View Full Version : Erratic House Battery Charging

Richard and Rhonda
03-14-2009, 11:32 PM
I have been working with a gentlemen here in Fort Worth who has an 88 Newell. He was having problems with his house batteries charging or not charging and he needed some help. I'll tell the the saga, and you can laugh at my expense, but there were a few watchouts that I learned about today that are worth passing on.

He was also complaining of hard starting, even with the merge switch on.

He had already replaced the converter. He had already put brand new batteries in it. I installed the converter and confirmed that it charged the batteries a couple of weeks ago.

The diagnostics I had him do over the last two weeks just didn't add up for me, so we started with the basics today. I'll spare you all the details but here is what we found.

First, the 120VAC circuit that provided power to the converter had an intermittent connection in the 120 panel. The breaker was not bad but it make or break the circuit if you wiggled it. Removal and examination showed minor corrosion and arcing where the breaker made electrical contact with the hot leg in the breaker box. One problem fixed.

Now, the converter is putting out a steady 13.5 volts but the house batteries are still down. Hmmmm. I checked the on off switch by the batteries with no change. So I started looking for a blown fuse. I was looking for one of those monster fuses that you find on the ground loops of the house and chassis battery loops. I had to remove all the batteries to get inside the battery bay. A ha !!!! The ground was loose on both the house and chassis side. OK, fix that.

Still no juice from the converter at the house batteries. Here's where you get to laugh. The switch by the house batteries in this coach was for the chassis batteries. The switch for the house batteries is in the ENGINE bay. Go figure.

All is well now.

Except I checked his old converter. It works. Now he has a spare :-)

The big learning was how the circuit breakers can loosen in the box with time and vibration. Just something to be aware of when you are trouble shooting.

03-15-2009, 12:32 AM
Grounds and wiring are often the source of electrical problems. Sorry we didn't talk about that in our previous discussions. For most of us, the obvious problems are the ones that we look to first and only after eliminating them to we start checking what are frequently, the most time consuming but, if you are doing the work yourself, the least expensive problems to solve.

Switch location can be confusing, especially if unlabeled or if someone has rewired things so that the label are no longer correct.