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PostPosted: August 14th, 2017, 7:55 am 
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New the forum, 1995 Chinook Concourse, does not have a Ford factory installed dual battery wiring harness. I recently became the new owner of this classic RV.
I have the battery charging wiring diagram for my Concourse. I have two solenoids mounted on the firewall. In all of the operation manuals available online, 1994, 1995, 1998 etc, they note that the house battery is charged by chassis charging system while the engine is running. In looking at my wiring diagram, the only time the engine and house batteries would be connected together is when you press the Emergency Start switch. I do not have a battery isolator or smart solenoid.
So trying to understand if there is a Ford circuit in the E350 chassis which charges the house battery with the engine running. I did find a "TT, Aux. Battery" 60 AMP Fuse in the fuse block mounted to the left of the engine battery. This fuse was blown, so I replaced it in hopes that might be the problem. That did not solve the problem and I'm not sure what that fuse is for.
Everything else is working as intended.

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1995 Ford E350 Chassis, 7.5L 460


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PostPosted: August 14th, 2017, 6:15 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
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Location: 1999 Concourse
Hi and Welcome!

Just as background, the "modern" (ahem) Chinook style of electrical/charging system came in around 1997. Before that things were a bit different, and there seems to be more variation (starting in 1997 they were very consistent).

You might read some of the LONG thread by kyidletime. He had some similar problems and we worked through his system (which at the time was unrecognizable to me). Some of it we did via PM, so I'm not sure if it's "all" there, but quite a bit is.

So his rig (IIRC, it's been over a year), had some "simple" solenoids. Not the smart(er) combiner type. Right now I'm about to move campsites, so can't get too lengthy, but essentially the way to go was to just replace some of the things with more modern items (although you may decide differently). Although don't feel too bad, because even the later "modern" systems are somewhat outdated at this point. So if you do go to new components, you haven't missed anything super good from a slightly newer model (IMO).

Nothing is 100% certain, but I would be very surprised if anything "Ford" charged your house battery. In Chinooks as well as other similar RV's, that's almost always done by the RV builder adding something to make it happen (modern Sprinters and etc. may be excepted).

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PostPosted: August 14th, 2017, 6:37 pm 
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reddingnative wrote:
So trying to understand if there is a Ford circuit in the E350 chassis which charges the house battery with the engine running.

I have a '94. Yes, not only do my meters show the house battery charging when the engine is running, but the Ford stock system diagrams show a relay that enables this when the ignition key is in Run.

Apparently this relay is hidden under the start battery behind the driver side headlight. I'm about to tear all that apart in order to see what mods Chinook made.

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I did find a "TT, Aux. Battery" 60 AMP Fuse in the fuse block mounted to the left of the engine battery. This fuse was blown, so I replaced it in hopes that might be the problem. That did not solve the problem and I'm not sure what that fuse is for.

I'm still learning this section, but..

That's the "Trailer Tow Aux Battery" fuse number T in the box. Aux battery being our house battery. The idea in a stock truck is that the auxiliary battery is intended to power trailer stuff when the engine is off or not making enough juice on its own.

It powers the J and K fuses as well. which are for a trailer.

In a stock setup, if that fuse is blown you would not have alternator charging. Are you sure it's not working? Put a voltmeter on the house battery and see if it goes up when the engine is running. Also is your house battery good?

I would not be surprised if Chinook had stolen the use of some of the three related trailer backup, running light, and trailer battery charge relays, to be used by things like the House power switch.

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PostPosted: August 14th, 2017, 8:29 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
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Location: 1999 Concourse
Well maybe I'd better take back what I said about a Ford specific system being used. That's certainly not the case with 1997-newer -- and wasn't used in kyidletime's rig (1995 or 96 IIRC), but it sounds like it was somehow used in some Chinooks.

BTW, I realize you said you have your diagrams, but you might like to compare with some of the same era ones that are in the Reference section, just to see.

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PostPosted: August 14th, 2017, 8:55 pm 
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Location: Santa Cruz
One solenoid is activated by the emergency switch, and the other is activated by a solid red wire that goes hot while the engine is running. So you can actively combine with a dead crank battery, or passively combine while running. That's how mine was, and it agreed with the 1994 Chinook manual (I think I uploaded it here somewhere).

Guesses:
1) bad battery
2) blown in-line fuse to charging lead (mine is 15A)
3) bad relay

Fuse is easy to check. Should be coming off one of the firewall-mounted relays; orange wire if I recall. Relays are easy to check with a 12v source right there (the two front facing studs are the coil); give it a zap and you'll hear it click, or not. Battery, well even if it's not your actual problem (and I bet it is), you'd probably want to replace it eventually. Grab your headlamp, because this rabbit hole gets deep.

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PostPosted: August 14th, 2017, 10:30 pm 
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Wow, thanks for all the information. I appreciate all the help. While sitting in the driver's seat, there are 2 rocker switches which are located to the left of the steering wheel, on the bottom of the dash board, below a trim piece that covers some attachment screws.
One rocker switch is black and momentary, to be used to utilize power from the house/coach battery to assist with starting the engine in the event that the engine battery is weak and won't crank the engine. This momentary switch opens the solenoid which is attached to the firewall just to the left of the engine battery, mounted on the driver's side of the engine compartment. While standing in front of the Chinook with the hood open for reference, that solenoid has 2 large primary wires attached to the right large terminal. One wire attaches directly to the engine battery and the other provides a power source to start the generator. With the engine running, voltage measured at this terminal is 14.3. The left large terminal has one primary wire attached and it attaches to the positive terminal of the house/coach battery. The only time this solenoid is "excited" is when that momentary switch is pressed, thus connecting the house and engine batteries to assist with starting the engine.
The other rocker switch is Red with two positions: In Use or Store. This rocker switch "excites" the other solenoid attached to the firewall. The right large terminal has a primary wire that connects to the house/coach power converter and the left large terminal connects to the positive side of the house/coach battery. As far as I can tell, the only way the house/coach battery is charged is by either by shore power or generator. The Red rocker switch has to be in the In Use position to allow current to flow from the power converter through the solenoid to the house/coach battery.
Thanks again for your thoughts and suggestions. I'll post my wiring drawing tomorrow. It's from the factory.

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1995 Ford E350 Chassis, 7.5L 460


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PostPosted: August 15th, 2017, 3:59 am 
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Okay then, ignore my setup, as it seems to be one that leverages the factory Ford auxiliary battery option. (I like it because even with the house switch off, it charges from both the alternator and the house AC converter/charger.). As we've noted before, Chinook experimented a bit!

To level set, it sounds like Scott has this setup, with the alternator charging the house battery via a Chinook-added solenoid (the left one in the diagram)... enabled by the orange and purple wires (or red in his case), which go hot in ignition switch Run position:
Attachment:
File comment: wiring with alternator charging
image.jpeg
image.jpeg [ 99.99 KiB | Viewed 365 times ]

Whereas Redding says he has this setup, where it only charges from the converter/charger if the house power switch is on, enabling the left solenoid in the diagram and connecting the house battery and converter together:
Attachment:
File comment: charging only from converter
image.jpeg
image.jpeg [ 89.43 KiB | Viewed 365 times ]

In all known Chinook cases, an optional solar panel & controller always connects directly to the house battery, btw.

So as Blue stated, you could add, say, a battery separator/combiner to connect the house and starter batteries when either side was charging. He'll be able to recommend what to get.

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PostPosted: August 15th, 2017, 6:22 am 
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kdarling- You hit the nail on the head. The last wiring diagram you posted is exactly what I have. Any thoughts on the idea of adding a switched jumper wire from the house/coach battery solenoid to the engine solenoid. The jumper wire would be attached to the "excite" terminals of each solenoid. With the engine running, I would flip my Red switch in the cab to "In Use" and then flip the switch on the jumper wire which would "excite" the engine solenoid and allow charging current to flow to the house/coach battery.


Attachments:
Pre 1996 Chinook Concourse Charging.pdf [261.94 KiB]
Downloaded 6 times

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Chinook Concourse Manufactured 6/1996
1995 Ford E350 Chassis, 7.5L 460
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PostPosted: August 15th, 2017, 7:58 am 
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I have to run out for a while, but my first thought would be to use a diode coming from ignition switch Run power.

That way, it would automatically enable the Boost solenoid, to charge both batteries while the engine is running.

And maybe a switch inline with the diode as well, to disable it if required.

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PostPosted: August 15th, 2017, 9:15 am 
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Redding, I apologize if I misinformed you. I saw in your original post that you didn't have the Ford dual batteries so I assumed we had a similar setup. Sounds like you know what you're doing. A 'Run' combiner should be easy to do.

Just to add for accuracy (and not very interesting, but) in the first diagram, there are a couple errors as they relate to my rig, which very well could be an outlier. The hot wire going to the coil of the relay that combines while in Run is not orange/purple and does not go through the Ford pass thru; rather it's a solid red wire coming out of a factory harness just behind the crank battery. This solenoid also shows a direct connection to the alternator, and although not entirely wrong as drawn, it connects to the left post of the right solenoid (crank battery +), protected with a standard 15A blade fuse. Lastly, the schematic shows the generator start wire pulling from the crank battery. Mine was on the house battery. Not shown in the schematic is the red 300A disconnect switch under the driver's seat for disconnecting house power to the load center. My hunch is that it was all original Chinook stuff, just by looking at it and by knowing the previous owner.

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