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Old 05-12-2018, 01:45 PM   #1
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Default Help needed: Cabin battery not charging on shore power

Hi All,

1996 Roadtrek 190 issue:

I thought I had a bad battery until I bought a new one and the same thing was happening. When parked overnight on shore power, I would wake to find my battery wasn't charged.

I put a voltmeter on the battery and it read 12.3. I plugged the RV into shore power and it still read 12.3. I start the engine and it bumps up to 13.5 or so.

It seems as though the battery is not charging while on shore power.

Does anyone have any thoughts on something simple it might be?

-Pete
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Old 05-12-2018, 02:48 PM   #2
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Have you checked the breaker the converter is on? The one in the van and the one on the shore power cord?
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Old 05-12-2018, 06:53 PM   #3
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Have you checked the breaker the converter is on? The one in the van and the one on the shore power cord?
Yes, it was the first thing I checked. Sorry, I should have mentioned that.

Update: It started charging again. Then later it stopped. "What?!?! What am I doing?"

Here's what I think is going on: On my road-trek, there is a battery disconnect switch and an LED indicating its status. I think that it disconnects the battery. (Go ahead, laughing is ok.)

What's confusing is that the light indicating the battery is connected comes on when I connect to 110v *regardless of whether the battery is actually connected or not*.

What I believe this means is that in order to charge my battery, it is not sufficient to simply plug into 110v. I also have to flip the switch to "connect" the battery and begin charging. To make things more confusing, when the switch is off and I hit "test", the LEDs show the charging light lit... but I don't think it is unless the battery is connected. I think it's simply responding to a higher voltage in the system, like 14v.

Something new is now happening... a fan just came on from the area on the floor where the power system is! I hoping that means that the system is actually working to charge the battery now?

-Pete
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Old 05-12-2018, 06:54 PM   #4
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.

What is the name of your charger?
model #?

Is it one of the combo units?

Do you know if it is a single stage charger? or multi-stage?

Do you have a pix?
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Old 05-12-2018, 07:17 PM   #5
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Well, it seems to be what I would consider a combo unit since the 110 and 12 volt systems are managed by one black box.

I took some photos.
It's the MagneTek Series 6300 A model 6332.

It really feels like there's a big honkin' relay connected to the battery (Sorry, neglected to take a photo of this.) It has a nice ~kerchunk~ noise when you use the cabin battery disconnect switch. I believe it is completely removing the battery from all the circuits regardless of the charger status, etc.


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.

What is the name of your charger?
model #?

Is it one of the combo units?

Do you know if it is a single stage charger? or multi-stage?

Do you have a pix?
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Old 05-12-2018, 08:14 PM   #6
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On my 2001 Roadtrek Popular 190 (Dodge chassis) the manual states that I have to turn on the battery switch before I plug into shore power in order for the batteries to charge.
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Old 05-12-2018, 08:52 PM   #7
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On my 2001 Roadtrek Popular 190 (Dodge chassis) the manual states that I have to turn on the battery switch before I plug into shore power in order for the batteries to charge.
Thanks! The 1996 manual is definitely confusing as it says things like the battery will charge while plugged into shore power and while driving. It later talks about the battery disconnect switch.

If I think of the battery disconnect switch as simply disconnecting my battery, I can wrap my head around it. However, I don't think it's that simple as I have a suspicion the battery charges from the van's alternator while driving down the road regardless of position.

I'm considering making my own panel connected to an arduino that monitors the battery voltage constantly and updates LEDs with true states for charging and battery level. Would be simple to do!

-Pete
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Old 05-12-2018, 09:06 PM   #8
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My batteries will charge by alternator (obviously while driving), generator, with my solar panel and shore power (but I have to turn on the battery switch before plugging into the 110V outlet).
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Old 05-12-2018, 09:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VTPete View Post

Something new is now happening... a fan just came on from the area on the floor where the power system is! I hoping that means that the system is actually working to charge the battery now?

-Pete
The fan could be for your furnace. Check the heat thermostat to see if it is on and what temperature it is set at.
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Old 05-12-2018, 09:26 PM   #10
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The fan could be for your furnace. Check the heat thermostat to see if it is on and what temperature it is set at.
Nope, the furnace is on the other side. This is coming straight from the base of the charging unit (and power distribution.) There are vents on the bottom. -Pete
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