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Old 03-22-2013, 05:51 PM   #1
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Quick Solenoid Question

If my chassis battery is too low to start the engine and I press the auxiliary start switch to connect my coach batteries with the chassis battery all I get is a click back in the battery compartment but no additional battery power so I assume I have a bad solenoid. There are two solenoids side by side, a 3 post and a 4 post. Which one controls the aux connection? Do these solenoids have insulated bases?
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Old 03-22-2013, 07:11 PM   #2
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dont know about a Winnebago, but in mine the two relays are for coach and chassis power, the aux start relay is in there also but more than twice the size of the two power relays, you may need someone in the coach while you check with a test light, good luck
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Old 03-22-2013, 07:20 PM   #3
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the solenoid on the left is the one you want. do the coach batteries have enough charge to start the engine?
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Old 03-22-2013, 07:25 PM   #4
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Can't answer the question without a picture and voltmeter but is sounds like bruce knows the setup. However, in a pinch. You may have enough power to fire up the generator and let it run for 20-30 minutes to get you running. Those solenoids do fail. Since you hear it clunk and can find which one then turn the batteries off, take the cables loose and put them on one side of the solenoid to bypass. Or just use one vehicle jumper cable across the battery banks to get you going.
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Old 03-22-2013, 07:29 PM   #5
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Try activating the switch on-off about ten times to clean the solinoid contacts. Then hold the switch "ON" for at least 2 minutes to transfer some charge to the chassis battery before trying to start the engine.
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruceh View Post
the solenoid on the left is the one you want. do the coach batteries have enough charge to start the engine?
The solenoid has never worked as long as I have had the coach. So Bruce it is the 3 post one then? So this solenoid is not continuous duty then?
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:19 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by bluepill View Post
Try activating the switch on-off about ten times to clean the solinoid contacts. Then hold the switch "ON" for at least 2 minutes to transfer some charge to the chassis battery before trying to start the engine.
I expect that this solenoid fails more frequently because of lack of use than vice versa.
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:29 AM   #8
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If you can attach a couple of pictures it will really help. It is fairly easy to do on this forum. In any case. If the solenoid is a silver round device and has two large wires and just one small terminal then the case is grounded. Just applying a light jumper from either of the large posts to the little post should cause the solenoid to clunk. If it does not, clean the mounting bolts and then try again. If it does clunk you should have the same voltage on each of the large terminals while holding the little jumper in place. It may not be a continuous duty solenoid but can run for a few hours.
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:46 AM   #9
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The 3 post solenoid is the AUX START solenoid and yes it is a continuous duty unit.

The AUX BAT switch (battery disconnect switch) is a mechanical latching relay.

I am not sure why Winnebago uses the term AUX in the nomenclature for both relays but on mine they do.
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:50 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by corvettec3 View Post
The solenoid has never worked as long as I have had the coach. So Bruce it is the 3 post one then? So this solenoid is not continuous duty then?
Yes, it is the three post one and it is continuous duty. My original one looked like a little silver can. I have since replaced it.

How did you determine that the solenoid has never worked? In your original post, you mention that you can hear a click when the engage the battery boost, I interpret this to mean that you can hear the solenoid engaging. When your ignition is in the 'run' position, the solenoid should be engaged and the engine battery and coach battery reading should be the same.

When the engine is running, does it charge the coach batteries? If so, the solenoid is engaging.

I never saw an answer to the question about enough charge in the coach battery to start the engine.

A brute force way to find out is the use jumper cables between the coach and engine batteries.

Sometimes, if the engine battery has a shorted cell, even jumping won't work.
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:36 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bruceh View Post
Yes, it is the three post one and it is continuous duty. My original one looked like a little silver can. I have since replaced it.

How did you determine that the solenoid has never worked? In your original post, you mention that you can hear a click when the engage the battery boost, I interpret this to mean that you can hear the solenoid engaging. When your ignition is in the 'run' position, the solenoid should be engaged and the engine battery and coach battery reading should be the same.

When the engine is running, does it charge the coach batteries? If so, the solenoid is engaging.

I never saw an answer to the question about enough charge in the coach battery to start the engine.

A brute force way to find out is the use jumper cables between the coach and engine batteries.

Sometimes, if the engine battery has a shorted cell, even jumping won't work.
I assume that the engine alternator has been charging the coach batteries although I cannot confirm that since any time I travel I am always plugged into shore power and I know they get charged that way. The chassis battery is brand new. I am assuming that the click I hear when I press the aux switch is the 3 post solenoid. I will get out my volt meter and check the voltages on each side and then activate the solenoid and see what voltages I have. I shall report back my findings. Thanks guys.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruceh View Post
When the engine is running, does it charge the coach batteries? If so, the solenoid is engaging.
Bruce are you saying that this solenoid is engaged all the time the engine is running? If that is the case, at what point does it get activated? Is it after the engine is running? Otherwise, there would be no need for the aux switch. Looking at the electrical schematic it appears the coach batteries are charged via a wire attached to one of the isolation stud for the coach batteries.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clay L View Post
The 3 post solenoid is the AUX START solenoid and yes it is a continuous duty unit.

The AUX BAT switch (battery disconnect switch) is a mechanical latching relay.

I am not sure why Winnebago uses the term AUX in the nomenclature for both relays but on mine they do.
So Clay, the 4 post solenoid is for the disconnect switch right?
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:56 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by corvettec3 View Post
Bruce are you saying that this solenoid is engaged all the time the engine is running? If that is the case, at what point does it get activated? Is it after the engine is running? Otherwise, there would be no need for the aux switch. Looking at the electrical schematic it appears the coach batteries are charged via a wire attached to one of the isolation stud for the coach batteries.
In the 'start' postion, the relay is not engaged unless you have pressed the battery boost switch. In the 'run' postion, the relay is engaged allowing the alternator to charge both sets of batteries. In the 'off' postion, the relay is not engaged allowing you to run your coach without discharging the engine battery.

Your wiring diagram is probably a little different from mine but if you start from the batteries and work backward, you can see the path. The only way to get to the coach batteries is through that solenoid.

Apologies for using relay and solenoid interchageably but that is the way I think of them.
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:06 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by bruceh View Post
In the 'start' postion, the relay is not engaged unless you have pressed the battery boost switch. In the 'run' postion, the relay is engaged allowing the alternator to charge both sets of batteries. In the 'off' postion, the relay is not engaged allowing you to run your coach without discharging the engine battery.

Your wiring diagram is probably a little different from mine but if you start from the batteries and work backward, you can see the path. The only way to get to the coach batteries is through that solenoid.

Apologies for using relay and solenoid interchageably but that is the way I think of them.
I never hear that relay click when I turn the key to the 'on' position but maybe I wouldn't hear it with the hydramax pump running and other buzzers. I just have to get my meter out when it warms up enough not to freeze my fingers off :-)
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Old 03-24-2013, 02:35 PM   #16
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So Clay, the 4 post solenoid is for the disconnect switch right?
Yes. It is an electrically activated mechanical latching relay and does not use power except when actually being switched. Below is the diagram for the way Winnebago wires the two solenoids. Below that is a diagram I drew showing how the Bat Disconnect switch is wired to the solenoid.
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:03 PM   #17
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Yes. It is an electrically activated mechanical latching relay and does not use power except when actually being switched. Below is the diagram for the way Winnebago wires the two solenoids. Below that is a diagram I drew showing how the Bat Disconnect switch is wired to the solenoid.
Clay, thank you very much for that schematic. I just printed it off and placed it in my binder.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:53 AM   #18
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Solenoid is replaced and aux switch now works fine. I replaced it with one from NAPA, an Echlin ST80. Because it had an insulated base and a ground terminal, I had to run a short ground from a mounting screw to that terminal.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:39 AM   #19
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Where physically are these solenoids normally located in a Winnebago coach?
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:12 AM   #20
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Where physically are these solenoids normally located in a Winnebago coach?
Ron,
Different models and years of Winne and Itasca place them in different locations. On our '04 Itasca Horizon with the 330 CAT, they are hidden behind a panel that's in the electrical/shore power/inverter compartment, that's just above the inverter/charger.

On a buddies '06 Itasca Meridian with the 350 CAT, as you lift the generator access door on the front of coach, there's a panel right in front of you that comes off with Zeus fasteners and it's labeled with all the solenoids etc.
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