Jump to content

Generator/Battery


Recommended Posts

I'm a new RVer and bought a used 19 foot Class C that was a rental unit. I drove it home to Cleveland from Orlando in April but really didn't have time to use it. A month later I tried to start the generator and it wouldn't turn over. Once I got time I drove the motorhome on the freeway and the generator turned over. I ran it for about 15 minutes then turned it off. I came back the next day and it started right up again. Now 2 weeks later it barely turned over for a few seconds and then nothing. 10v 11v 12v lights don't turn come on at all when I check levels.

 

I don't think that I'm leaving anything on to drain the battery but not sure? Should the battery run down that quickly? I know it's different from a car battery but still.

 

Any ideas?

 

Jonathan Smith

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There should be a house battery switch that will keep the battery from running down, usually by the door and there is always the possibility it's not working if you use it. What you are seeing is normal with the house battery on, even with "everything" off there are draws on the battery. You want to nip this in the bud as everytime you run a battery flat you cut its life short or kill it. Running the Gen once a month at 50% load will keep the battery up once you find the turn off switch or install one.

 

LEN

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the Escapee forums, Johnathan! We are happy to have you join us here and we will do our best to help.

 

While the battery should not drain in two weeks, it isn't shocking and there are a number of things that you can do. The first would be to check your coach battery(s) to see if the electrolyte levels are where they should be. If they are not, add distilled water to bring them to the proper levels. It is also possible that you have old or weak batteries. You didn't mention what year model your RV is but there is a good chance that your batteries are degraded. Even new batteries can be discharged sometimes depending upon what is still on when you park the RV. There are a number of things which do use a small amount of power and can slowly drain your batteries. A good way to make sure that nothing is going to drain them is to lift the negative cable from the batteries when you put it into storage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jonathan, good questions, here are my thoughts:

 

1) Unless there were phantom loads, I wouldn't expect a GOOD battery to self discharge anywhere near that soon. If it has a battery master disconnect switch or relay be sure its off and see if she still discharges that fast ??? OR IF NOT simply disconnect a battery cable and see if she still discharges fast ??? IF SHE STILL DISCHARGES THAT FAST WHEN COMPLETELY DISCONNECTED I suspect the battery is old and sulfated. Make sure the electrolyte is above the plates and give her a good charge and see if she still discharges at that same fast rate.

 

2) Most auto stores and battery supply houses will check a batteries specific gravity and perform a load test for free, take it there and you can find what condition its in. I wouldn't be surprised if its shot.

 

3) In the event the battery tests okay (specific gravity and charge state and load) and does NOT self discharge fast when disconnected but still discharges in a couple weeks when wired to your rig I SUSPECT PHANTOM LOADS ARE DISCHARGING IT. It may have a minor short in the wiring or an LP Gas safety valve or some kind of 12 VDC powered detector or some lights etc etc etc is drawing excess current or a faulty refrigerator or no telling what is drawing current causing the discharge. In that case you're gonna have to do some electrical troubleshooting to find what's drawing current from your battery.

 

NOTE typically the house battery may be at the least a semi deep cycle so called RV/Marine battery, or a true deep cycle golf cart type of battery or batteries, (unlike an auto starting battery) but for an older used rental unit no telling what it has, it may have a regular auto start battery !!!! but even so it shouldn't discharge in two weeks UNLESS its bad or there are phantom loads .

 

Check electrolyte,,,,,,,,,,,,give her a good charge,,,,,,,,,,,,,see if it self discharges even if nothing is connected (if so likely its shot),,,,,,,,,,,,,take it to an auto or battery store and let them test it ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,If you replace it I prefer a true Deep Cycle Battery (or two batteries if 6 volt units),,,,,,,,,,,,,,If not at least an RV/Marine semi deep cycle battery.

 

What youre talking about isn't all that expensive or difficult to fix, maybe you just need a new battery because if yours has discharged that low very often it may well be shot by now. Of course, there are all sorts of other problems or possibilities but based on your limited info this is deep enough to dig for now.

 

Let is know what you find

 

John T

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's likely that you have a house battery that is reaching the end of it's useful life. Since it was a rental unit and you don't know the history, I would probably put in a new house battery as a matter of course if it were me.

 

That said, you need to check that the charging system is working and that there isn't stuff turned on and drawing down the battery that you don't know about (as others have suggested), but for me I would be putting in a new battery once I verified everything else was up to snuff.

 

Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let us know how you are doing with the problem, if you would. Should the problem turn out to be things that are discharging your batteries (commonly called phantom loads in the industry), there are a number of inexpensive switches from places like Amazon that can be installed into the system to correct the problem. Sometimes that is an easier way to solve such problems than it is to find what is actually causing the problem, at least as a short term fix.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let us know how you are doing with the problem, if you would. Should the problem turn out to be things that are discharging your batteries (commonly called phantom loads in the industry), there are a number of inexpensive switches from places like Amazon that can be installed into the system to correct the problem. Sometimes that is an easier way to solve such problems than it is to find what is actually causing the problem, at least as a short term fix.

Thanks everyone for the welcome and good answers.

 

The motorhome is a 2011 Four Winds Majestic 19g. I bought it from Cruise America. I've discovered many strange things like a set of speakers mounted above the dinette that don't seem to connect to anything and other strange things. Cruise America hasn't been much help so far.

 

I may just buy a new battery and this one looks old. It did take a charge but didn't keep it. I'll also order a switch as I could find a cut off. Is this something that I can buy at a Sears or an auto parts store?

 

I'll go back over to where it's stored later in the week and.

 

Jonathan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jonathan, Congratulations on your purchase, I will only address your most recent question

 

"Is this something that I can buy at a Sears or an auto parts store?"

 

YES and NO lol it depends on WHAT BATTERY YOU CHOOSE. Id still take the old to an auto parts or battery store as they will test it for free but there's a chance its shot. I trust the RV's Converter/Charger or whatever it has is working okay?? Even a good battery needs to be kept correctly charged you know!!!

 

Many auto parts stores and Sears and Wal Mart and Sams and Costco etc etc may carry what I call 12 Volt "Semi Deep Cycle" batteries perhaps labeled as "RV/Marine". THEY WILL WORK and are better for RV house battery use then an auto starting battery for darn sure. Such an RV/Marine battery available most stores will "get you by" and of course, one will work but multiple batteries can store more energy...

 

HOWEVER

 

1) If you're going to do much dry boondock camping NOT connected to electricity, I suggest you use a TRUE DEEP CYCLE battery(s) which some auto stores MAY NOT carry, but a battery shop like Interstate or Golf Cart Dealers or Sams or Costco etc likely will. Most True Deep Cycle Golf Cart batteries are 6 volt, so if you use them you need (and need space) two of them wired in series to get the required 12 volts.

 

2) If you ONLY have room for one battery and wont dry camp much, then a Wal Mart or Sears etc 12 volt semi deep cycle often labeled "RV/Marine" battery will get you by.

 

Got it??? Its your choice based on funds,,,,,,,,,,, And room (1 or 2 batteries),,,,,,,,,,,,,And how much dry camping you may do. If it were me and I had the room Id go to a Golf Cart Dealer and pick up a couple Trojan T-105 true deep cycle 6 volt golf cart batteries (or else the slightly cheaper but still true deep cycle 6 Volt golf cart batteries sold at Sams Club or Costco or even Wal Mart) and wire them in series. Much cheaper however to buy a 12 volt semi deep cycle RV/Marine battery and stick it in there, especially if you dont go off grid much, even if the "big boys" who have Lithium or AGM or Trojans roll their eyes lol tell em to kiss your grits!!!!

 

John T

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Once I got time I drove the motorhome on the freeway and the generator turned over. I ran it for about 15 minutes then turned it off.

A short trip on the freeway and a generator run time of 15 minutes will not fully charge your battery. Either plug into shore power or hook a charger to the battery and let it charge for a day. You then can do some tests on the battery. Disconnect the battery and let it rest for several hours then measure the voltage. It should be about 12.7 volts. A better check would be to use a hydrometer if it is a wet cell battery.

 

Hook up the battery and see if everything is working properly. With everything turned off in the RV there still could be a slight discharge (phantom current) occurring but typically you should be able to go several days with no problem. If you suspect the battery, fully charge it again and have it tested.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...