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Old 09-16-2016, 12:54 PM   #1
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Default Strange battery charging issues on 00 Roadtrek 200

As the title says, I am having some strange issues charging my house battery that I'm hoping to get a help with. The basic problem is that the battery charging panel is showing periodically that the house battery is not getting charged when the engine is running.

I have tried to isolate this as much as possible, which has proven difficult because the issue is not completely consistent. Sometimes when I start the vehicle the battery shows charging, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it shows charging even _after_ I turn off the vehicle, but this usually only lasts a few minutes.

The only fairly consistent thing I have found is that if the battery indicator shows charging when the vehicle is running, if I turn the fridge on to DC power, immediately the charging indicator goes off and I hear a loud "click" from the magnatek converter. After about 15-20 seconds, there will be a 2nd loud "click" from the magnatek at which point the charging indicator sometimes comes back on, sometimes not, but never for more than just a few seconds, at which point there is another loud "click" from the converter, the charging light goes back off and the cycle repeats itself indefinitely.

So obviously this seems like a problem with my converter, and I have no issue replacing it as this one is now 16 years old, but I'd like to better understand what the heck is happening in case replacing the converter doesn't fix the issue. (and if anyone has ideas that it could be something besides the converter)

Any help much appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 09-16-2016, 01:04 PM   #2
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Vehicle running and Magnatek converter operation are unrelated.

The "click" could be a self resetting breaker. I'd check, clean, tighten, etc. all DC connections first. A high resistance connection could result in high amperage and therefore trip a DC breaker. The DC breaker might just be failing also. - Just some ideas to get the troubleshooting started.
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Old 09-16-2016, 01:05 PM   #3
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.

What kind of battery?

How many?

How old are the batteries?

How many amp ?
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Old 09-16-2016, 01:17 PM   #4
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.

What kind of battery?

How many?

How old are the batteries?
The house battery is a 3 month old lifeline (the RT 200 has just 1). I don't see these charging issues on shore power, just when the vehicle is running. Thanks.
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Old 09-16-2016, 01:20 PM   #5
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Vehicle running and Magnatek converter operation are unrelated.

The "click" could be a self resetting breaker. I'd check, clean, tighten, etc. all DC connections first. A high resistance connection could result in high amperage and therefore trip a DC breaker. The DC breaker might just be failing also. - Just some ideas to get the troubleshooting started.
When you say "all DC connections", do you mean the connections at the battery itself or are there more? If the DC breaker is failing, would that indicate a need to replace the entire converter or just the breaker? thanks
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Old 09-16-2016, 01:27 PM   #6
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I agree with Marko.

If you have a Roadtrek with a isolator like yours would be, you will likely have two 50 amp breakers in the cable from the isolator under the hood to the area of the battery. They will be little metal cans with spade connectors on them and probably 6ga wire.

You change to a Lifeline AGM is likely the cause, as it will accept much more current than your previous wet cell (a guess that is what you had).

I would replace the breakers as they are old, but it probable it will still happen if the battery is fairly low when you run the engine. To stop it, you would have to increase the wire size and breaker size from the isolator to the battery. You could turn on the headlights to load the alternator down and you might get the breakers to stop tripping, but would by severely taxing the alternator.

When you are on shore power, those breakers aren't in the circuit so wouldn't trip, plus the shore charger is less than 50 amps, so they wouldn't anyway.
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Old 09-16-2016, 01:33 PM   #7
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.................. I don't see these charging issues on shore power.................... Thanks.
So no problem with the Magnatek. It runs only on AC power. I do agree that it should be replaced as it won't adequately care for the Lifeline though.

Lifeline batteries have low internal resistance and therefor can accept high charge rates from the alternator. The wiring and breaker from the isolator to the Lifeline is likely inadequate if you find the connections are good (low resistance).

You might as well replace the isolator in addition to the converter for newer tech (see http://www.classbforum.com/forums/f2...ment-5808.html ). Isolator = voltage drop.

----------

I just saw your new post - when checking for resistance issues focus on the DC wire from the isolator to the Lifeline. Now that I know it is a Lifeline battery then my guess is that the wire and/or breaker is undersized. If the wire is 6 gauge the you could up the breaker to 50A. My '04 had 6 gauge wire & 30 amp breaker & RT sent me a 50 amp replacement to match the electrical schematic drawings. (rig was nearly new)

Now I see Booster also posted - good info.

A Progressive Dynamics charger would be a good low cost upgrade of the Magnatek. There are other superior chargers but cost goes up with features.
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Old 09-16-2016, 02:28 PM   #8
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Marco, Booster, thanks very much for your detailed responses. Let me see if I can summarize your advice correctly:

1) Replacing my previous battery with a lifeline may be the source of the issue. Q: was it a bad decision to choose the lifeline? I had read many recommendations that lifeline was a good choice

2) Replacing my old converter with a new one from progressive dynamics is a good idea

3) Replacing my isolator is a good idea

4) I may need to replace the circuit breakers and the wiring from the isolator to the battery. Q: what gauge wire would you recommend?

One thing I am still not getting is why turning the fridge on DC would affect the charge/no charge on the battery if the issue is related to the wiring from the isolator to the battery unless that is just an unrelated issue. Thanks!
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Old 09-16-2016, 02:52 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bkhundley View Post
Marco, Booster, thanks very much for your detailed responses. Let me see if I can summarize your advice correctly:

1) Replacing my previous battery with a lifeline may be the source of the issue. Q: was it a bad decision to choose the lifeline? I had read many recommendations that lifeline was a good choice

2) Replacing my old converter with a new one from progressive dynamics is a good idea

3) Replacing my isolator is a good idea

4) I may need to replace the circuit breakers and the wiring from the isolator to the battery. Q: what gauge wire would you recommend?

One thing I am still not getting is why turning the fridge on DC would affect the charge/no charge on the battery if the issue is related to the wiring from the isolator to the battery unless that is just an unrelated issue. Thanks!
1) The Lifeline is a great upgrade, but the other systems also need and upgrade after 16 years to go with it. I would not go back to a wet cell.

2) Yes replace with a Progressive Dynamics, using a model that has a remote pendant so you can control the stages manually if you want.

3) Replacing the isolator with a good separator, (charge relay, combiner), two way charging unit would be a good idea and should be done the same time as number 4.

4) The single Lifeline will be able to take a lot of amps, but you should be OK with 80amps from a stock alternator. That would indicate 80 amp breakers and 4ga cable.

I would add a number 5) that would be to install a shunt based battery monitor so you know exactly now well everything is working, and how full the battery is.
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Old 09-16-2016, 02:57 PM   #10
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I would add a number 5) that would be to install a shunt based battery monitor so you know exactly now well everything is working, and how full the battery is.
Actually, I would move that one to #1. Getting a proper battery monitor is like having blinders removed from your eyes. It will immediately make the behavior of your system obvious.
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