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Old 09-17-2019, 07:08 PM   #1
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My chassis battery was dead in the morning and I'm not sure why

The motorhome is three months old.

We were on a week-long trip and the chassis battery was fine. We returned on Saturday afternoon and I accidentally left the headlights on for a couple of hours when we got back. We were plugged into shore power with the house batteries on for cleaning at the time.

On Monday I went out to the coach and noticed my ScanGauge II had a blue background but no display. It does go to sleep after the engine is shut off and it did on Saturday.

I tried to start it and the chassis battery was dead. I used the Battery Boost switch to get it started and let it run. We drove it for ten miles yesterday for some maintenance and the battery was fine there. We brought it home that night and it has sat all day without being plugged into shore power.

I had to unplug the ScanGauge II for a short time to get it working again, so I lost my mileage data. <grrrr>

I just checked it, over 24 hours after we brought it back and the ScanGauge II showed it was 12.4 VDC. It started fine.

I will be shocked if leaving the headlights on for just a couple of hours can totally kill a new battery but that's the only thing that makes sense.

Any thoughts? I've done that on cars by accident and the battery did not die. And yes, I miss the "binger" that tells me I made that dumb move. <sigh>

On a related note, has anybody installed a trickle charger from shore power to keep the chassis battery topped up? If so, which one did you use?

Thanks,

Ray
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:12 PM   #2
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Since I park the GT at the house I leave the shore power on all the time. Keeps all batteries charged and also runs the fridge and propane detector. When its real hot (95+) I also turn on the fans so some air circulates from back and front thru the bath vent. Just 15Amp works, I don't have a 30A or 50A supply.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:37 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by mogman View Post
Since I park the GT at the house I leave the shore power on all the time. Keeps all batteries charged and also runs the fridge and propane detector.
And that's where I'm having some discomfort over this. It's parked in my driveway and plugged into shore power. Since we were taking it in for maintenance I unplugged the shore power (50 amp) and that's when I saw the problem. Clearly my GT5 chassis battery does not charge off of shore power.

Hmmm, after writing that I think I'll put a voltmeter on the cigarette lighter jack before and after applying shore power. I'll also look at the ScanGauge II voltmeter before and after. I have no doubt they will show as not charging because how could it if I had a dead battery? But I've been fooled before.

One thing I do not like is that there are USB jacks up front that are always powered and that have little blue "pilot lights". I know it's barely a few milliamps but why have them powered 100% of the time even with the house batteries shut off and the key turned off. Whatev.

Ray
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Old 09-17-2019, 11:22 PM   #4
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Leaving headlights on for two hours may have killed your battery. Depends on how discharged it already was. It may or may not come back from that. Fully charge it and load test it.

If your headlamps are not LED, they are likely 60W or so on low beam. Every clearance light could be 4W or so and the tailights are 5W each so it adds up.

The motorhome is 3 months old but the battery may not be. The chassis comes with a battery from the manufacturer so it could be many months older and who knows how depleted its been through its life.
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Old 09-18-2019, 12:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by NXR View Post
And that's where I'm having some discomfort over this. It's parked in my driveway and plugged into shore power. Since we were taking it in for maintenance I unplugged the shore power (50 amp) and that's when I saw the problem. Clearly my GT5 chassis battery does not charge off of shore power.
For units designed like that it would be a good idea to invest in a Battery Maintainer. Lots of units available from a variety of manufacturers that can be installed, connected to both starting battery and A/C power source in Coach, then left alone. Whenever plugged into shore power or generator running, starting battery will receive a maintaining charge.

Battery Minder, NOCO, CTEK, are a few names of units that work well and they come in a variety of sizes for maintaining various battery capacities.
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Old 09-18-2019, 12:33 PM   #6
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Look no further than a Battery Tender..I have several to maintain my toys.
http://www.batterytender.com/
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Old 09-18-2019, 12:43 PM   #7
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And you are certain your unit doesn’t have a charger/inverter, correct? And if it does, that they’re actually on?
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:58 PM   #8
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Thanks for the rapid comments, folks. I'm pretty sure this model year has LED headlights. I guess it's time to put a clamp-on ammeter on it and see what the draw is.

Good thought on the battery age. We had just driven it two hours when I left them on.

The converter/charger is separate from the inverter and does not have a switch. It's a Progressive Dynamics PD9270. The inverter is a Xantrex 2000 watt and does not have a battery charging function.

Thanks for the suggestions on maintainers. I think I'll also invest in a "You left the lights on again, stoopid" system.

Ray
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:23 PM   #9
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You don't need a trickle charger or maintainer you need a Trik L Start....made just for your situation and used by Winnebago and others. When plugged in to shore power and your coach batteries get charged full....the overflow current is directed to the chassis batteries. It is a really simple install and works like a charm. Install once and forget about it!
https://www.lslproducts.net/TLSPage.html
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Old 09-18-2019, 10:15 PM   #10
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Thanks, I was not aware of that product.

A buddy of mine told me he just throws a solar panel on his dash and plugs it into a cigarette lighter outlet, or whatever the politically correct name is for those things nowadays.

Ray
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Old 09-19-2019, 12:38 AM   #11
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Sometimes batteries just go bad. Had that happen on my last RV. First trip out. Called Ford as we were on the road and picked up a new one in Wyoming.
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