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Old 09-06-2021, 08:55 AM   #1
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Charging house batteries

Our new to us coach is having house battery charging issues. This coach has 8 6V batteries on the house side. The cables are a nightmare and the filler caps are only accessible on some, by removing cables. I have no idea of age of the batteries.

I decided to jump in and check for water level, between the 8 batteries, it took 2.5 gallons to top them off. I知 not surprised it was difficult and time consuming. Since then, after running the generator 3-5 hrs working in the coach, the next morning the house batteries are dead. I知 pretty sure theyre doa.

I知 doing some poking around to make sure theyre getting charged, andI have some questions, bear with me, my electrical prowess is minimal. While the engine is running, with a meter, the input side of the battery isolator relay shows 14 volts, the output side (going to the batteries) shows 9.4 volts. Now, with the engine off, and the generator running (started by way of the boost switch) it shows 12.8v on the input side, and 12.1v on the output side.

I was a little surprised at the 9.4v but, it showed voltage above 6v so I guess its operating. Does this seem right? Does the charging system appear to be working properly? If so, well, its battery purchase time. What says the experts?
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Old 09-06-2021, 09:11 AM   #2
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Anything below 13 volts is not charging.

All of your 6 volt batteries are series pairs, making one 12 volt set.

With the engine running, both sides of the isolator relay ( solenoid ) should be showing charging volts.
The fact that the boost works says the solenoid is good. Now you need to find what controls it.

Find your inverter/charger and Unplug the BTS ( battery temp sensor ) and see if the house charging volts come up to over 13 volts. What your getting is to low and a bad BTS will cause that.
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Old 09-06-2021, 09:36 AM   #3
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Your Tradition came from the factory with AGM batteries....the previous owner must have put in standard flooded lead/acid. I just got rid of my eight 6 volt batteries and replaced them with two 12 volt AGM deep cycles. We don't dry camp, so we don't need all those amps....so far so good. Also reduced my coach weight by 370 pounds.
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Old 09-06-2021, 05:04 PM   #4
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Check your inverter/charger breaker in CB panel as well as breakers on inverter.
Do you a diode type isolator/s.
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Old 09-06-2021, 06:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 153stars View Post
Check your inverter/charger breaker in CB panel as well as breakers on inverter.
Do you a diode type isolator/s.
Diode isolators are not used in 2009 RVs.

They are old technology that went away in the early 2000s.
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Old 09-07-2021, 05:45 AM   #6
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Anything below 13 volts is not charging.

All of your 6 volt batteries are series pairs, making one 12 volt set.

With the engine running, both sides of the isolator relay ( solenoid ) should be showing charging volts.
The fact that the boost works says the solenoid is good. Now you need to find what controls it.

Find your inverter/charger and Unplug the BTS ( battery temp sensor ) and see if the house charging volts come up to over 13 volts. What your getting is to low and a bad BTS will cause that.
I found checking with the meter while running the generator, that if my ground wasnt good it showed a low voltage. (Duh) I will check woth engine running again.

Magnum inverter/chargers (2) are in the bus, what does a BTS look like? Will it be labeled? (Edit) I found it, it is marked.
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Old 09-07-2021, 05:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Your Tradition came from the factory with AGM batteries....the previous owner must have put in standard flooded lead/acid. I just got rid of my eight 6 volt batteries and replaced them with two 12 volt AGM deep cycles. We don't dry camp, so we don't need all those amps....so far so good. Also reduced my coach weight by 370 pounds.
I dont see us needing that kind of capacity either, I would be just fine doing the same. Do you run a residential refrigerator on your 2 batteries? We have 2 inverters, do you run one or two?
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Old 09-07-2021, 08:52 AM   #8
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I would think a 2009 came with at least 3, and maybe 4, 12v house batteries. My 03 coach Winnebago diesel came with 2 chassis batteries & 3 house.
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Old 09-07-2021, 07:16 PM   #9
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I dont see us needing that kind of capacity either, I would be just fine doing the same. Do you run a residential refrigerator on your 2 batteries? We have 2 inverters, do you run one or two?
Most American Coaches of this vintage came with eight 6 volt batteries, four dedicated to the refer the other four to the rest of the coach. Mine came with only one inv/charger. Yes we have a residential refer, it only pulls a couple of amps and the two 12 volts have done fine so far. As an aside, my coach is now nearly 370 pounds lighter.
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Old 09-17-2021, 10:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jandcinok View Post
Our new to us coach is having house battery charging issues. This coach has 8 6V batteries on the house side. The cables are a nightmare and the filler caps are only accessible on some, by removing cables. I have no idea of age of the batteries.

I decided to jump in and check for water level, between the 8 batteries, it took 2.5 gallons to top them off. I’m not surprised it was difficult and time consuming. Since then, after running the generator 3-5 hrs working in the coach, the next morning the house batteries are dead. I’m pretty sure theyre doa.

I’m doing some poking around to make sure theyre getting charged, andI have some questions, bear with me, my electrical prowess is minimal. While the engine is running, with a meter, the input side of the battery isolator relay shows 14 volts, the output side (going to the batteries) shows 9.4 volts. Now, with the engine off, and the generator running (started by way of the boost switch) it shows 12.8v on the input side, and 12.1v on the output side.

I was a little surprised at the 9.4v but, it showed voltage above 6v so I guess its operating. Does this seem right? Does the charging system appear to be working properly? If so, well, its battery purchase time. What says the experts?
(with ENGINE=ON) If the coil on BATTERY ISOLATOR RELAY has voltage, then you should see 14 volts on the Battery side, also. If not, relay bad and NEEDS REPLACED. Make sure if you use a SOLENOID, that it has a CONTINUOUS DUTY RATING. Had to replace mine earlier this year on my 20yo rig.

The 9.4 would lead me to test each battery voltage individually; sounds like a bad battery/ ies, but voltage test would tell; test each before and after proper charging
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Old 09-17-2021, 11:19 PM   #11
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Charging banks of batteries--general

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Originally Posted by THenne1713 View Post
(with ENGINE=ON) If the coil on BATTERY ISOLATOR RELAY has voltage, then you should see 14 volts on the Battery side, also. If not, relay bad and NEEDS REPLACED. Make sure if you use a SOLENOID, that it has a CONTINUOUS DUTY RATING. Had to replace mine earlier this year on my 20yo rig.

The 9.4 would lead me to test each battery voltage individually; sounds like a bad battery/ ies, but voltage test would tell; test each before and after proper charging

The 9.4 would lead me to believe there are bad batteries too. A good hydrometer will isolate the likely offending batteries quickly, and then they can be removed from the bank to be charged properly as individual 6 volt batteries. After charging voltage can be checked and each cell tested by hydrometer to measure specific gravity.

I am getting ready to go through this with my house batteries, but pretty much already know what the results will be, my batteries also took a comparable amount of DISTILLLED water as the OP. Never use tap water in batteries, lead salts form significantly shortening the battery life.
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Old 09-17-2021, 11:29 PM   #12
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Were the top of any of the battery plates showing above the water line before you started adding new water? If so they are basically dead now. Sometimes they can be recovered, but that's a different process.

I would just replace the entire house set and be done with the problems. Then take care of them.
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Old 09-18-2021, 05:33 AM   #13
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To follow up on my charging issues. In short, the batteries were junk. I figured they would be when I saw the water levels, they didnt disappoint. I replaced with 6 new napa batteries. I found them to have a little more capacity with more warranty (2 yrs) for the same pricing as Sams, Interstate, etc. i went back with wet cell, and have a watering system ordered.

Another issue I found with voltage readings. In checking voltages I was using the chassis ground buss bar in the compartment. It is located in the upper left hand corner, and just not that easy to see or get to. Often my probe wasnt making a good connection on the buss bar because it was rusted, and really nasty. Im really surprised we werent having more electrical issues by the condition of it. There was probably close to 30 wires and cables attached to it, and was one heck of a job removing them all and cleaning and reassembly. Lots of wire brush, and wheel later with a good coating of anti oxidant grease, we’re good to go.

Thanks all for taking time to input.
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Old 09-18-2021, 10:19 AM   #14
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Comments are sight unseen, so...

On used rigs I would also check all of the battery related cables for any crude on the ends and take proper corrective actions if needed.

On used rigs either I replace the cables or clean the ends really good, treat them and use 3:1 adhesive shrink wrap in black/red on all ends and then label all cables. Last all cables that go to a single post I'll tie wrap so it's very clear they all belong together. Greatly reduces issues about later errors.
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