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Author Topic: Start Battery Issues  (Read 2704 times)
txjeff
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« on: October 11, 2012, 10:55:25 AM »

I have a problem with one of my start batteries going dead when the bus sits for for a week or more. I have two group 31 batteries and a vanner equalizer. I cut the disconnect switch off when parked yet the upper battery (24 volt) keeps going dead. The lower battery (12 volt) has a complete charge. I tested the vanner and everything seems normal. I thought if there was a 12 volt load it would kill the lower battery yet my issue is just the opposite. Any thoughts on what I am missing???

jeff
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73 MC-7combo
Brenham, Texas
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« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2012, 11:09:05 AM »

my center taps are off the top battery.  Anyway, fully charge the batteries and test each cell.  You might find one is bad/shorted.  If not, you can use an ammeter to see if there is a constant load that you do not know about, or you could charge the battery and leave it disconnected and see if it drains down.
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txjeff
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« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2012, 11:49:12 AM »

When I said upper and lower I was refering to the voltage, it is the bottom battery that keeps going dead. The 12 volt draw is off of the top battery and it is fully charged.
They were both new batteries, I have had the same issue with the other batteries I had in there. I thought it was the way the PO had the taps off the batteries but looking at the vanner diagram it is correct. I may disconnect the vanner and see if that has any effect.

jeff
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73 MC-7combo
Brenham, Texas
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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2012, 12:15:39 PM »

On my bus, the main disconnect does not disconnect the 12 volt stuff.  It only disconnects the 24 volt stuff.  Mine is wired that way intentionally to keep constant power to certain items.  My Vanner Equalizer still keep the batteries balanced.

If your Vanner was added later it may not have a disconnect on the 12 volt side.  If the Vanner is working properly the battery that has the 12 volt tap should not be going dead.  I do believe the Vanner has to have 24 volt to work so if the 24 volt is getting cut off that could cause issues. 
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« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2012, 04:32:16 PM »

Easy way to check if a battery is bad-charge up both batteries to float; turn everything off in the bus; then disconnect the negative on all batteries.  If a battery is bad, it will self discharge.  If you have an electrical leak, then the batteries will all be about the same, and you'll have to start hunting for the electrical leak.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2012, 09:17:22 PM »

I have a similar situation
My top battery dies over time and needs to have a charger slapped on it every week or two
I noticed though after long runs (few hundred miles) with headlights on it would get really low and be slow starting the next day
I haven't tracked this issue down yet...its my next project (just fixed an injector issue - hoping to be done with that)
I have a couple questions -
 - whats a vanner (is it a stock item?)

I have 2x 8D batteries (24v)
 the top has a lead off the positive to make a 12v with separate disconnects

Bottom battery has always read good voltage even after long winter storage
Top battery wouldnt hold a charge - so I replaced it and now have the above scenario (the battery that needs constant recharging is a new one)

I hope I will learn something following this thread Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2012, 03:19:34 PM »

I used to have that problem on trucks I ran re-man Delco alternators on. Rebuilder used aftermarket parts to rebuild and the batteries would dis-charge thru the regulator. (internal regulated) It would take about a week to run the batteries down to where it wouldn't start. Never had the problem with a Leece-Neville or a new Delco on the same truck. It had a 12v system, charging and start.

I'm new to coaches so is your charging system 12v and uses a series parallel switch for 24v start?
Kevin
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luvrbus
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« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2012, 04:20:31 PM »

No MCI's are 24volts charging systems they never give problems, only when folks do the center tap for 12v do problems accrue IMO
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txjeff
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« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2012, 05:52:14 AM »

Dlsnow,

Here is the link for the Vanner equalizer     http://www.vanner.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Battery-Equalizer-Owners-Manual-7-28-04.pdf  it sounds like your issue is with the 12 volt tap.

My issue is with the 24 volt side. I did add a disconnect to the 12 volt tap, but was still pulling about half amp discharge on the 24 volt side but nothing on the 12 tap. I will check in a week or so and see what happens.

I am starting to believe that adding a disconnects on each battery is going to be the simple answer(KISS). Finding a small draw on a 40 year old electrical system is next to impossible.

jeff
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73 MC-7combo
Brenham, Texas
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« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2012, 04:26:11 PM »

What kind of alternator are you running? My experience, with Delco 34 Si I think (big green one lol) was never good. If you have a Delco, pull the positive cable off it and see if your battery still goes dead.

Kevin
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loosenut
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« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2012, 03:04:06 PM »

While I don't understand your top battery explanation, I have one battery going dead before the other particularly when I drove at night.  I sped up the problem when I installed brighter headlights.  I was told that by using a center tap one battery will always discharge faster than the other.  I put in a 12v cutoff switch and all the problems disappear until I drive after dark.

I have a fancy Vanner that works correctly but the 12v stuff bypasses it. 

Mike
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Dave5Cs
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« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2012, 05:35:49 PM »

Use a Vanner, it will equal out your 24V and your 12 V needed for your headlights. When you center tape the battery you are taking juice directly from the battery and the all the 24V stuff is pulling from the whole bank and someelse is taking part of its juice so what happens? the 12 V taped one will loose its juice faster and sometimes it is the fastest way to kill that battery. HTH

Dave5Cs
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Scott Bennett
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« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2012, 10:34:13 PM »

I have two vanners that I do believe we're working when pulled. Trying to sell them cheap. If you think it would help your battery issue let me know :-)


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Scott & Heather
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« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2012, 08:48:34 PM »

Hi Jeff, 

Did this get resolved?  This is an interesting issue and many have faced this same thing.  If yes, please let us know. 

Thanks!, Phil
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Northern Arizona / 1983 - MC9
txjeff
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« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2012, 11:29:09 AM »

Phil,

I have not had a chance to check since my last trip 3 weeks ago. Hopefully I will get a chance this week. I will post my results.

jeff
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73 MC-7combo
Brenham, Texas
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« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2012, 05:32:36 AM »

Great!  Thanks Jeff.  This might make a good thread for the magazine.

Kind Regards, Phil
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Northern Arizona / 1983 - MC9
txjeff
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« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2012, 06:46:49 AM »

I had a chance to check the batteries over the weekend, one was 12.0 the other was 12.2. It seems that adding the disconnect to the 12 volt supply off the vanner resolved the issue. I am still not sure why the battery with the 12 volt tap was holding and the other was discharging. It is strange that after a couple of years that this issue just appeared, but as I said before on a 40 year old vehicle anything is possible. I may still add battery cutoffs to each battery, that way there is no draw at all.

jeff
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73 MC-7combo
Brenham, Texas
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« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2012, 08:03:40 AM »

With many years of fooling with equipment and autos, some of it mine, a lot of it in a workplace environment...

Batteries which are faithfully disconnected completely hold up best.

The only complication for some busnuts would be to put a charge to the batteries now and again, if in longer term storage.

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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luvrbus
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« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2012, 08:35:51 AM »

The Vanner is made in so many different models most use the Volt Master series, they draw 14 milliamps in the standby mode I know it doesn't sound like much but they will choose a battery from the center tap and will kill that battery  
 

If you keep both batteries above 12.8 they will draw from both batteries best to disconnect when not in use as the voltage lowers in the batteries the milliamp draw increases BTDT that is the way the Vanner people explained it to me
 
good luck
« Last Edit: November 12, 2012, 07:53:51 PM by luvrbus » Logged

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txjeff
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« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2012, 10:00:01 AM »

BW & luvrbus

I agree with both of you that the best solution is to completely disconnect the batteries. One note I will add for some of the newer members, even with the main Bus disconnect switch in the off position there is still a draw on the start batteries with a vanner.

jeff
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73 MC-7combo
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« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2012, 07:49:06 PM »

Yes, a busnut needs to go to greater lengths than a single battery switch, if a vanner equalizer is involved.

Think of it as the cost of doing business?

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2012, 07:55:30 PM »

What bw said, I have disconnect switches on every battery in every vehicle I own.
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« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2012, 05:00:04 AM »

I checked mine last night and found my left battery at the verner was 11.9 v with a latching solenoid ? and the right side battery was at 12.6 v . I reversed the two bateries to see if the low battery will come back                               dave
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