Deep Cycle Battery Question

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  #1  
Old 09-21-06, 06:52 PM
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Deep Cycle Battery Question

I have an RV Die Hard Deep Cycle battery that was inadvertantly drained, which I believe happened due to the LP gas detector being left on (this is the only thing I could find that was on). I removed the battery and charged it on a 2 amp trickle charger. When I put it back in I hooked the negative up first and then when I touched the positive cable to the terminal it now sparks and my generator tried to start. I made sure the generator switch was not on (or anything else for that matter) and it continued to happen. I took the 50 amp fuse out so that I could attach the cable, then when I tried to put the fuse back in, of course it blew like I expected it to.

Is there a possible short in the battery due to total draining? I cannot find anything that would be drawing power from the battery and I also don't know why the generator would be trying to start. The gererator works from a rocker switch that depresses on either side to turn on or off but does not stay to either side?

Any clues?
Thanks for your time.
MC0662
 
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  #2  
Old 09-21-06, 07:34 PM
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How old is the battery? Over 3 yrs? change it.
Why did you connect the NEG. first?
Nice to have the LP detector working.That gas leaks and things blow up, if your there or not. Do those detectors have gas shut off capabilities?
Upfront, I know nothing of RVs, except there great at the football game "tailgateing" (my friend has one).
 
  #3  
Old 09-21-06, 07:40 PM
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Thanks for the reply.

The battery was bought in April of this year....so says the receipt I got with all the paperwork.

I have always attached the negative first when changing a battery...is this wrong? I have never had a problem before with any batteries.

Yes the detector will shut the gas off if it detects a leak but I didn't have anything running that would use the gas so it was kind of useless being on, but I was advised by another RV owner to keep it on. Why? I don't know.

Looking forward to doing some tailgaiting as soon as I can get the problem fixed.

Thanks again
 
  #4  
Old 09-21-06, 07:58 PM
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Hello: MC0662

Deep cycle batteries are designed to be fully discharged and then fully recharged. If the battery was in good condition and not pasted it's normal service life, it is not likely a fault of the battery.

One primary reason the generator attempts to start up, is because the battery isn't charged enough. The battery should be at least 3/4 or more charged. Not more than 2/3rds discharged.

Fully discharged batteries require a higher rate of initial charge, then tapered down to a lower rate during the rest of the charging cycle.

The 2 amp trickle charger being used is not rated high enough to put any more than a surface charge on the battery. Not even if left on the battery charging for days.

2 amp trickle chargers are commonly used for motorcycle and ATV machines etc. 12 volts but low ampere hour rated. 2 amp chargers are not rated for full sized auto batteries nor full size deep cycle batteries.

Suggestion:
Take the battery to a gas station or similar place where auto batteries or RV batteries are sold or can be charged. Have the service person charge the battery and then do a load test on that battery.

Doing that will determine the capacity of the battery to accept a charge, and whether it can be recharged and hold that charge.

I highly doubt the generator or the rocker switch is at fault. Primarily because the generators circuitry senses the low stat of battery condition and attempts to start.

Much depends upon how quickly the battery does drain down to a state of recharge being required.

However, there may be that slight chance the circuity in the RV has a short or drain to ground. May be in the switch. Replacing the switch may be required or worth while.

Testing the switch may be worth the time or to avoid the potential cost replacement, if you have the testing equipment, etc. Likewise test of or for the wiring circuity for grounds/shorts,etc.

Good Luck
Former heavy duty equipment area rep and deep cycle battery sales and service tech.
 
  #5  
Old 09-21-06, 08:08 PM
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RV battery

MC:

If you were able to charge the battery it isn't the problem. The short is outside the battery.

I take it this is the battery to run the RV lights and the generator (with a gas engine) provides the RV power and also charges the battery back?

I would check the solenoid for the starter on the motor for the generator. It sounds as though it may be either stuck closed or possibly being switched to a closed position by a short. That would account for the generator trying to start when you connected the battery cable. There's a chance this is what drained the battery in the first place.

Is the only switch to start the generator the manual switch or is there a low power level switch that can switch it on as well?

Hope this helps,

Bob
 
  #6  
Old 09-21-06, 08:55 PM
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Thanks for the advice. The battery is only about 4 1/2 months old so I think it should still be good. My charger does have an automatic setting on it but I have just always used it on the trickle setting and has worked ok for the little uses that I have needed it for. Should I try the auto setting? I did plan on taking the battery to an auto parts store to have it checked this weekend, but if you think the auto setting will work I will try that 1st.
Still wondering why the generator would try to start though even though I hadn't touched the switch? I understand what you are saying but I guess I'm wondering...if I were to park the RV for some time and the battery were to lose charge, would the generator kick on even if I wasn't there? Brand new to RV'ing and learning as I go.

Thanks again.
 
  #7  
Old 09-21-06, 09:05 PM
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Thanks marbobj,

Your right, it is the RV battery for the interior and also the appliances and so forth, also starts the generator. The generator worked fine the last few weeks since we bought it, and we would always turn the lp gas detector off when we weren't using it. Got the suggestion to leave it on so we did, and now this happened. The owners manual is terrible and doesn't give me anyinformation past checking a fuse, so I figured I would turn to you guys. I appreciate all the help. I'll try everything out tommorow or over the weekend and let you guys know what happens.

There is a switch inside the RV and one on the generator itself. Other than that I don't know of any others. I did n't get an owners manual with it for the generator either which is another thing I'm online looking for also.

Bought it used...just like everthing else bought used...little things start popping up.

Thanks again
 
  #8  
Old 09-22-06, 07:28 AM
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RV battery

MC:

I would still be curious as to why the 50 amp fuse blew.

Regarding the order of attaching cables when changing batteries. The important thing is to try to avoid a spark in close proximity to the battery. The gases emitted from a battery are explosive. I"ve seen perhaps three blow up because of this. They give you no warning.

The spark occurs at the point of last hookup. Having that spark occur far away from the battery is easier said than done, but some will disconnect the ground from the engine or frame and make that the last hookup or fanning the battery area right before hooking up. Definitely when jump starting make the negative hookup last and far away from the battery.

Although it doesn't prevent the spark, usually the positive post is attached first. Attaching the negative cable last gives you more options to move the spark away from the battery. Either way be aware of the explosive potential of a battery and protect yourself.

Hope this helps,

Bob
 
  #9  
Old 09-22-06, 11:11 AM
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Hello: mc0662

You did state removing the battery and connecting it to a trickle charger? Correct? If such is correct, then can it be safely assumed that charger was in fact the type used to charge a motorcycle or similar battery? Yes? or No?

A 2 amp hour motorcycle type charger isn't rated high enough in ampere hours to fully recharge a full sized battery, let alone a deep cycle battery.

What is needed is an automotive sized battery charger. One rated high enough to fully charge an automotive sized and ampere rate battery. Nothing else can or will work.

Next matter:
The method you are using to connect or disconnect that battery or any such battery is incorrect. Follow the instructions in the above post only.

It is imperative to do so. Any tiny spark caused can lead to an explosion battery gases in the are and/or those above the or near the terminals. Avoid such possible and or potential hazards. Follow the correct procedures outlined above!

Battery age.
Cannot be used to determine condition. Load test still must be done. Battery must be fully recharged using the correct ampere hour charger. Then a discharge load test done.

Doing the load test will determine present battery condition. Age is not a good enough indicator. Batteries, like many other consumer products have an mfg's warranty to cover defectives.

Primary reason why the warranties are provided and required by law. The load test will determine battery condition. No other means is proof positive. Verify this yourself. Ask at any auto or vehicle repair facility.

Sparks:
If any sparks occur at terminals, that usually means some power draw is constantly present. May be a door light, instruments, clock(s), radio(s) etc.

Be as sure as possible to turn off all power drawing devices as possible,if not all. Then connect battery to terminals, using proper method stated in above post.

Very tiny, if any, spark should be present during reconnection. A spark usually indicated a power draw is present. Spark size could indicate tiny power draw or large power draw is present.

They eye of a professional can determine such. In your case, tiny spark or none is acceptable. Larger sparks indicate and/or could indicate a ground and or short some where in the electrical wiring, part(s) or components, etc.

Situation may require a professional to diagnose and locate problem. Then fix based upon circumstances. Happens at times.
 
  #10  
Old 09-23-06, 09:53 PM
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Just an update...but problem is still not fixed.

I took the battery back to Sears and they put a charge on it and gave me the OK on the battery. I put it back in attaching the positive first with a new fuse installed. No sparks. I attached the negative and had a smaller spark (not as much as the other day, yet still more than the minor spark you would see when say you are hooking up jumper cables to a battery) The generator did not attempt to start this time but the fuse blew again in just a few seconds. Unfortunately Wal-mart only had one 50amp fuse so I had to quit my troubleshooting again today. Will pick it up again tommorow.

Plan of attack:
Going to hook the negative up and use a meter to test the positive cable for a draw.
Going to check the solonoid(sp?) on the generator.
Going to check the rocker switches.
Going to check the water pump, water heater, reefer, and as much wiring as I can see for posible grounds.
Going to check and then double and triple check that nothing is in the on position inside the RV.
Going to rub my head and take it to the mechanic.

If there are any other suggestions, I'm all ears.

BTW, the charger I have is a 2 amp trickle, 10 amp automatic, and 50 amp jump start. I probably used the wrong setting since the only thing I have ever used it for was charging ATV batteries and jumpstarting vehicles, but I figured the trickle would work, just taking a little longer.
Did I also say that I hate electricity [problems].

Thanks,
MC
 
  #11  
Old 09-24-06, 05:12 PM
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I would like to thank everyone for their help here. Problem is fixed now, unfortunately though it wasn't anything we discussed here.

(As I'm banging my head on the desk)

It turns out I was messing with the wrong battery all together. The battery under the hood (there are two deep cycle batteries on this RV) was completely shot. Once I took it out and checked it, it was bone dry and looked to be about 10 years old. I disconnected that battery, rehooked the one I was messing with and the generator started right up. Got a new battery, put it in and everything is running great. Old one must have been shorting out the whole system. I did find that the rocker switch on the generator itself is bad so I disconnected that one for now while I search for a new switch.

Wouldn't you know it, the things that stump the most turn out to have the simplest fix.

Thanks again.
MC
 
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