Agile battery separator

Inspector

2012 Roadtrek Agile
BobLLL, thanks! For giggles my wife took the van down the freeway for a shopping trip, not that far, about 15-18 miles total. I checked the batteries about 2 hrs after she got back (not thinking) the van battery was 12.68v, the coach batteries were12.69v! Nothing was disconnected yet as I hadn't planned on starting until the engine compartment cooled some.
 

irvingj

2015 RT SS Agile (3.0L)
... HEY -- My bad!! "You just lift up the red tab..." NO! As Bob said, you push DOWN on that red tab with you finger to release it. Sorry -- been too long since I've done that! (Or maybe a senior moment...)

Specifically, I grasp the black part between thumb and third finger, push down on red tab with index finger, pull backward on black part and it will come right off. My apologies.
 

Attachments

Inspector

2012 Roadtrek Agile
Irvingj, thanks for the picture it makes it crystal clear how to remove the cable, thanks!

Well it's troubleshooting time, either the battery is toast or something big time is drawing the battery down. After 20hrs of sitting connected, and having checked for obvious loads, the van battery is at 12.18v! The coach batteries are at 12.65v. I put the charger back on to hopefully prevent even more battery damage. The ground wire on the separator appears to be a blade style slip on connection from the picture of the separator?
 

Inspector

2012 Roadtrek Agile
Thank you! Quick question, if I disconnect the cable by the gas pedal, can I still read the voltage under the hood at the jumper cable connection points? This is where I have read the voltage.
 
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Inspector

2012 Roadtrek Agile
Note, I checked voltage at the start of charging with the separator ground connected and it was 13.3+/- I just disconnected the separator ground and 2+ hrs later the charging voltage is 14.24v and the coach batteries were sitting at 13.03v....almost sounded like they were gassing or bubbling. One thing that got my attention was the separator solenoid was so hot you could cook eggs on it.. it could burn a person, this doesn't seem right?
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
Thank you! Quick question, if I disconnect the cable by the gas pedal, can I still read the voltage under the hood at the jumper cable connection points? This is where I have read the voltage.
If you disconnect the thing by the pedal (TBTP), you should NOT get a reading at the jumper connection post.

The TBTP should be the same as pulling the cable off the battery's negative post.
With that disconnected, if you're seeing a positive voltage at the jumper post, something's wrong.

Here's a 2007 schematic for the grounds ... note that *in theory* nothing else connects to the battery's negative post.

BattDiscSchem.png

IF, on the other hand, the separator is *trying* to join the batteries, you *will* get a reading (of the house battery), but the starter battery won't actually be getting charged (unless the RV manufacturer added a wire to the battery's negative post ... which they shouldn't)

--dick
 
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Inspector

2012 Roadtrek Agile
Dick, thanks for the information. I'm not sure if the separator has both batteries joined while the van isn't running and the separator ground wire is disconnected. Tonight after both the starting battery and house batteries rested for 8hrs, both read exactly the same, 12.77v. It seems strange they would be exactly the same.

Is it normal for the separator solenoid to be so hot in normal operation?

Steve
 

irvingj

2015 RT SS Agile (3.0L)
Got any pics of that separator solenoid? A solenoid that's on constantly --the coil is energized-- can get "hot," but as hot as yours is, the way you describe it... doesn't sound right to me.

Back in 1972 I had a job repairing old-style electromechanical pinball machines for a year or two, and dealt with umpteen solenoids all the time, some of which were on --energized-- a lot. Yes, they'd get pretty warm, but I don't recall them really getting as hot as you describe....
 
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BobLLL

Member
Yes, the separator gets hot. It draws 1.5 amps while engaged, which is 15 watts. That's a fair bit of heat.

Dick's comments about the disconnect are correct. RT did not change anything about the starting battery connections.

When the separator was engaged, it kept the batteries at the same voltage. After the separator is disconnected, it will be a while before voltages drop enough to see which is discharging faster.
 
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Inspector

2012 Roadtrek Agile
Irvingj I don't know how to post pictures on this site but the solenoid looks like most. BobLLL attached a download a few comments back that shows the solenoid on the separator, sorry I'm so dumb on attaching pictures.
BobLLL, after sitting overnight the batteries did show different voltages, the separator ground still disconnected. Starting battery 12.57v...house 6 v batteries were 12.75v. The separator solenoid was pretty hot but not sure what is normal?

Steve
 

BobLLL

Member
Pretty hot is normal when engaged. Too hot for more than a quick touch. It should cool off when disengaged. The separator is not a great piece of equipment, but as long as it is disengaged it is not contributing to your main problem.

The starting battery was connected overnight? 12.57 is not great, but not horrible. I guess the next question is how long before the starting battery is too weak to reliably start the engine.
 

Inspector

2012 Roadtrek Agile
BobLLL, Yes the coach batteries are AGM and the US Battery brand, we had good luck with the originals so we stayed with the brand. The solenoid is gets hot when I was charging the batteries and no cycling was heard, it may have been energized at the time. I'll watch the voltage today, should I try anything else? I REALLY appreciate the help

Steve
 

BobLLL

Member
The separator would be energized whenever either battery voltage goes over 13.2, and stay on until the combined voltage drops below 12.8. This is one reason I suggested disconnecting it, so it doesn't cloud the issues. The specs say those voltages are +- 2%, so the separator could engage at 12.94 volts and still be within spec.

One thing we have learned is you probably cannot get a full charge with a 10 amp charger without disconnecting the separator. The separator was eating 1.5 amp of that 10 amps once it engaged, and it also connected an additional 200 amp/hours of battery to be charged. How much that contributed to your problems is hard to say.
 
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Inspector

2012 Roadtrek Agile
The separator is still w/o the ground wire connection, here are the voltages: 2 pm starting battery 12.46, coach 12.70v. 11pm, 9hrs later, starting battery 12.26v, coach 12.67v. Nothing has changed as far as load etc, .
 

irvingj

2015 RT SS Agile (3.0L)
An intriguing issue!

Just for comparison, I've found that my starter battery will also show a measurable drop in resting voltage after only 2 days or so. Surprised me that it would drop that quickly -- so far it's never failed to start the truck, but I didn't like the idea of starting with low(er) voltage, given how sensitive these thing seem to be.

I added that Trik'l charger thing to avail myself of excess voltage produced by the rooftop solar panels: after coach batteries become fully charged, the device will shunt power to the starter battery. It seems to work well, keeping the starter battery topped off.

As far as posting pics: I've found the easiest way is to click the "Go Advanced" button, and then click on the paperclip icon at the top of the working box (next to the smiley face) to attach a file. It can then import a photo from your computer, rather than needing a URL address.
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member

Inspector

2012 Roadtrek Agile
The volt readings have been with the connection in place by the pedal. Today 12 hrs later the starting battery is 12.07 and the coach is 12.64 v. I don't have any s.solar panel which would be a good way to go, thanks.

Thank you for the information on how to post pictures and the links, I'll have to see if I can do it LOL
Steve
 

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