failing that, I think I can purchase a new old stock sensor with the proper adhesive.
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Old 12-19-2020, 01:50 PM   #10
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I started out to replace my batteries and shine up the tray a bit, but once I seen how much more room I had without tray, I decide to add 2 more batteries. Turned out to be pretty easy with the help of a couple folks on this forum, and now I know much more about my coach. Took me a couple days.

Here's the thread of my project.

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f103/bat...de-517368.html
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Old 02-19-2021, 08:13 AM   #11
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Spartan Battery Sensor Location

Zippinbye,
I own an '05 Newmar DutchStar with Spartan MM chassis. While having work done recently at a diesel repair shop in northern California the technician saw that my battery sensor was sitting on top of one of my house batteries. He quickly reminded me that this WAS NOT the preferred location and proceeded to wedge the sensor down between two(2) batteries end/side walls.
I trust his opinion as he was right on many other issues with my rig.
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Old 02-22-2021, 11:09 PM   #12
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Zippinbye,
I own an '05 Newmar DutchStar with Spartan MM chassis. While having work done recently at a diesel repair shop in northern California the technician saw that my battery sensor was sitting on top of one of my house batteries. He quickly reminded me that this WAS NOT the preferred location and proceeded to wedge the sensor down between two(2) batteries end/side walls.
I trust his opinion as he was right on many other issues with my rig.
Pincherman, your info is interesting to me, but I had already completed a total battery compartment overhaul, including slide tray rebuild and house battery replacement. I was able to get a brand new, out of production direct contact temp sensor from Xantrex. I placed it right where the old one was, naively thinking somebody before me knew what they were doing! It's on top of my forward, inboard house battery. I'll consider moving it, but if I don't feel more love for my old-tech inverter soon, I may upgrade the whole system which likely means a post-mounted sensor.

Having not experienced the Las Vegas summer temperatures (yet) with this coach, I'm curious how this sensor will actually function. I have no idea what its threshold is. There will be days that the compartment air temperature is well above 120F, given a hot day, heat transmission from the asphalt and proximity to the Cummins and its exhaust; all before any heat generated by a battery charging load. I'm skeptical, but time will tell.

Nice to know of someone with the same platform. I may have some other questions as I learn more about this rig. Like, where the heck are the hazard flashers? Thanks!
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:52 AM   #13
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Hazards

Zippinbye,
Hazards pull out of the top underside of the steering column.
Good talking with you!
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