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Old 08-21-2016, 02:32 PM   #1
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THOR #5198
House batteries not charging from alternator - Solenoid?

All -

I have a 2011 Thor Freedom Elite class C. It is on a E450 chassis. Most of the time the house batteries do not charge while I am driving, but sometimes they do. I can typically engage the manual override while driving 5 or 6 times in rapid succession and cause them to start charging. Once they start charging, it will continue until I shut off the engine. Next time I start it, they may or may not resume.

Is this indicative of the solenoid going out? I traced the wires and it appears it is located on the drivers fender - a trombetta model.

Thoughts on the solenoid being the issue, or do you think it is something else?

John
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:15 PM   #2
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THOR #2601
Here is the schematic of the BIRD, Trombetta Isolation Relay and Battery disconnect solenoids. This schematic is for my 2015 Vegas, but I'd bet your Freedom Elite is the same.

Did you verify that your USE/STORE switch was in Use. House batteries will only charge with the switch in Use. You described it as intermittent so it sounds like you were in Use.

I think you are right suspecting the Trombetta. It sends the signal to the battery sets when the battery requires charge. The BIRD monitors the battery voltage and send a signal to the Trombetta to operate the battery disconnects.

Most of the problems described on the forum here involving charging the house battery while driving wound up being either Thor had mis-wired the Trombetta or battery disconnects, a bad Trombetta isolation relay, or defective BIRD.
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:42 PM   #3
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THOR #5198
Thank you for the response! I don't have a BIRD system in my class C I don't believe. It isn't quite that fancy.

I have verified that my battery switch is "in use". Also, mine has worked for a long time without issue. This just started recently.

I think I am going to go with a new solenoid and see if that fixes it. They are fairly reasonable and it doesn't look like it will be too painful to replace.

John
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Old 08-22-2016, 01:24 AM   #4
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THOR #4366
Have someone start the engine while you watch a volt meter across the coil wires. This will verify if power is getting to the coil. If you have power there the next step is to verify the solenoid contacts by checking voltage on both large wires.
If the solenoid is bad any 12 volt solenoid from an auto parts store with a contact rating higher then a 100 amps will do as a replacement. This will be less expensive then a replacement Trombetta.

I expect ours to fail any day as the coil runs extremely hot after a few minutes.
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Old 08-22-2016, 02:28 PM   #5
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jrhea, I'm curious how you know when it's charging and when it's not. Are you putting a multimeter on the batteries?

I have yet to wrap my head around this set-up in my coach. I know it's not complicated, but it is buried and I just haven't had the need yet.... it seems to charge for me, but I haven't really been watching it closely either.
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Old 08-22-2016, 03:00 PM   #6
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I too had my Trombetta fail. I think the problem is that there is too much dissipation in the coil. When charging the voltage goes up to near 14 volts resulting is about 24 watts dissipated in the relay coil. It gets so hot you can't touch it. My Trombetta contacts (upon autopsy) were black with material that came off the housing. I found that a White Rodgers solenoid with a 15 volt coil and higher coil resistance with much lower dissipation of maybe 8 watts and still at 200 amp rating was much better suited to the application. Its a 586-10811-3. Ebay has it and Amazon as well. About same price and size as the Trombetta. It does recommend vertical mounting that was a litter different than the original Trombetta in my 2015 Tuscany coach. Easily changed.
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Old 08-22-2016, 05:23 PM   #7
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THOR #5198
So I did another test like you suggested and read the voltage with the coach running at the solenoid. One side said 14.43 and the other side said 12.6 and the batteries said 12.6. Waited a few minutes, tested again and similar results.

I hit the manual override switch 6 to 7 times(once didn't do it) and the 12.6 read 13.2 and slowly started climbing.. so it started to charge once I hit the switch several times. Measured at the batteries, same ~13.x.

I am pretty sure the solenoid is the issue. I order another one and will report back once I get it installed.

John
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Old 08-22-2016, 07:08 PM   #8
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THOR #5043
Yep, sounds intermittent. Bet its the problem. You can take it apart and clean the contacts but not too easy. Trombetta is junk in my opinion.
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Old 08-23-2016, 06:50 PM   #9
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THOR #4366
If the Trombetta didn't energize after a couple minute time delay that would be the B.I.R.D. The over or emergency start button on ours will only pick the Trombetta while you hold it in. Once I get done chasing all the wires I'll post a drawing for our Axis. These things appeared to be hand wired without the techs following the loop diagram.
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Old 08-24-2016, 10:50 PM   #10
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THOR #2824
I just found out the hard way what happens when you accidentally hit the "store" side of the "use/store" switch and don't know it! Of course the batteries will eventually go dead if you sit long enough - but what I didn't know is that everything associated with a 12v system goes with it! My refer wouldn't switch to gas when unplugged from shore power; my back up camera and side mirror cameras didn't work; and yet when plugged into shore power all the lights worked even tho they're 12v. Even my exhaust fans in the ceiling worked.
I first noticed an issue when the blue light on my dash radio was flickering on and off. I started the vehicle and let it run for a bit, and the light went off, then I shut the unit down. About 2 hrs later it came on again. It wasn't flickering so I left it, since it was 10 pm! Next morning the blue light was off - and no 12v anything unless hooked to shore power. I didn't know the batteries were already dead!
So, not knowing what the issue was, I drove home 80 miles and must have charged the house batteries just enough for the "use/store" switch to work. Now after a day of charging in the "use" position everything works like it's supposed to - wish there was an idiot light on the "use/store" switch so I'd know if it's on or off without having to flick the switch - but I learned my lesson! Cancelled my Oct. 4th warranty appt with Camping World....from now on I'm in "use" no matter what, until winter comes!!
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Old 08-25-2016, 12:17 AM   #11
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THOR #4117
My OEM solenoid, I don't know its manufacturer, died about 1 year old. I replaced it with a similar solenoid, not a Trombeta, and it has performed perfectly ever since, about 10 years. Just make sure you get one with adequate current carrying capacity, 100A would do nicely.
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Old 09-07-2016, 12:59 AM   #12
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THOR #5198
I replaced the solenoid this weekend with a new one. Works perfectly every start after about 30 seconds.

Thank you all for the suggestions, this one is fixed!

John
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Old 09-09-2016, 09:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camperguy99 View Post
I too had my Trombetta fail. I think the problem is that there is too much dissipation in the coil. When charging the voltage goes up to near 14 volts resulting is about 24 watts dissipated in the relay coil. It gets so hot you can't touch it. My Trombetta contacts (upon autopsy) were black with material that came off the housing. I found that a White Rodgers solenoid with a 15 volt coil and higher coil resistance with much lower dissipation of maybe 8 watts and still at 200 amp rating was much better suited to the application. Its a 586-10811-3. Ebay has it and Amazon as well. About same price and size as the Trombetta. It does recommend vertical mounting that was a litter different than the original Trombetta in my 2015 Tuscany coach. Easily changed.
i have looked on amazon and e bay but no luck finding a 586-10811-3 maybe looking in wrong place. how much is it?
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