Bought rig new in Sept 2003, 2004 26Q year model, has original WFCO converter, model 8845 9I think) Rig's electgrical system has NOT been modified.
1.My starting battery is not being charged by the converter when plugged into shore power. I can't find an Bi-Directional Isolator Relay Delay (BIRD) device anywhere on the rig but understand that a BIRD is necessary for converter to keep starting battery charged. I have read elsewhere on the net that most Fleetwood, and many other RV's, do not have provisions for charging the starting battery when on shore power from the converter.My generic Tioga Owners manual says that the converter should keep both starting and house batteries charged when on shore power. Is the generic Tioga owners manual incorrect for my rig ?
2.Also, I have read that interior 12 volt lights should work from the converter with house battery disconnect switch off, i.e with no battery power. Mine flicker and go out with switch off. My Tioga owners manual says switch must be in ON position for lights and other 12 volt stuff to work. (Just curious on this point).
3.Do I need to upgrade from the WFCO converter and maybe add a BIRD or other device to keep the starting battery charged?
4.Can I just add a Trik-L-Start device to keep the starting battery charged while undriven, on shore power? It steals a little conveter power from the house battery to keep the starting battery charged.( I am currently using a Battery Minder to keep starting battery charged.)
Check the WFCO voltage as it should be very steady 13.6 and drop to 13.2 after a few days. Otherwise I would replace it and with a different brand. Assuming it drops to 13.2 it is OK to keep the batteries continuously on charge.
Trick-L-Start will work perfect for what you need.
My understanding is that it's pretty much standard for a motorhome to have some mechanism to either charge the chassis battery from the converter, or have a mechanism to "assist" starting the engine from the coach battery. So I'd put my money on a battery charging or interconnect device being there somewhere. Not having a Tioga I could be wrong of course. My Fleetwood rig uses a BIRD, but there are other ways to accomplish the same task. I'm aware of several owners having problems with the interconnect system, including a broken solenoid and blown fuse. My Fleetwood rig does power the lights with the battery switch off, yours could be different. If per chance you do have a BIRD system and the converter isn't working right the BIRD will never engage when on shore power, but it should still engage when driving, to charge the coach battery from the engine alternator.
2009 Fleetwood Icon 24A
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Our 26Q's alternator charges both the starting battery and house batteries while driving, so the isolator device is working. When not being driven, and on shore power, the house batteries get charged by the WFCO converter but not the starting battery. The battery disconnect relay ( small black box) in the battery compartment snaps loudly and seems to be working. It has two small guage wires, blue on left and brown on right connected to screw terminals at the base of the black relay box , and two large terminals and cables, one on each side. No BIRD device in battery compartment, under dinette seat with converter, and not in engine compartment that I can see.
PS: on my 2004 model Tioga Ford E-450 chassis, where is the battery isolator device located and what does it look like? Some have said it's in the engine compartment, I don't see what looks like a typical isolator in the packed compartment. Is it behind something?
* This post was
edited 09/02/12 11:52am by Bordercollie *
On my 2004 e-450 it is located below the chassis battery towards the engine. To work on the relay the battery has to be taken out.
The method of installation makes it a pain to take out and even worse to reinstall even after chassis battery removal. Mine was in a silver colored can and failed fairly soon from burned contacts. I replaced with something a lot more heavy duty. (i.e. 100 amps continuous and 1000 amps contacting)
Do not confuse it with the starter solenoid which is behind/below the passenger's side front headlight.
Got a call from a Fleetwood rep this AM. He confirmed that our 2004 Tioga 26Q has no provisions for keeping the starting battery charged while parked undriven and connected to shore power. He said that such provisions were added starting in 2007. Owner's manual is incorrect on this subject. He also confirmed that the house battery disconnect switch must be in ON position to operate house box 12 volt lights, etc. With this clarification, I plan to add a Trik-L-Start device that steals some power from the house battery to keep the starting battery up when on shore power and parked for long periods. May also add a starting battery disconnect switch. PHEW!!!