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Old 09-23-2011, 11:41 AM   #1
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Another battery question

We just took a 3 week (almost 3000 mile) trip. Happy to say the LY did it's job. The only problem was the "house" battery was totally drained after one long day on the road. We checked & double checked & didn't find any lights, etc. left on. The only thing we can think of is the radio was on most of the day & the GPS was plugged into the passenger side. We thought both ran off the engine battery, but that wasn't drained. (Battery was fully charged again after being plugged in over night.) Has anyone else had this happen? We "blamed" the radio because it has a few other strange/quirky traits. It will sometimes just start playing...usually through the bedroom speakers...in the middle of the night! Any ideas/solutions?
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Old 09-23-2011, 11:48 AM   #2
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A radio by itself could run for days on a deep cycle battery. Something else is draining the battery.
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Old 09-23-2011, 12:06 PM   #3
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What position was the main power switch at the door in?
On your unit there should be a isolator. Just check the wire juice on the house side to see if power is passing when engine running.
Dave

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We just took a 3 week (almost 3000 mile) trip. Happy to say the LY did it's job. The only problem was the "house" battery was totally drained after one long day on the road. We checked & double checked & didn't find any lights, etc. left on. The only thing we can think of is the radio was on most of the day & the GPS was plugged into the passenger side. We thought both ran off the engine battery, but that wasn't drained. (Battery was fully charged again after being plugged in over night.) Has anyone else had this happen? We "blamed" the radio because it has a few other strange/quirky traits. It will sometimes just start playing...usually through the bedroom speakers...in the middle of the night! Any ideas/solutions?
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Old 09-23-2011, 02:31 PM   #4
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Thanks for the quick feedback. The switch at the door was set in the on position. We were told it only gets moved to the store position when unplugged & not being used for a long time. Also, we have a solar charger for the house battery. It was a sunny day, so another reason it seems like it would stay charged. We're at a loss to know why it would drain.
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Old 09-23-2011, 02:35 PM   #5
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Just thought of one other thing. The refrig was on, running on LP.
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Old 09-23-2011, 02:51 PM   #6
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With a digital meter, record voltage on house battery side of isolator before and after start.
You should also do the same, before and after plugging in to shore power, to prove whether the isolator is wired correctly.
The isolator will be in the battery box.
At the same time check the battery connections on all batteries and on the isolator.
How many batteries have you got? one for engine and one for house?
Look to see if someone has previously installed something foreign in the system. The chassis battery will not usually charge when on shore power as the isolator only allows one way push from the chassis alternator.
If the chassis battery has stayed charged while parked on shore power, its possible the isolator is wired in reverse???????
A digital meter is cheap to buy and is important to you to understand your system.
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On your unit there should be a isolator. Just check the wire juice on the house side to see if power is passing when engine running.
Dave
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Old 09-23-2011, 03:09 PM   #7
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Depending on the size of the house battery, it should have stayed charged with the solar and NO major use!
Are you sure the cables are clean and tight.
The battery main shutoff switch at the door on my Clipper, sometimes accidentally gets turned off -- especially when granddaughter is with us!
Did the same thing happen again, or just that one time???
The switch would be the most suspect problem if it only happened once.
I keep a log of every event/problem/solution that happens on my unit, and that helps researching problems in the future.
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Old 09-23-2011, 03:17 PM   #8
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Were you pulling your TOAD?
Is your hot line to toad coming off the house side?
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Old 09-24-2011, 07:36 AM   #9
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Dave, thanks for all the information. You're help is priceless! Here's what I (Becky) can answer. The battery draining only happened 1 time. The day it happened we drove longer than we usually do...about 10 hours. We had the radio on most of the day & the GPS plugged in. (10 hours on the road because the GPS gave us BAD directions!) We arrived @ the campground after dark & discovered we had no house lights. Once we plugged into shore power the lights, etc came on slowly. By morning things were back to normal. When we left the campground we triple checked making sure everything was off. We also didn't use the radio or GPS the rest of the trip. We didn't have the problem again...but we don't want to either. The reason we thought the radio might be the culprit, is because it runs when we're set up @ camp (not off the engine battery).
Also, we were pulling our Toad. No previous problems with that connection either.
It is possible the switch by the door was moved...but, would that drain the battery if nothing was on?
It's still a mystery but thanks for helping us "sleuth" the problem.
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Old 09-24-2011, 10:04 AM   #10
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Nice to know others have problems with the GPS leading you down the wrong path!
If you have checked all the system, and it seems to be connected correctly, all you can do is try to replicate the situation and monitor the house battery every hour with a digital meter.
How old is the solar installation? and what size of panel?
The upper quality solar controllers have a digital display that will allow you to monitor battery voltage.
You didn't say what size and age the house battery was. Try it at home without shore power and see what staying power it has over the day with the radio on and off.
The fridge on gas would use very little power from the battery. HOWEVER, my fridge is 3way, is yours??? If the fridge was set to work on all systems, and the gas flame went out while traveling, (this is a common problem with Dometic and a kit is available to correct this) and the fridge reverted to 12V power, it would drain the battery within a couple hours, if the isolator was not feeding power from the chassis battery.(your switch was off at the door?)
Actually, it the switch was off, it should prevent the fridge running, but you can check this to see if it is connected correctly.

The hand held digital meter is an inexpensive, necessary, easy to use and understand tool that everyone should have and use. It takes the mystery out of most problems electrical.
Let us know what you find.
Dave
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Old 09-24-2011, 10:49 AM   #11
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Becky
Now that I read this again -------- most radios will be wired to the house battery side and would not work if the switch at the door was off. Soooo ------ the mystery is yours to solve.

Dave
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Old 09-27-2011, 05:32 AM   #12
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If you know how to use a regular volt/amp meter, you can pull fuses one at a time and measure the current flowing through each fuse. This can help you identify which circuit is using power. There are many ways to get a "silent" power drain. The most insidious I ever dealt with was a small vent fan motor that was frozen and switched in the on position. It sat there and used power 24/7 without making a sound!
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