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Old 12-14-2011, 10:41 PM   #1
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Question Freezing of Discharged Batteries

My 3 Chassis Batteries are down to 9.5 volts, with freezing nights coming soon. How low do they have to get before the freezing ruins them? I tried to start the generator to charge them, but its starter barely turned over, and wouldn't start. I had forgotten to flip the battery disconnect switch when I left it 2 weeks ago. I usually disconnect the batteries when leaving it.

I'm hoping my storage/maintensnce guy will let me plug in tomorrow. My Engine batteries are still at 12.6 volts so I could start the Cat. but I hate to do that unless I'm going to drive it for a while. Also, could I safely use the emergency engine start switch in reverse, to start the generator, instead of the engine? Thanks, Doug

2003 Journey DL, 36GD, 330 Cat 3 New DECA batteries in 2010
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:41 PM   #2
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At 9.5 volts they are just water and will freeze. At the very least you could put a set of booster cables from your car to the house Batts and charge them that way. Just make sure you get hooked up corectly. 12 volt not 6.
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:22 AM   #3
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It sounds like all your batteries are discharged, not just your chassis batteries. The generator starts from the house batteries, not the chassis batteries.

You can try two options right now until you get your converter working tomorrow via shore power.
See if you can start using the boost switch on your dash, which connects both house and chassis batteries together. Combined you might have enough power to start the generator.
You could also try running jumper cables from your car battery to your "house" batteries wait about 15 minutes while the car is running and the jumper connection is made. After the 15 minute wait see if the generator will start while still having the jumper cables connected and the car engine running.

You will have to run the generator at least 2 hours to get some kind of meaning full charge in the house batteries. This still won't charge the chassis batteries unless you can get the coach engine to start. Again your boost switch might help put here if you can get a charge on the house batteries.
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:29 AM   #4
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If your Batteries are left in a less then full charge (14.2 Volts) for any length of time (day) they start to sulfate. And if left uncharged They decome Junk... A battery IS only a storage unit and must be kept full.. I/we have had Motorhome batteries Last 9 years, That get charged Imeditly . We also have replaced batteries after 2 years that we left in a discharged state;;Keep it fully charged.. You take care of it ;; the battery will take care of you;; Neglect it , and it will neglect you..
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:37 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by p00ches View Post
My 3 Chassis Batteries are down to 9.5 volts, with freezing nights coming soon. How low do they have to get before the freezing ruins them? I tried to start the generator to charge them, but its starter barely turned over, and wouldn't start. I had forgotten to flip the battery disconnect switch when I left it 2 weeks ago. I usually disconnect the batteries when leaving it.

I'm hoping my storage/maintensnce guy will let me plug in tomorrow. My Engine batteries are still at 12.6 volts so I could start the Cat. but I hate to do that unless I'm going to drive it for a while. Also, could I safely use the emergency engine start switch in reverse, to start the generator, instead of the engine? Thanks, Doug

2003 Journey DL, 36GD, 330 Cat 3 New DECA batteries in 2010
Yes. All the emergency start button does is activate a relay that connects the house and chassis batteries. Once they are connected you should be able to start the generator easily.
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Old 12-15-2011, 02:12 PM   #6
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Which battery activates The relay; The house or chassic; If it is the daed battery that activates it and there is not enough/no current what happens then ???? Also the regular converter,(unless equiped with an inverter with charge capecity built in.) You will be old and more gray befor the batteries are charged.. we checked it on a late model coach.. The charging rate was .06 WE took it out had it checked the tech said That is the charging rate;;; You need to get you a good charger. NOT a trickle charger;; 15 amp with the float charging. capabilities;Then your batteries are 10 year units.
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Old 12-15-2011, 04:02 PM   #7
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A 2003 Journey DL, 36GD could have a converter or you could have the 1500W Inverter (Option). The Inverter option would have also installed a Inverter Power Distribution panel.

Winnebago designed the AUX Start switch such that when the engine is running, the isolation solinoid is energized which allows the engine alternator to charge the 3 coach batteries. If the coach batteries did not get damaged from being depleted to 9.5VDC, you would let the engine run for about 15 minutes to get enough energy in the battery to start the generator. As menetioned previously, you could also use jumper cables to do this from your car. Just need to get enough enrgy back in the batteries to start the generator. Then try starting the generator. Once the generator is running, you should be able to shut the engine down and let the convererter or inverter/charger (as applicable) charge the coach batteries for several hours. Not sure exactly how long it will take as it directly depends on what model converter or Inverter/charger you have. If it is a 3 stage device, it should get the batteries back up to 80% SOC in about 2-3 hours. From that point it takes around 12hrs to charge the additional 20%. If you get them to the 80% mark and then have to drive a while, the engine alternator will finish the charge off for you.

Batteries freezing is bad juju though :(

Here is the wiring diagram TOC for your rig: Table of Contents

Good Luck,
Dave
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Old 12-15-2011, 04:40 PM   #8
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If they are at 9.5 volts, no matter the temp, damage is occuring.. CHARGE THEM and do it soon.
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:23 PM   #9
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Thanks folks for all the help. I was mistaken in saying my Chassis batteries were low. I meant the 3 Coach batteries. I was able to get 30 amps this morning to get the charging started on the Coach batteries I was expecting to see 14.1 volts starting out but only read 13.2, drawing 13 amps. Came back 2 hours later and read 13.2 and drawing 12 amps. It's a 3 stage inverter charger. Pulled the 30 amp plug and still read about 12.6 volts.

I'm hoping there's no battery damage. I'll top off the Engine batteries tomorrow. My voltage readings are from the power monitor panel and not a digital voltmeter, which I probably should have been using.

Any other comments would be welcome. Thanks ...Doug

2003 Journey DL 36GD, 330 Cat
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Old 12-17-2011, 11:15 AM   #10
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OH man I started to enter a post..... I need to hook up my charger. Later In the day . Man I'm glad I got that Done. ;;;; Now I'm a happy MH owner.. Charge your batteries;;
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Old 12-17-2011, 07:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p00ches View Post
Thanks folks for all the help. I was mistaken in saying my Chassis batteries were low. I meant the 3 Coach batteries. I was able to get 30 amps this morning to get the charging started on the Coach batteries I was expecting to see 14.1 volts starting out but only read 13.2, drawing 13 amps. Came back 2 hours later and read 13.2 and drawing 12 amps. It's a 3 stage inverter charger. Pulled the 30 amp plug and still read about 12.6 volts.

I'm hoping there's no battery damage. I'll top off the Engine batteries tomorrow. My voltage readings are from the power monitor panel and not a digital voltmeter, which I probably should have been using.

Any other comments would be welcome. Thanks ...Doug

2003 Journey DL 36GD, 330 Cat
I believe you should "Equalize" them if they are that low and let your converter do the work. At 9.5v in two weeks could mean new batteries but try equalizing them first.
Richard
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