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Open Roads Forum  >  Class B - Camping Van Conversions  >  DIY

 > Needing help, evacuated, battery dead

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Woodsie8*

pnw

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Posted: 09/12/20 09:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ndrorder wrote:

Double check that the main battery switch is on.

Not sure what was being used when the generator was off that drained the battery, but the rv furnace is a notorious power hog and will drain a battery in short order. Best to run the generator when using the furnace.

Run the rv to charge the house battery. Driving to refuel the rv will speed the charging process.

If the rv has a boost to start switch, disconnect the negative on the house battery (be sure it doesn't touch the positive), start the rv, and have someone push the boost switch while trying to start the generator. Once the generator has started, reconnect the negative to the house battery.

If no boost switch, disconnect negative from house battery (be sure it doesn't touch the positive), start the rv, run jumper cable from rv battery to house battery, start generator, and reconnect negative once generator is running. If the jumper cables are too short, move the rv battery closer to the house battery. Try starting the generator without the rv running.

Once generator is running, measure the voltage at the house battery. If it is more than 13.2V, the converter is working and the battery should be charging. If the battery isn't taking a charge, battery may be bad.

If the voltage is less than 13.2, there are lots of things to check. Quicker option would be to use a portable battery charger to charge the house battery when the generator runs. Be sure to have plenty of fuel as the battery may take several hours to a day to recharge using a portable charger.

Diagnose the charging issue once the generator is running.

Or, buy a new house battery and a portable charger. Swap the new battery for the house battery. Start the generator and diagnose the charging issue. Portable charger can be used to keep at least one of the house batteries topped up while the generator runs.

Keep a voltage meter handy. Once the house battery is down to 12.2V resting voltage (1/2 empty) find a way to recharge it.


Thx!!! I do have a starter boost switch! I am by myself and isolated on a mountain, so better not try this now but this really helps.

Woodsie8*

pnw

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Posted: 09/12/20 09:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Someone told me yesterday that I would have to drive thr RV 12 hours to techarge house battery, enough to start generator. Can that be correct?

Woodsie8*

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Posted: 09/12/20 09:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RambleOnNW wrote:

Can you start the engine, then start the generator from the 12V supplied by the engine alternator?

Sounds like your house battery is bad or your converter is bad and not charging the house battery.


I have started the rig to charge my phone and let it run, generator still dead.

ndrorder

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Posted: 09/12/20 09:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Unless you have an inverter which uses 12v battery to make 120V plug power, the two are separate and having something plugged in will not affect the battery. If you do Have an inverter, the plugs would stay powered when shore power and the generator off. Doesn't sound like that is the case.

If only using lights and water pump, those shouldn't drain a battery that much that 3 to 4 hours of generator can't replenish.


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Woodsie8*

pnw

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Posted: 09/12/20 09:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ndrorder wrote:

Unless you have an inverter which uses 12v battery to make 120V plug power, the two are separate and having something plugged in will not affect the battery. If you do Have an inverter, the plugs would stay powered when shore power and the generator off. Doesn't sound like that is the case.

If only using lights and water pump, those shouldn't drain a battery that much that 3 to 4 hours of generator can't replenish.


I think I have an inverter.

Woodsie8*

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Posted: 09/12/20 09:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Woodsie8* wrote:

ndrorder wrote:

Unless you have an inverter which uses 12v battery to make 120V plug power, the two are separate and having something plugged in will not affect the battery. If you do Have an inverter, the plugs would stay powered when shore power and the generator off. Doesn't sound like that is the case.

If only using lights and water pump, those shouldn't drain a battery that much that 3 to 4 hours of generator can't replenish.


I think I have an inverter.


I usually have the RV plugged into shore power and it charges the house battery. I guess when I get electricity back, I will plug in and see if the house battery charges. I also will see (once charged and unplugged to shore power) if the outside outlets are alive. It lasted for 3 days, so it had juice, assuming from the generator keeping it charged. A deep freeze and house frig probably pulls a lot, and I used A/C a very small bit, with inside lights and water pump for toilet.

wapiticountry

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Posted: 09/12/20 10:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Jumper cable from starter battery on the RV to the house battery lugs. That should allow you to start the generator. I assume your house battery supplies the power to start the generator. Many possibilities as to why your house battery failed. Maybe your converter is turned off or it has failed and didn't charge the house battery. It also may be your house battery has died or the cables have a bunch of corrosion. Corrosion can run up inside the cable sheathing, especially on the positive side and eventually the cables stop being conductive. Lots of potential problems. But you should be able to jump from the chassis battery and get the generator running. Be sure to Run the RV and keep the chassis battery charged, you don't want to be totally dead in the middle of fire country.

time2roll

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Posted: 09/12/20 10:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Woodsie8* wrote:

time2roll wrote:

The generator should be connected to an on-board charging system to maintain the RV battery. Possibly that system has failed. A portable battery charger would work.
Solar might be of little help if you have smoke in the air.


I am wondering if I was using more juice than generator was making. Would I put the battery charger in the house battery? I don’t have one that does not need plugged in but fir the future.
Yes put the portable charge direct on the house battery and plug the charger into any outlet with power.


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opnspaces

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Posted: 09/12/20 11:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Don't buy another generator. Investigate why your current generator is not charging your house battery like it should.

Number one thing to do is to buy a digital multimeter. You can buy a cheap one from Harbor Freight and it will get you through testing your charging system out. Link

Or buy a battery charger and plug it into an outlet in the RV and hook it to the house battery to charge.

The generator will power the outlets in your RV, both inside and outside. So start the generator and plug in a battery charger and charge the house battery.

Check the circuit breakers to see if any are tripped preventing the charger from charging the house battery.


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jdc1

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Posted: 09/13/20 09:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have to ask: How long are you running the genset? To keep tat food cold, you should only have to run it 3-4 times a day, an hour at a time....not continuously. That would also be sufficient to charge your battery. A 100w solar panel would be a great idea too, to keep your RV topped off, smoke or no smoke. Having a spare 12V battery sitting around might be a good idea too, since you don't seem to have a secondary battery in your B.

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