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Old 11-15-2017, 09:26 AM   #81
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Originally Posted by Bottomland4x4 View Post
What kind of truck conversion? I know you said it's a freightliner, but where are the house batteries in relation to the truck batteries? My truck batteries are located close to the driver side fuel tank, then there is a battery isolator and the house batteries are to the right of the truck batts. My unit will automatically charge the house batteries while the truck is running, there is no emergncy start on the generator, it will pull from truck batteries if needed.

9 volts at your lights is very low, could the batteries be severely discharged? I leave my unit plugged in and it keeps the batteries charged and fridge cold at all times. There is also a display to check voltage and it shows around 13volts when plugged in. On my old toter I have seen it as low as 11 volts and then I had to jump the generator to start it back up.
It is an Elite built by Athena in 2005 now out of business. I have found absolutely nothing about the builder.
House and chassis batteries are in first compartment on pass side along with charger, solenoids, etc. Bank of 4 inboards and three outboards connected in parallel. I assume the inboard bank of 4 is house but the starter cable and heavy gnd are connected to in inboard bank but jumper cables connected to a dedicated jumper post assembly are connected to the outboard bank. Will have to trace all the component wires to see what is going where which I have not done at this point.Hoped to find a schematic from one of the RV conversion companies but no luck so far.
I disconnected, charged, and tested the batteries and they are all good. But, the house batteries(?chassis) seem to run down quickly when not on shore power so one or more things is not right for sure. My previous MH(American Tradition) had a converter/inverter with a Big Boy switch that automatically flipped between house and chassis batteries when on shore, engine, or gen power keeping both banks always topped up. Sure wish I had that now! I too keep mine plugged into 50 amp power so Bush Pilot's observation is probably correct because connections are crossed. Sure wish I had a schematic but going from component to component should work.
Thanks for the help and keep your ideas coming. Would photos of my battery compartment help you guys to sort this mess out?
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Old 11-15-2017, 09:43 AM   #82
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I disconnected, charged, and tested the batteries and they are all good. But, the house batteries(?chassis) seem to run down quickly when not on shore power so one or more things is not right for sure. My previous MH(American Tradition) had a converter/inverter with a Big Boy switch that automatically flipped between house and chassis batteries when on shore, engine, or gen power keeping both banks always topped up. Sure wish I had that now! I too keep mine plugged into 50 amp power so Bush Pilot's observation is probably correct because connections are crossed. Sure wish I had a schematic but going from component to component should work.
Thanks for the help and keep your ideas coming. Would photos of my battery compartment help you guys to sort this mess out?
which Freightliner model/chassis again?

every truck I've ever seen has the engine batteries on the drivers size - unusual that someone would have moved them to the other side.

it sounds like the house batteries are shot (if they won't hold a charge) - sounds like you know this, but replace them all when its time.

I have separate dc to ac inverter, and never use it...but of course there are Xantrex (brand) Freedom (model) etc units that have all 3 functions (Invert, Convert & Charger)

the inverter chargers are cheap....even for best quality units.

if the converter is turned on, even w/out a load, it'll still consume the batteries.

IMO charging the chassis (and even the house) batteries when on shore power is unnecessary....If the batteries are in good condition & hold their charge obviously.

when I'm in storage (even w/ shore power connected) I switch ALL the batteries off & use external battery maintainers - One BatterMinder per bank.
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Old 11-15-2017, 09:50 AM   #83
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heres an idea -

w/ the batteries disconnected (either by switch or pulling the cables) and the converter/charger turned on -

whats the voltage at the 12vdc outlets in the coach...Is it still 9v? (then the converter has an issue - could still be wiring but at least you've eliminated the batteries).
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Old 11-15-2017, 03:54 PM   #84
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Photos might help but here is what I have. Batteries disconnected with "store/use" switch which must be the battery disconnect solenoid control. 12.7 v at 4 bank of batteries(?house?) and 13.9 at 3 bank(chassis?). 10.8 v at overhead light fixtures with battery disconnect switch in "use" position. 0(dead) volts switch in store(off) position. Lights dim a lot when the slide motor or any additional light is activated and battery status panel drops one bar when lights are on. As mentioned earlier, "engine" cable which must be the starter cable(largest of all cables except for matching ground) is connected to the bank of 4 which I think must be house and the leads from the charger/inverter are running to the three(chassis) batteries. AND, a ground cable is connected from 3 bank over to bank of 4 batteries. Thought the two sets of batteries were supposed to be isolated? No voltage is getting to the house system from the inverter/charger because it is not connected to the house batteries. This wiring makes no sense to me and can not be correct but I am no RV electrician for sure. You two obviously know a hell of a lot more about this than I do but the batteries just must not be connected properly. Another thing, the engine does not spin over quickly with first crank revolution but starts immediately after that. Is that just the big ass 14L Detroit 60s way of turning over?
Man, I have a lot to learn about this beast! I sure do appreciate your help. I did not have a bunch of time looking at the batteries because the damn mosquitoes here are terrible. I live in a reclaimed swamp South of Thibodaux, La. A VERY inhospitable place to live if you do not like heat and humidity! But a great place in every other way.
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Old 11-15-2017, 04:59 PM   #85
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It is a FL120 Columbia twin screw with Detroit 60 14L with "upgraded" turbo and a tune to 650 HP. The wiring "tune" is a mess!
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Old 11-15-2017, 05:15 PM   #86
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I can see that the convert/charge you have is the SAME parallax POS that I had.
its NOT an intelligent battery charger - its a DAMN POS trickle charger that will boil your batteries dry.

the lights dim when the slide is moved because the slide motors are 12vdc - its a momentary load, done when you stop the slide - no big deal. even with the converter charging and supply voltage to the batteries - while you move the slide the lights will still dim under the slide motor load....all systems normal.

did I read this right - chassis / engine are connected to house batteries ? that shouldn't be.
I agree sounds like they tied all 7 batteries together....thats a good way to end up needing a jump start.

I wonder if someone tied the engine to the house because some batteries were weak or dead and forgot to put it back the right way?

my 12.8L motor turns over pretty quickly (not as fast as a car of course). 3 batteries should be enough to start the chassis / engine.

Im in Houston Texas - I get the bug reference.
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Old 11-15-2017, 06:30 PM   #87
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Bush pilot, what did you upgrade to? I'm looking at a magnasine or similar to upgrade to and probably add auto start on the generator.

Italgerbrit, I would first start tracking down the wires and only have the truck engine on the 4 batteries. It looks like you have some kind of isolator on the right side but I can't make it out?
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Old 11-15-2017, 06:44 PM   #88
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I have separate dc to ac inverter.

When the paralax POS bit the dust I installed a Progressive Dynamics Converter/Charger w/ the Charge Wizard

I went with the PD9260CV its available for $202 at PPL


personally I don't like these all in one units....If any parts of it takes a dump you've lost the entire function/capability - and the service or replacement is expensive.
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Old 11-16-2017, 06:45 AM   #89
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Default Batteries crossed

After much head scratching and your comments, it looks like I have this figured out. The wiring was definitely crossed up at some point in time. The charger, which I will dump on your advice, is charging the chassis batteries, not the house batteries, so that explains the house lighting problem, weak slide motor, and other weird elec stuff like the erratic operation of the separate inverter for the TV and microwave connected to the house batteries.
I had a Xantrex inverter/charger in my previous Amer Tradition and it is a very expensive unit with several other voltage sensors and solenoids directing voltage back and forth between the house and chassis batteries. Solenoid contacts occasionally corroded here in the swamp humidity along with delicate multi-switches so, while it worked, it required frequent maintenance. Keeping this trucks electrical components simple is definitely the way to go.

Thanks guys for your help. Should be able to square this thing away now without much trouble. I strongly suspect that my initial weird auto shift problems were related to discharged and weak batteries when I initially picked up the truck. Since then, with charging the chassis batteries with shore power and the joining of both banks, though wrong, there has been enough juice to calm down the trans but make the house power crazy. What a mess! Will let you know how it all works after sorting it out and installing a better charger/converter as you suggested.
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:00 AM   #90
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Good deal! Everyone likes a happy ending.

Look at it this way - you already know (and can resolve/repair) more than most coach owners.

Thanks for sharing your experiences w/ the sophisticated (yet complicated and expensive) inverters - it helps me to avoid unnecessary upgrades.
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