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Old 08-31-2014, 10:16 PM   #1
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Nothing coming from Extra Battery -- Trying to resolve



I have a 2001 Ford E250.

Two weeks ago, my spouse and I returned from on a great trip to the Sawtooths in Idaho, and Bitterroots in Montana. Everything electrical was working great. Absolutely no problem with the Extra Battery running the interior lights and refrigerator and fan.

This past week, having about 65000 miles, I had taken into service work done (1) Jiffy Lube, (2) Fixed side door that would not open, (3) Replaced high-beams, (4) and 60000 maintenance requiring replace spark plugs and service fuel injector. I could take the van back to any of the shops that did work on the Van, but they would not have a clue about the Sportmobile electrical system.

Never an issue with the "InterState" Extra Battery, relatively new 4 years and always held its charge.

Preparing the van for another trip in a couple of weeks, nothing can run off of the Extra Battery, all interior lights and refrigerator would not turn on. Only if Van is running would interior lights and refrigerator turn on, however curiously not the fan.

Battery analyzer show all indicator lights (green/yellow/red) and 12.8 volts while van running, but no indicator lights (blank) when van is off.

Reviewing the diagnostics guide in the Sportsmobile manual, I think maybe the circuit breaker was tripped and the Extra Battery is not getting charged. However, looking under the back seat, I cannot find the circuit breaker. All the fuses are fine.


Looking over this diagram, that is my only clue that the issue is with the circuit breaker. Any other ideas???
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:40 PM   #2
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Re: Nothing coming from Extra Battery -- Trying to resolve

See Scalf77's post in the thread below, with a picture of a standard SMB circuit breaker.

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=14290


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Old 09-01-2014, 02:12 AM   #3
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Re: Nothing coming from Extra Battery -- Trying to resolve

Have you been able to test the battery voltage with a voltmeter W/O the engine running? Are you sure that the shop didn't disconnect the house battery while they worked on the van? It might be possible that SMB put a breaker close to the house battery on the charge circuit for safety reasons.

Other than that, I'd be looking at the battery isolator that is connected between the alternator and the house battery. On a 2001 they hadn't swapped to a battery separator yet. There should be a wire running to the isolator which is usually mounted in the engine compartment possibly on the firewall. It is possible the charge wire is coming off the vehicle fuse block, the engine battery or even directly off the alternator. Corrosion was a culprit causing battery drain. I'm not familiar with those. It might even be fused, sorry I just don't know.

Read this post and dismiss the parts about the separators and read the posts about the isolator. See if the shop did something while they were in there. It's obvious that the isolator is passing voltage through if stuff works

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1245

Don't have a clue about the fan...maybe another issue.
Hope the post will help.

BTW if they swapped out the isolator for a separator, post back. It could be a whole other problem such as a stuck open separator.
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:37 AM   #4
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Re: Nothing coming from Extra Battery -- Trying to resolve

I believe the circuit breaker you are looking for is on the top right corner of the fuse panel, although I expect it is not the issue. The reason being is that the all the items outside of the fan work when the engine is running. (Note) The fan not working does not make sense at the moment. So we will put that to side. Since you have power on the other side of the fuse box when the van is running then the isolator appears to working fine and is doing its job. This would also make us think that the circuit breakers are also working. You should have one between isolator and House Battery and one between House Battery and fuse panel. The copper terminal on the circuit breaker (mounted on the fuse panel) should have two wires one from the battery and one goes to starcool (do you have starcool?) If you do not measure any voltage on the copper terminal you won't see any on the other side. So all this suggest that you have something wrong back from there. There could be a fuse or another breaker between this point and the battery. It is possible that the shop remove the battery terminal while in service.
Hope this helps

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Old 09-01-2014, 12:43 PM   #5
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Re: Nothing coming from Extra Battery -- Trying to resolve

Thanks, found circuit breaker with manual reset (see image in green highlighted square):


I noticed that the TCMS box (Total Charge Management System, i.e., assuming Power Converter) has (2) 30 amp fuses.


These fuses were not mentioned in the SportsMobile electrical system diagram.


I think that hitting the reset did the trick.
I will need to let the van run of a little while to assure that charge is holding.
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Old 09-01-2014, 03:23 PM   #6
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Re: Nothing coming from Extra Battery -- Trying to resolve

Something is weird. Lights working off the battery is random.

I read the replies, press the circuit breaker button (it did not seem to be popped out). Had the Van running for 5-to-10 minutes. Turned van engine off, interior lights had a faint glow. Drove to Home Depot to get a volt meter, turned off van engine, lights were brighter. Drove home, turned off van engine, lights were now bright. Went into the house, told my spouse I think it is fixed, immediately we walked out to the van, and ... nothing turned on. Repeated process, nothing.

Across the two terminals of the circuit breakers, I thought I had measured 13.2 vdc while engine was running, now 0-vdc.


Quote:
Have you been able to test the battery voltage with a voltmeter W/O the engine running?
The extra battery is under the van and not easy to access. Where can I perform voltage check?

I used a battery analyzer that works off a 12-vdc socket. Registers 12.8-vdc when engine is running, Blank when engine is turned off.

Quote:
Are you sure that the shop didn't disconnect the house battery while they worked on the van?
When referring to house battery, I am assuming what SMB manual calls extra battery, true?

Is it possible to inadvertently disconnect extra battery while performing routine service on a Ford Van E250?

The extra battery is under the van and not easy to access. Where would I check if disconnection was made?

Quote:
if they swapped out the isolator for a separator, post back. It could be a whole other problem such as a stuck open separator.
That would be within the engine compartment and not under the back seat.

Quote:
It might be possible that SMB put a breaker close to the house battery on the charge circuit for safety reasons.
I will hunt.

Thanks
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Old 09-01-2014, 04:49 PM   #7
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Re: Nothing coming from Extra Battery -- Trying to resolve

Jeff, I wonder if you are on the right breaker? I was unable to read the schematic last night on my little laptop. The one from the isolator is what you need to find. According to the schematic it should be one wire in, and one wire out. The one pictured might be the Starcool breaker. The isolator breaker is there for safety reasons and because you can't jump start the engine through the isolator like is possible with a separator, there is no use looking for a separator. Jump starting a engine would require a very large breaker or fuse along with a heavy gauge wire that you probably don't have unless the system was upgraded. Don't let that steer you in the wrong direction for now. Focus on the battery first.

It is highly possible that the battery was simply pulled down to an extreme low state of charge. I'd put a good had charge to it (10+ amps) for a day to see what happens. Most alternators don't put out much charge current.
Now the schematic shows a converter/charger. Is it working? If so, plug into shore power and start the charge. Periodically go out and if possible feel the battery box to make sure it's not getting too hot to touch (it's normal to be warm during a charge but not hot) or off gassing producing the rotten egg smell. If either of those are happening stop the charge...the battery is bad.

after that, I'd start looking for another problem like a bad connection between the alternator and battery, poor current flow through the isolator, terminal corrosion or even a battery past it's life.

If the vehicle is charging the battery even for just enough time to allow the lights that work off the battery system for a few minutes:

>>>The house battery sounds like it is connected. How well is another story but I'd guess that's not the problem.

>>>The isolator is working (at least to some extent) and supplying a charge while the engine is running.

>>>The breaker is closed passing through a charge to the house battery and the vehicle charge is getting to the battery.

The red flag here is it all of a sudden quit working after you had it in the shop but you got some charge to the battery by driving. It sounds like the shop left something on that pulled down the battery.
If the converter will get the charge going, the voltage should jump up during the charge and you should see that at the rear power ports. If the battery does come up, I'd still want to know where that breaker is that is between the isolator and house battery. It just doesn't sound like its tripped being you were able to get some charge to the battery.
The last thing before getting too involved might be to have the battery tested. The corrosion issue with the isolators was usually a slow discharge if the vehicle sat of an extended time but even a light left on can do that.

Keep us posted
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Old 09-01-2014, 05:33 PM   #8
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Re: Nothing coming from Extra Battery -- Trying to resolve

Thanks for all the support

Latest, found the under-hood circuit breaker reset button:


Pressed that, and the fan started working again. Before I pressed under-hood circuit breaker reset button, 12-DC power converter plug was registering 12.8 vdc, but the fan would not operate.


Turned off then on the van, several times. One out of 5 times the under-hood circuit breaker would trip.

Quote:
The red flag here is it all of a sudden quit working after you had it in the shop but you got some charge to the battery by driving.
The work performed was installation of off road lights.

I have an isolator, and not a separator:


It appears I do not have a "Starcool Relay Plate".

Quote:
Now the schematic shows a converter/charger. Is it working? If so, plug into shore power and start the charge.
I have not tried charging the battery using shore power. Do not want to send exhaust fumes recharging a battery over to my neighbors on Labor Day weekend.
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Old 09-01-2014, 06:56 PM   #9
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Re: Nothing coming from Extra Battery -- Trying to resolve

Update, I have connected van to shore power, and validated that all interior lights and refrigerator and fan work with van engine off.

Turned off all interior items.

Is there something I have to switch to get shore power to charge house battery?

Van has been plugged into shore AC power for about 2 hours, no indication when I disconnect shore power that house battery is getting charged.

Note, even though this battery is 5 years old, there was absolutely no issue with battery 2 weeks ago prior to having van in shop.
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:28 PM   #10
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Re: Nothing coming from Extra Battery -- Trying to resolve

Lets try something different and try disconnecting the extra battery from the isolator. Then retake your voltage measurements. It is possible that something got left on from your last trip that drained the battery.

-greg
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