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Old 12-08-2013, 10:42 AM   #1
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An electrical conundrum

The electrical system of my Sportsmobile has always mystified me. Here is the latest - any thoughts on what is going on would be appreciated.
I removed the negative terminal from the van battery for long term storage and then plugged in the van to keep the auxiliary batteries charged. When I plugged it in, it was if the van battery was still connected - panel lights came on and I could start the van engine! Help.
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Old 12-08-2013, 02:49 PM   #2
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Re: An electrical conundrum

Is it a diesel?

They have 2 starting batteries; you may have only disconnected one.
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Old 12-08-2013, 02:54 PM   #3
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Re: An electrical conundrum

Another thought: Some systems - not mine - have a circuit that allows the house batteries to assist starting when the engine batteries need help. I don't know if that's a manual or automatic switch.

It would help if you give some specs on your van.
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Old 12-08-2013, 05:15 PM   #4
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Re: An electrical conundrum

Depending on the year, say mid 2004 and later sportsmobiles generally have a battery separator instead of a isolator. Of the two separators or Automatic Charging Relays that they have used, both were Bi-Directional, so if you disconnected the ground to your van battery then you would powering the van via the house battery. Also depending on the year and the specific separator you have there could be the mentioned start assist features that would further confuse things.


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Old 12-09-2013, 05:28 AM   #5
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Re: An electrical conundrum

The van is a 2006 Ford E-series - not diesel. I'm guessing it has something to do with the battery separator except that it only does this when it is plugged in - it won't start off the auxiliary batteries otherwise. I guess I'll check with my mechanic today and see what he says. Will let you know if I figure this out. Thanks.
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Old 12-09-2013, 10:32 AM   #6
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Re: An electrical conundrum

Yes, it is the separator and it is working as it is designed. When you are plugged in the house battery voltage becomes high enough that the separator joins the two battery systems together. This is the bidirectional part of the separator. If there is a charge on either battery system, it will combine them so that you charge both. So when you are plugged in then the the two systems are combined, So there really is not a problem. Depending on the separator, there are things you can do to prevent this from happening. But if you connect the van battery back up, and plug in you will keep both batteries charged up.

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Old 12-09-2013, 12:41 PM   #7
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Re: An electrical conundrum

When I need to completely isolate the batteries, I have to disconnect the main ground at the frame, the ground for the coach battery--I installed a threaded insert to replace the bolt SMB used--and disconnect the winch ground. Took me a while to figure the last one out as some incompetent installed the winch across the battery which seemed to complete the circuit through the winch motor somehow. I added a threaded insert on the frame to make disconnecting the winch easier.

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Old 12-09-2013, 12:47 PM   #8
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Re: An electrical conundrum

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta
When I need to completely isolate the batteries, I have to disconnect the main ground at the frame, the ground for the coach battery--I installed a threaded insert to replace the bolt SMB used--and disconnect the winch ground. Took me a while to figure the last one out as some incompetent installed the winch across the battery which seemed to complete the circuit through the winch motor somehow. I added a threaded insert on the frame to make disconnecting the winch easier.

Z
You shouldn't have to disconnect the winch ground cable, unless you either have a bad solenoid or the winch got wired backwards accidentally, so the solenoid is on the ground side, instead of the positive terminal. In that case, you might get leakage through the winch motor. You might want to check that the winch cables didn't get swapped inadvertently.
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