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Old 02-23-2019, 10:56 PM   #1
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THOR #14517
Gemini Coach Batteries Non-Op - Debugged w No Luck

Apologies in advance - I really hate to be "that" new user who's first post is of technical persuasion. After hours of troubleshooting and three calls to Thor tech support, I'm done (but not beyond asking for help). Our Gemini 23TB is almost two years old. A little history:

- Purchased in April 2017. Coach OEM dual batteries were stickered 12/14.
- Coach batteries never held a charge to support house operations (less than four hours run time to depletion). Batteries were stone dead. Motorhome functionality was as designed up until November when it was parked.
- Installed two new batteries a month ago (January).
- Use/Store (battery disconnect) switch does not transfer to/from batteries, ie: no solenoid audible "click." Herein, the fun (brain damage) began...
- Validated 50 amp fuse was not tripped (located on metal underside panel of coach to the left of and parallel to the upper entry step and dual battery box). Also tested and found 12volts to both sides of 50amp fuse housing. Cables tight.
- Validated 5amp inline fuse from Trombetta wasn't blown (replaced anyway)
- Validated main 25 amp house fuse in inverter fuse panel was not blown.
- 12 volts to six pin "use/store" battery disconnect wires on both upper and lower pins. Removed switch, used meter to check open/close. Switch works correctly. Replaced six pin "momentary rocker" (use/store) switch. Both old and new switches test identical on ohm meter. Problem not resolved.
- Suspecting Trombetta was the issue, a new solenoid was installed. Both new and old Trombetta metered the same when disconnected. Before and after, there was/is 12v to both battery lug posts when connected. Solenoid is located on outer left side of battery box/step, under coach. Problem not resolved.
- IRD (isolator relay delay) seems to be working. ie: 13.6 volts to batteries when engine is running. Located on outer left side of battery box/step under coach.
- IRD Black wire to ground, Red wire to solenoid small post (non grounded)and Blue wire connected to harness where two yellow (one w black stripe) wires exit and route up onto chassis frame and towards back of coach.
- With engine running, 13.6 volts to both coach batteries
- Plugged into shore power, house functions normally
- Unplugged from shore power, no house functions operate. No audible solenoid click resulting from activating "use/store" switch. Olin will not start. Cannot obtain reading on battery, propane, holding tanks indicators.

Geeze, is there a super-secret fuse hidden somewhere that I'm missing? It sure feels like it. Any help would be most appreciated. Thank-you in advance.
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Old 02-24-2019, 03:09 AM   #2
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THOR #2631
Welcome to the forum. I’ll start by saying I don’t know your coach specifics and I am not a BIRD charging system expert either, but after reading your story it seems to me that the only relay or device you did not check or replace is the use/store latching relay itself. That latching relay is the device that basically connects the coach batteries to the converter (coach battery charger). If the use/store latching relay is failed open you will not charge your batteries when connected to shore AC and you will not get DC power from the coach batteries when not connected to shore power AC. I am attaching a basic BIRD schematic for reference.....but this is a generic schematic and may not exactly match what your coach has. I suspect the latching relay shown in the diagram on the left side of the coach battery is what connects to your converter (not shown) but it would connect on the left side of the diagram.
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Old 02-24-2019, 04:41 AM   #3
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THOR #14517
Thank-you javelin...(fellow Albertan :-))
You point out one black hole that I was pondering...whether there is a second solenoid somewhere between the battery disconnect switch and the exiting yellow wire pair that disappear under the kitchen sink base toward the back of the coach, which I suspect likely cut over to the inverter. I began disassembling the cabinet under the microwave, which I suspect is where the battery disconnect wires cut over toward the inverter on the opposite wall. The wiring schematic that Thor sent me does not show a second solenoid, but...there has to be another inline component. More soon...
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Old 02-24-2019, 02:37 PM   #4
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THOR #2631
Well HarryM you’ll be glad you are in California because it is currently a balmy – 22C (-8F) here.....almost bikini weather.......just not here. I would think the Thor schematic would be the one to follow (not my generic), but you never know where Thor installs critical battery control devices typically. As I say I don’t know your coach, but I would expect the use/store switch controls a latching relay that sounds (from your description) like the culprit (failed open due to bad relay or loose wiring etc). I assume your coach batteries are adequately charged too because the relay wont operate otherwise. Based on your info you said when the engine runs the alternator charges both chassis and coach batteries OK. Also note that since inverters typically draw high DC currents they are usually mounted close to the chassis batteries (saves long runs of large gauge DC wiring) and are generally not run through the latching relay but are fused (high amp depending on rating of the inverter). I hope you find your trouble.
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Old 02-24-2019, 05:35 PM   #5
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THOR #2631
I just re-read your original post and at the very end you also said the generator would also not start.....do you mean won’t crank or just wont start? If it wont crank then there is usually a 100 Amp breaker in series with the gen starter motor and the coach batteries. Attaching another “generic” schematic for you. If that 100 amp breaker (or whatever your coach uses) is tripped it would affect the gen and any hydraulic levelling motor run also. Depending on what schematic Thor sent you it may (or may not) affect your chassis batteries from connecting to the converter too. On my ACE coach for example there is the latching relay between the converter and coach batteries, but there is also a 50 amp mini breaker in series with the converter and coach battery latching relay. You did say you could not hear any latch relay operate/release when use/store switch was operated....so I think discharged coach battery or bad coach latch relay.....or loose cabling connections. Failing all else trace the +12v cables from the coach batteries and see what devices they connect/pass through. It will be interesting to see what you find.
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Old 02-24-2019, 06:15 PM   #6
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THOR #6903
Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryM View Post
Apologies in advance - I really hate to be "that" new user who's first post is of technical persuasion. After hours of troubleshooting and three calls to Thor tech support, I'm done (but not beyond asking for help). Our Gemini 23TB is almost two years old. A little history:

- Purchased in April 2017. Coach OEM dual batteries were stickered 12/14.
- Coach batteries never held a charge to support house operations (less than four hours run time to depletion). Batteries were stone dead. Motorhome functionality was as designed up until November when it was parked.
- Installed two new batteries a month ago (January).
- Use/Store (battery disconnect) switch does not transfer to/from batteries, ie: no solenoid audible "click." Herein, the fun (brain damage) began...
- Validated 50 amp fuse was not tripped (located on metal underside panel of coach to the left of and parallel to the upper entry step and dual battery box). Also tested and found 12volts to both sides of 50amp fuse housing. Cables tight.
- Validated 5amp inline fuse from Trombetta wasn't blown (replaced anyway)
- Validated main 25 amp house fuse in inverter fuse panel was not blown.
- 12 volts to six pin "use/store" battery disconnect wires on both upper and lower pins. Removed switch, used meter to check open/close. Switch works correctly. Replaced six pin "momentary rocker" (use/store) switch. Both old and new switches test identical on ohm meter. Problem not resolved.
- Suspecting Trombetta was the issue, a new solenoid was installed. Both new and old Trombetta metered the same when disconnected. Before and after, there was/is 12v to both battery lug posts when connected. Solenoid is located on outer left side of battery box/step, under coach. Problem not resolved.
- IRD (isolator relay delay) seems to be working. ie: 13.6 volts to batteries when engine is running. Located on outer left side of battery box/step under coach.
- IRD Black wire to ground, Red wire to solenoid small post (non grounded)and Blue wire connected to harness where two yellow (one w black stripe) wires exit and route up onto chassis frame and towards back of coach.
- With engine running, 13.6 volts to both coach batteries
- Plugged into shore power, house functions normally
- Unplugged from shore power, no house functions operate. No audible solenoid click resulting from activating "use/store" switch. Olin will not start. Cannot obtain reading on battery, propane, holding tanks indicators.

Geeze, is there a super-secret fuse hidden somewhere that I'm missing? It sure feels like it. Any help would be most appreciated. Thank-you in advance.
Read this twice to try and not miss anything, seems to me that it must be your ATS given all the other stuff works OK, did you check the voltage across the automatic transfer switch when unplugged?
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Old 02-26-2019, 04:46 AM   #7
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THOR #14517
Quote:
Originally Posted by lwmcguire View Post
Read this twice to try and not miss anything, seems to me that it must be your ATS given all the other stuff works OK, did you check the voltage across the automatic transfer switch when unplugged?
Thanks for the feedback. I'll test this box but honestly I'd bypassed it because I thought the ATS was a 110v system, ie: shore/generator power.
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Old 02-26-2019, 04:55 AM   #8
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THOR #14517
Quote:
Originally Posted by javelin View Post
I just re-read your original post and at the very end you also said the generator would also not start.....do you mean won’t crank or just wont start? If it wont crank then there is usually a 100 Amp breaker in series with the gen starter motor and the coach batteries. Attaching another “generic” schematic for you. If that 100 amp breaker (or whatever your coach uses) is tripped it would affect the gen and any hydraulic levelling motor run also. Depending on what schematic Thor sent you it may (or may not) affect your chassis batteries from connecting to the converter too. On my ACE coach for example there is the latching relay between the converter and coach batteries, but there is also a 50 amp mini breaker in series with the converter and coach battery latching relay. You did say you could not hear any latch relay operate/release when use/store switch was operated....so I think discharged coach battery or bad coach latch relay.....or loose cabling connections. Failing all else trace the +12v cables from the coach batteries and see what devices they connect/pass through. It will be interesting to see what you find.
Apologies for my bad CDN English ;-) The generator won't turn over. I found another solenoid...fathom that. It's located behind the converter, underneath the wardrobe cabinet on the port side of the coach. This system was not reflected on any of the diagrams provided by Thor. The inline 5amp fuse was good. I haven't checked the solenoid as I can only fit one arm and half a shoulder back inside this cabinet. Working on a strategy...
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Old 02-27-2019, 01:38 PM   #9
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THOR #2631
That looks like a latching relay and the fact that it does not show on the Thor information you received is interesting. At least now you know where it is located and if you test its operation/function there is a good chance that it is your problem. Too bad it is such a hard to reach location, but that seems par for the course for many of us depending on the system and coach. I am attaching an ebay.com link to a 100 Amp Intellitec latching relay but if you find your relay is bad I would suggest trying to find the same one to replace it with which sometimes just makes replacement easier....mods required. Also note that the relay tower should be mounted in the same vertical orientation. Good luck.


https://www.ebay.com/itm/Intellitec-...frcectupt=true
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Old 02-27-2019, 01:49 PM   #10
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THOR #2631
I forgot to mention that the fact your gen won’t crank suggests another problem. Perhaps an open 100 amp breaker needs to be reset somewhere between your coach batteries and the gen starter solenoid.....or your coach batteries are not fully charged; loose connection somewhere etc. The reason I suggest this is that usually the gen starter and hydraulic motor/starter solenoid are fed off the coach batteries through a large amperage rated breaker and not through the coach battery latching relay (but I don't know your coach). So you may have a couple issues going on here. When the dust settles though, you will be an expert on your coach battery charging system.....a very useful knowledge to have.
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Old 02-28-2019, 11:43 PM   #11
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THOR #14517
Update:
After checking the second solenoid located in the back of the converter panel enclosure, I found the left (red cable) is connected to the converter breaker panel (see photo). When connected to shore power this wire is hot, but when disconnected from shore power and in the current "non-functional battery to coach" state, there is no power to the red cable and therefore its not powering the converter breaker panel. While connected to shore power I also tried toggling the momentary "Use/Store" house power supply switch, to no avail. (PS: Factory installed solenoid, not me - I'm more picky)

The right (black cable) attached to the solenoid is incoming from the house battery compartment and the under-coach solenoid. There is power to this lug whether connected to shore power or not (makes sense).
While squeezed into this converter panel compartment I managed to ground a wrench and create a spark (unplugged from shore power ) and then noticed there was no power to the right side cable incoming from the battery compartment. I found the 50amp fuse tripped. Actually this was a blessing because now I know it works and I was able to reset it.

That said, it seems like the only component remaining other than the ATS is this little isolator relay delay (see photo), which I have no clue as to its function and I've not replaced it. Its also located under the coach and adjacent to the #1 solenoid (Trombetta) with two wires connected to the solenoid and one leading off to a harness that terminates to the "Use/Store" momentary switch. So if there is no "output" from this sealed box over to the Use/Store switch then no signal can be sent to turn on/off the battery power supply. Thoughts?
But I'm starting to think that lwmcguire might have the final thought in that its the ATS.
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Old 03-01-2019, 01:04 AM   #12
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THOR #2631
So the way I read your latest testing result is:
converter output connects via red wire to the left main terminal of the latching relay; black wire from the right side main terminal of the latching relay connects to the coach batteries (via a 50 amp cct breaker connected in series). So when shore AC is disconnected the red wire has no DC voltage on it because the converter has no AC input so no more DC output.....and because I suspect the latching relay has failed open.....there is no 12.6 vdc coach battery voltage connecting through the main latching relay terminals from black cable to red cable. If this latching relay is not clicking (to close and to open) when you operate the use/store switch then I think you found the problem. When the latch relay closes 12.6 vdc from the coach batteries connects to the converter output and to the coach 12 volt fuse panel for your loads. When shore power AC is connected again the converter is now putting out its own charging voltage (typically 13.1 or more depending on charge cycle needed) and “if” the latching relay is closed (use) that charging voltage is now applied to the coach batteries. Depending on voltage level of the coach batteries, the isolator relay will turn on and connect the coach and chassis batteries together to have the converter now charge both sets of batteries. I would suggest the latch relay sounds like it is open and not closing when you operate the use/store. Just my 25 cents worth......maybe worth it.
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Old 03-01-2019, 01:31 AM   #13
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THOR #14517
Agree with your thoughts, thank-you.
I've changed the solenoid/latching relay located by the battery compartment under the coach - it's new. Yesterday I removed the converter cabinet solenoid/latching relay, tested it against a second relay, and installed a second relay. Same result: Use/Store switch non-op.
I'm thinking next I'll disconnect the pair of mid pin yellow wires on the Use/Store switch and the pair of yellow wires on the converter cabinet solenoid/latching relay and test for continuity.
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Old 03-01-2019, 02:59 AM   #14
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THOR #2631
Hi, well you are persistent. I am curious how you tested the latching relays (old and new)? Attaching an Intellitec latching relay manual with detailed descriptions of how their latching relay functions and at the end is a troubleshooting section which has a schematic of the on/off controls for the relay. If the relays function properly when out of the coach say using a 12vdc car battery charger as a power source (to operate or release the latching relay NOT across the main lugs) then it may be control wiring from your use/store switch. Before tearing into that (if not too late) use your multimeter to check for 12vdc on the latching relay coil terminals when operating/releasing the relay. The switch should be a momentary up/down and center off position. It reverses battery polarity to turn latch on or turn it off.



https://www.intellitec.com/assets/pd...-100_rev_c.pdf
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Old 03-01-2019, 04:56 PM   #15
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THOR #2631
Oops, in my previous post I meant to say check for 12vdc on the latching relay (one near the converter) coil contacts when operating/releasing the use/store switch not "relay" as I stated. You will likely need a second person since the use/store switch will have to be held on/off positions for the battery voltage to show up on the two coil pins alternately. I am assuming you have the switch which returns to center off position when released per the intellitec schematic.
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Old 03-02-2019, 03:36 PM   #16
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THOR #14517
Quote:
Originally Posted by javelin View Post
Oops, in my previous post I meant to say check for 12vdc on the latching relay (one near the converter) coil contacts when operating/releasing the use/store switch not "relay" as I stated. You will likely need a second person since the use/store switch will have to be held on/off positions for the battery voltage to show up on the two coil pins alternately. I am assuming you have the switch which returns to center off position when released per the intellitec schematic.
Ahhhhh a battery charger to test functionality. I never would have thought of this. Great tip, thanks! Yes, a momentary switch, correct.
Today is recruitment day as well - the better half will be helping. More soon.
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Old 03-02-2019, 06:29 PM   #17
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THOR #14517
With a helper on the Use/Store momentary switch, I tested the voltage from the switch yellow wire pair to the converter cabinet latching relay. voltage is 11.5 volts, to each peg depending on the switch position. There is a 1 volt drop from the switch to the latching relay.
I couldn't check the latching relay with the battery charger for some reason, maybe my charger has a built in safety switch wherein it does not close the charging circuit until connected to voltage. Of course the latching relay has no voltage when disconnected. I do have three latching relays which I've swapped around and my thought is not all three are bad.
Stumped.
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Old 03-02-2019, 08:49 PM   #18
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THOR #2631
So some progress as you seem to have proven your use/store is providing power to the latching coil OK (I assume you are testing the relay near the converter). A 1 volt drop along the coil feeder wires from the use/store switch/coach batteries seems a lot (since I don’t think the latch relay coil would use that much current, but don’t know its spec). The fact that your measured voltage at the coil terminal is still higher than Intellitec minimum voltage spec, means it should have operated and released the latching relay being tested (if the latch relay was functional). I am assuming all good grounds too not just good + volts.
It is not unusual that newer electronic controlled battery chargers don’t turn on (output) without some sense voltage coming from a discharged battery being connected to their output terminals, so the other option is a good car battery and booster cables (carefully not shorting clips together if/when using or you will be welding instead of testing).....or a 12volt DC power supply that can supply a couple amps of current. I would test a latching relay out of the coach with this method since you have less risk of shorting something (more connection control). Also don’t leave the battery connected to the relay coil terminals for a long time as they are made to be energized and then de-energized (simulate the use/store switch). I assume the coil contacts have an external series fuse that you connect to for protection.

The other option (I would try this, but do so at your own risk as I don’t know your coach and am only going from your descriptions) is to use one battery boost cable and "carefully" connect it across the main lugs of the latching relay (the one near the converter - SHORE OFF initially to test). Basically this “should” simulate closing this relay and “should” connect the coach batteries +12.6 terminal to the converter + output and DC fuse panel and you should see your coach DC lights etc come on now running off the coach batteries. The 50 amp cct breaker in series with the coach batteries that you found earlier should not trip if all is normal. If this does not do it (assuming no other open breakers or bad grounds or loose connections)....then I would be scratching my head now too. Remote diagnosis can be risky and I don’t want to cause you or you coach any damage. Sometimes we may need a tech familiar with your coach on site to resolve a stubborn problem. I am still surprised the Thor schematic for your coach did not show the latch relay behind your converter....what else did they not show?
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Old 03-03-2019, 12:39 AM   #19
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THOR #14517
Quote:
Originally Posted by javelin View Post
So some progress as you seem to have proven your use/store is providing power to the latching coil OK (I assume you are testing the relay near the converter). A 1 volt drop along the coil feeder wires from the use/store switch/coach batteries seems a lot (since I don’t think the latch relay coil would use that much current, but don’t know its spec). The fact that your measured voltage at the coil terminal is still higher than Intellitec minimum voltage spec, means it should have operated and released the latching relay being tested (if the latch relay was functional). I am assuming all good grounds too not just good + volts.
It is not unusual that newer electronic controlled battery chargers don’t turn on (output) without some sense voltage coming from a discharged battery being connected to their output terminals, so the other option is a good car battery and booster cables (carefully not shorting clips together if/when using or you will be welding instead of testing).....or a 12volt DC power supply that can supply a couple amps of current. I would test a latching relay out of the coach with this method since you have less risk of shorting something (more connection control). Also don’t leave the battery connected to the relay coil terminals for a long time as they are made to be energized and then de-energized (simulate the use/store switch). I assume the coil contacts have an external series fuse that you connect to for protection.

The other option (I would try this, but do so at your own risk as I don’t know your coach and am only going from your descriptions) is to use one battery boost cable and "carefully" connect it across the main lugs of the latching relay (the one near the converter - SHORE OFF initially to test). Basically this “should” simulate closing this relay and “should” connect the coach batteries +12.6 terminal to the converter + output and DC fuse panel and you should see your coach DC lights etc come on now running off the coach batteries. The 50 amp cct breaker in series with the coach batteries that you found earlier should not trip if all is normal. If this does not do it (assuming no other open breakers or bad grounds or loose connections)....then I would be scratching my head now too. Remote diagnosis can be risky and I don’t want to cause you or you coach any damage. Sometimes we may need a tech familiar with your coach on site to resolve a stubborn problem. I am still surprised the Thor schematic for your coach did not show the latch relay behind your converter....what else did they not show?
UPDATE:
Thanks for the lengthy summary! Yes, your last comment has me scratching my head as well...I completely removed the latch relay inside the converter cabinet. Of course, it failed bench test. I used a couple alligator clipped wires and hooked directly to the coach batteries while connecting the red lead to one of the small lugs on the latching relay, and bumping the other with the ground wire. The latching relay was DOA. Of course, I should have known this given the previous photo of it that I took, but a close up is attached. It clearly got "hot."
So now, with a new latching relay installed, here is the outcome: When bumping the Use/Store switch in either direction, I can hear the converter cabinet latching relay clipping. This seems to be working now that I've replaced the latching relay. HOWEVER, with the step light switch turned on, I can see the light momentarily illuminate when I bump the switch in either direction. It should power off in the "Store" direction, I suspect. At any rate, there is no full time coach power, just momentary as I bump the Use/Store momentary switch. Now I'm wondering about the Transfer box switching...
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Old 03-03-2019, 03:02 AM   #20
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THOR #2631
Hi Harry M.....you must be frustrated about all this by now, but you have proven that bumping the latch relay (near the converter) has supplied coach battery (momentarily) to your fuse panel/coach DC loads. This new test relay sounds like it is just operating as a regular relay and not a latching relay. The latching relay when operated holds the main contacts in a certain position (closed or open) until operated again with reversed battery/ground on the coil. If your test relay is a latching relay then it is not latching.



If we are talking the normal coach AC power transfer switch......that is used for transferring 120VAC from either the shore feed or the generator feed into the converter AC input. You said on shore power the lights etc works; and also said the generator wont crank at all (another problem). The generator normally controls the transfer switch when it starts generating 120VAC; after a 30 sec delay it causes the transfer switch to operate which disconnects shore power and connects generator power to the converter. I think you have been complaining about DC coach batteries not connecting to the coach fuse panel and converter DC output.


When you test your latch relays outside the coach....and they click make sure the relay is mounted with tower up straight and verify there is continuity between the main terminals after the coil power is removed. You could use the ohmmeter function to do that (but do not use ohms on live circuits). If no continuity try flipping the coil battery; click should be heard; then disconnect battery and try continuity again. I am probably not explaining things very well.
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