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Old 05-10-2008, 02:53 PM   #21
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Laguna Beach, California
Posts: 35
I checked the circuit breaker, and that seems fine.
I think my first step is to replace the Isolator. Off course you cant find this on a Saturday.
Here a pic of the rusty isolator :
Also I don't trust my volt meter 100%, so will do some more testing there.

2004 Sportsmobile
2004 BMW 1150 GSAdventure
993 Porsche C4S
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Old 05-10-2008, 11:24 PM   #22
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Clovis, CA
Posts: 200
House Battery Question

The Isolator/connections look like they could have been your cause of the battery drain. The Battery Separator is the best way to go.

The circuit breaker may look good on the outside, but could be very corroded on the inside (if it is a metal case type circuit breaker, the plastic case units rarely had problems). This circuit breaker would be removed if you install the Battery Separator. Sometimes the circuit breaker will allow a small amount of current to pass through (which your multi-meter will detect), but the corrosion prevents enough current from passing through to effectively charge the house battery.

If you don't need to use the house battery anytime soon, you can connect the wires that were on terminal "A" and "1" together (if you want to return the wiring to stock Ford to charge the starting battery). Make sure you protect all three of these wires from contacting any grounding surface. You can charge your house battery by being plugged in to shore power.

I hope this helps.

John K.

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Old 07-18-2009, 10:51 AM   #23
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 351
Battery care-cheap

Hi all

I've been reading lots of battery threads the morning (All of them? I need to get a life.) and would appreciate a reality check before I go out and do something to ruin my battery.

I have a 2006 lifeline battery and have been driving for a couple of thousand miles since I got the SMB used. Most of the time recently, I have been running the starcool since it has been around 105 F. in these parts. Van is 1995 and has the original Power Source 45 charger. The Power Source manual swears it puts out a fixed 14 volts but the box itself says 12 volt maximum output.

The house battery voltage is 12.42 at the terminals directly (or about 60% charged-not good) when 120 volt is not hooked up. The reading when plugged into 120 volt is 13.23. I can't get at the back of the Power Source to visualize it so I have not tested the output voltage there but I suspect it is the same as at the battery terminals (poking multimeter probes around when I can't see clearly and I'm plugged into 120 volt is beyond my expertise )

I have read that the alternator will never completely charge the battery and understand why.

I have plugged into the 120 volt for the first time this morning and the 13.23 volts at the battery leads me to believe I'm am charging/topping off. If so, it the correct answer to plug in once a week or month or so to maximize battery life? Alternatively, will plugging in full time overcharge in the absence of a smart charger/controller. The Power Source doesn't give any indication that it is smart. No trickle charge mentioned.

There is a cheap 5 watt solar panel from harbor freight. Is this a good (cheap) option for keeping the battery topped off? Do I just hook it up to the positive and negative and forget about it forever or is it more complicated than that (blocking diode needed? other issues?) I'd rather not have the cord running out to the van fulltime.

Most importantly, will buying a small solar panel and leaving it hooked up cook my battery? Will leaving it plugged in cook my battery?

My needs are pretty basic at this point. I use mostly led stand alone sylvania dot-it dimmable lighting and D-cell fans. I carry a good ice chest.

The only loads on the battery occasional lighting, the water pump, occasional fan, backup/supplemental for the fridge and starcool when driving(???). I may add to this later (e.g. laptop charging).

Any input appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Austin, Texas
1995 SMB E250
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:43 PM   #24
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 190
Re: House Battery Question.

Tom, no one seems to have answered you although you posted nearly a month ago. I will try from experience but not much expertise. It sounds like you battery is on its last legs. I think you realize this. Its clearly because you have not kept it charged. I too once had the Power Source 45 and you are correct it is not a smart charger although it will decrease its output as the battery tops up. It will however maintain a level of output that is not going to change with temperature or battery condition. You should upgrade this component and SMB can give you guidance based on your wiring and pocket. I went for a TrippLite Inverter as I run a Danhard A/C with a Honda 2000i generator or other shore power. Its a much larger capacity charger too at 100 amps but its not a lot smarter nor needs to be because it assumes there will always be power usage either from the smoke alarms CO sensor or AV equipment while connected to shore power.

And yes you should disconnect all power draining items when not connected to a power source. The battery will self discharge anyway (more in cold weather) and even low milliamps become real amps over a week or so. Most AV units draw power to maintain presets etc. which is an example of this type of parasitic drain. Given your description I think a 15W HBG solar panel would work for you without a regulator as they have a diode built-in. These things produce up to an amp of power which will keep your battery topped up. But that's the key - if you connect the solar charger to a partially discharged battery (say as low as 80%) it will keep it around 80% which is not good. You must start at 12.8 volts before you plug in the panel. Anything less will shorten the life. With that said I have managed to keep two RV Deep Cycle batteries alive in my trailer for 5 years largely only using a single solar panel and charging from my tow vehicle during tows. This could only have worked if the batteries remained at or near full charge.

Hanging Out
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