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Old 02-19-2012, 09:18 PM   #1
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Angry Chassis battery issue/Battery boost

I have a 2009 Winnebago Tour WD with two 100 watt AM Solar panels connected to my house battery bank. The 10 watt factory solar panel has been redirected to my chassis bank. I have had this for 3 years with absolutely no battery problems, that is, until yesterday. My rig is in dry storage and my batteries have always been at full charge, yesterday my chassis batteries were showing 11.6v and the engine would not crank, not even by using the battery boost switch. I jump started the chassis batteries and was eventually able to start the engine. The EMS panel showed 14v in both chassis and house battery banks. Today the engine cranked a little slowly but did start, the EMS panel toggling between house and chassis was jumping from 14v down to 12.5v and the one ceiling light would dim each time the voltage dropped to 12.5v. This anamoly eventually stopped and both battery banks were level at 14v. I always turn both battery switches to the off position when the coach is not in use. My first concern is the sudden drop in chassis voltage and the second would be the battery boost not working as designed. I have read several comments about solenoids, could this possibly be an issue with my coach? I value your input and I am sure that several of you more knowledgeable RVs will be able to shed some light and guide through a successful fix.
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:29 AM   #2
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Rick

You might have a defective Chassis battery. All recent Winn Diesels have a Trik-L-Start module installed which is designed to divert charge from your house battteries to your chassis batteries. This module would also divert a portion of the solar charge from your house to chassis batteries assuming the solar is connected directly to the batteries and not after the cutoff switches. With this setup, you should definitely not have the problems you are experiencing assuming the Trik-L-Start is working. I doubt it is the solenoid as that shouldn't deplete both batteries. I assume the 14 volt readings you had were with the Engine running.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:53 AM   #3
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Thanks Bob..yes 14v reading was when engine was running. My main concern is why the battery boost did not connect house battery bank to engine starter. Is there a solenoid that makes contact when the boost switch is activated?

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Old 02-20-2012, 11:52 AM   #4
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Rick: It could be the solenoid that connects the two however the battery voltage might also have been too low to activate the solenoid and close the contacts. I wouldn't change the solenoid yet.

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Old 02-20-2012, 01:51 PM   #5
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Was the House Battery disconnect switch on? I know on mine the battery boose switch on the dash will not work without it being on.
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:26 PM   #6
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Both switches were in the on position when trying the battery boost. Ran the genset for two hrs. this afternoon and the inverter charger stayed in the Accept Mode the entire time. Panel was reading 14.8 volts and 25 amps. Seems like it should have gone to the Float mode ib that length of time. Could be I have a bad battery? Yesterday the chassis bank read 11.6v, and the house read 12.6v, this AM the house bank read 11.6v and chassis 12.4v. I'm baffled!

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Old 02-20-2012, 09:45 PM   #7
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If it appears your MOM switch is not connecting your batteries you can use your "jumper cables" to connect the red post from the house battery to thered post of the engine battery ...

If it now appears your battery banks are connected then you have a bad solenoid. If there is no change, then your solenoid is working as designed and your problem is some where else.
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:51 AM   #8
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Three years is getting close to the end of life for some batteries. Have your batteries load tested. Also probably the first thing to do is clean all the battery connections and see how things work then.
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:21 AM   #9
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So, basic battery maintenance 101 asks, do you have sealed batteries or conventional wet cell with removable tops? Has the battery water been checked? Has a hydrometer been run thru the batteries checking for a bad cell? Cables are clean?

Now, battery charging 101. Your battery doesn't charge instantly. If you have a low battery it charges back up depending on a couple of main items, one charger capacity and two state of charge.

Charger capacity. I'm going to use the house batteries as an example here, but your chassis batteries are similar. House batteries going dead and "not charging" as expected is the more common problem.

Some inverter/chargers can put as much as 150 amp/hours back into a battery. Many smaller plug in chargers charge as little as 2 amp/hours back into a battery. Most 6 volt deep cycle batteries have 200-240 amp/hours when fully charged. Depending on how discharged the battery is, do the math and see that it could take days with a 2 amp charger.

State of charge. As batteries near full charge they accept a charge more slowly. Hence the "three stage" chargers you may have heard about. Your meter may be broken down into three stages called Bulk, Accept and Float, or similar descriptions.

So here's something that MAY be happening in the OP's battery system. A bad cell in one battery is shorting out (low water, sulphation, age, vibration, etc.) this acts as a drain on the entire system slowly drawing down the state of charge. He jump starts the MH and charges the battery at Bulk rate. Here's the math, 230 amp/hours full charge battery, if he has maybe 25% of capacity left, he needs about 160 amp/hours put back in. Charges for 2 hours at 25 amp/hours. In reality put only 50 amp/hours back into battery that needed 160, so still 110 amp/hours low. Have we got aha moment yet?

From the descriptions I'll bet there's a bad battery cell causing the problem.
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