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Old 02-24-2014, 07:43 PM   #1
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Battery charging mystery

I have a 2012 Daybreak 28PD. If I connect my Battery Tender battery charger to the house batteries, the battery isolator solenoid becomes warm and the chassis battery is charged simultaneously with the the house battery. If I connect my battery charger to the chassis battery, the isolator solenoid remains cool and the house battery is unaffected. If I'm connected to shore power the battery isolator solenoid stays warm and I presume both batteries are being charged. Sometimes the battery solenoid gets uncomfortably warm and I can only keep my fingers in contact with it for about 30 seconds before it get too hot to handle. Is this normal?
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:04 PM   #2
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I would venture a guess that this in NOT normal.

Just having a hot solenoid is the first warning of an issue.

Generally a Thor Motorhome DOES NOT allow the house battery power to flow to the chassis battery bank - UNTIL - you press the "Start Assist" button on the dash (helps start the engine).

Thor designs the system this way to prevent the chassis battery (which usually sits idle during camping) from getting cooked with the multi-stage charge from the Converter/Charger.

This is opposite of a charge from the engine alternator - which generally charges the chassis AND house batteries.

The Battery Tender and the Shore Power Converter/Charger are doing the same thing in your test...providing full charge (typically about 13VDC) going into the house battery and heating the solenoid as the charge flows to the chassis battery.

This needs prompt attention. Don't let an electrical fire ruin your RV!

Best luck
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Old 02-25-2014, 11:58 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenneth Neal View Post
I have a 2012 Daybreak 28PD. If I connect my Battery Tender battery charger to the house batteries, the battery isolator solenoid becomes warm and the chassis battery is charged simultaneously with the the house battery. If I connect my battery charger to the chassis battery, the isolator solenoid remains cool and the house battery is unaffected. If I'm connected to shore power the battery isolator solenoid stays warm and I presume both batteries are being charged. Sometimes the battery solenoid gets uncomfortably warm and I can only keep my fingers in contact with it for about 30 seconds before it get too hot to handle. Is this normal?
There is nothing "wrong" with your system. Your rig has a Battery Control Center (BCC) that incorporates a BIRD function. This BIRD will apply 12VDC to pick the solenoid when the converter, or the Battery Tender, voltage goes above about 13.2VDC.

The coach alternator has the same effect, via the BIRD and solenoid, when the alternator voltage is sufficiently above 13.2vdc. (at least that is how it is designed). Theoretically, the system would respond the same regardless of the direction of hte charge voltage source.

It appears that your BIRD requires a higher voltage on the alternator input than your Battery Tender is putting out, so it doesn't pick the solenoid.

The more definitive test to determine if your system is working as designed, is to start the engine and see if the solenoid gets warm (picks and charges the house batteries). The alternator typically puts out around 14vdc, so this should be sufficient to pick the solenoid. If this test does not work either, then you have a problem with the BIRD.

I'm not sure where scarab0088 got the impression that Thor didn't design their coaches this way.
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Old 02-25-2014, 01:13 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by loulong View Post
There is nothing "wrong" with your system. Your rig has a Battery Control Center (BCC) that incorporates a BIRD function. This BIRD will apply 12VDC to pick the solenoid when the converter, or the Battery Tender, voltage goes above about 13.2VDC.

I'm not sure where scarab0088 got the impression that Thor didn't design their coaches this way.
Notice the liberal use of the word, GENERALLY - Not all Motorhomes have a BIRD (Bi-Directional Isolator Relay). My '07 from Thor does not have a BIRD as part of the BCC/Battery Transfer system.
See: http://www.irv2.com/forums/f258/bi-d...ne-155210.html
There is a picture of a simple BIRD there.

And this is the reason the Trik-L-Start was invented. http://www.lslproducts.net/TLSPage.html

Loulong is correct that if your RV has a BIRD as part of your BCC, then power would flow from the House Battery (including power from a Battery Tender or the on-board Converter/Charger) to the Chassis Battery - but ONLY when needed to charge the chassis battery.

HOWEVER - the heat issue from the solenoid mentioned is troubling.
"...uncomfortably warm and I can only keep my fingers in contact with it for about 30 seconds before it get too hot to handle."

Heat is a sign of resistance - so, that is an indicator of a solenoid failure in your future if nothing else. Or, worst case a fire risk.

Best luck
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Old 02-25-2014, 02:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarab0088 View Post
Notice the liberal use of the word, GENERALLY - Not all Motorhomes have a BIRD (Bi-Directional Isolator Relay). My '07 from Thor does not have a BIRD as part of the BCC/Battery Transfer system.
See: http://www.irv2.com/forums/f258/bi-d...ne-155210.html
Steve, does your Damon have a BCC made by Intellitec? If so, what is the model number?
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Old 02-25-2014, 02:23 PM   #6
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My coach has a BIRD system. The solenoid that runs it is indeed just at the verge of uncomfortably warm whenever any source of power is available. It has been this way for 11 years, 7 of which was fulltime use, so this appears to be "normal" operation temp to me! It can be heard clicking in and out sometimes when all else is silent.
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Old 02-25-2014, 02:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Kenneth Neal View Post
I have a 2012 Daybreak 28PD. If I connect my Battery Tender battery charger to the house batteries, the battery isolator solenoid becomes warm and the chassis battery is charged simultaneously with the the house battery. If I connect my battery charger to the chassis battery, the isolator solenoid remains cool and the house battery is unaffected. If I'm connected to shore power the battery isolator solenoid stays warm and I presume both batteries are being charged. Sometimes the battery solenoid gets uncomfortably warm and I can only keep my fingers in contact with it for about 30 seconds before it get too hot to handle. Is this normal?
Sounds right to me. If I remember correctly, a BIRD has an ignition key lockout that prevents the BIRD from sensing the Chassis Bat unless the key is on (the assumption being the engine is running and the higher voltage is from the Alternator). In other words, the BIRD doesn't see the voltage (from the charger) has gone "high" on the Chassis Bat because the key is off ... hence, the BIRD doesn't pick the Solenoid and it doesn't get warm/hot. BTW, the Solenoid does get uncomfortably warm when it's picked ... not unusual.
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Old 02-25-2014, 02:46 PM   #8
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Sounds right to me. If I remember correctly, a BIRD has an ignition key lockout that prevents the BIRD from sensing the Chassis Bat unless the key is on (the assumption being the engine is running and the higher voltage is from the Alternator). In other words, the BIRD doesn't see the voltage (from the charger) has gone "high" on the Chassis Bat because the key is off ... hence, the BIRD doesn't pick the Solenoid and it doesn't get warm/hot. BTW, the Solenoid does get uncomfortably warm when it's picked ... not unusual.
Your memory is correct...
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Old 02-25-2014, 02:48 PM   #9
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Your memory is correct...

UH OH ... now I'm a bit frightened
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Old 02-25-2014, 03:21 PM   #10
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Sounds right to me. If I remember correctly, a BIRD has an ignition key lockout that prevents the BIRD from sensing the Chassis Bat unless the key is on.
I did not see in the OP's story that the ignition key was on for his tests...

For Loulong, my RV's battery control system does not have any Intellitec labled parts...it's just the stack of solenoids.

But, now that there is a majority here saying they have a BIRD, I will be on a quest to see if I can find one in case it is there but malfunctioning. But I doubt it, because a standard question among Outlaw owners (and the Outlaw and early Daybreak's are very similar) is often, "does the Converter/Charger unit charge the chassis battery?" Which it does not...unless we add a Trik-L-Start or similar device.

Safe travels
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Old 02-25-2014, 03:41 PM   #11
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For Loulong, my RV's battery control system does not have any Intellitec labled parts...it's just the stack of solenoids.
Safe travels
My limited Damon experience has been with the Challenger and Intruder models of some specific years. They did use the Intellitec BCC. In those BCCs the 'bird' function is incorporated into the circuit board, and NOT a standalone "BIRD".
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Old 02-25-2014, 04:56 PM   #12
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I did not see in the OP's story that the ignition key was on for his tests...

Safe travels

Correct ... if the key is NOT on, the BIRD (or BIRD-like circuit) does not sense the rise in voltage on the Chassis Battery when a charger is attached to the Chassis Battery and does not pick the Solenoid. It's more of a "ignition not on" lockout.
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Old 02-25-2014, 06:34 PM   #13
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My '99 Daybreak has the warm relay too. It's warm because it's bringing the engine battery onto the 13.5vdc line, plus I have a desulfator across it that I move to the chassis battery every other month. I think this is normal as I've had no problems at all with these older batteries. I DID swap the aging Magnatek 40 converter for a WFCO 3-stage 55amp...I'm happy.

The Intelletek BCC is a form of BIRD. My relays need to be refreshed which is a BCC reliability issue especially after 15 years. So if a problem exists in this area I'd suspect pitted relay contacts not allowing battery charging.
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