Wanderlodge Owners Group  
BuyByeBlueBird.com
Donate

Go Back   Wanderlodge Owners Group > Mechanic's Corner > Electrical

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

Site Search:
Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 08-24-2009
Scott Peterson's Avatar
Scott Peterson Scott Peterson is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Canton
Posts: 24
Default Newbie Issues - Battery Charger and Air Compressor

Let me start by saying that I have owned by Blue Bird to 2 weeks and just took it on a trip to find out what i got. I am really excited and cannot wait to get it out again. However I am not knowledgable on the electical components and ran into an issue...

I have a 1978 35 FC with just about evrything original (and for the most part working). Prior to taking the bird out for 2 days of camping I have had the shoreline hooked up at home and the batteries stayed charged. When i went on my 2 day camping trip with the family the batteries did not stay charged when hooked upto the shoreline connection (50amp service at the camp ground). I did not know that I had a problem until i went to start the bird and it would not turn over. I then tried to Aux Battery and that did not help but I was able to start the generator. After waiting 2+ hours the generator had only brought the batterys up to 12 volts and would not start the engine. Eventually, some brought a commercial grade charge to bring the batterys up to about 14 volts so i could start the engine.

Now I am not really sure where to start on tracking down the issue but I am thinking that it may be a bad battery charger as I still have the original charges. However since I did not experience this issue when hooked up at home I am a bit perplexed.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Also, I have noticed that I lose air pressure when the engine is not running. Not sure if this is related but thought I would mention it...
__________________
Scott Peterson
78 35-FC, SB, 3208NA
Canton, Ohio

Last edited by Scott Peterson; 08-24-2009 at 08:41 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 08-24-2009
gcyeaw's Avatar
gcyeaw gcyeaw is offline
Gardner
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Ridgewood
Posts: 8,874
Default

Scott,
I used to have a '78. If it charges when the generator is running your battery chargers are working. I don't know how well, but at least one of them is working. What is curious is that with 50 amp campground service they aren't working. That makes no sense since the power is switched at the transfer switch so if the gen works the line should, unless there is a switch problem. But you said it worked at your home, so that may not be the problem.

I would hook up to shore power and with a voltmeter , check both legs. Switch the transfer switch several times and see if it is working every time.

Also, did you use the same shore line at your home? It could be just one side of the line is not working. In that case one Air Conditioner and some other AC appliances might not work, yet other AC appliances would. It depends on which side of the power pannel they are on.
__________________
Gardner Yeaw
86 PT-36 Golden Memories
83FC35 SB $IXTEEN TON$ SOLD
78 FC 33 Happinest (Sold)
Ridgewood, New Jersey
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-24-2009
Frank W. Frank W. is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Woodbridge, VA.
Posts: 1,023
Default

First let me say welcome to the BB world and the forum!

My coach is a '85 FC so there will be differences....but as you describe your charging issues your set up sounds a lot like mine so let me offer this and see if it helps:

Your 120 volt power system "supply" can come from either "shorepower" or "generator", this is a selection that you make via the 120 volt distribution switch in the step well. I've often forgotten to switch this and thought I had no power, typically having it set to GEN and forgetting to set to SHORE. Next to check is the main 120 volt breaker box in the rear closet area. Ensure all are full on. Last is to find your electrical bay where your chargers are and check the outlet for power. Last is checking the chargers for output via a voltmeter. Hopefully this will allow you to narrow down the problem.

From my experience and from the trials of others here are some items to consider:

Check all your cables, plugs, circuit breakers and chargers for problems. If OEM, these are all OLD. Check the cables and plugs for any heat damage to conductors or covering. With all power disconnected, check the condition of wiring and circuit breakers in the main box. Tighten all connectors in box.

Check out your chargers...if you have old single output "battery boiler" chargers that do not monitor and provide multiple stage charging - I would recommend getting a new charger.

Third, the BB 12vt. electrical system as designed draws power (clocks, alarms, stereo amps.) all the time even if all seem turned off. In the '78 model i do not know if you have an "electronics master" switch...I don't think so, you need to find and understand what the master 12vt power switch controlls - this is typically under the dash on right side of steering wheel. This is the 12 volt master...has nothing to do with 120 volt. This must be off if coach parked and not hooked up...or in about 2-3 days your batts will be dead.

As to air loss...Your bus should power up and air up in about 3-4 mins at a fast 1000 RPM idle with Brakes up to 75#. Bus should normally have about a 120 LBS running pressure on brake system, both front and rear when running after say 5-10 mins or on the road. Air suspension should pressure up at the same time...and it is typically to have the bus suspension air down from various leaks after an hour or a few hours after shutdown. Your brake pressure should stay at or above 75 pounds for about 1-2 days easily...mine goes about 5-7 days. If your losing more than this you need to find the cause.
__________________
Frank W.
85FC33
Woodbridge, VA.

Coach photos & comments: http://www.wanderlodgeownersgroup.co...php?albumid=79
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-24-2009
iamflagman's Avatar
iamflagman iamflagman is offline
(1943-2018) Forum Co-founder/Administrator
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Hopkins
Posts: 11,506
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by gcyeaw View Post
Scott,
I used to have a '78. If it charges when the generator is running your battery chargers are working. I don't know how well, but at least one of them is working. What is curious is that with 50 amp campground service they aren't working. That makes no sense since the power is switched at the transfer switch so if the gen works the line should, unless there is a switch problem. But you said it worked at your home, so that may not be the problem.

I would hook up to shore power and with a voltmeter , check both legs. Switch the transfer switch several times and see if it is working every time.

Also, did you use the same shore line at your home? It could be just one side of the line is not working. In that case one Air Conditioner and some other AC appliances might not work, yet other AC appliances would. It depends on which side of the power pannel they are on.

Hi Scott,

First of all lets get your permanent signature added to your profile, read; How To Post A New Topic Message Or A Reply To A Topic and Add Your Signature

Be sure to also check all of the circuit breakers to make sure that some of them have not tripped OFF, by switching them On and the COMPLETELY OFF a couple of times, then with a test meter that you can find at Lowe's, Home Depot or another hardware store and check to see if you are getting power to your battery charger(s) outlet. Also make sure that this is not happening with that dedicated plug.


When you are plugged into shore power or have the generator running and the master power select switch in the correct position for the power source, check to see if you can hear a HUMMING sound coming from the battery chargers.

It is easy to select the wrong power source at the master switch, so what I do is plug in three different 120v photo cell night lights into a outlet in the front, middle and rear of the 'Bird and then determine which side of the breaker panel each light is wired to by tripping the circuit breakers OFF one at a time, while someone watches the night light in question, that way if I plug into shore power or start the generator, the night lights will show me if I'm getting power to both legs of the Circuit breaker panel, if after this test it shows that they are all on one leg, then try another outlet until you find one for each leg. You should also have a GFI indicator lights and meters that will show if you are getting power to both sides as well.

Older 'Birds are noted for loosing air pressure without the engine running, mine would loose almost all of it in a couple of hours, but once the engine was started it would keep up with no problems and was withing the parameters of the CDL drivers leak-down test. It takes some searching for the leaks and some are hard to detect, it just takes time to find them, my largest one was the parking brake valve and now my Horton Fan is leaking air when the engine is turned off, but all it takes is to turn on the ignition and it quits, so I'll have to check that out, it is always an adventure
__________________

JOHN FINN
FORUM MODERATOR-ADMINISTRATOR
1982 FC35RB
I'm NO EXPERT, but I did stay in the FINN'S INN EXPRESS last night
HOPKINS, SOUTH CAROLINA
VISIT THE FINN'S INN EXPRESS REMODELING ADVENTURE AND TECH. TIPS
I'M SO SLOW ON THE HILLS,THAT I GET TO SMELL THE FLOWERS AS I GO BY.....AND WATCH THEM GROW TOO!! NOT SO MUCH ANYMORE
Visit the WILD HARE RACING website
REMEMBER 9/11
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-24-2009
Scott Peterson's Avatar
Scott Peterson Scott Peterson is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Canton
Posts: 24
Default Research

Thank you everyone for your quick responses.

First off the signature... I saw in other posts that i needed the signature so I tried to set it up but added into the wrong spot. For the record, after 2 weeks of owning my BB and using this site as a reference i have figured out this site is great!

I need to do some testing and research based upon everyone's feedback but I did use a different shoreline cable since at home i only have 20amp service. So at home i have been using the smaller connection cable (12-3) and while camping I used the larger (8-3) cable. I am fairly sure that I had the master switch set to shoreline as I was able to run all 3 AC at different times during the weekend.

Also, I have noticed that I have to have my battery master switch on for the Fridge to work even if I am running on shoreline or generator power. Any chance the fridge might be draining the batteries faster then the charger charges?

Any suggestions on a cost effective replacement for the battery boiler chargers?

Thanks for the feedback on air pressure, once it is running everything is good so it sounds like i just have the standard old leaks that come as an undocumented feature.
__________________
Scott Peterson
78 35-FC, SB, 3208NA
Canton, Ohio
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-24-2009
sanibel's Avatar
sanibel sanibel is offline
Complete Greenhorn
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Sanibel
Posts: 894
Default You got steel springs, not air suspension.

Count your blessings. As I understand it, air will be drawn down from the secondary system from extending and retracting the step, gen slide, etc, then they will quit working which is normal. The main air tanks for the brakes will stay charged. Our older systems are pretty simple. If your dash gauges read low, then you need to hunt down a leak. Perhaps you could be specific as to your air pressure symptoms.
__________________
John (and Robin) Churchill
Black Tongue Farm
Sanibel, FL

1979 FC33 Buddy Luce's bus (looking for a name)

LARGE MARGE - She left me for another man
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-24-2009
sanibel's Avatar
sanibel sanibel is offline
Complete Greenhorn
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Sanibel
Posts: 894
Default

Charger recommendation:

I had poor battery performance and turned the corner with LARGE MARGE, functionally, when I replaced all the batteries and put in an Iota 55 amp !Q4 charger off ebay. It was about $140 shipped, 4 stage smart charger. I think the 55 amps is about enough to start the thing even without batteries. I added a small 6 amp Guest charger to keep the genset battery topped off. If you need battery cables, etc, I have been very happy with another eBay store called "genuinedealz", good quality, excellent service and quick shipping.
__________________
John (and Robin) Churchill
Black Tongue Farm
Sanibel, FL

1979 FC33 Buddy Luce's bus (looking for a name)

LARGE MARGE - She left me for another man
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 08-24-2009
sanibel's Avatar
sanibel sanibel is offline
Complete Greenhorn
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Sanibel
Posts: 894
Default Fridge

Needs 12 V power to run, but only a trickle I think for the temp probe at the flame or something. Get a Bluebox with your Bird?
__________________
John (and Robin) Churchill
Black Tongue Farm
Sanibel, FL

1979 FC33 Buddy Luce's bus (looking for a name)

LARGE MARGE - She left me for another man
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 08-25-2009
Scott Peterson's Avatar
Scott Peterson Scott Peterson is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Canton
Posts: 24
Default New information

ok, so with a new tester in hand I have discovered to following... 120v outlet for the battery charges appears to be fine on both outlets but I plan on removing the cover to inspect further.

However I found that one the the battery boilers is outputting 20volts and the other is out putting 1volt.

Based upon this finding I am thinking that the 24volts of batteries cannot get fully charged since the system is only outputting 21volts maximum. Then factor in that there are other items using part of the 21 volts and this would explain why my batteries drained.

So i think the solution is to get an iota 55 amp charger to replace both the batteries boilers? Also i did look at the Xantrex but considering my budget and the fact that I can run the generator at the same time the engine is running i figure i would pass on this for now. Sound Correct?

Also does anyone know if i will need to replace the cables that I currently have before installing the iota?

sanibel, thanks for the feedback i did get a Bluebox and seems to be fairly complete.
__________________
Scott Peterson
78 35-FC, SB, 3208NA
Canton, Ohio
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 08-25-2009
Rick's Avatar
Rick Rick is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Bellefonte
Posts: 13,226
Default

Scott, If one of your chargers is putting out 20 volts you need to unplug it before it cooks something.
__________________
Rick Shawver
1SG Ret
2000 LX
Vise Grips
Bellefonte, AR
F127656
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
battery charger Luvoekars Electrical 9 06-07-2014 08:45 PM
Battery Issues PowerCat Engine 7 04-17-2009 09:14 PM
New Shop Battery Charger FatGuySlim General 0 04-11-2009 11:35 PM
Need Help With Battery Charger Amp Rating dthollis Electrical 17 11-07-2008 09:22 PM
Wanted BBW 1200 Battery Charger birds_first FC (Forward Control Unique Issues) 3 05-09-2008 11:58 AM

Web Search:

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:28 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.