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Old 11-08-2009, 12:50 PM   #1
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Auxiliary battery start switch and solenoid mystery

I have a push button on the dash to push if my starter battery is dead. When pushed, you can hear a solenoid click and I guess power goes to the starter.

Some other solenoid connected to this is now going nuts. When I turn on my lights (parked, ignition off, I hear a solenoid start cycling (or maybe a temperature activated circuit braker) - on, I can push the emergency button and hear it click. Ten seconds it clicks again and the emergency button doesn't work. This continues until I turn the lights off.

Same exact thing if I turn just the ignition on.

The noise was coming from the fuse panel under the gaucho. I removed the 30A fuse that said "driver's side" and the cycling stops. The emergency switch seems to work as it should. It clicks when I press the button. What could be on the "driver's side" circuit that would be connected somehow to the auxillary battery switch?

Even though I have a Sprinter, I think this part of the system is standard for all SMB's.

Thanks,
Keith
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Old 11-08-2009, 02:57 PM   #2
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Re: Auxiliary battery start switch and solenoid mystery

Keith, is there anyway you can get your hands on the separator to determine all the clicking is coming from that alone?
It sounds like a ground or bad connection issue but that's a guess. The 10 second thing is normal as the separator samples both sides of the system, then opens or closes as needed. The delay is supposed to keep chatter down. The push button simply forces the solenoid to close. My separator did this one time but only when the engine was running. I checked the connections and it never happened again. Never found the cause either. These things use circuitry to sample the voltages. The headlight thing is a little weird but it's best to start off with the obvious stuff first. A couple of things could be going on there. Get back to us if the trouble continues.

Good luck.
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Old 11-08-2009, 03:56 PM   #3
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Re: Auxiliary battery start switch and solenoid mystery

As it turns out it was not the driver's side fuse. It is fuse #12 which is the one SMB uses for the solar controller. If it is not in, the controller will only report battery voltage and eventually dies completely - no leds, no display. But also if it is pulled the on/off solenoid stops.

Yes, the noise is coming from the separater. I think it is working semi-correctly. It only goes on (so the auxillary start works) when the ignition is turned on or the lights are turned on - that probably is correct. The cycling is the wrong part and how that is tied to the battery connection going to the solar controller is really weird.

BTW, I disconnected the Auxillary start button, the cycyling continues but doesn't effect anything AFAICT.

At least I get to clean up under the gaucho now!

Keith
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Old 11-08-2009, 08:33 PM   #4
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Re: Auxiliary battery start switch and solenoid mystery

Yep, I have never really ran out the wireing. I just assume how it should go. The headlight thing seems a bit strange. Why would those cause it to chatter? Seems like it's pulling a ground through them. Sounds like the same problem I had. Lousy surepower. I would look at the ground that feeds the separator. On my van it's a single small ground wire that goes to a ground bar that houses several grounds. Maybe start there. Then make sure no wires were compromised and check the lugs on it. If I remember correctly SMB told me that the ignition wire is what's supposed to activate it. But I know for a fact that the inverter/charger activates it as well with the key off. Maybe PM John Kalmbach or give a call to surepower. Good luck. Next time I have trouble I want to go with Blue Sea.
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Old 11-08-2009, 09:56 PM   #5
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Re: Auxiliary battery start switch and solenoid mystery

My SurePower 1512 (or whatever number SMB uses..) was clicking in a similar fashion. I pulled it to determine proper function (by application of 12v here and there) and it was fried. I upgraded to a BlueSea 400a on John Ks recommendation.

(By "fried" I mean it had the batteries joined at all times, and wouldn't separate, but I originally discovered the problem because of the clicking...)
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:54 PM   #6
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Re: Auxiliary battery start switch and solenoid mystery

I have buttoned it all up. I don't know why the auxillary start would be on the same circuit as the solar controller but it is what it is.

Where I am - turn the headlights (not parking) lights on without the key in and the auxillary start solenoid start cycling - well I don't do that normally so no bother.

Just another SMB mystery.

Regards,

Keith
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Old 11-11-2009, 09:26 PM   #7
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Re: Auxiliary battery start switch and solenoid mystery

Would it be possible that when the vehicle is off and solar is on that your house battery voltage goes above the 13.2 -13.5 voltage one of required conditions to engage the Surepower solenoid. Then when you turn on your headlights the van battery goes below 12.4-12.9 volts. These two conditions together cause the surepower solenoid to engage. Once engaging the van battery probably goes above 12.4 - 12.9 quickly and it will disengage. As Dave said there is some circuity to provide a delay to eliminate the effects of transient spikes. Once the voltage drops again the cycle will repeat. When you remove the fuse, you don't have solar charging and he house goes below 13.2 - 13.5 volts. So it could be that everything is working just fine.

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Old 11-12-2009, 05:24 PM   #8
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Re: Auxiliary battery start switch and solenoid mystery

I suppose that could be. It has been working ok for 30k so I am going to figure it is supposed to work that way.

Thanks for the help.

Keith
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:37 PM   #9
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Re: Auxiliary battery start switch and solenoid mystery

For a heads up Keith you might want to check your starting batteries. Do Sprinters have twin starting batteries? My Surepower separator fixed or unstuck itself somehow and I still have the same unit in there. But my starting batteries failed a short time later. Now I'm not saying that was the problem!
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