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Old 04-28-2012, 01:27 PM   #1
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Battery & Plug-In Electrical Issues

Okay, I have searched and didn't find anything quite the same. Issue is that our 2008 Itasca Sunova 35J has been in storage and used a little this year, but not much. I have neglected the house batteries periodically but prior to storage for about 1 1/2 months the batteries were filled and seemed good to go.

We came out this weekend to a state park with full service and didn't appear to have any issues. Last night around midnight (I was told) the park lost power and my MH drained the batteries prior to the power being restored.

We are plugged in to 30amp service (our coach is 30amp) and today we started having brown out issues. I couldn't start the generator until I ran the MH engine for a while. I finally started the generator and when the batteries appeared to be fully charged on the EMS I turned off the generator. Since then the batteries still show a slow discharge (now down to 1/3rd again) even though we are on solid power at the campground. I did check the voltage and the post is good to go.

My question is: Even though I am connected to shore power, could this be a battery issue? The MH works fine on the generator, but shows a steady decrease in battery strength after turning generator off... HELP!!!!

Plan on buying new batteries tomorrow on the way home, but don't want to kill new batteries if you all think it is more significant and will kill new batteries too.

Thanks in advance... Eric
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Old 04-28-2012, 01:43 PM   #2
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Update... my MH started browning out (lights getting dim) even with the generator running. Lights quickly brightened back up and the percentage for the batteries on the EMS went back up to 100% as soon as I turned on the chassis engine.
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:03 PM   #3
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When plugged in to shore power or when running the generator the charger (inverter/converter) should be supplying +12v and charging the house battery. When the vehicle engine is running the engine alternator charges the battery. Your symptoms indicate that the charger is not charging the battery. Start checking there - tripped 110 circuit breaker supplying converter? blown +12v fuse on output of converter? Once the battery has been run down to the point you indicate it will take several hours to re-charge to full charge.
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Old 04-28-2012, 11:06 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info. I definately agree it must be a charging issue, but where I stand now is that after running the generator a couple hours the issue appears to have gone away and the batteries are showing fully charged (on the EMS). I really think my house batteries are just so shot that when the power went out in the campground last night they just got pushed to absolute dead. I will buy two new batteries this week and give that a try. Thanks again!
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Old 04-28-2012, 11:52 PM   #5
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Just wondering, how old are the house batteries? Are they the original ones that came with the coach? I'm assuming they're 12V house batteries? If so, do you do a fair amount of dry camping or "boon docking" as they say? It's been my experience that 6V golf cart batteries are way better for longevity in boon docking or, a no-hook up situation. Many here use them.

It's just a suggestion. One of the first things I'd check on is, are you getting adequate charge to the house batteries when plugged into shore power and, when the generator is running? And since you say your rig is a Sunova, I'm assuming that it's a gas rig and not a diesel? If so, you most likely have a "converter" not an "inverter". If so, many times those converters put out the minimal 12V battery charge while being plugged in. It's usually around 3 amps or so. I could be wrong here but, it might be worth a look into your manuals or, even go find that converter and see if there's specs on its output.

Yes, it sounds like you may need new house batteries but, a thorough check on the charging system(s) would ensure you'd be protecting the new ones with a good charge. If you've got a bad converter or, one that's not putting out that much, you'd be drawing your new batteries down too. Hope this helps some.
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Old 04-29-2012, 12:07 AM   #6
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A hydrometer will help determine if the batteries are defective.

About $10 at any auto parts store.

There are two ways to repair electrical problems.

1. Throw parts at it....known as Easter Egging.

2. Use test equipment to determine exactly where the problem is located and correct the problem.

In this case you need a voltmeter and a hydrometer.
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Old 04-29-2012, 12:33 AM   #7
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Ditto on a cheap voltmeter. For $10 you may save $200.
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