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Old 09-07-2014, 10:27 PM   #1
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Charging system question

On my 2007 adventurer 38t the engine battery goes stone cold dead after sitting for a Month. I cant believe with a 65 w factory solar charging system and being plugged in to 50 amp shore power 24/7 only the coach batteries get charged and you have to rely on the dash board jumper switch to start engine. what were they thinking when they came up with alternator only charges engine battery and charger only does coach batteries? when the engine battery dies the steps don't work! Argh!! Any one try putting a cable from coach battery to engine battery to charge all while sitting for extended periods? Or is it best to leave things as factory intended! very annoying
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:58 PM   #2
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On my 2007 adventurer 38t the engine battery goes stone cold dead after sitting for a Month. I cant believe with a 65 w factory solar charging system and being plugged in to 50 amp shore power 24/7 only the coach batteries get charged and you have to rely on the dash board jumper switch to start engine. what were they thinking when they came up with alternator only charges engine battery and charger only does coach batteries? when the engine battery dies the steps don't work! Argh!! Any one try putting a cable from coach battery to engine battery to charge all while sitting for extended periods? Or is it best to leave things as factory intended! very annoying
Milom,
Well Sir, first off, typically Winne and Itasca started installing what's called the "Trik-L-Start" chassis battery charging system in or about, late 2005 or early 2006. Those systems are ultra simple to install, in case your coach ACTUALLY came with NO CHASSIS BATTERY CHARGING SYSTEM that is in service, when plugged into shore power. It's tough for me to believe that yours doesn't have any means of charging the chassis batteries if on shore power. Maybe it did, or does, but, it's broke?

With all that being said, if you're dead sure you have no chassis battery charging system while on shore power, you can do what I and others have done and that is, simply install a three-stage battery charger, and hard wire it in, permanently.

I installed a Napa unit a couple of years ago because our coach, an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the C-7 330 CAT, did not come from the factory with any provisions to keep the chassis batteries charged while on shore power or, generator use. What I did was actually quite simple. At the foot of the bed is our electrical center. That includes the 110VAC breaker panel. So, what I did was mount that charger inside that area, out of site. Then, used an open breaker for the 110V side. I then, drilled a hole in the side of the bulk head and ran the 12VDC leads out and into the battery compartment. I then tied them into the appropriate terminals.

From that point on, my chassis batteries are always topped off at 100%.

Now, by what you've said, you're stating that you DON'T get your COACH batteries charged while driving down the road? Are you sure about that? Have you taken a reading, with a volt-ohm meter, right at the terminals of the house batteries with and without the engine running? If so, what were the readings?

Todays coaches, almost all of them made, have coach and chassis battery charging while the main engine is running. There's multiple ways of controlling the systems that are doing the charging. But, I'd surely check on all your electrical systems in your manuals to make sure that you either do or, do not have charging systems in place for both operations. Good luck and please report back on what you find.
Scott
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Old 09-08-2014, 12:50 AM   #3
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As I described in my original post shore power and solar charger are only charging coach batteries and engine alternator is only charging Engine and Genny battery. According to PO, He thinks Winnebago set it up this way at factory? Can anyone else chime in?
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Old 09-08-2014, 11:23 AM   #4
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The following is a reprint from the Winnebago "service tips bulletin" March 2003
What were/are they thinking???
Q.Can the chassis battery be
charged through the converter in
any switch arrangement?
A.No. The chassis battery
cannot be charged by the converter
regardless of the switch positions.
The automotive alternator is the
only charging source for the chassis
battery. Should this battery lose its
charge, the auxiliary start feature
allows you to utilize your coach
batteries to help to start your
engine. (Certain diesel chassis
vehicles have a bi-directional
isolator relay delay, or bird relay,
that will allow the converter to
charge the chassis battery
dependent upon its voltage level.)
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Old 09-08-2014, 11:51 AM   #5
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A common after market add on for motor homes that are like your is called the Trick-L-Start, another is the Echo-Charger (By Xantres, it is more expensive).

Motor homes (For this discussion) come in two types
Some (Mine for example) have bi-directional isolators That means if either charging system is active (house or engine) all batteries charge.

Some do not, epically older ones, the isolator is one way (Engine charges house) and even that is optional.
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Old 09-08-2014, 12:05 PM   #6
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Milom
The "chassis battery" of many motor homes is ONLY charged by the alternator.....(exactly like cars and trucks).
Some owners "feel the need" to add an accessory charger, (Trik-L-Start, Xantrex Echo-Charge, etc), but because I have never needed one...I've never added one, (on a car, a pick-up truck... or on my MH).

IMO if your "engine battery goes stone cold dead after sitting for a month", something needs fixing..... (an accessory charger is simply a band-aid used to cover the real problem).

Mel
'96 Safari. 133k miles
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Old 09-08-2014, 12:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post
A common after market add on for motor homes that are like your is called the Trick-L-Start, another is the Echo-Charger (By Xantres, it is more expensive).

Motor homes (For this discussion) come in two types
Some (Mine for example) have bi-directional isolators That means if either charging system is active (house or engine) all batteries charge.

Some do not, epically older ones, the isolator is one way (Engine charges house) and even that is optional.
wa8yxm,
Yep, as I told him, the "Trik-L-Start" was being added by the factory on most Winnies and Itascas starting around, late '05, early '06. I don't know if it was being added to ONLY the diesel coaches or, both gas and diesel. He'll actually have CHECK and see if one's installed. According to the wiring diagrams for his coach, it really doesn't show one.

The topic of whether both sets of batteries, (house and chassis) charge wih the main engine running has been discussed a few zillion times on here and, for the most part, it has been determined that about 99.99% of the coaches made in the last, oh say, about 10-15 years or so, or earlier, DO HAVE BOTH SETS BEING CHARGED BY THE ALTERNATOR.

But, whether or not his chassis batts are being charged by any form of sub-charging system while on shore power, remains to be seen. On a coach that late, an '07, I'd surely think the Trik-L-Start or, an equivalent system would have been installed. But, cheap is cheap and, I guess if a coach builder wants to cheap out and not install any sub charging system for the chassis batts while in storage, that's one way of being cheap. It's been done for years and years.

As I stated, many guys have remedied that situation themselves by adding either the Trik-L-Start, Amp-L-Start, Echo Charger or, like I did, a stand alone, hard wired, 3-stage battery charger, solely for the chassis batteries that works absolutely flawless. But, if he has NONE of those for sure, and has checked all his battery wiring etc., then it's time to get to work and add one of them, to keep the chassis batteries up.
Scott
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Old 09-08-2014, 12:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mel s View Post
Milom
The "chassis battery" of many motor homes is ONLY charged by the alternator.....(exactly like cars and trucks).
Some owners "feel the need" to add an accessory charger, (Trik-L-Start, Xantrex Echo-Charge, etc), but because I have never needed one...I've never added one, (on a car, a pick-up truck... or on my MH).

IMO if your "engine battery goes stone cold dead after sitting for a month", something needs fixing..... (an accessory charger is simply a band-aid used to cover the real problem).

Mel
'96 Safari. 133k miles
Mel,
Many, many coach owners have and, continue to have their chassis batteries go dead while in storage. The cause(s) can be numerous and, normal. Memory items, clocks, detectors and more, are parasitic drains on both battery systems. This, as stated, is why Winne and Itasca started installing the chassis battery charging system "Trik-L-Start" in the time frame they did. I don't know how many other coach builders have either had this problem and remedied it or, just left it as a problem for the owner. Some coaches drain them faster, some slower.

Now, this doesn't mean that the OP DOESN'T have a compartment light switch stuck in the "on" position or, some other small short but, tests have to be performed to ascertain if such a drain of that type is present. The primary and only REAL way to prevent any depletion of chassis battery power while in storage is to completely disconnect it. That will stop any parasitic drains from brining it down.
Scott
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:48 PM   #9
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My 07 38T did not come with a "Trik-L-Start". I was coming up with a dead battery with all the little gremlins stealing power. I got one myself and installed it to my starting battery...use it all the time.
Try it you will like it!
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Old 09-09-2014, 10:32 PM   #10
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I had a "Trik-L-Start" installed on my 2013 Itasca Sunstar 26HE in addition to a full solar system. Now all the batteries are always fully charged. Definitely an expensive way to go, but living in earthquake country (California), our motorhome is our vacation home and our emergency home. Last thing I wanted was to go to the motorhome and have dead batteries.
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Old 09-10-2014, 12:30 AM   #11
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I know they were installed on the DP's, but not sure about the gas rigs. Either way it's worth the investment.. BUT.... that only fixes the charge issue plugged in. If it's in storage it'll still die unless you can shed the parasitic loads.
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Old 09-11-2014, 07:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milom View Post
On my 2007 adventurer 38t the engine battery goes stone cold dead after sitting for a Month. I cant believe with a 65 w factory solar charging system and being plugged in to 50 amp shore power 24/7 only the coach batteries get charged and you have to rely on the dash board jumper switch to start engine. what were they thinking when they came up with alternator only charges engine battery and charger only does coach batteries? when the engine battery dies the steps don't work! Argh!! Any one try putting a cable from coach battery to engine battery to charge all while sitting for extended periods? Or is it best to leave things as factory intended! very annoying
I believe you only have a 15 watt solar charger. As mentioned by others, all you need to do is add a Trik-L-Start.
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Old 09-11-2014, 09:33 AM   #13
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A simple fix to charging all batteries by the engine or the charger/inverter
is to use 2 isolators back to back with the batteries between the isolators and the second one wired so you end up with a tri isolator.
Two 200 amp isolators are needed with a few battery cables and the reroute of
the alt output to a isolator.
This install cost just a little over $100.00 if you do your own work.
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Old 09-11-2014, 09:57 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wb7auk View Post
A simple fix to charging all batteries by the engine or the charger/inverter
is to use 2 isolators back to back with the batteries between the isolators and the second one wired so you end up with a tri isolator.
Two 200 amp isolators are needed with a few battery cables and the reroute of
the alt output to a isolator.
This install cost just a little over $100.00 if you do your own work.

Why when Trik-L-Start is $50 ?
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Old 09-11-2014, 09:59 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by wb7auk View Post
A simple fix to charging all batteries by the engine or the charger/inverter
is to use 2 isolators back to back with the batteries between the isolators and the second one wired so you end up with a tri isolator.
Two 200 amp isolators are needed with a few battery cables and the reroute of
the alt output to a isolator.
This install cost just a little over $100.00 if you do your own work.
Why would you do this? Almost all motor homes have a battery isolation solenoid, this charges both batteries going down the road. One $45 Trik-L-Start will solve the chassis battery on shore power problem.
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Old 09-11-2014, 10:33 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by John Hilley View Post
Why would you do this? Almost all motor homes have a battery isolation solenoid, this charges both batteries going down the road. One $45 Trik-L-Start will solve the chassis battery on shore power problem.
Depending on how the isolating solenoid is controlled the house batteries
may or may not be charged 100 %.
The Trik-L-Start is a 5 amp float charge only and when put across 2 chassis batteries provides 2 1/2 amps to each battery.
With the double isolators the current available to all batteries is limited only by the limits of the alt or the charger/inverter which ever one is providing the charge.
This system is not new as it is used where the coach maker was not cutting corners.
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Old 09-14-2014, 10:45 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wb7auk View Post
Depending on how the isolating solenoid is controlled the house batteries
may or may not be charged 100 %.
The Trik-L-Start is a 5 amp float charge only and when put across 2 chassis batteries provides 2 1/2 amps to each battery.
With the double isolators the current available to all batteries is limited only by the limits of the alt or the charger/inverter which ever one is providing the charge.
This system is not new as it is used where the coach maker was not cutting corners.
Trik-L-Start has a big brother called Amp-L-Start which provides 15 amps instead of 5 amps. The product is the same design and installation. Cost is $65. This is the one I installed in my motorhome.
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Old 09-15-2014, 05:54 AM   #18
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Yes the larger Amp-L-Start is a better way to go if you are going to use one of them.
For just addressing chassis batteries only I use 1 Isolator as they cost $50.00
each and let the charger/inverter do the charging as it is a much better charge system.

http://www.amazon.com/NOCO-IGD200HP-...GCSS7VQ7MW1VKS
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