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Old 05-12-2024, 04:29 PM   #1
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2013 ERA 70X House battery shows fully charged but won't power anything

The house battery acts as if it's dead. Everything runs fine, however, if plugged in to shore power, including the status panel, which shows that the house battery is fully charged.. The status panel doesn't light up at all when on battery only. We've had this RV for 2.5 years & never had any issues with the electrical system until we got it back recently from a large well-known RV service shop. All worked fine before we took it to them, including the house battery. But after we got it back, this problem existed. In their defense, they didn't work on the electric system at all - just installed a new toilet & did some repairs to the gray & black water plumbing. All they'd have done electrically would have been operating the gray/black water pump & the potable water pump & they said they'd have used shore power for that & not the battery. So, does anyone know what the problem might be & if it have been caused by the repair shop people?
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Old 05-12-2024, 07:11 PM   #2
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We get lots of good info from your post! Congrats!
If the 12VDC inside/coach stuff works when plugged but not when unplugged, that limits the possible problems.
There is a problem with the batteries charge but you show good. The second most common might be power getting through a coach battery disconnect switch and relay?
If you have a meter, I might first check the switch is right and then check the battery voltage with a meter to be sure and work along toward the fuses for 12VDC.
I did a little "quickie" drawing for another post which shows briefly how it should go from converter, which appears to be working, when powered but the power not getting back to the fuses from the battery!
Click this snip to see better!
Click image for larger version

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If it's getting from the converter to batteries for storing as the monitor shows, why is it not getting back to the fuses? One item in that path is the disconnect switch and relay it operates!
One quick test that may show something is when you start the RV engine both chassis and coach batteries are connected together by a mode solenoid under the passenger seat. The disconnect relay is also next to the solenoid.
If starting the engine makes the inside 12VDC lights work, that leans toward the coach battery not good or not connected well. When engine runs and the lights come on it is because they are getting power from the chassis and alternator, not needing the coach batteries! Possibly the monitor is not reading the battery but the charge going toward the battery but may not be reaching it??
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Old 05-12-2024, 09:52 PM   #3
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It sounds like the house (Coach) battery disconnect is off. If it’s on and you have this issue since you Via is Sprinter based I think there is some master disconnect under the passenger seat.

I’m afraid I’m too ignorant to be of much help but have seen others mention this.

Do a Google search for “ sprinter van power disconnect under the passenger seat” there’s lots there I just don’t know how it applies to your situation. It may not. But sometimes a dealer will disconnect things to work on other unrelated parts and forget to reconnect them when done.
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Old 05-13-2024, 05:09 AM   #4
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It sounds like your battery disconnect switch is off. When you are plugged up the control panel is reading the voltage from the converter. To get an accurate reading you need to use a multi-meter on the battery.

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Old 05-13-2024, 07:09 AM   #5
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I agree with Aaron above, either the battery switch is off, faulty or the battery bank itself is bad. When you plug in, the status indicator sees the charge voltage from the converter and it isn't smart enough to know that it isn't coming from the batteries so it shows a full charge. First order of business would be to connect a charger directly to the house batteries and let it charge overnight, then test them after allowing an hour or so of resting time. We can advise more once you tell us what kind your batteries are and how many.
When I had two 6 volt batteries in series and one developed a bad cell my voltage went to 8 and nothing worked unless we were plugged in. It all started when the isolation solenoid failed and the batteries were not being charged and we ran them down and damaged one.
The shop could have left something on and ran your batteries dead as well.
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Old 05-13-2024, 08:33 AM   #6
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If you need to go further and need to check the batteries with a meter, this can be a hard to get to the batteries on your Rv as they are "buried" down underneath and a trek to access without a lift!
But just to do a quick voltage test or connect a charger, we have a somewhat better spot. Still not handy but better?
Under the passenger seat is a handier place to access the info as cables from both chassis and coach come to this spot! Awkward but nicer than crawling underneath!
Click this snip for better view!
Click image for larger version

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Under the passenger seat looking toward the back where the coach batteries set!
There is a mode solenoid, likely a silver can with two large lugs on each side. Left big lug should be the chassis battery connection, while right side is coach battery! So you can check or charge the coach batteries here, rather than underneath but that is assuming the cables from here to the batteries are good!
This is the gizmo which connects the two together as we drive or when we use the dash switch for starting a weak chassis battery using the coach.
Kind of an automatic "jump start"?

There can be some confusion creep in on the disconnect. The item on the right is the disconnect relay but it is controlled by the switch which is located out where it is easier to use. Maybe near the door?
Flip the switch while touching this relay and you may feel it move to let you know when it should connect or disconnect?
This relay might be a suspect on why you are not getting power to lots of things. The switch or wiring from it to this relay might be bad or this relay can be bad and the switch moves it but the contacts are bad and it doesn't actually make contact. Trust it but not too far!!
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Old 05-13-2024, 08:49 AM   #7
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It would help if we knew how long the OP left it plugged in, maybe they didn't leave it plugged in long enough to charge.
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Old 05-19-2024, 10:26 PM   #8
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2013 ERA 70X House battery shows fully charged but won't power anything

We got this RV Fall/2019 & have never had any issue with the coach electrical. The batteries have always been strong & dependable in the spring after sitting thru the winter. I don't think I charged the coach batteries this spring before we took it to the repair shop but I did check the coach batteries by turning on/off all the coach devices they power & all worked fine. The batteries showed no signs of weakness. Also, the work we had done involved plumbing & windshield wipers - nothing electrical except maybe using pumps, related to the plumbing work, so I saw no need to plug in & charge the house batteries before taking the RV to the repair shop. BUT the direct answer to your question is that no, the batteries were not plugged in at all but certainly seemed to be well-charged. We've never had to plug in "long enough to charge" in the spring as they've always been charged already. The repair shop also said that the power they'd have used would have been their shore power & not our battery power. Therefore, I'm a bit reluctant to accept that the batteries are suddenly defunct.
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Old 05-20-2024, 07:28 AM   #9
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We can sometimes get by with no doing anything to maintain the charge but other times not, so it can be a guess.
But one thing that is a constant source of problems when we don't use a vehicle like an RV is Corrosion!
Things don't wear out as fast if we used them and keep the rust knocked off!
If certain the batteries are good enough to hold a charge, the next step is to make sure the cables from those batteries are good and clean to carry the power to where we need it!
Look at that small drawing I did in post 2 to see how it might do what you see. If the batteries are good and still charged okay, if the blue line has a dirty cable end on either end, the power from plugged in can flow but the power may not get there from the batteries. Sine the batteries on your Rv are down and underneath, they tend to be closer to out in the weather more than the cable end inside and that would make them suspect to me.
But before going underneath as the hard part, I would check the inside part under the seat!
Without starting the engine, there should be near 12volts on each side of that solenoid, chassis on left and coach on right big lug.
If no or low voltage on the right side, the cable is dirty or the batteries not charged and then you will have to move that direction to find which is true.
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Old 05-20-2024, 10:39 AM   #10
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I got the front passenger seat off but access to the electrical things under it is limited because there's more structural that I do not have the tools to remove. So, I'm pretty much only able to look at the relay, solenoid, etc underneath the seat. There is a door on the right side of the seat labeled "Automotive and Coach Circuit Breakers
Battery Mode Solenoid and Relays". Behind the door is the label "Battery Mode Solenoid and Disconnect Relay Located Inside" along with three buttons labeled Battery Disconnect Switch, Battery Mode Switch and Coach Breaker Panel. Can you advise what use I can make of these?
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Old 05-20-2024, 11:09 AM   #11
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Yes, you are in the right area and if you can see enough to spot a silver colored "can with two bigger lugs on each side, that is what you need to be able to reach.
Click this snip to see better!
Click image for larger version

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When you look under the seat from the front, you should see something like this picture!
The silver can looking thing on the left side is the solenoid that does two things for us. One big one is it connects the chassis battery cable on the left that may have a red tape on it, through the contacts inside to the coach battery cable on the right side. The coach cable may have yellow tape on it as an ID?
Sometimes the tape get hot and gets old and comes off, so no surprise if it is not there!
When we run the engine a signal comes down from the front on the little wires and makes this close like a switch. That lets the coach get some charge back as we drive!
Second is a dash switch that is labeled something different at different times . Maybe AUX? When we push that and hold it, it connects the two batteries together like a "jump start" and we can start the engine , even if the chassis battery is weak. We get a jump start without getting out jumper cables!

But what it does for you now is gives you a place to check the coach battery voltage without going underneath to get to the batteries where they hide them!
If you can get one meter lead on ground like most any metal floor or seat and the other lead on the right side, you should be reading close to the battery voltage.
While there, you can also go to the left side and see the chassis voltage!
Just for future if you want to while there, you can also see if the solenoid is actually doing it's job?
If the coach battery has had time to get stable and not be charged or used for a few hours, you should see around 12.7 on a good fully charged coach battery on the right side!
Then if somebody starts the RV engine and revs it up and down, you should see that same point go up and down as the engine alternator puts out higher voltage at higher speeds! The reason you see the coach go higher is because you are seeing it is connected to the chassis power! Right and left should read the same as they are connected!

Then the black gizmo to the right side is the relay that the battery disconnect switch moves. NOT involved right now but that is where the switch opens and closes the relay . Power comes in from the coach battery on left and is connected or not going out to the right!

For the current problem, if you see 12+ volts on the cable from the coach batteries, you are good on battery being charged and having good clean cables to this point! No crawling needed!
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Old 05-21-2024, 09:49 AM   #12
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Seat and swivel mechanism removal

Quote:
Originally Posted by delbush View Post
I got the front passenger seat off but access to the electrical things under it is limited because there's more structural that I do not have the tools to remove. So, I'm pretty much only able to look at the relay, solenoid, etc underneath the seat. There is a door on the right side of the seat labeled "Automotive and Coach Circuit Breakers
Battery Mode Solenoid and Relays". Behind the door is the label "Battery Mode Solenoid and Disconnect Relay Located Inside" along with three buttons labeled Battery Disconnect Switch, Battery Mode Switch and Coach Breaker Panel. Can you advise what use I can make of these?
If the seats are like those in our 2016 ERA 170A, they mount to a separate swivel mechanism that then bolts to the floor or the box where the seat mounts. If my memory is correct, the swivel mechanism on ours is held on by just 4 more bolts, shouldn't be that difficult to remove. Once it's off you'll have full access to the battery mode solenoid and some related stuff (relays, wiring, etc.).

We found it nearly impossible to disconnect the coach batteries while replacing the solenoid. There is not enough room in our ERA to access the battery cables with the batteries mounted in their boxes, so the only option was to remove the batteries (or lower them enough to access the cables) to disconnect them. I eventually gave up and replaced the solenoid without disconnecting the batteries, which I wouldn't recommend.

Morich suggested there is a ground to the chassis located somewhere around the middle of the frame, but with effectively zero ground clearance there was no way to get to the ground and disconnect it. If the ERA was on a lift that might be an option.

Here are a few YouTube videos on solenoid replacement I found useful and bookmarked. They are specific to other RVs, not the ERA, but the information was still useful to me.





Search for posts by me and you'll find some related info.
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Old 05-21-2024, 11:10 AM   #13
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This may be getting way off from what I was trying to describe doing!
What I was proposing was meant to be an easier way to get to the coach battery connections to find if their charge is good as well as finding if the cables were in good shape.
Looking for easier did not mean to indicate taking the seat out! I do not have any hands on with this newish RV but was thinking one could reach in from the front. Perhaps not easy but better than taking the seat out?

So fill me in on what you have? Is there room to look under the seat and see the mode solenoid and the two big lugs on each side? Maybe not enough space to take things apart, but enough to see and reach it?

Since this is not likely to be a solenoid or relay problem itself, I was only meaning to suggest testing at this point, not take anything apart!

If you can see it and reach it, Can you bend a u in the end of stiff wire to loop over the lug and then test the ends of that wire? Maybe reach in with just the meter probes long enough to make contact with the lugs?

Sometimes we get into things that are so small and nearly impossible to reach that we have to find other options! When it might take several hours to reach a test point with our hands, we have to "invent" something!
All we want is contact long enough to read the meter, so one way to do that is using anything metal to reach in where we can't.
One common item left around lots of construction sites is wire like a #12 that is insulated. It is stiff enough to run in several feet as well as being insulated it helps to cover for any shaky hands.

In this case, the point is to make life easier! If we can reach in and see a good 12Volts on this lug that comes directly off the batteries way in the back, we can save getting under the RV to test the battery voltage!

Sorry, if I've not made that clear. This is just a way to test the battery voltage, not meant to be anything that involves work on the solenoid or disconnect relay at this time!
Maybe something does need work but first we need to know those other parts are getting good voltage! And that voltage has to come from the batteries to this point as first stop before going any place else!

If we find voltage getting here to the solenoid it then goes on a short cable to the right to the disconnect relay and we get into further testing. Like if it get to one side of the relay, does it come out the other side to the RV?
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