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Author Topic: Need Help With Charging System  (Read 4753 times)

RvFairyLady

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Need Help With Charging System
« on: December 04, 2010, 05:38:05 PM »
Scenario: 88 Fleetwood Bounder. On our last trip the batteries slowly died. We were hooked up to shore power & running generator at different times but they were not charging. I have two 12v deep cycle marine batteries, new. Checked with voltmeter - when plugged in the voltage does not go up. When plugged in or using generator the microwave and 120 outlets work, so we think it's a charging issue. I have a link to photos at the end to help clarify.

Was told to look for blown fuses: Started with converter/charger: Did not see any fuses but the ones for the appliances/lights. Checked them all and they looked fine and all the appliances/lights work fine when plugged in or running off generator. Little red "charging" light is not on. (Never has been, I don't know if charging ever worked in this coach, we haven't used it much, before we were just keeping in "off" for storage and using a standard charger plugged into a 120 at home to pull batteries back up to good level.) Pulled off panel door and looked behind it, saws lots of wires and boards but no fuses.

Under the hood: Checked every fuse we could find (since we don't know what we're doing yet) I was looking for 30 and 20 amp fuses in particular. On red wires under the hood: Found two 30 amp fuses, and one 20 amp fuse. They all look fine. Also the 50 amp on the generator looks good.

Confusing: One wire has a small 30 amp & also a 20 amp fuse.... and then a separate wire has a 30 amp.. from what I was researching I thought those would be the wires to/from the charging system. However, those wires both go into the ENGINE battery. We don't know what we are doing... but my logic says they should go into the chassis batteries. Please see photos by going to link at end of this. Could the wiring be wrong? Or are these something else? Someone else before us wired the on/off switches and what went where... and the wiring is confusing because there are a lot of add-ons to this old coach and wires going everywhere.

Also, I know charging the batteries while driving is done on a separate system. But we drove 20 hours and that didn't charge them either. I want to tackle the converter/charger issue first, but wanted to add the driving part in for information.

Here's the pictures, please take a look.

http://s44.photobucket.com/albums/f11/Seven11tech/RV%20wiring/
88 Fleetwood Bounder - Gas 454
Deanna (Happily married to Matt)
Fur Babies: Andie, Milton, Mister, & Max

Just Lou

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Re: Need Help With Charging System
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2010, 07:01:55 PM »
I'll assume it's Deanna who we are communicating with here.  Right?

First off, it is apparent that many user modifications have been made to your battery wiring.  It's going to be nearly impossible for anyone to assist from a distance without sufficient detail answers to specific questions. 

When you are plugged into shore power (or with the gen running) do the interior house lights work brightly? Yes or no

Are the batteries shown in the pics, house or chassis batteries?
Can you measure the output voltage of the converter charger portion?
Why is the Perko switch shown in the photo turned OFF?
Is it turned ON when you try to charge the batteries?
What is the other switch used for?
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

RvFairyLady

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Re: Need Help With Charging System
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2010, 01:43:17 AM »
Yes, this is Deanna; my hubby & I work as a team... I'm better at the brain work and he's better at the muscle work... together we make a great team. Thank you for trying to help Porky.

Yes, when we are plugged in (or running the generator) the interior lights work brightly.

The battery under my hand is the engine battery, the one next to it, and one more to the left (that is out of the photo frame), are the chassis batteries.

The two switches are set-up to go to the two systems.. one for chassis batteries and one for engine battery. This way, when we stop somewhere, we can switch off the engine battery but still use the chassis batteries. The Perko switch is the one that goes to the engine battery; it is off only because we were not working with the engine battery so we left it off to prevent a drain.

The smaller switch is the one that goes to the chassis batteries, it's the one in the on position.

You asked, "Can you measure the output voltage of the converter charger portion?"  We have a meter but I'm not sure how/where to measure that, can you tell me?

We just charged our house batteries up over the last coupld of days.. a long, slow charge. With the RV unplugged the batteries read 12.9 & 12.8. Plugged in.., they read the same.
88 Fleetwood Bounder - Gas 454
Deanna (Happily married to Matt)
Fur Babies: Andie, Milton, Mister, & Max

Clay L

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Re: Need Help With Charging System
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2010, 10:09:00 AM »
When you are connected to shore power, you should have 13.5 volts or so on one of the two terminals on the switch connected to the house batteries.

You said the smaller switch is connected to the chassis battery. Did you mean house battery? The engine battery is usually also called the chassis battery.

If the smaller switch is connected to the house batteries then one lead should go to the house batteries and the other should go to the 12 house wiring. The converter should also be connected to that line somewhere. The converter output is about 13.5 volts.

You may have to find the converter and see if it has been disconnected or if it has a fuse that is blown. Many converters have a fuse on the unit itself. Usually they also have a transfer relay that connects them to the house 12 volt line when shore power is present.

If you find the converter and it happens to be a Magnetek 6300 series (many were back then) I have a schematic I can send you.
Clay (WA5NMR), Lee (Wife), Katie & Kelli (cats), Sali (toy poodle)
Settled down after full timing for eleven years and snowbirding for one year in a 2004 Winnebago 35N Sightseer, Workhorse W 20 Chassis. Honda toad

RvFairyLady

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Re: Need Help With Charging System
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2010, 12:45:59 PM »
Thank you Clay. There is a picture of the converter at the link in the starting post, it is a "Sentinel charger."

Someone else in here told me that the house batteries were the "chassis" batteries because the house sits on the chassis. I give up trying to use the correct words, I'm going for "engine" and "house" as that's what makes sense to me.

The two 12v deep-cycle batteries, for the house needs, are hooked up to the smaller switch, the one that is "on" in the picture.

The one, regular 12v engine starting battery is hooked up to the larger switch. There have been a ton of modifications and things added to the dash, included camera, air bags, amplifier, dash lights, power seat... a few others. And there were features taken out, like a CB and an air horn. So there are wires everywhere. All done before we got the coach. It's great to have all those features but hard to figure out what wires are for what since they are not labled.

I believe the wires going to/from the converter would be the ones with the 30 & 20 amp fuses. One of those wires goes straight into the engine starting battery, (by straight in I mean it does not go through the on/off switch, but bypasses it), and the other on goes the on/off switch that is connected to the engine starter battery, which makes no sense to me.

If I had a ton of money I'd just go get it all professionally straightened out and fixed... trust me... but I don't. I'm pretty good at figuring things out, and I've got my husband here to the lifting and such, but it's like a complicated puzzle, and with all those wires it feels like I'm missing some of the pieces.

So it sounds like, plugged in, one of those wires with the fuses (or both of them) should be sending 13.5 volts. Would this be while disconnected from the battery? How can I tell which one(s) are output? I'm also having a hard time figuring out the switch wires because, as you can see by the pictures, there are several wires going into the switch.
88 Fleetwood Bounder - Gas 454
Deanna (Happily married to Matt)
Fur Babies: Andie, Milton, Mister, & Max

Just Lou

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Re: Need Help With Charging System
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2010, 01:06:38 PM »
The converter charger is a Progressive Dynamics Sentinel.  Service manual located here.

The service manual is common across the product line, but the owners manuals are model specific.  Located here.

Deanna, you should access (and print) the manual and troubleshooting guide referenced.  There is some good info there.

The fact that the red charge indicator does not light indicates that the battery is not connected.  Either you have a problem in the switching/wiring or a fuse/breaker has tripped somewhere.

I'm curious as to where the two large wires on the "house" battery switch go.  One should obviously go to the house batteries, but where does the other one go?
I suspect that it may go to a relay/solenoid (such as a factory installed disconnect solenoid).  If so, you need to find the switch that controls that solenoid or simply bypass it somehow.

Good luck, lou
« Last Edit: December 05, 2010, 01:31:45 PM by aka Porky »
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

Just Lou

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Re: Need Help With Charging System
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2010, 01:55:45 PM »
Deanna, the right hand side of your sentinel is a drop down panel.  Inside you will find the DC generation and distribution circuits.  Like the old Magnetek converter chargers, the PD Sentinel generates and distributes two separate DC outputs.  One output (the Blue output wire(s)) feed the various DC fuses in the panel.  The other DC output (the large Red output wire(s)) go directly to the battery. 

With shore power disconnected, you need to check for the 12.Xv voltage from the batteries on the large red wire near the bottom of the panel.  If it is there, then you have continuity back to the house batteries.  If not there you have at least isolated the problem to the path.

If the 12.Xv battery voltage is present on the red output wire, in the above example, try the following test.

Plug into shore power (or start the gen).  The voltage on the RED wire should increase to approximately 13.6v.

If the voltage increases, then the charger is doing it's job.  If not, then you have a problem in the charger.

BTW - the above test was not suggested in the event that the 12.Xv battery voltage was not present on the red wire, because the charger isn't designed to work unless the batteries are connected.
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

RvFairyLady

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Re: Need Help With Charging System
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2010, 03:23:51 PM »
@ Porky: Those links are great and really a great reference for us to have, thank you. I saved them for reference.

Thanks everyone, we have some good leads.

We turned everything on to start working on it again before I go back to my 12 hour work days tomorrow...

We also had an appointment to bring it to a shop for a CA smog test... but today the starter went out.

We'll have to work on that before we can move forward.
88 Fleetwood Bounder - Gas 454
Deanna (Happily married to Matt)
Fur Babies: Andie, Milton, Mister, & Max

Rning

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Re: Need Help With Charging System
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2011, 10:07:30 PM »
Did you ever get a solution for your battery problem?

I also have a 1988 Fleetwood Bounder with a broken charging system. I downloaded the manuals Porky suggested here, but after trying the troubleshooting and pricing one of the possible replacement parts, I decided to try out the BatteryMinder Plus which cost under $50 (including shipping) when ordering from Amazon.

All the review rave about this product. If this works as everyone says it does, it should work better than the original ever did, even eventually repairing batteries that might have been counted as "dead" before. I had been replacing the batteries as destroyed every 12-15 months before. One $50 charging solution is better than replacing a trio of dead batteries every year.

To be on the safe side, I would like to make sure that the fuse (or whatever) from the Charge Sentinel is disabled. Right now the light does not blink (it never did when I got it) but I would like to make sure. Does anyone know the best way to do this? Is there a switch, or should I disconnect the wires from the charging circuit board inside, or what?



September28

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Re: Need Help With Charging System
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2017, 07:15:44 AM »
Does anyone know if the light on the panel is supposed to be on to indicate that the house batteries are charging when the generator is running as well or just when plugged in to shore power?

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Need Help With Charging System
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2017, 08:56:49 AM »
The charging system does not know the difference between shore power and generator power - it all looks the same from inside the RV.

It's hard to know what "light" and"panel" you are asking about when you haven't identified the type or year/make/model of RV.  They aren't all the same...
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

September28

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Re: Need Help With Charging System
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2017, 10:21:39 AM »
I have a 1988 Fleetwood Bounder with a 454 Chevy. The breaker panel model is PD768Q07RLTCAB

September28

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Re: Need Help With Charging System
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2017, 06:49:49 AM »
Any help would be appreciated. Its a 1988 Fleetwood bounder with a chevy p30 chassis, 454 7.4l v8. The panel I'm looking for info on is the breaker panel that has the fuses for the house, not the engine. The model number on the identification plate is PD768Q07RLTCAB. I'm trying to figure out if the house batteries are being charged while the genset is running.

Thanks in advance!

John From Detroit

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Re: Need Help With Charging System
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2017, 07:30:37 AM »
I think I looked for that panel and found no info.. Of course I am time limited so I could have looked harder.

How to tell if house batteries are being charged under
1: Generator
2: Shore power
3: When driving

Same method for all 3 by the way

You will need.. One Digital DC voltmeter.. that's all folks

Hook voltmeter to batteries when sitting idle (Not plugged in, not driving and no generator for at least one hour) note voltage should be 12.something (hopefully 12.6 but meters vary and there are some loads but basically 12.anything will do.

Start generator or plug in or start main engine (System to be tested)

Wait a bit. ideally one hour but often just a minute or two is enough

13.something (again ideally 13.6) or 14.something  means CHARGING

That simple.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Need Help With Charging System
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2017, 09:13:44 AM »
Whatever indicators there are on that panel, they should be the same whether the external power source is shore power or generator.

The only real way to be sure batteries are charging is to put a meter across the battery posts and measure voltage (13.0 or more indicates charging).
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

September28

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Re: Need Help With Charging System
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2017, 02:19:23 PM »
Thanks Guys! Much appreciated!!

 

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