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Old 08-03-2018, 01:10 AM   #1
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THOR #9320
Alternator not charging house batteries- Axis 24.1 with BCC

Hey All:
2014 Axis 24.1. New to us. Had original batteries and was always plugged into shore power by prior owner. Toward the end of our first "big" trip noticed that the alternator was no longer charging the house batteries (we have a monitor to read the voltage). Worked well, previously.

House batteries were basically toast so we have since replaced them anyway. Still no charge to the house batteries from the alternator.

We also keep the unit plugged into shore power all the time. The converter is charging both batteries, as it should when plugged into shore power.

From what I can tell we have a BCC (no BIRD and Trombetta). I have a chassis battery monitor that reads 14.4v while the engine is running (so alternator is working) but the house batteries are at 12.5v (and dropping after unplugging from shore power) so- not charging house batteries.

Where do I start to troubleshoot? I assume there is something not functioning correctly, but not sure how to troubleshoot. Tried a bit of searching but only found BIRD/Trombetta threads.
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Old 08-03-2018, 01:46 AM   #2
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THOR #1150
First question: Do you leave it on "Use"? (The same advice for the other coaches also applies here: Leave it on "Use" all the time except when in storage unplugged.)

Our Axis also has the BCC which hasn't given us any problems so far.
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Old 08-03-2018, 12:57 PM   #3
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When my OEM batteries when out they acted the same way yours did. I took care of them from new for like 10 mo and the only time there were drained is when CW killed them doing some warrantee work. I could never get them to hold a charge again and the water was not low.

I bet you need new batteries. The orginal batteries are know to go out in the first year on about half of all new RV's. So if they are orginal chances are they are toast.

Look for several threads on new Batteries on this forum and consider upgrading to Two 12 AGM or Two 6 Volt AGM . I think they are worth the price.
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Old 08-03-2018, 07:52 PM   #4
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THOR #2631
Hi. Does your BCC look “something like” the attached RV Custom Products BCC picture?
With new batteries you say that the converter can charge both house and chassis batteries OK. Then I think the interconnect relay is also working OK (it ties both batteries together under control of BCC circuitry). Then you say that when the engine is running (and converter AC is off I assume), the alternator charges the chassis battery OK, but not the house battery. So that would seem to indicate that the interconnect relay is not operating in that particular situation. If you have the RV Custom BCC there is a time delay before the interconnect relay is operated of a few minutes after proper charging voltage is detected (either via the converter or via the alternator). Make sure you wait a few minutes for the sense and cutover. It might be possible that the voltage sensing diode from the chassis battery charge side has opened or some part of the sense circuit has failed on the chassis battery side. You could also try operating your emergency start switch to force the interconnect relay to operate when running the engine to see if the house batteries now see the alternator voltage.
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Old 08-03-2018, 08:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
First question: Do you leave it on "Use"? (The same advice for the other coaches also applies here: Leave it on "Use" all the time except when in storage unplugged.)

Our Axis also has the BCC which hasn't given us any problems so far.
Thanks Jamie:
I have operated the Use/Store switch for various reasons (resetting our house battery monitor, shutting it down when it went in to have the tranny cable fix [which caused the front monitor/radio to freak out- another story]). I leave it on use all the time since we keep the coach plugged in, that way all the batteries are charged.

I will mention that the chassis battery has not yet been replaced, but seems to be in fine condition.
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Old 08-03-2018, 09:27 PM   #6
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THOR #9320
Quote:
Originally Posted by Long & Winding road View Post
When my OEM batteries when out they acted the same way yours did. I took care of them from new for like 10 mo and the only time there were drained is when CW killed them doing some warrantee work. I could never get them to hold a charge again and the water was not low.

I bet you need new batteries. The orginal batteries are know to go out in the first year on about half of all new RV's. So if they are orginal chances are they are toast.

Look for several threads on new Batteries on this forum and consider upgrading to Two 12 AGM or Two 6 Volt AGM . I think they are worth the price.
Thanks LWR:
I just replaced the house batteries (2 weeks ago). Went with Interstate (cheap for now) 6V in series. The "alternator not charging trouble" started before I replaced them and continues now. The new 6 volts are doing great so far, though we haven't really tested them yet via boon docking.
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Old 08-03-2018, 09:34 PM   #7
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THOR #9320
Thanks Javelin! See responses inline:

Quote:
Originally Posted by javelin View Post
Hi. Does your BCC look “something like” the attached RV Custom Products BCC picture?
With new batteries you say that the converter can charge both house and chassis batteries OK.- Yes!!

Then I think the interconnect relay is also working OK (it ties both batteries together under control of BCC circuitry). Then you say that when the engine is running (and converter AC is off I assume), the alternator charges the chassis battery OK, but not the house battery.- Yes!!

So that would seem to indicate that the interconnect relay is not operating in that particular situation. If you have the RV Custom BCC there is a time delay before the interconnect relay is operated of a few minutes after proper charging voltage is detected (either via the converter or via the alternator).- Agreed. This used to happen. There was normally about 5-10 second delay before you would see the house battery monitor shoot up to 14.4volts. The chassis battery is showing full 14.4 volts after starting the engine, so I believe it should allow it to switch over and start charging the house batteries

Make sure you wait a few minutes for the sense and cutover. It might be possible that the voltage sensing diode from the chassis battery charge side has opened or some part of the sense circuit has failed on the chassis battery side.- Ok. Do you think this is something I could trouble shoot with a voltage meter?

You could also try operating your emergency start switch to force the interconnect relay to operate when running the engine to see if the house batteries now see the alternator voltage. - Cool idea. I will try this, though what will this tell us exactly?
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Old 08-03-2018, 10:14 PM   #8
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Well if you are charging the chassis battery via the alternator OK (engine running) and you operate the emergency start switch you are connecting the chassis and house batteries together "manually" via the interconnect relay and you should now see the 14+ volts on the house batteries if things like basic wiring etc are working. (As I said in my previous post there may be an issue with the BCC sense circuit for operating the interconnect relay automatically). You also might be able to hear the interconnect relay operate when you operate the emergency start switch....this would confirm physical operation at least. Electrically it should be OK since you said the converter can charge both chassis and coach batteries when on shore power (the BCC operates the interconnect relay automatically in that situation).
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Old 08-03-2018, 10:57 PM   #9
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Hurricane Battery Disconnect - iRV2 Forums


Trying this again....wound up in the maintenance group somehow.....the attached link provides a pdf document on the RV Custom BCC if you scroll down and click on the postings. Take care in the BCC if you go into it live, it is a major electrical area and can result in major damage if you are not careful. The schematic and info is very useful though.
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Old 08-04-2018, 12:51 AM   #10
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THOR #9320
Soooo... went out to test the connection via the "emergency start" idea- Thanks Javelin (also for the diagram).....

Started the rig and watched it for a couple minutes- chassis volts = 14.3; house volts= 12.5 and falling slowly.

Went back to work on another issue for about 5 minutes while the rig was running, came back up and it works!!!!

Didn't have to use the emergency start switch to test it, it just works.

To my knowledge, it hasn't worked since it quit working during the last 2 days of our recent trip.

The reason it is so important for the alternator to charge the house batteries = I inverted the outlet circuit so we could charge our computer and the wife or I could work in the passenger seat with our laptop while traveling.

I have a theory: I believe the chassis battery (the original since 2014) is dying a slow death. I am sure we were taxing it during our last trip. I bet the alternator was not able to keep up the volts high enough on the chassis battery to allow the relay to keep the circuit open and charge the house batteries while driving. Since it has been sitting, plugged in and charging, it may be ok for now. We will see during the next trip. Might need to replace the chassis battery soon.

Thanks to you guys, it fixed itself. (for now!)
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Old 08-04-2018, 11:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjyap View Post
Soooo... went out to test the connection via the "emergency start" idea- Thanks Javelin (also for the diagram).....

Started the rig and watched it for a couple minutes- chassis volts = 14.3; house volts= 12.5 and falling slowly.

Went back to work on another issue for about 5 minutes while the rig was running, came back up and it works!!!!

Didn't have to use the emergency start switch to test it, it just works.

To my knowledge, it hasn't worked since it quit working during the last 2 days of our recent trip.

The reason it is so important for the alternator to charge the house batteries = I inverted the outlet circuit so we could charge our computer and the wife or I could work in the passenger seat with our laptop while traveling.

I have a theory: I believe the chassis battery (the original since 2014) is dying a slow death. I am sure we were taxing it during our last trip. I bet the alternator was not able to keep up the volts high enough on the chassis battery to allow the relay to keep the circuit open and charge the house batteries while driving. Since it has been sitting, plugged in and charging, it may be ok for now. We will see during the next trip. Might need to replace the chassis battery soon.

Thanks to you guys, it fixed itself. (for now!)
There is a built in delay before the BCC closes the relay after starting the engine. Perhaps you just weren't patient enough.
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Old 08-04-2018, 11:51 AM   #12
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I assume that you have the V-10?
I've been told that Ford offers a higher-powered alternator that is a pure drop-in replacement.
(If I remember the numbers correctly: the original is about 165 amps, and the new one is 225...)

Do you think that it would be worth the swap?
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Old 08-04-2018, 01:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
I assume that you have the V-10?
I've been told that Ford offers a higher-powered alternator that is a pure drop-in replacement.
(If I remember the numbers correctly: the original is about 165 amps, and the new one is 225...)

Do you think that it would be worth the swap?
Why would his Axis be any different from the others (aside from Thor's huge manufacturing variations).
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Old 08-04-2018, 01:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
There is a built in delay before the BCC closes the relay after starting the engine. Perhaps you just weren't patient enough.
Not only is there a delay, but the chassis battery has to get above 12.6v (if I remember the voltage correctly) before the BCC opens to charge the chassis battery. So if the chassis battery is dying, it may take a long time to get there.
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Old 04-17-2019, 01:41 AM   #15
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Update on this: We replaced the chassis battery in January of this year as I was certain that we still had the original battery in the rig. That *seemed* to do the trip as we just returned from an amazing 6 week tour of Florida and the Southeast. During this trip the charging and batteries worked flawlessly across the board. Everything charging when it should ...... until the very last leg of the trip home!! :-) Literally the last 3 hours after stopping for fuel.

I have a theory, our rig just hates coming home!

It was no big deal since we are now plugged in, but I do rely on the the alternator to charge the batteries as we travel, so I am hopeful it was just a weird quirk. I will test it a bit this weekend.

I thought for sure the new chassis battery fixed the issue.
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Old 04-17-2019, 12:42 PM   #16
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Glad you had a good trip and the bonus is when you have trouble as you arrive home in your own driveway. Of course having no troubles is always what we shoot for. I would take your voltmeter and check your batteries for state of charge (12.6 v is fully charged for wet cell unloaded). Then test all your charging systems individually operating with the others off (shore; generator; alternator) to see what is working and what is not. If you are having some intermittant charge functioning it could be a loose connection; or poor ground that needs to be tracked down. The other thing is maybe the alternator is also going South too.
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Old 04-17-2019, 12:44 PM   #17
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You’ve got an issue in your charging system that you need to find and fix so it doesn’t ruin every trip and stay in the back of your mind every time you take the MH out. Replacing batteries and alternators may be more expensive than finding out what is really wrong and still not fix the problem. There comes a time with all (most) of us when it is worth a trip to an expert who has the tools and experience to find out what it is. The trick is finding that someone. I spent weeks working on my AC system and lots of discussions and finally “bit the bullet” and called an expert in. He fixed it in an hour and charged me $125. Worth every penny. Now my wife can blame him instead of me if it doesn’t work.
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Old 04-17-2019, 01:34 PM   #18
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Is it possible you just happened to hit Store on your way home? (Being plugged in check the voltage on the battery--if its still 12V hit "Use".)

Just a "is it plugged in" kind of question...(Perhaps you hit Store before fueling up??--not necessary but you never know)
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:21 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
Is it possible you just happened to hit Store on your way home? (Being plugged in check the voltage on the battery--if its still 12V hit "Use".)

Just a "is it plugged in" kind of question...(Perhaps you hit Store before fueling up??--not necessary but you never know)
Great question! To that end: we did mistakenly hit "store" on this trip once and it took me the better part of 15 minutes to figure out what the problem was! The stinkin' button is in a terrible place. Wife just ordered a "lockout-tagout" switch cover to put over the store switch to keep this from happening in the future.

I don't think that was the problem on the way home and I am pretty sure we ruled it out.
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Old 05-01-2019, 02:20 AM   #20
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THOR #9320
Still Working through this BCC problem

Here is the latest:

Plugged into shore power: 13.1V House, 12.5V chassis (I believe this should be the same. It seems the relay is not working in the other direction either (house system not charging the chassis system).

Tried holding down aux start button: No change from above (no audible sound of the relay working either).

Unplug from shore power and start engine: 12.9v (and falling) House, 14.5v chassis. Wait 5 minutes and no change to the above. Try holding down aux start button and still no change.

My next step: after starting engine try cycling the Use/Store switch as I saw where that worked for some other person.

After that, I believe it is time to call the maker of the BCC for some support. I may have to replace a relay.
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