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Old 11-29-2022, 09:46 PM   #1
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Fleetwood Owners Club
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House Batteries completely dead

We have a Class A that was just returned to us from the Ford dealer with some engine and brake repairs – they had the RV for two weeks. While the RV was being serviced the server center also noticed that the chassis battery also needed replacing and did replace that battery.

I noticed that after I received the RV back from the dealer that the house batteries were dead – my suspicion is that the battery disconnect was disabled and that the house batteries were completely run down while running the refrigerator. I tried to start the generator but with the battery disconnect enabled the generator won’t start. The RV is at a storage lot with no AC power so I can’t plug the RV into AC and hope for an overnight trickle charge. Tomorrow, I plan on going to the storage lot with a DC-AC generator and connecting to the 50A circuit stepped down to 120V hoping to provide some current to the AC power transfer switch (hoping maybe I can charge the house batteries enough to start the generator). I also have a ‘battery jumper box’ that I hope might provide enough power to start the 12v circuit long enough to bring life to the house batteries by connecting directly to the house batteries.

Any advice as to if either one of these solutions might work? Do you think the house batteries (4 golf cart lead-acid in 2S/2P configuration) might be damaged?

Thanks!
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Old 11-29-2022, 10:12 PM   #2
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Why not just start chassis engine ? Then alternator on the chassis engine will charge all batteries while running.. let run about 30mins.. maybe hold rpms just above idle for 5mins then wait 5mins and repeat.. that should do it.. while chassis engine is been running.. hold down aux start button for 5mins.. and then walk over after letting go of aux start and see if you can hear coach batteries disconnect switches work.. turn house on.. then go back hold chassis engine above idle and then hold aux start button for 5 to 10mins and try generator.. your new battery may be.. too far gone to bring back..
Unless you have cobbled a bunch of wiring as you described before.. I would not do that.. but I am not there.. it's on you..
Good luck and keep us posted
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Old 11-29-2022, 11:17 PM   #3
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Some inverter/chargers will not allow a charge until the charger senses some voltage in the batteries.
If that is the case, a stand-alone battery charger is needed, trouble is locating a 120VAC receptacle to plug in the charger.
I've had to run the stand-alone charger for 30 minutes before the inverter/charger functioned.
I finally got my genset started, which supplied 120V to the charger, then the inverter/charger worked.
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Old 11-30-2022, 12:10 AM   #4
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Bring a charger and your generator. After a 4 hour spell crank the coach gen and let the inverter do it's job. And yes you can run the coach off the separate gen entirely if you please. I'm not going to get into how I know this, but flattening a wet cell lead acid battery completely every 4 or 5 years makes them live a lot longer. I've seen 14 years out of my trucks battery. 7 to 8 is typical for me. My coach batteries are 4 years old and doing great. They've been flattened once. So if your batteries were in good condition with no weak cells I think they will be fine.
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Old 11-30-2022, 01:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donr103 View Post
Why not just start chassis engine ? Then alternator on the chassis engine will charge all batteries while running.. let run about 30mins.. maybe hold rpms just above idle for 5mins then wait 5mins and repeat.. that should do it.. while chassis engine is been running.. hold down aux start button for 5mins.. and then walk over after letting go of aux start and see if you can hear coach batteries disconnect switches work.. turn house on.. then go back hold chassis engine above idle and then hold aux start button for 5 to 10mins and try generator.. your new battery may be.. too far gone to bring back..
Unless you have cobbled a bunch of wiring as you described before.. I would not do that.. but I am not there.. it's on you..
Good luck and keep us posted

Yes, do this. If your chassis engine starts, then eventually (5 seconds to 1-2 minutes) your alternator should (through the solenoid) start charging the house batteries. You usually will hear a "click" when that happens. Bring a volt meter and check the voltage on the house batteries during this process and you should see that the alternator starts charging your house batteries. Letting your engine idle for 10-15 minutes should bring your house batteries back to life.


If your alternator is in fact charging your house batteries while the engine is running, after 5-10 minutes you can try to start your generator (...it will get power from the charge coming from the alternator). Once your generator is running, it should start charging your house batteries and then you should be able to turn off your engine.


Good luck!
Chris
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Old 11-30-2022, 04:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donr103 View Post
Why not just start chassis engine ? Then alternator on the chassis engine will charge all batteries while running.. let run about 30mins.. maybe hold rpms just above idle for 5mins then wait 5mins and repeat.. that should do it.. while chassis engine is been running.. hold down aux start button for 5mins.. and then walk over after letting go of aux start and see if you can hear coach batteries disconnect switches work.. turn house on.. then go back hold chassis engine above idle and then hold aux start button for 5 to 10mins and try generator.. your new battery may be.. too far gone to bring back..
Unless you have cobbled a bunch of wiring as you described before.. I would not do that.. but I am not there.. it's on you..
Good luck and keep us posted
The owners manual says that the alternator will charge the house batteries while driving down the road. Tried something similar to this with no luck. From the Ford Dealer to our storage area is about 45 minutes driving time (25 miles of road work). Most of the drive was on the freeway and with the engine running around 60mph. We stopped for gas and let the engine idle and I tried to start the generator several times along the drive - with never any luck starting the generator.

My hope is that I can, using a 2000 AMP battery booster and a Bluetti EB70S Battery generator charge the house battery long enough and to the point to get my house generator cranked up so I can charge the house batteries.

Another option is too wait 10 days when I'm next scheduled for an RV park where I can connect everything to a 50A circuit and hope that minimal damage was done to the batteries and that they need just a really good charge while there for a few days.

A last resort would be to if all else fails, I guess my next option would be to to replace/upgrade the house batteries with GCM or maybe LiFePO4 batteries.
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Old 11-30-2022, 04:45 AM   #7
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raboud-

Chris explained the normal bootstrap method: Run the coach, letting the alternator charge the house battery bank. Once the bank has a bit of charge, start the generator, then "Bob's your uncle."

With the engine running, check for 13V or more at the house battery bank. If so, the alternator should be charging the battery. If not, with the engine running use the BATTERY BOOST switch (link here) to connect the two battery banks (link to manual here). You'll need a helper to activate the switch (on the dash) while you're measuring for voltage at the house battery bank.

It sounds as if there's something either not set correctly or not working correctly in the cross-charging system of your coach. Fix that, and you shouldn't need other measures.
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Old 11-30-2022, 06:43 AM   #8
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If you drove 45 minutes and didn't charge your house batteries enough to start the generator, something is wrong.

Could be that the dealer left the boost start/charging cable off the chassis battery.

Look around for a dangling cable.
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Old 11-30-2022, 08:28 AM   #9
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More basic troubleshooting:
Start by checking the 12 volt switch near the entry door. Is it "on"?
Next check near the house battery bank. Are the cables connected? Is there a disconnect switch there and if so is it "on".

Get a cheap digital voltmeter from your local hardware store. Measure the voltage on the battery terminals. Less than 11.0 volts means fully discharged.

The generator can be jump started just like a car engine. Connect the jumper cables to the house battery bank. Wait 5 minutes. Try to start the generator.

You can even jump start from the RV chassis battery.

If it won't turn over, measure the voltage on the house batteries with the jumper cables connected. Again, if less than 11.0 volts then battery is fully discharged. Jumper connection is not working.

Lots of possibilities. Try some of the methods posted above.
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