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Battery charging


Trinidaddave

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When I purchased my 05 Safari Gazelle the previous owner was using a small disc wedge under the battery boost switch to allow charging of coach and chassis batteries while connected to battery charger keeping batteries topped off.

Since my coach is not equipped with ability to charge coach batteries from alternator, what are your thoughts of using the same wedge under the boost switch while traveling?  I realize the solenoid is not continuous duty, but I could upgrade to continuous duty.

 I would eventually install the components for a more permanent installation, this is just an interim work around.  
 

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I would not suggest using the wedge option. That could be a lot of current going in the wrong an expensive direction if you have a problem.

There are several really great DC to DC charging options out there that will perform this task safely. There is a BIM module that is popular on newer motorhomes.

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My 2003 Monarch was designed with a solenoid that charges the coach batteries while driving but doesn't charge the chassis battery while plugged. I guess that was a common design. I used something under the dash switch for years in order to keep my chassis battery charged while sitting. The solenoid is continuous duty because it's always on while driving. I got tired of that arrangement and bought a voltage controlled relay on Amazon that solved the problem. It's adjustable but when it senses coach voltage is high enough (around 13 volts) it turns on the solenoid and charges the chassis battery. It works great, it's pretty easy to install and cost about $13. I did have to put a diode in the original signal line to the relay to prevent a feedback issue but that is less than a dollar.

I'm surprised your coach batteries don't charge while driving. I wonder if there is some other problem there.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DS33JVJ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

 

PXL_20211109_230550502.jpg

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Thank you everyone, I’m overwhelmed with all the quick responses.  I will look into the suggestions.

although I believe MONACO owned Safari during the time the coach was built, they did not incorporate some of the electrical upgrades. 
 

I will be tackling this project soon and may have questions. I will report any progress.

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2 hours ago, Trinidaddave said:

 

Since my coach is not equipped with ability to charge coach batteries from alternator, what are your thoughts of using the same wedge under the boost switch while traveling?  I realize the solenoid is not continuous duty, but I could upgrade to continuous duty.

 
 

I'm not sure if you miss- spoke (wrote) but all coaches were built with the ability to charge both the house & chassis batteries from the alternator.  If yours doesn't, something is broke.  If, you really meant that you can't charge the chassis batteries from shore power, the Blue Sea device Richard mentioned above is a good choice. 

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I believe I am correct in stating my coach batteries are not charged by the alternator I do not have what they call the wiring to a BIRD device installed on my coach.  That is the part I am missing.

please correct my understanding of the system, but without that only chassis batteries are charged by alternator.

thanks

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If my alternator stops working I’ll wedge the boost switch on and start the generator to keep going. Probably worth making a jumper to tie the 2 battery banks tougher…that way I’ll not need it.

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I can't speak for all systems but my motorhome came with a continuous duty solenoid that connects the chassis and coach batteries together when the engine is running. It's the same solenoid that the dash switch energizes that you refereed to earlier. You can see mine in the photo I posted. If you have that it should charge when the engine is running unless something is wrong.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Trinidaddave said:

I believe I am correct in stating my coach batteries are not charged by the alternator I do not have what they call the wiring to a BIRD device installed on my coach.  That is the part I am missing.

please correct my understanding of the system, but without that only chassis batteries are charged by alternator.

thanks

No, your alternator should charge both sets of batteries.  I can't speak specifically to Safari (tell me the Monaco sister coach & likely can), but you mention BIRD  which is Bidirectional Isolator Relay Delay which is Bidirectional, meaning it charges both batteries from the alternator and shore power.  If you don't have that, ten you likely have an IRD, which only allows charging both sets from the alternator.  When on Shore power, it would not charge the chassis battery.  

6 hours ago, Ivylog said:

If my alternator stops working I’ll wedge the boost switch on and start the generator to keep going. Probably worth making a jumper to tie the 2 battery banks tougher…that way I’ll not need it.

You should not need to do that.  I'm pretty sure your Navigator has Bidirectional charging, so it souk charge the chassis battery from the invert/ charger powered by the generator. 

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Thanks Rick, I need to study the circuitry closer.  My issue is I am not able to read the diagrams in the books that came w my coach.  I have downloaded online drawings of other MONACO coaches which seem to be very similar to how  Safari wired their units.  I haven’t identified which units are the MONACO sister units, but I have been using

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Thanks Rick, I need to study the circuitry closer.  My issue is I am not able to read the diagrams in the books that came w my coach.  I have downloaded online drawings of other MONACO coaches which seem to be very similar to how  Safari wired their units.  I haven’t identified which units are the MONACO sister units, but I have been using diagrams I found on the internet with similar circuitry.

10C22273-CC50-4F1A-902F-C86945D8583F.jpeg

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David, the relay (solenoid) in the center of that picture is device that connects your chassis & house batteries together.  It is energized by some circuitry Dysart determines when to energize.  Typically that could be something that detects the main engine is running and the alternator is working and the chassis battery is being charged.  If your house batteries are not being charged either 1) that relay is bad, or 2) the circuitry used to energize it is broken.  You can measure the voltage between the two large terminals.   It should be around 12-13 Volts when the engine is not running, and very close to zero Volts when the engine is running.  This assumes your alternator is working, and your batteries are not dead.    

  - Rick N.

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Thanks Rick, I’m retiring end of the year, so I plan to dive deep into this coach prior to heading east to cheaper fuel prices (4-5 dollars/ gallon here). I may reach out to you if I’m in over my head.

I really haven’t had a lot of time to devote to learning the systems, but that will soon change.  
thank you for your guidance.

dave

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1 hour ago, waterskier_1 said:

You can measure the voltage between the two large terminals.   It should be around 12-13 Volts when the engine is not running, and very close to zero Volts when the engine is running.  This assumes your alternator is working, and your batteries are not dead.    

Yes, it should be close to 0 volts difference when the engine is running BUT it will only be the difference between the house and engine batteries  (0.2 to 1 volt) when engine off and not charging the house batteries assuming the batteries are halfway good…not 12-13 volts.

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19 minutes ago, Ivylog said:

Yes, it should be close to 0 volts difference when the engine is running BUT it will only be the difference between the house and engine batteries  (0.2 to 1 volt) when engine off and not charging the house batteries assuming the batteries are halfway good…not 12-13 volts.

You are correct! 

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Dave, while you are in that electrical run bay I would strongly suggest that you change out the poor quality BEP Battery Disconnect Switches to ones that won't burn your coach to the ground.

Blue Sea Systems, Perko and Guest are some of the best.

See attached photos of a failed BEP Battery Disconnect Switch

BEP Failed Battery Shut-Off Switch-1.JPG

BEP Failed Battery Shut-Off Switch-2.JPG

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Thanks Richard, I just replaced both with 600Amp  marine switches.  My contacts weren’t burned, but the plastic began to break apart internally preventing  contacts to mate correctly.  
 

thank you for your suggestions, 

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The solenoid can also be activated from a key switch wire, no BIRD needed. I'm not aware of any MH that doesn't charge both banks by design when the engine is running as that would make no sense, ie depart with discharged battery and arrive with the same or even more discharged house battery and even a refer that no longer works??? Who would buy a rig like that?

 

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On 12/6/2021 at 10:08 AM, Trinidaddave said:

When I purchased my 05 Safari Gazelle the previous owner was using a small disc wedge under the battery boost switch to allow charging of coach and chassis batteries while connected to battery charger keeping batteries topped off.

Since my coach is not equipped with ability to charge coach batteries from alternator, what are your thoughts of using the same wedge under the boost switch while traveling?  I realize the solenoid is not continuous duty, but I could upgrade to continuous duty.

 I would eventually install the components for a more permanent installation, this is just an interim work around.  
 

Install a battery isolator and charge both 

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