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Old 08-07-2022, 10:43 AM   #1
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Chassis Battery Drain 2016 Sightseer

New to the group and any help would be appreciated
2016 Winnebago Sightseer. When connected to shore line after several days the chassis battery is too weak to start engine. Brand new chassis battery tests find. Can use boost to start. If I disconnect the chassis battery at the switch I cannot raise or lower power curtains in front. Why is the chassis not getting charges from shore connection. I am no electrician so need basic recommendations or suggestions. Thanks
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Old 08-07-2022, 12:08 PM   #2
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I had trouble with the chassis battery running down as well. I installed an after-product called Trik-L-Start that feeds a coach to chassis battery connection. Winnebago installs a similar product on some models but not the Sightseer. I've had no more problems. Since the coach batteries get constantly charged via your converter when on shore power, the Trik-L-Start "robs" power from the coach batteries to keep the single chassis battery topped off.

Mega TRIK-L-START Starting Battery Charger/Maintainer
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Old 08-07-2022, 12:08 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Smackotx View Post
Why is the chassis not getting charges from shore connection. I am no electrician so need basic recommendations or suggestions. Thanks
"Some" Winnebago motorhomes... in "some" years have a built in solenoid called a BIM (battery isolation manager) that does three things. It connects the house and chassis batteries when the engine is running to keep both banks charged via the alternator. Then when on shore power it charges the house batteries first via the converter charger (or inverter charger depending on your RV) and when the house bank is nearly full will send some of the charging power to the chassis battery if it's low. The third task you're familiar with - it combines the to banks with the Aux boost switch.

So, if your 2016 Sightseer has this BIM then it sounds like yours might be failed. Otherwise you would have a charged house and chassis battery.

BUT... if your Sightseer didn't come with one you will need to add an inexpensive Amp-L-Start device. These are easy to self install and cost only about $100. It will take some charge from your House batteries and send it to your chassis battery to keep things charged in both banks.

I would think (guess?) that the 2016 Sightseer came with a BIM. Older motorhomes seem to be the ones without one.

Are your house batteries charging up to full on shore power? Because if not, then the BIM would not attempt to charge the chassis battery.

I'm sure it could be other issues that I'm not aware off, but these are the most common issues.

My 2017 Adventurer came with a BIM when new but it did not work properly and would not charge the chassis battery when on shore power. At first, I didn't know what to do, so I put a separate trickle charger on my chassis battery when parked for a week or more on shore power. This worked well, but then I found out it wasn't supposed to work like that and I had my BIM replaced under warranty and it's been working fine ever since.

Best of luck
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Old 08-07-2022, 12:11 PM   #4
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Your newness is showing but that is fine because it makes it easier to point out the fault!
No problem being new as it is a trip to get the small details figured!

Two big things to know are killing you. One is that both the start and the coach batteries WILL still have drains connected when the disconnect switches are thrown! Those things are CO and propane detectors on the coach as well as other possible drains and on the start, there are always things like ignition, any auto stuff like door locks, radio presets and steps.
Much of it is the safety stuff! They don't want you to store it and a gas leak fill it with propane when you come back. Actually a really GOOD thing!

Second big killer is that many RV do not have a connnection between the coach batteries and the start battery to keep both charged when plugged into power. Only the coach in many cases.

So you store the RV plugged in and the coach stays charged but the start goes dead? Yes, it is one of the first "lessons" most of us have found out. Sometimes the hard way by ruining the first set of batteries.

Confusing that is the way we do get some charge into both the start and the coach batteries as we drive. And the boost or aux switch near the driver adds a bit to the confusion.
When the engine ignition is on, there is a control lead that goes to a solenoid that operates like a switch to connect both together but drops the connection when the ignition is off. But when we push the boost/ aux switch it does the same thing with the solenoid to let us "jumpstart" the engine if we have a weak start battery!

Sound right?
Post up which modelof sightseer you have and we can do a look at online drawings to spot what came with your Rvwhen new!
https://www.winnebago.com/Files/File...ram/Wiring.htm
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Old 08-07-2022, 02:21 PM   #5
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Your newness is showing but that is fine because it makes it easier to point out the fault!
No problem being new as it is a trip to get the small details figured!

Two big things to know are killing you. One is that both the start and the coach batteries WILL still have drains connected when the disconnect switches are thrown! Those things are CO and propane detectors on the coach as well as other possible drains and on the start, there are always things like ignition, any auto stuff like door locks, radio presets and steps.
Much of it is the safety stuff! They don't want you to store it and a gas leak fill it with propane when you come back. Actually a really GOOD thing!

Second big killer is that many RV do not have a connnection between the coach batteries and the start battery to keep both charged when plugged into power. Only the coach in many cases.

So you store the RV plugged in and the coach stays charged but the start goes dead? Yes, it is one of the first "lessons" most of us have found out. Sometimes the hard way by ruining the first set of batteries.

Confusing that is the way we do get some charge into both the start and the coach batteries as we drive. And the boost or aux switch near the driver adds a bit to the confusion.
When the engine ignition is on, there is a control lead that goes to a solenoid that operates like a switch to connect both together but drops the connection when the ignition is off. But when we push the boost/ aux switch it does the same thing with the solenoid to let us "jumpstart" the engine if we have a weak start battery!

Sound right?
Post up which modelof sightseer you have and we can do a look at online drawings to spot what came with your Rvwhen new!
https://www.winnebago.com/Files/File...ram/Wiring.htm
2016 Sightseer 33C
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Old 08-07-2022, 03:01 PM   #6
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Looking at drawings is a mixed bag at times! For a start, the first thing I see is there are two slightly different setups for wiring, one early with a serial number with 7th digit of 1 and one later with 7th digit 2!
So many are not really big changes but something like adding usb plugs, etc. but I looked at early model for the solenoid and such.
It has a solenoid that they call part of the BIM (battery isolation) .

A snip of the drawing here shows the BIM/ solenoid out behind a group of fuses/ breakers under a panel just behind the driver's seat. That likely means you can only get a peek at it around the fuse panel!

But this is what is back there and hidden! Behind the panel there is the center brown item for solenoid and each side is a relay for coach and chassis battery disconnects! This is a really active area for trouble with battery charging as the points on the solenoid take a bit of arcing every time we start the engine, so they tend to burn and corrode more quick that good.

I see no sign of any added item like a Trik-L- Start but somebody may have added one later.

The quicker way to test if the solenoid is working right and connecting them when the engine runs is to go to the coach batteries, check the voltage and then when the engine alternator begins to power things, the voltage on both the chassis and coach batteries will jump up to like 14 voltage if we rev the engine a bit.
Idea is that if we see the alternator get voltage to the coach batteries, the solenoid is doing it right!
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Old 08-19-2022, 01:59 PM   #7
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Installed Amp-L. Went from 12.1 volt when installed a few days ago and now at 11.9 but hope holding. Green light for maintaining is on but not light indicating it is charging. Anyone know at what level it has to reach to charge?
Thanks
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Old 08-19-2022, 03:33 PM   #8
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I found this manual online with a bit of info on the levels. Not sure I read it quite the way they meant so I did a snip to see what the group thinks they are saying?

AMP-L-START Starting Battery Charger/Maintainer - Overview Page

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This says to me that the chassis battery charging should begin to start when it reaches a low level of 12.8 and turns off charging when reaching 13.2 volts?
That seems to be backwards to their turn on/ off note but I think that might just be a typo/thought process difference?
Is that what it says to you folks?

But I also note that you should be very close to "alarm" conditions at 11.9 (depends on how much "aprox" means?

I'm thinking there is something not right!
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Old 08-19-2022, 04:04 PM   #9
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You indicated you are connected to shore power, in your year and model RV there's a Precision Circuits Battery Isolation Manager (BIM) Module that is mounted on the side of the Isolator Relay in the Chassis Electrical Box that should automatically connect the chassis 12 volt system to the coach 12 volt system when the coach side has charging voltage present (> 13 volts) and the chassis side needs to be charged ( < around 12.4 volts ). Normally when this is working you will hear the "clunk" of the BIM operating the Isolator Relay from time to time to charge the chassis battery as needed.

If you are not hearing the occasional "clunk" then the BIM may have failed or the Isolator Relay may have gotten stuck in the open position. There are also huge fuses on both sides of the Isolator Relay to prevent wiring from overheating and catching fire but I doubt that's the issue as you would have other problems if either of those fuses had blown.

Your 12 volt outlets in the dash and in front of the passenger seat are connected to chassis battery and if they are hot with the key out of the ignition then if you have anything plugged into them its drawing from the chassis battery, not the coach. But - the automatic charge feature of the BIM should deal with that when you are shore powered.

Good luck.
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Old 08-19-2022, 06:01 PM   #10
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Ok. How do I get this identified and resolved? Recommendations?
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Old 08-19-2022, 08:48 PM   #11
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Ok. How do I get this identified and resolved? Recommendations?
Your asking that question after all the information you have been provided with in this thread, with due respect, tells me you need Winnebago service either at a dealer or at the Forest City Iowa Winnebago Service Center. Good luck.
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Old 08-20-2022, 07:34 AM   #12
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I agree. My experience with dealer and another RV Service provider has left me with no confidence in their ability to diagnose or repair electrical issues. We also recently moved to Central Virginia and there are no dealers in the immediate vicinity. I have not been to Iowa in a while so it may be time for a road trip. Thanks
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Old 08-20-2022, 08:26 AM   #13
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Ok. How do I get this identified and resolved? Recommendations?
This really is where the real questions come in as it does have lots of side effects!
Time, effort, and expense or save some money is always a good question and lots of that question comes down to how much we can learn about a system.
The more we know, the more we tend to make to the correct decision!

The electronics on RV are much like everything else in that it is constantly evolving and changing! That leaves us as owners trying to keep up with what we have on each RV as we change.
The BIM system is one of many changes that have come along and it does work lots different than the older. It started with the larger, top of the line RV and is gradually working it's way down the product line, as many things do.

This is an info piece from Winnebago which goes into the basics of how charging has changed over the years and boils it down to help understand a lot.
Not a big help on repair but a start on understanding what is "normal" ?

https://www.winnebago.com/Files/File...Management.pdf

For your specific problem, I think from what we are told, the problem is in the BIM system on your RV, but that does need some testing on what battery voltages are doing under specific setups.
The testing might be close to what has been done on older models without the BIM, but then when we get to the repair portion, where it is going to be more difficult due to the solid state items involved being far less friendly to repair.
In other words, we often can't see, hear, or test what solid state is doing! Nor will the design info be given out to let us understand what it does, Trade secrets!
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We used to repair TV, now we just throw them out and buy a new one!
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