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Old 05-03-2020, 04:42 PM   #1
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DC-DC charger fuse question

Presumably installing Lithium batteries requires a DC-DC charger to protect the alternator and that limits the output current to the batteries. My question is whether or not extending and/or retracting the slide will generate enough instantaneous current to blow the fuse used to protect the DC-DC charger.

We just had 2 BB Lithium batteries installed in our Fuse along with a Renogy 40 amp DC-DC charger. That charger is protected on both ends with a 60 amp fuse. After the batteries were installed we drove around making sure that the charger was working properly, and it was, producing a 40 amp charging current for the batteries. After that I extended the slide with the engine running and later retracted it, again with the engine running, and everything seemed fine. But the next morning the charger had stopped working and a check showed that the input 60 amp fuse had blown. I was just wondering if extending the slide, or retracting it, might have generated enough instantaneous current to blow the fuse.

I would think that the output current should be limited by the charger and that seems to me to mean that the input current should also be limited because, aside from loss do to onboard electronics, limiting the output should limit the input, but I wondered if it was possible that a very quick transient when starting the slide might have caused enough snap current to blow the fuse.

My main concern was that whatever might have blown the fuse might also have damaged the charger but after replacing the fuse and driving around we had no more issues with the fuse. I extended and retracted the slide, this time not running the engine, and all of that worked properly. I will also try to extend and retract the slide with the engine running but with the inline ON/OFF switch set of OFF, to make sure that the setup is still OK but I don't want to do that until I have some spare fuses ...

I can't off-hand think of anything else that might cause the fuse to blow since it did not blow either the day we replaced it or the next day, but perhaps someone has a better idea what might have caused the problem?
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Old 05-03-2020, 05:32 PM   #2
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I am surprised that the Renogy B2B didn't limit the current out to 40 amps. Current input might be a bit more due to the lower voltage in than out but it should certainly be below 60 amps. Isn't that what a B2B rated at 40 amps is supposed to do?

But in any case how about increasing the fuse size to 80 amps assuming you have at least #8 gauge wire to stay within its ampacity rating. Or change the 60 amp fuse to a slow blow type. Remember fuses generally protect wire, not the devices they are connected to. If it blows the Renogy, then send it back and get something else.

Frankly I don't think it was a one time transient situation particularly with a couple of BBs in the circuit to dampen the start up load of the slide motor. I suspect the Renogy isn't performing as advertised.

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Old 05-03-2020, 06:27 PM   #3
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I am surprised that the Renogy B2B didn't limit the current out to 40 amps. Current input might be a bit more due to the lower voltage in than out but it should certainly be below 60 amps. Isn't that what a B2B rated at 40 amps is supposed to do?
It was the input fuse that blew, not the output fuse. As far as I know there was never a really high output current and the Victron battery monitor did not show one, even a short one.

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But in any case how about increasing the fuse size to 80 amps assuming you have at least #8 gauge wire to stay within its ampacity rating. Or change the 60 amp fuse to a slow blow type. Remember fuses generally protect wire, not the devices they are connected to. If it blows the Renogy, then send it back and get something else.
I bought the Renogy after watching one of the RV-ing with Tito videos in which he discussed that particular charger. After it arrived I thought about returning it and getting a Victron charger instead, but decided to give this one a chance. As far as I can tell from monitoring the BM while driving it is doing its job and keeping the charging current around 40 amps. Of course it is impossible to know exactly how much it is putting out because of the solar panels and the usage by the compressor fridge.

I still have some work to do to replace the inverter/charger with the Lithium version and perhaps I will replace the Renogy with the Victron at that time. Fortunately it is not too expensive.

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Frankly I don't think it was a one time transient situation particularly with a couple of BBs in the circuit to dampen the start up load of the slide motor. I suspect the Renogy isn't performing as advertised.
Thanks for the advice. I will keep an eye on it. Tomorrow I will check with the local Victron dealer and see how much trouble replacing the Renogy would be. Hopefully all DC-DC chargers are basically the same as far as inputs and outputs are concerned - 2 inputs, 2 outputs and an ON/OFF circuit.
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Old 05-07-2020, 03:24 PM   #4
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About the slideout motor pulling enough current to blow a fuse.

Slideouts with elect motors don't have open/close switches to detect that the slideout is fully extended or retracted.

In the slideout motor circuitry there is a motor current sense setup that detects when the motor load increases significantly at the full extend or retract position. When the load increases to a set amount the power is cut to the motor.

This means the slideout motor should not cause other electrical problems. Of course if something else in the RV is pulling so much current to approach the amp load of the fuse, then the little extra from the slideout could cause the fuse to blow. That is not the fault of the slideout but whatever else is using so many amps.

Note that this slideout motor load circuitry will also stop trying to extend or retract the slideout if something is binding the slideout or if it hits something that would keep it from extending or retracting.
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Old 05-07-2020, 05:26 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by al1florida View Post
About the slideout motor pulling enough current to blow a fuse.

Slideouts with elect motors don't have open/close switches to detect that the slideout is fully extended or retracted.

In the slideout motor circuitry there is a motor current sense setup that detects when the motor load increases significantly at the full extend or retract position. When the load increases to a set amount the power is cut to the motor.

This means the slideout motor should not cause other electrical problems. Of course if something else in the RV is pulling so much current to approach the amp load of the fuse, then the little extra from the slideout could cause the fuse to blow. That is not the fault of the slideout but whatever else is using so many amps.

Note that this slideout motor load circuitry will also stop trying to extend or retract the slideout if something is binding the slideout or if it hits something that would keep it from extending or retracting.
OK, but I am not sure that I understand how all of that affects the current through the charger. And although you are probably right it does not explain to me why I hear what I hear when the slide reaches it's fully open or fully closed state. The slide motor does not seem to stop, but the sound changes to a higher pitch as though the motor is still trying to extend (or retract) but can no longer do so. The sound does not stop as I would assume it would if power were being cut to the motor. It just whines like it is straining very hard and I then release the power button.

When we arrived at our destination we had been driving for some hours and so I assume the batteries were fully charged. I then started the engine to help provide power for the slide motor. If the batteries were fully charged I assume that there was little to no current flowing out of the charger but I don't know what might have been happening to the input side. I would assume that as the slide motor pulled power from the batteries the charger would start providing power to the batteries but I don't know what would happen when the slide reached it's stopping point.

I got no indication that the fuse blew so I don't really know if it happened when the slide was extended or when the slide was retracted the next morning. And, since there was plenty of charge in the batteries I never saw or heard any slowdown in the extending or retracting of the slide during either operation. I only realized that it had blown when I noticed no charge being applied to the batteries as we drove off in the morning and had a chance to check the input and output voltages. So are you saying that the slide motor probably had nothing to do with the blown fuse?

It is an annoying problem for me in that I don't know the cause. I can extend and retract the slide with the charger off so it won't blow a fuse, but then I am supplying no power to the batteries to help with the slide motor. Since they are Lithium and generally fully charged (or at least not heavily discharged) this is probably not a problem, but it is annoying not knowing if there is some other issue involved.

I can, of course, retry extending and retracting the slide with the charger on and see if I get a repetition of the problem, but a blown 60 amp fuses make me nervous and I would prefer to know why this is happening.
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Old 05-08-2020, 06:14 AM   #6
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OK, but I am not sure that I understand how all of that affects the current through the charger. And although you are probably right it does not explain to me why I hear what I hear when the slide reaches it's fully open or fully closed state. The slide motor does not seem to stop, but the sound changes to a higher pitch as though the motor is still trying to extend (or retract) but can no longer do so. The sound does not stop as I would assume it would if power were being cut to the motor. It just whines like it is straining very hard and I then release the power button.

When we arrived at our destination we had been driving for some hours and so I assume the batteries were fully charged. I then started the engine to help provide power for the slide motor. If the batteries were fully charged I assume that there was little to no current flowing out of the charger but I don't know what might have been happening to the input side. I would assume that as the slide motor pulled power from the batteries the charger would start providing power to the batteries but I don't know what would happen when the slide reached it's stopping point.

I got no indication that the fuse blew so I don't really know if it happened when the slide was extended or when the slide was retracted the next morning. And, since there was plenty of charge in the batteries I never saw or heard any slowdown in the extending or retracting of the slide during either operation. I only realized that it had blown when I noticed no charge being applied to the batteries as we drove off in the morning and had a chance to check the input and output voltages. So are you saying that the slide motor probably had nothing to do with the blown fuse?

It is an annoying problem for me in that I don't know the cause. I can extend and retract the slide with the charger off so it won't blow a fuse, but then I am supplying no power to the batteries to help with the slide motor. Since they are Lithium and generally fully charged (or at least not heavily discharged) this is probably not a problem, but it is annoying not knowing if there is some other issue involved.

I can, of course, retry extending and retracting the slide with the charger on and see if I get a repetition of the problem, but a blown 60 amp fuses make me nervous and I would prefer to know why this is happening.
It sounds like the Winnebago Fuse is different than the other Winnie's and other RV's I have had with an electric motor driven slide. Is it possible the Fuse has a hydraulic operated slide?

My 2006 Winnie Journey has hydraulic operated slideouts and jacks and it sounds like what you describe.

And, yes, I am saying I don't think the slide operation is the single cause of blowing a 60amp fuse in your DC to DC charger. It is possible that there is already a heavy load on the charger and the slide motor just pushed it over edge.
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Old 05-08-2020, 08:08 AM   #7
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Is the Fuse that different from other WBGO motorhomes? Most other current models use the Chassis battery to operate the slide and require the engine to be running.

If the Fuse does the same, perhaps the slide increased the draw from the alternator and that effected the input fuse? Just wondering out loud.
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Old 05-08-2020, 08:29 AM   #8
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Is the Fuse that different from other WBGO motorhomes? Most other current models use the Chassis battery to operate the slide and require the engine to be running.

If the Fuse does the same, perhaps the slide increased the draw from the alternator and that effected the input fuse? Just wondering out loud.
That is interesting. I always assumed that the house batteries powered the slide motor, not the chassis battery. I need to call Winnebago to ask about that, but the chassis battery makes more sense now that I think about it.

While I do not know about other Winnebago RVs I can say that the Fuse does not require that the engine be running to power the slide motor. Winnebago recommends it, but it is not required. The ignition switch has to be in the ON position but the engine does not need to be running. In fact I generally do not run the engine while extending or retracting the slide, assuming that the house battery has had enough power to handle the slide. I think I need to rethink that.

Next time I will turn off the charger, run the engine and see if the fuse blows again.
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Old 05-08-2020, 09:14 AM   #9
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It sounds like the Winnebago Fuse is different than the other Winnie's and other RV's I have had with an electric motor driven slide. Is it possible the Fuse has a hydraulic operated slide?
Spoke with Winnebago and LCI (the manufacturer of the slide) and can now say that the slide motor is electric, not hydraulic and that the sound I hear when the slide reaches its limits is normal.

LCI said that the sound I hear when holding down the button is the motor "amping out" and is the indication that the motor can no longer move the slide.
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Old 05-08-2020, 09:16 AM   #10
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Is the Fuse that different from other WBGO motorhomes? Most other current models use the Chassis battery to operate the slide and require the engine to be running.

If the Fuse does the same, perhaps the slide increased the draw from the alternator and that effected the input fuse? Just wondering out loud.
You are correct. The slide motor is powered by the chassis battery, not the house battery. I guess I learned something new today.
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:20 AM   #11
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You are correct. The slide motor is powered by the chassis battery, not the house battery. I guess I learned something new today.
You knew I was going to do this, didn't you?

Your Operator's Manual says to keep the motor running when you put out your slides.

One of the biggest failure points on slides is when there is not enough battery amperage to properly operate and sync the slide motors. Running the engine prevents this from happening.

You learned two things today and it's not even noon!

Screenshots from Fuse Operator's Manual:
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Old 05-08-2020, 11:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
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You knew I was going to do this, didn't you?

Your Operator's Manual says to keep the motor running when you put out your slides.

One of the biggest failure points on slides is when there is not enough battery amperage to properly operate and sync the slide motors. Running the engine prevents this from happening.

You learned two things today and it's not even noon!

Screenshots from Fuse Operator's Manual:
I think what I said was that you did not have to have the engine running. It was recommended but it was not necessary for the slide to operate. What I was trying to say was what was physically necessary to operate the slide, not what was best practice.

It has long been my feeling that any day I learned something new was not a day truly wasted. Learning 2 things in one day may be more than I can handle intellectually ...
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Old 05-08-2020, 03:42 PM   #13
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Presumably installing Lithium batteries requires a DC-DC charger to protect the alternator and that limits the output current to the batteries. My question is whether or not extending and/or retracting the slide will generate enough instantaneous current to blow the fuse used to protect the DC-DC charger......................
.....................But the next morning the charger had stopped working and a check showed that the input 60 amp fuse had blown. I was just wondering if extending the slide, or retracting it, might have generated enough instantaneous current to blow the fuse.........................
...................I can't off-hand think of anything else that might cause the fuse to blow since it did not blow either the day we replaced it or the next day, but perhaps someone has a better idea what might have caused the problem?
Back to the 60amp fuse which was blown.

As I understand your statement, it is the 60amp fuse from the alternator/chassis battery to the DC/DC charger that blew.

That would mean the DC/DC charger was pulling more than 60amps to blow the fuse.
-- Is the fuse internal to the charger, or external. If external, is there any chance the cable from the fuse to the charger could short against the frame?
-- With the ignition key off the charger should not be able to pull any current from the chassis battery.
-- It could be just a defective fuse.
-- The DC/DC charger could be having a problem.

I think you wrote you will be testing once you get more fuses. Hopefully it is a one time failure and possibly a bad fuse.
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Old 05-08-2020, 05:38 PM   #14
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As I understand your statement, it is the 60amp fuse from the alternator/chassis battery to the DC/DC charger that blew.
That is correct.

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-- Is the fuse internal to the charger, or external. If external, is there any chance the cable from the fuse to the charger could short against the frame?
External. But it is seated in a non-conducting enclosure and was not touching anything that I could see. None of the wires looked like they could have shorted out.

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-- With the ignition key off the charger should not be able to pull any current from the chassis battery.
That is correct, but the engine was running when I extended the slide and again when I retracted it. It is what is recommended and interestingly enough I was actually running the engine when I extended and retracted the slide. Normally I don't do that. I only turn on the ignition switch so as to not bother any other campers, but since no one was near us this time I ran the engine. Possibly if I had not this would not have happened.

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-- It could be just a defective fuse.
Yes, or perhaps it was not seated properly in the socket. Either of those would be the best reason for me since it would not require any further work, or any more money to get it fixed.

One of the "legs" of the fuse was blackened, presumably from the current that blew the fuse, but perhaps there is the possibility that the fuse was not seated properly in its socket. Something else I will have to check next time.

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-- The DC/DC charger could be having a problem.
That is my main concern. I bought it from Amazon and so it can be returned, but only for another 2 weeks or so, and I don't know that it is the problem. The best thing would be to go on another trip and see if the issue shows up again and this time try to determine exactly when it happens and under exactly what circumstances, but I probably can't do that before the return period expires.

I need to check with Renogy about how long their warranty period is. Or, alternately, if it is the problem I need to replace it with a DC-DC charger that might be better built. I have in mind the Victron 30 amp, but first I will see what I can find out about where the issue really is.

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Hopefully it is a one time failure and possibly a bad fuse.
I have bought some replacement fuses and will try to go through a series of tests to see if I can replicate the problem and, if so, if I can nail down exactly what action is causing it. Hopefully I can not replicate the problem or, if I can, hopefully I can nail down exactly what action is causing it.

Failing that I suppose I can turn off the charger when I extend or retract the slide, but even if that stops the issue it will not tell me why it happened in the first place.
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Old 05-09-2020, 05:15 AM   #15
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I am not saying here that extending/retracting the slide cannot be the problem, but here is some food for thought:

In your original post:
Quote:
After the batteries were installed we drove around making sure that the charger was working properly, and it was, producing a 40 amp charging current for the batteries. After that I extended the slide with the engine running and later retracted it, again with the engine running, and everything seemed fine. But the next morning the charger had stopped working and a check showed that the input 60 amp fuse had blown.
I question if extending/retracting the slide actually has anything to do with the problem.

Is there something you detected when operating the slide that you can associate with the blown fuse? Just because operating the slide and then some 8-12 hours later you found something that wasn't working doesn't mean that what you did is a direct link to the failure.

I bring this up because we (as I have in the past) grab onto something we think caused the problem and it takes a while to realize that it had nothing to do with the problem. Mean while I have spent quite a bit of time chasing something that had nothing to do with the failure.

When you start your troubleshooting, try to start from the thought that you don't have any idea what caused the problem and go from there.

Yes, you should operate the slide a couple of times but if that doesn't blow the fuse, then assume that was not the cause.
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Old 05-09-2020, 05:25 AM   #16
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In your recent post you wrote:
Quote:
One of the "legs" of the fuse was blackened, presumably from the current that blew the fuse, but perhaps there is the possibility that the fuse was not seated properly in its socket. Something else I will have to check next time.
Having the leg of the fuse blackened would indicate an intermittent connection causing electric arcing. You might start by taking a bright flashlight and examine the fuse holder and be sure the contacts are not damaged or spread apart.
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Old 05-09-2020, 03:07 PM   #17
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Just because operating the slide and then some 8-12 hours later you found something that wasn't working doesn't mean that what you did is a direct link to the failure.
I think that is absolutely correct, however it is hard to imagine what else it might be other than a badly inserted fuse or damaged fuse holder. Consider:

1) The fuse was working properly all during our drive. I know that because I could see the charge being applied to the battery and only the DC-DC charger could have applied that much of a charge.

2) We then stopped, ran the engine and extended the slide and spent the next 15 hours boondocking and so not using anything electric other than the compressor fridge and some lights. We also ran the generator for a brief period of time but that output does not go to the DC-DC charger so it should not be involved.

3) In the morning we retracted the slide, running the engine as we did so.

4) I then began moving the RV to pick up the leveling blocks and noticed that there was no charge being applied to the batteries. That was due to the blown fuse.

So while I completely agree that just because we extended and retracted the slide and the fuse was good before but not after those operations, it does not follow that the slide is the reason, but it does seem to me to be a main area to look at. Nothing else was done during the 15 or 16 hours between extending and retracting the slide that seems like it could have caused the problem and, in fact, nothing was done between those operation that would have even applied power to the line that contained the fuse. The logical conclusion is - no power, no blown fuse. The only times the engine was run between the fuse being good and being bad was when we engaged the slide.

The issue with the burned contacts is also suspicious and I will have to check to see if the seat for the fuse might have an issue, but it was new. The really difficult problem here will be to force myself to go through the same process as before without changing my actions so as to avoid the issue. The charger has an ON/OFF switch and I know I can prevent this issue by just turning off the charger when I extend and retract the slide, and there will be a strong temptation to do just that so as to not cause any issues.
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Old 05-10-2020, 06:24 AM   #18
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I do recommend that you do not turn off the charger in the hopes that will keep from recreating the failure. You kind of need to find the source of the problem. If for no other reason than peace of mind.

I like focusing on the fuse and fuse holder, since that is the ONE thing that you have actually found that has an identifiable failure.

If the fuse wasn't fully seated and/or the holder contacts are making poor contact, then that is the source of the problem. You will confirm that by checking the fuse holder and fuse and then going though the same process that originally produced the failure.

I do have a concern about the charger and your batteries.
-- I wouldn't expect a 40amp charger to be putting out a constant 40 amps (max current) for all the time you are driving. You didn't say how long your were driving. Was it an hour or several hours.
-- How far discharged were the batteries before you started driving? If they were down to 30% full then I could understand 30-40 amps from the charger. But at some point the charging current should taper off as the batteries are at 95-98% full. Not taper off to just a few amps as a lead acid battery does when it gets 90% or more full, but I wouldn't expect it to stay at 40amps with a nearly full battery.
-- What is the voltage at the batteries when the charger is at 40amps?
-- Can the charger be programmed for different voltage levels or is it just one fixed voltage. I don't charge my lithium batteries I have been using for the last 4 years at more than 14.2-14.3V. I think Battle Born states they can be charged at 14.5-14.6V. I look at it from the perspective of: I don't run my truck or RV engine at max RPM's, or do jack rabbit starts and stops even though the vehicle is capable of doing that.
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Old 05-10-2020, 06:59 AM   #19
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-- I wouldn't expect a 40amp charger to be putting out a constant 40 amps (max current) for all the time you are driving. You didn't say how long your were driving. Was it an hour or several hours.
All I could see on the Victron smartphone app was the instantaneous charge at any one time, and that varied. I said 40 amps only because that was probably an average.

The normal value I saw while driving ranged between about 37.5 amps and 42.5 amps, sometimes a bit lower, sometimes a bit high. But remember that there are 3 100 watt solar panels on the roof and they were also contributing and the DC fridge was cycling on and off, depending upon need, so there would be some variation and it is impossible to know exactly what value the charger was outputting.

There was one other odd thing that I noticed. Every once in a while the charge would go to 0 (well, sometimes a small negative value, sometimes a small positive value, because of the fridge) as though the charger or the alternator stopped outputting current and I assumed that that might be the alternator being smart and stopping the output to protect itself. These never lasted longer than a couple of seconds, and then it was back to about 40 amps.

The drive was about 3 hours, but was broken up by a fuel stop and a visit to a grocery store.

When the battery was at 100% (or close to it) the output current went to 0.

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-- How far discharged were the batteries before you started driving? If they were down to 30% full then I could understand 30-40 amps from the charger. But at some point the charging current should taper off as the batteries are at 95-98% full. Not taper off to just a few amps as a lead acid battery does when it gets 90% or more full, but I wouldn't expect it to stay at 40amps with a nearly full battery.
Unfortunately I am not sure. This was my first drive with the batteries and the charger so I paid more attention to the charger output than to the state of the batteries when I first started.

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Originally Posted by al1florida View Post
-- What is the voltage at the batteries when the charger is at 40amps?
14.2-14.4 volts

Quote:
Originally Posted by al1florida View Post
-- Can the charger be programmed for different voltage levels or is it just one fixed voltage. I don't charge my lithium batteries I have been using for the last 4 years at more than 14.2-14.3V. I think Battle Born states they can be charged at 14.5-14.6V. I look at it from the perspective of: I don't run my truck or RV engine at max RPM's, or do jack rabbit starts and stops even though the vehicle is capable of doing that.
The charger has a set of dip switches and they are set for Lithium batteries. Presumably all of those have some similar charging profile. I do have a manual for the charger and I suppose it has detailed information about the charging profile but I assume that if the charger has a Lithium profile, then it probably is right for the BB batteries. In that sense it is the same assumption I make about the Zamp solar controller. It is set for LiFePO4 and I assume that is the correct profile for BB batteries.

We have a tentative trip scheduled in another 2 weeks or so and I will try all of this again, but this time pay more attention to what I am seeing and try to keep a list of what happens and when.
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Old 05-10-2020, 11:50 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
Is the Fuse that different from other WBGO motorhomes? Most other current models use the Chassis battery to operate the slide and require the engine to be running.

If the Fuse does the same, perhaps the slide increased the draw from the alternator and that effected the input fuse? Just wondering out loud.
That sounds plausible. Winnebago didn't design the slide system electronics to have a DC to DC charger limiting the maximum alternator "helper" current to the chassis battery plugged into the mix, when the slide mechanism is engaged. How that figures into the blown fuse situation, I have no idea.
Can you remove/bypass the DC to DC charger, and see if that solves the fuse problem? Or was the blown fuse a one off?
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