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Old 04-14-2020, 12:17 PM   #1
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New AGM Batteries Installed...NOTHING

FINALLY got my 100AH AGM's installed...properly. Nothing comes on... While installing them, I noticed a Solenoid looking thing, behind them. The two small connections are all rusted up. Could this be the problem? If so, should I try cleaning it up, or try to find a new one?... 1988 Chieftain
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Old 04-14-2020, 01:08 PM   #2
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I would certainly clean them or if they are too far gone, replace the connectors, as they are going to be needed, if not now when?
Understanding what those two connections do may help. Assuming it is the solenoid which connects to make the coach batteries charge when the engine is running, they are a pretty important thing when we do a long stretch of driving where we want to use lights, frig, etc as we travel but we don't plug in to let the shore power recharge those batteries.
Solenoids are sometimes called slave relays as they let a small wire require the big wires to do their job. If the small wires are dirty or broken, the big guys don't do the work and at some point that means you don't get to turn things on!
Testing a solenoid can be pretty easy as it is actually a very simple switch. It used the small wires to make a part move which connects the big wires on the other lugs together. So when we think a solenoid might not be making that connection inside, we can use something metal and connect the big guys together on the outside---but with some care.
Depending on what the big wires do, there can be a lot of current flow and if we use something like a wire that is too small, we can heat the wire and get burned! Also when we touch the metal to connect them, there will often be a pretty big spark. Better not to use your favorite tool for this as it may make a nasty looking burn mark. Keep the fingers back away from the sparks!!!
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Old 04-14-2020, 05:54 PM   #3
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I am interested because my 2 new AGMs will be delivered Thursday. You do not say why you upgraded or replaced. Were you having problems before? I am having problems.
Both stock batteries don't seem to charge all the way...max is 12.5 volts not 12.7 and after full charge I run the inverter with The Fridge, one TV and the main lights on and within 45 minutes the inverter goes off because the battery voltage is down to 11.1 volts. This is the shut down point per the included manual.

Trying to service the stock batteries is impossible without removing as each cell has its own cap that has to be removed with a wide blade instrument and if you can get the caps off you can't see the water level anyway!! I decided no matter what I don't want to worry about adding water so going to the AGMS. I am also going to install Vitron Energy battery monitoring device BMV-712 so I can better monitor charge level and need to charge.

BTW...you should have cleaned EVERY connector attached to the old and new batteries as part of install...a mixture of baking soda and water is best...

Sorry I can't actually help with your problem...I am going to take photo before I remove the old to use to make sure I put everything back where it belongs...hope it helps me prevent what you are going through.

Best of luck!
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Old 04-14-2020, 06:04 PM   #4
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Tony, were your batteries or anything 12v working on your 1988 RV before you put the new batteries in? I ask because if it wasn't, and you figured it was the batteries so you you bought new batteries then maybe... it wasn't just the batteries?

Does your Converter/Charger work? When you plug into shore power do you have 12v items like lights, etc working? Are their battery cutoffs? Are they turned on?
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Old 04-14-2020, 07:02 PM   #5
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Because there are so many different things that can cause what you describe, it will take a slow steady look and testing of parts to get down to what is happening. One of the first places to start is the battery group. So how does the voltage look on them? Were they charged before install and now dead or possible they were never charged? If the batteries show a voltage at all, then one can use the meter to go down the line, looking for where that voltage stops. It may be the cables are not clean and solid or things like fuses or breakers. Perhaps somebody has added a power cutoff to the rig for some odd reason but what is wrong will have to be looked at and the batteries are where I would start as a big and easy place to find and test.
When dealing with an RV, and especially older ones, I consider a meter to be almost the first "required" tool to sort out trouble as battery questions are among the most common problems.
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Old 04-14-2020, 08:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 345 desoto View Post
FINALLY got my 100AH AGM's installed...properly. Nothing comes on... While installing them, I noticed a Solenoid looking thing, behind them. The two small connections are all rusted up. Could this be the problem? If so, should I try cleaning it up, or try to find a new one?... 1988 Chieftain
So wait, BEFORE you installed these new batteries, did the old ones work at all?

And, did you remove these plastic caps on the terminals...just kidding, but who knows...
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Old 04-14-2020, 09:25 PM   #7
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CREATIVEPART - I had no house batteries only the starting battery. Nothing 12V worked until we plugged in the extension cord (Shore Power), then everything 12V worked. I have no idea what a charger/converter is, if there is a battery cut off, if it is on or off, or where it might be located.


As an aside, my daughter and her husband just bought a ranch in Bandera, TX...
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Old 04-15-2020, 08:48 AM   #8
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The drawings for your year are no longer on the Winnebago site but looking at the 90 Chieftain, is shows a battery cutoff switch on the dash. With the idea that things sometimes do not change that much, I suggest looking at the dash and asking what every switch and control does as a way to find the cutoff as that would be the really simple thing to cure the problem.
This drawing:
http://www.winnebagoind.com/diagram/1990/098995.pdf
Scroll down to the third sheet (S1F3) and looking at the lower left corner, it shows the battery and then it goes to a solenoid. Possible this is the one you mentioned but it will take some looking to be sure as we are guessing that the wiring is much the year as your year.
So if you find the cutoff switch on the dash, it is shown on the drawing if you go up from the solenoid, find tow weird looking things that represent 6 pin connectors and then above them, the disconnect light is shown and above that is the switch that states it is on the dash.
So if you know the batteries are good and have 12 volts or more, going to the battery side of the solenoid, should also have near that same voltage. When the battery disconnect switch is in the right position, the solenoid should then pass that voltage through it's contacts to the other big lug on the solenoid. Just a switch to connect big wire on one side to big wires on the other side and from there is to goes lots of places , the first being the breakers.
So I suggest look for the switch, check for voltage along the path and then chase it to the breaker box if things are still not working. Keep in mind that we are doing some guessing and hoping that what you have matches what the drawing shows for a 90 model.
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Old 04-19-2020, 06:50 PM   #9
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Do you have a digital multimeter to measure voltage? If not, buy one, and learn how to use it. This experience will be a teaching lesson for you--and familiarize you with the ins and outs of an RV 12 volt system.

The solenoid should have 12 volts going into it. It could be either a disconnect or a relay which connects the chassis and house batteries (to allow charging when you go down the road, and/or connect the 2 systems to help start a weak chassis engine start battery.)
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