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Old 12-29-2009, 05:56 PM   #1
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House battery has died...now starter battery

Hi all,

Got an electrical gremlin that is loose in our van. I've been all through the electrical section of the forum and while I still don't have a clue about what is wrong, I have come to the conclusion that I need to call the pros in.

Briefly, six weeks ago all was well with the van and its electrics. A couple of weeks later I went to plug in shore power (which I do about every two weeks) and got nothing. No noise from the inverter, no power on any house powered items. House voltage around 9 volts. Engine would start and run but that was about it. I was headed out of town and so figured the house batteries were toast and so no hurry getting things sorted out. Two weeks ago I decided to drive the van just to charge the starter battery. Started perfectly, voltage on the Scangauge was appropriate. Again, holidays and the usual time commitments and no need for the van had me delay matters again.

So today I was going to take the van for a drive but couldn't get it started. Just a series of very loud clicks coming from up front. I've now got a charger on the start battery, 10 amp for an hour then 2 amp overnight.

Bad ground, bad separator, some other short? Only time and much testing will sort this out I'm sure.

Anybody have a shop in the Seattle area that they'd recommend? I'm reluctant to have the shop I use for mechanical stuff delve in as what I have going on is what I'd deem more RV related. As I mentioned earlier I've been all through the electrical section of the forum and nothing jumped out at me as the obvious answer.

Thanks,

Al

Solar AGM 4D Triplite Everything is as it came from the factory not quite five years ago.
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Old 12-29-2009, 06:24 PM   #2
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Re: House battery has died...now starter battery

Didn't by chance leave your radio switch on did you? The one that lets you run your cab radio from the house battery?
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Old 12-29-2009, 11:53 PM   #3
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Re: House battery has died...now starter battery

I sure don't think so. It would be hard to miss as the radio would be playing despite the ignition being off. Possible I suppose, but I'm thinking not. Would make for an easy diagnosis but then I'd feel awfully dumb for making such an expensive mistake.
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:21 AM   #4
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Re: House battery has died...now starter battery

Quote:
Originally Posted by falbhan
It would be hard to miss as the radio would be playing despite the ignition being off.
Nope, the radio does not need to be on to drain down your battery. Only the switch needs to be on.
Check out this thread.

http://sportsmobileforum.com/viewtop...p=32884#p32884

Could be the gremlin you were looking for.
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Old 12-30-2009, 02:47 PM   #5
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Re: House battery has died...now starter battery

falbhan,

Sorry to hear about your battery troubles. I have heard good things about Aurora Auto Electric but that has been quite a few years ago, no first hand experience though and I don't know how many RV's they see. There is a place in Burien, 5 corners RV, that does repair work on RV's but I don't know anyone who has used them.

Good Luck

John
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Old 12-30-2009, 08:50 PM   #6
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Re: House battery has died...now starter battery

That may be true for a normal radio but we have the Pioneer model with navi that was supposedly the hot ticket five years ago. There is no way that have ever found to turn this radio off. If there is power to it it is running and spinning the nav DVD. Further I typically leave the screen up and that is a give away that there is power to the radio.

I've either got a gremlin problem or perhaps the inverter was left on, but no one in our house will fess up to that.

Thanks for the suggestion and the link. I hadn't run across that one and there is good info there.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:46 PM   #7
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Re: House battery has died...now starter battery

The separator in yours may be wired like my 2005 and have a green wire from the starter position, which means the house and starter batteries are locked together every time you turn the key to crank (even with diesel). The result is serious battery problems can be masked, my starters were toast and the van kept starting, slowly killing the house batteries. And the house batts weren't getting charged because the toasted starters would never charge enough to trip the separator.
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:40 PM   #8
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Re: House battery has died...now starter battery

Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
The separator in yours may be wired like my 2005 and have a green wire from the starter position, which means the house and starter batteries are locked together every time you turn the key to crank (even with diesel). The result is serious battery problems can be masked, my starters were toast and the van kept starting, slowly killing the house batteries. And the house batts weren't getting charged because the toasted starters would never charge enough to trip the separator.
I have the same wiring you explain here. Just replaced the house battery last fall and I am planning to replace both starting batteries when it comes out of storage this spring. Have you corrected the wiring so the separator connects with the "start" only and not the "run"? Where is the other end of the green wire and where should it go?

I also have found that the separator itself is no longer working. I can hear the solenoid engaging but the connection is not made inside so the start battery is not charging on shore power. I am replacing that in the process. I wonder if it failed due to being engaged the whole time i was driving over its life (2005).
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:50 PM   #9
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Re: House battery has died...now starter battery

I went with the BlueSea 400a separator instead of the SurePower... thread around here somewhere... my SurePower failed too and John Kalambach recommended the BlueSea.

Anyway, my personal prefrence is to wrap the green wire up in electrical tape and leave it hanging for some future endeavor you want to fire on starting (not sure what that would be).

The BlueSea comes with and Auto ON OFF switch for the separator, the Auto and ON functions are easy enough to duplicate with the SurePower and an automotive switch, and I suppose the off would be possible if you eliminate the ground in that position, though I can't think how to wire it at the moment without sucking juice all day... not that OFF is important, and you can always close it with a scrap of wire so technially the switch is for convenience.

From what I remember the green wire is hot only when cranking (Start) not in run, not in glow plug warming (for diesels), or any other position running or off. I'm not sure if the separator is connecting the batteries when they both reach float, but theoretically it's designed for that so whatever state it's in while your alternator is running should be fine... but like I said in my other thread I'm a battery abuser. I might have to consider using the OFF position when driving and see if my house batteries have better life without ever being connected to the alternator.
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