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Bi-directional isolater relay delay making clicking sounds in 1995 Newmar Mountain Aire Gas RV


Carolina

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Hello- we just had a new invertor installed in our motorhome and later that day we heard a clicking/popping sound coming from the dash area of the RV. We had never heard this before and my husband opened the hood and saw that the clicking/ popping sound was coming from the "BIRD" (I guess that's what it's called for short!). We don't really know what this item is and if it is signalling that something is wrong. We are plugged in at an RV park and my husband started the engine and stated right up. The reason the RV repair place put in the invertor is because they said the coach batteries were not being charged enough. It all started with the slide out going real slow and then stopping. We did get the slide to come back in before going to repair shop. It still goes pretty slow even with new invertor. The voltage shows 12.9 right now. My question is- is the popping/clicking sound an indication something is wrong? Could this be a fire hazard? We are new to RVing and we don't know alot about how they operate and the mechanics of them. Thank you for any info you can provide!

Whoops- it's a converter, not an inverter

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There is a problem in definitions. An inverter doesn't charge batteries, it take battery voltage and make AC power for appliances.

 

An Inverter/Charger will charge batteries when there is shore power available.

 

A Converter takes shore power AC and turns it in DC voltage which can charge the batteries.

 

If battery charging is the issue, then that would be a Converter problem. This could be fixed by an Inverter/Charger but more often is fixed with better Converter.

 

12.9 volts is on the light side for batteries with a charger (Converter or Inverter/Charger) connected.

 

A bi-directional isolation relay is supposed to keep the RV house loads from draining the engine battery. If it clicking, then it is attaching and disconnecting the engine battery. Probably a case of just on the edge of enough voltage on the house side to connect the engine battery to charge it and then the voltage drops because of the engine battery load, and the relay disconnects.

 

I would start with why the house batteries are only getting to 12.9 volts under charge.

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First, welcome to the Escapee forums! We will do our best to help as much as possible.

 

Adding to what Mark has already told you, the BIRD is there to allow the chassis alternator to charge the coach batteries as well as the chassis battery. In some cases it is also set up to allow you to use the coach batteries to assist in starting the chassis engine or to use the chassis battery to assist in starting the onboard generator set if you have one (those get starting power from the coach batteries). The switch to allow that is usually named "Emergency Start" or something similar.

 

It is not normal for any set of electrical contacts to chatter or constantly open and close. Did starting the engine make it stop clicking? I would try lifting the negative cable(with the engine off) from the chassis battery to see if that makes it stop. Another test is to disconnect shore power to see what it does. It is also possible that yours is wired to allow the AC to DC converter to also charge the chassis battery. If that is the case it might be shifting back and forth based upon which side of the DC power is at the higher voltage with them very close to the same.

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The BIRD on my Winnebago will click between it's two positions AFTER I have ran my generator to bring up the house battery bank.

 

If I understand the BIRD correctly, it monitors the voltage of both the house and chassis batteries and when one gets charged it will "click" to allow the other battery bank to also charge. When the "other" bank voltage reaches the same voltage as the primary batteries the BIRD will "click" back to the primary bank only. Then as the primary increases above the "other" bank it will again "click" to charge the "other" bank some more.

 

In my case, the continuous clicking happens AFTER running the generator and when the two banks are close in voltage and the primary bank is dropping (i.e., surface charge is dissipating). The clicking only last for 3-4 minutes until the house bank is back below the chassis bank.

 

Unless yours is really chattering (rapid clicking), I suspect it is doing what it is supposed to do.

 

I put a PDF of the Intellitex BIRD on my website here: http://rvroamin.com/Bi-Directional%20Isolator%20Relay%20Delay.pdf

 

Hope this helps.

 

Lenp

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I have never heard of it being used to direct alternator charging?? Am I wrong??

Depends upon what you mean by that. There are installations that use the one BIRD device to tie or separate the coach & chassis batteries whether it is a case of charging the coach batteries from the chassis alternator, cross connecting to use the coach batteries to help to start the chassis engine, or allowing the coach converter to keep the chassis battery charged. Different controls supplying the signal, but one control box with multiple relays. That is exactly what we had on our Cruise Master and the BIRD was built by Intellitec. They were also the supplier of our battery isolators and several other 12V control items. I have seen them in several other makes as well.

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