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Old 05-21-2015, 06:15 PM   #1
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Battery Charging Issues - Odd

I have a 2014 Thor ACE 30.1 that I leave plugged into shore power all the time when at home. I went out the other night to check on some things and I noticed my step was barely working. It seems that my house AND chassis batteries were both dead.

I checked the voltage on all the batteries and they were all around 11.7 volts. So did the normal inspection of the battery water levels and everything was good.

I decided to check the voltage when plugged into shore power and when running the generator. It was only 12.8 (and no increase in the chassis battery voltage) on either generator or shore power. I noticed that the fan in my converter was on even though there wasn't any load other than trying to charge the batteries. The fan in my converter usually turns on when I have a lot of lights or other 12V source going.

Anyways, I located the breaker that is powering the charging and when I turn it off, the fan turns off and the RPMs of my generator probably gain 200 RPM. Also, with this same breaker off, no charging to the batteries at all.

When I turn the breaker back on, I can hear a noticeable rise in generator load and the fan turns back on and again, only a 1 volt rise in the batteries.

So I don't know if there is something wrong with the converter or what.

Any ideas?

Oh, and when I start the RV engine and the alternator is charging everything , I get 13.8 volts at the batteries like I would expect.
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Old 05-21-2015, 08:20 PM   #2
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Time to call the converter mfgr. Still under warranty?

The reason your chassis battery voltage does not go up is likely the circuit that controls bringing both banks to together is not satisfied with the 12.8 volts. It likely wants closer to 13.5.
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Old 05-22-2015, 09:27 AM   #3
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First observation is you see change when you change something.

Good troubleshooting process...

Where is this breaker in relation to converter...input or output?

YC1 advises warranty so be careful to not do something that will void it...like telling any vendor that you made a spark or opened a cover.

Changes in generator speed indicate change in load.

Look for the connection for output of converter and check voltage there.

If it does not change when power applied converter not working and look for reset button or breaker on converter.

If not contact either mh or converter manufacturer for registering the failure and either more steps to solve or directions for factory authorized servicer...do not just show up at the dealer as they may not be authorized to fix it...
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Old 05-22-2015, 11:17 AM   #4
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I'm thinking you cooked your batteries.

Check the model of your converter and I think you will find it is a single stage converter without a float charge function. Running it on all the time eats the batteries by overcharging them. If the converter really is a 3 or more stage unit then there may be another problem. Figure that out first.
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Old 05-22-2015, 11:19 AM   #5
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I'm thinking you cooked your batteries.

Check the model of your converter and I think you will find it is a single stage converter without a float charge function. Running it on all the time eats the batteries by overcharging them. If the converter really is a 3 or more stage unit then there may be another problem. Figure that out first.
I doubt that a 2014 ACE would have a single stage converter. If so, that is just wrong.
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Old 05-22-2015, 11:29 AM   #6
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I doubt that a 2014 ACE would have a single stage converter. If so, that is just wrong.
X2. It still may be a crappy converter. The perplexing thing is the generator being loaded when the breaker is turned on. That would appear to be an indication that the converter is working, maybe.

AND there should be a isolator or switch between the chassis and coach batteries preventing the chassis battery(s) from being drawn down.

It would be helpful to see what kind of current is being drawn with a clamp meter, what kind of switch or solonoid is between the battery banks. I would disconnect the batteries from the coach and put an external charger on them and see if you can bring them up to 100%, that way you will know if the batteries are toast. Is the charge up, then hook them back up and see if everything works. A clamp meter to determine where the current is going would really be helpful... they are not cheap, but MAN are they useful for troubleshooting.
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Old 05-22-2015, 11:32 AM   #7
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Here is a pretty inexpensive clamp meter, if anyone wants to know. I have a Fluke but this should work fine for occasional troubleshooting.

Klein Tools 600 Amp AC Digital Clamp Meter with Temp-CL200 - The Home Depot
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Old 05-22-2015, 11:41 AM   #8
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So I tested the converter according to the user's manual and it is outputting 13.6 volts as it should but I'm still only reading 12.something at the batteries.

I discovered the bottom breaker on the AC side powers the converter in the bottom of the unit and all of that appears to be normal.

The converters is a WFCO 8900 series and it is a 3 stage converter.

"Automatic three-stage charging extends the life of your battery with output voltage modes of 13.2 Vdc range “float” mode, 13.6 Vdc range “absorption” mode, and a 14.4 Vdc range “bulk” charge mode. The 8900 Series also maintains peace and quiet, as the cooling fan runs only when needed. Electronic current limiting automatically shuts down power during overload or short-circuit conditions, protecting the life of your power center and electrical system."

I guess my next step is to pick up a hydrometer to check the batteries. The converter fan kicks on automatically depending on the 12V load and the fan instantly goes to max speed as soon as I switch on the breaker that runs the converter. All of the breakers / fuses are good and the converter isn't turning itself off.

I'm guessing one of the house batteries has kicked the bucket and the converter is really struggling to charge the batteries. I dunno
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Old 05-22-2015, 11:52 AM   #9
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I'm guessing one of the house batteries has kicked the bucket and the converter is really struggling to charge the batteries. I dunno
Yup...sounds like it...
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Old 05-22-2015, 12:36 PM   #10
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You need to find the loss between the batteries and the converter. This is assuming you don't have a long run between the charger and the batteries.


You have a loose connection or a corroded one. Turn power off and start tightening the cables at the converter and the batteries. Then measure again.


I know, I know. Everyone is shouting grounds. Yes of course. Find the wires from your batteries that go to the frame or to a common post. Take them off and clean them with sandpaper. These connections absolutely must be clean and shiny,.


Twelve volts has very little push and will not go through loose or dirty connections.


Fix the obvious problem of the voltage loss and I bet both battery banks will come on line together after the coach batteries come up a bit.
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Old 05-22-2015, 02:46 PM   #11
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Yeah, I need to take the bed apart to get to the ground posts, etc. This will be my weekend project to find out what is going on. I'll know more for sure once I get that hydrometer.
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Old 05-22-2015, 03:14 PM   #12
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This may sound strange, but push the battery disconnect switch (which should already be on) "on" again. Don't know if this is the way they are supposed to work, but when I plug into shore power, it automatically turns my disconnect switch on (if it was previously off) and powers everything such as lights, water pump, fridge on LP. However, unbeknownst to me it does not charge my batteries. But if I push the disconnect switch "on" again, it starts to charge my batteries.
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Old 05-22-2015, 06:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigInSeattle View Post
So I tested the converter according to the user's manual and it is outputting 13.6 volts as it should but I'm still only reading 12.something at the batteries.

I discovered the bottom breaker on the AC side powers the converter in the bottom of the unit and all of that appears to be normal.

The converters is a WFCO 8900 series and it is a 3 stage converter.

"Automatic three-stage charging extends the life of your battery with output voltage modes of 13.2 Vdc range “float” mode, 13.6 Vdc range “absorption” mode, and a 14.4 Vdc range “bulk” charge mode. The 8900 Series also maintains peace and quiet, as the cooling fan runs only when needed. Electronic current limiting automatically shuts down power during overload or short-circuit conditions, protecting the life of your power center and electrical system."

I guess my next step is to pick up a hydrometer to check the batteries. The converter fan kicks on automatically depending on the 12V load and the fan instantly goes to max speed as soon as I switch on the breaker that runs the converter. All of the breakers / fuses are good and the converter isn't turning itself off.

I'm guessing one of the house batteries has kicked the bucket and the converter is really struggling to charge the batteries. I dunno
I would take the batteries OUT of the coach and charge each one of them separately with a good charger, and then see what the resting voltage is and if it is not 12.8 or so then someting is wrong with the battery. A hygrometer is cool but is not gonna tell you much till the batteries are topped up, which is not happening, for whatever reason.

Also you can't have 13.7 volts at the converter and less than that at the batteries, since it is the same wire, unless some relay of switch is acting up.
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Old 05-22-2015, 10:09 PM   #14
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Wait...

YC1 has a solution...BUT DO NOT DO IT...YET...

If yiu have 13.6 at converter and 12.6 at battery then the path is broken.

Get your voltmeter and start looking for controls, relays and comnections.

You may have a loose wire that tightening everything may fix but you will never know for sure.

Better to sneak up on it by continuing to check voltage until you see a voltage drop across a connection or selenoid.

If connection fix it and retest.

If a selenoid troubleshoot it as it may be bad or not have a control voltage.

Once you have fixed your problem now you can follow YC1's advice and tighten every connection you can find...but check operation every little bit to be sure yiu do not have any TIPs....Tech Induced Problems...
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