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Old 06-17-2013, 07:42 PM   #1
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1977 Argosy 28
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1984 345 motorhome battery drain

HAVING LOTS OF PROBLEMS WITH BATTERY DRAINAGE. THE ENGINE AND GENERATOR BATTERY IS ALWAYS FINE, BUT THE OTHER TWO ARE ALMOST ALWAYS DEAD. WE LEAVE THE BATTERY SWITCH IN THE ON POSITION ALL THE TIME. NOTE: WE HAD TO EVACUATE DURING THE BLACK FOREST WILDFIRE AND THE BATTERIES WERE GOOD FOR THOSE 4 DAYS WHILE PARKED (UNPLUGGED) AT SAFEWAY. WHEN WE CAME BACK HOME IT SAT FOR 2 DAYS AND THE TWO BATTERIES THAT RUN EVERYTHING WERE DEAD! WHAT ARE WE DOING WRONG? PLEASE HELP!
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Old 06-18-2013, 05:04 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by gonzerdoodle View Post
HAVING LOTS OF PROBLEMS WITH BATTERY DRAINAGE. THE ENGINE AND GENERATOR BATTERY IS ALWAYS FINE, BUT THE OTHER TWO ARE ALMOST ALWAYS DEAD. WE LEAVE THE BATTERY SWITCH IN THE ON POSITION ALL THE TIME. NOTE: WE HAD TO EVACUATE DURING THE BLACK FOREST WILDFIRE AND THE BATTERIES WERE GOOD FOR THOSE 4 DAYS WHILE PARKED (UNPLUGGED) AT SAFEWAY. WHEN WE CAME BACK HOME IT SAT FOR 2 DAYS AND THE TWO BATTERIES THAT RUN EVERYTHING WERE DEAD! WHAT ARE WE DOING WRONG? PLEASE HELP!
So many possibilities!

After running on the batteries for four days, did you completely recharge them before letting the unit sit for two days at home?

Besides leaving the battery cutoff in the "On" position, what else are you leaving on? If the answer is "nothing" then why leave the cutoff in the "on" position? If there are other things you're leaving on, accidentally or otherwise, that's where best to look for your answer.

It's possible that your inverter/charger is wired in parallel to the cutoff switch, so turning the cutoff to "off" doesn't also kill power to the inverter. Check to make sure, because some 120vAC appliances draw power even when switched off— such as televisions that have a remote control. If this is the case, you also need to make sure your breakers are switched off.

Also, how old are the dead batteries? Could be they're just too old to hold a charge anymore. Or if they're wet cells, they might be low on acid and need to be topped off with distilled water.

That should be enough to start with. If none of these issues explain your dead batteries, let us know and we'll think of something else.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:48 PM   #3
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The engine/generator start batteries are isolated so they don't get depleted and you should always be able to start. The first thing to look for is drain on the system when you think everything is off. My 95 had a solenoid that drew a couple of amps to keep the coach batteries on. Possibly a propane valve, frozen bathroom vent motor, ... You can track that down with an amp meter in the coach battery circuit. Charging could be another issue. When you are plugged into shore power check the voltage at the batteries. It has to be over 13 volts to charge. You should also see over 13 volts when the engine is running and the coach batteries are being charged through the battery idolater.

Hope you made it through the fire ok! We went through that in Boulder last year. We didn't have evacuate but we were loaded and ready to go.

I didn't sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night but I am an electrical engineer. Feel free to contact me if you are having problems and I'll try to help you out.
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Old 06-18-2013, 09:52 PM   #4
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On our 1984 310 the cables from the batteries meet at a solenoid that is bolted to the back of the slideout battery tray. The cables attached to the chassis move every time the tray is opened and closed. Eventually a cable terminal broke and started shorting everything out, including the coach batteries. We were having problems like yours until we found and replaced the broken cable terminal.
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Old 07-07-2013, 09:28 AM   #5
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1985 34.5' Airstream 345
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i had same problem, and I end up frying my batteries.if you have the original univolt converter,its not wise to leave the batteries switch on the on position. i am now looking into replacing the univolt with a better unit that have a smart charger.
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Old 08-15-2013, 02:12 PM   #6
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2000 39' Land Yacht XL Diesel w/slide
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I have a 390XL Landyacht, 2000, my problem has been first battery drainage for house. After buying 4 batteries I discovered I couldn't turn the aux. switch off when I put in storage. Then my engine batteries went dead. Bought 2 engine batteries. Took in to repair, now switch won't turn and stay on. No house power unless I stand there and hold the switch. I have parked in a campground connected to a land line however I wonder if I shouldn't do that since the aux switch is in a off position.
Problem 2, my thermostat won't turn on so that the air can be started even with the generator going. When it was put in for repair they cleaned the board in the AC and got it going. Now the problem has started again. I have replaced the isolator and one selonoid which they say is the one for the disconnect.
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Old 08-17-2013, 08:36 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by kruzinchris View Post
I have a 390XL Landyacht, 2000, my problem has been first battery drainage for house. After buying 4 batteries I discovered I couldn't turn the aux. switch off when I put in storage. Then my engine batteries went dead. Bought 2 engine batteries. Took in to repair, now switch won't turn and stay on. No house power unless I stand there and hold the switch. I have parked in a campground connected to a land line however I wonder if I shouldn't do that since the aux switch is in a off position.
Problem 2, my thermostat won't turn on so that the air can be started even with the generator going. When it was put in for repair they cleaned the board in the AC and got it going. Now the problem has started again. I have replaced the isolator and one selonoid which they say is the one for the disconnect.
My system was pretty messed up. Solar wouldn't charge unless the coach power was turned which was drawing more power than the solar output for a net loss. I found 2 solenoids that were getting hot in the on position. One was the battery system cross tie which should only come on momentarily for starting if the engine batteries are low. Turned out to be a bad switch in the dash. The other was the coach power solenoid. It was drawing better than an amp to hold it in the on position. I replaced it with a latching power contractor. I ran a 6 conductor cable back to the switch in the galley of which I need 3. Now I have spares. The latched solenoids have an on terminal and a off terminal. Apply power through a single pole double throw switch and you are in business. No current draw after it latches on or off. I might use a couple more wires to install a digital amp/voltage meter next to the switch to show battery charge/drain current and system voltage.

I posted information on the power relay in "what I bought for my motor home"

Good luck, Dave

One other thing: as I go through this 20 year old coach, I'm cleaning every electrical connection I run across. Especially the grounds. I'm using contact grease on everything to prevent future corrosion. I'm even replacing many of the cheap crimp on connectors and splices with a stockpile of aviation stuff that I have laying around. The auto parts store squash on ones are very unreliable over time.

I've also found that the actual factory chassis wiring and factory coach wiring are pretty damn good. It's
the wiring to mate the two that seems to to substandard, and poorly or incorrectly documented.
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