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Old 07-09-2014, 11:14 AM   #1
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The silliest newbie question

1976 Minnie Winnie

I've been scouring the web to no avail.

The switch in the cab near the drivers seat on the left side, what is that for? It has a fuse, and I heard it may have to do with the coach battery. Whether it is on or off, I am getting 12V at the rear battery, so it seems the alternator is doing itís job to charge the deep cell coach battery in the rear storage compartment.

Is there something I need to do to switch the lights from pulling off the engine battery to the coach battery, and same question for switching to shore power? I plugged an extension cord to the male end located in the rear next to the coach battery, but was not getting lights or anything. They run okay when I have the key turned to AC and pulling from the chassis battery.

Of course I was hoping to just plug in and run the AC from a generator. It sounds like I need at least a 2000 watt to run it.

Would love to pick the brains of other vintage winnebago owners! Thanks!
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Old 07-09-2014, 11:34 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome to the forum.

Just a guess is that the switch you mention is the "salesman switch" which connects/disconnects your house battery(s) when the coach is in storage.

Hopefully, some of our vintage experts will be along soon with help. If all else fails, call Winnebago Customer Support. They're very helpful on things like this.

Rick
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Old 07-09-2014, 11:39 AM   #3
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Matterhorn,

Check this forum here in IRV2
http://www.irv2.com/forums/f65/1976-...ase-15799.html

and here's a link at the winnie site:
http://www.winnebagoind.com/products...Winnie-bro.pdf

Hope that helps.
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Old 07-09-2014, 03:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickO View Post
Hi and welcome to the forum.

Just a guess is that the switch you mention is the "salesman switch" which connects/disconnects your house battery(s) when the coach is in storage.

Hopefully, some of our vintage experts will be along soon with help. If all else fails, call Winnebago Customer Support. They're very helpful on things like this.

Rick
Thanks. Whether the switch is on or off, I am still getting 12v at the rear battery terminals with the motor running, so either way it seems to be getting a charge from the alternator. I just don't know how to tell Betsy to use that battery instead of the chassis one.
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Old 07-09-2014, 04:02 PM   #5
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Do your 12 volt lights work with the switch turned off? There's usually a switch to disconnect the house battery from your house 12 volt system. That way when you store your MH you won't be discharging the house battery by leaving on something by mistake.
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Old 07-09-2014, 04:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matterhorn View Post
Thanks. Whether the switch is on or off, I am still getting 12v at the rear battery terminals with the motor running, so either way it seems to be getting a charge from the alternator. I just don't know how to tell Betsy to use that battery instead of the chassis one.
What do you get with the motor off? There might be a relay that energizes to ensure that all batteries stay charged even though the switch is off.
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Old 07-09-2014, 04:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matterhorn View Post
Thanks. Whether the switch is on or off, I am still getting 12v at the rear battery terminals with the motor running, so either way it seems to be getting a charge from the alternator. I just don't know how to tell Betsy to use that battery instead of the chassis one.
If you are getting exactly 12 v, your battery is almost 50% discharged.



You need to use a digital meter and take a few accurate readings. A fully charged battery should be over 12.6 v after a few hours of rest after being charged. When you start the engine, the alternator should charge batteries at a rate better than 13.5 ~ 14.5 v to overcome the internal resistance of the battery. Same for when you are plugged in, your converter/charger should boost voltage to +13.4 volts to charge and maintain battery. If you are not seeing a difference when battery is on it's own and charging from shore cord or alternator, could be your charging circuits aren't functioning.

Do you hear a click when tripping the 'mystery switch?' If it's a battery isolation switch, you should hear the solenoid switching contacts on and off.
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Old 07-12-2014, 11:30 AM   #8
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Normally, when you start the engine, a continuous duty relay will connect the house battery and the chassis battery so that the alternator will charge both. Turning off the engine should de-energize that relay, isolating the chassis battery from the house battery (so that your "camper" uses only the house battery and not the chassis battery). So check voltage at the house battery with a) the engine off, and then b) with the engine running. If the voltage at the house battery increases (to around 13.5+vdc) when the engine is running, then you know that both batteries are charging off the alternator when driving. Good news. Now disconnect the positive cable at the house battery and check voltage on that cable (with the engine off). If there is no voltage, then you know that the two batteries are isolated and you are not pulling off the chassis battery while camping. Good news again.

Now for the switch. Typically, older Class C's have 1 or 2 switches down there; a battery main disconnect and an emergency start booster.

The battery main disconnect is to turn off the house battery while in storage, and would likely be a momentary switch activating a latching relay. Listen for the sound of a relay clicking on/off. When off, you will still have 12vdc at the battery, but it won't flow to your panel, so camper stuff (lights, water pump, etc) won't work. Check to see if you have lights, etc. when this switch is on or off (engine NOT running). Turn on an interior camper light and then flip the switch both ways. Does the light go out? Then the switch is a (house) battery disconnect.

No? Then the switch may instead be an emergency start switch. This is used to connect the house and chassis battery to help start the MH engine if the chassis battery is low. It too, is a momentary switch that activates a relay linking the two batteries, although it is not latching, meaning you must hold the switch in the on position to use.

Now for the A/C. The A/C needs 110vac, and must run from either a generator or shore power (30A) service. A normal house outlet and extension cord won't do it. However, a normal house outlet and extension cord WILL be sufficient to run the converter/charger, providing 12vdc to the coach and charging the house battery, as well as providing 120vac to outlets in the RV (for things like microwave, coffee maker, TV, etc.). Again, check the dc voltage at your house battery while unplugged and then again while plugged in to the extension cord. Voltage should increase when plugged in, verifying that the converter is working.
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