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Old 07-18-2013, 10:45 AM   #1
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Dead Battery whoops

hey all,

i got a question about batteries. i have 2 group 31 batteries installed as my starting battery. they are about 15 months old. i have been keeping them maintained.... but been camping off (cycling) them too.

well.............................................. ....

i was doing some trailer hitch wiring and thought i had it all fixed up. went out yesterday to show off my work to a friend and .....dead. nothing.

its possible that i left a light on, blinker, 4 way, idk..... i thought they were all off.

but now the dual batteries wont charge.
was afraid the bus might be shorted and i disconnected that batteries to charge.... still nothing. battery is sitting at 10.8v with charger. and seems to drop with out charger. charger reads 0%-3% charged.. been on charger for 24 hours with no improvement.

did i kill them? any help appreciated?
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Old 07-18-2013, 11:07 AM   #2
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Re: Dead Battery whoops

Starting batteries aren't designed for deep cycling and will die with only a few cycles. Best bet is to take them in to the local chain auto parts store and have them tested.

T'was me, I'd totally disconnect the batteries from each other and the chassis then try charging them separately. You may have one with a shorted cell or some bit of wiring drawing them down faster than the charger can charge.

Check your electrolyte levels too. If the plates aren't under water add just enough to cover them then charge. Once they're charged top off the water levels.
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:15 PM   #3
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Re: Dead Battery whoops

I would check your charger. Hook it up to a known good battery and test the voltage with the charge plugged in vs unplugged.
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Old 07-18-2013, 01:20 PM   #4
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Re: Dead Battery whoops

thanks

i took off the first battery, and it seems to be charging normally. jumped from the 3% to 30% to 55% in the first few seconds of charging, and now seems to be on track to take a charge.

so, i suppose that means i got a short in my trailer wiring? i thought the trailer might be the culprit, because i just fixed a bad ground problem in it. the bus went dead with the trailer plugged in. but since charging.... the trailer has been unplugged.
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Old 07-18-2013, 01:44 PM   #5
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Re: Dead Battery whoops

Quote:
Originally Posted by turf
so, i suppose that means i got a short in my trailer wiring? i thought the trailer might be the culprit, because i just fixed a bad ground problem in it. the bus went dead with the trailer plugged in. but since charging.... the trailer has been unplugged.
It still could be your second battery, but more likely some gremlin in the wiring. I'd rather chase wiring than buy a new battery though.

Once your batteries are charged (you could test with only one battery) disconnect the trailer wiring from the bus and reinstall them, then put a voltmeter on the batteries (an amp meter would be better but most people don't have one, me included). Next, hook up the trailer wiring and look for a voltage drop. If you get a drop start disconnecting your trailer wiring until the drop goes away and you'll find your problem. When I'm troubleshooting wiring I try to split the circuit in half repeatedly until I isolate the problem. Eliminate one thing at a time.
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Old 07-18-2013, 02:34 PM   #6
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Re: Dead Battery whoops

very thankful for yours and any response......

troubleshooting...is trouble (for me anyway)

maybe the battery is not so happy.... been jumping around ... will charge for a day or so and see...


ok, related question...

if i have to get a new start battery, how big does it need? what do you all run?
93 bluebird, cummins 5.9

i currently have a pair of these in it:
2- 1000CCA group 31 batteries.
http://www.carquest.com/webapp/wcs/s...71_?acesApp=2#
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Old 07-18-2013, 02:38 PM   #7
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Re: Dead Battery whoops

to add to the above you don't want any power from the battery when everything is turned off

easy check take the + lead off battery; now with an extra 12v light bulb (old trailer light marker etc.) attach one end (+) to the battery and the (-) wire to the positive cable you took loose, if power is going through the wires to ground(drain) the light will light up

you can sub a buzzer etc, works good to find shorts

basically you take away the circuit(IE pulling fuses one at a time until noise/light stops) that will be the circuit to look at

with light in series(make sure to insulate all connections...no shorts!) plug in the trailer harness and see if light comes on if so you have a drain

good luck
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Old 07-18-2013, 02:39 PM   #8
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Re: Dead Battery whoops

voltmeter works the same way, just easier to see a light on or off
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Old 07-18-2013, 02:42 PM   #9
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Re: Dead Battery whoops

Quote:
Originally Posted by freakn
I would check your charger. Hook it up to a known good battery and test the voltage with the charge plugged in vs unplugged.

the 3rd battery on the bus was unaffected by the wiring problem. hooking up the same charger to it shows it charged and functioning
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Old 07-18-2013, 04:50 PM   #10
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Re: Dead Battery whoops

My Ford 7.3L diesel has two 31D starting batteries too. Some here are using only one battery for starting and that will likely work fine in the summer when the glow plugs aren't pulling a ton of current and the oil isn't like molasses. In winter it could be a problem. I just don't have any experience one way or the other.

What's the third battery hooked up to?

If you're near an Autozone or similar auto parts store, charge the batteries and drag those puppies in to have them load checked. They'll check them for free. Some batteries will take a charge but still not have much power.

Troubleshooting is just the process of eliminating the possibilities.

Bansil - I like your light bulb circuit tester. I'll have to cobble one up.
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:42 PM   #11
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Re: Dead Battery whoops

Just a bit of advice and this has been given out in a similar post......

If your batteries end up being bad.... Go to walmart and invest in 2 MAXX batteries. They have a 3 year replacement warranty. Before the 3 years is up I would "make sure" they have a problem to be exchanged... and do it to both of them. You will save yourself a lot of pain by doing this. Yes its a chunk of change in the front end but over the long haul it will end up paying off.

When you fill batteries with water use distilled water in them. The impurities in your tap water will put batteries on a stop watch to a slow death. Yes do it in a pinch but if you are doing PM on them that's the proper way to do that.

The advice of troubleshooting those open, shorts, or drains is DEAD ON. Very good advice.

I have a similar issue to this but I am not ready to get to trouble shooting it just yet. I will be installing a battery cut out switch to prevent any issues of battery drain. Yes its a pain in the azz but beats getting in the bus and not starting. In the future I am planning on having some type of cabling maybe with a knife switch or something that would let me tie the house batteries to the start batteries with out doing the jumper cable deal. Just a way to back up things... Yes the Navy brainwashed me by such things.

Hope this helps

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Old 07-18-2013, 06:57 PM   #12
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Re: Dead Battery whoops

thanks for all the help....


the third battery is the generator start battery. i have a 12.5kw diesel genny strapped to the belly of the bus. i am driving a library for cryin out loud!
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:53 PM   #13
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Re: Dead Battery whoops

Quote:
Originally Posted by bapos
I will be installing a battery cut out switch to prevent any issues of battery drain. Yes its a pain in the azz but beats getting in the bus and not starting. In the future I am planning on having some type of cabling maybe with a knife switch or something that would let me tie the house batteries to the start batteries with out doing the jumper cable deal. Just a way to back up things... Yes the Navy brainwashed me by such things.

Hope this helps

Bapos
I did the same thing on mine using a switch like this. Lets me charge the house bank from the alternator if needed or keep the two banks separated when we're camping.

http://compare.ebay.com/like/3008724594 ... s&var=sbar
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Old 07-18-2013, 08:49 PM   #14
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Re: Dead Battery whoops

Great minds think alike
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:31 PM   #15
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Re: Dead Battery whoops

not a bad idea

i think i found my short.

i swung the trailer around and hooked it up to my working truck. no lights on trailer.... so i screwed up my pig tail.

i pulled the plug off and found 2 crossed wires in my newly installed trailer plug. i had switched the aux 12v+ and the power for the brakes. after i got that turned around... the trailer works.

now just waiting to see if the batteries will charge...... they have been erratic. i charge one for a few hours and switch to the other. when i come back to the first one.... it like starting over... 0%
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:34 PM   #16
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Re: Dead Battery whoops

this is the first issue with the battery draining unexpectedly.

i think if i switch the aux power on to a key switched line.... i should still be ok.



i think
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Old 07-19-2013, 09:42 AM   #17
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Re: Dead Battery whoops

Quote:
Originally Posted by turf
now just waiting to see if the batteries will charge...... they have been erratic. i charge one for a few hours and switch to the other. when i come back to the first one.... it like starting over... 0%
My crystal ball says there are new batteries in your future. But on the bright side, it's way better to find weak batteries in your driveway than a mile back in the woods.

If your aux power was OK before the trailer wiring it should be OK now. No need to switch it unless you still have problems.

Think about picking up a deep cycle battery or two for your camping power. Deep cycling the new ones will just bring them to an early death. A pair of 6v golf cart batteries (cabled in series) is a good, durable choice.

Here's a good article on battery management. Giving yours some TLC will save you considerable cash in the long run.

http://rvguide.org/battery.html
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:28 AM   #18
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Re: Dead Battery whoops

real nice battery link

thanks


well hoping your prediction is for the distant future and not today.... fingers crossed.

this morning, after charging a single battery over night... and letting it rest a few hours.... it was at 79%.

hoping that 2 or 3 days of charging gets these guys back into shape. according to that Poop sheet.... i'm very lucky these batteries didn't just take a poop. we'll see in a day or 2.

how do you mount your house battery? all I've seen have been built inside and cut out holes in bus to vent. what about hanging them underneath? its got to be easier than hanging the black tank underneath, anyone built battery boxes?
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:09 PM   #19
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Re: Dead Battery whoops

I have two golf cart batteries in a sealed & vented plywood box in the bottom of one of our closets. They're fairly easy to get at for battery service and, bottom line, keeping them charged and watered is key to keeping them alive. Mounting them under-body is certainly an option. The ideal spot would be in a belly bin if you've been blessed with them.
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Old 07-19-2013, 06:29 PM   #20
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Re: Dead Battery whoops

get al lthe school bus stuff out of it wireing,,I had that happen to me,so I started with just the wireing,mine is a GMC get the diegram and go from there,,and my bus is a 94 B/B- GMC
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