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Old 03-24-2020, 01:25 PM   #1
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Battery Charging Question

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Is it possible to charge the living area batteries while driving from the engine alternator. I supposedly have a switch located on lower dash next to my left led that is to allow the living area batteries to start the vehicle if the engine battery is dead.
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Old 03-24-2020, 02:44 PM   #2
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The engine battery usually charges the 'house' battery while you drive.
That emergency start is just that... an emergency start that you hold down when you use it.
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:39 PM   #3
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Check the fuses in the battery area. Mine were missing.
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:56 PM   #4
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there are add on kits to charge you house battery's while driving I believe mine was a t stat put it in years ago never a problem after that.
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Old 03-24-2020, 04:28 PM   #5
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Automobile alternators are designed to trickle charge the starting battery in the vehicle and not charge a dead or house battery. As the battery assumes a surface charge the voltage regulator drops the charging voltage. There's a reason emergency vehicles are fitted with two alternators. One is specifically designed to charge their auxiliary batteries.

How much power is an automobile alternator normally expected to put back in the battery you ask? Pretend your starter draws 600 amps and the engine starts in 6 seconds. That's 3600 amp-seconds drawn from the battery. There are 3600 seconds in an hour (60x60) so that's one (1) amp hour. Just takes a trickle charge to top off the battery and that's all the alternator is designed to do.

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Old 03-24-2020, 04:50 PM   #6
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Dual Battery Isolator Relay 12V 100A Vehicle Automotive Battery Management Kit
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Old 03-24-2020, 07:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck_S View Post
Automobile alternators are designed to trickle charge the starting battery in the vehicle and not charge a dead or house battery. As the battery assumes a surface charge the voltage regulator drops the charging voltage. There's a reason emergency vehicles are fitted with two alternators. One is specifically designed to charge their auxiliary batteries.

How much power is an automobile alternator normally expected to put back in the battery you ask? Pretend your starter draws 600 amps and the engine starts in 6 seconds. That's 3600 amp-seconds drawn from the battery. There are 3600 seconds in an hour (60x60) so that's one (1) amp hour. Just takes a trickle charge to top off the battery and that's all the alternator is designed to do.

-- Chuck
Well, today it's very hard to find a motorhome where the chassis engine alternator does not provide charging capability to the coach batteries. Also the same holds true for the coach converter (when powered from shore power or genny) to charge not only the coach batteries but also the chassis battery.
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Old 03-25-2020, 07:44 AM   #8
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Not saying they don't just saying the typical automobile alternator designed to charge the starting battery charges a house battery inefficiently as the charging rate is so slow. Not surprising as that's how the voltage regulators are designed. Best to start any journey (or voyage) with fully charged house batteries. High end, well designed systems should be better than price-built systems.

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Old 03-25-2020, 09:19 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Pat-Sr View Post
2005 Sunseeker LE
Purchased privately, no user info.
Is it possible to charge the living area batteries while driving from the engine alternator. I supposedly have a switch located on lower dash next to my left led that is to allow the living area batteries to start the vehicle if the engine battery is dead.
We owned a 1995 class C, and although there was an emergency start switch, the engine alternator did not automatically charge the house batteries. On our 2020 Sunseeker, there is a battery isolation manager that automatically allows the truck engine alternator to charge the house batteries, as well as allowing the house converter to charge the truck battery.

The answer to your question will come from understanding the electrical systems in your particular motorhome. At some point in history, this cross charging capability was introduced, and I donít know when that was. Are you familiar with all of the electrical components in your motorhome? Do you know if it has a battery isolation manager (BIM)?
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Old 03-25-2020, 09:39 AM   #10
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As a side note not related to the OP’s situation, the latest Sunseeker/Forester models have switched over to using 12 volt refrigerators. You no longer have the option of running a refrigerator on propane while you travel. The refrigerator will be powered by the house batteries during travel, which in turn will be maintained by the engine alternator by way of the BIM. Basically, solar panels on the roof (if present) and the engine alternator are running the house refrigerator while you’re driving.
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