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Old 12-30-2017, 07:14 AM   #1
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All coach/chassis batteries suddenly discharged, just sitting indrive, plugged in!

I don't know where to post this, but I received no inputs from the Thor site...

We have a 2014 Outlaw 37MD.
PROBLEM: Both the coach and chassis batteries suddenly discharged overnight!
Nothing is turned on.
The battery kill switch has been off.
Water levels in batteries have all been good.
The coach has even been plugged into line current (110V AC).

The batteries were holding out fine as the coach sat for the past several weeks, not even plugged in. But last week when I went out to exercise the generator, all batteries were dead -- both the coach and chassis batteries!
The battery-charge indicator lights inside the coach showed they were at zero.
This same coach battery charge indicator had been showing fully charged even up to a few days before the "death" of the batteries.

I charged up both coach and chassis battery sets, and then ran the generator AND the engine for an hour, and even plugged the coach into a 110V AC line for a couple days.
Rechecking in 2 days -- SAME THING!
All batteries dead.

QUESTIONS:
1) Are there any common causes for sudden "universal" battery death? (Remember, everything has been turned off.)
2) Since BOTH the engine's battery and the two 6V coach batteries were dead, would this point to a problem with the chassis, such that both systems are drained -- or can a short circuit anywhere in the MH cause both systems to drain?
3) Why would batteries discharge even when the coach is plugged into 110 AC line current? I thought that line current (or running the generator) would charge the batteries automatically.
Should the inverter be turned on, or is there a secret switch somewhere that needs to be switched on to keep the batteries charged (or prevent them from being discharged)?

Appreciate any suggestions.
Thanks.
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Old 12-30-2017, 07:28 AM   #2
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Are you sure the batteries are really drained and a connection isn't just loose?

If all connections are clean and tight, then figure out where the current is going. If it is a large current draw, then an inductance clamp (home depot) will help find which cable is using the juice to isolate the problem.

Or, take one positive wire off and see if you can isolate the drain when batteries are charged. Or, pull some fuses to isolate. Or pull the Red wire off the invertor / charger (put some tape on the wire end so it doesn't have a chance to short out).
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Old 12-30-2017, 07:49 AM   #3
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DAV,
Excellent comments. See responses next to your suggestions. I will try them out -- if only it wasn't 10 degrees outside!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dav L View Post
Are you sure the batteries are really drained and a connection isn't just loose? Good suggestion, but I leapt to the conclusion when BOTH the engine's batt and the coach batts were dead, and then also, when I put on a "smart" charger, it recognized that the batts were dead and started charging them .

If all connections are clean and tight, then figure out where the current is going. If it is a large current draw, then an inductance clamp (home depot) will help find which cable is using the juice to isolate the problem. OK. I do have one of those induction clamps, but never have used it. So I guess I would turn off the coach and then clamp over one of the (+) cables to see it there is current traveling through it?

Or, take one positive wire off and see if you can isolate the drain when batteries are charged. Or, pull some fuses to isolate. Or pull the Red wire off the invertor / charger (put some tape on the wire end so it doesn't have a chance to short out). Great ideas. Why didn't I think of it/them! I'm not too clear on the function of the inverter. There is a switch for inverter-on/off. I had been turning it off because I could hear a fan running when it was on.
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Old 12-30-2017, 08:52 AM   #4
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Unhappy

Quote:
Originally Posted by baloo View Post
I don't know where to post this, but I received no inputs from the Thor site...

We have a 2014 Outlaw 37MD.
PROBLEM: Both the coach and chassis batteries suddenly discharged overnight!
Nothing is turned on.
The battery kill switch has been off.
Water levels in batteries have all been good.
The coach has even been plugged into line current (110V AC).

The batteries were holding out fine as the coach sat for the past several weeks, not even plugged in. But last week when I went out to exercise the generator, all batteries were dead -- both the coach and chassis batteries!
The battery-charge indicator lights inside the coach showed they were at zero.
This same coach battery charge indicator had been showing fully charged even up to a few days before the "death" of the batteries.

I charged up both coach and chassis battery sets, and then ran the generator AND the engine for an hour, and even plugged the coach into a 110V AC line for a couple days.
Rechecking in 2 days -- SAME THING!
All batteries dead.

QUESTIONS:
1) Are there any common causes for sudden "universal" battery death? (Remember, everything has been turned off.)
2) Since BOTH the engine's battery and the two 6V coach batteries were dead, would this point to a problem with the chassis, such that both systems are drained -- or can a short circuit anywhere in the MH cause both systems to drain?
3) Why would batteries discharge even when the coach is plugged into 110 AC line current? I thought that line current (or running the generator) would charge the batteries automatically.
Should the inverter be turned on, or is there a secret switch somewhere that needs to be switched on to keep the batteries charged (or prevent them from being discharged)?

Appreciate any suggestions.
Thanks.
I am joining this thread because I want to be included when you solve the problem so as long as I am here I might as well annoy some people and offer my 2 cts.

Batteries dont suddenly and completely fail unless something like a jumper cable is connected across the terminals. I dont know how your meter reads but it might not register a draining battery until it goes below a certain charge.
I believe you said the coach was disconnected for several weeks then you went to start the generator and found the problem. Is that correct? If so, is that when you recharged everything?
In temps that cold batteries may not be able to turn over the generator motor much less the engine itself. Did you try things like the headlights or interior lights? I would suspect something like a slightly loose connection not completing the circuit.

Now before I get attacked here let me explain. There is a coating that can form on any electrical connection that actually insulates the connector and will not allow current to pass. How many have heard of or had happen that an electrical problem was solved by simple unplugging the connector and reconnecting it? An old trick was to use a pocket knife to push between the battery terminal and the cable with the headlight switch on in a car where the battery seemed to be totally dead. If the headlights came on the cable needed to be tightened even though it did not appear loose.

If there is a drain on the batteries and the separator relay is closed all the batteries could be affected. I dont think this is the case I would lean more toward the too cold theory and a loose connection, but it is worth mentioning.
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Old 12-30-2017, 09:04 AM   #5
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In most cases the battery cut off switch needs to be on when ever you have your coach plugged in to shore power for your converter to keep your batteries fully charged.
If you have a Trickle Charger off your house batteries, to keep charging the chassis battery, with out the converter charge on all your batteries will eventually discharge, as long as the batteries didn't freeze, they may take charge.
To get your batteries fully charged now you need a good 12v battery charger to charge them, as long a batteries didn't freeze.
This link from below will give more info on batteries.
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Old 12-30-2017, 10:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 007";3965918]In most cases the battery cut off switch needs to be on when ever you have your coach plugged in to shore power for your converter to keep your batteries fully charged.
If you have a Trickle Charger off your house batteries, to keep charging the chassis battery, with out the converter charge on all your batteries will eventually discharge, as long as the batteries didn't freeze, they may take charge.
To get your batteries fully charged now you need a good 12v battery charger to charge them, as long a batteries didn't freeze.
[B][URL="http://www.irv2.com/forums/f54/technical-info-links-28855.html
This link[/URL][/B] from below will give more info on batteries.
Dd you leave a battery disconnect "on" like I did? Look below in the post.
11-07-2017, 11:33 AM #2
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I have a 1994 Fleetwood. The propane/ CO alarm you speak of has it's power source from the aux (coach) battery and not the main (chassis). I made a schematic of the Battery Control Center to see how it functions in the two circuits. I can tell you that my BCC power is fed from both the aux and the main batteries (with blocking diodes). If you leave the unit without turning off the switch that disconnects the aux battery when the unit is not connected to shore power or generator, after a couple of weeks both aux and main batteries will dicharge. I know, I tried it. I personally like the the propane shutoff solenoid. The alarm device has a 5 year life expectancy. I have replaced mine.

Good luck, Ken
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Old 12-30-2017, 10:28 AM   #7
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Next time the batteries read something other than expected rather than using the built in charge level indicator get a meter and measure the battery volts at the posts, not the terminals or anywhere else. You want to true volt reading of the batteries taking any variables out of the measurement to include dirty or loose terminals. The built in indicators are generally reliable but are dependent on everything between the indicator and the batteries to be in place and working.

If the coach is plugged in to a reliable power source (one you can verify as continuously connected and energized) keep the batteries connected so the converter/charger is keeping them fully charged. With the batteries out of the circuit things can get a bit strange since the converter/charger will normally be active supplying the house with DC power. Some systems will work and other might not. Don't ask me how I know this one.

For the disconnects to reactivate and bring the batteries back into the circuit you'll need around 11VDC from either battery to energize the solenoids so a low battery(s) can cause problem with the disconnects.
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Old 12-30-2017, 12:01 PM   #8
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Overwhelming and great responses.
I started responding individually, but too much to handle, so attempting to address the issues all below:

1) BATTERY DISCONNECT: No, I had the battery disconnect OFF when I had the unit plugged into the house 110V AC line. I am hearing that this switch needs to be ON in order for the batteries to get charged from an outside AC line source?

2) BATTERY METER READING INSIDE THE COACH: The meter on the wall inside the coach ranges from E, 1/3, 2/3, or Full, and it went from Full down to E in about 24 hrs (maybe 48hrs). Prior to that, it was sitting at least a week without a problem -- meter showing "Full" battery charge, which I would check every couple days.

3) WERE THE BATTERIES REALLY DISCHARGED? Yes, I believe so, because of 3 things: A) the engine would not crank, even with the "boost". B) the generator would not crank, and C) when I hooked up the battery charger to each battery, the chargers indicated that the batteries needed charging -- and when I checked several hours later, they were still charging (not switched to "maintenance").

4) CONVERTER ON WHEN PLUGGED IN TO AC CURRENT? No, I did NOT have the inverter turned on when I had the AC line from the house plugged into the coach! This might explain why the batteries did not charge? Must the switch be on (and that humming sound going) when plugged in to an outside source, for the batts to be charging??

5) FREEZING BATTERIES: I don't know! The water on the surface of the cells is not ice, but do they freeze from bottom up? (see #6, below)

6) CHARGING THE BATTERIES - REVERSE POLARITY LIGHT AFTER OVERNIGHT!: I charged the engine's battery with a separate charger. I checked the progress of the charge a few hours into the charging, and it was chugging along just fine, showing that it was still "Charging" and not yet "Maintaining" -- it switches automatically when it detects complete charge.
I left it charging overnight, BUT, but a funny thing is that when I checked in the morning, the charger stated "REVERSE POLARITY DETECTED" and it had shut down the charger!
THIS SAME THING HAPPENED WHEN CHARGING THE COACH BATTERIES! The charger was chugging along just fine, indicating that it was charging after a few hours. BUT, the next day when I went to D/C the charger, the red light on the charger was lit, stating "REVERSE POLArITY DETECTED"!
Can this be due to frozen batteries!!???

So, here's my synopsis of the POSSIBLE problem:
1) The coach batteries suddenly discharged within 48hrs after having shown fully charged for at least a whole week.
2) I then charged the coach batteries to full charge, then plugged in the coach to our house. HOWEVER, I did not have the inverter turned on, nor did I have the battery disconnect switch turned on (i.e., the batteries were "disconnected").
3) Within 24 hours, both the coach AND the chassis batteries were discharged such that neither the engine nor the generator could be started.
4) I charged both chassis and coach batteries, and checked them a few hours after beginning the charge. They were chugging along just fine. HOWEVER, the next morning, in BOTH cases, the charger had a red light indicating that there was a reverse in polarity! (i.e, the charger thought that the charger leads were incorrectly hooked up, although they were NOT incorrectly hooked up).

Is it possible that the batteries were in the process of freezing, accounting for them to discharge, but then they recharged up to a point, until some freezing action/gremlin took over, causing the batteries to trigger a "reverse polarity" indicator AFTER overnight charging???
What in the world would cause a correctly attached battery charger to change to "reverse polarity detected" only after HOURS and hours of correctly charging??
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Old 12-30-2017, 12:59 PM   #9
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Not certain?

But I always thought that indicates a battery with a dead Cell.

Or a dead short in your system someplace ???

I would unhook all battery cables and put your charger on trickle mode for 24 hours and see what happens.
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Old 12-31-2017, 07:22 AM   #10
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I did some research and found this...

"When I'm talking about a fully discharged battery, I'm not talking about zero volts. A fully discharged battery is just below 12 volts. There's only about eight-tenths of a volt difference between a fully charged battery and a discharged battery," Kimbrough said.

A 12-volt battery has six cells, and Kimbrough said that if one cell is damaged, the voltage will drop below 12. Cells are connected in series, like Christmas lights, he added, and "you're never going to be any stronger than the weakest."

The electrolyte inside the battery is made up of about 25 percent sulfuric acid and 75 percent water. The acid interacts chemically with lead plates to create electricity, leaving mainly water in a discharged condition that is more susceptible to freezing. Water freezing inside a battery is "like ice cubes in a refrigerator," Kimbrough said. "When it freezes it expands, and when it expands it pushes those plates together and often causes a short between the positive and negative plates.""

And this...

The second possibility is reversing polarity after the activation process. This is also rare, as it requires a sequence of errors to be present after the installation of the battery. The only way for this to happen would be to completely discharge the battery, either by leaving the key on, or by an unnoticed dead short that completely dissipated the charge over a few days. After that happened it would appear to be a dead battery.

Remember, a completely discharged battery is nothing more than an empty vessel. In order to gain a negative charge, it would then necessitate being hooked up backwards, and charged that way. So the real question here is: how can a battery reverse polarity after it has been installed? That same previously discharged battery would then be vulnerable to reverse charging, either by connecting the battery charger backwards, or by a charging system that reversed polarity (very rare, but still possible).

These two clips from a search could explain what you are experiencing. Not saying it is...but it sounds like it might apply.

Hope this helps
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Old 12-31-2017, 07:40 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quincy View Post
I did some research and found this...

.....

The electrolyte inside the battery is made up of about 25 percent sulfuric acid and 75 percent water. The acid interacts chemically with lead plates to create electricity, leaving mainly water in a discharged condition that is more susceptible to freezing. Water freezing inside a battery is "like ice cubes in a refrigerator," Kimbrough said. "When it freezes it expands, and when it expands it pushes those plates together and often causes a short between the positive and negative plates.""

And this...

.....
Remember, a completely discharged battery is nothing more than an empty vessel. In order to gain a negative charge, it would then necessitate being hooked up backwards, and charged that way. So the real question here is: how can a battery reverse polarity after it has been installed? That same previously discharged battery would then be vulnerable to reverse charging, either by connecting the battery charger backwards, or by a charging system that reversed polarity (very rare, but still possible).

These two clips from a search could explain what you are experiencing. Not saying it is...but it sounds like it might apply.

Hope this helps
Quincy - great info. Thanks for the research!!
I will be removing the batteries and put them in the house and charge them to see what happens....
...that is, if it gets over 32 degrees today (unlikely)
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Old 12-31-2017, 07:54 AM   #12
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2 cents

Another possibility. On our coach there is a Battery Isolation Manager, basically a circuit board controlled solenoid that senses voltage sources for the purpose of allowing battery charging from different sources i.e. Alternator, Shore Power, and Generator. These have a history of failing and one symptom of failure is the problem you are describing (reversing polarity, sudden discharge, etc.) Not sure if your rig has this type of system but you may want to look in your manuals and find out what is controlling your charging systems and trouble shoot the product that applies to your MH.
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Old 12-31-2017, 08:00 AM   #13
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Please do not charge your batteries inside your home. Charging releases explosive gasses. Take the batts to the automotive store and let them check for free if you do not have the specific gravity tool to check charge and condition of individual cells.
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Old 12-31-2017, 08:12 AM   #14
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I had a similar problem. Turns out my converter was bad. So batteries really never got charged. Turn off you battery switch and plug in, and then check if you get any voltage out of the converter
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