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Old 05-04-2019, 04:39 PM   #1
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Charging batteries questions

I have a question about charging the chassis and house batteries on my 1994 Dolphin 434 on a Ford F-53 Chassis. National RV is out of business so I cannot get any help there. When hooked up to shore power the house batteries are on constant charge by the converter. There is an emergency start switch on the dash that connects the chassis battery to the house batteries so the engine can be started if the chassis battery is too low. My question is, can the chassis battery also be charged by the converter if this switch is activated?
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Old 05-04-2019, 04:56 PM   #2
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It can but the solenoid may overheat if left on. You could replace it with a contionues duty type but it won't be automatic

There are inexpensive devices like a Amp L Start, Yandina Combiner, Cyrix battery combiner, Magnum battery combiner, and others, that will do what you want to do.

They are voltage controlled, so that if your not plugged in, it won't allow the house battery to draw down the chassis battery. That way you have a way to start the generator, thru the boost circuit or main engine.
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Old 05-04-2019, 05:45 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. I do not use the motorhome much and is parked under a roofed shelter and not hooked to shore power. Every month or so I exercise the generator so the house batteries do get some charging. I also start the vehicle engine, let it warm up and cycle the air conditioner but the chassis battery does not receive enough charging time and will get low. Have been using an automotive battery charger but it is a pain in the xxx to get the extension cords out and hook up the charger. I bought the motor home new in July 1994 and have never used that emergency switch. Don't even know if it works. I did have to replace the house battery disconnect solenoid once. Thanks again. MoMule
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Old 05-04-2019, 05:54 PM   #4
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Well, the point of impact is pretty much the same place but the new crack is not in the same place as the old one. Old one is mostly horizontal and the new one goes vertically from the impact point.
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Old 05-04-2019, 06:44 PM   #5
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Just a Crow's opine.....but...... 1994! By hook or crook, find a resource for the original operator manual and or spec sheet and find what the mfgr recommends for a charging regimen.

Here's why......1994..... your RV, because of its age, likely has a old school charger. Unlike chargers made after maybe 2005ish, it is not "smart". Meaning it will not have smart multi-stage charging and floating capabilities that are computer controlled very precisely to so as not to damage the batteries by constant charging.

Just a WAG, but I'll guess that the manual says to avoid constant charging.

Yes. Not a good idea to charge chassis battery via BOOST switch. If you have shore power...just get a smart charger / maintainer and rig it to the chassis battery.
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Old 05-04-2019, 07:24 PM   #6
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Some fresh equipment may indeed be in order. You are also the perfect candidate for a 100W solar panel with a regulator. There are multi bank regulators. Would keep it all nice and topped off.
'20 RAM 3500, '20 Heartland Road Warrior 430 Also: Eagle Cap 950 Before:'17 Berkshire 38A class A '11 Heartland Cyclone TH, '11 Lance TC, '05 Keystone TT, '76 Coachmen class A and a '16 DIY Transit conversion........
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Old 05-05-2019, 08:22 AM   #7
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Hook any automotive type battery charger to the chassis batteries and plug it into a coach 120v outlet so it runs when the generator is exercised. If you run the genset long enough, you get adequate charging. If not, well, run it longer.

Most devices like the Amp-L-Start won't charge the chassis battery until the house reaches some minimum charge level. May not get there on genset exercising alone. An independent charger, plugged to 120v, seems like a better bet.
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Old 05-05-2019, 08:37 AM   #8
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Make it easy on yourself and just buy a pair of gloves and a small end wrench and keep them in or near your battery compartment.

Whenever you leave the RV sitting for any length of time over about 3 days, just disconnect the grounds of the batteries. Now you can leave it for weeks and healthy batteries will not be self discharging very much. As far as starting the genset, just drop the grounds back on and start it up, disconnect when it's had it's run.

If you also operate your refer while it's in storage, you can just run AC power to it from an extension cord into the vent cabinet. In that case you'd also need a small Schumaker 12 volt float charger for a 12 volt supply connected in place of the refer's 12 volt supply (disconnecting the battery supply advised to avoid accidents).

I've done it this way for 9 months at a time up in Alaska and for 2 months at a time in LA. I was prepared to jump start it if ever needed but didn't need to. Engine started right up after reconnecting the grounds.
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