House battery not charging when driving or plugged into shore power

Electrical issues, both 12 volt and 120 volt
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87Okanagan
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House battery not charging when driving or plugged into shore power

Post by 87Okanagan » Tue May 28, 2019 11:19 pm

Hey all,
I have an 87 Okanagan. I recently went camping without power and thought my battery was going to be good to go from being plugged in before I went and from driving to the national forest. When I got there, I found my battery was mostly dead. I got by by running the engine and charging the house battery from the starter battery a few times a day and was fine. But I don’t know why my house battery won’t charge when driving or when plugged in. Hen plugged in, everything seems to work but battery isn’t charging. I have an ancient electrical system. Photos attached including one of a burnt out nut. Thanks in advance for any ideas!
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skater
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Posts: 2110
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:00 am
B190 Year: 1991
WBCCI: 13270
Location: Annapolis, MD

Re: House battery not charging when driving or plugged into shore power

Post by skater » Wed May 29, 2019 7:02 am

Two separate problems:

1. It won't charge while plugged in: Your converter is probably bad. Is that it in the picture? That's a really old design. Upgrade to a new 3 or 4 stage converter and extend the life of your battery.

2. It won't charge off the engine: Most B190s had a relay and wiring to make this happen, but I don't know if the Okanagans had it. It wouldn't be hard to add - just need a 12 volt relay and the wiring. It's possible, if it does have it, that the relay went bad or something like that, too.
1991 Airstream B190 - bought, 2005; sold, 2011; bought 2017
1995 Airstream Excella 30' trailer

WBCCI #13270, Washington, DC Unit

87Okanagan
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Re: House battery not charging when driving or plugged into shore power

Post by 87Okanagan » Wed May 29, 2019 8:48 am

Thanks Skater!
Everything works great when plugged in, it just won’t charge battery. So power is being converted it seems so all the appliances run. Although I haven’t tried the air conditioner yet. I can try that this week.
Wiring diagram shows power going from starting battery to converter and then back to house battery. I could just add hard wiring and an isolator between the batteries, right?

87Okanagan
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Re: House battery not charging when driving or plugged into shore power

Post by 87Okanagan » Wed May 29, 2019 9:59 am

Any idea what that is thats burnt out on the circuit board?

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skater
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B190 Year: 1991
WBCCI: 13270
Location: Annapolis, MD

Re: House battery not charging when driving or plugged into shore power

Post by skater » Thu May 30, 2019 3:31 pm

87Okanagan wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 8:48 am
Thanks Skater!
Everything works great when plugged in, it just won’t charge battery. So power is being converted it seems so all the appliances run. Although I haven’t tried the air conditioner yet. I can try that this week.
Wiring diagram shows power going from starting battery to converter and then back to house battery. I could just add hard wiring and an isolator between the batteries, right?
The air conditioner runs off 120 volts, so it won't care what condition your battery is in.

If it's not charging the battery, then everything else (fans and lights) must be running off the coach battery. I stand by my initial guess that the converter - whatever it is - is bad.

Correct - wiring and isolator between the two batteries.

I can't tell. Modern converters are much better about maintaining the battery level; the old ones will destroy batteries quickly by overcharging them. Also, I'm ASSUMING that's a converter, but there aren't really enough wires in the picture if it is - there should be 120 volt wires going in, and two 12 volt wires coming out (positive and negative). It could be relying on chassis ground, eliminating the 12v negative wire. But the 120 volt wires going in should be black and white - you have a white wire, but not a black wire - and white is usually neutral. In fact, I think I've talked myself out of it - I'm not sure what that is, and I don't think it's a converter. Looks like of like a controller for something, possibly temperature related, given the coil of wire on the left. Your converter may be elsewhere. (I'm assuming your van has one...how else would you keep the coach battery charged?)
1991 Airstream B190 - bought, 2005; sold, 2011; bought 2017
1995 Airstream Excella 30' trailer

WBCCI #13270, Washington, DC Unit

87Okanagan
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Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:54 pm

Re: House battery not charging when driving or plugged into shore power

Post by 87Okanagan » Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:11 pm

I got the circuit board in the first photo rebuilt and that made the house battery charge when plugged in. It was an aftermarket relay under the hood that made the house battery charge while driving when I flip a switch on the dash.
Thanks for all the help!

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