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Old 08-09-2012, 12:53 PM   #1
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House Batts not charging

Can anyone tell me if my gennie starts off the chasis or house batts? Also, how can I test my house batts charger? My batts will not take a charge. Also, does my MH charge the chasis batt while on show power? Thanks All!
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:11 PM   #2
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It would be a good idea to include your RV make, model and year in your tag line.

Generally speaking:

Gennie should start off of house batteries.

Assuming you are talking about your converter used to charge your house batteries, depending on your model you may get some slightly different voltage output readings but you will need to disconnect the outputs and then test the voltage from it.

How do you know that your batteries won't take a charge? If you are certain, then they will need to be replaced. Check water levels.

For the most part the converter will not charge your chassis battery directly. (Some newer models are doing that now) but you can add a start battery charger in your battery bay to do that when you are on gen or shore power.
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:23 PM   #3
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Hi and welcome to the forum!

What are the history of the batteries? Did you just buy the rig and the batteries are acting like this right out of the chute? Do you know how old they are? You can remove them and take them to an auto parts store to have them load check them. Naturally, make sure that water levels are good and all connections are clean and tight.

Does your coach have a "one place" control panel with your tank gauges, etc? Is there a panel which shows you what your voltage is for both battery banks? If so, you can check the voltage reading for your house batteries with your charger turned off and then see if you jump to somewhere around 13.6v when the charger is turned on.

I don't believe your vintage rig will charge the chassis batteries when hooked up to shore power. I believe it was somewhere around 2005 that Winnie began installing a trick L charger to perform this function. It shouldn't be hard to add though.

Best of luck.

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Old 08-09-2012, 01:28 PM   #4
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Thanks for the response, sorry I didn't give the model-it is the same as in my signature. Just a clarifying question. To test charger voltage, that has to be done back at the charger-not at the batt terminals?
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:35 PM   #5
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I just bought this rig this spring, batts came with so don't know how old they are. The test lights on my systems monitor show fully charged when on shore power and fully dead, no light at all actually, when off shore power.
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:44 PM   #6
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I just bought this rig this spring, batts came with so don't know how old they are. The test lights on my systems monitor show fully charged when on shore power and fully dead, no light at all actually, when off shore power.
Ok, so if your system monitor has only lights and not specific voltage readings, you'll need to measure at the battery terminals. Get a multimeter and measure voltage with charger off and then with it on.

If your reading when the charger is off is something below 11.5v or so... you're probably going to need new batteries. You should be seeing about 13.6v when the charger is on but this too can be measured at the battery terminals.

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Old 08-10-2012, 10:31 AM   #7
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Don't know how to turn the charger off so I just unplugged shore power (figured that would do it) either way I only get about 5VDC whether its plugged in or not. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 08-10-2012, 10:54 AM   #8
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Now I'm thinking my charger is bad because I get 12VDC at the house terminals while the engine is running.
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:20 AM   #9
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Can anyone tell me where the reverse polarity fuses are?
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:11 PM   #10
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Start with each battery bank, chassis and house, making sure each battery of the bank is fully charged. If you have to remove them and put a charger on them individually because you do not trust the on board charger then do it. Once the battery is fully charged, take a specific gravity reading of each cell. That will tell you whether the battery is any good or not.

Once you have totally good batteries for both systems, to find out which battery bank starts your generator, simply remove the cables from the chassis battery and attempt to start the generator. If it starts, then I would assume it is using the house batteries. Then reconnect the cables to the chassis battery and remove the cables from the house batteries and repeat the test. If in fact they use the house batteries, the generator will NOT start.

Not sure how your specific charging system is designed but most RV's do not come with a provision to keep the chassis battery charged while on shore power. Purchase a Trik-L-Start Battery Maintainer and that will solve your charging problems. Additional information below.

Now for the performance of your Converter/Charger, it should have three charging levels, Bulk stage, Absorption stage, and Float stage. If you batteries are in good condition, they should FLOAT fully charged at about 13.4 - 13.7 VDC when connected to shore power. Once you disconnect from shore power and wait about 15 minutes, they should be reading about 12.6 - 12.7 VDC. If they are down to 11 VDC then there is a major problem with the batteries.

Remember that the house batteries should NEVER be discharged lower than 50%, about 12.0 VDC. Additional information below.

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Attached Files
File Type: pdf Trik-L-Start Brochure.pdf (726.3 KB, 32 views)
File Type: pdf Trik-L-Start Install Instructions.pdf (129.0 KB, 28 views)
File Type: doc 12 Volt DC Batteries & Charging.doc (37.5 KB, 48 views)
File Type: pdf RV Battery Savvy.pdf (42.1 KB, 31 views)
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:12 PM   #11
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If you go here Wiring Diagrams and select your year and model coach you should be able to get to the Winnebago wiring diagrams for your coach.
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:42 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone for your input, all great comments. I went to autozone and bought two new batts. After installing them gennie starts fine and have house lights back. Plugged in shore power and batts read 11.7 at the terminals. Figure the store didnt keep up with them so gonna stay on shore power overnighht and check again in the morning. Is there a sure fire way to tell if the batts are being charged or not?
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abaerga View Post
Thanks everyone for your input, all great comments. I went to autozone and bought two new batts. After installing them gennie starts fine and have house lights back. Plugged in shore power and batts read 11.7 at the terminals. Figure the store didnt keep up with them so gonna stay on shore power overnighht and check again in the morning. Is there a sure fire way to tell if the batts are being charged or not?
Hmmm.... I would have hoped you would see something closer to 13.6v when connected to shore power if your charger was working properly. It'll be interesting to see what happens overnight.

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Old 08-11-2012, 09:39 AM   #14
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Thanks everyone for your input, all great comments. I went to autozone and bought two new batts. After installing them gennie starts fine and have house lights back. Plugged in shore power and batts read 11.7 at the terminals. Figure the store didn't keep up with them so gonna stay on shore power overnight and check again in the morning. Is there a sure fire way to tell if the batts are being charged or not?
When your batteries are not fully charged, you should have a reading of 14.2 -14.4 VDC or someplace close because they will first be in a BULK charge stage. Once the batteries are fully charge, it should switch to FLOAT stage and the batteries should read about 13.4 - 13.6 VDC or close to that. Your reading will go even lower once you disconnect from shore power and let them sit for 15-30 minutes or so to remove the high surface charge. The reading should go down to about 12.6 - 12.7 VDC.

If you are only getting 11.7 VDC, I would look at your charging system for a possible problem.

For batteries, I would have suggested the ones at Sam's Club. Although, most batteries are all made by 2-3 manufacturer's so maybe it really doesn't matter.

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Old 08-11-2012, 10:49 AM   #15
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Well I went out this morning to check the voltage after having been connected to shore power all night. The voltage on the house batts did come up to about 12.2. Although I had to use my old needle meter (the fancy digital one I just can't seem to figure out, it's set properly but the numbers just keep climbing slowly even when the leads aren't touching a thing). Anyway, the fact that the numbers went up is promising, although not as high as I'd like to see. It may be that my shore power is inadequate. I'm plugged into a 15A circuit on the side of my garage, the coach is 30A, does that make a difference? I'm gonna unplug shore power and take a reading.
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:52 AM   #16
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The 15amp connection should be fine for your converter. It could take a whole day to recharge your batteries depending on how far discharged they were.
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:08 PM   #17
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Just noticed. My old needle meter has a set screw. The needle was sitting slightly under 0V so i turned it clockwise till the needle was on true zero. Now I get 12.6 or so running of the gennie and while on shore power and 12.0 with converter off. Gonna give it another day on shore power. Still, i would think I'd get more out of my converter than that.
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:20 PM   #18
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I'm thinking the meter you are using to test might be off. Might be a good idea to borrow another test meter and re-check/verify voltage readings?
Or check the lights on the panel to see if they show charged batteries.
P.S. I run my RV off 15Amp garage outlet all the time - no problems there.
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Old 08-12-2012, 10:47 AM   #19
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Well I went out this morning to check the voltage after having been connected to shore power all night. The voltage on the house batts did come up to about 12.2. Although I had to use my old needle meter (the fancy digital one I just can't seem to figure out, it's set properly but the numbers just keep climbing slowly even when the leads aren't touching a thing). Anyway, the fact that the numbers went up is promising, although not as high as I'd like to see. It may be that my shore power is inadequate. I'm plugged into a 15A circuit on the side of my garage, the coach is 30A, does that make a difference? I'm gonna unplug shore power and take a reading.
12.2 VDC is NOT a fully charged battery. Unless you are using a known good meter, I would not rely on the meter reading. Take the caps off and use a battery specific gravity tool to measure the actual specific gravity of each cell. Compare it to the chart in the document that I had included previously to determine whether your batteries are fully charged or not.

Do you own a portable battery charger such as a 15 amp Smart Charger? If so, disconnect the main cables and use the portable charger to make sure both batteries are fully charged then reconnect everything and monitor the situation from there to see what happens while plugged into shore power. If the batteries don't hold a charge then your on board charging system needs help.

It should not make any difference when using a 15 amp circuit unless you are trying to run a lot of other stuff inside your RV and charging the batteries too.

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Old 08-12-2012, 01:10 PM   #20
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After two days charging, and having bought a new multimeter, i now have 13.7VDC on shore power and 12.9 unplugged.
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