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Old 01-22-2014, 11:37 AM   #1
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More Sprinter Charging Questions

I share a 2013 Interstate with two others. It is parked in a heated garage (Wisconsin). Apparently, whoever was last to use the Van (could have been me), failed to plug it in to AC power when it was last put in the garage, about 7-8 weeks ago. I stopped to check on the Interstate today. I couldn't even unlock the doors with the remote key. Had to unlock manually. Seems all batteries are completely dead (no lights work). I plugged the Interstate into AC power. Will that eventually recharge the batteries? If no, and I jump start the vehicle, do I just let it run for a couple hours to recharge?
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Old 01-22-2014, 02:56 PM   #2
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Plugging back into electric will recharge the motorhome batteries but not the Mercedes starting battery. If you open the hood, there is a red plastic "stud" for connecting on a battery charger. Now to access this connection you will need to push back on the red plastic to expose the metal connection for the red-positive 12 volt connection. You can use a jumper vehicle or battery charger and there is a bare ground connection over in the corner of the fender on the driver side. The red connection post is about in front of the driver. I would not run the motor for a couple of hours to recharge the battery. Get a portable charger and plug it into 110 volts.

Now the other thing to remember is that you may have done some damage to the batteries for both the engine and the motorhome by draining them completely. Probably will shorten the overall life of the batteries but I have no idea how much.

Since electric is available it is really easy to check once you plug it in. Look in the side door and see if the microwave clock is illuminated. That is an easy way to check.

And some members will say to turn off all circuit breakers and the inverter but that requires more "memory" which it may appear that one of the 3 owners may not have.

I am a prior owner of large motorhomes with multiple inverters and multiple batteries (much larger than what Airstream uses) and we ALWAYS kept our units plugged in unless we were driving or running the generator while dry camping. AGM batteries and good inverters like 110 volts.

And consider buying a small "battery maintainer" or "battery tender" to provide a maintenance charge for the engine battery. Connect to the red post under the hood. And there are other battery maintainers that need to be installed under the driver seat which utilize the 12 volts from the motorhome batteries to keep the engine battery charged properly. These battery tenders are available from motorcycle dealers or from the internet.
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Old 01-22-2014, 04:30 PM   #3
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Now the other thing to remember is that you may have done some damage to the batteries for both the engine and the motorhome by draining them completely. Probably will shorten the overall life of the batteries but I have no idea how much.
For budgeting purposes (figuring out when you'll have to scrounge up the money to buy more batteries) the rule of thumb I use is… Each complete discharge takes one year off the battery's life. So a nominal five-year battery becomes a four-year battery.

There's no scientific data to back up that estimate, but it's a pretty safe bet that by the time you've completely discharged a five-year battery five times, it's a goner.
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Old 01-22-2014, 04:34 PM   #4
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Bill....I may be mistaken, but I think the Magnum Inverter/Charger will charge both coach and chassis battery banks. Ggroth can confirm that when he plugs in for awhile and checks battery status (Main and Aux). All I can relate is that my solar seems to keep both up when stored outside, and/or both stay up when on shorepower.
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Old 01-22-2014, 04:37 PM   #5
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of course...that assumes his coach has the Magnum unit....I assume it was a mid-year change since my manual says Tripplite, but the coach has Magnum
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Old 01-22-2014, 05:23 PM   #6
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Bill....I may be mistaken, but I think the Magnum Inverter/Charger will charge both coach and chassis battery banks. Ggroth can confirm that when he plugs in for awhile and checks battery status (Main and Aux). All I can relate is that my solar seems to keep both up when stored outside, and/or both stay up when on shorepower.
The Battery Isolation Module may keep the two systems separated once either of them goes down completely, so it's not a foregone conclusion that you could resurrect dead house and chassis batteries at the same time.

I'm interested in seeing how that works out.
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Old 01-22-2014, 05:28 PM   #7
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Good point. There may be a reset function that may or may not happen automatically. I am also interested in how this works out
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Old 01-22-2014, 05:28 PM   #8
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Plugging in either Magnum or TrippLite should also charge the Sprinter engine battery as it is tied to the PCI Battery Isolation Manager (BIM). This is the unit you can't turn off and it allows for charging the coach batteries when driving.

See attached file for explanation of how the BIM works.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf PCI Battery Isolation Manager Manual.pdf (61.8 KB, 57 views)
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Old 01-22-2014, 05:49 PM   #9
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Plugging in either Magnum or TrippLite should also charge the Sprinter engine battery as it is tied to the PCI Battery Isolation Manager (BIM). This is the unit you can't turn off and it allows for charging the coach batteries when driving.

See attached file for explanation of how the BIM works.
I read the manual a little differently. To me, it seems that the chassis battery needs to be above 13.2v and below 15.5v OR the house battery needs to be above 13.0v and below 15.5v for the relay to come on. With BOTH chassis and house batteries below 11.4v (dead) the relay will be off. So as I understand it, the house system will charge first, and once the house system has recovered, THEN the relay will kick on to allow the chassis system to recharge. But it won't allow you to charge both at once.
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Old 01-22-2014, 09:57 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the advice. The inverter is a Magnum. I will check the Interstate tomorrow, and will have a battery charger in hand just in case the Mercedes battery still needs charging. Also, one comment received was in regards to whether the microwave clock was illuminated. It was, after I plugged into shore power. Also, one thing I found strange, when I put the key in the ignition, I could not turn the key. Is that due to the battery being discharged?

Curious, if the Interstate had been plugged in to shore power all along, would that have kept both sets of batteries charged (for future reference)?
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:03 PM   #11
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When the Mercedes battery is too low in voltage, the key is a problem. And I'm still not sure about this PCI Battery Isolation Manager and being plugged in charging both MB and Interstate batteries. Boxster1971 posted the file and I've looked it over somewhat but not sure yet.
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:15 PM   #12
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Also, one thing I found strange, when I put the key in the ignition, I could not turn the key. Is that due to the battery being discharged?
The key has an RFID chip in it. The ignition switch has an RFID chip reader. If there isn't enough power to the chip reader, it won't recognize the key as being the right one, and the anti-theft device locks the ignition. Not so strange. If you jump-start the vehicle, the key will work as soon as the jumper cables are hooked up.
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Old 01-22-2014, 11:08 PM   #13
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Please correct me if I'm wrong, but if you have plugged the Interstate to shore power to charge up the coach batteries, can't you just push the ignition assist button on the lower left side of the dash to start the engine rather than having to use jumper cables?
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Old 01-23-2014, 12:14 AM   #14
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Yes but you probably don't want to idle the engine that long to charge the battery.
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