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Old 09-23-2022, 05:03 PM   #1
DJJ
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Chassis batteries not charging on shore power.

2003 Dutch Star, Freightliner XC chassis.

At home plugged into 50amp found the chassis batteries low. Checked the electrical bay to see if I had power to the coach, all good. But noticed a solenoid humming and a clicking sound. Silence the it would hum and click again.

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Volt meter showed batteries at 10 volts.
Put a charger on the batteries and after a while I noticed the above solenoid was not cycling. With a 2amp charge after about 30 minutes I could hear the battery acid boiling so I disconnected the charger. When I checked the voltage again several times over the next 30 minutes the batteries were just over 13 volts. So I assumed my Trace Engineering Inverter/charger decided to charge the batteries.

That’s when I noticed the charger LED flashing red continues. The manual says 7 or more flashes consult factory. I think Trace is out of business?

So called in for dinner. Went back out an hour later, batteries voltage back down, not being charger from the Trace inverter/charger.

The batteries are 4 1/2 years old.

Is their an isolator for the chassis batteries that the alternator and inverter/charger are connected to before connecting to the batteries?

Anyone have a schematic for this 19 year old coach?

Thanks in advance.

Jeff
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Old 09-23-2022, 05:15 PM   #2
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Also after dinner when the batteries voltage was back down the red flashing light was back to green.

Pulling the batteries out and having them tested any other thoughts?


Jeff
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Old 09-23-2022, 06:03 PM   #3
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Every coach I have owned did not charge the chassis batteries from the inverter/charger. There was always a Trick-L-Start (5amp), Amp-L-Start (15amp)or now a Magnum Smart Battery Combiner (25amp). They all transfer power from the house batteries being charged when the voltage is above a set point. When those went bad, the chassis battery voltage would drop until the engine started or another charging source was hooked up. Under normal conditions, a 2 amp charger would only maintain a charger battery. It would take days to charge a discharged battery.
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Old 09-24-2022, 10:51 AM   #4
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Chassis batteries not charging on shore power.

That relay looks like a battery combiner to me. If the chassis used to charge but not now, its common for the relay contacts to burn and not tie the house/chassis banks together thus not charging both banks.

If contacts are good but its not staying engaged, there could be loose or corroded wiring from the relay controller (BIRD,IRD ect) or controller is bad or relay coil is going bad.

Some controllers only apply full +12v to the relays coil to pull it in then changes to a lower voltage / square wave. If I remember correctly a voltmeter will read only a few volts across relay coil wiring once its engaged.
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Old 09-24-2022, 10:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crasher View Post
Every coach I have owned did not charge the chassis batteries from the inverter/charger. There was always a Trick-L-Start (5amp), Amp-L-Start (15amp)or now a Magnum Smart Battery Combiner (25amp). They all transfer power from the house batteries being charged when the voltage is above a set point. When those went bad, the chassis battery voltage would drop until the engine started or another charging source was hooked up. Under normal conditions, a 2 amp charger would only maintain a charger battery. It would take days to charge a discharged battery.
Thousands of MHs use BIRDs or now BIMs, the first letter meaning bi-directional.

Even my cheap Thor has a BIM.
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Old 09-24-2022, 11:02 AM   #6
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This topic is a good candidate for a sticky maybe. Some folks opt to replace the older technology (the bird or solenoid), some use an additional charging device, some opt for a VSR.
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Old 09-24-2022, 11:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJJ View Post
Also after dinner when the batteries voltage was back down the red flashing light was back to green.

Pulling the batteries out and having them tested any other thoughts?


Jeff


If you remove take picture even draw where all wires go. There are post after post batteries being hooked up wrong and owners saying nothing works.
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Old 09-24-2022, 12:10 PM   #8
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Question DJJ, when you indicate "2003 Dutch Star, Freightliner XC chassis.

At home plugged into 50amp found the chassis batteries low." do you mean the two starting batteries, or the 4/6 house batteries?
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Old 09-24-2022, 12:34 PM   #9
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Thousands of MHs use BIRDs or now BIMs, the first letter meaning bi-directional.

Even my cheap Thor has a BIM.
Good to know. Mine was a 2013, but I've sold it . If I get the urge to have another coach, has the BIRD come available in the last 10 years or has it been around longer?
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Old 09-24-2022, 12:47 PM   #10
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My 2006 has it
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Old 09-24-2022, 12:50 PM   #11
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"DJJ".....Not until sometime after 2005 did MOST RV manufacturers start wiring the charging systems to charge the chassis batteries while on Shore Power. Prior to that, while plugged into shore power, most would see their chassis batteries go dead in about two weeks.

You don't say if this is a new to you coach or a new issue. I think you have two problems. First, your batteries are probably toast from being allowed to go dead repeatedly, plus age. The second issue is that your coach was NOT designed to charge the chassis batteries while plugged into shore power.

The solution.....there are 3-4 companies that make a simple system that uses a few easily installed wires to charge the chassis batteries while on shore power.

Here is one model that is popular.....

AMP-L-START Starting Battery Charger/Maintainer - Overview Page

Here is the model I chose, as I like the quality of Magnum products.....

https://www.magnum-dimensions.com/sm...ttery-combiner
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Old 09-24-2022, 01:03 PM   #12
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OK ; first if your batteries were boiling with a 2 amp charge , that's part of the issue

Does the rest of the area close to the solenoid you posted the photo of look like this ; photo below ?

The bird system won't start charging the chassis battery from shore power unless the coach batteries are being charged & holding stable , above a certain rate .
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Old 09-24-2022, 03:49 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone for your response’s.

Yes, found out I have the Bi-directional isolator relay delay system. Read up on it this morning and on my Trace inverter/ charger.

The red light flashing turns out to be orange and was indicating it was in absorption cycle.

Replaced the chassis/starting batteries and everything is back to normal.

One of the starting batteries when disconnected was at 7 volts and the other at 10 volts and pretty warm. With new batteries installed, I could see with the volt meter, the inverter go into absorption stage 14.4 volts and then go into float voltage 13.5 volts on the chassis batteries and also on the house batteries.

9 years with this RV, I guess it was time to figure out this system. Thanks again for everyone’s help.

Jeff
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Old 09-24-2022, 04:41 PM   #14
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Chassis batteries not charging on shore power.

[QUOTE=Dutch Star Don;6316476]"DJJ".....Not until sometime after 2005 did MOST RV manufacturers start wiring the charging systems to charge the chassis batteries while on Shore Power. Prior to that, while plugged into shore power, most would see their chassis batteries go dead in about two weeks.

Hey Don FYI: my old 1998 HR has a factory Installed BIRD, I guess I got lucky!
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