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Old 03-16-2010, 05:45 PM   #1
Chuck v
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Default Do starting batteries charge from shore power?

The generic GS Owners manual is worthless in trying to address this question. Even the most high level schematic representation of the coach's electrical system would be useful here, but as we all know the manufacturer is unwilling to come "clean on" this topic of electrical schematics.

I am storing my coach in a building off site during the winter months (this is the first winter we have owned this Tour Master T-40C...) When I went to do a little work on it today the building owner wanted it moved a few feet to accommodate some work he was doing on the facility. The engine starting batteries were down (not completely dead) so I used the EMG Starting switch to utilize the house batteries which allowed the coach to start right up.

I thought that all the batteries were maintained in a charged condition by the shore power connection, regardless of the state of the coach and chassis disconnect switches. Obviously I ma not correct in that presumption...

How does it REALLY work? Thanks in advance for any input.

Chuck
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:22 PM   #2
Arthur Hayes
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No, your starting bateries do not charge when pluged in.
I use a battery minder plus to keep my starting bateries charged. It is pluged into the outlet that is next to the battery compartment.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:44 PM   #3
Chuck v
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Thanks Art!

What brand and specification battery minder do you use on your coach?

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Old 03-17-2010, 07:15 AM   #4
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Whether or not the starting battery charges from shore power may depend upon the installed equipment. My Sun Voyager has a Bi-directional relay that routes the output of the converter to the starting battery if voltage is greater than 13.4 Vdc. It also transfers power from the engine driven alternator to the coach batteries.
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Old 03-17-2010, 10:24 AM   #5
Arthur Hayes
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It is called a Battery Minder Plus and is sold in many hardware stores and in camping World. Cost is in the $30 - $40 range. It is often on sale.
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Old 03-18-2010, 12:35 PM   #6
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Mine don't get charged from shore power. Only thing that gets charged are the house batteries. But at the same time you chassis batteries get charged when driving down the road, but not your house batteries. And with your generator the house batteries get charged.
But a lot of this depends on how your coach is wired. I have read where you can wire it so that all batteries get charged while on shore power. Not sure on that.
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Old 04-02-2010, 07:12 AM   #7
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Our original house batteries lasted about 5 1/2 years. According to the previous posts, these batteries are being charged by shore power.

Our original chassis batteries lasted 7 years. I attributed their longevity to being charged by shore power the 7 to 8 months the rig is parked each year. I guess I can't make that assumption.

I also don't want to connect a battery tender if; in fact, there is already some type of charging system in place.

So how does one tell if shore power is charging all the batteries or only the house batteries?

BTW - On the way back from Florida last week we woke up one morning to dead chassis batteries. We went and bought two new ones and all is fine.
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Old 04-02-2010, 12:19 PM   #8
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In my coach when hooked up to shore power, only the house batteries get charged.
My house batteries lasted around the same as yours, about five and a half years. They were the Interstate U2200. Now the chassis batteries only lasted about three years and I had to replace them. They are the sealed, maintenance free batteries. But because I live in the high deserts of southern California they tell me that batteries don't last as long because of the heat. I was in Las Vegas when my chassis batteries went bad.
To find out if a battery is taking a charge, take a reading with the shore power off. Then hook up your shore power and take another reading. It should go up when hooked up to shore power.
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Old 04-03-2010, 01:33 PM   #9
03heritagerider
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Thanks Ray. I'll get the tester and check it with and without shore power.

As far as your battery life...
Quote:
...because I live in the high deserts of southern California they tell me that batteries don't last as long because of the heat.
I've been told that here in the north east, batteries don't last as long because of the cold.

I wonder...Where is that magical place that allows batteries to last their longest?
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Old 04-03-2010, 08:09 PM   #10
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LOL! I had to laugh when I read that they told you that batteries don't last long in the NE because of it being too cold. YEA! it is funny, one is too hot and the other is too cold.
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Old 04-16-2010, 10:13 PM   #11
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i live in canada and it gets very cold up here,i use to leave my batteries in the rv over the winter but i found out the the batteries would freaze and would be junk by spring.i now take all batteries out and place the in the basement over the winter and put the charger on once a month to keep the batteries charged.batteries over time loose there charge and the acid turns to water and the cold will freeze the batteries.take care of the batteries and they will take care of you,they are not cheap
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Old 04-17-2010, 12:56 PM   #12
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Default Charging once a month

Just hook your battery charger to the batteries in your winter storage location through a 24 hour timer and let it go. Set the timer for the minimum on time and for once a day. This will keep the batteries charged with out your remembering to have to hook and un-hook the charger. I do this with all of my stored equipment. My 1985 Chrysler convertible would go in the barn in September or October and be hooked up. The Battery lasted over eleven (11) years. My Lawn Tractor Battery lasted over Six (6) years and the dealer was shocked saying people replace the small batteries normally before two years are up do to the poor charging systems on lawn tractors and mowers.
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Old 04-23-2010, 08:19 PM   #13
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Separating chassis and shore batteries is generally done to prevent draining the chassis battery when dry camping. Of course this also stops shore battery charging when the engine is running. The two systems are isolated

It requires a only 50 cent diode connected from the positive terminal of chassis to the positive terminal of the shore batteries to allow proper charging from the engine. I don't know why this isn't a standard feature on all motorhomes.
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Old 04-26-2010, 03:11 PM   #14
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Personally I use this to keep my cheesy batteries up all the time...

http://www.lslproducts.com/TLSPage.html

...install and forget it.

I also use a product from the same company to keep by tow car charged when towing....

http://www.lslproducts.com/ToadChargePage.html
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Old 04-26-2010, 03:47 PM   #15
Chuck v
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David,

Thank you very much for these links! The Trik-L-Start module is ideal for the TM 40-C as the battery compartment is on one side of the coach and the power reel compartment is on the other (both just behind the drive axle...) I was not very enthused about the more complex AC wiring in my case for powering a BatteryMinder than the simple solution that other members describe when these two compartments are adjacent as they apparently are on other GS floor plans. The little LSL manufactured module certainly addresses this concern by taking the charging current from the mechanically adjacent 'house' batteries to maintain the engine starting batteries.

Do you happen to know how close to the 'float' voltage this module is capable of taking the starting batteries relative to the house batteries? Can it do the desulfating function as claimed by the BatteryMinder?

The ToadCharge module is a useful item to know about as well --towing our Acura MDX will now only be limited by the need to periodically run the engine to circulate transmission/final drive lubricants in the vehicle...

Getting the MDX set up to tow is on the top of my "to do" list for preparing to use the coach this coming summer. Last year the wife drove our Subaru separately as it could not be flat towed.

Chuck
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Old 04-26-2010, 04:26 PM   #16
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It just keeps the batteries charged. It does not do anything special other than that.
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Old 08-07-2010, 10:54 AM   #17
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Default Pulse battery maintainer

I kept my batteries hooked up to a pulse battery maintainer charger. The unit is an AC Delco and first off when on maintainance it de-sulphates and then goes into standby where it just tops up at a trickle if the battery drops. Appears to do the job just fine. My Tourmaster has two big Cat batteries, I thought one was toast until I ran the de-sulphator. Brought it right back to life.
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Old 08-10-2010, 12:27 PM   #18
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Since I started this thread I have been able to acquire a quality charger at a local electronics surplus company that is made by Schauer and is a model JAC1212. This unit is a fully automatic 3-stage charger that can be left connected indefinitely, there is a data sheet at this web site:
http://www.battery-chargers.com/catalog/page6.pdf

I also use one Schauer's larger automatic chargers for my 48 volt utility vehicle (a Deere electric Gator with a drive train similar to a golf cart, but with a large dump bed) which handles the firewood hauling and other chores around our acreage here. It too is a quality piece of electronics...

The biggest part of the work in installing the JAC1212 charger in the TourMaster at the chassis battery compartment was running a 110 volt circuit into that location from the shore power system. I ended up running a Romex from the engine heater outlet box on the opposite side of the coach that required passing it over the transmission area. I placed this Romex cable as high as possible on the frame cross member to keep it clear of the engine, transmission and exhaust system. I have to say that it is challenging to do this work under the coach -- not much room for me under there and it is a real reach up to the frame cross member once in position. Got it done, and the installation is very tidy and secure.

Since I found this 12 amp, 12 volt charger at the surplus store -- I only paid $45 for it. Because it is a higher charge rate than the "maintainer" or "tender" products, it can top off my batteries much quicker, yet still is safe to leave connected at all times. I am satisfied with how it is working and should not have to address a low diesel starting battery condition again soon.

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Old 08-10-2010, 04:24 PM   #19
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Default Re: Pulse battery maintainer

Quote:
Originally Posted by MissBehavin
I kept my batteries hooked up to a pulse battery maintainer charger. The unit is an AC Delco and first off when on maintainance it de-sulphates and then goes into standby where it just tops up at a trickle if the battery drops. Appears to do the job just fine. My Tourmaster has two big Cat batteries, I thought one was toast until I ran the de-sulphator. Brought it right back to life.
What is a Cat battery? You mean to tell me that Caterpillar sells batteries with their name on them? Never knew that.
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Old 08-10-2010, 05:19 PM   #20
Chuck v
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RayChez,

Caterpillar does private label a series of batteries -- here is a link:
http://www.cat.com/cda/layout?m=37407&x=7
...might be a bit expensive, though...

When I was shopping for replacement engine starting batteries for my 2007 TM, I found that the Freightliner parts store had the best deal. My cost was $83.15 each last June.

Chuck
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