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Author Topic: REALLLLY need advice on MY particular battery issues/have read recent posts  (Read 3843 times)
kbunnystarr
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« on: February 08, 2007, 08:18:33 AM »

Hello everyone!  Ok, so I have had the Jakes installed, and that makes me feel more secure on that end, and am looking into stowmaster tow bars, casue they seem to have a good rep, but this is a HUGE thing for me::BATTERIES::.......I have had concern ever since I bought the bus last summer.  And I really need some advice on my particular situation..........cause electricity is the one thing on this planet that scares me, and then after reading all the possible things that are dangerous with batteries on here, it has ripened my concern on that as well. 

I am VERY grateful to anyone that takes the time to read this post, ....because if I cant figure this out, and feel 100% about it, it could be the end of me and this bus adventure.  I know it may sound extreme, but unless I can feel safe and know thats its right, and how to deal with things properly, who else is going to?  ANd its not liek I can jsut have th ebus with no batteries.....I am  capable and more than willing to learn and do just about anything, but I cant find anyone with a fair amount of time to look at what I have and tell me what need to be different to be safe and the best it can be. 

When I got the bus last summer, I got 4 new house batteries and 2 new starting batteries.......the previous owner had 2 house and 2 starting but I thought it best for 4 and 2.  I had a friend try to hook up the xtra 2 house, but it resulted in a melted wire and switch.  my idea was to be able to switch from one bank of 2 to the other 2....so since we couldnt figure it out, or find any help,  i setteled for the 2 new house to be hooked up where the 2 old house were, and replaced the 2 starting as well, and just kept the other 2 house in the compartment unhooked up.  ( i know it wasnt the best thing, but i had to get to az to care for my sister and had no time to look for help ).

So until now, ever since I have been in az, i have been plugged into my sisters
house electric, (since mid sept)  and have been asking around for help with all
this to no avail.....i am VERY nervous about going into the bay even to add water.   I have 4 golf cart batteries for house.......the bay is back by the engine compartment. it is for batteries ONLY  , nothing else in there, it has wood and like indoor outdoor flat carpet on the bottom, and other 3 sides are bare metal , which makes me very nervous also.  The ground is the bus.  I have in a separate compartment , a heart inverter/charger that is hooked up to the house  it is a 1000. 

A guy who is a friend of a friend, and apparently known as a electrical wiz, hooked up the other 2 house so the 4 are hooked up now ( they charged them first) and I also had a 40 amp marine battery charger i picked up at a bus convention, that he hooked up.  The 40 amp charger is mounted in the same compartment as the heart inverter/charger and wired back , direct, to the switch in the battery compartment ( it is a red palstic "keyed' switch on and off...off the key comes out).

The 40 amp boat charger has 3 feeds to it so it can charge 3 separate banks of batteries, so there is one spare, and then the house and starting is wired to it as well.  The heart inverter is wired to the house batteies.

It was set up before that the house and starting were wired together, and I didnt liek that, neither did the guy how did this latest work for me....now it is wired so if i turn the switch on he said if the bus starts hard, turn th ered key on and it ties the 2 chargers together.  he said the switch the 2 together to charge the house  and the 40 am charges house batteries from the engine. 

I thought i understood everything, but the more I read the notes i took while he was talkign the more confused i get.  and after reading all the posts on here about battery compartment safety and not wireing direct, and potential dangers, Im VERY nervous, even more than before.

Are thes water mieser caps something i should get?  WHat is a master disconnect for the batteries?  and should every battery have a separate disconnect switch AND the master switch?  WHat are fuses on the outpost?  DC power meter?

I know i need to have it different than it is, but I just dont know where to begin, i need someone in Lake HAvasu to do a 1,2,3,4,,5 step by step safety check and help me get this so it is 1] safe to use as it is, and 2] safe so when i access it, I AM SAFE  to add water etc.........

Can any one offer some help?  Or suggest anyone in my area that can?  I dont have tons of $ to get fancy things i dont need, but I like a little overkill when it comes to safety......right now I just feel so in the dark, and it seems like the more i read and the more I ask, i just get more confused, and afraid of the whole set up in that compartment.

As it stands, I have to disconnect the front 2 house to get to the back 2 to add water.that freaks me out cause of the small space i am working with and metal sides , i havent had to do it yet, but .......so i want to get a slide made to access easier, but the grounds are attached to the bus and so i need all longer cables etc, and really need someone to disconnect and reconnect for me so it is done right .......who does this sort of thing on buses?  where do i go for help with this stuff? 

And noone has mentioned or even brought up the disconnects for the batteries......the posts on this site are the first i have heard of, where are they mounted, where do I get and anything else you can tell me about this would be great!

Please!!!!!! dont get frustrated at my novice, we all have to learn somehow, and this isnt a topic  i have any expierence with, I just REALLY need to learn this ASAP, so i can get this right and safe.....

Is it normal to hear batteries bubbeling , sort of a sound?  When I go to add water, what should I do to be safest?  Turn chargers and inverters off i was told, like 2 hrs before, because of gas build up, but is there anything else?

ANY help you all can give, and any suggestions of where to go inmy area>?>?  I just really need to get this right, I worry every day about it...........

Thank you sooo much to anyone that takes the time to read and respond.
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Brian Diehl
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2007, 08:53:36 AM »

Hey Kbunny,
look at my profile and follow to my website.  You'll find my phone number at the bottom of the page.  Feel free to call and discuss.  I can help you get confident.
-Brian Diehl
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kbunnystarr
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2007, 09:07:20 AM »

you're super, thanx for responding Brian!!  when is the best time to call today? 
kristine
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2007, 09:13:54 AM »

Kbunnystarr,

You didn't say where in AZ you were?? Maybe some one is close by to help you.. I am in Yuma anthoough I am from Oregon.  You are correct in being nervous around a bank of batteries as the contain enough power to weld with let alone all the other things that can happen. Caution is important. do not make any connections with the chargers on or with power being drawn as this is where arcs can occur that can cause explosions Make sure when takeing connections loose that you don't drop them on a metal surface or on other batter connections. Ground connections are removed first and then to those above ground. If you have questions specifically what are they?? You also can call me at 541 720 0542   Jerry
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captain ron
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2007, 09:14:51 AM »

Kbunnystar, I don't know what kind of trickery Brian's trying to pull giving you his phone # but don't fall for it.
If you need help and your single I'm the man, been looking for an independently wealthy or at least self supporting female with a good running bus. So just send copy of bank statement and picture of bus to captron(@) captainronshow.(com) and your worries are over. Shocked Roll Eyes Cheesy Kiss Grin
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kbunnystarr
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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2007, 09:20:26 AM »

can anyone on the board recommend anyone in my area, Im sorry, I am in Lake HAvasu City AZ....... that would have some time to help me with this and get the system right?

...ya know , explain it to me and also do the physical work on it?HuhHuh i only am aware of one person that is knowledgeable  on this topic, and he never has much time because he isnt from here.........

i appreciate all helpful responses, i really need to address this and get it right.
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gumpy
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« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2007, 09:52:05 AM »

I've been following your postings since you bought this bus.

First, you seen to be an intelligent and independent soul, so don't let this thing intimidate you. Batteries are not that difficult
to understand.

Second, I suggest you go to amplepower.com and look over their website. There are some tutorials there, but more
importantly, there are two really good books which are geared toward 12 volt power. They're written for boating applications,
primarily, but they're just as applicable to buses applications.

Third, find the engineering notes of the late Jock Fugitt. He wrote some really good notes on this. He passed away a year or two ago,
but his notes are still online at http://www.purplebear.com/busnuts/bus_elec.html. There are some differences between his application and yours, but you should be able to figure it out. It's good general info.

And finally, we could use more info on what batteries you have, and how they are currently connected.

Educate yourself on this and you'll be just fine. We're here to help. Email me if you want. We'll break it down one piece at a time.

craig

« Last Edit: February 08, 2007, 09:55:01 AM by gumpy » Logged

Craig Shepard
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http://bus.gumpydog.com - "Some Assembly Required"
kbunnystarr
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« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2007, 09:59:37 AM »

THANK YOU CRAIG!!!!!!!!!!!!  you are always kind and helpful.  i am frustrated mostly because it frightens me, i dont want to harm myself or anyone else, I am sure, with the right help I can learn it, i just need soemone with patience......and knowledge.  so i understand, then i need help with the physically doing it.  I have to go check my sister, then I will email you direct.  THANK YOU.

kristine
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Sean
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« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2007, 10:18:57 AM »

Kristine,

You will get lots of offers of "remote" help here, but I hear you asking for on-site assistance.  And, based on what you have written, I think that is a wise choice.  It's just not possible for any of us out here in cyberspace to know what you have and how to help you without seeing a diagram, which you don't have.  It really is best for someone to look at your system first-hand to noodle through what has already been done to your system (and to draw a diagram, which will be a great help to you down the road).

What I can suggest is that you spend a day or so to drive down to Quartzsite.  It's only a couple of hours from where you are, and there are more electrical gurus there (at this time of year) than you can shake a stick at.  If you go over to the forum at RV.NET, or the Escapees forum, and post your plea over there, I would guess one of the many folks on those forums who are in Quartzsite at this moment will step forward to help.  Alternatively, there are quite a few shops there that have plenty of electrical expertise, for a fee.  Discount Solar and Solar Bill's are two that come to mind immediately.

There is a chance someone on this board who is in that area right now will step forward to help, but this is really a much smaller audience, so you will increase your chances by posting to the wider audiences on the other forums.

HTH,

-Sean
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kbunnystarr
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« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2007, 10:32:48 AM »

i have a diagram......drawn by the guy that hooked the last 2 house batteries  in.

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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2007, 10:36:41 AM »

If you could get your diagram scanned and post it here, that would help.

-Sean
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kbunnystarr
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« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2007, 10:54:44 AM »

ok, i will scan the diagrams he drew, .........then will have to figure out how to post Shocked)   

so i have to go take care of my sis for an hour then will be back online....if i was to look up in say yellowpages for someone to locally do this who should i look up?  electrician?  rv tech?  is there a listing for battery specialists?  i found battery sales in havasu but not liek to do what i need.....need to get batteries unhooked safely, get bay compartment lined to make safer wih wood plastic or..... and then re connected with the disconnect switches and Huh?what else i need to have safety precautions  in the system, and have it 100% explained to me so i understand what i have and how it works.who does that? 
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Brian Diehl
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« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2007, 10:56:47 AM »

when is the best time to call today? 

Anytime after 8pm CST is great...
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« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2007, 11:03:13 AM »

Here are some tips that may help you feel safer and gain self confidence:

  • Buy rubber gloves and wear them when working with the batteries and 12 volt electrical system.
  • Buy plastic caps to put over battery terminals after you remove the cable from it.  (plastic chair leg caps work nicely) This will help you ensure not shorting two terminals by accident.
  • Don't smoke around the batteries.
  • Make sure the battery compartment is ventilated.  After strong charging or discharging, leave the bay/service door open for a while before working on them.
  • Always remove the ground cable from the battery first.  This will be the one that runs from one or more batteries negative posts to the bus chassis.  This one can't hurt you and once removed the others are safe as long as you don't bridge terminals.
  • If the metal battery bay walls frighten you, line them with plywood (be sure to keep all vents open).

There are some great tutorials on many bus related topics including the electrical systems on this site: Poop Sheets by Phred

hth
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kbunnystarr
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« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2007, 11:08:29 AM »

THANK YOU FOR THE TIPS.   Cheesy
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