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Old 03-19-2013, 03:54 PM   #1
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Trik-L-Start questions

Hello all. Today I ran the generator in my motorhome and the chassis batteries seemed to charge. This led me to believe the motorhome must have a Trik-L-Start installed in it. So I opened up the generator compartment(thanks to all that showed me how to do that) and took the panel off the circuit breaker box. Low and behold, there was the Trik-L-Start mounted on the firewall. I was pleased to see it. Now for the questions:

1) Before I started the generator, electrical panel inside the motorhome read Engine batteries were 12.2. So I started the generator and it went up to about 12.6. I am assuming the Trik-L-Start is what caused this. After running the generator for about an hour, I shut it down and checked the volts again. This time it read Engine Batteries were 11.6. I had a volt meter with me so I checked it right at the batteries...same reading. So my question is if the Trik-L-Start charges when there is shore power or generator power, why did the volts in the batteries go down?

2) I looked on the front of the Trik-L-Start and saw the 3 little lights: rev. polarity, charging and maintaining. After I shut down the generator I looked at the Trik-L-Start and noticed the "charging" light was still lit up. Why would this be? I thought it only charged the engine batteries from the coach batteries when there was shore power or generator power. I had neither at this point.
I've included a picture for referrence. It's a little dark but if you look closely you can see the centre yellow "charging" light is on.

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Old 03-19-2013, 05:26 PM   #2
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It doesn't matter whether the coach batteries are being charged or not, nor whether they are charged by solar, generator or shore power. The Trik-L-Start works by monitoring the chassis battery(s) and when it finds them fully charged, it skims a little off the top and sends it to the engine battery, then waits until the coach battery(s) are fully charged again. If the coach battery(s) are not fully charged, it just sits there monitoring them until they are. Then it begins all over again. Best device I have ever purchased! When stored, I leave a battery maintainer hooked up to my coach batteries. The Tril-L-Start device keeps my engine battery fully charged. Anytime I'm ready to go, so is the coach. I do check the water in the batteries each month and run the generator under load for half an hour. Hope this helps.
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Old 03-19-2013, 05:44 PM   #3
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Something isn't right. You might have an issue with your chassis (engine) batteries or charger. Fully charged should be around 12.7V. If you are seeing less than 12v after 1 hour of charging, you need to do some more checking. In no case should you see less than what you started with.

You should see around 13.4 on the house batteries and 13.2 on the chassis batteries when the generator is running. I believe that your Winnie has the ability to read both battery banks at the monitor panel. What is the voltage on each when the generator is running? What is the voltage on each about 5 minutes after you shut it down. Try to have minimum loads while doing these checks. I would recommend that you cover or disconnect the solar panel also while checking things out.
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Old 03-19-2013, 07:17 PM   #4
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While running the generator the coach batteries went to 13.6. 5 mins or so after shutting the generator off, the coach batteries were 13.2. The engine batteries were around 12.6 with the generator running but afterward they went down to 11.6. They seemed to really bounce around in voltage. So I started the generator again and they immediately went to 12.2. The solar panel I have is extremely small. I'm not sure whether it charges the coach or engine batteries. When I shut the generator off the second time, the coach batteries read 11.6.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chillbilly View Post
It doesn't matter whether the coach batteries are being charged or not, nor whether they are charged by solar, generator or shore power. The Trik-L-Start works by monitoring the chassis battery(s) and when it finds them fully charged, it skims a little off the top and sends it to the engine battery, then waits until the coach battery(s) are fully charged again. If the coach battery(s) are not fully charged, it just sits there monitoring them until they are. Then it begins all over again. Best device I have ever purchased! When stored, I leave a battery maintainer hooked up to my coach batteries. The Tril-L-Start device keeps my engine battery fully charged. Anytime I'm ready to go, so is the coach. I do check the water in the batteries each month and run the generator under load for half an hour. Hope this helps.

Chillbilly,
Your description of the operation of the Trik-L-Start to me, was a bit confusing. You mention three different batteries, the chassis, coach and engine. Well, to the best of my knowledge, the "Chassis" batteries are the engine batteries. And, the "coach" batteries are also known as the "House" batteries". Now, with that being said, if one looks up the Trik-L-Start and it's description of operation, what it says is this:



The Trik-L-Start device monitors battery voltage in the house batteries and compares it to the chassis battery. When the Trik-L-Start senses the chassis battery voltage is approximately volt lower than the house battery, it allows up to 5 amps current flow to the chassis battery. The circuitry within the Trik-L-Start prevents back feeding of electricity from the chassis to coach battery so if 110V power is interrupted, the chassis battery will not be discharged.

Now, I certainly don't mean to be argumentative but, as I interpret the above, all the Trik-L-Start does is "COMPARE" voltage between the house and chassis batteries. And, as in the description, if there's a 1/2 volt difference between the two sets, it will allow, as much as 5 amps to be put into the chassis batteries. Now, also, as I understand it can only charge the chassis batteries, if and when, the house batteries are being charged. It cannot charge the chassis batteries if, the house ones are not being charged due to the fact that, that's where it gets its ability to charge the chassis batteries from, is the charging system of the house batteries.

So, with all that being said, as long as the wiring of Duecenuts Trik-L-Start is correct which, we assume it is. Then, as soon as he starts his generator, the Trik-L-Start looks at both sets of batteries and like its description says, if there's a 1/2 volt difference, it will put some into the chassis batteries. Now, as to why that much of a voltage drop when the gen is shut down, not sure. There could be a small load on them that the OP is not aware of. There could be one of the cells in the Chassis batteries that is shorted out and causing low readings.

If I were the OP here, I might start out with a thorough check of those chassis batteries, a cleaning of the posts/cables/ends, etc. and maybe do a hydrometer check to see if there's a possible problem with any one particular cell. Then, I'd try and make sure that there's no load on them when there isn't supposed to be. Like, a small light, something like that. How old are the chassis batteries? With voltage in the high to mid 11s, is the rig starting OK? What does the alternator put out to them when the engine is running?

Again, not trying to be contradictory here, just trying to help the OP with their problem(s).
Scott
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:35 PM   #6
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Deucenut, Your recent posting still makes me suspect someting is wrong with your chassis (engine) batteries. Start your engine and report back here with the voltage readings on both banks with the engine at fast idle.

If you see 13.2 on the coach (house) batteries, the inverter/charger is doing its job, so we need to look elsewhere.
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:19 PM   #7
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Ok thanks for the help guys. I'm going to be starting and taking the coach in to have the ac repaired on Friday. So we will see then what it reads. It had always started quite well.
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:47 PM   #8
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Deucenut, I just noticed your signature. Boy does that bring back memories. My friend across the street when I was in high school had a full fender 32 2door sedan. It was chopped 4 inches and had a Olds engine, 39 Ford tranny. Your basic hotrod in the day.

Don't want to hijack the thread, so back to the topic at hand.

You don't need to drive it to get the numbers with the engine running. Just start and unplug.
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:59 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ernieh View Post
Deucenut, I just noticed your signature. Boy does that bring back memories. My friend across the street when I was in high school had a full fender 32 2door sedan. It was chopped 4 inches and had a Olds engine, 39 Ford tranny. Your basic hotrod in the day.

Don't want to hijack the thread, so back to the topic at hand.

You don't need to drive it to get the numbers with the engine running. Just start and unplug.
32 fords are my favourite car. If it were up to me, I'd have one of every model. Unfortunately my wife doesn't agree with me. Lol.
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Old 03-21-2013, 01:45 PM   #10
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I asked at Lichtsinn about getting a Trik-L-Start. They stated. The Trik-L-Start is no longer sold by Winnebago, but they have a substitute for it, part number is 174291-01-000. Does anyone know anything about its replacement? Assume you can get the Trik-L-Start elsewhere.
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Old 03-21-2013, 01:50 PM   #11
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Got mine on internet from trik l start.
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:58 PM   #12
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The trik-l-start is not there to do the main battery charging. It is there as a maintainer so you don't run the engine batteries down when left sitting for weeks. Not seeing 13.5 or more on the engine batteries with the generator running is disturbing. I know some rv's won't actually turn a solenoid on until whatever bank gets charged enough but that is a poor design in my opinion and I don't think this is your case. I suspect you have a problem with your system.

The trik-l-start was trying to charge most likely but it has a very limited supply and one hour is not enough. Why the voltage went even lower is speculation on my part and may have been due to lights or other items you had on at the time and the Trik just could not keep up.

Someone here should know exactly how yours is supposed to work so my two cents may keep you busy till they come along.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:20 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by cef2lion View Post
I asked at Lichtsinn about getting a Trik-L-Start. They stated. The Trik-L-Start is no longer sold by Winnebago, but they have a substitute for it, part number is 174291-01-000. Does anyone know anything about its replacement? Assume you can get the Trik-L-Start elsewhere.
The TLS that I bought for my new MH (I like it better than the Tiffin system) has Winnebago and Monaco part numbers on the box. Perhaps they are now using the Amp L Start. It's basically the same unit with a 15a output instead of 5a.
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by ernieh View Post

The TLS that I bought for my new MH (I like it better than the Tiffin system) has Winnebago and Monaco part numbers on the box. Perhaps they are now using the Amp L Start. It's basically the same unit with a 15a output instead of 5a.
How does the TLS or Amp l Start compare with the Echo charge which I think does the same job on my coach?
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