Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 03-31-2020, 09:58 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
SierraHawk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 221
Dead house battery

Quiz #1

We are camping in place in the Nevada desert about an hour east of Vegas. Several days before we drove into the desert my CO detector started to beep. Something like 10 - 15 minute intervals. ( I have not contacted the folks who produced the CO detector but I am not sure that it is the CO detector) Owners manual does not address beeps that infrequent.

The orange CO detector light is on and interior lights do not work. Orange light means low battery but when I start the engine the beeping stops and the interior lights work. Thinking is that if the orange light is on when the engine is not running it must be the battery.

I took the AGM out and put a 12v wet cell in. CO detector seems happy and interior lights work until the next morning. The CO detector is beeping again and the new battery is almost dead. Interior lights are very dim.

I do have a multimeter. It was a gift from my brother who is an electrical engineer but I really do not know how to use it. Even if I did know how to use it I don't know where to start.

Any ideas???
__________________

SierraHawk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2020, 10:46 PM   #2
REF
Senior Member
 
REF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Boulder, CO.
Posts: 1,942
Send a message via MSN to REF
Do you have the multimeter manual? I’d start there.... set it on to 20V and check what the battery voltage is on your house battery. You said the starting battery is ok?
Could be a bad battery or a number of things drawing the battery down-
Appliance(s)
Short
Bad ground
Bad isolator/separator
Alternator (check output) I will mention my recent electrical ordeal in Baja turned out to be the new(remanufactured) alternator I installed down here to remedy the one that I came down here with, was also bad, who woulda thunk?
__________________

__________________
'03 Ford E350 7.3L Diesel
(de)SMB'd Custom RB-50
Quigley 4X4 w/Deavers & Agile Offroad's R.I.P. package
CCV High Profile Pop Top
REF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2020, 08:04 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Scalf77's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 1,599
What size battery did you have? What size wet cell did you replace it with? What electrical devices are you using? What are your charge sources( plugin, solar, isolator or separator)?

-greg
__________________
2004 E350 EB V10 E/PH 2WD
Scalf77 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2020, 12:16 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
SierraHawk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 221
The house battery I took out was an Optimus yellow top 750. I installed it 3 years ago. It was connected to the 100 watt panel but I have been driving the van almost on a daily basis lately. Based on the age of the battery and the CO detector light indicating a low charge it seemed like the battery had died. When I parked the van after a day of driving the battery would not light up a LED light in the morning so I deduced that the battery was not holding a charge.

The Optimus was a Group 27 (Or whatever the van originally came with). Since I gave it to the store I cannot confirm the rating.. The replacement is a Group 54 with 650 CCP. It is still burried under the stuff we packed into the back but I can dig it out later today. I think it is 650CCP but will have to confirm.

This all happened the day we packed the van so that we could spend the next several weeks isolated in the deseret. Something is drawing down the house battery charge but other than the melted terminal on the controller I did not see what caused it to melt but we were in a bit of a hurrry. Now that we are parked I can unload the back of the van later today and look at everything again.

The house battery was connected to the 100w panel on top of the van. The controller was one I got when I bought the solar panel from Fry's over10 yearrs ago. I disconnected that when I found the melted plastic on the positive terminal on the controller. I may have tossed it but I will clean ouot everything to see if I can find it. The controller was a yellow tear drop device that was matced to the 100 watt panel. We do not have any shore power but the engine alternator does charge it.

We do travel with a 1976 Airstream. It has a 100w panel on it as well. I will use a jump wire I have and see if the house battery will charge off of the trailer battery. I know that there is a device located under the hood on the drivers side that has something to do with controlling which way the charge flows but I do not know if it is an isolater or separator. Since I have no way to replace the isolator or separator I am hoping they are not involved.

I have had everything that the house battery services turned off but will unload the junk in the middle of the van and look again. The one item that has been a problem in the past is the radio switch near the sink. Despite our almost daily use of the van it has not been accidentaly turned on for several years.

Over the years I have let the solar panel charge the house battery. I know that the alternator supplies additional charge to the house battery when I drive the van. I have looked under the back seat and checked the fuses before. No problems just checking. I do not know that I have enough brain cells left to do an assessment of the integrity of the components under the back seat but will look more closely at them when I unpack the middle of the van.

I do carry extra fuses and have a few tools that I can use. I will take a break and look at the manual for the multimeter. Today I connected the wires that allow me to charge the house battery using the trailer battery. I will disconnect them tonight and see if the house battery holds that charge.Thanks
SierraHawk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2020, 03:33 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
SierraHawk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 221
The new battery is a Diehard Gold and is rated at 750CCP.

The controller may be "SunPro" but because the hot wire (from the solar panel) was touching the controller face it melted about half of the name and actually left a residue on the plastic that indicates that it almost caught fire. The label indicates that it is Rated at 21amps. The controller was mounted 14 years ago. Up until now it seems to have worked.

It does however have the name of the manufacture and its URL: www.icpglobal.com

I will spend an hour moving things aroun so that I can see under the back seat.
SierraHawk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2020, 05:34 PM   #6
REF
Senior Member
 
REF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Boulder, CO.
Posts: 1,942
Send a message via MSN to REF
Dead house battery

You’ll more want to look at amp hours(ah) number for your house battery, not the cranking amps(CA) or cold cranking amps(CCA). Deep cycle batteries are best for house applications. Many, including myself prefer AGM over flooded or at the very least a sealed or maintenance free flooded, so no spillage or off gassing, especially if placed inside the van.
__________________
'03 Ford E350 7.3L Diesel
(de)SMB'd Custom RB-50
Quigley 4X4 w/Deavers & Agile Offroad's R.I.P. package
CCV High Profile Pop Top
REF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2020, 09:07 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Denver Colorado
Posts: 194
Put your meter on your house battery (engine off) when the sun is out and bright. measure what voltage you have, if it's not near 13v or above, your solar system is not working properly. Put your meter on where the solar cells are connected to the controller, you should see near 17v (15v min) on a clear sunny day, if not your cells are bad. if you have near 17v input then it sounds like your solar controller has bit the dust.
Lilnuts2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2020, 09:49 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
SierraHawk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 221
On Tues and Wed I attached the jump wires from the trailer battery to the van's house battery each day. Clipped the wires on their respective terminals early in the morning and took them off just before sunset. Before attaching the jumper wires in the morning I would flip a few switches that trace back to the house battery to check to see if the battery had held a charge. The only source for a charge of the trailer battery is a 100w solar panel.

On Wednesday morning the jumper wires were not connected to the trailer battery. But when I switched them on. the radio, lights and water pump worked. After the down home stress test, I clipped the jump wires back onto their terminals and left them in place for 10 hours. Both days were sunny.

On Thursday I did not clip the jump wires to their terminals but we did drive about 20 miles. That evening the battery seemed to be fine (I will measure voltage tomorrow).

This afternoon I checked to see if anything that is attached to the house battery still works. With only 30 minutes of driving, the battery seemed to work OK.

After unloading all of the junk in the back of the van I pulled off the house battery cover (w/ the lid and small compartment) and took off the lid for the battery box. Looked around. Checked for signs of over heating and detached the controller by cutting the two wires. And then put every thing back together. Other than cutting the wires that ran from the controller to the battery I cannot think of anything that I might have done to find or fix any grounded wires or switches inadvertently left on.

I also moved the junk on and in front of the back seat so that I could look at the 120v electrical panel. No sign of heat damage. Breakers were all off and, with one exception, all of the flat fuses looked good. Only one had something that looks like a small piece of dust sitting inside of the fuse. I should probably use the multimeter to see if there is a break in the fuse but I have not finished reading the owners manual before doing that. In the mean time I will pick up another 20a fuse and play with the old one later.

The only thing that may have been draining the house battery is the controller. In the morning I will check the voltage and look at the integrity or any shorts in the old controller. I would like to install a controller that has at least a built in panel that provides me with the battery performance or a panel that allows me to test the performance of the battery.

Thanks for taking the time to look at this problem.
SierraHawk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2020, 09:24 AM   #9
Member
 
wanderers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Southern Indiana
Posts: 86
You can pull the fuse and check the voltage across the fuse holder. If you get a voltage then there is a path for current flow; no voltage, no current path. You can do that for each fuse. Hope this is helpful. Of course that is with the battery connected.
wanderers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2020, 01:06 PM   #10
Junior Member
 
porschedpm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Reno, NV
Posts: 10
There's a better than average chance the culprit causing the parasitic draw was your solar controller. Does your multimeter have an ammeter setting on it. If so, you can use the ammeter setting to if there's still a draw. If I were diagnosing this using my multimeter I'd start by disconnecting the negative cable to the house battery and connect one lead from the multimeter to the negative battery cable end and the other lead to the negative post on the house battery. In my van, the the LPG and CO detectors, and Norcold fridge control panel when not running consume about 0.4 amps so if the meter shows less than 0.5 amps then I'd be pretty sure there were no other draws on the house system. With my meter it doesn't matter if the number is + or -, I'm looking at the absolute number. If the draw turned out higher than 0.5 amps I'll need to narrow down where the excess draw is coming from. To do that, and with the multimeter still connected between the negative battery cable and the negative terminal of the house battery, I'd start by removing a fuse then read the meter to see if the amp draw goes back to normal (0.5 or less). If not replace that fuse and do the same with the next fuse until you've checked the reading with every fuse. If you identify a circuit that has appears to be the culprit look to see what accessories are on that circuit and start disconnecting them one by one to narrow down which accessory is causing the excess draw. If after going through all of the fuses and you weren't able to identify a a fuse/circuit causing the excess draw, then check the battery combiner by disconnecting the lead that connects the battery combiner to the fuse panel. If the excess draw disappears the problem is with the battery combiner. By following this plan you should be able to pinpoint where the issue is.

Regarding batteries, as mentioned above, you should be using a deep cycle battery, preferably an AGM or gel battery, especially if it's in a non-vented compartment inside the van.
__________________

__________________
2006 E350 SMB RB50 6.0 PSD
porschedpm is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:43 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×