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Old 03-23-2012, 12:38 PM   #1
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Battery not holding a charge

Seems that after taking full charge it takes only a night for the battery to be down to 1/3. Battery is one year old and came with the Greyhawk. Battery is full of water and all the connections area tight and clean. Is this just bad battery?
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Old 03-23-2012, 01:42 PM   #2
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Does there appear to be material adhered to the plates in the battery?

Hey Hawk, hello and welcome to the group.
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Old 03-23-2012, 01:45 PM   #3
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Seems that after taking full charge it takes only a night for the battery to be down to 1/3. Battery is one year old and came with the Greyhawk. Battery is full of water and all the connections area tight and clean. Is this just bad battery?
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Jim, pick up a hydrometer and measure the battery. They're cheap... it will give you an accurate reading on whether or not the battery is good or needs replacing.
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Old 03-23-2012, 02:12 PM   #4
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Nothing on the plates and off the the auto parts store to buy a cheap hydrometer.
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Old 03-23-2012, 02:22 PM   #5
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Nothing on the plates and off the the auto parts store to buy a cheap hydrometer.
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Buy a new battery while you are there....
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Old 03-23-2012, 04:29 PM   #6
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Hard to tell without knowing how much you are pulling - that could be correct if you pull too much or something is draining it. If you are in the market for a multimeter, get a good AC/DC clamp meter -- they are great for this sort of thing. The DC ones are harder to find, so look close. Got mine at Sears...it was a pretty good model for about $50.



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Old 03-23-2012, 06:32 PM   #7
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Most auto parts stores have a battery tester that can tell you in 3 minutes if the battery is bad.

Take it with you.
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:02 PM   #8
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If you bought it new remember you have a 2 year warranty on everything.
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:01 AM   #9
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If you bought it new remember you have a 2 year warranty on everything.
Actually, most batteries are warranted for much longer than that...
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Old 03-25-2012, 02:56 PM   #10
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I know this is a Class C forum, but this applies across models. My trailer (see below) had 6 guage wire run from the battery, all the way to the back for the power distribution panel - probably 20-30' of pretty narrow guage wire.

A few things about batteries - for a float charge you need to be getting 13.4 V @ the terminals....that should give you about a 1AH charge rate (VERY SLOW). So, lets say my factory 2 stage converter is doing a good job and putting out 13.6V for trickle charge. The issue now is cable loss.

I used http://www.nooutage.com/vdrop.htm to calcualte how much voltage drop I get across that long cable run. Assuming 25' of 6awg and only 1 amps of draw, I don't do well with .2% voltage drop. That sounds like a small number, but it means I'm only putting 11V on my batteries. IE: My batteries had NEVER had a good charge off the converter.

Even if my converter was putting out a much better 14V, at .1% drop over that cable I'm only getting 12.6V at the terminals - IE: getting what a fully charged battery has - and as I'm not putting more voltage on it than the battery has itself, I am getting no charge!

No matter how much I ran the generator, I could not make it through more than a night with no heater!!

My fix was replacing the 2 stage with a good 3 stage converter, and relocating the converted to the front of the trailer. I ran larger gauge wire back to the power distribution panel and a nice 4G wire the ~5 feet from the new install location to the batteries. I also replaced the now shot 2xGroup 24's with 2xGolf Carts. I'll try to get around to doing a proper write up on this mod as I suspect MANY more people out there need to consider doing something similar.

It wasn't a simple job - and a fair understanding of cabling/wiring is recommended. However, now I can boondock with confidence.

To really see how your batteries are doing, get an inexpensive 12V meter and a hydrometer. Should be out less than $30 for both and be able to KNOW where you sit.

This is a long read - but very good info and where I started. 12V Side of Life Then when I got serious about the mod, I got involved over at the Wind Sun Forums. Those wind-sun guys are solar, but the concepts are the same and that is where I learned the most.

-Good luck!

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Old 03-25-2012, 03:05 PM   #11
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Excellent post, Chak. I'm getting ready to replace my Grp 24 12V with two GC2's (6V) that I picked up today at Sams Club. On Roy B's advice, I picked up a 25' spool of 4AWG wire, lugs, grommets, bus bar, fuse, etc. Over the next week or so, I hope to complete this mod installing the two new batteries in a front mounted toolbox.

Thankfully, my converter has "Charge Wizard" technology built-in. I want to do this incrementally (as I can afford to) but eventually, I will add a 1500-2000W pure sine wave inverter to the mix. Maybe someday, solar panels....
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Old 03-25-2012, 05:19 PM   #12
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We have a 31 FS. If we use the furnace at all the battery is always at 1/3 in the morning. I changed the battery and it is still at 1/3 in the morning. IMHO just not enough battery for the motorhome, Jayco should of made room for a second battery.
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:21 PM   #13
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We have a 31 FS. If we use the furnace at all the battery is always at 1/3 in the morning. I changed the battery and it is still at 1/3 in the morning. IMHO just not enough battery for the motorhome, Jayco should of made room for a second battery.
Riplin - keep in mind that the meter built into the camper is not accurate by any means. It can come close, but will never be a good indication. Most importantly, when you check the battery, make sure ALL loads are turned off. Preferably, leave them off for an hour or two (but I realize this isn't practical when camping).

Those built in meters are especially bad for telling when the battery is full. Are you camping, running a generator for a few hours to charge (checking the meter as to when to quit charging?) Sadly, this won't work out well as you get higher readings than reality right after/during charging.

Check your battery, with a cheap volt meter and hydrometer. This will give you an idea if it may just be bad.

31 foot is a big space to heat - it may take quite a battery bank to do better. That said, optimizing what you have may help. How far is your converter from the batteries? I ask because many models have WAY to much wire between the 2. This prevents the batteries from taking a charge without 10's of hours of generator time.

Also, look at your converter. If you are re-charging with a generator, a 2 stage converter will take 10+ hours, whereas a 3 stage can get you to 90% in a couple of hours. (lots of variables here, but in general)

Hope this helps...

-Chak
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:04 PM   #14
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Riplin - keep in mind that the meter built into the camper is not accurate by any means. It can come close, but will never be a good indication. Most importantly, when you check the battery, make sure ALL loads are turned off. Preferably, leave them off for an hour or two (but I realize this isn't practical when camping).

Those built in meters are especially bad for telling when the battery is full. Are you camping, running a generator for a few hours to charge (checking the meter as to when to quit charging?) Sadly, this won't work out well as you get higher readings than reality right after/during charging.

Check your battery, with a cheap volt meter and hydrometer. This will give you an idea if it may just be bad.

31 foot is a big space to heat - it may take quite a battery bank to do better. That said, optimizing what you have may help. How far is your converter from the batteries? I ask because many models have WAY to much wire between the 2. This prevents the batteries from taking a charge without 10's of hours of generator time.

Also, look at your converter. If you are re-charging with a generator, a 2 stage converter will take 10+ hours, whereas a 3 stage can get you to 90% in a couple of hours. (lots of variables here, but in general)

Hope this helps...

-Chak
Thanks for the input. We dry camp about 50% of the time. I checked the battery voltage at the battery with the gen running and found it to be 13.2volts. Way too low to put a real charge into the battery. With that being said we can drive all day and spend a night with the furnace on still have the battery at 1/3 or below. I know the gauge in the command centre is cheap, not the greatest. But when there isnt enough battery to start the gen it is 1/3 or alot lower. I bought an external battery charger and 2 2000w champion inverter gens as well as a second battery to hook up when we camp in cold weather. The single battery is along way from the converter. But I have no desire to change that. I will add a permanent 2nd battery this summer in an outside storage compartment. I still believe that Jayco did a disservice by only providing one battery compartment on such a large RV.
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:12 AM   #15
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Well took the greyhawk back to the dealer to find out what was draining the battery over night. The tech found that a solenoid was not closing and was causing the draining. Battery checked out OK.
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