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Old 10-26-2021, 02:00 PM   #1
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Chassis battery problem

I have a 1996 Fleetwood Southwind Storm, model 29V. The chassis battery keeps dying. New battery and alternator is good. Can't see that anything is on that would being discharging the battery. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-26-2021, 02:08 PM   #2
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Over what period of time?

Day, week, month?

Is this a new problem or has it always happened in the past?
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Old 10-26-2021, 02:13 PM   #3
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Just bought in August this year. Seemed fine at first. Replaced battery as it was shot. After 2 days or so.
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Old 10-26-2021, 02:32 PM   #4
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We would need a lot more detail about how you use the battery for better advice.

Something may be drawing the battery down while ignition is off.
Something may be consuming most of the alternator output while driving and will not allow the battery to recharge.
Battery does not have high enough cranking amps capacity.
Alternator does not have enough capacity to support 12 volt side of engine and other loads.
Lots of other possibilities.

Measure terminal voltage at certain times to figure out what is happening.

Charging profile:
Measure terminal voltage while engine has been running for 4 hours or so.
It should be 13.6 volts or as much as 14.4 volts. Less than that means it may be charging but slow.
If below 12.7 volts, then it is charging slow and generator does not have enough capacity to supply the load.

Discharging profile:
Measure terminal voltage with engine running.
Stop engine and monitor terminal voltage.
Voltage should drop slowly. After 30 minutes it should stabilize. After 4 hours you should be reading an accurate "static" voltage.

Voltage should stay at 12.7 volts or higher if the battery is fully charged and not being discharged. Battery voltage should hold 12.7 for more than a week.

Lead acid batteries have three basic profiles. They are "charging", "discharging", and "static".

"Charging" voltages depend mostly on the charger. Voltage starts at the static voltage and raises slowly to the preset charging voltage. Typical charging voltages are 13.2, 13.6, or 14.4 volts.

"Discharging" voltage will always be lower than "static" voltage. The faster the discharge, the lower the voltage. Voltage will slowly raise to "static" level when discharge is stopped.

"Static" voltage can be used to monitor state of charge (SoC). It is when no charging or discharging has taken place for a while. Voltage will slowly stabilize while resting. Accurate static values can usually be made after 3 hours of rest.

"Static" State of Charge (SoC) voltage
After 3 hours rest.
Lead Acid Batteries
100% 12.7
90% 12.5
80% 12.42
70% 12.32
60% 12.2
50% 12.06
40% 11.9
30% 11.75
20% 11.58
10% 11.31
0% 10.5
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Old 10-26-2021, 02:45 PM   #5
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Thank you. It is a place to start
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Old 10-26-2021, 03:25 PM   #6
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After I had it jump started I let it run for about an hour. It was reading between 13.5 and14.4 while running. A house after turning it off it read 11.7 volts. That is still hooked up to the motorhome.
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Old 10-26-2021, 03:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bkbrod714 View Post
After I had it jump started I let it run for about an hour. It was reading between 13.5 and14.4 while running. A house after turning it off it read 11.7 volts. That is still hooked up to the motorhome.
The alternator is working fine. It has the required capacity.

You have two 12 volt systems. There is the "house" or "coach" system, and there is the "chassis" or "engine" system. I am not sure which system you measured 11.7 volts on, but that battery bank is deeply discharged (well below 50% SoC.)

It takes 14 to 18 hours to fully recharge a lead acid battery. An abused battery can benefit from 24 hours to restore lost capacity.

The battery can be charged to 80% SoC in 4 hours of charging, depending on the charger and the battery.

After 4 hours of running the engine you should see 12.4 volts or more "static" on the chassis battery.

Some RV's charge the chassis battery while plugged into shore power or when running a generator. Apparently yours does not.

There may be a defective connection between the coach and chassis systems. It may be a relay. It may be an electronic device. The RV may have been built without cross charging capability. See owner's manual.

Charge the chassis battery for 18 hours using a standalone charger. Voltage while charging should rise to 13.6 volts. 14.4 is ok for 4 hours only.

Recheck static voltage after 3 or 4 hours of rest. Voltage should be 12.7 volts or more.

Check water level before charging to make sure plates are covered. Add enough water to cover plates. Do not over fill. Electrolyte will spit and spray during charging.

Check water level after charging to bring water up to "full" mark.
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Old 10-26-2021, 04:15 PM   #8
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My house batteries are 2 6 volt batteries in series. The house battery is a new Opium red top battery from O'Rielys autoparts. I will try charging it for the several hours you mentioned. Thank you again. It is a sealed battery.
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Old 10-26-2021, 05:41 PM   #9
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Are you using your chassis disconnect switch ? Do you turn it off and is it still running down?
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Old 10-26-2021, 05:52 PM   #10
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,What and where is a chassis disconnect switch? Very new to this. I pulled the battery out and am charging it overnight. It is parked across the street so kinda hard to run an extension cord and leave it all night.
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Old 10-27-2021, 09:12 AM   #11
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My house batteries are 2 6 volt batteries in series. The house battery is a new Opium red top battery from O'Rielys autoparts. I will try charging it for the several hours you mentioned. Thank you again. It is a sealed battery.

Optima Red Top Batteries.

https://www.optimabatteries.com/
"REDTOP® Starting Battery: Use this for normal engine starting where an alternator immediately monitors the state of charge and provides energy to the battery whenever it is needed. This would describe most stock vehicles."

These batteries will not last long for deep draw house or coach batteries. They are designed for fast high current discharge for a few seconds followed by a fast recharge from an alternator. Drawing them down deeply overnight and partial recharge the next morning will quickly change the plate surface condition.

Red top batteries have a 44 to 50 amp hour capacity. They are 12 volt batteries and would need to be wired in parallel. The website does not list any 6 volt products for series wiring.

50 amp hours would not be much for providing house or coach 12 appliances.

Do you mean the Optima is your chassis starting battery?
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Old 10-27-2021, 10:07 AM   #12
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Yes i meant Optima. It is just chassis. The house batteries are 2 6 volt Interstate GC2 Deep cycle Batteries. I was told the Optima battery should hold a charge for up to 4 months.
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Old 10-27-2021, 11:07 AM   #13
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On mine.. they are next to door.. on top part.. easily over looked.. good luck and keep us posted
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Old 10-27-2021, 02:57 PM   #14
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Any one familiar with this. When the jumper is disconnected battery is stable. When it is connected it seems to drain the chassis battery slowly.Click image for larger version

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ID:	347376 by the way I could not find a chassis disconnect switch. I am wonderful ir this is a makeshift one.
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