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Old 01-22-2011, 04:05 PM   #1
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Batteries not charging!

Hi All! This site has been a godsend for a newbie like me! I have a charging problem. My house batteries will not charge when plugged in to shore power, but they do charge when the motor is running. I am getting 120v to the receptacle that the converter is plugged into but don't know where to go from there. Any help would be appreciated!
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Old 01-22-2011, 04:13 PM   #2
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Hi mrpardee,
There may be a reset button on the charger. Look on all sides, they are not placed for convenience. If you have a meter and are comfortable using it, check the charger/converter output connections. The reading could be between 13.4 and 14.5 VDC. If there is no VDC then the charger is not working. If there is VDC then there is an in line fuse between the charger and the batteries that is blown. Charger/converters are usually replaced, not repaired. However, not knowing what charger you have, it might be repaired. Charger/converter only is much less expensive than a charger, converter and inverter combination.
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Old 01-22-2011, 05:17 PM   #3
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Mr. Pardee...I don't know how old your rig is, but if it has the old style converters, they only put out 13+ volts all the time...which will make mincemeat of your batteries in short order so that can't hold a charge. I had the same problem, and replaced the old Magnatek 45 amp with this one 45 Amp Converter Replacement Kit. It does the trickle/cut off charge routine, and I haven't had a problem since. Batteries stay topped up. Took about 30 minutes to change.
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:28 PM   #4
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I have been checking voltages. I have 13.2 volts coming from the charger so I think that works. I should have said before I have a 2004 National Dolphin 5355. I was wondering about the solenoid in the 12volt dist center. I have 13.2 volts on both sides (house and chassis) but no voltage from either of the smaller 14 gauge wires. How does this solenoid work and should there be any voltage readings from the smaller wires?
Thanks again
Randy
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:21 PM   #5
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Randy...You should have 2 solenoids...One is the house battery disconnect solenoid which is the one I think that you are checking since you are seeing charging voltage in and out...The small wires on it come from a switch in your coach that works the solenoid on and off...It should always be on unless you are storing your unit...Since you are getting 13.2 volts out, check the voltage at the house batteries..It should be the same..If not check everything from the solenoid to the batteries especially grounds...
The other solenoid/isolater connects your coach and chassis batteries together when the engine is running so that they all can be charged by the engine alternator...There is also a switch in your coach for it that manually connects all the batteries together if you have a starting problem usually called a boost switch...Hope this helps...
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Old 01-22-2011, 09:02 PM   #6
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Thanks Movin-on
Your correct the disconnect switch does control that solenoid. I have 13.2 volts all the way to the batteries now(one of the circuit breakers in the 12v distribution panel was tripped) and also discovered some corrosion between the battery and the connector. my house battery display shows 6.8 volts so I'm gonna let it charge up tonite and check in the morning! Thanks again movin-on. There is so much to learn on these beasts!
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:36 AM   #7
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Batteries still dead! I have only 5.8 volts on one side of solenoid, same at the batteries. I also noticed if i turn engine on all lights work otherwise no lights work even plugged in to shore power. Where can I check the voltage coming out of the circuit breaker on the 12v distribution center?
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:11 PM   #8
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Is the 5.8 volts in or out of the solenoid...Try bypassing the solenoid with a heavy jumper then check your voltage...
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:19 PM   #9
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Now its reading 12.3 on one side of solenoid 10.8 on the other 10.8 on batteries too, maybe solenoid needs replacing
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:24 PM   #10
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Have you checked your battery cables to frame of chassis? This would be the negative cable. Check one from your Buss field near solenoids if you have one.
Lights will brighten up when alternator is operating with engine turning over.
Dirty high resistance ground connections to frame will cause problem with charging batteries and their use.
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Old 01-23-2011, 06:09 PM   #11
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Hi mrpardee,
I'm confused. Post 6 says you have 13.2 VDC all the way to the batts. Post 7 says only 5.8 VDC at the batts (about 14 hours after post 6). If it was me, I'd:
1. Check the battery ground cables (all of them and both ends).
2. Get a portable charger and fully charge the batteries (coach and chassis).
3. Now start all over again and take readings with fully charged batteries. Also, notice if things now mysteriously work (like the solenoid).

I make these suggestions because it seems unnatural things happen when the batteries are discharged.

There may be more than one problem. Through this thread, the battery voltages have fluctuated drastically. There may be a draw on the batteries that has not yet been discovered. Or, the batteries will not hold a charge and need to be replaced.

That being said first let us try to focus on getting the batteries to charge when on shore power.
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Old 01-23-2011, 07:31 PM   #12
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I checked the grounds they look ok Now i have the batteries on a portable charger Ill start again in the morning!
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:36 AM   #13
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I trickle charged my batteries all night they are now reading 11.6 volts same at the solenoid and at the house battery meter. I'm taking them to my local battery shop to get checked.
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Old 01-24-2011, 12:21 PM   #14
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Being on trickle charge is not what is needed. The batteries need a kick in the "butt" kind of charge. Even a 10 AMP charger may need a couple of days to get the batts up to full charge. Get a good and powerful portable charger (multi stage) on them and let them charge for a couple of days.

The batts can not be load tested unless they are at full charge (or as charged as they can get).
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