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Batteries

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jas

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Batteries
« on: January 06, 2018, 11:56:50 am »
I have a 2910 T 2015 year . it is in storage inside heated building Plugged in to  120 volt power. How does the batteries stay charged ? I checked yesterday the voltage was 3 volts
 nothing would work. Every thing is off. How do I check this out ? I removed the hot cable (red + ) to charged the batteries . Thanks  jas

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fandj

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Re: Batteries
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2018, 12:24:46 pm »
Check the liquid levels.  The level should be above the top of the plates.  If it is below the top of the plates you could try adding distilled water and charge.  More than likely with a voltage of 3 volts and low liquid level the batteries are dead and will require replacing.  Do you have 6 volt or 12 volt batteries?  If the liquid level is ok you could have them recharged and load tested.  Also, If your built in charger is not putting out about 13.5 volts to the battery there could be a problem with the converter (charger) and the batteries are not being charged.

With power connected to the coach full time it is very important to check liquid level and add if needed at least once a month.

I typically connect my PC to power about once a month for about 24 hours to top the batteries off.  I also disconnect the batteries if not being charged as there are loads in the PC that will slowly drain them.

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jatrax

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Re: Batteries
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2018, 03:06:08 pm »
Quote
I have a 2910 T 2015 year . it is in storage inside heated building Plugged in to  120 volt power. How does the batteries stay charged ? I checked yesterday the voltage was 3 volts nothing would work. Every thing is off. How do I check this out ? I removed the hot cable (red + ) to charged the batteries .
If you are plugged into 120 volt then the converter should be charging the batteries and also providing 12 volt power to the lights and other equipment.  Do you have the battery disconnect switch off?  If so nothing 12 volt will work and the batteries will not get charged.  So they might have just drained over time.  How long has the coach been in storage?

As @Fandj states the first thing to check is the water level in the batteries.  At 3 volts it is likely they are ruined but you can try to get them charged again but only after checking the water level.  In general it is a bad idea to leave the coach plugged into 120 volt unattended, at the very least you need to regularly check the water level.

You say you removed the red cable to charge the batteries, does that mean you are now using an external battery charger?

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jas

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Re: Batteries
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2018, 07:54:34 pm »
The water level is good. With the battery switch on and the red cable off the batteries  (2- 6 volts) I took a reading with a volt meter and got nothing . Reading between the red and black wires off the batteries  These are new batteries
bought in August . The motor home is in a bay at my electric shop and started every month .Where is the converter ?  Would the converter power the lights with the batteries
disconnected  ? If so mind is not working. Thanks jas

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Dynadave

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Re: Batteries
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2018, 08:22:28 pm »
I am not sure I understand what you did  but if you have the red ( positive, +) cable disconnected from your batteries they will not be charged by your on board charger nor will the 12 volt lights work. You have disconnected the batteries from the coach .
2014 Sprinter 2350

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jatrax

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Re: Batteries
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2018, 08:24:53 pm »
Quote
Would the converter power the lights with the batteries
disconnected
I believe the answer to that is yes, but I'm not 100% certain.

You need to start at the beginning and work your way through the system.  

1) Verify that you have 120 volt power in the rig.  Check some of the receptacles in the coach.  I keep one of  these plugged into the rig at all times so I know the shore power is on.

2) The converter is going to be integrated with your breaker panel.  Mine is under the passenger bed, not sure about yours.

3) The converter is run from a breaker in the panel.  Mine is marked 'convert', check that the breaker for that is on.  Turn it off and back on to check

4) If the converter is running you should have 12 volt power to the interior lights.  If not test the output of the converter (or at the batteries) you should be reading 13.5 - 13.8 if the converter is running regardless of the state of the batteries.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2018, 04:29:23 pm by jatrax »

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keelhauler

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Re: Batteries
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2018, 02:29:15 pm »
The battery shutoff switch must remain on or the batteries will not charge. It will take a while to get fully charged at least a day or so.
You did some damage to the batteries but they can withstand a few deep discharges without killing them. Not like a car battery. If you do not want to continuously charge while stored you need to disconnect the black cable.

Note, same thing will happen to your Ford battery. There is a lot of power drain so you need to either disconnect or charge occasionally.

This is why I like my solar panels. I leave the switch to the left of steering wheel on and the solar keeps all my batteries charged all the time. You must monitor water level in all the batteries every couple of months.

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Batteries
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2018, 03:23:44 pm »
jas,

Everyone is giving you good advise.

I practice an alternative method with our 2350 stored in our heated garage.

1) Disconnect the hot/red wire from both house and chassis batteries to eliminate any potential drain on them.
2) Using a secondary battery charger, charge the pair of house batteries and also the chassis battery once every-2 to 3 months until the charger says they are full.

I use the secondary battery charger shown below.  Mine has 4, 10, 20 and 40 amp settings.  For battery maintenance during storage periods, I use the low 4 amp setting.  Readout is in amps, not volts, which is what you want.  As the batteries charge up, the number drops lower.  When it hits zero, the charger says "FULL" and stops charging.

I bring the red charger and use it on trips, primarily utilizing the generator.  Our 2007 has the older Tripp-Lite inverter which I do NOT rely on it because I don't know the charging status.  It also charges slower than the red charger.  To limit generator run times, I set the red charger to the 40 amp setting.  No worries when on a trip, but during long term storage, I fear the on-board inverter/charger over-charges the batteries rather than shutting off when the batteries are fully charged.

« Last Edit: January 07, 2018, 04:42:44 pm by ron.dittmer »
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jatrax

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Re: Batteries
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2018, 04:27:57 pm »
Quote
I leave the switch to the left of steering wheel on and the solar keeps all my batteries charged all the time.
@Keelhauler I think that switch is a momentary contact type on my rig.  You have to hold it in to activate the 'boost'.  I wonder if that is a change between your model year and mine?

Quote
I use the secondary battery charger shown below.
Another solution is to use a trickle charger or battery tender  like this  They will not charge (at least not very fast) a discharged battery but they will keep it topped up all winter.  I use one on the battery for my generator at the house.

But before you start on alternative solutions I think it best you find out what went wrong in the first place.  I am leaning toward something wrong with your 120 volt input because if you had 120 into the coach your house lights should have worked regardless of the state of the battery.

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jas

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Re: Batteries
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2018, 05:06:08 pm »
Thanks to all. I thank I found the problem . On my coach it has the surge protector from the factory . To get the power to come on you need to turn off the microwave circuit
or it takes 3 or 4 times for it to come on with out a fault. The last time I moved the coach I did not turn it back on. I thank the convertor and microwave is on the same circuit.
So to check it all out I discounted the red and black wires from the batteries. With the microwave circuit off no voltage on the red and black, With it on I had 13-14 volts.
So i installed  the red and black wires back on the batteries. Hope all is well, Will check on Monday, jas

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jatrax

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Re: Batteries
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2018, 05:47:08 pm »
What size extension cord do you have the coach hooked up with?  Assuming it is not the regular 30 amp cord?  Your cord should be 12 gauge and as short as possible.

My guess is that the cord is too small.  When you plug in the coach the voltage drops because the converter is drawing a lot of power initially to charge the batteries.  The surge protector detects the voltage drop and cuts off the power.  Another possibility is that you have the A/C or heat pump turned on and when you plug in the voltage drops initially, again forcing the surge protector to cut power.


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CalCruiser

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Re: Batteries
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2018, 06:54:30 pm »
You may have a bad converter. After charging the house batteries test them for 6 volts ( 12 volts in series)  with a  voltmeter before reconnecting the + side from the coach, then reconnect the shore power. Measure the charging voltage at the batteries. It should measure 13.0 to 13.5 volts. If you have  to replace it get a Progressive Dynamics model with charge wizard.


The surge protector won't detect a load from the microwave  when it is off. Check that the air conditioner and refrigerator are OFF too and that nothing is plugged in to the AC sockets , since those are the only other loads on the  AC / shore power circuit.

As previously discussed, leaving the rig connected to shore power can cause the oem dumb converter to overcharge and boil the house batteries. Using the house battery disconnect switch will  prevent the batteries from discharging while the rig is stored. Check if  the LP gas detector is still on when  the battery disconnect  switch is  in off mode. Try turning off all DC circuit  breakers while the rig is stored to eliminate the possibility of parasitic loads.

Storing the rig with a disconnected main battery can cause the Ford  ECM to lose the learned  data used  for emission control, resulting in a check engine light condition that can only be cleared by performing  numerous required drive cycles.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2018, 10:53:26 am by CalCruiser »
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keelhauler

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Re: Batteries
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2018, 08:31:10 am »
Quote
@Keelhauler I think that switch is a momentary contact type on my rig.  You have to hold it in to activate the 'boost'.  I wonder if that is a change between your model year and mine?


In my first PC it was a on-off switch, but now they use momentary, and I don't know why they changed it.

I have always recommended that the switch be changed to on-off instead of momentary. These are available at auto parts stores and are identical size and pop into the opening. The electric wires have spade lugs and come off the old switch and slip right on the new switch. Less than 5 minute install time.

Now why?; When parked for a long time, I just flip on the switch when I need to, to keep Ford battery charged. I monitor both batteries voltage with my Bogart Monitor. For long term storage this switch is on for 3 months.

There are other safety systems that are in place. Normally when you turn on your ignition you will notice that your step goes in, even if override switch by the door is on. If this battery switch is on the same thing happens, the step will go in, and no power will go to your electric awning.

The answer about the surge protector is correct. If you have anything on that pulls a lot of power and you have a light weight extension cord the voltage will drop low enough that you will get no power to RV.

As a reminder to everyone whose batteries don't last, try not to let you battery voltage drop below 12.1V, 50% charge.


All my batteries are 6 years old and still work fine.

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fandj

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Re: Batteries
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2018, 09:45:28 am »
You may have a bad converter. After charging the house batteries test them for 6 volts ( 12 volts in series)  with a  voltmeter before reconnecting the + side from the coach, then reconnect the shore power. Measure the charging voltage at the batteries. It should measure 13.0 to 13.5 volts. If you have  to replace it get a Progressive Dynamics model with charge wizard.


The surge protector won't detect a load from the microwave  when it is off. Check that the air conditioner, refrigerator, and inverter are all  OFF too and that nothing is plugged in to the AC sockets  since those are the only other loads on the  AC / shore power circuit.

As previously discussed, leaving the rig connected to shore power can cause the oem dumb converter to overcharge and boil the house batteries. Using the house battery disconnect switch will  prevent the batteries from discharging while the rig is stored. Check if  the LP gas detector is still on when  the battery disconnect  switch is  in off mode. Try turning off all DC circuit  breakers while the rig is stored to eliminate the possibility of parasitic loads.

Storing the rig with a disconnected main battery can cause the Ford  ECM to lose the learned  data used  for emission control, resulting in a check engine light condition that can only be cleared by performing  numerous required drive cycles.

A previous travel trailer I had was equipped with a Parallax converter that I think is similar to the PC installed unit.  It was notorious for boiling the batteries with subsequent loss of electrolyte. Many owners of this brand trailer replaced the converter with a Progressive Dynamics 4 stage unit which allowed for quicker recharge when needed and dropped the charge voltage to reduce boiling for storage.  When we ordered our unit I had Kermit install a Progressive Dynamics unit which has worked well.  I use the PD Charge Wizard that allows selection of charge voltage if desired but the automatic mode works well without any operator input required.

If the Parallax unit had failed I had a plan to replace it with a PD unit which had a kit for ease of replacement in the existing fuse/breaker box.  I sold the trailer before failure.  Many owners that made the replacement worked with Randy at http://www.bestconverter.com/

I never had a need to deal with Best Converter but they had a reputation of good customer service including helping determine which model is needed as well as being very knowledgeable on installation.

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jatrax

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Re: Batteries
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2018, 12:09:02 pm »
One thing that can be done to the existing Parallax converter that will help keep it from boiling the batteries is the addition of their temperature monitoring module.

I added one to my rig as soon as I got it.  Simple install, and around $60.  It monitors the battery temperature and adjusts the charging voltage to keep the batteries from boiling.  I really do not know why this is not standard equipment.

Maybe not as good as a PD 4 stage charger but if you are not ready to swap out the converter yet the TempAssure might be a good investment.