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Author Topic: here's one to think about!  (Read 3217 times)
Blacksheep
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« on: April 25, 2009, 08:59:30 AM »

Last night Susan went out to the bus and told me the entry lights would not come on! Hmm, I go out and sure enough, nada! Open the bays and nada! Check the battery switches and they are both on to my surprise as they are and were supposed to be off. I go and check the on board battery charger and again to my surprise, it's plugged in and on! I check the battery voltage and there is none to be found! Ok so I tutrn the switches off, unplug the charger and wait a few minutes. I then re-plug the charger and go to bed. This morning, I checked to see if charger was on and it was. I checked the voltage in the batteries and although very very low, I'm hoping by the time I get home today,  it will show more improvement!
My question if there is one is why would the batteries go dead with the switches ON and the charger ON? Seems to me that whatever drain there is with the switches on, the charger would make up for it by being on!
Just curious!
Ace
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Utahclaimjumper
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2009, 10:02:41 AM »

Ace, looks like time to do the math and find out way more came out than went in.>>>Dan
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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2009, 01:19:07 PM »

Ace,

What kind of charger do you have.  Some of the inverter/charger units won't start with a completely dead battery, you need to jump them with a good battery. Or, use an automotive battery charger to get it started.
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Blacksheep
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2009, 05:21:00 AM »

Looks as though I may have to start from the beginning and manually charge the batteries one at a time and then hook up my float charger. It appears that after being drained and then hooked up to the charger all day and night, I am only show 2 voltd per battery. Before I replace them I  will charge them manually and go from there! If nothing then, I will replace them all!
My stupitidy I guess but that still confuese me as to why!
Thanks for the emails and replies!

Ace
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JackConrad
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2009, 05:33:20 AM »

I go and check the on board battery charger and again to my surprise, it's plugged in and on! I check the battery voltage and there is none to be found! Ok so I tutrn the switches off, unplug the charger and wait a few minutes. I then re-plug the charger and go to bed. Ace

Ace,
   Just a guess, maybe a thermal overload switch on the battery charger, that reset when you unplugged nd replugged the charger??  Jack
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2009, 06:05:56 AM »

I'm going with Jack's guess. Charger tripped out for some reason.

The more important question is what loads are on when you are parked. You need to address that. You should not have dead batteries if your bus sits a month without a charger on. You may have a short somewhere, or possibly a bad diode in the alternator.


In the same line as the thread title, and not trying to hijack, I had an odd thing yesterday, too.  My bus has been sitting for a month, plugged in with the inverter on float. The coach batteries were turned off. Yesterday, I started it up, drove around the neighborhood, so I could back it into the driveway to get access to the generator.  Plugged it back in. I didn't shut off the coach batteries, and I didn't connect them to the house charger. Last night, I went outside to shut the garage door and I heard a high pitched squeal. Traced it to the coach, and knew immediately what it was. The Nighthawk CO detector I had plugged inside was screaming. It was at 69, and had peaked at 70. The heater has not been on for about 2 weeks. No combustion of any kind going on, except for the 10 minutes the Detroit ran to drive around the neighborhood.  I'm thinking now that my house batteries are producing hydrogen when on bulk charge, and this is being detected by the CO detector.   This has been a problem on and off for some time.  I'm going to restart the charger now that it's on float again, and see if it does the same thing when it goes back to bulk charge.

craig
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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2009, 06:10:58 AM »

Gumpy, when the battery in our S&S gets low that CO2 alarm screams too.
I now keep it hooked up all of the time to keep it charged.
Check to be sure the battery(ies) that the CO2 alarm is hooked to are charged.
Jack
PS...the battery does not have to be too far discharged before that alarm goes off.
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2009, 06:15:58 AM »

Gumpy, when the battery in our S&S gets low that CO2 alarm screams too.
I now keep it hooked up all of the time to keep it charged.
Check to be sure the battery(ies) that the CO2 alarm is hooked to are charged.
Jack
PS...the battery does not have to be too far discharged before that alarm goes off.

The CO detector is 120 volts, and the bus is plugged into shore power. The inverter (Trace SW4024) charger is bulk charging. The batteries were previous on float for weeks, so all charged.


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Craig Shepard
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Blacksheep
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2009, 06:16:16 AM »

There isn't a breaker of any kind on the charger. Simply plug it in and the light shows it to b e charging which was on when I initially plugged it up. After it charges it goes into a float mode. I thought it did but as I said my battery switches were on unbeknownst to me. Checked again this morning and each battery has 2.? Volts. I am now charging each one seperately and see where that takes me!
Ace
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Blacksheep
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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2009, 04:30:42 PM »

2 batteries re-charged and found out in the mean time that the charger needs battery current to be activated! 2 should do it. So tomorrow morning all should be good to go!

Ace
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mikelutestanski
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« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2009, 04:39:24 PM »

Hello ACE :
  Was the problem with the charger ?  or a phantom load?
     Regards and happy bussin.   mike










   
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Mike Lutestanski   Dunnellon Florida
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Blacksheep
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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2009, 06:49:54 PM »

Mike, not exactly sure but I'm leaning towards the phantom load being the problem since the switches were left on and every other time when they were off, the charger worked flawlessly! Everything seems to be workins as it should but will know more tomorrow after the charger cycles thru its course!
Thanks...
Ace
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« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2009, 09:22:56 PM »

Gumpy, we noticed that some CO detectors come with a wall wart, like yours, possibly. I took one apart that said that it was 9 volt AC output and found out that it just used a bridge rectifier in the detector.

That meant that the voltage level in the detector would be more or less normal if the wall wart was disconnected and the lead connected directly to a 12 volt DC source. Because of the bridge, it doesn't make any difference which way it is connected.

This means that the CO detector doesn't need any AC, so no inverter is required while boondocking.

For what it's worth.

Tom Caffrey
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Blacksheep
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« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2009, 12:41:45 PM »

Update:

Charger went thru it's cycle of charging and then float mode until it cut itself off this morning while I was gone. I checked the volatage in the batteries and all are back to normal voltage.

I guess I can't leave the battery switches ON and the charger ON for any length (if any) of time! I always unplug the charger before heading out because if I don't the batteries will get  overcharged sending the dash lights into a frenzy! Once the charger is unplugged, al lights go out and good to go!

I would have thought though that IF there was and there probably is, a phantom drain from somewhere, and the charger is plugged in and charging, why wouldn't the charger keep the batteries up to par even with the drain? It appears that the drain is happening while the charger is in float mode and not actual during charge mode (I think)!

Anyway, all is normal and we're good to go...

Next trip, Myrtle Beach!

Hope I can keep up with the other guys! Smiley

Ace
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gumpy
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« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2009, 12:51:10 PM »

Gumpy, we noticed that some CO detectors come with a wall wart, like yours, possibly. I took one apart that said that it was 9 volt AC output and found out that it just used a bridge rectifier in the detector.

That meant that the voltage level in the detector would be more or less normal if the wall wart was disconnected and the lead connected directly to a 12 volt DC source. Because of the bridge, it doesn't make any difference which way it is connected.

This means that the CO detector doesn't need any AC, so no inverter is required while boondocking.

For what it's worth.

Tom Caffrey


That's good information, but the unit I have in there is a house unit I had.  it's self contained, one box with prongs on the back, no wort. I actually have a 12v RV unit in there, too, but had to disconnect it for similar reasons. It was going off at all hours of the night when boondocking. I suspected outgassing from the polyiso insulation, or possibly a small freon leak. Definitely wasn't CO as nothing was running.



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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2009, 12:56:58 PM »

Update:

Charger went thru it's cycle of charging and then float mode until it cut itself off this morning while I was gone. I checked the volatage in the batteries and all are back to normal voltage.

I guess I can't leave the battery switches ON and the charger ON for any length (if any) of time! I always unplug the charger before heading out because if I don't the batteries will get  overcharged sending the dash lights into a frenzy! Once the charger is unplugged, al lights go out and good to go!

I would have thought though that IF there was and there probably is, a phantom drain from somewhere, and the charger is plugged in and charging, why wouldn't the charger keep the batteries up to par even with the drain? It appears that the drain is happening while the charger is in float mode and not actual during charge mode (I think)!

Anyway, all is normal and we're good to go...

Next trip, Myrtle Beach!

Hope I can keep up with the other guys! Smiley

Ace


Doesn't make sense. Even if the charger is in float mode, it's charging, and should replenish the batteries for any small draw that occurs. By small draw, I'm talking about an amp or less to keep radio clocks going and engine ECUs. The charger should be rated for a certain amperage in float mode, but should reduce it's output when the batteries are full, and should not cook them. Float mode should be left on at all times with no ill effects on the batteries. If your charger is overcharging, you either have a bad battery, or a bad charger.

You evidently have a very large drain on your batteries that exceeds the capacity of the charger. I would be somewhat concerned about that, and large electrical loads can generate large amounts of heat and cause things to generate flames!


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Craig Shepard
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Blacksheep
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« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2009, 02:02:01 PM »

Gump I have always had a drain on the batteries when the switches are left on! I have checked and re-checked. The batteries will go way down when switched on over night but when the switches are off, it takes about a week or so. That was the reason for adding the charger while sitting and since then no problems as long as the DA remembers to turn the switches off!
The bus manual also states to turn them off even if the driver stops for dinner!
Ace
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niles500
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« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2009, 02:12:56 PM »

Ace - I bought this 24v unit -

http://www.batterymart.com/p-batteryminder-24v-1-2-4a-battery-charger.html

When I first used this, trying to bring the batts up from a fairly deep discharge, it kept shutting off - It must have been hitting a thermal trip and kept trying to reset - I just assumed that after a certain number of attempted resets it shuts down - Once I brought the batts to a full charge it works as it should - BTW let's you choose 1-2-4 amp, Flooded-AGM-Gel, and it has easy to read charge/batt status with trouble shooting - Since I have been starting with a relatively decent state of charge I have had no problems leaving it plugged in 24/7 - HTH
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« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2009, 03:49:16 PM »

ACE   how many sets of batteries are in your coach?   DO you have a separate set for the house?  Batteries that only serve loads while not moving or an inverter ? 
   THe other set for the coach should only run the coach whilst running.  IE  motor functions coach exterior lights etc.
 ANd if you have both sets are the sets isolated from each other?   
   Generally the grounds in each system are connected to the frame but for a house system I like to use a  negative wire for each circuit to make sure the circuits work and do not rely on a common ground connection.
   I remember  your last problem with the blown breaker you replaced some or all of your batteries  (start batteries I presume)? ?   

 ANyway it seems to me you have a phantom load that really knocks the system down.
    REgards and happy bussin
     mike
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Mike Lutestanski   Dunnellon Florida
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Blacksheep
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« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2009, 07:42:27 PM »

Mike I have 2 very separate battery banks. One consist of 4 group 31's for starting the bus and running the bus equipment such as lights externally, ecm, etc. The second bank consist of 6 6volt golf cart batteries that is used for my inverter and other lighting internally. It, the inverter has a built in charger and maintains the 6 batteries just fine.

Now the 4 group 31's have the bus charging system (alt, reg, etc.) to maintain them while running down the road and according to the volt gauges is working just fine!

Now while sitting and not running, the Prevost manual states that the 2 battery cut off switches, one for 12volt and one for 24 volt, should be turned OFF even if stopped for a short period of time, such as driver stopping for dinner.

My bus has always had a battery drain and quickly such as overnigt IF the battery switches are left in the ON position. If the battery switches are turned OFF and no other charger connected, it will take about 10 days or so to run the batteries dead and I mean DEAD DEAD!

This was the reason I bought the "on board 24volt 25 amp battery charger" made by "QUICK CHARGE"  and  I have had it plugged in each and every time I park the bus for any length of time such as here at home between trips. It has worked flawlessly until this DA left the battery switches ON the last time it was parked. Why it didn't maintain the batteries I don't know but will be making some calls tomorrow because tonight after doing some after dark research, I found one of if not the BIGGEST drain of my batteries. Here is what I did!

I turned the battery switches ON and opened all the bay doors on one side. All the bay lights worked! I manually, without closing the door, worked the light switch in each bay. To my surprise, they all worked... but ONE! The small bay above the drive wheels on the passenger side did nothing. The 2 lights in that bay stayed ON regardless of how hard, how soft, how ever I moved the switch. They jsut would not go off! I closed the door and let it sit for a while. When I re-opened the door, the lights were very hot to the touch. These lights are not the small cheap lights either. There are two lights on each side with 2 bulbs in each light. Now if you or anyone else remembers, a while back, I was a little concerned about the excessive heat build up in THAT bay when I went to retrieve my awning rod at Salt Springs 4 trips back! Those two lights DO put off a large amount of heat especially in a closed area such as this bay. This bay only measures about 11 inches tall, IF that!

So to sum this up, I think I found my battery drain that has caused me havoc since purchase and my over heated bay which was cause for alarm. I simply need to replace the light switch in that bay which I will order tomorrow as well!

Ace
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gumpy
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« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2009, 08:34:10 PM »

Well, that's a start.

However, you may also have a bad battery in your starting pack.  Batteries should not discharge that fast when you have the disconnects turned off.

I'd suggest you remove all the cables, charge each battery, and then monitor them for a period of a couple weeks without reconnecting the cables (obviously when you're not using the coach) and see if one of your batteries goes down significantly faster than the others. I just replaced one of my 8Ds in my starting bank because it had an internal problem. It would self discharge over a 24 hour period. Internal short, probably. It came with the bus 9 years ago, so I wasn't too upset. Replaced it for $160.

It sounds like maybe one or more of your starting batteries might be exhibiting the same symptoms.

craig

 
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Craig Shepard
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Blacksheep
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« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2009, 08:47:07 PM »

Craig, thanks! I will do just that but to be honest, I just recently changed all 4 of them. I know that doesn't say much but they really haven't given me much trouble. They have always had about 13.7 v on the high side and  13.2 volts on the low side. That means they never seem to read the same but almost always fall in that window!

I'm just glad to find "SOMETHING" that is obvious such as the lights in the bay rather than a cut wire touching metal!

Ace
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Blacksheep
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« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2009, 04:26:34 AM »

I want to correct the above post about there being 2 lights on each side. There are 2 lights on each side but when one bay door is open, all 4 bay lights come on from opening either door! So instead of having what I thought was 2 lights with 4 bulbs draining the batteries, I actually have 4 lights with 8 bulbs doing the drain!

Ahh things are looking positive again! Smiley

Ace
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« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2009, 06:11:35 AM »

Ace,
I don't know about you bus but typically, the bay lights have power on the light fixture all the time and the switches complete the grounding circuit. That's how they can have multiple switches work the lights.
Rather than a bad switch, you probably have a wire from the lights to the switches that is grounded out somewhere.
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