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Old 06-12-2008, 12:31 PM   #1
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Speaking of batteries.... My rig battery goes dead after 1 or 2 wks between trips, while parked and plugged into the house. Winnebago tells me this is normal because the shoreline charges the aux batts, not the engine battery, and the aux batts routinely lose their charge due to all the draws from a zillion indicator lamps (there are actually about a dozen that are on all the time. The only solution I have heard about is to install a small solar charging unit on the roof to keep it "topped off." Not a giant problem, just a minor irritation, as the aux batts start me up with the MOM switch, and this has always worked. Still, I think it may be unhealthy for the battery, and I could someday run down the aux batts boondocking, which could leave us stranded..... Thanks for any other experiences or solutions.
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Old 06-12-2008, 12:31 PM   #2
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Speaking of batteries.... My rig battery goes dead after 1 or 2 wks between trips, while parked and plugged into the house. Winnebago tells me this is normal because the shoreline charges the aux batts, not the engine battery, and the aux batts routinely lose their charge due to all the draws from a zillion indicator lamps (there are actually about a dozen that are on all the time. The only solution I have heard about is to install a small solar charging unit on the roof to keep it "topped off." Not a giant problem, just a minor irritation, as the aux batts start me up with the MOM switch, and this has always worked. Still, I think it may be unhealthy for the battery, and I could someday run down the aux batts boondocking, which could leave us stranded..... Thanks for any other experiences or solutions.
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Old 06-12-2008, 12:47 PM   #3
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Here's a response I wrote about a similar situation posted in the Ford chassis forun. In that case the manufacture did wire the chassis battery to be charged from shore power but it didn't work because of a defective relay.

Our 01 Winnebago Adventurer on the F53 chassis is not designed to charge the chassis battery from shore power. At the 06 Winnebago GNR a factory rep confirmed this fact. He explained that the logic behind it was an attempt to isolate the chassis battery from the coach batteries unless the engine was running or the "Battery Boost" switch was engaged.

When the engine is running the alternator (field circuit) activates a relay allowing the alternator to charge both sets of batteries. When the engine is off both sets of batteries can be connected by manually pushing and holding the "Battery Boost" switch. This is normally only done if some accessory was left on long enough to discharge the chassis battery enough that it would no longer start the engine by itself.

The unfortunate oversight on the pre 2004 models is that all 12 volt power ports were powered by the chassis battery. Any accessories (like cell phones or 2 way radios) plugged into these ports for extended periods could discharge the chassis battery. On the 2004 and later models the 12 volt power ports are connected to the coach batteries. This allows the inverter/charger to continually replenish the coach batteries and eliminate the problem of discharging the chassis battery.

He also mentioned 2 ways of ensuring all batteries were fully charged without the engine running.

The first and simplist way to keep all the batteries charged is to insert a wedge under the lower edge of the Battery Boost switch to activate the relay and keep all batteries charged by the inverter/charger. The relay has a 100% duty cycle (it's on all the time the engine is running) and will not be damaged.

The second way is to replace the momentary (must be physically held in the on position) Battery Boost switch with a 3 position normally closed (on off on)one. It can be placed in the manual on position (top of the switch depressed) to energize the relay whether the ignition is on or off allowing the alternator to charge the batteries when the engine is running or the shore power to charge all the batteries when the ignition is off.

When placed on the the center off position the relay will not be energized. Only the chassis battery will be charged from the alternator and only the coach batteries will be charged by shore power.

When placed in the third (bottom of the switch depressed) on position only the coach batteries are charged from shore power, but all batteries are charged when the engine is running.

I have chosen option 2 for our coach. It's been in use over 2 years and keeps all batteries well charged. The only downside to this option is accidentally leaving the switch in the #1 position connecting all batteries all the time. During long periods of boondocking you run the risk of discharging all batteries enough to be unable to start the coach.
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Old 06-12-2008, 12:48 PM   #4
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One of these will keep your batteries charged as long as you are plugged into AC. I believe you would have to have a 10+ watt solar charger to do any good if you go that route.http://www.rvupgradestore.com/index....ROD&ProdID=441
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Old 06-12-2008, 12:52 PM   #5
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I had the same problem and I installed a Trick L Start charger and now every thing is equal. This charger addresses exactly this problem and does a good job of taking care of the engine batteries.
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Old 06-12-2008, 12:53 PM   #6
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Steelhead
Just trying to solve my chassis battery problem of self discharge also.
Just yesterday I ordered a 9Watt solar charger from Sam,s Club online. $75.00. It comes with a 10ft. wire with clamps and a cig. lighter adaptor.
I believe it is a Coleman brand, but no idea who makes it.
I know this will not charge a low battery up, but my hopes and intentions are to maintain a fully charged battery.
The 10 watt charger on my Jouney's roof seems to do a good job maintaing the house batteries, so I have hope.
Try to limit your current draw when in storage, really not much we can do about the chassis battery part of it, but I make sure the radio switch on the dash is turned to the house side of the battery selector and then I turn the house batteies off. Not much else we can do, except put up with the slight hassle of solar charging with no elect. plug in available.
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Old 06-12-2008, 04:24 PM   #7
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Trik-L-Start will solve the problem. About $40 and 30 minutes of your time.
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Old 06-12-2008, 06:28 PM   #8
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Trik-L-Start it is! Thanks to all of you for your discussions and help!
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:48 AM   #9
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Trik-l-Start helps keep the chassis battery up but the worst drain on the chassis is usually the steps if left in the on position. Even though the steps are staying out or in, the sensors and circuit board drain can kill a chassis battery in days.
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:07 AM   #10
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Hadn't thought of that, Bagger. I leave the steps locked out all the time while the rig sits in the driveway. Is there a way to have the steps out w/o a batt drain? What (or where) is the "on" position? I figured it just shuts the switch off when steps go out after parking. I'm thinking the Trick-L-Start will easily compensate for all these little drains
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Old 06-14-2008, 04:58 PM   #11
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My engine battery was going flat after about 3 weeks of inactivity. I tried a small solar charger which helped somewhat, but not completely. I bought a new battery as the old one didn't seem to want to achieve the voltage it should have on charging, and also added a battery-mounted knife style battery disconnect.

After 6 weeks of storage, I flipped the disconnect and started the engine just like it was brand new and fully charged. No more flat battery--yeah! I bought the disconnect at Camping World--I don't remember how much it was, but it wasn't expensive and works like a charm.
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Old 06-14-2008, 05:36 PM   #12
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The trickle charger will work for you. I purchased a small maintance charger (Black and Decker) that I use for the same purpose. I have an outside outlet right at my battery bay so I have a place to plug it in when I am sitting still and have shore power hooked up. The cost is about the same (the Black and Decker is a little cheaper) -- just depends on what works the best for you.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:47 PM   #13
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Thanks to all. Installed the Trik-L-Start, the green (charging) lite went on as soon as I connected the ground, and the tig started the following day... End of issue
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Old 06-23-2008, 03:36 AM   #14
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I don't know about the gas rigs, but starting with the 2006 model year Winnebago installs the Trik-L-Start as standard equipment on all diesel pushers. As indicated above, it works great (even though I had to install mine myself).
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Old 06-23-2008, 07:44 AM   #15
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Right Chris -- I checked that out, some gas rigs have them, not mine. But I have one now, and it's amazing how simple the fix was ($50 and about 30 minutes) for such an irritating issue.
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Old 06-23-2008, 03:05 PM   #16
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Just to be clear.. We use a Trik-L-Start but you must be plugged into shorepower even though the Trik-L-Start only connects the batteries. It basically steals 12 volt energy from the house battery to maintain the chassis (starting) battery.
All this means: the onboard charger maintains the house battery and the house battery via Trik-L-Start maintains the starting battery.
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Old 06-24-2008, 08:05 AM   #17
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Well put, Jon. When this post began, my problem was losing the chassis battery charge while plugged into shorepower (when parked at home between trips), thus having to routinely start the rig w/ the aux batts via the MOM. Installing the Trik-L-Start has eliminated this issue. Additionally however, I'm thinking that it will also top off the chassis batt whenever the house batts are charging, e.g., from solarpanel or genset running. Is this incorrect?
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Old 06-24-2008, 09:29 AM   #18
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My Chassis battery will stay topped off as you suggest as long as you have strong sunlight. I have problems with this in the winter as we have less hours of sunlight and snow on the roof. I disconnect my chassis battery in the winter and find that it will remain at a full charge for the 4 months that it is disconnected.
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