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Old 07-06-2008, 03:10 AM   #1
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Hi to all on line. My question is, why do my new house batteries not want to take a charge? I have just installed new 12 volt deep cycle batteries that are group 29 in my 04 Winnie Adventurer and have driven many miles on this trip and they don't seem to get a charge. They were checked for any problems when I bought them at Sam's Club, and registered 12.2 on the motorhome monitor when they were installed. They have dropped to 11.5 even though we have been plugged in to shore power for 24 hours. Does anyone know why the engine alternator which is 145 amps won't charge the house batteries while driving over 250 miles?? I am on a trip to Nova Scotia and am most concerned about this because we anticipate a lot of dry camping. Please anyone HELP!!! Thanks, Al
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Old 07-06-2008, 03:10 AM   #2
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Hi to all on line. My question is, why do my new house batteries not want to take a charge? I have just installed new 12 volt deep cycle batteries that are group 29 in my 04 Winnie Adventurer and have driven many miles on this trip and they don't seem to get a charge. They were checked for any problems when I bought them at Sam's Club, and registered 12.2 on the motorhome monitor when they were installed. They have dropped to 11.5 even though we have been plugged in to shore power for 24 hours. Does anyone know why the engine alternator which is 145 amps won't charge the house batteries while driving over 250 miles?? I am on a trip to Nova Scotia and am most concerned about this because we anticipate a lot of dry camping. Please anyone HELP!!! Thanks, Al
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Old 07-06-2008, 03:50 AM   #3
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Al - if they are not charging while you are on the road, then you most likely have a bad battery bank bridging solenoid. There is a multi-page recent discussion about this - search this forum for "solenoid."

If they are not being charged while on shore power, then you need to suspect your charger - breaker tripped, bad charger, etc.

(Of course, the first thing to be checked is all battery connection nice and tight.)
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Old 07-06-2008, 04:14 AM   #4
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Just to add to John's suggestions, pull out your Voltmeter and check voltage at the batteries while the coach is running, then turn off the coach, attach shore power and again measure voltage at the batteries. You should see >13 Volts at the batteries while under charge. I doubt that you will see sub 13 volts for both but then again.... If you do see the correct voltages, then let them charge for a couple of hours, let them set for a while (couple of hours) and measure again. At this point you should see voltage in the mid 12s (12.4 - 12.7).
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Old 07-06-2008, 12:39 PM   #5
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Thanks John and Frank, I went thru the 12 volt fuses and tripped them back to active use. That evidently was my problem. The house inverter charger started really working hard and I noticed that the engine alternator really went to town making power. I drove over 200 miles today. While we were driving along, my wife kept checking and found that the house batteries were charging at 13.1 and the chassis battery was at 14.4 on the volt meter. Now, while parked, the chassis battery is 12.7 and the coach batteries are at 12.0. I hope things have been corrected. Any ideas? Is this normal? I want to dry camp while in Nova Scotia but am very pensive about that because I don't want my coach batteries to fail. What would you do??? Al
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Old 07-06-2008, 01:25 PM   #6
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Al - I'm not sure all is well in Spivey-land

The fact that your house and chassis batteries were above 13 volts while driving is a good thing - however, my house and chassis batteries are within about 0.1 volts of each other while being charged by the engine alternator. This is exactly what I would expect due to five batteries being essentially in parallel with each other due to the bridging solenoid. Your situation deserves more investigation.

Your house batteries (while plugged into shore power or on generator) should be floated above 13 volts.

Since you have a '04 model, your chassis batteries will *not* be charged when plugged into shore power unless you added a Trik-L-Start, or Xantrex Echo~Charge, or battery minder, etc.

I think you still have a problem(s)...
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Old 07-06-2008, 01:40 PM   #7
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keep in mind that 12.2V is half discharged. that is the low limit for max batt. life. when they get that low start charging.
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Old 07-06-2008, 02:22 PM   #8
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Al:
Given that your Coach batteries were so discharged, you may not have charged them long enough. How long were they on charge? How long have you been using after charge when you took the 12.0 reading? Was that reading taken while you were using them? Mine will read ~12.7Vs if let sit for a couple of hours of no use and after a full charge. As soon as I start using them they will read 12.3 - 12.4 under usage. Again if I use the disconnect switch they will come back up to ~12.6Vs. So there is a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration when you take the reading. Also it is best to take the reading at the batteries when you are trouble shooting. I found if you have a looong skinny wire to your on board meter it will read .2 - .3 volts less than at the battery.
Just some things to consider -- Frank O.
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Old 07-06-2008, 02:43 PM   #9
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Bring along a car battery charger 10 amps , I always keep one in my M/H just to keep the coach battery charge at the camp site just take a extention cord and plug it into the pedestal and charge the house battery for say 6 hours and then charge the chassis for 6 hours. expecially if you have hydralic leverals and you want to make sure you have a good fully charge when it is time to leave.
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Old 07-06-2008, 03:55 PM   #10
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Having recently broken in two new coach batteries and 8 golf cart batteries I agree with a satement about batteries that was supplied with the golf cart which said. "When new, the batteries will need several full charging cycles over a period of a week or two to reach their full potiential". It also recommended limiting the battery draw down for the first couple weeks recommending no more than one round of a 18 hole golf course then fully charging the batteries. Never miss a chance to top off your batteries. My new coach batteries would only read about 12.4 volts after charging for the first couple days. There after however they indicated 12.7 after a rest period when fully charged. And, this was accomplished using 30 year old 5 amp car battery charger in liew of my converter/charger which broke on me during the trip after boiling my stock 3 year old coach batteries.

Have a great time and good luck with your dry camping.
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Old 07-06-2008, 05:33 PM   #11
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The voltage that you say the batteries are charging is in line with the amount of useage and the reported voltage before you got the charging operating. The engine alternator will take a time to bring the batteries to full charge. After a recent extended overnight stay my system did not reach full voltage for a number of hours.
I have had a time with the charging solenoids and bad batteries so now I watch them continually. I found that the steps and antenna warning light are on the same fuse and when noticed light not working and the steps not retracting with the ignition switch I found the fuse (15A) under the lift up dash, upper right.

You note an 04 Adventurer, my coach is as below so I would guess the same wiring
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Old 07-07-2008, 01:38 PM   #12
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Hi All, especially John Canfield. Just to report that John nailed my battery problem. You suggested the bridging solenoid and that was it. I stopped at a Dealer here in Nova Scotia and told the mechanic exactly what you said and that saved me a lot of money. He looked for that problem first and fixed it. Problems solved. Also, due to your suggestion, he only charged me for a half hour labor plus the part. Now, I get 12.9+ on the battery voltage meter. Now I can go off in the back country and dry camp. This forum goes to show what nice folks are always available to make suggestions about RV problems. All you have to do is ask. Thanks so much. Best personal regards, Al Spivey
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Old 07-07-2008, 06:42 PM   #13
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You also stated that it wasn't charged after 24 hrs on shore power. You must also have a converter/charger problem.
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