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Old 10-09-2022, 10:12 AM   #1
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Something odd is happening electricly

I have a 2003 Minnie 29B motorhome. A few months ago we came to our motorhome to the sound of our carbon monoxide detector going off. For no reason. Nothing was running and nothing was plugged in. When I plugged the RV into our shoreline it quite. So I thought nothing of it. Next I discovered the step would not retract back under the rv when we closed the door. I ended up putting the key in the ignition and turned it one turn. The radio came on and the step retracted. Thought nothing of it. Later on in the summer we brought the RV to our home and parked it in our drive. One evening I came home and the carbon monoxide detector was going off again for no reason. Same scenario. Nothing running and nothing plugged in. So I thought. I'll put the key in the ignition and see if that fixes it. I turned it one turn the radio came on the and the detector turned off. However the detector was going of again a few hours later. I ended up disconnecting my coach batteries to keep it from going off again. Does anyone have any idea what could be happening before I have to take it to the dealer for repair. Is it as simple as flipping a switch somewhere?
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Old 10-09-2022, 10:33 AM   #2
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We may need more specific description of what you mean "going off"??
Do you mean it was sounding an alarm or is it possible you were hearing awarning that the battery for the detectoris low?
These are items which havea tendancy to be changed out and what you have may differ from standard,so do you have any info in the infopacketon what sounds the alarm might make at different times?

One of the most frequent causes of trouble on our RV is low battery on one or the other system. This doesn't mean the batteriy itself has to be bad but can often meant the connections, charging, etc may need some attention.

One thing to review is the way we are often "tricked" into thinking we have all power turned off because we throw the disconnect switch! NOT true as several safety items are still powered and they WILL run the batteries down during storage.

See if that makes sense of what happened. Step operation also requires good battery voltage toget it right and can get goofy at times!
Another hickup can come up when we turn the disconnect off, think allpower is off but then the safety items run the battery down. We come back and turn the disconnect on but nothing works?
That is because the disconnect switch moves a relay and that relay "latches" with a magnet. When we come back and there is no power, the relay stays latched in the disconnected position until we get good battery again!
Check batteries first and then see what works? When you start the engine or have the key turned to first notch, things are working off the start battey, even if the coach side is dead!!



First guess,otpof the head without knowing which detector, might say the coach batteriesare getting low and when you start the egnine, that connects both start and coach battery together. That proper voltage shuts off the low battery alarm!
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Old 10-09-2022, 10:47 AM   #3
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More info on my theory?
This is the drawing of the 12 volt on your RV and shows what may happen on the disconnect relay.

Click this snip to get a better view.

Click image for larger version

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Most of the coach items feed goes through the disconnect relay and when that is open the breakers for much of the coach are cut off as the blue shows.

But the red line shows power that doesn't go through the relay and it doesn't get cut off . Also there is another 6 amp shown which gets power from a different direction and not through the relay!
Sneaky, huh?

This chart will let you "decode" the circuits each breaker feeds:
https://www.winnebago.com/Files/File...ical_guide.pdf
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Old 10-09-2022, 05:19 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply Morich. It is definitely the carbon monoxide detector that is sounding (going off) but when I hit the mute button it continues to chirp. I checked my levels panel and the whole thing was dead. Nothing lit up. So I plugged in the shoreline and the panel then worked and said the batteries were full. Guessing because it's plugged in. Anyway I tried starting the generator that starts off the batteries and there wasn't enough juice to turn it over. My batteries ARE older. Maybe 8 years old. I wonder if that is my issue. Thanks again Morich for answering my thread. I really appreciate it. Could have saved me a trip to the dealer for something simple.
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Old 10-09-2022, 07:29 PM   #5
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Okay,sounds like a common problem that needs a bit of explanation. Voltage readings can get us totally confused as they are taken right at the postsbut the battery is really a set ofchemicals and the charge needs to be all through those chemicals and that takes time!
If we start a charge of any sort, generator, running RV engine or plugged in, the readingat the posts will only beshowing the voltage coming from the charger, alternator, etc. and NOT show what the actual battery has in it!
A near totally dead battery may only be 8 volts, but if we put any chanrge on for a short time, we will often see 13+volts but when we take that charging off, the battery quickly goes back to near 8 volts and won''t do much if anything. Called "surface charge" if you want to do some reading?

I thinkthe detector is telling you that it has lost battery power and you need to fix that tobe safe, therefore it won't shut up by hitting the mute because it is a safety warning and they really have to be stomped to get them quiet! Or get the battery power it wants to be happy!

My best guess is the detector is not happy becasue the battery is down but when you start the engine, there is a "mode solenoid" which connects both start and coach battery systems together as a way to get some charge in the coach battery as we drive.The big old engine alternator has lots of power to spare and charges both start and coach as well as anything like radios, fans, etc we want to use while we drive.

The tricky part is that IF we starty the engine first, then the detector may be happy, the steps may work better and you can likely satart the generator as all those things can then get power from the engine alternator connected through the mode solenoid!

Sure clue, when things don't work but do when we run the engine? It is telling us that the coach battery system is not right but "borrows" power from the starting battery system. Coach batteries may need replaced but first, I would try them by getting them well charged first before going for new, eventhough they may be getting kind of old. Eight years is pretty old and RV use may kill them sooner than normal use.

Do you know about a switchon /near the driver's sidethat is labeled "boost, aux" or something odd like that? That switch does kind of the opposite of when we want the alternator to charge the coach as it connects the two together, so we can give a weak start battery a "boost" to get the engine started!

That drawing above doesn't show it well but there is a battery cable on one side from coach and on the other side there is startbattery and that is where the two get connected when that solenoid closes like a switch.
The small wires are "FM" is ground and "LR" is battery coming from the switch in front. When we push the switch OR start the engine, this solenoid closes the contacts and the batteries are then connected together but only as long as the engine ignition is on or we are holding the switch. You might notice that switch "bounces back" when we let it off so it is not on all the time? ?
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Old 10-10-2022, 11:23 AM   #6
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That is all good info Morich thanks a ton!!! But please do tell me more about this switch... I have seen it and I'm not sure how to use it or if I'm using it correctly or if it's even working. Now when do I want to use this switch? and do I have to hold it down to on the whole time? Or do I have to turn it off when I'm done. This is one mystery switch for me and I'd love to fully understand it's purpose and use.
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Old 10-10-2022, 02:33 PM   #7
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Yes, very easy to confuse as itdoestwo things at different times. Some are labeled"boost" and that makes it a little better for me to understand we are giving a possibly weak startbattery a boost.
So if you have been camped and find the starter will hardly turn because that battery is down, push the boost/ aux/ or whatever labeled switch while you crank to start the engine. hopinh that is enough to get the motr running, let the switch off and it is a momentary switch which releases/ bounces back? But the second function connect the two battery groups together when the ignition is on, so once engine is running they stay connected, even though the switch doesn't stay connecting them.
The confusing part is there are two places the mode solenoid gets the signal to connect them. One from you pushing the switch and a second from what is called "ignition hot" .

That second connection is good as it helps to get a bit of charge back into the coach batteries as we drive from one site to another. That charging comes from the normal automotive alternator that powers all the auto things as we drive, but it has lots of extra so it is used to charge both batteries as we drive.
The point that may be missed is that charging lead acid batteries is a slow, slow process that may take 6 hours to get a run down battery back to a really full charge.

Most of the time itis all automatic and no needto use the switch except if you need to jump start or "boost" the battery to get the engine running! Jumper cables without getting out the cables!

If a guy thought it might not be working and you have a meter, it can be simple to test.

If you find some reading like 12.5 on the coach batteries, watch and have somebody start the engine. That 12.5 should jump way high like 13. 5 or more if we rev the engine a bit and that tells us the coach battery is getting power from the engine alternator, so it works!
Or you can read both battery voltages and then as the switch is pushed, both voltages should come up close to the same reading as they connect together.
Not to worry if you are doing this test without the engine running and you see the start battery which said good at 12.7 begin to go DOWN. The two batteries are kind of like two buckets of water, one full and the other almost empty. If we connect them together, the full one runs over into the empty until they are both even?
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Old 10-11-2022, 08:37 AM   #8
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Electrical issue

Just a thought. No where did I read how old detector was and if itís a 2003 coach probably time to change out. Then go to next step on batteries. Iím assuming this is wired into 12 volt system and not battery operated.
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Old 10-11-2022, 09:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravatoJohn View Post
Just a thought. No where did I read how old detector was and if itís a 2003 coach probably time to change out. Then go to next step on batteries. Iím assuming this is wired into 12 volt system and not battery operated.
Travato John
I think the smoke detectors are 9V battery operated. The CO and LPG detectors are wired to the coach 12V system. Usually?
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Old 10-17-2022, 12:22 AM   #10
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Something odd is happening electrically

I have a 2004 29b Minnie. Smoke detector is 9 v, carbon monoxide detector is also 9v (original), propane detector is hardwired 12 v. Given the age of the RV, that carbon monoxide detector should have been replaced twice by now. Also smoke detector should have been replaced at least once and getting close to time for second replacement. Propane detector probably should have been replaced at least once. I replaced CO2 detector with original model the first time and went with a new combo propane detector and CO2 detector the second time. You said that the batteries are old, they are probably getting weak and not providing enough current. Low current can cause strange things to happen. Low current could also be cause of steps failing to retract. Old sensors can do strange things, they have a limited life span and have to be replaced. I'd check your battery status (replace if necessary) and probably replace the detectors.
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Old 10-17-2022, 03:26 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the info guys I truly appreciate it. The smoke detectors were replace 4 years ago. The CO2 and LP detector I think are in the same unit under the fridge and is wired to the coach. It quite sounding once I plugged the RV back into the shoreline. The batteries are holding a charge but the coach is not detecting them. When unplugged from the shoreline I have no power. I thought breaker or fuse but all are operative. The Steps were user error. Someone had switched the retraction switch to off. So the door would open and the steps stayed out after closing it. The only reason the retracted when I turned the ignition keys was because it thought I was about to drive it and the steps need to be in for that. Once I flipped the switch that fixed that problem...
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Old 10-17-2022, 05:17 PM   #12
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That is one of the harder things to pin down. What is working and what is not is easy to miss at times. No big thing!

But I have to question some things. Since things work when plugged in, we can say the converter is powering the 12 volt coach items. That says the wiring and fuses, etc are good from the place where the batteries and converter connect together and on into the RV. But when unplgged, the converter stops working and things fail.

That really seems to say the batteries are not holding enough charge to run things after the converter stops sending voltage to charge them.
So some thoughts on whether they are actually good ? Are you taking a voltage reading right after the charging from the converter is stopped? That is a frequent problem as we can get a false reading called "surface charge".
To get a good idea of the batteries holding the charge we need to take the charge off and wait a couple hours to read the voltage as they need to set and become stable after the charge.
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Old 10-18-2022, 12:15 AM   #13
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If lead acid batteries, check the electrolyte level with a hydrometer and see if at correct density.
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Old 11-20-2022, 12:44 PM   #14
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recently replaced my CO2 detector.......beeping...... checked the date and according to specs, it had timed out. Replaced.... no more beeping. Like smoke detectors, they have a lifespan. The beeping was my notice that it was time to replace.
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