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Old 02-29-2016, 02:30 PM   #1
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What Charges the House & Chassis Batteries When

There have been a lot of responses on various threads of this forum about what (generator, shore power, and engine alternator) charges what battery (chassis, house) when. In researching technical topics for the Axis/Vegas Owners' Manual I compiled I found information about the Bi-directional Isolator Relay Delay (BIRD). Reading about the BIRD I had the impression that it sensed voltage from the alternator, generator, or shore power and automatically switched charging current to both the chassis battery and house batteries. This left me confused when so many answers to questions on this forum implied that the chassis battery was not charged when running the generator or on shore power.

To try to get a good answer, I sent the following email to Thor Customer Service: "I have a question regarding battery charging -- both chassis and house batteries. I know the chassis battery is charged by the engine alternator. I also know the converter charging circuit charges the house batteries when on shore power or the generator is running. Here are my questions. I have asked several owners and I've gotten more and different answers than I've had questions: 1. Does the alternator provide power to charge the house batteries when driving down the road? 2. If so, dose the USE/STORE switch have to be in USE? 3. Does the converter provide power to charge the chassis battery as well when on shore or generator power? 4. Does my 2015 Vegas 24.1 have a Bi-directional Isolator Relay Delay (BIRD) or is there a BIRD-like circuit in the Battery Control Center (BCC)? 5. Does the BIRD function in both directions; that is, alternator power going to both chassis and house batteries as well as shore/generator power going to both house and chassis batteries? 6. Can I gat a Production drawing of the BCC and also the BIRD (if there is one). Sorry for the myriad questions but how the batteries charge and from where they get their charging power is driving me crazy."

Today I received the following answer from Thor: "Hi Ed, Thank you for contacting Thor Motor Coach. When your coach is going down the road with motor running, it is charging all the batteries – chassis and house. When the coach is sitting plugged into shore power or generator running it is also charging both – chassis and house batteries. For this to happen, motor running or plugged in the USE / STORE switch needs to be in the USE position. I believe the Bird or Bi-directional relay for your coach is under the hood on the driver’s side. But the main part is that yes the system should charge all batteries going both ways. Hope this helps."

When the BIRD senses 13.1 volts for 2.5 minutes on the chassis battery the relay isolator will close sending charging current to the house batteries (alternator providing charge to house batteries. Going the other way when on shore power or running the generator when the BIRD senses 13.1 volts for 2.5 minutes on the house batteries the relay isolator will close sending charging current to the chassis battery (generator or shore power charging the chassis battery).

Given this, the BIRD should keep all batteries charged when the engine is running, when you are running the generator, or when you are on shore power. For this to work for the house batteries, the USE/STORE switch must be in USE. Atch from Intellitec explains BIRD operation.

Sorry for the long explanation, but from the myriad questions regarding battery charging on the forum I thought this would be helpful.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Electric -- Alternator Charge House Battery BIRD.pdf (102.6 KB, 738 views)
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Old 02-29-2016, 03:21 PM   #2
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All that is assuming your coach wasn't built on St. Patrick's Day, on a Friday, or on the day after a full moon and is actually wired up correctly.
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Old 02-29-2016, 03:31 PM   #3
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... well, one would hope someone can hook up some wires correctly -- like your radio was.
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Old 02-29-2016, 04:58 PM   #4
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Are you saying Thor gave us the BIRD?

Thanks for getting this clarification - it matches what I've been observing in my RV - and shows how they do it maintaining the proper isolation when needed.
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Old 03-01-2016, 06:15 AM   #5
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Thank you for getting the definitive answer on this issue.

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Old 03-01-2016, 10:14 AM   #6
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Ed,

Do I see a new version of your Manual with the information above? I am printing it out and will append it both in ink and electronic version.

THanks for your research on this.

Doc
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:32 AM   #7
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bevedfelker
Thanks for posting this. It was very informative, and you made it it very clear and easy to understand.
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Old 03-01-2016, 12:09 PM   #8
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Great info Ed Tnanks
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Old 03-01-2016, 07:17 PM   #9
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Thank you VERY much, Ed.
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Old 03-01-2016, 08:49 PM   #10
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Great to get clarification - thanks
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Old 03-02-2016, 02:49 AM   #11
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good job ed love it.
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Old 03-02-2016, 10:05 AM   #12
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Great information! Thanks for taking the time and sharing this with us.
It seems to me the folks where I bought this AXIS should have mentioned some of this information during the walk through.
I wonder if they even know.
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Old 03-02-2016, 04:06 PM   #13
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My walk thru was so generic its wasn't funny. They failed to mention that (on the 25.3 only?) there is a black water knive valve on the passenger side to keep waste out of the drain pipe which goes to the other side. When it was on the lift getting an alignment I saw it. Luckily it was open when I cleared the tank
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Old 03-08-2016, 07:03 AM   #14
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Axis/Vegas isolators must be different from their class-c line. Because our Freedom Elite doesn't charge the chassis battery on shore or generator. Only while the engine is running does chassis battery take a charge, in which the coach batteries do as well.....
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Old 03-08-2016, 11:48 AM   #15
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I have a 2012 Four Winds and my house battery recharges with all three engine, shore and gen. In the winter I go out weekly to recharge house battery by starting the generator. Now I am not sure if the chassis battery is being recharged at the same time. I did add a small solar unit mounted in the window to keep a trickle on the house battery and it seems to keep it fully charged. Since we are gone 4 weeks without the RV I will find out how good it worked when I get back.
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Old 03-08-2016, 12:05 PM   #16
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KNMIB,

Newbie question: For the solar unit do you run a line straight to the house battery or ???

Doc
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Old 03-08-2016, 12:54 PM   #17
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Yes I do. The way my RV is set up it was easy. The battery is under the step, all I have to do is open step hook solar to battery and I set it in the side window which faces south. The unit I am using was bought at Bass Pro and it is only 5W but if the battery is fully charged it keeps it up even with below freezing weather. Now with that said I did replace the Harris junk battery with an Interstate.
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Old 03-08-2016, 01:02 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocMike View Post
KNMIB,

Newbie question: For the solar unit do you run a line straight to the house battery or ???

Doc
I do too. In fact I run lines directly to both batteries so I can charge either or both. I run them inside the coach, so I can leave the solar panel inside the front window when I am gone. But it is also easy to run a second lead off the house battery to run a line outside the coach, under the step. In my Vegas, I ran the line from the step inside the coach but my wife did not like the line sticking out if the step. So in my Axis, I ran it under the floor and thru the "dog house" so you do not see any line.
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Old 03-08-2016, 01:51 PM   #19
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Thanks for the info. And OH YEAH, tell me about those junk Harris Batteries!!! I had to replace my original coach batteries with two Exide batteries and no problem since.

I was thinking of putting the panel inside on the dash, make some good use of that big windshield and at the same time taking some of the strain off the dash's fabric/covering.

Doc
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Old 03-08-2016, 06:51 PM   #20
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thank you Ed, out.......standing info!
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