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Old 03-09-2012, 04:44 PM   #1
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batteries

i am completely at a loss...came home from long trip,parked ,turned everything of,as usual...every week i start the motor,or,i hook it up on my power line if i clean or run lights etc...and then suddenly..coach battery goes dead,can not event start generator,nor use the trick in the glove compartment...nothing.I try charging the coach battery,it will not charge..i go buy a new one...the motor starts right up,all is fine...the next day i check,its conpletly dead ans drained....what can possibly be the problem...read the trouble shooting ..nothing there i can figure out HELP
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Old 03-09-2012, 06:21 PM   #2
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What changes to the system have you made recently???

We are talking about you chassis battery here???????
Its better to use chassis and house to define each battery.

Have you got a compartment light on.
When I was searching on my Clipper recently I discovered the front compartment light was wired to the chassis circuit, and all the rest wired to the house circuit.
I presume this was a standard wire layout as most Airstream bodies were front engine gas, and a hood light would be needed there.

Only other option I can give you is to start testing each fused circuit with a test lamp to see what is drawing power.
Install good battery and ----

Pull fuse, insert short jumper and connect test ground to one side of fuse block and insert pointed end in the other. If it lights that circuit is drawing power.

Dave
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:50 PM   #3
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We had similar symptoms on our last trip. Cables and terminals at the batteries were good. On ours, the cable from the positive post of the chassis battery attaches to a solenoid on the back of the battery tray. The cable terminal at that end had broken and was creating havoc.
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Old 03-10-2012, 07:37 AM   #4
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Our + cable from the chassis battery had a hole abraded in it from years of pulling the drawer in and out...other drainers I have found were the glove box light(door didn't always close) and the vanity light in the passenger side sunshade...also, the radio comes on after disconnecting then reconnecting the battery...
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Old 03-10-2012, 12:08 PM   #5
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will get help with this one....checked glove comp,radio is off,i have the kind you can remove..vanity has been none functional..will check everything else you all suggested and keep you posted...thank you.
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Old 03-10-2012, 12:53 PM   #6
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Probably should have said that the + CABLE from the battery to the solenoid behind the steps can get worn...you will have to crawl under to see/feel...uhm, I highly recommend disconnecting the cable from the battery...I didn't...SHOCKING!(& not much room to respond in...)
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Old 03-10-2012, 03:42 PM   #7
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I have a feeling you are right about the steps wire.....will check that too.
At this point i have disconnected All 3 batteries...waiting for my friend Don to come over and help me figure this out with all your very helpful ideas to test out ....thank you
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Old 03-11-2012, 03:17 AM   #8
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If you have a new battery going dead overnight you have significant power draw somewhere. When you connect the battery cables you should see a spark. If not check the battery to make sure it has a good charge. If the battery has a good charge and no sparks during connection you probably have a loose connection somewhere. The solenoid behind the step and also where the plus cable connects to the starter. All power to the dash and ignition goes through this connection. Also check where the negative battery cables connect to the frame, easy to overlook.

Good luck, Dan
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:26 AM   #9
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My Airstream motorhome is an Interstate class B, but the problem I had with the house batteries discharging might be similar to the problem in your motorhome. On mine, there is a switch next to the propane fill valve, that controls the propane feed from the built-in tank to the various appliances by means of an electromagnetic solenoid. Power on, electromagnet holds valve open; power off, spring forces valve closed.

This one switch— or rather the solenoid controlled by the switch— all by itself, draws about 2 amps 'round the clock when it's in the "on" position. It needs to; for safety reasons, the spring holding the valve closed is a strong one.

Anyway, the point is, I was draining about 48 amp-hours from my house batteries every day just because of this one easily-overlooked switch, and it didn't take long at all before the batteries were depleted to the point where I couldn't even start the generator to recharge them. I had to pull the batteries (a chore in itself) and recharge them on a bench. Believe me, ever since, I've never had a problem remembering to switch off the propane, and I've not had another problem with dead batteries.
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Old 03-11-2012, 10:40 PM   #10
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Had this also.
Mine was a Shower fan that was seized, and because I did not hear it spinning, assumed it was off.
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:11 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smartstream View Post
When you connect the battery cables you should see a spark.
Not necessarily. If you connect positive first, then negative, and all power users (lights, etc.) are switched off, there should be no current draw during connection, and so no spark. If you see a spark, that means something was switched on while you were connecting the battery.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:16 AM   #12
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I would assume that your 290 is much the same with coach and chassis battery connections as is my 89 345. The two main electrical cut off switches for storage (to the left of the door on the wall) control selinoids that disconnect the batteries when stored. I have a slow drain in the chassis which I haven't found yet, so when camping, cut off the chassis battery until ready to leave. Note the orig setup will not charge the chassis battery when pluged into shore power. All batteries will charge with engine running or with gen running or both running. I recently installed DC volt digital read outs to both the bat sets and 120 AC visable in the coach. Now can watch the drain or the voltage available, charging or not ect at all times. Hope to find the drain soon. I'm told to find an isolater leak is a long problematic search!
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:52 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by raveson View Post
I would assume that your 290 is much the same with coach and chassis battery connections as is my 89 345. The two main electrical cut off switches for storage (to the left of the door on the wall) control selinoids that disconnect the batteries when stored. I have a slow drain in the chassis which I haven't found yet, so when camping, cut off the chassis battery until ready to leave. Note the orig setup will not charge the chassis battery when pluged into shore power. All batteries will charge with engine running or with gen running or both running. I recently installed DC volt digital read outs to both the bat sets and 120 AC visable in the coach. Now can watch the drain or the voltage available, charging or not ect at all times. Hope to find the drain soon. I'm told to find an isolater leak is a long problematic search!
The process is complicated by the fact that both chassis and house batteries have items that draw (supposedly small) amounts of power even when the batteries are disconnected at the switch, because those circuits bypass the disconnect switch. On my Airstream, the Kenwood head unit still draws a small amount of power from the chassis battery when the engine is switched off and the chassis battery disconnected; so does the aftermarket alarm system I had installed. And I'm sure there are other things I haven't tracked down. For the house batteries, it's the propane solenoid, the retractable step lock, and the battery monitor in the solar panel circuit. Again there may be others I haven't tracked down.
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Old 03-13-2012, 01:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Not necessarily. If you connect positive first, then negative, and all power users (lights, etc.) are switched off, there should be no current draw during connection, and so no spark. If you see a spark, that means something was switched on while you were connecting the battery.
That is the point, if you get a spark something is on or faulty and drawing down the battery. If no spark then look for bad connections or possibly a faulty battery. There are many possibilities but I like to try the simple checks first to try to get a direction to look before starting the more difficult work.

Maybe I could have worded it better but a new battery going dead overnight has a large drain and should show a significant spark. Radios, digital clocks, alarms and such should take many days to run a good battery down. Again it's just a starting point to figure out where to look first.

Cheers, Dan
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