How Do You Charge Chassis Batteries?

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thegnat1

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Mar 30, 2013
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We have a 2000 American Dream and we need ALL the help we can get.  How do we charge the chassis batteries?
 
Roll it down the highway at 65mph until you hit water, then turn around and repeat! Second choice is plug in to shore power.
 
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?
 
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 :)

 
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.
 
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)
 
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!
 
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........

 
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. :)
 
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
 
...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 :)
 
thegnat1 said:
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.
 
Wavery said:
......... 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
 
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 :-\
 
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
 
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.
 
[quote author=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....[/quote]
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 author=Ernie n Tara]
Note that not all coaches charge the chassis batteries with the converter.[/quote]
I can guarantee that the American Dream is designed to charge the chassis batteries from shore power.
[quote author=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.[/quote]
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 author=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[/quote]
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.
 

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