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Old 01-15-2023, 10:36 AM   #1
foo
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batteries not charging while driving 2018 View 24V

I've read through the various threads on this topic, which have tons of good information, but I'm a little confused about what voltages to test, where, and how, so that I can really nail things down.

We did a big trip over Christmas, and noticed that the coach batteries weren't charging as we drove. After a few hours, the voltage went below 12 on the readout above the fridge, and stuff started going wonky (lights low, fridge blinking errors, power slides wouldn't work). After plugging into shore power for a bit, things become normal again, and the batteries seem to hold a charge fine (at least for 4-ish hours). The scan gauge reads 14+ volts on the engine side when running, but only plugging into shore power fixes things. That makes me think the problem is somewhere between the output of the alternator and the output of the solenoid.

I've looked at the wiring diagrams, but don't understand them quite well enough to know where to put the voltmeter probes, and what voltages I should expect. I'm trying to come up with a chart for the nominal ranges I should see in the three primary states: coach batteries only, shore power, and engine running.

I'm planning to pull the passenger's seat anyways, to install a trik-l-start, so I'll check all the connections I can, look for an inline fuses, etc. I also went ahead and ordered a new solenoid, so I could install it at the same if necessary. That money's already spent, so I don't mind chalking it up to PM, but I don't like not knowing exactly where the problem is. It's irritating.

I'll attach the snippets of diagrams I'm looking at. If someone could take pity on me, I'd love to know the exact voltage ranges to check for, and where.
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Old 01-15-2023, 11:04 AM   #2
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Quickie rundown as I run out the door?
You will find two batteries, one coach and one chassis/ start .

If you put a digital meter, one probe on a ground like the frame or one of the negative posts and the other on one of the positive posts, you should get a reading between 12-14 on the chassis bat. Make mental note of that , then switch that probe to the other positve post as a way to get the coach baterry voltage. They will almost always be different but if the coach is run down from not charging, that is a sign and actually makes it a bit easier to test.
Example?
12.7 on fully charged start, 10.8 on coach being somewhat down

Now to test things, move the probe back to the start positive and have somebody carnk the engine to start. The meter will likely show a dramatic drop in voltage as the starter uses power but once started, the engine alternator brings that surface voltage back to at least 12-13 and if you rev the engine, you will see the voltage jump up and down in sycn with the RPM. That tells you your alternator is working and it is getting to the battery!
Move the probe over to the positvie of the coach battery and IF the solenoid is working and connecting the two batteries together, you will see near the same voltage acting the same way at that battery.
If the voltages on each battery act the same, you are getting charge voltage to the battery and you have to suspect bad connections if you happen to be on the cable end instead of the actual post or second is that the voltage is getting there but the battery is no longer good enough to take and hold that charge!

Gotta go! I'm late....
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Old 01-15-2023, 04:06 PM   #3
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Ok, I'[m back and better coorrect as bit on my quickie!!
You have two coach batteries as shown in your drawing and then will have a single battery at some other location which does the chassis starting function.
That makes what I was saying about testing the charging from the engine to the coach batteries a bit hard than I explained it as you are not looking at both at the same time.

So we might want to modify those instructions a bit.
Battery voltages are really hard to get good precise testing as it is a slow chemical process and can be very misleading.
There is an item we call "surface charge" which we can find when we are doing any form of charging.
Step one to understanding batteries is that the lead acid battery will only hold a voltage of 12.7-12.8. But electrical power is like water in that is only runs from high to lower, so to get power into the battery, we have to have the charge at higher than the battery, often 13-14 volts.
It is an hours long process to get all the cells chemicals to that higher level. So if we have a charger on and take it off and still see 13 volts, we know it is not the "true" battery voltage, just the surface charge left over and if we come back in a few hours the battery can still be 10 volts, etc after it gets stable. Not to be confused if you charge at 13 take it off after 30 minutes and still see 13!
Battery voltages are more reliable after waiting a couple hours for the chemicals to all settle.
But to test that the mode solenoid is connecting right and that charge is getting from the engine to the coach batteries, we can do it as I mentioned before.
When not connected to shore power and not having driven, check the coach batteries voltage, then when starting the engine, look to see the voltage has gone higher and if you rev the engine, the voltage should go up at higher RPM. You can see that higher voltage as it comes from the mode solenoid but that cell somewhere down the line may not have seen anything yet!

The thing about batteries is that the voltage varies a lot with age, temp, and how long since charging, so precise is not really handy. What is more usable is to compare different points along the line as they are connected together. When checking voltage, it is always good to be aware thet one of the big problems is corrosion at connections.

One way to look for corrosion is to look at the bable end and then compare it to the post the cable is connected on and expect them to be very near the same voltage. If there is dirt/corrosion at the connections, the voltage on the cable clamp and the post may be different and that means possible trouble so clean it.

The voltage at 1&2, 3&4, 5&6 should all be near the same. 1&2 being each end of the fuse, 3&4 being the cable and the post and the same at 5&6. Depending on how close the meter is reading, maybe .2 difference due to a little more wire in between but not much like 3 volts, etc.

I did a markup on one of the pictures you had to show some important points to look at or know.

One point is that the drawing shows an inverter at left, but by definition an inverter uses DC battery power to make AC. A charger or converter uses AC to make DC.
So there is often confusion when they only call it an inverter as it has to really be more likely an inverter/ charger if it does both jobs.
Names are not always complete and accurate for what things do!
When you plug in power comes FROM the inverter to the batteries but when not plugged in and using the inverter, it takes power TO the inverter to make AC.

But the question of charging while driving comes in on the right of this drawing from the mode solenoid and that is what connects to the chassis side with the engine alternator by going through the mode solenoid!

The drawing for the mode solenoid is not really clear but easier to see if looking at the solenoid. There is a small wire LR that comes from the dash are that brings power to the coil of the solenoid magnet. When we push a momentary boost or aux switch to help ju[p start a weak chassis battery OR when we are driving the power comes from a point that is only hot with the key on. Same LR wire but two functions. The coil is connected to ground using wire FM.
That power goes through the winding in the solenoid and pulls/operates to close contacts between the big lug on right and left where battery cables go to chassis and coach batteries.

If one were looking at voltage there, we should see chassis voltage on one big lug and coach voltage on the other. Push the dash switch and it shouod then show very near the same as they are connected together inside the solenoid.
Another small test if at the solenoid is that you should see no voltage on the small LR but just to higher when we push the dash switch. Higher to see it getting there but not really 12 volts as most of it is going through the coil to ground.
The big test for the small control wiring is that you likely hear or feel the solenoid "clunk" ! That tells you it is trying but testing the big cables to tell the contacts are actually good is a good second test.

I'll let you think that over and see if it makes sense when looking at the real deal?
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Old 01-15-2023, 08:26 PM   #4
foo
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Morich,

Thank you, that was incredibly helpful! I tested everything, and your instructions made a ton of sense. In the end, the only major voltage difference I saw was when the engine was running: the starting battery side of the solenoid was around 14v, and the coach battery side was around 12V. I disconnected both battery banks, swapped out the solenoid, installed the trick-L-start, and put it all back together. When I started the engine, I immediately heard the solenoid click, which it hadn’t been doing. The starting voltage dipped like you said it would, then came back to 14v. I checked the coach side, and voila: 14v! Looks like we have power flowing to the coach. And now I know there should be an audible click when it switches over.

As an added bonus, I went back a bit later, when full sun was on the solar panels. The trick-L-start showed a solid light on “maintaining”, so it looks like that works now too.

Thanks again!
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Old 01-15-2023, 10:00 PM   #5
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That solenoid has been replaced in newer models with a BIM which is just a solid state item which should last longer as it has no contacts to burn. Good for lasting but I really have to say from a repairman's view, solid state is not as much fun as you can't hear, see, or feel things happen.

Glad it worked out for you! Enjoy!
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Old 01-20-2023, 10:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morich View Post
That solenoid has been replaced in newer models with a BIM which is just a solid state item which should last longer as it has no contacts to burn. Good for lasting but I really have to say from a repairman's view, solid state is not as much fun as you can't hear, see, or feel things happen.

Glad it worked out for you! Enjoy!
I have a 2020 Winnebago Navion and it did not come with a BIM. Instead it came with a solid state device called a Mastervolt Charge Mate Pro 40. It limits the charging current to 40 amps. It has the ability to either tie the banks together and either limit the current to 150 amps or tie them together without a current limit however Winnebago did not wire up a switch to activate either mode.

I added a Victron 30 amp DC to DC converter in parallel with the Mastervolt device to properly charge my LiFePO4 battery. I also added a switch so I could shut the Mastervolt device off. The Victron converter works extremely well to properly charge my house battery quickly.
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Old 01-21-2023, 09:08 AM   #7
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We can often find cases where the name changes but the function stays the same.
In this case there are items that control when the batteries are conneected and when they are seperated.
Three of those names are mode solenoid, which is a relay, battery isolation manager (BIM) which does the function using solid state items or in your case it is called an "electronic charge relay" which is a solid state devise to manage which way the current flows under different conditions.
All do the same job with different names. Mastervolt is the brand name of the devise they used at the time your RV was built.
Whether it is called a BIM or other names is pretty much set by marketing more than function.
Even the dash switch has been called different things at different times. Boost and Aux are two but there are likely other names used for the same switch on different RV.
One good reason the sales folks are not too well up on what things do is that the name changes!

So it gets like when we order a cold drink. Do we order pop, soda, or a Coke?


Parts for different build dates on your RV:
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Old 01-21-2023, 10:43 AM   #8
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For any readers wondering about a Trik-L-Start, it appears that they, along with their big brother the Amp-L-Start are no longer available. The manufacturer's website lslproducts.com is reduced to the following statement:

Unfortunately LSL Products is no longer accepting orders at this time. For questions about existing orders, please contact [email protected] . We apologize for any inconvenience.
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Old 01-21-2023, 03:16 PM   #9
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For any readers wondering about a Trik-L-Start, it appears that they, along with their big brother the Amp-L-Start are no longer available. The manufacturer's website lslproducts.com is reduced to the following statement:

Unfortunately LSL Products is no longer accepting orders at this time. For questions about existing orders, please contact [email protected] . We apologize for any inconvenience.
That's kind of disappointing because it did solve one of the problems in a nice way.
But looking at the whole situation, the new RV coming out with BIM of whatever name probably did cut the market for add-on items.
One of the things I don't like about many of the newer solid state designs is that we can't get much info on what they have inside the black box.

I have to admit that I could follow what the old points and plugs did on cars and now I know nothing of vlaue on the igntion.
I do like them better though as I've never had trouble with them and certainly remember lots of trouble with keeping plugs and points working!
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Old 01-24-2023, 07:20 PM   #10
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Very unfortunate, my guess is this was a home internet business. I guess the owner felt it was time to give it?
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Old 01-24-2023, 08:27 PM   #11
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Possible there were just too many things coming up at the same time and that can lead a lot of folks just calling it good and quitting.
In this case, it did seem to be a small operation, possibly just a family thing, so the combo of reduced demand as other products began to compete, difficult supply or loss of employees may have just been more than a semi- retired guy wanted to put up with.
Around a million people were allowed to die and some of those were going to be hard to replace!
I certainly have no personal knowledge of this specific business but I can vouch for seeing several people just no longer needing to put up with things as they went so bad.
I had several small business operations but as covid got worse and the supply chain changed, it just really got too much trouble to keep things going. My parts came from China, so starting a trade war was not good for me.

It was a combo of things but when USPS shipping was allowed to get so bad, I just quit!
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Old 01-24-2023, 11:12 PM   #12
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It was a home based business in San Antonio but they also had some amount of warehouse space where product was stored and shipped from, also in San Antonio.

I got one last April and have been very pleased with its operation.
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Old 01-25-2023, 06:29 PM   #13
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I haven't used one but Xantrex sells a similar device called an echo~charge:

https://xantrex.com/products/accesso...ttery-charger/

It's $133.75 on Amazon.

If I didn't already have an Amp-L-Start, I'd probably get one of Intellitec's bi-directional devices. There are several types and I don't know anything about why/how to choose one over the other:

https://intellitec.com/battery-isola...nd-management/

I took a look at the Winnebago parts catalog for a 2023 Adventurer and the battery isolation manager currently being installed (pt# 332068-01-00) appears to be a 225A isolation manager manufactured by Precision Circuits, Inc. (pt# 00-10041-250):

https://intellitec.com/battery-isola...nd-management/

I deduced the above from the parts catalog and this thread:

https://www.winnieowners.com/forums/...on-355421.html
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Old 01-25-2023, 08:09 PM   #14
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OUCH!
That seems to be the way things are going on prices. The old Trik-l stuff was in the fifty dollar range a few years back, so 133 is a pretty big bite, but that may be a factor of having driven the small business out and being the only player left.
They do have a way of making money!

But before folks get too excited about needing one, it pays to keep in mind that a Trik-L type might be exactly what some RV need as they were built with mode solenoids and had no connection to charge the start battery, other than adding a part.

But if you have a newer design, using the solid state BIM or newer, you DO NOT need the added part!
The difference is that the mode solenoid is a way to temporarily connect the batteries at times but drops off when we shut off the engine.

Before going $133 to add a part to a mode solenoid system, it might be worthwhile to consider switching the solenoid out for the newer BIM part???
What does the BIM part cost?
Devil is in the details?

The solid state is something that I believe is a two way path that is there full time.

That thought is not based on experience with the BIM, etc. but from reading about it.
Check statements like that because the internet is full of bad ideas!
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Old 01-26-2023, 08:06 PM   #15
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I haven't used one but Xantrex sells a similar device called an echo~charge:

https://xantrex.com/products/accesso...ttery-charger/

It's $133.75 on Amazon.

If I didn't already have an Amp-L-Start, I'd probably get one of Intellitec's bi-directional devices. There are several types and I don't know anything about why/how to choose one over the other:

https://intellitec.com/battery-isola...nd-management/

I took a look at the Winnebago parts catalog for a 2023 Adventurer and the battery isolation manager currently being installed (pt# 332068-01-00) appears to be a 225A isolation manager manufactured by Precision Circuits, Inc. (pt# 00-10041-250):

https://intellitec.com/battery-isola...nd-management/

I deduced the above from the parts catalog and this thread:

https://www.winnieowners.com/forums/...on-355421.html
Instead of listing the correct link for the Precision Circuits part, I duplicated the Intelitech part. Here's the correct link. It's pricey at $221.44.

https://www.nwrvsupply.com/product/p...-00-10041-250/
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Old 01-26-2023, 10:24 PM   #16
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Boy that is a heck of a profit....I will stick with my old AMp L start and Tric L Start.
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Old 01-29-2023, 06:54 PM   #17
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Instead of listing the correct link for the Precision Circuits part, I duplicated the Intelitech part. Here's the correct link. It's pricey at $221.44.

https://www.nwrvsupply.com/product/p...-00-10041-250/
These devices may work OK with standard lead acid batteries, but it looks like they would not properly charge a LiFePO4 battery. I use a Victron 30amp DC to DC charger to charge my LiFePO4 battery from the chassis battery/alternator.

I use a NOCO charger plugged into my inverter to charge the chassis battery. There are also small DC to DC chargers that would accomplish the same thing.

The DC to DC chargers have the ability to step up or step down the voltage output. The output voltage from the Victron unit can be monitored and adjusted along with all other settings by bluetooth on your cell phone.

The Victron Non-Isolated model only requires 3 wires. One positive wire from each battery and a negative (ground) connection. You can set the charger to automatically start charging when the chassis battery voltage increases due to being charged by the alternator. If you would rather start charging when the ignition is turned on, that is also possible. There are other less expensive DC to DC chargers that would accomplish the same thing.

https://www.amazon.com/Victron-Energ...7-93deae8f9840

This one only has a 2 amp output but could be used to maintain the chassis battery. Looks like it does not have the ability to step up the voltage.
https://www.amazon.com/Tecmate-Optim...7-93deae8f9840
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