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Old 08-08-2017, 03:44 AM   #1
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I think I drained the batteries

Let me first say that I am a first-time RV owner (2016 Thor Hurricane 34F), and I'm learning how steep the RV ownership learning curve is. Anything that follows I fully realize are likely dumb questions and I fully admit to likely making a dumb, newbie mistake.

We've had the RV parked in the driveway less than two weeks. I go out tonight and no lights come on inside. (Note: the engine starts and driving lights work. Just not in the rest of the coach.) As it's been hot here we've kept the shades down so I may have left the lights on and drained the...oh, geez, what do you call the batteries that aren't for the engine? (I told you, I'm climbing the steep learning curve.) Anyway, the generator won't start with the engine running or not. There's no other power. I pushed a button on the monitor panel and I got a few dim LEDs then they went out.

To charge the batteries wired in parallel, do I have to disconnect them from each other and/or the entire RV?

I have to get it running so that I can get the slide in and the jacks up so I can take it to the dealer Saturday for the windshield they're replacing (part of the purchase) as well as fixing some other things.

Thoughts?

Thanks.
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Old 08-08-2017, 04:25 AM   #2
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Can you plug the coach into shore power, 20 or 30amp service? Doing so should charge your house batteries. If you have a meter, check the voltage at the house batteries to see if they are charging. You should see 13-14 volts roughly if they are charging. If your chassis battery is also dead, you can use a jump starter to get your coach running. Once running, you can check chassis and house batteries for charging, 13-14 volts, make sure you unplug the coach from 20-30amp service then check voltage while coach is running. You should also check the fluid level (water) in your house batteries. Fill with distilled water if they are low or empty. Do this before putting them on charge.
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Old 08-08-2017, 04:27 AM   #3
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You drained the coach batteries...
Leaving the 'Use/Store' switch in 'USE' for extended period without shore power will do it every time... (Some find even in Store there is a drain...)
Plug in to shore power if you can - and it will charge the batteries.

If you want to use an external charger - fine too - leave the batteries connected in parallel.

To charge from shore power or genny - the 'Use/Store' switch must be in 'Use' position.

You may be able to start the genny while holding the 'emergency start' switch on dash... That ties the coach and chassis batteries together - to start the engine from coach - or genny from chassis - when needed.
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Old 08-08-2017, 01:07 PM   #4
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Thanks, all. What an experience. The dealer walked us through all the operations, but there's so much to remember and then there are little things like the Use/Store thing.

I hope I'm just going through typical newbie learning experiences.
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Old 08-08-2017, 01:49 PM   #5
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I hope I'm just going through typical newbie learning experiences.
Yepper. Everyone does it.
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Old 08-08-2017, 02:40 PM   #6
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Yepper. Everyone does it.

Well that makes me feel somewhat better. LOL I guess I'm not blazing a new trail.
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:43 PM   #7
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Well that makes me feel somewhat better. LOL I guess I'm not blazing a new trail.
And the learning never really ends. We've owned 4 different motorhomes in the last 20 years. Each "new' RV extends the curve, as you discover newer systems and features that you didn't have before.
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Old 08-09-2017, 12:34 AM   #8
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You drained the coach batteries...

Leaving the 'Use/Store' switch in 'USE' for extended period without shore power will do it every time...

You ain't kidding I drained 'em! I just put the volt meter on them. Each one is at 2 to 2 volts. Of course, my battery charger says it won't charge if voltage is below 3-4!
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Old 08-09-2017, 12:49 AM   #9
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Even in the store position there is enough parasitic drain to run down the batteries. If you can plug in to 120 leave the switch in the use position, if you put it in store the batteries won't charge. Depending on your charger sometimes you can put it in start mode to deliver extra juice and get the batteries going again, just don't leave it that way very long.

If your charger still won't provide power you can use jumper cables from another vehicle for a while to get enough voltage so the charger will start.
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Old 08-09-2017, 12:53 AM   #10
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Leave the charger on and it may eventually start charging. Otherwise you might be able to connect another 6volt battery in series and then attach charger, assuming you are using two 6 volt batteries in series to get 12 volt output.
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Old 08-09-2017, 01:03 AM   #11
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I think I drained the batteries

I just put on a different charger. I went towards the front of the RV and noticed it seemed brighter inside. The ceiling lights were on! I'm going to let it charge a bit and then see if I can power up the generator.

Oh, the learning I'm doing!
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Old 08-09-2017, 01:42 AM   #12
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Annnnd I'm in business again. I'm running the generator now to do some charging.

Now a new issue has popped up with the generator. That's a new post.

Thank so much for everyone's help!
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Old 08-09-2017, 04:10 PM   #13
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I call them the "house battery" and the "chassis battery"

I've learned a few things about these batteries the expensive way, having to replace barely used batteries more than a few times in boats and my old popup camper

First thing I did with the MH was to install physical disconnect switches on both battery systems...right on the battery post.

when in storage, the batteries will self discharge over time, even when nothing at all is connected to them. I've read around 10% per month, and that seems to be about right. So they don't need any more help from power drains such as radio lights, LP detectors, etc...

First thing i do when storing is to push the store side of the "use/store" switch....then a disconnect both batteries with that switch. the only time I don't do that, even if parking for a day or two, is when we are actually using the unit and have food in the fridge.

and these RV type batteries are not true deep cycles, so the generally accepted rule of thumb is no not discharge them past 50% of the capacity
and when they do get discharged below that...permanent damage is done. They won't hold as much after that.

I hate to tell you but taking them to near zero, even one time, really does them in. Yours will likely hold some charge now, but they won't hold nearly as much as they should.

Don't worry though, they may still be good enough for your purposes for a while, especially if you are generally going where you plug in all the time.

Good luck.... and remember to enjoy it.

oh, here's what I think is a pretty decent resource to learn about these battery systems
The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
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Old 08-09-2017, 04:14 PM   #14
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one more thing taht might be of help. Here is teh manual for the BIRD in my RV. Don't know if you have teh same or not, but odds are you have at least something that works similar
It's the system that works with the
emergency start switch on your dash
and it ties together the chassis and house batteries for charging

I found the manual useful to better understand how it all ties together...
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Alternator Charge House Battery BIRD (1).pdf (101.2 KB, 29 views)
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Old 08-09-2017, 05:06 PM   #15
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I think I drained the batteries

Blw2 - Thanks for the detailed info. I feared I toasted the battery. Learning through mistakes can be costly! And by that measure I have learned a lot! LOL
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Old 08-10-2017, 01:49 AM   #16
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Don't feel bad. I consider myself an "experienced" RVer. I can quote verses from "The 12V Side of Life". I've installed new converter/chargers, solar systems, the works.

And yet on my new-to-me coach I never noticed that the chassis battery wasn't charging when on shore power. All those USB chargers and gadgets I installed sucked my chassis battery down to 4 volts. Since it was old, and I needed to get on the road that afternoon, I bought a new battery.

Next project: hard-wiring in a smart charger for the chassis!
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