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Old 04-23-2016, 02:07 AM   #1
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Isolate my isolator problem

We hooked up an isolator to my bus my bus has a 12 volt D cell battery I have 4, 6 volt golf cart batteries it seems as though everything is hooked up correctly to the directions I was driving to charge up the system when my lights went dim I parked it and shut it off and now the bus battery seems to be dead I think I should also state that when we put with the isolator in we topped off the 12 volt d-cell battery and it took almost a gallon of distilled water I moved the bus like 4 or 5 times since we put the isolator in when checked with a voltmeter the battery reads 11 4 could it be I ran the bus battery down so much that it needed that much water and now I need a new battery

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Old 04-23-2016, 12:37 PM   #2
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Sounds like a nice bus. Congrats.

Not to get off topic, but I've bought 5 buses over the years. With the exception of this recent bus, all have had something wrong with them and it often seems to be electrical. None have ever had the same problem. It became obvious that the bus barns will get rid of certain problem vehicles, especially if it's near the end of its duty cycle. It is completely possible to figure out what is wrong with your bus during your build process. Sorry to hear it's not starting, but you'll work through this and learn a lot on the way.

You know the easiest way to check your battery? Battery X-change will check them for free and tell you if you have a bad cell. Probably Interstate or any battery place will check them for you, but it might be good to see if the answer is the same at more than one store. One of the best warranties on batteries is at Bi-Mart if they carry what you need (2 year exchange). Beyond that, specifically for 8Ds, I like the farm supply places. Then again, good prices are where you find them.

Needing a gallon of water is a lot. It sounds like something else is the problem causing your alternator to overcharge your battery. Like you said, things went dim at some point. If the battery turns out to be ok it wouldn't hurt to take your alternator to one of the auto parts stores that can check it for you for free. I'm sure there's probably a voltage regulator in there somewhere but that may be part of the computer in modern trucks.
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Old 04-23-2016, 12:44 PM   #3
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I'm assuming that your "12v D cell battery" is a standard 12v DC automotive starting battery.

Since the battery needed so much water I'd think that the plates dried out and shorted out. 11.4v is a pretty well discharged battery though not completely drained.

If you have a battery hydrometer check each cell. I'll bet one cell is bad. Failing that, disconnect the cables from the starting battery and charge it overnight with a decent battery charger. If it doesn't take a full charge (12.6v or so) or if it takes a charge but discharges quickly afterward it's toast.

Most auto parts stores will do a load test for free, they'll also be happy to sell you a new one.
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Old 04-24-2016, 08:40 PM   #4
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Oriellys couldnt for the battery in there charger

I charged for 6 or 7 hrs and now she fires right up she is just over 12 now goes up when idling and down when revving it the alternator seems to putting out 11.4 so we think the alternator is too small for charging all the batteries
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Old 04-24-2016, 09:50 PM   #5
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11 volts is way low. All three of the alternators on my vehicles output over 14 volts. Yours may have a burned out rotor sector or, as Robin said, may have a bad regulator.

One other thing to keep in mind - if a smallish alternator tries to charge too many batteries it can go "full field" (run at peak output) for extended intervals and burn out prematurely.
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Old 04-24-2016, 10:20 PM   #6
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8D battery no doubt.
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Old 04-24-2016, 10:38 PM   #7
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going up at idle and down during rev... make me wonder if the belts are possibly loose?

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Old 04-30-2016, 12:12 AM   #8
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Ok now im dead in the water again HELP!!

So I charged the battery and she fired right up I left her all week with the battery switch off and started her today drove for 15 minutes and same thing dead battery (I knew as soon as I turn my lights on my instrument panel went dead) well I called Napa and ask them for the isolator I told him what motor I have and what size bus and everything else I guess the isolator is only rated for 90 amps I'm not sure what my alternator is putting out whether it's a 90 amp alternator or 130 I'm afraid if I buy another altenator that it might end up just like this one I live in my bus and have a breathing machine so I need these inside batteries and this isolater to work! Did the guys at Napa sell me an isolator that was too small for my alternator and could that destroy an alternator because the battery obviously took the charge
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Old 05-02-2016, 10:58 AM   #9
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You probably don't want to hear this, but if this thing working is life or death to you, then you should probably pay someone with experience and a reputation in order to fix it for you. You need certain tools and some electrical know how in order to properly test what you have. Pulling individual parts and having them tested at napa might not find a problem, and may end up with you buying things that you don't need.
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Old 05-02-2016, 01:59 PM   #10
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I am willing to pay but

No shop in s.f.works on r.v.s anymore
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Old 05-02-2016, 03:42 PM   #11
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Is there anyplace that works on buses? Remember, it came from a race of buses.
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Old 05-02-2016, 06:33 PM   #12
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Have you checked your alternator output? It should be reading over 14 volts.

When troubleshooting you want to change one variable at a time. Here's how I would approach the problem:

1) Disconnect the isolater (both banks and the switch lead) and put a good charge on the house batteries. Discharged house batteries will pull down the starting battery if they are discharged and the isolater is connecting the two banks with no alternator output.

2) Verify that the starting battery is holding a charge. Disconnect the cables at the battery and charge it overnight. Remove the charger and let the battery rest for an hour to drain off the surface charge. Test with a voltmeter - you should see 12.7v or close to it. Let the battery sit overnight and test again - you should be seeing 12.6v or so.

3) Test alternator output. Reattach the battery cables and start the engine. Test voltage at the battery posts. You should see 14+ volts at the battery posts. If you only see battery voltage your alternator is toast or there's a bad connection. My guess is that this is your problem.

4) Let the engine recharge the starting battery then shut off the engine and leave it overnight. If the starting battery is dead the next day the problem is not with the isolater. If the starting battery is still charged after an overnight rest the chassis wiring is likely OK (no slow drains).

5) Hook up the starting battery to the isolater (but not the house batteries), leave it overnight then check starting battery voltage. If voltage has dropped the isolater is the problem.

6) Verify that the house bank is still at full charge then reattach the house bank to the isolater. Let it sit overnight and test both banks for a large voltage drop.

There are much quicker ways to do this but it requires equipment and knowledge that a beginner wouldn't be expected to have.
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Old 05-02-2016, 07:00 PM   #13
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When there's electrical problems I was always taught to look for electrical tape where someone worked on the harness previously. That's the problem about 99% of the time. The other times I have to pay someone to fix it. There's no telling how many times the electrical system has been altered before we got these buses.
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Old 05-02-2016, 08:43 PM   #14
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When you are running it and it shows 11.4v at the battery, test at the back of alternator, if it is the same you probably have a charging problem, if it shows higher voltage at alternator, you more than likely have bad connection somewhere or bad isolator. you can also check voltage at the isolator both input and output. Centre line is the input. Does you isolator have 3 posts or 4 posts?
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Old 05-03-2016, 02:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freakn View Post
When you are running it and it shows 11.4v at the battery, test at the back of alternator, if it is the same you probably have a charging problem, if it shows higher voltage at alternator, you more than likely have bad connection somewhere or bad isolator. you can also check voltage at the isolator both input and output. Centre line is the input. Does you isolator have 3 posts or 4 posts?
4 but only 3 are connected
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Old 05-03-2016, 11:35 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunbear View Post
4 but only 3 are connected
If you have 4, you may have to hook the smaller centre one to the ignition switch for it to work properly.
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Old 05-03-2016, 11:36 PM   #17
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Here is a picture



https://www.etrailer.com/static/imag...142300_800.jpg
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