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Old 03-12-2009, 03:01 PM   #1
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Trickle Charger (NOT)

Trickle Charger (disconnected)
Here's the scenario: Using a Trickle Charger without shore power connected, a poor chassis battery but good coach batteries where the voltage on the chassis battery was always lower than that on the coach batteries.

If, the lonely solar panel could not keep up with the residual drain on the chassis battery, would not the Trickle Charger allow the coach batteries to be drained by the chassis battery? This is what I think happened because when I disconnected the Trickle Charger my coach batteries kept their charge just fine and of course the chassis battery lost its co-operative energy after just a couple weeks. I had hoped that the solar panel would keep everything up but that was not the case.

I can only surmise that any time the chassis battery voltage is lower than the coach battery voltage the Trickle Charger keeps trying to juice it up until all battery power is dissipated.

This all took place in the Denver area this winter. Has this happened to anyone else and does anyone know if there is a threshold voltage below which a Trickle Charger would not deplete the coach batteries? Thanks a bunch.
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Old 03-12-2009, 03:59 PM   #2
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"Here's the scenario: Using a Trickle Charger without shore power connected, a poor chassis battery but good coach batteries where the voltage on the chassis battery was always lower than that on the coach batteries."

I Guess I'm not understanding how the trickle charger can function without being attached to shore power. The charger uses a transformer to convert the shore power AC current to DC, then uses the DC current to charge the batteries.

From what I can deduct you have the charger connected to all the batteries (both house and chassis). In essence you've tied them all together making it one huge battery. As the parastic loads consume current they are discharging all the batteries not just the chassis battery.
When you disconnect the charger you're isolating the house batteries from the chassis battery. Now the parasitic loads can only drain the chassis battery so the house batteries stay charged.

To further complicate things the solar panel on our coach only charges the house batteries and will have no effect on the chassis battery.
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Old 03-12-2009, 05:23 PM   #3
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Paul T.
I'm going on the limb here but!
I am assuming you have the Triklecharger that Winne puts on their rigs.
It will steal some of the charge going to your house batteries and give it to your chassis batteries, anytime the chassis battery is less than .5 V less.
If your chassis batteries will not hold charge then it will draw from the coach batteries.
You have a 10W solar charger standard. It will maintain the coach batteries in a full charge providing the batteries fully charged to begin with.
The way Winne wires these things, is that the chassis battery disconnect switch has to be ON. That mean also all the smoke detectors are working also.
Take the trickle start coach battery wire off the disconnect solonoid and attatch it to the battery isolater solonoid on the chassis battery side. Then it will charge the coach batteries with the battery disconnect switch off.
Check your chassis batteries. If they are failing then it will draw from the coach batteries too much.
On my coach I had to add an additional 9W portable solar charger attatched to the house batteries to keep up during the winter months. It has done just fine charging 2- 6V house batteries and 2 -12V chassis batteries on a diesel Journey.
I mostly wont need it when the sun gets higher and the days longer.
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Old 03-14-2009, 10:05 AM   #4
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RCtime,

Do you happen to know why Winne wires the trickle-charger to the coach side of the disconnect rather than the battery side? It seems to me that that would defeat the whole scheme of reducing parasitic discharge.

I like your idea of wiring it to the battery side of the disconnect so I can shut down the coach while parked and still have the trickle-charge work.

I have just ordered a Trickle-Charge and plan to hook it up your way.

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Old 03-14-2009, 11:31 AM   #5
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You will love this device. I mounted mine behing the elect. plate that comes off in an open space just to the drivers side of all the elect. stuff in there. I put the ground wire under the mounting screw of the TC.
Here is what I have found out. With the coach and chassis batteries fully charged it did a good job of maintaining the batteries in the summer Calif.sunshine, long days and use of the motorhome throughout the summer.
Come winter time shorter days and low sun I had to add an addition 9W portable solar charger attatched to the house batteries and it got me through just fine. I have an open area where the sun is not shaded and of course no snow.
It worked for me. Good luck, an easy 35 to 45 minute job.
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Old 03-14-2009, 12:10 PM   #6
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Cmcfar110 – I suspect Winne engineers forcast that the installed solar panel was not capable of keeping coach AND chassis batteries charged under all circumstances and provided it only for use when coach batteries were being charged either from shore power or generator. Else, others would have ended up with all batteries discharged like I did due to ever decreasing voltage on the chassis battery that the installed solar panel was not capable of keeping up with. The combination of additional solar power as RCtime uses and/or more sun exposure would undoubtedly lead to different results. My Trickle-charge was not factory installed and the configuration I used seemed to work great the late summer and fall. I kind of assumed the Trickle-charge might have a threshold votage where it would shut off if source voltage dropped below an acceptable level. That was a really dumb assumtion on my part and I proved that a daily solar charge in the winter could not keep up with parasitic loads on my chassis battery.

I was just curious to see if anyone else had drained their batteries like I did by assuming the solar maintenace on the coach batteries could be fed through successfully to chassis battery via the Trickle-charge unit.
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Old 03-15-2009, 10:43 AM   #7
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I hooked up my trickle charge as per instructions, I also started off with fully charged house and chassis batteries. I use the battery disconnect switch and the yellow maintaining light or the green charged light remain on at all times. I guess my factory installed solar panel works rather well. Just lucky I guess.
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Old 03-15-2009, 02:05 PM   #8
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IF by Trickle Charger you mean the Trick-L-Start or Xantrex Echo Charger the answer is no.. If the house batteries get below a pre-set point, they shut down

I'd have to download the manuals to find the set-point But those devices, like the Intelletec Battery Control center in my coach, are designed to PROTECT the good battery
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Old 03-17-2009, 05:52 PM   #9
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John D, - I apologize for my lack of detail in previous posts but I would sure appreciate any documentation you might reference or a link for the Trickle-L-Start having a low voltage cut-off set point. Thanks for the help.
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Old 03-17-2009, 06:50 PM   #10
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From the installation instructions: Trik-L-Start "How it Works"
Trik-L-Start works by "borrowing" some charging current from the house batteries, using it to also recharge and maintain the starting battery(s). This only happens when the house batteries are receiving a charge from your DC power converter, AC inverter battery charger or solar panels - The rest of the time, Trik-L-Start is inactive, and doesn't affect the electrical system. After both the starting and house batteries become fully charged, Trik-L-Start continuously applies a small maintenance charge to the starting battery(s). During periods when the house batteries are being discharged, Trik-L-Start's built-in blocking diode prevents the starting battery from also being discharged.

Hope this explains what the Trik-L-Start does.
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Old 04-01-2009, 04:41 PM   #11
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Good explanation, Pete.
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