Originally Posted by B Bickelmann
I bought my 2005 Journey, 36G a couple of months ago, I've been staying at a RV park for a little more than two months, noticed the engine battery charge voltage was low and a couple of days later it seems to be zero.
I ran the generator for a few hours and little or no charge to engine batteries.
Can I hook up a battery charger? Can both batteries be recharged at the same time or do I disconnect one and charge it and then do the same to the other one?
I'm afraid to do damage to the electrical system.
As usual, Chris comes through with appropriate answers, wiring and suggestions. You have a Winnebago Journey, 36G DIESEL coach. And as such, you may, or may not, have what's called an "INVERTER/CHARGER". The original versions in that coach, SHOULD be a Dimensions 2000 watt, inverter/charger. However, it is possible that the original owners or, whoever ordered that coach, did not opt for that 2000 watt inverter/charger and, opted for the much smaller and waaaaaaay cheaper, 600 watt unit, normally located up in or around the TV compartment.
But, in the event that you DO HAVE the Dimensions 2000 watt Inverter/Charger, this is how things work on YOUR COACH! That inverter/charger, as implied by the descriptive name, is an INVERTER and, it's a CHARGER. In the inverter operation, as you may already know, it takes your 12VDC battery power and INVERTS it, to 120VAC. And, when that's happening, you'll have certain outlets in your coach, that are powered up by that inverter. Maybe all of them, maybe not, it depends on how it was wired at the factory.
Now, as for the charger side. It has a basic, 3-stage charger. In that, if you've been "boondocking" for say quite a while and your HOUSE batteries are down by quite a bit, and then you plug into shore power, the charger side of that inverter/charger goes into the charging mode with a full head of steam. That is, it starts out on a low set of batteries, with a very high rate/amps of charging. I forgot what the first level of charging is called. But, once the charger determines that, that level of charging is adequate, it then drops down to the "Acceptance" level of charging.
It will hold that level for a while until it decides, that the batteries are almost up to par. From that point on, it will drop to the "Float" level of charging. In that mode, you'll see maybe 3 amps dropping to 1 amp, in a given amount of time, based on the condition of the batteries, if you're using them at the time of charging etc.
Now, that's how the basic system works, FOR THE HOUSE BATTERIES ONLY !!!!!!!!!! Chris sent you a link, that was an implementation that Winnebago implemented in the early part of the '06 model year. Up until then, the Inverter/Chargers ONLY charged the house batteries, while on shore power. When the "Trik-L-Start" came out, Winne decided to install it, to help oleviate the "dead chassis" battery problems that plagued so many Winne and Itasca owners up until then.
Now, what that Trik-L-Start or, its newer bigger brother, the Amp-L-Start, do is simple. Neither of them are BATTERY CHARGERS!!!!!!!!!!! What they do is this. They or, one of them, is installed between the house batteries and the chassis batteries. When the inverter/charger goes into the charging mode, no matter what level of charging, the Trik-L-Start or the Amp-L-Start (which ever is installed) sees that charging, it analyzes the voltage difference between the two battery banks.
When it sees that there is a .5v difference, it steps into action. All either one of them does is, siphons off, SOME of the amperage/voltage/charging that is destined for the house batteries, and sends it to the chassis batteries. The Trik-L-Start is limited to a maximum of 5 amps to be sent to the chassis batteries. The Amp-L-Start is limited to a maximum of 15 amps, to be diverted to the chassis batteries.
Now, that's how those two systems work. Sorry for the War and Peace novel but, it helps for owners to understand how things work, in order to help them analyze problems when they happen. You can install the Trik-L-Start or the Amp-L-Start in a matter of about 20 minutes or less. For your coach, the most appropriate place is where Winnebago installed it from the factory, on later model coaches. And that place is, up front, where you lift the hood, over the generator. It will be placed INSIDE that box, with a panel cover over it that says: " Disconnect solenoid" behind cover. You'll see the instructions on how to install it. I did just that, only on a Vectra and a Horizon, all that equipment is behind the left rear dual wheels, in the shore power electric compartment.
Once that Trik-L-Start or Amp-L-Start is installed, all your low voltage chassis battery problems will be behind you and, that system is completely automatic. And, it's a simple plan, to install it. No messing with any form of auxiliary battery chargers and all that junk. Good luck.