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Engine Batteries


Xracer

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The only dumb question is the one that was never asked, so here goes. This is our first Monaco, 2005 Beaver Huntington 38’. Question; are the engine batteries charging while we are plugged in to shore power?

Thank you in advance.

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Don't know about your rig but on my 2001 HR Endeavor they are not charged by my inverter/charger from shore power. Monoco did this in the early 2000's, don't know why. I use a trickle charger on my chassis batteries. 

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Generally agree with Stewart but.... coaches get modified, and may have a Automatic relay control in place of the 'normal' chassis/house battery relay... just be aware and check what you have....

Also, a easy way you can tell is check your chassis battery voltage while on shore power.... if being charged, the voltage of the chassis battery will be very close to the house battery voltage and both should be more than 12.4 volts

Ken

 

Edited by Cubflyer
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Some people put a golf tee under the auxiliary start button to connect the house and chassis batteries to charge both. However with enough time the selonid will burn out.

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2 hours ago, Cubflyer said:

Generally agree with Stewart but.... coaches get modified, and may have a Automatic relay control in place of the 'normal' chassis/house battery relay... just be aware and check what you have....

Also, a easy way you can tell is check your chassis battery voltage while on shore power.... if being charged, the voltage of the chassis battery will be very close to the house battery voltage and both should be more than 12.4 volts

Ken

 

I agree with everything Ken said but when the batteries are charging they will typically read at least 13v or more.

Also, the method that Stewart suggested, putting something under the auxiliary start switch to charge the chassis batteries will work fine. I used that method for several years until I modified my system to charge automatically. The solenoid will last a long time. It's called a continuous duty solenoid and it's the same one used to charge the chassis batteries on some of the factory designed systems. Just don't leave it that way when you're not on shore power for several reasons. It will draw a small amount of current.

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Check your owners manual.  Mine says both battery sets charge while on shore power, generator and alternator.  
Put a volt meter on the batteries while unplugged.  Then plug into shore power.  You should see an increase in voltage on both sets if the setup is designed to charge both.  You can also unplug from shore power and start the engine to verify it charges both sets from the alternator.

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Our 2003 Holiday Rambler Scepter 40 PST did not come from the factory with the ability to charge the engine batteries while plugged into shore power.  Others have already commented on how to check if your coach is set up for engine battery charging.  I installed the AMP-L-START system on our coach (http://www.lslproducts.net/ALS_Overview_Page.html).  It was not difficult to install.  I have been very pleased with the product.  They still show a price of less than $75.  If your coach needs a system, I would certainly recommend AMP-L-START.

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To give a little historical background on this issue.  

In 2000 Monaco decided to change from installing the Intellitec bidirectional interconnect relay delay (BIRD) and install the IRD on coaches made in Indiana with the exception of the HR Imperial and Monaco Windsor.  This involved the Endeavor, Diplomat, Ambassador and Knight models initially.  Then included the Cayman, Neptune, Scepter, and Camelot.  The chassis batteries on these coaches was not charged with the OEM equipment while on shore power.  I was involved with rallies during this time and talked to the field technicians working with the customers.  In about the 2008 model year Monaco started using a Dual battery charging device from Megatech of Oregon and the BIRD.   Many owners installed aftermarket devices from, Xantrex, Intellitec, Magnum, LSL and others to overcome this issue.  The major problems started in the 2004 and 2005 model years when Monaco added more loads to the chassis batteries, like power awnings, auxiliary air compressors, etc.  At rallies in the 2007 era, Monaco field technicians installed BIRDs at customer's expense to alleviate the problem.  I personally installed a dozen plus BIRDs and carried a few with me along with wiring harness to install during my winter travels. The first on my 2000 Endeavor in 2001.

Now 14 years out from the problem there are still some coaches that haven't been fixed, either because the owner doesn't know it or they have installed things like jumpers, switches or trickle chargers.

 

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21 minutes ago, Larry Laursen said:

To give a little historical background on this issue.  

In 2000 Monaco decided to change from installing the Intellitec bidirectional interconnect relay delay (BIRD) and install the IRD on coaches made in Indiana with the exception of the HR Imperial and Monaco Windsor.  This involved the Endeavor, Diplomat, Ambassador and Knight models initially.  Then included the Cayman, Neptune, Scepter, and Camelot.  The chassis batteries on these coaches was not charged with the OEM equipment while on shore power.  I was involved with rallies during this time and talked to the field technicians working with the customers.  In about the 2008 model year Monaco started using a Dual battery charging device from Megatech of Oregon and the BIRD.   Many owners installed aftermarket devices from, Xantrex, Intellitec, Magnum, LSL and others to overcome this issue.  The major problems started in the 2004 and 2005 model years when Monaco added more loads to the chassis batteries, like power awnings, auxiliary air compressors, etc.  At rallies in the 2007 era, Monaco field technicians installed BIRDs at customer's expense to alleviate the problem.  I personally installed a dozen plus BIRDs and carried a few with me along with wiring harness to install during my winter travels. The first on my 2000 Endeavor in 2001.

Now 14 years out from the problem there are still some coaches that haven't been fixed, either because the owner doesn't know it or they have installed things like jumpers, switches or trickle chargers.

 

I can second what Larry has said. During this timeframe, there seemed to be quite a bit of divergence between Oregon and Indiana in terms of build processes and equipment used. Given that the OP has a Beaver, that (I think) would have been an Oregon build. I think that Oregon used the Lambert charging device on mid-range Oregon coaches in that timeframe, but I’m not sure. The Big Boy design was generally “Dynasty and up”, which would have been the Patriot and up in the Beaver line.

To the OP, it seems likely to me that your Coach was equipped to charge the chassis batteries on shore power, and just as likely that the charging components may have failed on a Coach of its age. Why do you ask? Are you not seeing a charge? Do you know where your battery isolator gear might be (big electrical box on the right side of the engine compartment or in a curb-side bay toward the rear axle)? You might do a search on older messages here for “Lambert” and “Big Boy” and see some pictures that you might be able to match up to what you have. From there, more advice might be forthcoming.

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21 minutes ago, georgecederholm said:

I can second what Larry has said. During this timeframe, there seemed to be quite a bit of divergence between Oregon and Indiana in terms of build processes and equipment used. Given that the OP has a Beaver, that (I think) would have been an Oregon build. I think that Oregon used the Lambert charging device on mid-range Oregon coaches in that timeframe, but I’m not sure. The Big Boy design was generally “Dynasty and up”, which would have been the Patriot and up in the Beaver line.

To the OP, it seems likely to me that your Coach was equipped to charge the chassis batteries on shore power, and just as likely that the charging components may have failed on a Coach of its age. Why do you ask? Are you not seeing a charge? Do you know where your battery isolator gear might be (big electrical box on the right side of the engine compartment or in a curb-side bay toward the rear axle)? You might do a search on older messages here for “Lambert” and “Big Boy” and see some pictures that you might be able to match up to what you have. From there, more advice might be forthcoming.

I agree with George there was a lot of divergence.  The "Lambert" was used up until about 2004 when the owner died and they  went out of business.  In mid year 2004 the Windsor and Imperial coaches were changed to the IRD system in Indiana.  The OP's Beaver probably was not made in Indiana so one has to inspect it for equipment.  However, there were a few models, Endeavor and Diplomat equivalents made in Indiana

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1 hour ago, georgecederholm said:

I can second what Larry has said. During this timeframe, there seemed to be quite a bit of divergence between Oregon and Indiana in terms of build processes and equipment used. Given that the OP has a Beaver, that (I think) would have been an Oregon build. I think that Oregon used the Lambert charging device on mid-range Oregon coaches in that timeframe, but I’m not sure. The Big Boy design was generally “Dynasty and up”, which would have been the Patriot and up in the Beaver line.

To the OP, it seems likely to me that your Coach was equipped to charge the chassis batteries on shore power, and just as likely that the charging components may have failed on a Coach of its age. Why do you ask? Are you not seeing a charge? Do you know where your battery isolator gear might be (big electrical box on the right side of the engine compartment or in a curb-side bay toward the rear axle)? You might do a search on older messages here for “Lambert” and “Big Boy” and see some pictures that you might be able to match up to what you have. From there, more advice might be forthcoming.

The engine batteries charge fine when the engine is running. I have leaking air bags and have to start the coach every couple of days to recharge the air. I’m having all air bags replaced next week. I think I wasn’t running it long enough to charge the batteries. The owners manual says there is an engine battery charger on the curb side in the black/gray tank compartment but I didn’t find one. I’m currently shutting off the disconnect on the engine batteries in case there’s a draw. I’ll install a charger when I get home. Thanks to everyone for your comments 🇺🇸

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2 hours ago, Xracer said:

The engine batteries charge fine when the engine is running. I have leaking air bags and have to start the coach every couple of days to recharge the air. I’m having all air bags replaced next week. I think I wasn’t running it long enough to charge the batteries. The owners manual says there is an engine battery charger on the curb side in the black/gray tank compartment but I didn’t find one. I’m currently shutting off the disconnect on the engine batteries in case there’s a draw. I’ll install a charger when I get home. Thanks to everyone for your comments 🇺🇸

Jim,

Not to belabor this but your coach was built during an interesting history in Monaco.  The Monterey may have been built in Indiana as an equivalent to the Monaco Camelot and HR Scepter.  I can't find any good reference now.  Monaco bought Beaver and Safari in about 2003 +/- and then moved the production to Monaco plants.  

Anyway, during that time Monaco purchased Firestone air ride and leveling systems and got a "deal" without an auxiliary air compressor that would keep the bags inflated while parked which is necessary as there will be small leaks.  Many owners had the problem you describe of having to start the engine frequently while parked to refill the air system.  Some owners had auxiliary compressors installed.  The aux. air ran off the chassis batteries and subsequently discharged the batteries.  I have an original owner friend with a 2004 Scepter that had this problem.  His has the HWH system which did have the aux air but his chassis batteries were being discharged regularly.  

Thus, I would suggest that you take a good look at your entire air leveling system because changing the air bags may not get you to a good place.  Mine was leaking down and had a bad fitting connection. Starting the engine to air up shouldn't be needed while parked.  Your chassis batteries shouldn't discharge while parked.  You can overcome this by adding some equipment to your unit to fix it which will probably make you much happier.  The battery discharge can be solved for less than $200.  The air compressor will be more if necessary.

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Thank you Larry, The coach was manufactured in Oregon according to the build sheet. I inspected the air bags and found the right rear seeping air, they are all in very bad shape so I have no problem replacing them. I did find the auxiliary air compressor located passenger side front next to the generator. Runs fine but can’t do it’s job due to a stuck check valve. I’ll fix that at home and install a battery charger for the engine batteries. Thank you again. JM

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19 minutes ago, Xracer said:

Thank you Larry, The coach was manufactured in Oregon according to the build sheet. I inspected the air bags and found the right rear seeping air, they are all in very bad shape so I have no problem replacing them. I did find the auxiliary air compressor located passenger side front next to the generator. Runs fine but can’t do it’s job due to a stuck check valve. I’ll fix that at home and install a battery charger for the engine batteries. Thank you again. JM

Xracer,

Good job on isolating the air leak to the bags themselves. Changing them is quite a project. I just found a whole set of nagging leaks in fittings, including one that dropped both front driver's side bags to empty in about 20-30 minutes. Found it to be the swivel push-to-connect "T" in the left ping tank.

Anyway, I think your system probably had something like the Lambert LE-415 maintainer originally. I doubt it would have been in the wet bay, but rather closer to the batteries. If your inverter/charger is in a side bay toward the rear, maybe there, maybe behind a panel. Or it could have been removed by a prior owner if inoperative. The Lambert looks like the image I attached below.

That said, most people with this kind of charging issue don't bother with what was but rather start fresh. The Amp-L-Start and Xantrex Echo Charge modules seem most popular.

http://www.lslproducts.net/ALS_Overview_Page.html

https://www.xantrex.com/power-products/power-accessories/auxiliary-battery-charger.aspx

I just added a separate starting battery for my 10k Onan, and used the Xantrex device to keep it up.

8E206FAB-4685-4C9A-A4A0-543A0AB139CF.jpeg

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18 hours ago, georgecederholm said:

I just found a whole set of nagging leaks in fittings, including one that dropped both front driver's side bags to empty in about 20-30 minutes. Found it to be the swivel push-to-connect "T" in the left ping tank.

I replaced all my swivel and push to connect with non-swivel and nut & ferrule.  Almost all my leaks were at these connections.  I was told by someone who rigs up big rig chassis air systems that they use the swivel and push to connect connectors just to save time in assembling.  They are not necessary for function.  You just need to make sure the hose lines are aligned with a little slack.  I had plenty of time to do that and I do not expect to have any leaks in the future from these connectors.

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When i bought my new to me 2003 Endeavor i looked it over pretty good. I found this attached to both batteries, basicly what it does is to toggle battery voltage either direction, if plugged in voltage is siphoned from house to engine batteries, if engine is running it goes the other way, it has low voltage cut off as well as high. The nice part is its on even if both battery switches are in off or “storage” mode. I check my batteries status severl times when traveling or when plugged in and they are always very close voltage wise. Also when boondocking my house batteries do a little better running things untill the limit is reached from my starter batteries.F32906EB-BCA3-42C9-85F2-8CD6D7FFC66C.thumb.jpeg.f485620f2185f6af5a9198b43bfc7391.jpeg

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