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Old 07-08-2021, 10:08 AM   #1
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House battery dead but system works with engine on

Hey guys! I've never had my house battery die on me... until now. This is on a 2105 Chevy Express that CCV popped the top and did the house battery/solar connections/shore power setup, including a system for charging the the house battery off the engine power. It's been a dream, until last night. TL;DR: Is my house battery damaged or no longer usable or did something get tripped or disconnected and why is my shore power not working but the engine power is able to get the house power system going?

Long version: Our typical use of the van is I turn the fridge on the night before we drive somewhere for the weekend, we go about 150 miles roundtrip with the fridge on the whole weekend, raise and lower the pop top once or twice, then home to LA, where I turn off the fridge. The van sits there. A week or two later, I turn the fridge on the night before and the next morning we go on another trip. Never have I had a problem. Until last night!

I drove last week from LA to Illinois. We stopped two nights. The fridge was on the whole time. When we got to Illinois, I turned the fridge off and the van stayed parked for a week. I raised and lowered the poptop a few times to show it off. (Always fun!)*And I also took the van to get the oil changed yesterday and have the fuel vent looked at. (It's hard to pump gas without the pump shutting off. The mechanic looked admiringly at the house battery but says he didn't do anything to it.)

Anyway, I go to turn on the fridge last night to prepare for our drive to New York State today and flipped on the house lights too. Totally normal stuff. Then, after just a few seconds, all the power cut out. When I fired up the van, after about 10-20 seconds, everything turns back on. But even after letting the van run for about 30 minutes, the system still cuts out pretty quickly when I turn off the engine.* Curious...

Last night, I hooked up the shore power and left it plugged in overnight, figuring the fridge and lights would be on in the morning. Nope. I fired up the engine and after a while everything lit up. It occurred to me to turn on a little inverter I have hooked up inside the van, mainly for charging tiny portable*electronics. With the van running, the input is 13.7V. When I turn the van off, it starts dropping pretty quickly, and when it hits 12.1, everything shuts off, including of course the inverter.*

Sooo, a few questions as I prepare to drive to New York State tonight.
*
1. Do you guys think my house battery is dead or damaged somehow?
2. Did the mechanic who changed my oil and looked at the fuel vent somehow disconnect*something with the battery? Why would the engine be able to power everything but not be charging the battery?
3. Why is my shore power not charging the battery? I remember the guys at CCV saying I needed a charge controller for the solar connections they installed. I haven't gotten one yet! ($$$/time) Did I also need a charge controller for the shore power they installed? (If this is the case, I have been using that shore power off and on for a year and it actually wasn't doing anything LOL.)

Sorry for the long message! Thanks for your insight!
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Old 07-08-2021, 10:32 AM   #2
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So, is there a charger installed for shore power? You don’t need a charge controller for shore power, you need a charger. If you don’t know and can’t tell, just you contact CCV. Normally one can switch the charger on and off. Doesn’t sound like your battery is charging on shore power. Could be not switched on, not installed or not working.

Sounds like you depleted the battery during the week and haven’t recharged the battery. It may not be working at full capacity and that may impact it. Need to charge the battery to see if it will take a charge. Then you can determine if it is ok or needs to be replaced.

At this point it seems your battery is only charging when running the van.
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Old 07-08-2021, 10:38 AM   #3
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The first thought is that your battery has seen better days. The reason all 12 volt appliances work while the engine is running via a ACR or Separator. Not really sure what CCV uses.

Yes, you need a solar controller, the panels do not connect directly to the house battery system.

As far as when you are plugged in (shore power), again not sure what CCV put in for you, but yes you would need some form of charger to charge the 12 volt batteries when plugged in.

I would search around and see if you can find a shore power charger.

You didn't state how long the battery has been installed or what size it is, so it would be difficult to determine if that was in the normal usage model or not. Your charging method of using van alternator may have left the battery not fully charged in between trips, which would speed up capacity loss.

-greg
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Old 07-08-2021, 01:28 PM   #4
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This is really helpful! So the battery (marine grade? enormous? welded under the van) is only a year old but maybe charging it only off the alternator, as I have for a year (presumably, more about that in a second) has degraded its ability to hold a charge? This checks out if in fact the shore power isn't hooked up to anything yet. I guess it checks out even if it *is* hooked up, because I basically only ever charge the house battery off the engine. Anyhow, my hope is that after driving 400-500 miles tonight, and another 600 or so tomorrow, that my battery will have charged enough to keep that fridge going! Will keep you guys posted
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Old 07-08-2021, 01:43 PM   #5
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CCV pretty busy these days! Hard to get them on the phone. Anyhow, I went back to our work order and found this listed as installed last November. Not clear if the shore power was installed with the charger Marrett and Scalf77 described:

Dual capacity battery system
Dual capacity Interstate AGM battery and Blue Sea Smart Solenoid.

Solar Pre Wire Two MC4 connection wires and wire pass through installed in top. Not wired to a panel, or connected to a charge controller.

Misc Charge suite case solar plug in side of van

Shore Power Hookup Exterior hook up for shore power. Mounted under van unless otherwise specified.

Services coco genius 10amp battery charger installed part #72-5841
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Old 07-08-2021, 02:37 PM   #6
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Well, it looks like you have a Noco Genius (not coco). Looks like a good charger, but is limited to 10 amps. Don’t know how long it would take to charge a discharged battery.

Suggest you make sure it is hooked up properly. Might check the current at the battery when plugged in.

The Blue Sea is what Greg mentioned so you can charge the house battery and protect the start battery.

Hope Greg will stop by again.

Will be interesting to see how it charges with the driving.
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Old 07-08-2021, 04:10 PM   #7
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If the charger is the Noco Genius, it looks to be an auto 6V/12V charger, if the battery is drawn to low, the charger may get confused on what voltage to be set to and never really fire off, or just to low to turn on. I would try to find out how it is connected, etc.

Driving a long distance will charge it back up, but if you have degraded it your capacity will be less. So it may have enough capacity to keep the fridge going overnight, maybe not.

-greg
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Old 07-12-2021, 07:43 AM   #8
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Update: I drove from Illinois to New York City and the battery never recovered. The house system still works like a charm when the engine is running but even after 1000 miles of driving the system run off the house battery shuts down 10-30 seconds after I shut off the engine.

1. Based on the fact the system runs with the engine running do you guys think it's likely the house battery is just malfunctioning and NOT that my mechanic disconnected something when he looked at the fuel vent? (Fuel tank is right by the house battery, welded under van.)
2. If it's a malfunctioning house battery, is that a fairly routine question I could bring to an average mechanic here in Brooklyn? IE: I could just roll up to some shop, and ask the to check the house battery and maybe recharge it for me?
3. Or once a house battery of this kind loses its charge, is it basically dead and I need a new one? If so, where in Brooklyn can a guy buy (and have installed?) a Dual capacity Interstate AGM battery.

THANKS!
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Old 07-12-2021, 09:21 AM   #9
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Testing the battery is routine. Even most auto parts places, at least the national chains, will test it for free.

Can you put a multimeter on it? Check with the van running and without?

Batteries can go bad, lose a cell, etc. Not uncommon. No recommendations in NYC area. For the house battery, better to get a deep cycle RV/Marine battery although you can use a dual capacity battery.
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Old 07-12-2021, 09:25 PM   #10
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Thanks so much for the advice, Marret and Scalf77. I'll let you know what I find out, when I get a sec to get to someone who can help
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