Problem with 12 volt system

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janemcdonough

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Apr 7, 2019
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Hello!  I'm hoping you all can help me.  I have a 2009 Winnebago View.  About 7 months ago my coach batteries appeared unable to completely charge (based on the reading on the house instrument panel and reduction in time between charges).  The batteries were old so I had them replaced and all was well for a month or two, then I noticed the same thing happening.  I was only seeing about 2/3 charged on the house instrument panel no matter how long I plugged in, drove or ran the generator.  Eventually that dropped to the point that I was only seeing 1 red light or at the most 1/3 charged.  An RV shop (the same one that supposedly checked my electrical system when they installed new batteries) theorized that the battery mode solenoid under the passenger seat might not be working, preventing the coach batteries from charging.  I had the solenoid replaced, no improvement.  Recently my new mechanic suggested the batteries have probably been ruined due to being completely drained too long, so we just replaced the batteries again and there's still no improvement.  The batteries are fully charged.  When the RV is plugged into 120v shore power everything works perfectly and the house instrument panel shows full charge.  On 12 v power the house instrument panel shows one light (basically no charge).  I'm getting enough power to turn on lights but they flicker if I turn on the water pump and the pump is weak, so the house is only getting a little bit of power.  I could understand if only one appliance was affected or if there was no 12V power at all, but what's causing it to be so weak? I have confirmed the battery disconnect switch is not flipped -power is on and the light on the switch is green.  However the Tri-Metric meter next to the battery compartment is completely dark and I can't get it to turn on. That meter was always on prior to this problem.  Any ideas?  I tried flipping the breakers on the 110v side of the converter but am not sure what else to try.  Thanks!
 

Gizmo100

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Welcome to the RV Forum janemcdonough.

It appears to me that you are NOT charging your batteries. The converter should be charging when your plugged in but that's doesn't seem to be happening.

To confirm this you could check your batteries while plugged into shore power. The reading should be 13+ volts.
 

Henry J Fate

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So sorry for this problem. I hope you kept the first set of replacement batteries. They are probably still good. I don't have specific info on your coach at this time however, there are some things that should be checked and varified. First, check the voltage at the house batteries with the engine running using a volt meter. Record the voltage. Second, plug into shore power with the engine off and again read the house battery voltage with a volt meter and record it. Both readings should be taken at the batteries. Those two readings are important. Hopefully another member will have knowledge of your specific coach.
 

Kevin Means

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The symptoms you described all point to your batteries not getting charged. I don't know what brand of converter is installed in Views, but it sounds like the charging portion of yours isn't working. You might look for a fuse, or re-settable circuit breaker somewhere in the circuit. As others suggested, checking the voltage at the battery terminals, while the RV is plugged in, is a good idea, and it's something that any competent RV shop should have done. You should see roughly 13.8 volts, but I'm betting it'll be much less.

Kev
 

janemcdonough

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Thanks everybody for your suggestions. I'm getting 12.26 across the 2 coach batteries (6.13 across each one individually) and get the same reading whether plugged into shore power, engine running, or everything off.  I called an RV shop and they said they thought the converter might be about to die and to check the voltage there (it should be 13.2 to 13.6).  When plugged into shore power I get 13.6 across the battery positive and battery negative connectors.  When unplugged or engine running, I get nothing, which I assume makes sense(?).    Also, yesterday when I was unplugged (and engine off), I had weak power in the house (lights ok but flickering if I turned anything else on).  Today nothing.  Also nothing when I started the engine.  Shouldn't I have power to the house when the engine is running? 
 

Henry J Fate

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Good work. We now know that the batteries are not being charged. The fact that the coach engine is not charging the batteries and the converter is not charging the batteries, starts to bring things a little closer to the problem. It doesn't appear to be the converter charger. As far as I know, the converter charger is not part of the charging circuit when you are unplugged and the coach engine is running. Something in common with both charging methods will ultimately be the cause. I will try to find specific information on your coach. Do you have any wiring diagrams with your paperwork?

Any members familiar with a 2009 View???
 

Kevin Means

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In the first part of your last post, you said you're seeing 12.26 volts at the battery terminals, whether you're plugged into shore power or not. Near the end of the same post, you said you're seeing 13.6 volts at the converter battery terminals when plugged into shore power. Is that correct? If so, you may have a disconnected, loose or badly corroded battery cable between the converter (charger) and the batteries.

Kev 
 

DonTom

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janemcdonough said:
Thanks everybody for your suggestions. I'm getting 12.26 across the 2 coach batteries (6.13 across each one individually) and get the same reading whether plugged into shore power, engine running, or everything off.  I called an RV shop and they said they thought the converter might be about to die and to check the voltage there (it should be 13.2 to 13.6).  When plugged into shore power I get 13.6 across the battery positive and battery negative connectors.  When unplugged or engine running, I get nothing, which I assume makes sense(?).    Also, yesterday when I was unplugged (and engine off), I had weak power in the house (lights ok but flickering if I turned anything else on).  Today nothing.  Also nothing when I started the engine.  Shouldn't I have power to the house when the engine is running?
I would start by checking all the connections close  to the batteries.

Yes, you should be charging house batteries while the engine is running.

-Don-  Reno, NV
 

Henry J Fate

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A bad battery connection is possible. Since you are on your second set of batteries in a short period, I would guess that the battery connections at the batteries are good. The connection I would check is the ground connection to the chassis. The ground connection comes off the ground terminal of one of your batteries, exits the battery compartment and then will be fastened to the frame a very short distance after exiting the battery box. If that frame connection is bad, it could cause a host of problems.

Now that we know both charging systems are not charging batteries, I suggest to call your service center with that information. It should lead them to a correct answer.

Assuming your ground connection is good, I would need a wiring diagram of the charging circuits to see what the common components of each system are. We then could target those components as being a possible cause.

Could you post the model number of your view? There are wiring diagrams available online that may offer some clues.

Good Luck and I hope you can get this repaired soon.
 

Henry J Fate

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I just got some good information.

Under the seat ( I think it is the drivers seat) there is a fusible link to the batteries that will discontinue the charging of the batteries if it has blown. I think you may have said this was replaced but it should be check regardless. It should be fairly easy to find. Take your volt meter and check it to see if it is good. As far as I know so far, that is the common link between the two charging systems and may be the only one.

Good luck
 

Henry J Fate

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I just read your first post and the fuse I am speaking of wasn't replaced. You mentioned a solenoid. This link is mounted to the floor and may have a rubber cover over it. It should have wires about the same size as the ones coming from the batteries. Be careful in that area. Lots of power there. Best way to check the link is to disconnect all power and check it using a volt meter. I don't recommend fooling around with it powered but if there is someone that is electrically smart, have them check the voltage on both sides of the fuse with the engine running. If the link is good, the two readings will be about the same. If the link is bad, one side will be higher than the other with the engine running. I also believe you can perform the same test plugged in instead of running the engine.

Keeping my fingers crossed.

Good Luck
 

Henry J Fate

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Found this link for you. Good Luck

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://m.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3Dh_R8OsEhDmQ&ved=2ahUKEwiPtrDFk8HhAhVum-AKHQeWA-kQwqsBMAB6BAgHEAU&usg=AOvVaw0A9YY-2G1oPb0kp1ulPH87
 

janemcdonough

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Thanks so much.  I think you're right that this chassis link is the problem.  I dropped the RV off with my mechanic this morning and they're going to check everything to try to isolate the problem.  I will send them the video and ask them to look for it and/or check the ground connections if they don't find any issues in that area.  FYI my RV is a 2009 Winnebago View 24P, which is on a 2008 Dodge-Sprinter chassis.  I believe the 2009 Navion 524P Wiring Diagram Book at this site https://winnebagoind.com/diagram/Wiring.htm is the correct wiring diagram
 

Henry J Fate

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Great. Good luck and please update this thread for future rererence when the problem is solved.

Good luck
 

janemcdonough

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Hi everybody
You all were right about the ground cable. They found it to be very loose and very corroded. Now that it's replaced I'm getting reliable 12volt power in the house which is a huge relief! However, it still appears that the engine isn't charging the batteries. I get 12.5 with the engine on or 13.6 when plugged into shore power, so the shore system at least seems good. Another new and strange discovery is that my 120v appliances (microwave, TV, AC) don't work when I'm running the generator. Everything is good on shore power (and yes I'm sure I have the plug in the outlet when the generator is on  :D )
I don't know whether this was an issue before I took it to the shop or not. It seems there must be something obvious here but what is it?
FYI my mechanics couldn't find a non working fuse or any other problem component under the passenger or drivers seats.  Thanks in advance for your help his
Jane
 

Gizmo100

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When you say everything else is working...Can you expand on that. Do you have any 120 volt items working?

Most of the things in an RV run on 12 volts. ( With the exception of the things you listed and the converter)

Go to your breaker panel and turn off each breaker then turn them back on.

Are you sure the generator is producing 120 volts?
 

Henry J Fate

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This is not good news. I thought for sure you were on a path of repair. Sorry.

If the engine is still not charging the batteries, it seems to continue to point to that fusible link. The shop that serviced the vehicle should have tested the charge circuit in all three options ( shore power, generator, engine) Did the shop simply tell you that they cannot find the problem?

 

John From Detroit

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If you are measuring at the battery....
Start unpluged. engine off and note the voltage
now crank up the main engine and FAST IDLE.
NOTE the voltage over the next 1-2 minutes (Sometimes there is a delay)

also you can (to make it easier) have a light or 12 volt fan on the house side turned on. When the Isolator connects up (IF it connects up) the fan increases speed and the light gets brighter (Incandascent or non-regulated LED only. Regulated LED's won't do that.)
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Generator power: I gather you use the generator by plugging the shore cord into a 30A outlet connected to the generator.  If so, can you test for 120v at that outlet?  Use a voltmeter or a 30A-->15A adapter plus a plug-in household outlet tester.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Power-Gear-3-Wire-Receptacle-Tester-50542/206212329

Re charging the house via engine alternator:  Do you have a switch on the dash labeled Aux Start or Boost? It's purpose is to cross-connect house and chassis battery as long as the switch is held down. Try it.  It uses the same relay that connects for charging.
 

janemcdonough

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Apr 7, 2019
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Good suggestions, I will try these things and will report back. To answer a few questions, yes I do have a battery boost switch so will try that. When I said the 120v system was working, I meant I had all my appliances powered (microwave, ac etc) when plugged into shore power (as well as 12 v lights etc). Henry I don't know exactly how the mechanics tested everything but they spent quite a bit of time. Once they found the loose ground cable they thought they solved it. Then when we knew there was still an issue we had run out of time because I had to pick the RV up. I'll take it back but would like to try and isolate the issue first if possible. I'll let you all know how these tests turn out!
 
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