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Old 12-15-2003, 03:53 PM   #1
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Unhappy Battery Running Down...

Hello All -

I'm having a bit of a problem on a 1975 Argosy with one of the batteries. The coach use to start really slow like the battery was drained so I replaced it.

For that day the coach started up very easily on the first try (even though it was pretty cold here in Atlanta). So the starter is fine. But now it seems that the new battery is draining as well. I made double sure that I did not leave any lights on or anything else.

My question is, is this normal? Do I have to keep my coach plugged in to city power to maintain a charge on the batteries?

Thanks Much,
Al
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Old 12-15-2003, 04:04 PM   #2
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Parasitic Loads

Al:

Does your coach have separate batteries for the house and chassis?

If it doesn't (if it has only one battery) look for things like gas sniffer, fridge left on, water pump running, etc.

Some drain is normal, but you should get at least a month before draining the battery (ies).

If the unit has separate batteries, and it's the chassis battery that is draining down, look for corrossion drains, dirt or grease on connections, possibly a faulty switch.

I spent (still in the process) a good deal of time on mine just removing connections , cleaning , and reattaching.

Seems as if my problems are more related to age and "a little bit here, a little bit there" syndrome than any one particular problem.

If it's not apparent where the drain is occuring, it may take a while to trace it down with a volt meter and ammeter.

Do a search on "univolt", on one of the threads there was a general concensus that it was not a good idea to leave the shore power hooked up to the older univolts - fried the batteries (actually, boiled them dry due to overcharge).

Welcome and Good Luck!

Keep the Forum posted as to what you find and/or how you solve the problem.
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Old 12-15-2003, 04:14 PM   #3
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Al,
It seems as if they all loose some charge to coach systems that are not really "off" when the coach is parked for a while (clock, radio, etc.).

My 345 has three batteries..one chassis and two coach in series. I have two marine-style disconnects install so that I can completely shut off all electric to the chassis and coach. I found that if I leave the coach "powered up" for more than a week it won't start (especially in the colder weather).
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Old 12-15-2003, 04:19 PM   #4
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Wow, only a week!

Steven:

I guess I was lucky with my unit. I don't seem to have hardly any drain at all on either of the two systems.

The drain loads in mine seem to be normal as compared with other large vehicles,......clock, radio, etc.

I don't have a large chassis battery, and mine is good for at least a month between charges.
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Old 12-15-2003, 04:35 PM   #5
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Thanks Dennis...

I actually have two batteries. When you switch the ignition to accessorey position then you can see a dramtatic increase in power.

For instance, if you have an overhead light on then it get's much brighter.

Thanks for the info about boiling the batteries and not keeping it plugged in to the power. I'm a newbie at this and just for safety I unplugged it until I could get to the forum.

,Al
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Old 12-15-2003, 04:38 PM   #6
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That's a great idea Steven. Where is your switch located and did you install it yourself or have someone else do it?

,AL

Quote:
Originally posted by swebster@myrvadvanta
Al,
It seems as if they all loose some charge to coach systems that are not really "off" when the coach is parked for a while (clock, radio, etc.).

My 345 has three batteries..one chassis and two coach in series. I have two marine-style disconnects install so that I can completely shut off all electric to the chassis and coach. I found that if I leave the coach "powered up" for more than a week it won't start (especially in the colder weather).
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Old 12-15-2003, 06:21 PM   #7
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Al,
In mine they were both there when I bought the coach. The 345's have a battery locker that slides out from the forward pass side (right behind the front wheel). This is nice because it makes things very easy to inspect and clean.

One looks like an automotive type of rotating switch and the other is a big red marine cutoff from West Marine. The smaller might have been installed by AS (not sure) and disconnects the chassis battery and the other is for the coach batteries.

I have yet to clean, repair and improve the electric as Dennis did so I have no doubt there are many shorts and bad grounds here and there which may be causing my rapid drain.

It has an added benefit as well. I store my AS at my office so disconnecting the batteries in a locked compartment makes me feel a little better about security.
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Old 12-15-2003, 11:04 PM   #8
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Smile Thanks for the feedback Steven...

Man it's so nice to log onto this site and get real help from people who actually have similar problems.

I'll take a look at my coach and see if that same switch is there or not. I'm betting it's not but that sounds like the best and most fulproof way to stop the drain.

Thanks again for your help.

,Al
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Old 12-16-2003, 11:36 AM   #9
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Al a few ideas;
- use a voltmeter to check the state of the battery every so often. If it falls then charge it with an external battery charger, or you can plug it into shore power and charge it. I just prefer the stand alone charger when parked at home.
- you can get a small blade type switch that will cut off the battery when it is parked for a time, and save some power that way. I have that on my coach battery, not the engine battery.
There is a 12 volt informaton site with a whole lot of RV related battery info. Check it out when you have a chance it is very well done.


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Old 12-16-2003, 01:42 PM   #10
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Good info...

Thanks Alan -

I took a quick glance at the link you sent and it seems very detailed. So I shouldn't have any problem follow the ideas.

My engine battery is the one that's being drained down where as the coach battery is always very strong. So I'm going to take your suggestion and try to just clean as many leads as I can find. That may very well have something to do with the draining.

Thanks again for the info.

Take Care,
Al
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Old 12-16-2003, 02:08 PM   #11
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Al,

Do you have the OEM Vacuum step? Or has it been replaced by a kwikee?

If it is a kwikee they seem to have a good draw even when closed if you do not turn off the switch by the door.

Just another random though...........
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Old 12-16-2003, 05:35 PM   #12
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key switch

Here's another thing to check....i lost power in a week even though a voltmeter showed a very, very minor drain...the fuse is now out to shut off my step also...

Here is my other experience...my key switch was very worn and even though only 50k plus miles sometimes when the key would pull out it would turn the switch slightly and a small accessory drain would result even though the coach would be off...now I am getting about two weeks....lol...jem
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Old 12-28-2003, 11:00 PM   #13
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Unhappy Voltage Regulator?

Thanks again for everyone's input.

Still haven't found my problem with the battery drain Just for giggles I replaced the alternator but no success.

I was talking to my neighbor and he mentioned that on some old cars there was a voltage regulator. Has anyone ever heard of those on an Argosy or Airstream MH? If so where would you find it?

Take Care,
Al
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Old 12-28-2003, 11:33 PM   #14
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The voltage regulator would be built into the alternator. New alternator means a new regulator.

Something to try if you have the tool. Place an amp meter in series with the positive lead off the coach battery. While someone is watching the meter, you will have a draw, start pulling fuses on the fuse panel. It is up under the dash straight up from the dimmer switch on the left side. You may want to remove the drivers seat for better access.

You will eventually pull a fuse that makes a difference. Then you have narrowed it down to a system. If pulling all the fuses does not stop the draw then all that is left is cleaning of connections. Also attaching the meter in series will tell you how much of a draw to look for.

Something no one else mentioned is are you sure that all of the outside compartment lights are off? Each exterior compartment has a light it is manually turned on in the compartment. Newer models have a single switch for all lights. Yours has a switch at each light. I would check these and be sure that it is not something simple first.
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