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Author Topic: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?  (Read 22269 times)

thegnat1

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How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« on: April 05, 2013, 07:17:53 PM »
We have a 2000 American Dream and we need ALL the help we can get.  How do we charge the chassis batteries?

captsteve

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2013, 07:22:40 PM »
Roll it down the highway at 65mph until you hit water, then turn around and repeat! Second choice is plug in to shore power.
Capt Steve has the Conn, Trina navigator ( Admiral )
2004 American Revolution 40c (aka Fat Girl) **Sold**
2017 Ram 1500 (Future Toad)
Piper Archer II  (Where the RV money goes)

thegnat1

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2013, 07:29:07 PM »
That's it captsteve?  We have it plugged in to shore power right now and when my DH went outside to measure the voltage running across them it was 5 something.  Last night with no shore power they were measuring 7.5?  I am so confused.  Are we too stupid to own this thing?

HueyPilotVN

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2013, 07:41:51 PM »
Ok Captain, You started with a goofy answer, now tell him the rest of the story
Bill Waugh
2 Jeep Commanders
Mustang Bracket Race Car
Retired from the road to Lake Havasu after 35 years on the road
Now just another Lurker

1275gtsport

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2013, 07:43:59 PM »
according to the owners manual
http://www.fleetwoodrv.com/partsandservice/manualsByYear.asp

section 11 page 3

 "The AC/DC power converter will also charge both sets of
batteries when plugged into 120-volt service or if the generator is running."


That being said if the battery is discounted (switch) then it will not. do you have the paper manual? the Manual for the chassis? if not you maybe able to find one online.

the voltage measured sounds like the battery has been discounted for some reason.
take a deep breath find a nice beverage of choice and read the manual it will tell all :)

1977 GMC 26 foot Palm Beach
1976 Austin Mini

HueyPilotVN

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2013, 07:48:36 PM »
In case he does not answer back right away,  You have a couple of ways to recharge your chassis batteries.  When you are plugged into 120v shore power your convertor should charge your batteries as well as provide 12 volt power to the coach.  When you are driving your coach the engine alternator should charge both your engine battery and your coach batteries.  Some people also have installed solar panels to recharge their batteries when parked without shore power.  You may have a problem with your convertor charging circuit if you are not recharging your batteries or you may have a problem with your battery if you are calling the engine battery the chassis battery, also check your master disconnect switch if you have one,

Good luck,  I am sure the Captain was just kidding you.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2013, 07:51:56 PM by HueyPilotVN »
Bill Waugh
2 Jeep Commanders
Mustang Bracket Race Car
Retired from the road to Lake Havasu after 35 years on the road
Now just another Lurker

captsteve

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2013, 08:04:44 PM »
Ok, You got me. All the above is true. I would pull the batts. out and charge them, then take them to auto zone and have them load tested. If they read good, your charging circuit is the issue. But they could be bad if they have been discharged for too long or too low.

How old are they? Are they full of water?

No, you are not in over your head on this. It's just a steep learning curve! Slow down and breath ( and the beverage of choice is a great idea)
Capt Steve has the Conn, Trina navigator ( Admiral )
2004 American Revolution 40c (aka Fat Girl) **Sold**
2017 Ram 1500 (Future Toad)
Piper Archer II  (Where the RV money goes)

thegnat1

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2013, 08:29:01 PM »
Thanks ALL!!!  Captsteve, you can't tell emotion on this computer thing and I wasn't being ugly, I was laughing when I wrote that's it captsteve?  I thought it was funny!  hahaha  I will tell my husband to grab a beer and read all of the manuals!  I love all y'all's advice!  It's nice to be surrounded by experience!

Just Lou

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2013, 09:17:45 PM »
As I stated in this topic when I suggested that you start this one, your chassis batteries should be charging from your on-board charger, either a converter or Inverter/charger, as long as you are plugged into shore power.

The first thing you need to do is ensure that the battery disconnect switches by your entry door are turned ON.  Your unit probably has an Inverter/charger rather than (or in addition to) a converter and may not depend on these switches being ON, but it won't hurt to turn them ON, and leave them ON anyway.  Most lower end coaches (those without Inverter/chargers) must have these switches ON.

Next thing you need to do is to determine if your charger is working.  To do this, measure the voltage directly at the house battery terminals.  The voltage should be at least 13.2vdc.  If the voltage is anything less than that, the charger is not working properly.  You need to find the reason before proceeding further.

If the charger is working, proceed to the next step.

Secondly, you need to check the voltage on the chassis battery.  This voltage should be exactly equal to the voltage reading on the house batteries, because they should be connected together by the charging circuitry in the BCC (Battery Control Center) box.

If the voltage is lower than that measured at the house batteries, the relay (solenoid) used to make this connection is not activated.  This can be caused by circuit failure in the BCC or a defective relay. 

A quick test, at this point, would be to PRESS and HOLD the AUX START switch, while trying your normal coach start procedure.  If the Aux Start procedure works, (the engine cranks) the problem is in the BCC circuitry,  If it does NOT, the problem may just be a defective relay.

The same relay is used for both the charging and the aux start processes.  It could well be the failing component.  Good luck........

'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

thegnat1

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2013, 09:03:26 AM »
One more question JustLou....does the inverter need to be turned on when charging the batteries?  And thank you so much for your response.  When my DH gets home he is going to go over everything you recommended. :)

billwild

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2013, 09:49:20 AM »
And one more thing, before you pull any batteries out, take a clear picture of them and the way they are with all the wires attached. Also a good idea is to do up a diagram with red for positive wires and black for negative. Can be very confusing to try and install without pictures or a diagram.

Bill
2005 Carriage Cameo 5th. wheeler
2005 Holiday Rambler Endeavor
2004 Honda CRV

thegnat1

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2013, 10:16:51 AM »
Thanks BillWild!  I will let the DH know that!  Good thinking!  ;)

Just Lou

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2013, 10:38:06 AM »
Quote
...does the inverter need to be turned on when charging the batteries? 

Usually NOT.  Most Inverter/Charger combinations are designed to charge automatically when plugged to shore power, even if the inverter portion is OFF.  My advice is to leave it alone until you establish that it will, in fact, charge, then you can experiment with turning it ON/OFF to record what happens.

It's just all part of your learning curve.

It would help us, help you, if you could give us the model numbers and names of the Inverter, converter and nomenclature on the various switches and equipment you find installed.

Again, good luck, and rest assured we'll get you off on the best summer vacation you've ever had. ;) ;D :)
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

Wavery

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2013, 11:14:42 AM »
That's it captsteve?  We have it plugged in to shore power right now and when my DH went outside to measure the voltage running across them it was 5 something.  Last night with no shore power they were measuring 7.5?  I am so confused.  Are we too stupid to own this thing?
If your battery is down to 5V, there is no way that it will take a charge....... General rule of thumb..... for best performance, don't let your batteries get below 12.0. If your batteries get below 10V, there is little chance that they will ever take a full charge again......... 5V (without a load) I would just buy new batteries and check the charging system.
Wayne
2005 32' Fleetwood Southwind

Retired our '98 Winnebago Adventurer Nov 2018

Wife, Carolyn...... 5 kids.... 14 grandkids.... 12 greats. Christmas has become a real burden :-)


Retired GM Service Manager driving a Ford....What's the world coming too??

Just Lou

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2013, 11:41:12 AM »
......... If your batteries get below 10V, there is little chance that they will ever take a full charge again.........  I would just buy new batteries and check the charging system.

I suspect that new batteries are in your near future, but my approach would be to check, fix and understand  the charging system.... then buy new batteries if required.

You'll have plenty of opportunity to throw parts at future RV problems.  There's no need to replace parts without learning something in the process.  JMHO
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

Alfa38User

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2013, 09:26:21 AM »
The original voltage quoted by the OP (about 7 Volts) makes me think of a 6 volt battery under charge. It could be he has 2 - 6 volt batteries in series but measured only one of them without realizing it.... But then, maybe not :-\
Stu
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Snowbird, Naples Florida
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"Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advise!!!"

Ernie n Tara

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2013, 10:21:18 AM »
Note that not all coaches charge the chassis batteries with the converter. Early Winnies, for example, do not (unless someone has added a Battery Minder or equal).

Ernie
Ernie 'n Tara

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dave61

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2013, 10:23:41 AM »
I thought six volts batts as well. Also several mentions of the disconnect switch needing to be on. Wouldn't it be obvious if it was off? IE nothing dc would be working.
2004 B Touring Cruiser 27
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Tampa Bay FL

rsalhus

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2013, 10:44:39 AM »
Ernie said it best when he said that "not all coaches charge the chassis batteries with the converter."  A previous discussion about this can be found here
http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,15983.0.html.
Rolf Salhus
Currently at:  Our home in Apple Valley, MN

Just Lou

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2013, 12:48:58 PM »
Quote from: Alfa38User
The original voltage quoted by the OP (about 7 Volts) makes me think of a 6 volt battery under charge. It could be he has 2 - 6 volt batteries in series but measured only one of them without realizing it....
That's a possibility, but I tried to give them credit for knowing that the 6Volt batteries were for the HOUSE and the 12volt one(s) were for the CHASSIS.  Now I wonder :-\
Quote from: Ernie n Tara
Note that not all coaches charge the chassis batteries with the converter.
I can guarantee that the American Dream is designed to charge the chassis batteries from shore power.
Quote from: dave61
I thought six volts batts as well. Also several mentions of the disconnect switch needing to be on. Wouldn't it be obvious if it was off? IE nothing dc would be working.

Not always a true statement.  Most, if not all, converters are wired to feed the DC panel direct, without going through the battery disconnect.  Only power to/from the batteries would be interrupted by the switch.  Most coaches with Inverter/Chargers have them wired direct to the batteries (through fuses of course) and possibly only feed the DC distribution from the batteries through the disconnect.  I suspect the American Dream might fall into this category.
Quote from: rsalhus
Ernie said it best when he said that "not all coaches charge the chassis batteries with the converter."  A previous discussion about this can be found here
Again, The Dream IS designed to charge the chassis batteries from shore power, be it with a converter or inverter/charger, and whether or not other coaches do it is irrelevant to this OP.
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

rsalhus

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2013, 01:10:50 PM »
Lou, I'm pretty sure a friend of ours has an American Dream that doesn't charge the chassis batteries from the inverter/charger.  I can't remember what year it is, it may be earlier than 2000, but he would sometimes wire a battery cable from the coach batteries to the chassis batteries (positive posts) which would charge his chassis batteries when he was connected to shore power for weeks at a time.
Rolf Salhus
Currently at:  Our home in Apple Valley, MN

Just Lou

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #21 on: April 07, 2013, 01:17:51 PM »
Lou, I'm pretty sure a friend of ours has an American Dream that doesn't charge the chassis batteries from the inverter/charger.  I can't remember what year it is, it may be earlier than 2000, but he would sometimes wire a battery cable from the coach batteries to the chassis batteries (positive posts) which would charge his chassis batteries when he was connected to shore power for weeks at a time.

I can only speak to the design.  Your friend could very possibly have had a malfunction of the BCC circuitry or the isolator/charge solenoid.  Fleetwood has had this function in all of it's top line coaches since the very early '90s. 
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

thegnat1

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2013, 02:05:13 PM »
It turns out that our 2000 American Dream, the converter does charge the chassis batteries....we started out at 5.5V and ended up with 12.5. 
And yes, we did know the difference between the house batteries and the chassis batteries.    ;)

Just Lou

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2013, 02:22:02 PM »
It turns out that our 2000 American Dream, the converter does charge the chassis batteries....we started out at 5.5V and ended up with 12.5. 
And yes, we did know the difference between the house batteries and the chassis batteries.    ;)

It sounds like you are making progress, however, if 12.5 is the best you can achieve on the chassis batteries, there is a very good chance that they have been significantly weakened.  If they maintain that 12.5 for a good period of time, then you have gotten extremely lucky.  Let's hope for the best.....
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

thegnat1

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2013, 02:48:57 PM »
I am thankful for what we have and we have already discussed getting new chassis batteries!  I want to say thank you to ALL of the responses.   :D :D

Just Lou

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #25 on: April 07, 2013, 03:04:21 PM »
I am thankful for what we have and we have already discussed getting new chassis batteries!  I want to say thank you to ALL of the responses.   :D :D

You'll find some very helpful and friendly folks here.  Please share some of your fun traveling experiences as well as these more frustrating ones. :)

Your knowledge and confidence will grow rapidly as you conquer that behemoth. (your description  :) ;D )
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

captsteve

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #26 on: April 07, 2013, 03:22:56 PM »
Try not to get frustrated, There will be other issues and they too will be worked out.  We have all been there and with help on this forum we learned so we can now help others! Go enjoy!
Capt Steve has the Conn, Trina navigator ( Admiral )
2004 American Revolution 40c (aka Fat Girl) **Sold**
2017 Ram 1500 (Future Toad)
Piper Archer II  (Where the RV money goes)

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #27 on: April 07, 2013, 04:13:17 PM »
Quote
Lou, I'm pretty sure a friend of ours has an American Dream that doesn't charge the chassis batteries from the inverter/charger.
 ---Rolf Salhus

Rolf, If your friend has an American Dream like that, I'm quite sure it has a defect cause it sure wasn't designed that way. A defect is not out of the question - I can think of at least two issues that would inhibit the normal function:
(1) A failed  auxiliary start (interconnect realy)
(2) Weak house batteries that never achieve a full charge.

I encountered #2 in my own 2004 American Tradition about 5 years ago. Had a really bad battery in the house bank and it dragged the voltage down low enough that the charging system never reached  the level (13.3v) where it would close the relay and begin charging the chassis batteries.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Just Lou

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #28 on: April 07, 2013, 04:49:46 PM »
Rolf, If your friend has an American Dream like that, I'm quite sure it has a defect cause it sure wasn't designed that way. A defect is not out of the question - I can think of at least two issues that would inhibit the normal function:
(1) A failed  auxiliary start (interconnect realy)
(2) Weak house batteries that never achieve a full charge.

I encountered #2 in my own 2004 American Tradition about 5 years ago. Had a really bad battery in the house bank and it dragged the voltage down low enough that the charging system never reached  the level (13.3v) where it would close the relay and begin charging the chassis batteries.

Gary, your (High End) BCC has another nice feature that the lower end units don't have.  That feature will disconnect the chassis battery from the charging circuits if the converter/charger stays above 13.8V for more than an hour.  This is designed to prevent overcharging the chassis battery, in a no load situation, if the converter cannot (will not) go into float mode.  The connection will be reestablished when/if the chassis battery drains to 12.6V.

Just some little known, and seldom used, information ;)   
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?
« Reply #29 on: April 07, 2013, 05:49:25 PM »
Yeap, my Intelletec BCC is a very sophisticated device. Even the newer models are dumbed down a bit, probably mostly for cost reasons.

The OP's 2000 Dream is equipped with a system known as the Heart Source Manager, which integrates charging, inverting and shore power management functions. American Coach dropped that in 2004 in favor of the system I have, with the Intellitec BCC plus a separate but smart transfer switch that include power monitoring and a fancy Xantrex inverter/charger to handle the 12v power.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL