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

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  #31  
Old 06-07-2012
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Originally Posted by KingBiscuit View Post
Don't know if this applies here, but I just had to replace all the batteries on my, new to me, SP. I didn't realize the draw on the batteries when everything appears to be turned off. Anyway, I had a couple of good switches installed on the ground of the house and crank banks. After the crank batteries were replaced, engine still didn't want to turn over. Turns out the ground wire that tied the 2 crank batteries together was suspect. This was replaced and life was good. We actually ended up running a new ground to the switch instead of tying the 2 bats together.
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  #32  
Old 06-07-2012
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Dan, what are the switches your disconnects? my disconnect switch is bolted to the chassis from the two cranks and grounds there, that was not my problem. I don't know how new it is to you we got ours last autumn so its new here too. I stored our coach in a barn for four months this winter, I had no draw I shut the A/T switch on the dash in front of the driver, I have a main switch in the driver side airplane bin at the back of the bin over the couch (in our coach). Then I have the disconnect on the crank batts that I explained. On the coach batteries I have 4 batteries wired into two pairs say left and right, and there are two disconnects, one wire runs from front battery negative to back battery negative where the disconnect for those two (left side) is and that goes to neg dist post, and the positive front goes to positive back no disconnect straight to positive post. The pair on the right is set up exactly the same, and same disconnect. the 2 switchs and 3 disconnects shuts everything down. Coach started right up after a few months. sounds like they did something similar. I still don't know why I had a dead coach battery and the cranks which were full would'nt start the bus, put in one new coach batt. and started. I thought the two banks were separated unless I hit the aux batt switch. With some help here I'll see why. I still did'nt test that aux switch
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  #33  
Old 06-07-2012
KingBiscuit KingBiscuit is offline
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Jim, we just got ours in April. I'm not sure what you are asking. We installed 2 of these switches:
http://www.starmarinedepot.com/Blue+...ry+Switch.html

One of the switches breaks the ground for the crank batteries. It's installed on the side of the battery box in the engine compartment, left rear of the bus. The other breaks the ground of the house bank and is mounted on the inner wall of the battery compartment where the other ground stud used to be. The house bank appears to be one big bank of 4 batteries...which is better than 2X2.

Anyway, as I found, no matter what you turn off inside the bus, unless you disconnect the batteries, they will drain pretty quickly due to the phantom loads. From the comments of others, this is normal for birds. (Someone please correct me if this statement is not correct.)

It is my understanding that the Aux Battery switch is used to tie the crank bank to the house bank. Mine has 3 positions. Middle is off. Left is momentary/spring loaded to turn off automatically and right ties them together for a long as you leave it in that position.

In my case, once the new batteries and ground switches were installed, there was a corroded ground cable that tied the two crank batteries together. We replaced this cable rather than try to clean up the old one.

I hope that helps.
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  #34  
Old 06-08-2012
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Hi Jim,

I don't know much about SP's but the 1989 SP drawings show a "Battery Isolator" in the circuit for charging the coach and the chassis batteries but the 1990 and later SP drawings show the chassis batteries being charged through the Aux Battery solenoid when it is energized by a 3 position Aux Battery switch.

There may have been some early 1990 SP's that still used a "Battery Isolator" so that might explain your 2 position switch. Do you know when your coach was made?

On the other hand you could have a later model 1990 coach that needs the Aux Battery solenoid energized for charging the chassis batteries but somehow over the years ended it up with a 2 position switch in place of a 3 position switch. For what it's worth my 3 position Aux Batt switch is not labeled as three positions on the dash - the only marking on the switch panel is for the ON" position.

You may be able to verify which type of charger circuit your coach has by using a multimeter or just by watching the coach and chassis voltmeters in the bus as you try charging the batteries. In other words do both battery banks show the same voltage when you're plugged into shore power with the battery charger(s) on? Does the voltage on the chassis batteries change much when you flip the Aux Battery switch on and hold it while the charger is on, etc.

Good luck
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  #35  
Old 06-08-2012
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Dan I don't know what I was asking either guess just curious if you're having fun with the learning curve of these coaches(if this is your first) and I think just to tell
you all the batteries needed to be disconnected in order not to drain, I learned that the first week(hard way). You say all four of your coaches Batts are connected, I did'nt realize that is a better hook-up. Bill wrote a few posts back more grounds are better wonder if so in this case? I'll look into it, if I feel I should replace all the coach batts after we test them(specific battery,open circuit tests suggested by Shane) that would be an easy fix, wonder why the PO hooked them up that way (boy that guy has me doing quite a bit of wonderin).
Thanks too Dan, I do have the isolator on the back wall of the compartment, an FC owner wrote and said he had the two position switchand it was a charging system bluebird used, I appreciate your explaination I would never have picked that up if I was looking at both plans. So much for the two position auxillary switch as culprit theory.
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  #36  
Old 06-08-2012
KingBiscuit KingBiscuit is offline
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Hey Jim, Yes, I'm having fun with the learning curve. When I owned/lived aboard my sailboat, I learned a bit about living with 12 Volt Systems. There are a couple of trains of thought.

The first is to separate your house bank into 2 separate banks. That way, if one goes dead, you could switch to the other. Perhaps the PO thought this was the best way to go. If he used the typical isolator switch, they usually have the ability to be on Bank A, Bank B, BOTH or OFF. You can essentially make your batteries 1 big bank by setting the selector switch to BOTH. If you don't like having 1 big bank, you can go back to having 2 smaller banks. The switch makes it a bit more versatile.

The other theory is to have all of your house batteries in 1 big bank. The reasoning is that one big bank allows you to run longer with less overall percentage of discharge on any one battery. This is less harmful to the batteries. I used this method on my boats and in my years of cruising, I never had a problem.

Of course, I had a separate crank battery for the engine, as I do in the bird. The "Aux Battery" switch should tie the house bank to the crank bank for charging or emergency starting if the crank battery is low.

NOTE: The switches I put in are not "isolator" switches. Meaning they don't switch from one battery bank to the other. They are there to disconnect the battery banks altogether. Once they are turned off, there is no battery power to the coach because the battery ground circuit has been cut.
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  #37  
Old 07-12-2012
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Originally Posted by KingBiscuit View Post
Anyway, as I found, no matter what you turn off inside the bus, unless you disconnect the batteries, they will drain pretty quickly due to the phantom loads. From the comments of others, this is normal for birds. (Someone please correct me if this statement is not correct.)
Not a correction, but something further to consider: most types of rechargeable batteries discharge, even when disconnected. Progressive Dynamics reports on the self-discharge rate for lead-acid batteries at 80 degrees F:

"if a 125 AH battery is stored for four months (...) without being charged, it will loose 80 amps of its 125-amp capacity. It will also have severe sulfation, which causes additional loss of capacity. Keep your batteries charged while not in use!"

Note that Progressive Dynamics sells battery chargers.

For more: http://www.progressivedyn.com/battery_basics.html

--Ned
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  #38  
Old 07-13-2012
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"if a 125 AH battery is stored for four months (...) without being charged, it will loose 80 amps of its 125-amp capacity. It will also have severe sulfation, which causes additional loss of capacity. Keep your batteries charged while not in use!"
Now THAT is a load of caca.... I have stored my coach for 3 months with batteries disconnected and had no issues. I have also purchased new batteries off the shelf at Sam's Club that were 4 months old an had a full charge when I installed them. Progressive Dynamics makes a charger that can not equalize or fully charge a lead-acid battery. I've had plenty of experience with that. Get a Xantrex, Trace/Heart or Magnum 3-stage inverter/charger and you will be much better off.
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  #39  
Old 07-13-2012
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Now THAT is a load of caca.... I have stored my coach for 3 months with batteries disconnected and had no issues. I have also purchased new batteries off the shelf at Sam's Club that were 4 months old an had a full charge when I installed them. Progressive Dynamics makes a charger that can not equalize or fully charge a lead-acid battery. I've had plenty of experience with that. Get a Xantrex, Trace/Heart or Magnum 3-stage inverter/charger and you will be much better off.
shane
last summer i disconnected my 8 coach batterys from coach for about 6 weeks, i cleaned them up charged them and checked-they were fron 13.1 to 13.2 volt when i re-installed them they were 12.9-13 volt my xantrex showed them as charged...i don't know if they built any sulfation on plates but i thought they had to discharge to sulfate ?? is this true on not...i just bought blue sea disconnect switches this spring so that i could leave them in coach and just turn disconnects off .. that way i didn't have to disconnect wiring if its just setting in my drive..i don't see a problem with that if i keep charge 12.8 or better how about it guy do you??
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  #40  
Old 07-13-2012
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Mike- If you were at 12.7 to 12.9 after 6 weeks disconnected, you're in great shape. That is where mine usually are when I re-activate the coach after winter storage. Sulfation usually occurs from deep discharge cycles (i.e. dragging them down to 12.1 or 12.2 volts before recharging). If you only discharge them to 12.3 or 12.4, they will last alot longer.
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