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Clicking/clacking coming from house battery compartment


Solo18

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I have a 2012 Fleetwood Tioga Ranger that I bought new and have lived in for over three years full time.

 

A couple of weeks ago, I heard an occasional clacking or clicking (maybe even slight clunking) sound coming from the area near by door where the batteries are located. When I took the battery cover off, it was clear that the sound was coming from the solenoids or whatever is next to the batteries. (I am an English major, not an electrician!) I filled them both with water and the sound occurred much less often. I figured it would eventually go away.

 

Two days ago, I spent the day at the Fleetwood Customer Service Center in Decatur, near the factory, getting a lot of little things checked and fixed. I was sitting in the motorhome while they worked, and of course, there was absolutely no sound coming from the battery area. (Coach was plugged in while they were working on it, and I was using lights but no other things.) Mechanics charged the batteries (they were not low) and load tested them, and the result was that they were fine.

 

So, now I am 350 miles west of Decatur, IN, plugged into 30 amps, and the sound is back. It occurs randomly, maybe once every minute or so on average. It is not a loud sound, but it is driving me crazy. Everything works on my RV. Battery indicators show they fully charged. Since nothing is not working, I am tempted to try to ignore it.

 

So, anybody know or have guesses about this weird noise??

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So, anybody know or have guesses about this weird noise??

 

A photo of the device next to your batteries would help. I'm not familiar with your particular make and model. First guesses would be your transfer switch is wearing out or your converter/charger is cycling. Is it more like a sharp 'click' or a slow 'snap'? Either way, I wouldn't ignore it. It won't really hurt anything to let the transfer switch go until it fails, but if your converter is cycling irregularly it isn't really doing your batteries any good.

 

Are there any conditions where you can reproduce the sound? Ie., switching on or off shore power, running any particular high load device, particularly warm days? It's probably not very practical to sit there staring at the multimeter until it happens again.

 

The least expensive would be to change out your transfer switch (if that is indeed where it is located) and see if that rectifies the problem. If not, it never hurts to have a spare switch on hand.

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Here are some photos. Hope they make some sense.

 

DSC07876.jpg

 

DSC07880.jpg

 

One thing I just did is turn off any lights I had on. No noise. Turned them back on and noise reappeared. Sound is more like a snap, I guess. I am going to be visiting my full-timing cousin in early December, if this can wait.

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Good news.. it's not your TS or converter. It's probably coming from one of those 3 relays. That could indicate that it is going bad, there is a short somewhere, or it's not getting enough juice. More good news.. they generally only cost $2-$3 for a new one. I would switch them all out and see if that rectifies the problem.

 

As a note.. clicking isn't necessarily a bad thing since that's it's job, but if you've never noticed it before, it could indicate one is failing. It's certainly a cheap fix if it get's rid of the annoying 'click'.

 

If it still does it after that, it's more likely you might have a short but I wouldn't worry about that until I had to.

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Thanks. Now my question is how do I know what the relays are? Can you describe them based on the photo? Are they the things with all the colored things on them??? One seems to be missing a screw, right? (Told you I was an English major! :) )

 

Or is it one of those square boxes on the left? I just looked up images of relays online and some looked like square black plugs. I assume you just pull them out and replace with another one.

 

And can I wait until early December to get my much more talented cousin to fix this? He has offered to help me with stuff. I have a couple thousand miles to drive to get to where we will be meeting up.

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Thanks. Now my question is how do I know what the relays are?

 

Or is it one of those square boxes on the left?

 

And can I wait until early December to get my much more talented cousin to fix this?

 

Correct. The 3 square boxes to the left of the fuse block. They just pull out and pop in a new one.

 

You might be able to get away with it until then. For the cost and ease of replacement (they only go in one way so you can't really mess it up), I would just go ahead and do it though. It might help to further diagnose if there is a secondary problem in the interim.

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I think I would start by cleaning ALL of the battery compartment connections. The one terminal in the left photo looks like it is pretty well corroded and perhaps the whole connector or cable needs replaced. If you have a bad connection anywhere it could result in low voltage that could be driving the relays nuts.

 

My coach has what is called a BIRD (bi-directional isolator relay) that switches back and forth to keep both the house and chassis batteries charged but I don't think your coach has one but might be worth checking. When house and coach batteries are at certain levels (can't tell you what they are) mine will click on and off for a few minutes (not chattering but on for a minute and then off). Here is another thread on BIRDs: http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?showtopic=116208

 

Lenp

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How often do you service your coach battery? It doesn't look as though you do much to it and if the battery electrolyte is low that can cause the constant clicking as the system attempts to charge it. A dry battery holds very little charge so it looks fully charged and then discharged in a very short time. Lemp is right but cleaning is only part of the job. If the battery has never been serviced, there is a good chance that it is failing.

 

If you wish to test the battery, unplug your shore power and then see how long the lights and other inside loads will run from the battery. If you want to load test it, just tun on the furnace and let it's blower run for a few minutes. A weak battery will not carry your house loads for long.

 

If you look at the sticker in that bottom picture, it tells you what the 12 fuses are for (those red, yellow, blue, & orange things). Your picture cuts off the bottom of that label so I can't read all of it but I suspect that the auxiliary battery disconnect is one of the devices in the right compartment and the 30A ......... whatever is the other with the two devices to the left on the label being in the compartment with the coach battery. Is it safe to assume that this is the coach battery box and the chassis has a separate battery that is located under the hood and next to the engine?

 

Let me suggest that it might be time for you to learn something about how things work in your RV so that you can take care of some of the maintenance. The best beginner information I know of is "The 12V Side of Life" written by Mark Nemeth. You should take the time to read both parts #1 and #2.

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You are right that I don't pay much attention to the battery and I should. Both batteries were load tested in the Fleetwood service area last Thursday. In addition, I drove all day a couple of days ago and used lights, furnace, etc. while traveling, and all worked fine. Ditto for refrigerator while on the road. So I think the battery is fine.

 

They were supposed to have cleaned the connections, but I can see that I should do a bit more of that. Been working last couple of days, but will have time tomorrow.

 

And the funny thing is that both batteries show to be fully charged on my control panel. Never had any problems with anything dimming. I am going to try replacing the relays as soon as I can find a place to get new ones.

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Guest THE TRAILERKING

Mine did that one time when the batteries were run down a bit. I plugged into shore power to let the batteries charge and there was the annoying clicking. I put a battery charger on the battery bank to bring up the charge. I then ran the inverter/charger off shore power and the clicking was gone with the batteries charged up to a higher state of charge.

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And the funny thing is that both batteries show to be fully charged on my control panel. Never had any problems with anything dimming. I am going to try replacing the relays as soon as I can find a place to get new ones.

Have you observed the components while the sounds you are concerned about are happening? Those three small relays that are just to the left of your fuse block might make some sound when operating but it would probably be only a click sound and not at all loud. From the way that you stated the sound, I suspect that you are hearing something with a larger solenoid than those contain and you could probably tell where that sound comes from if you were watching when it takes place.

 

Those inside display panels don't really tell you much because the battery level indicator is nearly always just a cheap volt meter and isn't nearly accurate enough to be of much help.

 

I'd still like to see all of that sticker that you posted the picture of. The lower left item is a "continous" what? The lower right item is a "30A" what? That label is there to help you in identifying the components in those boxes. The battery disconnect is far more likely to be the source of what you are hearing than those relays. It would also help if you were to take something and wipe the dirt off of the top of those three relays, so that it could be determined what is printed on them.

 

The left box is the battery box and we can't tell if it contains one battery or perhaps two?

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Looks like they are 6 volt Interstate batteries, 2 or 4?

Welcome to the forums, Dennis. Good having you on-board! My guess is two batteries, since it is pretty clear the one that shows is a 6V batter from the cap that shows. And I'd bet that the two devices on the right side of each of those boxes are the same device but in different use.

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