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Old 09-16-2020, 03:13 AM   #1
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2824-LC Alternator on 2004 Meridian

Just started RVing, and while ferrying the unit home from the seller, the alternator died. Long story short, I figured I could cross feed from the coach batteries using the momentary button to assist starting if the chassis batteries were low. So I drove home with my left hand pressing the momentary button for 30 seconds every couple of minutes. I think my left arm still hurts!

The alternator is a 2824-LC which apparently has an isolated ground, allowing it to work with a positive or negative ground. It is also apparently designed for a Duvac system, which as near as I can tell, is not used on my Meridian.

Actually, I am not really sure exactly how the coach batteries get charged by the chassis alternator. If anyone can explain, I would appreciate it.

Back to the alternator. I was kind of surprised that the alternator failed, because the unit has rather low miles for the alternator wearing out. I have not done a post-mortem, but it appears that the brushes are worn. I actually observed it work for a few minutes, when I was practicing parallel parking for a NY R endorsement to my driver license.

The belt was a bit worn, and the idler pulley was also worn, so they got replaced while I was in there. After sandblasting the serpentine belt tensioner, all kinds of spider cracks were evident, so I spent the big bucks (as much as the alternator!) to replace the tensioner.

Oh, and after pulling the alternator, I found that it was apparently a rebuild, so it was at least the second alternator in that unit. Later, I found an old serpentine belt in a storage area, as well.

So my questions are:
-What is typical drive engine alternator life on this unit?
-Does anyone have a terminal description of the additional terminals (three of them) which are on the alternator, but not labeled or used on this unit?

It was interesting ferrying the unit home, never having driven an RV and then having a failure to deal with. It felt like a late night air freight run in a tired airplane, with the generator charging the coach batteries, while cross feeding to the chassis battery to keep the engine from dying out.
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:11 AM   #2
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You will soon find there are definite "layers" of info on RV. There is the coach and then there is the chassis and that makes a lot of difference in the info Winnebago posts online. They only post the coach and a few bits of the chassis that relate directly to the coach ---like battery info. BUT that leaves us to use the chassis maker's info for things that one would find on the normal car/truck chassis. And that is a bare minimum out there at times.
But how the batteries tie together is somewhat standard on most Winnebago and that I can help with.
This info is not specific to your RV but kind of the same age range and likely to be quite close. The start battery is connected to the isolated stud and that's all they tell us on where it comes from! Then the coach batteries are connected to the right side on this drawing. The 16 gauges wire on left is ground and 16 gauge yellow in the center goes to the aux or boost switch to operate the solenoid coil and close the solenoid putting start and coach batteries connected!
Just an electrically operated switch?
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:17 AM   #3
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Wow, you are brave and obviously capable. I’ve never owned a diesel powered RV, but I’m pretty sure I’d never tackle such a job on a diesel. On all the forums I read I’ve never seen anything but folks taking their RVs to Freightliner or whatever chassis make the have for repair service.

Welcome to the forum, I hope there are other brave (capable) souls here that can answer your questions. If not, try asking on www.irv2.com. It is a much larger forum with far deeper knowledge of these chassis related questions. Our forum here is a spinoff of irv2.com.
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Old 09-17-2020, 08:26 AM   #4
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The relay/contactor you show is the one I activated to allow me to ferry the unit home. Note to others, if one needs to make this contactor continuous, for a situation such as I had, a whittled Popsicle stick or pencil can be used to jamb the switch on.

Thanks for the overview of the finger pointing / we can't answer your question issues associated with vehicle builders and chassis vendor matters. This is not uncommon in other industries, for example aircraft with avionics subsystems. Where the systems interface should be the most heavily documented parts, but instead is frequently the area of greatest ambiguity.

As for changing the alternator, I have had more complex alternator changes. This one was on the top of the engine, and there was nothing tricky about it. The only surprises were the worn idler pulley bearing, and the spider cracks threatening the longevity of the belt tensioner. If we had never taken the time to sandblast the tensioner, the cracks may not have been found, and my guess would be that the tensioner spring casing would have failed at a most inopportune time and place.

My questions remain:
-What is the typical life of this alternator? LN 2824-LC, a 160 amp alternator used on the 2004 Meridian, with the Cat C7 engine.
-Does anyone have a source for the terminal descriptions, particularly for the three unlabeled smaller terminals, which are not used, in this application?
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Old 09-17-2020, 11:59 AM   #5
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Mongobird,
Morich gave you a pretty decent reply. Your situation and layout of how your chassis batteries and coach batteries charge, via the alternator is a bit different than that, but, somewhat similar. Your coach is an '04 Meridian. It is setup, in terms of the battery charging systems THE EXACT SAME as our coach, an '04 Itasca Horizon, 36GD with the CAT C-7 330HP.

The one and only difference is, the location of the components involved. The main components for charging for mine, are in my shore power compartment, behind the left rear tires. But, in the Meridian, they (there are two major components) are located, up front, behind a panel labeled, "Battery shut off solenoid - or, something to that effect) it's been a while since I've worked on either the Meridian or the Journey, same coach, different senior name.

But, if you lift your hood on the front end of the coach, you'll find access to the top-front end of your generator. You will also notice, that panel I'm talking about, at about chest or eye level, depending on how tall you are. That panel is held on with Zeus fasteners. You'll figure out how to remove them, they're easy. When you remove the fasteners, and the panel, what you 'll see are TWO large solenoids.

Typically, Winnebago (who built your coach for Itasca) install those two with the one on the left being your HOUSE BATTERY SHUT OFF SOLENOID. The larger one on the right, is a DUAL DUTY, CONTINOUS DUTY SOLENOID. The one on your left, the coach battery shut off solenoid, is the one that handles sending power, from your coach batteries to all your 12VDC appliances, lights, water pump, panel controllers for your fridge, your furnace, and more.

When you flip the rocker on your dash, that is labeled as chassis battery switch (something along those terms), you, in effect, are shutting off or, turning on, that solenoid.

But, the larger solenoid on the right side, is the one that has TWO duties. In the first duty, it is used to tie your coach batteries, to your chassis batteries, to help start the engine, if your chassis batteries are too low in voltage, to start that C-7 on their own. And, as you may, or may not have found out, the way you energize that solenoid is, by pushing on the toggle on your dash, that's labeled "Battery Boost". When you push that toggle, you send power to that solenoid, making it engage, and that links BIG POWER as stated, from your coach batteries to your chassis batteries.

But, also as stated, that solenoid has another duty. And that is, when you start your CAT C-7, and the system stabilizes, through the ignition circuit, it sends power to that same solenoid to engage it. When that happens, the charging power from your alternator that is sent to your chassis batteries, IS NOW LINKED TO YOUR COACH BATTERIES, TADDDDDAAAAAA!

Now, there is a situation, with that dual duty solenoid, that has been discussed on here as well as several RV forums, ever since Christ was born, (I think that's when Winnebago started making motorhomes) whereby, that solenoid FAILS. When it fails, the most common way it fails is, by not sending the charging power from your alternator to your coach batteries when the engine is running. There are two, large contact points inside that solenoid. And there is a large plate, behind a spring, that connects those two points together, to engage that solenoid.

What happens is this. There is a small *arc* of electricity that happens each and every time those contact points either make contact with the plate, or disengage from the plate. They can make several hundred to several thousand contacts, before they form a sort of *carbon* across the surface of the contact points. When that happens, the two contact points are not seeing each other when the large plate tries to link them together. That carbon acts as a form of an INSULATOR, preventing the high voltage from traveling through the system.

When that happens, you no longer have charging of your house/coach batteries when your engine is running. Your alternator could be working flawlessly and, your chassis batteries are doing fine where as, your coach batteries are not receiving any charge, due to a faulty solenoid.

Now, you ask about that alternator. Well, we have the same, EXACT alternator. It's the 160 amp version too. Ours, (knocking on my wooden head) is still kicking after 16 years and over 94,000 miles. I however, have had to replace that solenoid in question, at least once. And I replaced it with the same one only, the one I installed has what's called *silver contacts* which, are supposed to be more suited for longevity. Incidentally, my original solenoid lasted just shy of 12 years. That's pretty good in my book for that kind of electrical component.

Just how long should YOUR alternator last? Well, there is absolutely ZERO definite answers for that. Absolutely NO ONE can tell you whether or not, it should or should not last longer than maybe yours did (providing yours is actually bad). Every inch of your coach, every single component of every single object, IS MAN MADE. And, man made things eventually FAIL. Some will earlier, and some later. So, while your coach might have very few miles on it, that really doesn't mean squat.

Components, as stated, can fail. That's why there are many, many cars in dealerships, motorhomes in service centers, over the road trucks in Freightliner service centers, motorcycles in motorcycle...... and more. Because, WARRANTY covers many failed parts, even when all those vehicles have little to almost NO mileage on them.

So, for your components to develop a problem, even with what you think is low mileage, well, nothing is guaranteed. No one likes RV issues, that I know of. Everyone likes their RVs to run forever and camp forever. Well, some last longer, some don't. By the way, did you get my answer to your J-1939 diagnostic port question in the PM section?
Scott
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Old 09-17-2020, 12:37 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by FIRE UP View Post
Mongobird,

But, also as stated, that solenoid has another duty. And that is, when you start your CAT C-7, and the system stabilizes, through the ignition circuit, it sends power to that same solenoid to engage it. When that happens, the charging power from your alternator that is sent to your chassis batteries, IS NOW LINKED TO YOUR COACH BATTERIES, TADDDDDAAAAAA!

The point on the solenoid operated when we drive has always been of interest to me. I know it has to put power on the coil but have you ever found where it comes off the chassis part?
When looking at the Winnebago drawings it is almost as if they do not want many to know how this works as some drawings just show "isolated stud" and do not ever mention that stud has to have chassis battery on it.
And then there are other drawings which I can see are just totally wrong on this portion of the RV.
I recently did a look on a post about this and found this drawing which I really have to doubt on a couple big points!
1. IF the coach battery negative is tied to ground and that ground is then tied
to the breaker, isn't it going to mess with getting power on that breaker?
Follow the black "breadcrumbs?
2. IF you tie the coach battery negative to one side of the solenoid and the
coach battery positive to the other side, what do you get when the
solenoid closes? Thunder? Flashing lights and a puff of smoke?
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Old 09-17-2020, 06:33 PM   #7
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Richard,
Well Partner, you sure seem to have a point there, with that particular drawing. I by far, am no expert on electrons flowing through either 12VDC or, 120VAC. I have some basic knowledge about both, a bit more on the 12V side of things. But, from what my old worn out eyes are seeing on that particular drawing, yes, you'd have the forth of July celebration when that solenoid would close.

*Obviously*, I'm thinking someone screwed up when doing that drawing as, as long as I've been on this and a couple of other RV forums, I've not read of any 2nd Alarm fires on Winnebagos or Itascas due to having their wiring done according to the drawing you provided. Yep, something's amiss somewhere on that print.

Even when the boys are talking about testing for 12V on both sides of those types of solenoids before and after an engine has started, no one's ever mentioned that kind of scenario, before now. Hmmm. Definitely a good catch. But, again, I'm not an expert. There are times when the ground side of a circuit is used for switching, rather than the positive. Some fuel injectors are ground switched. Anyway, again, nice catch.
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Old 09-18-2020, 12:12 AM   #8
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If it is the case that both the house and the chassis battery are connected in parallel when the engine is running, I am a bit concerned as this would impact the longevity of the AGM batteries churching in parallel with the flooded cell batteries of the chassis.

2824-LC is a floating ground generator which was marketed Duvac systems. It establishes its voltage with a sense wire, and therefore could compensate for voltage drop over a diode.

In a way I would punch prefer text there be diode isolation between the flooded battery the chassis, and the AGM batteries for the house, or coach.

Also, if the system truly works by the contactor connecting the two battery banks together, then I do not understand why I had to hold the battery bank connection switch down for the duration of my limp home drive without an alternator.
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Old 09-18-2020, 09:58 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mongobird View Post
If it is the case that both the house and the chassis battery are connected in parallel when the engine is running, I am a bit concerned as this would impact the longevity of the AGM batteries churching in parallel with the flooded cell batteries of the chassis.

2824-LC is a floating ground generator which was marketed Duvac systems. It establishes its voltage with a sense wire, and therefore could compensate for voltage drop over a diode.

In a way I would punch prefer text there be diode isolation between the flooded battery the chassis, and the AGM batteries for the house, or coach.

Also, if the system truly works by the contactor connecting the two battery banks together, then I do not understand why I had to hold the battery bank connection switch down for the duration of my limp home drive without an alternator.
Mongobird,
First off, did you get my PM to you on the J-1939 QUESTION you asked? Second, while it sounds like you've got plenty of electrical (at least 12VDC) knowledge, and I'm not nearly as astute in this, I think you're over thinking much of this and analyzing way too deep. That solenoid I explained to you about, should hold contact when the coach is under way, via a signal sent by your ignition. You ONLY hold it when, your chassis batteries are too low in charge, to start that C-7, as I explained before.

Your alternator will do its job and, yes, it (through a voltage regulator) will tone down the charging, as you motor along, and the battery banks are topped off. I doubt seriously that your chassis batteries will endure any bad affects during the hard charging time frame your house batteries need it. If they did, I'm sure there would be lots of warnings about that kind of situation since LI batteries are becoming more and more popular in the RV world and, there's been very little, if any, damage reports on this and any other RV forum due to charging them alongside any other form of battery.
Scott
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Old 09-18-2020, 02:03 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by FIRE UP View Post
Mongobird,
First off, did you get my PM to you on the J-1939 QUESTION you asked? Second, while it sounds like you've got plenty of electrical (at least 12VDC) knowledge, and I'm not nearly as astute in this, I think you're over thinking much of this and analyzing way too deep. That solenoid I explained to you about, should hold contact when the coach is under way, via a signal sent by your ignition. You ONLY hold it when, your chassis batteries are too low in charge, to start that C-7, as I explained before.

Scott
Scott, yes I did receive your PM, which was very thoughtful. I also tried to reply several times, with rather lengthy missives. I am sorry that they did not make it out to you. I sent a short message recently, which did. Not getting even an acknowledgement would be very frustrating.

Back to the thread here. Two points from my perspective:

First, charging AGM and flooded cells from the same power source, is in my opinion, not a good thing, and does not maximize life of the batteries, and is particularly unoptimized for the AGM batteries. An alternator is a power source, and AGM batteries respond best to charge sequences, not simply having power available. I will give things consideration because I may decide to change the AGM charging strategy.

Second, I hear what everyone is saying about the aux battery boost, but when I had the alternator failure, the chassis battery had plenty of power available to start the chassis (at least at the start of my trip), but it somehow did not activate the contactor which bridges the coach and chassis batteries.

Since I was draining down the coach batteries charging the chassis batteries, I started the generator, and ran it all the way home. But if the chassis battery had enough ooomph to start the C7, then it should have connected the two battery banks together, which of course it did not.

So there is more at play. But at least now I understand the strategy for charging both banks when the C7 is running.

Thanks, everyone.
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Old 09-18-2020, 03:21 PM   #11
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Ok,
Now, here's a very, VERY important point here in not only what you're discussing but, for future application. Your coach is a 2004. It, along with a few zillion other Winne and Itasca diesels produced in that year, WAS NOT provided a way to charge the CHASSIS batteries, from SHORE POWER or, GENERATOR POWER. This is all of course, assuming that someone, maybe a previous owner, did not remedy this issue with one of many potential remedies.

Winnebago, along with other manufactures of that time frame/era, saved a few dollars per coach, by not creating or installing components that, would charge or, keep the CHASSIS batteries charged, while on shore power. Owners would store their coach for extended periods of time, AND, they would be plugged into some form of shore power. But, upon return to retrieve their coach, WHAT'S THIS, DEAD STARTING BATTERIES?????

Well, this subject's been discussed only a few THOUSAND times on here and other RV forums. There are a few different ways of handling this situation. I won't go into all of them but one. One of the most common and actually a fairly cheap remedy to this problem is, one of two different products.

One is called the Trik-L-Start and the other one is called the Amp-L-Start. They both do the same exact thing but, the Amp-L-Start is a bit stronger than the other one. The first thing to know about either one is, NEITHER ONE IS A BATTERY CHARGER!!!!! Yes, they DO NOT charge the chassis batteries.

They are, a simple device, that has only three wires. They simply attach to both the chassis batteries and the coach batteries and, a ground, done. They are, about the size of a half a pack of cigarettes. What they do is this. When you plug into shore power, your INVERTER/CHARGER which, in the OP's case, should be (unless it's been changed) is a Dimensions 2000 watt, Quasi-wave (otherwise known as a modified sign wave) Inverter/Charger goes into the charging mode.

The charging from that inverter, goes directly through the main battery cables from the coach batteries. But, through the chassis wiring, that charging also leads to that same solenoid that links the two battery systems together. The Trik-L-Start or Amp-L-Start it wired between the two solenoids (where you'll find battery power from both banks) and, when that little black box, sees a .5V difference between the two battery banks, it kicks into action.

And, all it does is, siphons off, SOME of the voltage/amperage that is destined to the coach batteries, and sends it to the chassis batteries. The prime difference between the Trik-L-Start and the Amp-L-Start is, the Trik-L-Start allows a maximum of 5 amps to be dedicated to the chassis batteries where as, the Amp-L-Start, will allow a maximum of 15 amps to be dedicated to the chassis batteries.

Long about late in '05 and early '06, Winnebago (along with Itasca) decided that it was time to do something about this dilemma since they'd received a few zillion complaints from hot owners about their dead battery situation. So, they incorporated the Trik-L-Start into the building of their coaches from that point on. They even put out a PDF on it's story and install instructions. I have it someplace.

But, as for the OP, as I stated earlier, your two main solenoids are behind that sheet metal panel, located just inside the hood area of the front of the coach. That is the place where you'd (or, again, if someone may have already done it) install it. To even a moderately RV knowledged individual, this install project would take oh, if you drug it out, about 15 minutes.

But, to the OP, if you want to see (if you haven't already) if you have either the Trik-L-Start or the Amp-L-Start, just look inside that panel on the front. If you don't have it, and still want to check and see if you have ANY form of chassis battery charging while on shore power. The test is simple. Take your trusty VOM and, WITHOUT being plugged into shore power, test the voltage of your chassis batteries. Note the readings.

Then, plug your coach into shore power. If, IF someone has taken the time to rig up, some form of battery charging for your chassis batteries, your chassis battery voltage will spike up. IF, this situation has not been remedied by anyone, you WILL NOT SEE ANY VOLTAGE DIFFERENCE, from plugged into shore power or, not plugged into shore power. And this is the same tests for generator power as well since it's all the same A/C going to the Dimensions Inverter/Charger.

Hope this has enlightened you on some of the inner workings of your battery charging while on shore power or gen power.
Scott

P.S. By the way, I think I paid a whopping $54 for that Amp-L-Start unit. I think the Trik-L-Start is about $35 or so but, it's been a while since I checked on that.
Scott
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Old 09-18-2020, 07:38 PM   #12
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Understood on the issue of not having shore power charging for chassis batteries. In the interim, I have used a smart charger.

I use two different smart chargers. The first on is a "Vector" brand, which was bought out by Black and Decker. No longer made, and the electronics is not the most reliable. But they charged and conditioned batteries great. 2/10/25 amp settings.

The second is "Ampeak" 2/10/25 amp smart charger. Works similar to the Vector one, but they are in production, and the failure rate of the electronics is less.

When I have time some snowy day, I will cobble two of one or the other for the RV, with one on each set of batteries. The conditioning circuits are slightly different but they address sulfation and they are temperature compensated. Once I do that, I will have to consider whether I want to install a house battery cutout/override to permit the inverter to do a faster charge.

I have 6 of each working, so I can pick the most beatup one and repackage it into a suitable box to place near the inverter in the RV.

There may be better devices, but these are well understood, and work acceptably. Then again, I may go with a junked EV module. But right now, I am working on fixing up the coach.

In the interim, when I park the RV this winter, I will likely dedicate a smart charger to each bank of batteries.
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Old 09-20-2020, 01:41 AM   #13
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My 2004 Itasca "Horizon" 40AD was sold in January 2004 and is therefore an "early model" 2004 coach, and it DID NOT come with a B.I.R.D. system to charge the house batteries when you are driving. So I installed a Voltage Sensitive Relay (VSR) aka Battery Isolator for $100.

This device connects the positive terminal of my engine batteries to the positive terminal of my house batteries and it works great! I have been using it for the last 5 years without any problems!

Blue Sea makes a good battery isolator/charging relay too!

Here's the link on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Battery-Isola...xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

This VSR/Battery Isolator is a great solution to keep your engine and house batteries charged when driving; and when you arrive at your campsite you know your house batteries will be fully charged!

The engine batteries are supposed to be on a separate circuit, with the only common link to your house batteries through the "Boost Solenoid" that is only functional when you press your "Battery Boost" switch on the dash to jump start your engine battery to the house battery. So in theory, if you engine battery is going dead: A) Your installed B.I.R.D. system has a short; or B) Your Boost Solenoid has an internal short and is leaking current to ground.

==== But how to you keep your batteries charged when in storage? ====

This is a different problem which can be solved by:

A) Using a trickle charger/battery maintainer, if you have AC power where you store your coach.

B) Using your solar power if you are storing your coach where there is sunshine and the solar controller will keep both your house and engine batteries charged if you have a VSR or Battery Isolator.

C) And if you store your coach in a Pole Barn that blocks the sun and you do NOT have shore power, then the only thing you can do is disconnect your battery cables... if your RV did NOT come with an A-B battery master switch. (Something Itasca should have included like most Monaco coaches have!)

If you don't do A, B, or C then when you pickup your RV 6-9 months later, your engine and house batteries will be dead...dead...dead and you will be left trying to jump start your engine using jumper cables connected to a huge resistive load, which is what your dead batteries turn into when they drop below 10V.

...And when you jump start your engine with dead-dead-dead batteries, both your solenoids (as described in above posts) will "fry" and this will shorten their life... if they don't fail on the spot.

So it's very important you do what you can to protect your engine and house batteries when in storage; or you will find your house batteries will need replacing sooner; and it will be a real pain when it comes to finding a big enough system to give you a jump start, because you toad battery and alternator system is typically not big enough to do the job; which means you need to call a Diesel Tow Truck for roadside assistance. (Which most insurance will cover, but it will cost $300 and take 1-2 hours before the driver shows up.)
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Old 09-20-2020, 10:50 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by imnprsd View Post
My 2004 Itasca "Horizon" 40AD was sold in January 2004 and is therefore an "early model" 2004 coach, and it DID NOT come with a B.I.R.D. system to charge the house batteries when you are driving. So I installed a Voltage Sensitive Relay (VSR) aka Battery Isolator for $100.

This device connects the positive terminal of my engine batteries to the positive terminal of my house batteries and it works great! I have been using it for the last 5 years without any problems!

Blue Sea makes a good battery isolator/charging relay too!

Here's the link on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Battery-Isola...xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

This VSR/Battery Isolator is a great solution to keep your engine and house batteries charged when driving; and when you arrive at your campsite you know your house batteries will be fully charged!

The engine batteries are supposed to be on a separate circuit, with the only common link to your house batteries through the "Boost Solenoid" that is only functional when you press your "Battery Boost" switch on the dash to jump start your engine battery to the house battery. So in theory, if you engine battery is going dead: A) Your installed B.I.R.D. system has a short; or B) Your Boost Solenoid has an internal short and is leaking current to ground.

==== But how to you keep your batteries charged when in storage? ====

This is a different problem which can be solved by:

A) Using a trickle charger/battery maintainer, if you have AC power where you store your coach.

B) Using your solar power if you are storing your coach where there is sunshine and the solar controller will keep both your house and engine batteries charged if you have a VSR or Battery Isolator.

C) And if you store your coach in a Pole Barn that blocks the sun and you do NOT have shore power, then the only thing you can do is disconnect your battery cables... if your RV did NOT come with an A-B battery master switch. (Something Itasca should have included like most Monaco coaches have!)

If you don't do A, B, or C then when you pickup your RV 6-9 months later, your engine and house batteries will be dead...dead...dead and you will be left trying to jump start your engine using jumper cables connected to a huge resistive load, which is what your dead batteries turn into when they drop below 10V.

...And when you jump start your engine with dead-dead-dead batteries, both your solenoids (as described in above posts) will "fry" and this will shorten their life... if they don't fail on the spot.

So it's very important you do what you can to protect your engine and house batteries when in storage; or you will find your house batteries will need replacing sooner; and it will be a real pain when it comes to finding a big enough system to give you a jump start, because you toad battery and alternator system is typically not big enough to do the job; which means you need to call a Diesel Tow Truck for roadside assistance. (Which most insurance will cover, but it will cost $300 and take 1-2 hours before the driver shows up.)
Hey imnprsd,
Something's amiss here. Our coach, is an exact duplicate of yours, only 4' shorter. You should have the same exact wiring/solenoids/charging/non charging system as I do, at least from the factory that is. Unless I'm reading something wrong, you're stating that the ONLY time, the BATTERY BOOST SOLENOID is activated is, when push the BATTERY BOOST switch on your dash, to use it to jump the house batteries to the chassis batteries, to help start the engine, when the chassis batteries are low, correct?

Well, again, maybe I'm reading something wrong here but, I thought for sure you'd know that, like I explained to the OP above, that solenoid has dual duty. It is used as you describe, for that particular operation.

But, it's other important duty is to link the charging system of the alternator to the HOUSE batteries any time the engine is running. For the most part, these large Trombetta solenoids are dependable and work. But, on occasion, they do fail. And, it can be a *hidden* failure at that, for lack of a better word. I say "Hidden" because, if you (or anyone with this particularly designed system) finds your house batteries are not being charged while driving, and, you do your HEARING test to see and or hear and or feel if that large boost solenoid is actually engaging and you find IT IS, that does not mean the charging signal is getting through, from one side of the solenoid to the other.

As explained above, the contacts can develop carbon tracking on them and prevent higher voltage juice, from proceeding from one point to the other. There's different remedies for this but, this is not my point. I just was a bit confused on your statement I highlighted above.
Scott
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2004 ITASCA HORIZON 36GD, 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 Toad '08 GL 1800 Gold Wing
Retired-29.5 yrs, SDFD, Ham - KI6OND
Me, Karla and the Sophie character, (mini Schnauzer)
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Old Yesterday, 12:13 AM   #15
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VSR Makes Every Power Source Work Better & My Victron 17A Charger Is An Added Plus!

FireUp: Yes. Early model 2004 Itasca "Horizons" did not come with the alternator charge circuitry that later model 2004 Horizons came with. When did your coach come off the line or get sold? Was it before March-2004 or after?

Here's a few more words about my charging system and upgrades:

I believe after the March time frame (or there about) the B.I.R.D. system was used in so called "late model" Itasca Horizons... and sometimes it fails. So while I had to spend $100 for the VSR to solve this problem, I can says it has worked very well for me; and because I have 400W of solar on my roof, the engine batteries also get a charge with my house batteries and I like that too.

This season I left my RV in a pole barn so my solar power is of no use, but I do have shore power. So instead of hooking up a trickle charger I decided to install a more powerful Victron Charger and "battery maintainer" that I hope does a better job charging my house batteries. And by better I hope I can get more than 3 years of use out of my house batteries. (TBD)

When I have shore power I turn the Victron is "ON" ...and I turn off the Dimensions Charger "OFF."

...And because I installed that VCR it also means my engine batteries get a charge whenever my house batteries are getting a charge and visa-versa when the engine is running and the alternator is the only source of power.

Note: The Victron has a standard 120V plug, and when I hit the road, and turn on my Dimensions Inverter... I just pull the plug to the Victron charger so it's disconnected from the wall socket; and then I just let the alternator work it's magic in conjunction with my VSR.

And when I put the coach in storage I turn "OFF" the Dimensions inverter and the charger; I shutoff the Battery Disconnect Switch (aka Salesman Switch); and I plug in the Victron Charger to a 50' extension cord I fish out my bedroom window.

I general, am very happy with this separate Victron Charger, and I like the Bluetooth display on my cell phone which tells me how many amp the charge put out over time.

...And maybe using the Victron instead of the Dimensions Charger will also extend the life of the Dimensions Inverter/Charger? Who can say, but what is known is that the Dimensions Charger side tends to go out before the inverter fails.

...But should my Dimensions Inverter/Charger fail at some point, then I plan to upgrade it to a Victron Pure Sine Wave Inverter/Charger.

...But for now I don't need a new inverter, and my residential refrigerator and other digital electronics work just fine on the Dimensions Quasi-sine Inverter, so why spend the money? Plus the Dimensions Inverter is a good "work horse."

And since I typically only need to charge ~210AH (or ~50% SOC) in theory, it should only take about 13-15 hours to fully charge the battery bank at 17A, but in reality it takes about 3 days, because the charger also has to replenish the 12V of power used by the interior lights.

So in my coach I have these charging configurations:

A) Dimensions Charger (100A max on shore power, but typically it runs at 60A)

B) Victron-17A when I have shore power.

C) 400W of Solar (up to 18A) when the sun is shining bright and I'm not in the shade.

D) 160A Alternator power when the engine is running. (Unknown amp draw, but with 4-GC2-6V batteries it self-regulates the amp-draw.)

...And because I installed a Voltage Sensitive Relay (VSR) it cuts in at 13.3 volts and cuts out at 12.8 volts to ensure your primary battery is always charged and ready to start your vehicle.

So that's my power grid and in simple terms it's a "stock charging system" with a VSR and Victron added.
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Old Yesterday, 11:01 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imnprsd View Post
FireUp: Yes. Early model 2004 Itasca "Horizons" did not come with the alternator charge circuitry that later model 2004 Horizons came with. When did your coach come off the line or get sold? Was it before March-2004 or after?

Here's a few more words about my charging system and upgrades:

I believe after the March time frame (or there about) the B.I.R.D. system was used in so called "late model" Itasca Horizons... and sometimes it fails. So while I had to spend $100 for the VSR to solve this problem, I can says it has worked very well for me; and because I have 400W of solar on my roof, the engine batteries also get a charge with my house batteries and I like that too.

This season I left my RV in a pole barn so my solar power is of no use, but I do have shore power. So instead of hooking up a trickle charger I decided to install a more powerful Victron Charger and "battery maintainer" that I hope does a better job charging my house batteries. And by better I hope I can get more than 3 years of use out of my house batteries. (TBD)

When I have shore power I turn the Victron is "ON" ...and I turn off the Dimensions Charger "OFF."

...And because I installed that VCR it also means my engine batteries get a charge whenever my house batteries are getting a charge and visa-versa when the engine is running and the alternator is the only source of power.

Note: The Victron has a standard 120V plug, and when I hit the road, and turn on my Dimensions Inverter... I just pull the plug to the Victron charger so it's disconnected from the wall socket; and then I just let the alternator work it's magic in conjunction with my VSR.

And when I put the coach in storage I turn "OFF" the Dimensions inverter and the charger; I shutoff the Battery Disconnect Switch (aka Salesman Switch); and I plug in the Victron Charger to a 50' extension cord I fish out my bedroom window.

I general, am very happy with this separate Victron Charger, and I like the Bluetooth display on my cell phone which tells me how many amp the charge put out over time.

...And maybe using the Victron instead of the Dimensions Charger will also extend the life of the Dimensions Inverter/Charger? Who can say, but what is known is that the Dimensions Charger side tends to go out before the inverter fails.

...But should my Dimensions Inverter/Charger fail at some point, then I plan to upgrade it to a Victron Pure Sine Wave Inverter/Charger.

...But for now I don't need a new inverter, and my residential refrigerator and other digital electronics work just fine on the Dimensions Quasi-sine Inverter, so why spend the money? Plus the Dimensions Inverter is a good "work horse."

And since I typically only need to charge ~210AH (or ~50% SOC) in theory, it should only take about 13-15 hours to fully charge the battery bank at 17A, but in reality it takes about 3 days, because the charger also has to replenish the 12V of power used by the interior lights.

So in my coach I have these charging configurations:

A) Dimensions Charger (100A max on shore power, but typically it runs at 60A)

B) Victron-17A when I have shore power.

C) 400W of Solar (up to 18A) when the sun is shining bright and I'm not in the shade.

D) 160A Alternator power when the engine is running. (Unknown amp draw, but with 4-GC2-6V batteries it self-regulates the amp-draw.)

...And because I installed a Voltage Sensitive Relay (VSR) it cuts in at 13.3 volts and cuts out at 12.8 volts to ensure your primary battery is always charged and ready to start your vehicle.

So that's my power grid and in simple terms it's a "stock charging system" with a VSR and Victron added.
Well Sir,
The chassis build date for mine was Sept of '03. The coach build date was Dec of '03. The date "First sold" was Jan of '04. I by far, am no expert on just what was included or installed, on each and every year/model of Itasca or, Winne of equal value but, I'd just not really heard of any form of a B.I.R.D. system on my era Itasca. All I've ever seen and worked, including Horizons, Meridians and Journeys up into the '05 and '07 years, have all had the same exact charging systems as I have. And that is the 160A alternator, the large Trombetta dual duty solenoid and the house battery disconnect. The later, I think '06 Vectras, Horizons, Meridians and Journeys received a *chassis battery* disconnect which was/is located at the rear of the coach, just above the radiator.

My Trombetta dual duty solenoid and, the house battery disconnect solenoid are located inside a small compartment, that is located INSIDE the shore power compartment. Is that where your B.I.R.D. system is also?
Scott
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2004 ITASCA HORIZON 36GD, 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 Toad '08 GL 1800 Gold Wing
Retired-29.5 yrs, SDFD, Ham - KI6OND
Me, Karla and the Sophie character, (mini Schnauzer)
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