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Old 01-05-2006, 07:08 PM   #1
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1994 35' Land Yacht Diesel
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Batteries Discharging to Quickly

We replaced the two chassis batteries in our Land Yacht less than a year
ago. They will not hold a charge for more tha a couple days now. They
are the top of the line from Wal-Mart, so they have full replacement. But
it's a job that I don't think should be necessary. The house batteries are
better because they're deep cycle marine, also from Wal-Mart.
Does anybody else have problems with Wal-Mart batteries? I don't get a
spark when disconnecting, so it does not appear to be a coach drain, but
I can't be sure. I do have master disconnects on them but I don't like to
have to do that for a two or three night stay. They even go flat when
I'm plugged in to shore power!
Does anybody have an easy way to find an electric leak?
Have you all gone to sealed batteries? (maintenance free)
I hate electrical problems so some tips would be appreciated. I'm affraid
I'm going to have to do one electrical connection at a time unless
somebody gives me an easier way
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Old 01-05-2006, 10:00 PM   #2
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Well, Paul,
the first thing, I assume you must be speaking of your starting batteries? Then, are you sure your altenator is putting a full charge in them while driving? How are you maintaining them while in storage? Are you sure your starting batteries charge from shore power? Do you maintain them with water checks and voltage checks regularly? Battery maintainers (not just a charger) are the best way to keep a hot charge while parked or stored.
If you are doing all these things, and know they are 14.3+ when fully charged, you can take your ground wire lose, and wire a 12 volt bulb between the battery and the ground wire. If, and only if it is burning, then you can pull one fuse at a time from the fuse box until that light goes out, and you have found your power drain! Depending on what equipment you may have, a radio with memory usually pulls power all the time. You may have some aftermarket equipment that pulls a drain. Good luck!
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Old 01-06-2006, 08:16 AM   #3
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Paul:

Don't know about the Land Yacht wiring, but on the Classics most all of the parasitic loads are on the Chassis batteries.

These parasite drains include the steps and controls, the clocks, memory and engine electricals, 3-way refrigerator, and others. There have also been documented drains caused by corroded connections

The worst thing you could do to a battery is drain it all of the way. I always make sure the "electric step" switch is in the "off" position whenever it is not in use.

I would suspect there is a light or other such circuit staying "on" in your unit, but it could also be a combination of nuisance ground faults. A simple (inexpensive) volt/ohm meter could possibly indicate the guilty circuit in the fuse panel - check the open circuit to ground resistance with the fuse removed (the same advice that steelbird31 gave in the previous post). Be forewarned, though, there are probably circuits connected to your battery that DO NOT go through a "handy" fuse panel - the electric seat controls and the hydraulic jack system come to mind.

Please post back with what you find.
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Old 01-06-2006, 09:52 AM   #4
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I use a blade disconnect while my Moho is parked, always when not camping and plugged into shore power. I also have a disconnect on my radio power which is overkill, but was an easy install using a dash switch.

I have found when I check my voltage weekly while parked that it almost never goes down.
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Old 01-06-2006, 10:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALANSD
I use a blade disconnect while my Moho is parked, always when not camping and plugged into shore power. I also have a disconnect on my radio power which is overkill, but was an easy install using a dash switch.

I have found when I check my voltage weekly while parked that it almost never goes down.
Since there is always going to be some trickle drain on batteries in a motor home, has anyone used an automatic charger that only "hits" the batteries when it senses a drop? I'm either going to do what you have done, Alan, or go the automatic charger route. I know the blade disconnect is virtually foolproof, but I'm forever going in and out of my unit all year round. If the automatic charger will work, it would make life a little simpler. I hate to have to slide that giant battery drawer out every time I go in the MoHo. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Tim
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Old 01-06-2006, 01:17 PM   #6
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Tim
I use a BATTERY TENDER brand battery maintainer, that is a 3 stage outfit. The cost is very minimal, less than $60. I use it for my motorcycle, 29'trailer, and if it were parked long enough, would use it for the motorhome . Anyway, it does a marvelous job of keeping the batteries fresh, sulfation down, and the batteries seem to last longer. Whether they do or not is up for debate, however, the battery that is in my Goldwing is just over 5 years old, works great and shows a full charge.
I think your thoughts would pay big dividends. If you want to consider one, do a GOOGLE search on Battery Tender, or Yuasa, they are both very effective, and can be found on discount motorcycle sites pretty cheap!
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Old 01-06-2006, 01:21 PM   #7
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that also is a good alternative, and I have seen these at Pep Boys and Walmart in addition to online.
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Old 01-06-2006, 05:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALANSD
that also is a good alternative, and I have seen these at Pep Boys and Walmart in addition to online.
Thanks to both steelbird312 and Alan for your input. I'll do some checking on this item this weekend. I keep my MoHo in my yard and am constantly going out tinkering, turning on lights, etc. It would sure be nice to use something that keeps the batteries up and only has to be cut off when I take her out.

Best,

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Old 01-06-2006, 07:20 PM   #9
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Paul,

Are you plugged in when in storage and does your coach have a converter or inverter system. If the batteries are losing charge so rapidly maybe they are not getting a full charge to begin with. That would be the first place to check: the battery charging system output. Any lead acid electrolyte battery should be fully charged at least once a month due to their high internal resistance.

If you do need a charging system, the Battery Tender system is an excellent choice because it uses a bulk/float/maintenance charging pattern, also called a 'smart charger'. It automatically controls the voltage input to the batteries to keep them at peak charge without overcharging, gassing or sulphating your batteries.
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Old 02-13-2006, 06:59 AM   #10
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[quote=lewster]Any lead acid electrolyte battery should be fully charged at least once a month due to their high internal resistance.

I finally took the batteries out an charged them well overnight. When I put them back they started fine the next day, but a day later didn't have enough to start the coach. So, I Replaced them with the Wal-Mart guarantee.
Now a week later I'm going back to see if it will start. If it will, I'll use the blade switch to disconnect and buy a Battery Tender. If not I'll have to find the drain.
Thanks for the input.
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Old 03-07-2006, 08:40 PM   #11
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1994 35' Land Yacht Diesel
Franklin NC , North Carolina
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Problem Solved!

You won't be as happy as I was to find the answer to the battery drain
problem. IT WAS THE BATTERIES ! Wal-Mart deep cycle marine batteries
lasted less than one year. Fortunatly they had an 18 month free replacment guarantee.
I put two new ones in and it worked fine. Then I parked it for 3 weeks and
returned to find them fully charged and ready. No short to locate, problem
solved with a little labor and no cost.
Thanks for all the input.
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Old 03-08-2006, 03:51 PM   #12
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Paul,

What size coach batteries are you using in the LY. I'm going to replace mine later this month and was looking at the group 4D size AGM's from universal battery. (old batteries were flooded group 4D also) These are really big mothers weighing in at 130 lbs each. I suppose a couple of group 27's would work, but from my past boating and avaition experience when it comes to batteries, size does matter. The 4d's have 200 AH rating and that should cover dry camping for many days plus generator for recharging. Any thoughts?
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Old 03-08-2006, 06:59 PM   #13
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Gunworks,

I had a MoHo that had a pair of 4D's for house batteries. When they went T/U I replaced them with 4-6Volt golf cart batteries. Used the Lifeline brand AGM batteries. They have much heavier plates than the 4-d series and can withstand deep discharges (80%) much better. Many major MoHo manufacturers also went this way, finding that they last longer too.

You connect them in 2 series pairs for 12VDC, then connect the pairs in parallel. I had them for 3 years when I sold the MoHo and they were still going strong. Plus you NEVER have to touch them re: maintenance.
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Old 03-08-2006, 07:20 PM   #14
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Lewster,

Sounds like a plan I had not considered. Any problem using the Magnatech 7455 for recharging. Is this going to be a wiring reconfig, or as long as they are in two series banks the 12v charger will be good to go. I was looking at the Lifeline AGM's anyway and this will actually save a few bucks if it works out.

John
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