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Old 11-30-2014, 06:18 PM   #1
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Recommended shops or experts in the bay area?

Hi All,

Looking for recommendations of a shop (or person) that can solve some electrical issues I've got. I live in the California San Francisco Bay area - Redwood City to be specific & am looking for someone to either (a) help me fix this bloody issue or (b) just fix it for me. Yes I will pay dearly for this.

What's the issue? Short version: I've ran thru 4 house batteries in the past 4 years & I know it's not because I'm running them below the recommended 12.2V. I'm pretty sure there's a draw somewhere I don't know about or something is not working/hooked up properly. Brief description of the van:
- Ford E350, V10, 2005 (I think).
- Converted by SMB West in 2011.
- House includes: Heater, water pump, propane switch, fridge, a few lights, inverter, battery, separator switch, and a UB-4D house battery, solar.

Long version:
We have it hooked into shore power when home & are super careful about conserving power when on trips (10-12x per year), which includes not running the inverter at night, turning down the fridge overnight, etc. So we're not crazy stupid about sucking down the amps.

This past weekend, I woke up & turned on the heater (without looking at the voltage). As soon as the heater turned on - I knew the battery was done (the fan was getting quiet - not a good sign). Turned it off immediately. Battery voltage at 10.5ish. Damn it, another 400 dollars.

Later that morning,- battery was heading north of 12V. Thanks solar. Went to turn the van over and my van batteries were dead. Not good and puzzling. Engaged the switch that allows the house battery to start the van & it just squeaked out enough juice to get things going.

This has got me thinking that there's got to be some sort of draw on the house battery and/or the house & van battery aren't as separate as they're supposed to be. I'd love to spend several days investigating the root cause & learning the intricacies of RV electrical systems & maybe even electrocute myself (one can only hope), but I have a job & I'd rather take those days of my life enjoying the van and not working on it.

I could take it to SMB West, but with the time and money I'd spend doing that seems like I could spend it better with someone or some shop here in the bay area.

Any advice is on reputable shops or reputable people would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 12-01-2014, 10:23 AM   #2
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Re: Recommended shops or experts in the bay area?

My first guess would be the radio switch. There have been multiple reports of running the batteries down if the radio switch is switched to the house batteries, even if the radio is turned off.

Mike
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Old 12-01-2014, 07:40 PM   #3
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Re: Recommended shops or experts in the bay area?

Mike - thanks for the tip! Any thoughts on a repair shop? I see that you're in Santa Clara, so not far from me. Is there someone you go to for this type of issue?

Thanks,

Jon
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Old 12-01-2014, 09:36 PM   #4
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Re: Recommended shops or experts in the bay area?

Strange you've killed both systems. What is your charging maintenance procedure? How long does the van sit w/o use or a charge?

Universal batteries are not a high quality battery but they should last at least 4 years. A 2011 should have a Blue Sea separator so it's strange both battery systems are being killed. Even if there is a short, the separator should keep one side from discharge unless you have two issues going on at the same time.

The propane/CO monitors do pull a little IIRC. The radio switch should have an LED on it to indicate it's on. Stereo amps can be an issue. Maybe the separator isn't opening correctly? It is set to auto right? A good battery monitor can sure help save you in some cases or at least tip you off to a problem.

Sorry no idea on a shop.
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Old 12-02-2014, 04:21 PM   #5
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Re: Recommended shops or experts in the bay area?

Since I've never had an electrical problem I can't suggest a shop. If I had that kind of issue I would take my time and troubleshoot it at home. It might take a few weeks, but eventually I would get to the bottom of it.

I would suggest AGM batteries for the house batteries at least, maybe starting batteries also.
Get a good ammeter, remove all loads and add circuits back one at a time until you find the problem - then isolate and remove it. Sounds easier than it is.

Mike
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:59 PM   #6
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Re: Recommended shops or experts in the bay area?

Try personalized vans in San Jose.
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Old 12-03-2014, 01:21 PM   #7
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Re: Recommended shops or experts in the bay area?

On your inverter control unit, don't you have a display of +/- Amps charging/drawing the batteries?
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Old 12-06-2014, 06:41 PM   #8
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Re: Recommended shops or experts in the bay area?

Thanks folks - gonna give personalized vans a try.
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