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Electrical Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach's electrical system.

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  #1  
Old 02-19-2018
Dirtbill Dirtbill is offline
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Default 84 FC electrical questions

I have been reading and reading threads on the electrical issues with BB's today, they are many and varied!

Here is where I am at, I have some very basic questions and some idea of where I would like to end up.

First, the PO has installed on large multi cell (i guess 4d) 12v starting/ house battery in the front bay, I have shore power connected to the 50 Amp connection and my generator also has its own standard automotive 12v battery.

I know there are three master switches that I know of, one at the front starting/house battery, another under the dash and a third blade switch on the neg generator battery terminal. The PO also has a charge controller and Zantex inverter with a separately wired house panel next to the main panel in the back closet.

It appears that when the switches are all closed and the bus motor is running everything is being charged, same when plugged into shore power, if I park it unless I open the front master switch in the battery compartment parasitic loads will kill the battery within a day or two, but it also kills the generator battery unless that knife switch is open, which makes no sense because if the bus battery is dead and there is no air the tray won't open to close the switch and start the generator to charge any batteries?

Finally I don't understand the apparently redundant under dash cut off switch?

Now what I want to do is boondocking so I am thinking solar, I see the Putz system and wonder about where and how to make the house batteries separate and what about this solenoid to keep everything separate but not entirely? I would still use the generator for extra power or charging when the sun is not so good, but also like to protect the engine battery as much as possible so it will start no matter what.

I think this rig has more wires than a commercial jet, I keep running into issues and it's a switch inadvertently shut off or something similar. but I will continue to investigate before I embark on any serious trips.

Anyways I am open to any ideas about any of my questions.

Thanks
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Bill Watson
Millbrook, Ontario
84 FC 35
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  #2  
Old 02-19-2018
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irmagoo irmagoo is offline
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first thing I would do is isolate gen battery from all other batteries and then if you want add charging wire to it through a diode so it cant discharge to main bank next I would work on understanding the other systems before adding new ones
best of luck with your coach
mike
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  #3  
Old 02-19-2018
dthollis dthollis is online now
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As I recall, my 84 FC had a diode type isolator near the battery compartment and also a solenoid used to combine the battery bank and the generator battery. Solenoid was mounted under the step area and controlled by a switch in the dash. You might want to be sure both of these are working right.

There's another electrical shut off in an overhead compartment behind the driver. It is mostly for electronics and maybe the fridge.

Had a bad battery drain issue once on the FC. Turns out that a relay inside the control box for the retarder had stuck closed. Clamp on DC ammeter is a helpful tool to track down these draws.
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David and Dawn Hollis. Sherman, IL

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1994 BMC37
1991 SP36(sold)
1984 FC35(totaled)
1978 FC33(sold)
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  #4  
Old 02-22-2018
Dirtbill Dirtbill is offline
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I will start checking those this weekend, what does the diode look like?

also if I were to install 200 or 300W of solar panels to assist the generator and keep batteries up two questions: would you add separate house batteries and where would you put them and how would you connect them?
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84 FC 35
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  #5  
Old 02-22-2018
dthollis dthollis is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtbill View Post
I will start checking those this weekend, what does the diode look like??
Something like this is was on my 84FC:
Cole Hersee 48120 Battery Isolator https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001FQOGFS..._3f4JAbFYBRY7M
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David and Dawn Hollis. Sherman, IL

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dthollis@sbcglobal.net

1994 BMC37
1991 SP36(sold)
1984 FC35(totaled)
1978 FC33(sold)
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  #6  
Old 02-22-2018
Dirtbill Dirtbill is offline
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awesome, thanks
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  #7  
Old 02-23-2018
dthollis dthollis is online now
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Make sure that the battery combiner switch on the dash is not activated. I think on my 84 FC it was labeled "Aux Batt" or something similar. When that switch is activated, it does connect the generator battery to the house batteries at that solenoid under the step.
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David and Dawn Hollis. Sherman, IL

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dthollis@sbcglobal.net

1994 BMC37
1991 SP36(sold)
1984 FC35(totaled)
1978 FC33(sold)
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  #8  
Old 02-23-2018
Frank W. Frank W. is offline
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Like many of our coaches...BB did it one way, subsequent owners made changes. Likely/maybe these changes made sense to the prior owner. Now it's yours, change it to meet your needs.

I'll offer some facts and opinion:

The genny battery should charge via the 3208 alternator, and be isolated from the main battery bank to prevent discharge. The genny and it's battery are your lifeboat in case of a dead main bank. My isolator is right near the drivers side forward bay at the battery bank rear compartment wall.

The "Aux. Battery" dash switch should when depressed and held down connect the genny battery to the main bank. The best practice for use IMO is as a last chance to start the genny...by adding the main bank to the circuit. It is IMO not a good idea to use this as a last ditch attempt to start the 3208.

Based on well over a decade of use...the OEM setup of 4 six volt golf cart deep cycle batteries in the drivers side bay AND 2 additional of same batteries in the pass side bay all as one bank works fine. The 3208 is a very easy diesel to start and normally only requires a moment of cranking to start. If you have to crank that engine over 1 second...something is off. Cost per amp is very good with this system and with a good smart charger you can get 5+ years on the batts. I've never wanted/needed a dedicated starting bank...this ain't a yacht.

Battery bank cut off switches are ideal for storage.

The big under dash master switch, and the electronics master switch, are very useful for storage. Otherwise, leave both on. If you have cut off switches at the batteries...they become redundant for storage.

Having a solar installation works very well in recouping parasitic draws and other needs when boondocking. Boondocking with a minimal solar system (I have a 100 watt system) will require about an hour of genny time a day for hot water and microwave cooking as needed. You have the genny investment...use it, use is good for the genny.

We boondock frequently...many days with no problems. With some genny time added in AM and PM if you need hot water and microwave usage.
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  #9  
Old 02-23-2018
Dirtbill Dirtbill is offline
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thanks, I think your advice, and that from others make sense along the keep it simple route. BTW I looked through your album, nice bus, looks like you make the most of it.

I am going to do a bit of maintenance on the Generator to make sure its good, I am a fan of perkins motors, have had a few in equipment and they're tough to beat.

I found a 200W solar system with a charge controller for a good price so that should keep everything topped up and keep generator time conservative like you suggest. I am not sure where in the system to connect them, I have that Zantrex freedom unit and I will make sure I have a working isolator for the gen battery, but I am pretty sure the single common start house battery is not going to be up to the job.
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84 FC 35
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  #10  
Old 03-22-2018
Dirtbill Dirtbill is offline
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Been slow getting through issues as it has stayed very cool up here, but at least we didn't get all that snow they got on the east coast.

Spent another couple days looking through archives and I think I'm getting close to a decision on how to proceed. just I found this nice schematic for wiring all this hardware.

So the details are all that left and I still have questions (its an 84 FC 35):

to isolate the engine battery, I make the disconnect from the load center mid-ship drivers side upper compartment where the three large diameter cables come to one connection point. do I also have to remove the solenoid?

If I do isolate the engine battery how do I ensure nothing else is impacted. My thoughts are still along the lines of 200 to 300w of solar charging 4 6V golf cart batteries that I could locate in the second drivers side compartment. I would isolate the generator battery with the diode from the house batteries and the same for the engine battery.

The idea is when it sits the solar charges the house batteries first (this is where I perceive the most parasitic load exists, then presuming they are topped the other batteries would also be kept up. If the generator battery and engine battery are isolated then they should be subject to very little parasitic load and theoretically require very little additional charge.

I just have to crawl around and figure out where everything hooks up to make sure I reconnect the Xantrax properly.

Thanks



am I missing anything?
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