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Help - rookie questtion on battery panel

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BlairBear

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Help - rookie questtion on battery panel
« on: July 05, 2018, 08:57:08 am »
I bought a used 2351 6 wks ago.  It was working fine when I put it in storage for past month til we could use it.  Put battery in store mode on the battery disconnect panel.  Pulled it out of storage and Pushed "use" on battery panel and I have no power.  Solar panel doesn't show any voltage. Currently running truck engine to recharge house batteries which must be dead.

Am I missing something?  HELP!

Blair
Rockford MI

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jatrax

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Re: Help - rookie questtion on battery panel
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2018, 09:30:05 am »
I do not have a battery disconnect panel, just a rotary disconnect switch so there is some difference there in our rigs.  Can you post a picture of the panel? 

First we do not know what shape the batteries were in when you put them in storage.  Even disconnected there is some constant loss from both self-discharge (about 10 - 15% per month I have read), and from things still connected like the propane and CO2 detectors, which are normally wired to bypass the disconnect for safety.

Second without more information on your solar setup we do not know if it would charge with the disconnect off.  They can be wired either way.  We also do not know if it ever worked or if so how many amps it should be providing.

After charging, I would suggest taking out the batteries and having them tested.  Most auto parts or tire shops will do that, often for free.  Since the batteries were dead they need tested to see if they will still hold a charge.

Do you have a voltage tester?  I recommend having one plugged into the 12 volt system someplace visible so that you can constantly monitor the voltage.  Actually I strongly recommend a battery monitor like the Bogart Trimetric but that is an additional cost and not for everyone.  http://www.bogartengineering.com/products/trimetrics.html

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BlairBear

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Re: Help - rookie questtion on battery panel
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2018, 11:45:07 am »
Thanks for the reply.   Batteries are a year old and it was fully charged when stored.  Made sure every thing was off. Ran the engine for a half an hour and still no power from batteries.  Have battery numbers but the screen doesn't show any.   Is there a fuse as part of the battery disconnect switch?  Maybe the switch is broken? Did I blow a fuse? All the circuit breakers are ON.

I talked to the original owner and he never used the switch cuz he stored it in the barn.  He said the solar panel should be charging if the battery is connected.  This seems to be my problem?

I don't have a volt meter and wouldn't know how to use it..

Phoenix factory is closed this week or I would call them.

Any other idea's out there?

thanks

Blair

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jatrax

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Re: Help - rookie questtion on battery panel
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2018, 07:22:06 pm »
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I don't have a volt meter and wouldn't know how to use it..
I would strongly suggest you correct that.  A motorhome has a rather complex electrical system and unless you can use a volt meter it is very difficult for anyone to help you because we are just guessing.  They cost $10-15 at harbor freight or any hardware store.  Really not hard to learn the basics of 12 volt and 120 volt testing so that you can provide answers to diagnostic questions.

Some basics: 
Your batteries can get charged in three different ways:
1) From the converter / charger in the house
2) From the truck engine when running
3) From your solar panels

If none of those things are charging I would first make sure that the battery disconnect is 'connected'.  Have you tried moving that switch back & forth?

Voltage should be:
12.7 volts when the batteries are fully charged and have rested for at least an hour. 
13.7 to 14.7 when charging depending on the type of charger and how it is set.
Anything less than 12 volts indicates a serious issue.

If you had a volt meter you would:
1) Test at the battery terminals to determine if there is any voltage (checking for shorted battery)
2) Test at one of the interior 12 volt outlets (might tell if the disconnect switch is working)
3) Check voltage while the engine is running, this should be 13.7 or higher while charging. 
4) Check voltage at the truck battery, it should be 12.7 volts at rest after an hour of no charging, and about 13.7 (roughly) when the truck is running.  Tests for alternator working.


But without a volt meter there is no way to make those tests and thus not much help anyone can be except to guess.

A couple of questions: 
1) Are your house lights on or off?  Dim or bright? 
2) Does moving the battery disconnect switch make any difference?
3) Do you have access to shore power so you can plug in and run the on board battery charger?  Note that charging from the truck engine is more of a trickle charge not the full amount you would get from the converter (charger) in the house.
4) Do you have an on board generator?  That will power the converter and do a much better job of charging the batteries than the truck engine.

Running the truck engine for any length of time should give you 12 volt power to the lights while it is running, IF the interconnect is working.  There is a fuse under the hood that might be blown that would prevent the truck engine from charging the house batteries.  But that does not explain your other problems.

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Have battery numbers but the screen doesn't show any. 
Not sure what you mean by this, can you explain.
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Is there a fuse as part of the battery disconnect switch?
Not the disconnect (as far as I know) but there definitely are fuse in the 12 volt line near the battery.  But you need that volt meter to test.
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All the circuit breakers are ON.
The circuit breakers are for the 120 volt systems.  All of the 12 volt circuits have fuses.  The only circuit breaker that matters here is the one to the converter, and that ONLY if you are plugged into shore power.
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Maybe the switch is broken?
Maybe.  And with that meter we could test for an eliminate that quickly.


May I suggest if you have a friend or neighbor handy that has a meter you get them involved?  Really need to be able to tell what is going on.

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BlairBear

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Re: Help - rookie questtion on battery panel
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2018, 11:41:29 pm »
I understand I have a lot of learning to do.  I will buy a volt meter today.

I have turned the store/use switch a number of times.  It doesn't seem to do anything.

The entire house is dark.  No lights no power anywhere.  I pushed the gen start button but nothing happened. Need to get out the gen manual in the morning.  It's like the coach has a blown fuse.   Running truck didn't change anything.   The voltage panel that was working when I put it in storage is not lit up.  It shut down when it went into store mode. It  had those voltage numbers when working.

My guess is the bat is dead or that disconnect switch might be broken...

Thanks for your help and patience.

Blair
 

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jatrax

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Re: Help - rookie questtion on battery panel
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2018, 09:48:03 am »
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Thanks for your help and patience.
No worries at all, glad to be of help.  I can assure you I have been in your situation with a dark coach and no idea what happened.  In our case sitting at a rest stop eating lunch.  That was found to be a loose battery cable that caused enough heat to melt the insulation on it.

Post back when you get your meter.  There will be a lot of functions on it (an almost overwhelming number) but ignore everything (for now) except the voltage settings.  There will be two different ones.  The 12 volt (battery) one is marked with a 'V' with a solid and dashed line above it.  The 120 volt one is marked with a 'V' and a sine wave above it.  We are concerned with the 12 volt one for now.

The 12 volt meter is polarity sensitive (it knows the difference between the positive and negative) so you need to match the colors when you plug your test leads in.  Then always put the red lead on the (hot, positive, red) wire and the black or negative lead on a ground.

First thing to check is the battery voltage.  If you have one battery it is a 12 volt one and you can just test at the two battery posts (red + and black - ).  If you have two batteries they are likely 6 volt wired in series to make one big 12 volt battery.  Test at the red of one and the black of the other.  Let me know what that reading is.

Also, do you have access to 120 volt power where the coach is stored?  That might be the fastest way to get the batteries charged up again.