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Old 02-02-2009, 12:09 PM   #1
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Well, here we go again.....

In April last year, 08, had to have 2 out of 3 Interstate batteries replaced due to excessive loss of water, unknown to me, even though I check water levels religously on a monthly basis. In Sept. 08 one of the replaced batteries burst causing a "L" shaped crack on the top.
Had La Mesa RV in San Diego check out the entire charging system and they noted the system was working as designed, but found the 3rd battery had a dead cell. That battery was replaced.
Now, yesterday, was checking battery levels and found the other battery previouly bought in April 08, had 3 cells completely dry!!! Added distilled water, plugged coach back in to 30 amp, hopefully will charge back up. Think it will?????

Batteries are Interstate deap cycle, like Camping World sells. Coach is plugged in all the time, 30 amp, location in southern Cal., and as stated, batteries are checked monthly. Engine battery has a Battery Minder maintaining it.

So, what is going on here??

Any ideas???
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:19 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear about your battery problems. I also have Interstate batteries model SPM 29M for the house batteries and model 31-MHD for the chassis. I am no battery expert but my initial response to my own situation would be is it possible they are over charging? I suggest this as you mentioned the MH is continually plugged in. You did not mention house battery charger type?
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:23 PM   #3
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When a battery has a dead cell, it draws more charging current, trying to bring it back up. Unfortunately, all 2 or 3 batteries in parallel will get the same current, and potentially overcharge, boiling the cells.

It is always best to replace all of the batteries (2 or 3, however many you have) when one of them goes bad, as one bad battery can bring the other(s) down.

Engine batteries are isolated from coach batteries, so this problem should not cross over between them.

My guess of what's going on with your coach batteries.

If you choose to try to bring this individual battery back up, disconnect it from the others and charge it separately. It might work.
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Pusherman:
It is always best to replace all of the batteries (2 or 3, however many you have) when one of them goes bad, as one bad battery can bring the other(s) down.
Pusherman, I agree.
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:45 PM   #5
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The only real fix here is to replace all three batteries with new ones at the same time. If you don't do this, the older batterie is going to go out and take the others with it. Your battery problems and expenses will be much less in the long run by having three identical batteries at all times
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Old 02-02-2009, 02:28 PM   #6
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One thing I have done is to change the settings on my charger to only charge at 5amps when Im just sitting around hooked up to shore power. I had been putting 25amps in all the time and did not realize it. Im keeping my fingers crossed that this will help .
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Old 02-02-2009, 03:20 PM   #7
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Taking no prisoners this time around I installed a pair of new Group 27 Trojan 12s and a new Iota Intelligent Converter/Charger.
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Old 02-02-2009, 03:35 PM   #8
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When plugged into shore power your converter is charging your house batteries at 14 amps for approx. 13 hours, then only dropping back to 13.5 amps forever. This grossly overcharges your batteries, usually boiling them dry.

Solution is simple. Turn your AUX. BAT. switch to "off" whenever you're plugged into shore power. Everything will work fine, your're simply isolating the house bats. from the charging circuit. When you hit the road again, the engine altinator will charge all of your batteries up again. The only time we have AUX.BAT. switch "on" is when we are traveling, or dry camping without shore power.

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-02-2009, 06:57 PM   #9
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This is an interesting method, but I thought the isolator was between the batteries and the 12 v. circuits they run, not between the batteries and the converter/charger.... I don't know. Also, I don't think my aux batts charge from the alternator, just from the genset or shore power, although I'm not sure of that either.... Any further discussion would be appreciated
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Old 02-03-2009, 03:01 AM   #10
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On my rig, the isoltor does not stop the coach batteries from charging when connected to shore power. The coach batteries DO charge from the alternator, along with the chasis batteries when the engine is running. My converter charges the coach batteries at a max of 14.1 VOLTS, dropping to 13.5 VOLTS, and finally maintaning the batteries at 13.1 VOLTS. About once a month, the converter/charger will up the charge rate to 14.1 VOLTS for fifteen minutes to remove the sulfer build up from the plates. I hope this helps.
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Old 02-03-2009, 04:16 AM   #11
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Depends on the setup of your rig. On my 2000 Journey, the inverter is only 130 watt and used for TV, stereo, etc. The battery charging is performed via the converter, and house batteries are isolated from charging when AUX BAT switch is "off".
Best to check your specific wiring schematic or call Winnebago customer service (1-800-537-1885)with your serial number for an exact answer.

Another check would be to check voltage at batteries with a digital voltmeter to see if voltage drops when AUX BAT switch is turned off (while being plugged into shore power). Mine is about 13.5 with switch on, and 12.5 with switch off (depends on air temp.)
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:00 AM   #12
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If you have not converted to a 3-stage "smart" charger, do so. Progressive Dynamics PD9260 is great and relatively inexpensive.

On my '02 Suncruiser there are 3 different charging scenarios for batteries.

1) Plugged into shore power.
2) Parked and no power to system.
3) Engine running.

Under 1), the house batteries are being charged by the converter (hopefully smart charger). The engine battery is NOT being charged.

Under 2), no batteries are being charged.

Under 3), all batteries are paralled and receiving the same charging VOLTAGE (not necessarily current).

Modification -

Running the generator (110V) while driving. Not sure what this would do but I suspect it would be the same as 1).


I am on my 3rd set of 6-volt house batts and these are weak. Looking at the entire charging system, I see the charging voltage when on the alternator is a solid 14.8 volts. It never drops and IMHO, is way too much.

I believe the reason for the high charging voltage is due to the high current used from the engine battery while driving. I run headlights and my toad is connected. Therefore the engine batt is demanding charging but since the alternator can't distinguish, it dumps a high charging voltage on all batteries.

NOTE: The isolator connects the house batts to the engine batt when running on alternator. Otherwise, the batteries are separated.

Anyway, in looking at the battery system, I have decided to insert a switch into the isolator relay (solenoid) and keep the alternator from automatically charging the house batts.

Since they are charging from the converter when on shore power and current draw from them while driving is minimal, I don't think they need be connected to that high a charging voltage.

Should they be discharged for some reason, I can switch them back to charging by the alternator on a temporary basis.

Has anyone done this?

Comments?
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