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Old 05-04-2012, 03:49 PM   #1
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Van alternator and solar panel not charging house battery

Any ideas what else to check??
When we are on shore power the house battery charges fine but the solar panel and van alternator aren't doing anything. We checked the fuse under the seat that's tied to the charge controller and its okay.
The house battery is fine and holds a charge once disconnected from the shore power but slowly discharges with use. There is also a circuit breaker? before the 2 van batteries which was open for some reason but yet the van batteries seem to be fine.
Anyone had a similar issue? Not sure what else to check. Could it have something to do with the separator?
Thanks,
Harry
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:20 PM   #2
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Re: Van alternator and solar panel not charging house batter

The separator should close when powered, not instantly but when the starter batteries reach a certain voltage.

It needs to have a solid ground, via a small black wire. Check that.

A similar size wire in green is an override. If they're building them the same, the green should get 12v+ when the key is in run (not crank). You can test if the separator is closing by supplying 12v to the tab the green wire is on. Disconnect the green wire first... think it's labeled "start".

To close it needs some voltage on one side or the other of the big pins. Mine is on the house side. If your house has voltage that's not the problem.

Next I'd pull the two big battery wires one at a time and check for voltage at the separator. Actually I'd test on each large bolt connection first when they're connected and if they both show power pull one and make sure they both still show power. You can also compare the voltage- the idea being to ensure each end is connected to it's battery and not getting power across the separator.

I'd say after that it's complex. You can rig a switch or jumper temporarily to force the separator closed in the mean time.

Also my solar is connected to the house batteries, then uses the separator to top the starter. Alternator is the opposite. So if neither of those are working on the house batteries it's probably not the separator.

Perhaps the circuit breaker was open for some reason (keep the house batteries from discharging?)

I'd get a test light and crawl all over everything checking for voltage.
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Old 05-04-2012, 05:00 PM   #3
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Re: Van alternator and solar panel not charging house batter

Thanks Jage.
So if the solar panel or the alt are not charging the house battery it wouldn't be the separator?
The circuit breaker that was open is next to the van batteries and doesn't seem to be a SMB part. I'm not sure why it was in open position.
The SMB separator is under the back seat next to the fuse that goes to charge controller. Wouldnt the same thing be happening when plugged in shore power?
I need to get back in there to make sure I'm describing the route correctly.
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Old 05-04-2012, 05:51 PM   #4
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Re: Van alternator and solar panel not charging house batter

Its time to follow the wiring from the built-in charger (shore powered) to the battery and from the solar/separator to the battery and find out where the separate. Then hopefully, you can discover where the power is lost.

I agree with you that a missing ground on the separator shouldn't cause the solar to not charge the battery.

One other thing you might try: Call or email Sportsmobile and see if they can give you hints where to look - your symptoms should narrow it down for them.

Mike
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Old 05-04-2012, 08:31 PM   #5
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Re: Van alternator and solar panel not charging house batter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahukaawe
Anyone had a similar issue? Not sure what else to check. Could it have something to do with the separator?
Thanks,
Harry
Harry,

I recently had my separator go out on my SMB out in the middle of Death Valley. Went into Sportsmobile in Fresno. They replaced it at no charge. We both have 2009's.
You might want to find your separator and run a jumper from one post to the other with your engine running and check to see if your house battery is getting power from your alternator. If so I would say your separator is shot.

Good luck,
Woody
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Old 05-04-2012, 08:55 PM   #6
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Re: Van alternator and solar panel not charging house batter

Thanks guys.
We'll see what happens.
Woody I hope yours is still going strong. I remember meeting you when we picked our up at SMB West.
Its summer. Time to burn some diesel.
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09 E350 EB 6.0PSD SMB 4x4 kind of a 61 layout
02 F450 Flatbed 4x4 7.3 PSD
08 F150 5.4 ltr 4x4 Daily Driver
77 Orig Bronco in rebuild mode "uncut"
76 Orig Bronco rebuilt & driven weekly
71 Orig Bronco rebuilt & 4sale gots everything on it
Owned a jimmy once for about 6 months.
https://www.tropicalgardensofmaui.com
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:52 AM   #7
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Re: Van alternator and solar panel not charging house batter

Oh ya, it's running great. No complaints. I love getting out, mostly when there is 4 wheeling involved.
You might want to checke out our group 4 wheeling in Death Valley, at my website: http://www.beckersminerals.com
I remember talking to you at SMB in 2009.

Woody
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