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Open Roads Forum  >  Class A Motorhomes

 > BATTERIES FROM HELL!, does it never end?

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The Beave

Georgetown TX USA

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Joined: 08/07/2002

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Posted: 07/14/12 12:15pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks to everyone who responded to my original post, I thought we had this thing whipped.

Four new Interstate 6 volt batteries were installed. All the cables were cleaned and reattached in the correct sequence.

At the end of last week it seemed that the batteries from hell had joined the angles choir and were once again singing in harmony. Alas, it was but a cruel trick!

A defective solar charge controller was repaired at the factory and re installed for the 200 watt panels and the wires attached in the correct sequence.

The rig was plugged into a 50 amp source for several days. The 2000 watt inverter/charger brought the batteries to a full charge and they entered the "float" stage.

The solar charge controller indicated 12.6 to 12.7 at night after the solar stopped charging and the rig was disconnected from shore power.

The 12 volt power disconnect switch was turned off. The solar panels were charging at about 8 amps the following day at the time I checked.

When I returned 2 days later the solar charge controller indicated 12.35 volts (it was charging) and a hydrometer check of all battery cells was a uniform 11.7 volts.

The rig is now hooked back up to shore power and the batteries are charging with no fault codes.

What the heck?

Could the current discharge through the solar panels because of a
Problem with the solar charge controller or panels? I can remove the fuse from the solar input after the batteries are charged and see if that is the issue.

How would you trouble shoot this thing?


The Beave
30' 1997 Beaver Monterey
(The shortest DP we could find)
2005 Honda CR-V
Remco surge brake


MountainAir05

New Mexico

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Posted: 07/14/12 12:38pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am just asking a question here, How do you get a voltage reading using a hydrometer check of all battery cells.

2oldman

Wilbur WA

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Posted: 07/14/12 12:57pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The Beave wrote:

My Hydrometer has a voltage scale on the side of the little float. If it's not measuring the battery charge, what is it measuring?
Hydrometers measure specific gravity. What a voltage scale is doing there, I have no idea.

You said "hydrometer check of all battery cells was a uniform 11.7 volts."

Each cell of a 6v battery should measure about 6.4/3 volts, since all storage batteries have 2+ v cells in series. I can't understand where 11.7 would come from. Anyway, it's moot as you should measure voltage using a voltmeter across the battery terminals.

The Beave

Georgetown TX USA

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Posted: 07/14/12 12:52pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My Hydrometer has a voltage scale on the side of the little float. If it's not measuring the battery charge, what is it measuring?

Ivylog

Blairsville, GA and WPB, FL.

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Posted: 07/14/12 12:59pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The specific gravity of the acid solution.


This post is my opinion (free advice). It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.

04 Monaco Dynasty 42' quad slide
Where am I?
How I tow.

wa_desert_rat

Central Washington State

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Posted: 07/14/12 12:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It's possible that the repaired charge controller was not properly repaired but I think it's more likely that you have more current load than you think you do. Check the coach and see what is running. Fans? Lights? Radios and TV sets commonly draw current even when switched to OFF. If you have an inverter and it's left on that is .5 amps of current 24-hours a day even if nothing else is running. Look for those first. You might be able to just disconnect the coach 12vdc with a switch and see if that helps.

Next time don't wait 2 days... and check battery bank voltage when you look at charging current. It might take some time to nail down what is sucking down your batteries.

There are devices that can measure the current you are drawing out of a battery bank and many people with solar power have installed them. Around $150 - $200. I'm going to install one of these, myself.

Good luck! Keep us posted.

Craig

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 07/14/12 02:11pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

Yes, if the charge controller relay or diode has failed the panels will draw power from the battery bank when the sun is not shining on them.

What make and model is the controller?

I would trouble shoot the controller by checking the supply (panel) side of the controller when it is dark out.

I don't think that 200 watts of panels could drag down a 700 amp-hour bank in 2 days.

The Beave wrote:


Could the current discharge through the solar panels because of a
Problem with the solar charge controller or panels? I can remove the fuse from the solar input after the batteries are charged and see if that is the issue.

How would you trouble shoot this thing?



Regards, Don
Full Time in a Kustom Koach Class C 28'5", 256 watts Unisolar, 875 amp hours in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, Magnum 3000 watt PSW inverter.

rgatijnet1

Florida

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Joined: 06/22/2009

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Good Sam RV Club Member


Posted: 07/14/12 01:33pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I know that this is pretty far out and I can't believe it happened, but my neighbor replaced his batteries with four 6 volt units. These all bolted into the existing cables with no problem at all. The only problem he had is that he did not have all of the polarities right. Have you double checked to see that the + and - symbols on the batteries match the cables that are connected to them? On his setup, you could turn one battery 180 degrees when it was installed and it looked just like the others, the cables bolted up as expected, except the polarity was reversed.

steveownby

Cosby, TN

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Joined: 09/23/2009

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Posted: 07/14/12 02:11pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The Beave wrote:

Thanks to everyone who responded to my original post, I thought we had this thing whipped.

Four new Interstate 6 volt batteries were installed. All the cables were cleaned and reattached in the correct sequence.

At the end of last week it seemed that the batteries from hell had joined the angles choir and were once again singing in harmony. Alas, it was but a cruel trick!

A defective solar charge controller was repaired at the factory and re installed for the 200 watt panels and the wires attached in the correct sequence.

The rig was plugged into a 50 amp source for several days. The 2000 watt inverter/charger brought the batteries to a full charge and they entered the "float" stage.

The solar charge controller indicated 12.6 to 12.7 at night after the solar stopped charging and the rig was disconnected from shore power.

The 12 volt power disconnect switch was turned off. The solar panels were charging at about 8 amps the following day at the time I checked.

When I returned 2 days later the solar charge controller indicated 12.35 volts (it was charging) and a hydrometer check of all battery cells was a uniform 11.7 volts.

The rig is now hooked back up to shore power and the batteries are charging with no fault codes.

What the heck?

Could the current discharge through the solar panels because of a
Problem with the solar charge controller or panels? I can remove the fuse from the solar input after the batteries are charged and see if that is the issue.

How would you trouble shoot this thing?


When you say " the 12 volt disconnect switch was turned off", where is this switch? If you are using the salesman switch by the door, that does not cut everything and you will still have some substantial draw. That switch is primarily so the lights in the coach can be turned off & on at the door.


Steve Ownby
2003 Monaco Signature

Full-time since 2007


rvrepairnut

bc

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Joined: 11/11/2011

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Posted: 07/14/12 01:22pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Is it possible you have left the inverter in the on position? That leaves power to the Tvs,fridge,micro etc.anything thats plugged in to 120V

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