View original topic: House battery problem
MrBuelterman Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:07 pm

Hello Samba

I was planning on taking the Westy up for its first ski/camping trip and noticed a problem with my house battery. I went to test my Propex heater and when I turned it on I got nothing. I've been driving the van at least once a week if not more so the battery should have been charged, but I thought "Oh well I have the prosport12 dual bank battery charger installed, I'll just plug the van in and charger the batteries". When I plugged in the van I check to make sure the charger was doing its job, and saw that all the lights on the charger were blinking. I couldn't find anything in the trouble shooting section of the charger manual so I'm not sure what all the lights blinking means. I checked the house battery with a multi meter and it was at .9 mv (dead)

I recently (4 months ago) had a hard relay installed (got it from Jay Brown thatvwbusguy)and I have a hunch that it is interfering with the house battery system in some way. The van and house battery had been working fine for the past year or so and the hard start relay has been the only real change.

I have noticed a few small differences in the van since the hard start relay went in:
-The Propex fan turns on for a second every time I start the van. Just like it does when you first hook it up. It never did that before the hard start relay.
-After starting the van I have to rev the engine once to get the alternator and OXS lights to go out.
-The radio now turns on and says "off" in the display, which it never did before. Before the hard start relay it would only ever turn on if you manually turned it on.

I still hear the GoWesty house battery isolator click on as before when starting the van, so I'm assuming thats working properly.

I know electrical problem are a tricky beast so unless you guys have some ideas it seems the easiest course of action is to remove the hard start relay and see if that fixed the problem.

What do you guys think?

luVWagn Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:32 pm

Contact jay, he provides fantastic technical support!

MrBuelterman Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:46 pm

I did, I'm just impatient and thought I'd ask here as well.

thatvwbusguy Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:27 am

I already emailed MrBuelterman about the problem he is experiencing, but thought I would follow up here as well for anyone who might encounter something similar in the future.

The hard start relay has no problems getting along with any auxiliary battery charging system, as long as the stock relay under the driver's seat has been grounded locally with the brown wire included in the hard start kit.

The most likely scenario is that the auxiliary battery is totally dead from chronic undercharging due to the limited charging capacity of the solenoid based system. Using the long, thin, 24+ year old stock wiring is far from an ideal solution to keep any sort of battery charged.

A dead auxiliary battery connected to the van's charging system via a solenoid/relay will basically function as an on-off switch for any accessories connected to it. When the alternator begins charging, the blue wire triggers the solenoid and delivers power to the auxiliary battery. At this point the Propex, radio etc. receive 12VDC and cycle on exactly like they would when first connected to a power source.

It is totally normal for a stock alternator to need a quick rev to 1,500-2,000RPM to initiate charging. Adding components such as a solenoid based auxiliary battery charging system to the exciter circuit often makes this problem even more pronounced. GoWesty offers an "alternator charge initiation kit" to start charging at lower RPM, but a quick blip of the throttle does the same thing with no additional electrical complexity. In the product description for the charge initiation kit, GW mentions that an auxiliary battery relay that relies on the blue wire for the trigger signal is likely to exacerbate the charge initiation issue.

Since the dead auxiliary battery and charge initiation are both directly related to the solenoid based charging system, MrBuelterman is planning to update his auxiliary battery system to utilize the Yandina C100, which will provide more charging current to the battery for faster and more complete charging as well as eliminate the additional draw on the alternator exciter circuit.

The Pro Sport charger has a low voltage lockout feature that is found on many modern "smart" chargers. If the voltage in either of the batteries connected to the dual bank charger is discharged to less than 2.0V, the charger will not attempt to charge either battery. This feature is mentioned on page one of the Pro Sport 20 owners manual:

MrBuelterman Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:53 am

Thanks again Jay!
As luVWagn mention Jay knows his stuff and has great customer service!

johnbyrdgates Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:41 pm

Can anyone steer me to a picture of the relay Jay speaks of above properly grounded? PO installed my van's hard start relay ( made by Jay) and he said he wasn't electrically savvy...of course, neither am I.

thatvwbusguy Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:33 pm

This is what you are looking for.
My hard start kits include a brown 6" wire with a 1/4" female disconnect terminal on one end and a #10 ring terminal on the other end (this photo is from designer in the gallery)
This modification is only needed on vans with full camper interior or factory dual batteries.

david2676 Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:49 pm

Jay I am curious on this scenario if the house battery is connected to solar panels and is being charged constantly, I have not had my dual battery long but so far the solar panel seems to be able to keep the battery fully charged. Every time I get in the battery is full according to the panel controller.

so again my question is if the solar panel is charging the battery does this help ?

thatvwbusguy Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:28 pm

If you are not using the battery to power things while the panel is not charging, it is going to be pretty much impossible to know whether or not the panel is actually working.

Wait until the sun goes down and the charge controller shows that it is off, then make a note of what the resting voltage in the battery is. Next, use the battery to power the radio, lights etc for a while to allow the voltage to drop down a few tenths of a volt. If you have an inverter hooked up to the battery, you can use that to charge something and it will eat up the battery a little bit quicker.

After the voltage has dropped a little bit from use, turn everything off, wait about an hour and make a note of what the voltage in the battery is.

Let the solar panel charge the battery the next day and see what the voltage in the battery is the next night after the sun goes down. If the voltage is higher than the figure in the note you took after using the battery the night before, that will tell you without doubt that the panel is charging your battery.

david2676 Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:43 pm

I am pretty sure the solar panel is charging the battery, for one when I installed it the battery was not full. I installed the panel and the house battery at the same time. I did not drive the bus and the panel brought the battery up to fully charged. panel controller has a light that blinks when the battery is full. I believe it simply measures the voltage ?

My question is if the panel is in fact keeping the battery charged will I have issues with batteries not lasting ? I do not really understand what makes them go bad ?

thatvwbusguy Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:05 pm

A constantly maintained battery will last longer than one that sits and discharges without being recharged. You should have nothing to worry about.

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