More on My Battery Woes - dang!

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chaajoad

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May 29, 2006
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Poulsbo WA
Went out tonight and the new battery I installed last Sat. is dead. ???? I thought I had every single thing turned off. I have no clue why this is happening. I'm SURE it's me, not the coach.

I'm fairly certain Shucks will honor its warranty but I don't want to go through this again. Any ideas are welcome ...

Danny Wright
Powerless in Seattle
 

Shayne

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Jan 22, 2006
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Going to have to recharge the battery or replace and by using an Amp meter see where the load is draining.? Could be starter, alight, anything.? Turn everything off and check one by one.? Or Did you forget the turn on the safety switch, If you turned it off.? ?Something is draining it and it's got to be found.? Sometimes long process sometimes yhou find it right off.? Good Luck
 

Jeff

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To expand on what Shayne said:

1. If you have a battery cut-off shut it off and see if the drain continues. If so one of the direct hot-wired accessories is draining your battery.

2. If not or if you do not have a cut-off pull every fuse in the coach. disconnect the positive lead and install an amp meter in line between the post and lead and see if there is a draw. If not start reinstalling the fuses one at a time until you see a load, that will be the culprit.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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It was the chassis battery you replaced, right?  If you have a disconnect switch for the chassis battery, was it off?  How long did it sit before you noticed it went dead?

If you know how to use an ammeter, hook one up to the battery leads and see how much power isw being used when you thing you have every thng turned off. That will give you some idea of the size of the problem and a way to verify that it has been fixed when you finally locate the phantom load.

Here are a couple things to look at.

(1)The power step is typically run off the chassis battery and it has a small night light underneath. Depending on how the step is wired and the position of the step switch, that light may be on. Check the rig at night so any light is easily visible.
(2) Look for accessories wired direct to the battery circuit, e.g. an add-on or upgraded dashboard stereo system, additional lights, clocks or aux power outlets, etc. It is not unusual for novices to unwittingly install small "always on" loads direct to a battery.

 

raedmunds71

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Jun 25, 2006
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Sun Lakes, Az
It sounded in your first post that you had the persons phone number you bought it from, would you feel comfortable calling him/her and asking them is this was a problem for them? By the sounds of the condition of your MH they must be reliable people.
 

chaajoad

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May 29, 2006
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Poulsbo WA
Hi Guys - I've been in Mpls for business and not back to Seattle until Sunday so I'll deal with the battery problem during the upcoming week.

Yes, the guy I bought the rig from seemed like an honest, upstanding guy and I will ask him if he had trouble. I've never used an ammeter (or is it amp meter?) to check power draws or do that fuse draw testing mentioned but I'll ask at Shucks. And maybe they can just recharge the dead battery seeing as it's new -0 is that possible? Gosh, I haven't dealt with battery issues in literally 25 years. I just buy the best and maintain them. When I removed the battery, I saw no makeshift hookups for upgraded stuff. The battery was fine for the first 3 days or so and dead when I waited until about the 7th day to start the rig. I don't recall the step light staying on.

Here's hoping that Bounder owner's manual shows up pronto. I think this will be a good RV for our limited use, once the owner (ahem) gets a bit more up to speed. Nearly everything I've tackled I've eventually figured out and I'm sure I can handle this stuff.

But I can only imagine what RV vets must think about guys like me who jump in with both feet, knowing very little. But we we were all rookies at one time in everything we now know, so ... thanks for past advice and future answers. I grateful for this board.

Danny
Poulsbo WA
 

Smoky

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wherever we are parked
"But I can only imagine what RV vets must think about guys like me who jump in with both feet, knowing very little. But we we were all rookies at one time in everything we now know, so ... thanks for past advice and future answers. I grateful for this board. "

Amen to that Danny! 

Don't be bashful about questions.  Heck, when it comes to electrical problems even the most seasoned RVers sometimes have to really scratch their heads.  Trouble shooting these kinds of problems is always helpful to have a second pair of eyes and ears or even more.  That is what this forum is all about!!  :D
 

Shayne

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Jan 22, 2006
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Danny  Things do happen    I bought all new batteries in Aug last and when you started having problems I said I better check mine.  Sure enough the Chassis battery was dead  Bought in ILL  what  NOw?  Took it to the NAPA  dealer here in El Miraage and they gave me a new Battery.  Last week I went to start it and Walah  dead battery  Again to NAPA  again replaced and  ran it for an hour of so and yesterday Went to start    PERFECT  ALAS  so see Stuff do happen.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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You should be able to get a cheap ammeter - actually a VOM, a volt/ohm/milli-ammeter - for under $10. Radio Shack or a Harbor Freight Tools store is a good source for  a basic meter.  r maybe a Home Depot or lowes.  You don't need a lot of accuracy for basic measurements like this, so no point in paying $30-$70 for  a quality meter.

Yes, your battery can be re-charged.  You could do it yourself by jumpering it to your house batteries and letting the Bounder's converter/charger do the job, but it's probably best to let the store do it for you.  You might want to buy a regular automotive battery charger, about a 10 amp model, to keep the battery charged until you find out what is draining it. That is, if there is a place near the Bounder where you can plug  in the charger. Should be able to get a 10A charger for $25-$35. Try Walmart if Schalk's doesn't have an inexpensive one.
 

Shayne

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Jan 22, 2006
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Gary  an  old trick we used to use on old batteries that went south is when were working on antique cars and hot rods years ago.  Using the 6 volt charger we'd conecnt to the POS post and the NEG to a screwdriver and insert it in the 2 hole of the battery until we got a slight charge and then continue to the next one.  Sometimes we could bring a battery back for a bit when we didn't have the funds to purchase a new one.  Did that a lot with the 12V also.  It can be dangerous and I don't advise during it but 60 years ago  we did a lot of things that aren't advisable now days.  I've also seen guys get burnt pretty bad by doing those things.  I showed the dealer on my olld battery how to do it and it brought back 3 of the 6 cells but it was gone.  Told him I want now responsibility of him getting hurt dueing that.
 

woodartist

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Jun 23, 2006
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Wandering the Old West
If you use a meter to measure the current, make sure it is set on the highest scale first. The cheap ammeters usually are limited to about 10 amps or so. If you draw more current than the meter is set for, then you'll either blow a fuse or the meter. A DC meter is connected in series with one lead from the battery...not across the battery as a voltmeter would be.......FYI
 

Karl

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If you don't know how much current is being drawn from the battery, connect a 1003 or 1141 automotive bulb in series with your positive meter test lead. That will limit the current flow through the meter to less than 10 amps, so you won't burn the meter out on the 10 amp full-scale setting. If the light bulb lights up, use IT, not the meter, as your troubleshooting device. When you've pulled the right fuse or disconnected the errant device, the bulb will go out. Now you can safely remove the bulb from the circuit and use the meter by itself to find any lower level current drains.
Of course, if the bulb doesn't light, use the meter readings to locate your problem.
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
woodartist said:
If you use a meter to measure the current, make sure it is set on the highest scale first. The cheap ammeters usually are limited to about 10 amps or so. If you draw more current than the meter is set for, then you'll either blow a fuse or the meter. A DC meter is connected in series with one lead from the battery...not across the battery as a voltmeter would be.......FYI


I will second that warning... I have about a 250 dollar multi meter which won't read current, temperture or resistance any more cause I made a small mistake with the switch.  Works great for voltage though

I got to get that thing fixed... The good news on it is that I got it half price
 

chaajoad

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Joined
May 29, 2006
Posts
322
Location
Poulsbo WA
To all of you -

This weekend is really the only time I'll have to mess with all this. I'll take your advice and try to come up with something. Of course I'll post it here. What makes this challenging is ZERO experience with this. Never had electrical trouble in any vehicle until now. So I've never used these meters, tested current and draws, etc.

Fingers crossed here ...

Danny Wright
Poulsbo WA
 

Dodgeman

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Jul 13, 2006
Posts
17
It is not unusual for "new" batterys to be bad, and not hold a charge. I work for a manufacturer of construction equipment, and we buy 15,000 to 20,000 new 12v batteries a year. I would say on the average 2 out of 100 are bad right "out of the box" Some will start the machine they are installed on, and then be dead 2 - 3 days later. This is with no drain on them.
John in Det - $250 multimeter? Wow! I though I paid a lot for my $169 Fluke. Anyway, most quality meters have a fuse in the amp circuit. I would suspect yours does too, and it would be just a matter of replacing it to get your meter up and running again.
Good Luck!
Dodgeman
 

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