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Old 02-19-2024, 11:20 AM   #1
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Battery Woes with Vista 35F

Posted in iRV2, got good info but I'm not electrical enough to do these things -- topic for the technician when The Okiebago goes to the shop for annual spring service.

BUT it occurred to me (late...I'm getting slow in my old age) that "I" might be the problem. So posting here hoping someone with same/similar coach can help.

4 new batteries before Christmas and then we're off on our annual Gulf getaway. Everything was great, no problems. Mid-January come home and plug into 50A shore power, check to see if everything is okay last week and find the batteries dead. We've been putting up with this since we bought it. (FYI, been to dealership with it twice and they say everything is in working order. Won't go back because (1) it takes 3-6 months to get an appointment and (2) once they get it it's another month or more before they do the work.)

DW & I clearly remember dealership walk-thru, told it's all automatic: whether driving, on the generator or shore power there's nothing to do other than enjoy. The coach batteries (but not the chassis battery) have an automatic intelligent inverter-charger-maintainer that maintains the batteries.
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Old 02-19-2024, 11:30 AM   #2
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When you store, do you turn the coach battery cutoff to off?
On many that will also cut off the charging to the coach batteries!
Second thought is that many (most?) RV do not disconnect all the drains on either of the chassis nor coach batteries. That little bit of power lost will run the batteries down over long term like winter storage.
Maybe review how you store with those in mind?
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Old 02-19-2024, 11:50 AM   #3
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Sorry to have to correct you... but it's not "automatic" in every situation. There are switches that turn things off and on. And there are specific steps and instructions for putting your RV in storage.

Have you read the battery, charging and storage sections of the very complete Operator's Manual?

One thing - we don't find a VistaLX for the 2019 Model Year. In 2018 they made Vista LX motorhomes and in 2019 they changed the name to Adventurer. Are you sure you have a 2019? What does the yellow placard on the wall next to your Driver's seat say for model year??

Here are two excerpts from your Operator's Manual - well, the 2018 Vista LX. You may not mean what you posted about "everything" being automatic and this may be redundant, but we only have what you posted to go on.
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Old 02-19-2024, 12:35 PM   #4
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I found it in the wiring and parts catalog as 2019 vista LX 35F??
In owners manuals, I only find 2019 Vista but it also comes up as 2018, so some conflict in the info?
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Old 02-19-2024, 12:50 PM   #5
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Forget you heard "automatic" That is advertising hype IMO.

Regardless of make, model, or year. during storage simply disconnect the negative battery cables to prevent fully-charged batteries from draining to flat Lead-acid batteries self-discharge at a rate of 3%/month this way, that means in 10 months they will still be at 70% of full charge.
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Old 02-19-2024, 01:01 PM   #6
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Looking closer, I see an error in the manual if I read it correctly.
This section seems to be wrong?
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If we look at the drawing and find wire GJ, it looks like it is before the disconnect. Then if we go to the ID chart here:
https://www.winnebago.com/Files/File...ical_guide.pdf

We find it says this lead is "upstream" of the disconnect. That means the parasitic drain is NOT removed when we turn the disconnect off!
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Click these snips to get a better picture of what I see.
Also we often get into discussions of why batteries go down and it is normally true that safety equipment is NOT disconnected by the disconnect relay. On this year, being after the 2010 models, we don't get the specifics of wiring to really look at it carefully but all the RV that I remember having looked at do leave the safety items connected.

I feel this part of this manual to be wrong and we do get lots of posts asking why their batteries run down.

I find the battery runs down when we store the RV because the parasitic drains are NOT disconnected!
One way to verify this is to look at the little green LED on the faces of some items like CO and propane detectors.
If that LED stays on after the disconnect is turned to off, it is still powered.

If your radio presets and things like steps and automatic door locks still work after the chassis disconnect is off, you still have parasitic drains!
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Old 02-19-2024, 01:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morich View Post
I found it in the wiring and parts catalog as 2019 vista LX 35F??
In owners manuals, I only find 2019 Vista but it also comes up as 2018, so some conflict in the info?
2018/2019 were transition model years. In 2017 the Adventurer was discontinued, but a few 2018s were still being delivered to dealers, I've actually seen 2018 Adventurers with both Itasca and Winnebago badging on the same RV i.e. Itasca Adventurers and Winnebago Suncruisers.

In 2017 Winnebago made the Vista and Vista LX. The LX was a more upscale version of the Vista. Then in 2018 they changed in mid-year and the Vista LX became the "new" Adventurer. In 2018 the only real change between the Vista LX and the Adventurer was the name.

I have no doubt that just like with the very few 2017 Adventurers that made it to dealers as 2018 models that 2019 Vista LX models were trickled out with some badged as Adventurers and others as Vista LX.

Remember, 2018 was a year of massive changes. It was the end of the line for Itasca as a brand and that's also the year that diesel Class A production was to be moved to Oregon. So, any 2017 Journey, Tour and Grand Tour DPs sitting around at the factory were delivered to dealers as 2018 models - but essentially they are 2017s. So, you will find some 2018 DPs here and there as well. I'm sure it's the same in the online resources, too.

Just to make things even more complicated, I saw a photo of a 2019 Grand Tour rolling off the assembly line in Oregon. Yet, officially none were actually made since 2018.

As with most things Winnebago, there are not many, if any, absolutes.
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Old 02-19-2024, 01:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morich View Post
I feel this part of this manual to be wrong and we do get lots of posts asking why their batteries run down.

I find the battery runs down when we store the RV because the parasitic drains are NOT disconnected!
This is 100% accurate. If I turn the House battery disconnect OFF and put my Adventurer in storage. It will fully deplete the House batteries in approx 3-weeks. And, the same is true with the Chassis battery but it takes longer... a month or so.

Currently, I have put a knife-blade disconnect on the Neg post of my Chassis battery and I fully disconnect the Chassis battery with that in storage.

Since I switched to Lithiums for my House batteries it's no longer an issue if I visit the RV once a month and start everything up. The Lithiums have much more capacity in storage.
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Old 02-20-2024, 11:40 AM   #9
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Battery Disconnect Switch Question

I guess this is proof I'm a know-nothing when it comes to electricity.

How many disconnect switches do I need and which posts do I put it/them on?

Coach has four batteries, in parallel if I remember my high school teaching.
There is a third (and lighter) negative cable to the coach at the two-dot post.
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Old 02-20-2024, 11:45 AM   #10
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Thanks to all, appreciate the responses. Will get disconnect switch(es) and keep it on the Noco when parked in the barn.

Should've mentioned this in original post. FYI, coach never goes into winter storage, year round we often take short-distance weekend getaways just for the change of scenery.
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Old 02-20-2024, 03:07 PM   #11
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Your initial post made it sound like you were not doing anything at all in storage to keep your batteries from discharging, so that's what we've all responded to. Perhaps we don't fully understand a) what you are doing presently and b) when are your batteries are going dead.

If you are currently turning off both the house and chassis disconnect switches in the stairwell and putting a trickle charger on the House batteries in storage then do you need any other disconnect?

Some more explanation would be a help for us trying to help you.
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Old 02-20-2024, 03:33 PM   #12
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Not to get too far out in the bushes on explanation but the idea is not too hard to show.
We have the disconnect switches and they operate a relay. The relay is just a switch that operates by electrical power to open or close.
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The idea is that much of the load has to go THROUGH the relay to run things in the RV. But there are some that they do not want to let us cut off because they don't want us to blame them! The old legal problems?

So things like steps so we don't walk out and the steps not fly out?
They want the propane and CO detectors on so we don't get caught without them!

But for our use, we know those things will run the batteries down, so we have to be willing to take the risk of stepping out without steps or not knowing when we have propane or CO hazards if we want to save our batteries!

Kind of darned if we do or darned if we don't?

When we go out every so often like weekends, the load may not be enough to get the batteries down to a critical point, so we don't even notice--- until they get a few years old!
One big item for keeping batteries lasting a long time is to not let them run down very much or very often. No firm answer on how low or how often, just the lower and more often and letting them stay down longer will kill them quicker!
Many of us fight to make them last as long as possible so we cut the power use by adding a disconnect at the red marks on my drawing!
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Old 02-20-2024, 06:01 PM   #13
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lSorry to be late to the party by I personally own a Vista and have figured all of this out over the past 9 years so let me share my Vista specific knowledge.

You never need to disconnect battery cables in our Vistas! Unless, you are going to store for more than 3 months. Read on.

When you have AC power connected to your Vista you MUST leave both the Chassis and Coach disconnect switches ON. You can confirm they are ON by the Green LED that glows in each switch. This allows the AC to DC converter charger to keep the coach battery charged. This allows the Battery Isolation Manager to occasionally connect the chassis battery to the coach battery to keep the chassis battery charged. If these switches are off then the power from the converter can't make it to the batteries.

When you have NO AC power your batteries will slowly discharge a few percent a day IF you leave the Chassis and Coach disconnect switches ON. On my Vista you can go over 2 weeks before the batteries drop below 25 % state of charge from starting at 100% charged. Exception to this would be if you have at least 100 watts of solar on the roof and have your Vista parked in a place outside where the solar panel can get sun. In that case where you have solar and it is turned on you will get boosted up to close to 100% every day the sun is out. NOTE: This assumes you have everything turned off in the RV that you can turn off. The refrigerator draws the same small amount from its control board no matter if it is on or off. One thing that can cut the 2 weeks down to 2 days is if you have non-LED compartment lights with 10 watt bulbs in your basement and you have left one or more on. Believe me I know !

When you have NO AC power and don't need the refrigerator then use the Chassis and Coach Disconnect switches to disconnect almost everything from both sets of batteries. You can tell you have disconnected by the Green LEDs in the switches not being lit. In this mode the only things that remain powered are the entry door step and the battery backup for the dash entertainment unit. These both are very small drain and you can go well over 3 months with no issues when the RV is in this mode.

One final note: There was a value priced version of the Vista made by Winnebago that has less features so Winnebago could sell at a lower price. This was to try to satisfy dealers that complained that some Thors were priced cheaper than the same size Vistas. The value priced version does not have the great battery isolation manager and does not have both the coach and chassis battery disconnect switches. If you have a Vista and it does not have BOTH the Coach and Chassis Disconnect switches by the door then the knowledge I have shared in this post DOES NOT apply to you.
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Old 02-21-2024, 04:12 PM   #14
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On my 2023 Vista 29NP, I've been turning off the house/coach battery disconnect switch but not the chassis disconnect switch when in storage. Keeping it connected to shore power, the inverter keeps the coach battery charged. Then, I add a trickle charger to the chassis battery if it will not be used for a few weeks or more. That seems to work well, but reading above, it sounds like I shouldn't be doing it that way. If so, what problems could I run into?
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Old 02-21-2024, 04:42 PM   #15
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> 2023 Vista 29NP ...

I assume you have AC available and have the coach and the trickle charger plugged in currently.

What you are doing now should not cause any problems, assuming it is a good quality trickle charger.

I can't say for sure if Winnebago is still using an intelligent bi-directional Battery Isolation Manager (BIM) in your Vista. They may use something different now. Mine has the Precision Circuits 10021, and I have seen posts saying the 10021 is discontinued. If so I don't know what Winnebago uses now. The 10021 BIM has a electronic control module mounted on the battery isolation contactor that monitors the coach battery and chassis battery voltage and decides when to operate the contactor.

If it sees converter charger voltage ( >= 13.3 volts ) on the coach side and does not see charging voltage on the chassis side then it closes the battery isolation contactor. To ensure no overcharge of the chassis battery, the 10021 BIM disconnects the chassis battery from coach DC after an initial 1 hour duration connection, then it reconnects periodically for 1 hour only when the chassis battery voltage needs charging. This is when it reads chassis battery voltage has to fallen to about 12.4 volts.
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Old 02-21-2024, 05:57 PM   #16
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If the BIM was working that way, then the chassis battery would not need a trickle charger. Is that correct? I added the trickle charger because after several weeks the chassis battery was dead - even though the coach battery (lithium) was still being charged off of the inverter. Am I missing something? I'm certainly no expert and am still learning about this system.
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Old 02-21-2024, 09:17 PM   #17
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Quote:
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If the BIM was working that way, then the chassis battery would not need a trickle charger. Is that correct? I added the trickle charger because after several weeks the chassis battery was dead - even though the coach battery (lithium) was still being charged off of the inverter. Am I missing something? I'm certainly no expert and am still learning about this system.
I looked online at your chassis electrical box diagram and it does not have the same smart bi-directional Progressive Industries Battery Isolation Manager that my 2015 Vista does.

So, I'd say that you DO need the trickle charger to keep the chassis battery fully charged when parked long term for more than 2 weeks or so.
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Old 02-22-2024, 06:45 AM   #18
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Thanks for confirming what I was seeing and why.
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Old 02-22-2024, 07:25 AM   #19
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We need to be aware that not all RV are the same! in this case all three RV discussed are different on the chassis electrical box, so it is very likely they will not work the same!

It's the same as we would find on comparing a Ford Focus to a Ford Explorer! When we buy something different, we often do get something different. How the idea got started that what one RV does will fit for others is just beyond me!
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Old 02-22-2024, 11:10 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCMac View Post
I guess this is proof I'm a know-nothing when it comes to electricity.

How many disconnect switches do I need and which posts do I put it/them on?

Coach has four batteries, in parallel if I remember my high school teaching.
There is a third (and lighter) negative cable to the coach at the two-dot post.
From what I see, you only need one disconnect switch at the 2 dots, in the neg cable headed straight back in the picture.That is the main ground cable. No others are needed as best I can see in your picture.
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