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Old 01-12-2015, 01:16 AM   #1
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Will dead batteries stop everything?

When I got my RW 2 months ago I knew that I was going to have to work on the battery disconnect. My batteries were almost dead after only three days after a full charge (yes, everything was off and battery disconnect was turned off). I decided I would get a solar battery charger. Today I was going to hook up my RW go to a large parking lot and do some practicing backing up (my first 5th wheel). I was stoked, had my orange cones and was ready. I figured I would charge up my batteries while I was out driving my RW, and after I was done I would hook up my solar charger and hope it would keep my batteries charged.
That didn't happen. I knew my batteries were dead, but I thought when I hooked up my truck to the RW things would work. Nothing, no lights, no jacks, nothing; even after running my truck for over 30 minutes. My running lights came on, so power was getting through, and the last time my batteries were very weak; hooking up my truck was all I needed to work the slides and lights.
Should I expect this if my batteries are completely dead? If so, I guess I am going to have to take my batteries out bring them home and charge them up take them back and hope the solar charger can keep them charged. What a pain.

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Old 01-12-2015, 03:06 AM   #2
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ya that's not right. Better get a test light and start tracing out from the batteries. By plugging into the truck, everything should come on, unless the truck itself is not providing output.

The running lights aren't necessarily a good indicator that you are sending charging voltage out to the Redwood. There are fuses in the truck that aren't necessarily installed at the factory for trailers.
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:37 AM   #3
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Even when I had the cheep delivery battery and it was completely dead....when I hooked the truck up, I could move the slides.

You may have a bad battery that is sucking the juice.
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:45 AM   #4
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If you let the batteries go that dead the truck may not be able to put out enough to do anything
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Old 01-12-2015, 04:05 AM   #5
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Battery

If one of your batteries has a dead cell it will bleed off any voltage being put back into the batteries.
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:03 PM   #6
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I'm sure you checked but is it possible that you didn't throw the batt disconnect switch back on? What you are describing is consistent with the switch being left off.
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Old 01-13-2015, 01:52 AM   #7
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Follow up

Talked to the service department today and they said that if the batteries are completely dead there may not be enough power getting through to run things. He also said that this is a common problem, and recommended that I should disconnect the batteries to prevent the drain. The one battery disconnect that is already in the RW only disconnects some of the power, not all of it, as many of us already know. So, I am going to look at adding another battery disconnect and ensure "all" power is off. Plus I picked up a solar battery charger, and after fully charging the batteries I will hook it up and see if it can keep the batteries charged.
I am also going to check the fuses in my truck to ensure there is no problem there.
Thanks for everyone's input.

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Old 01-13-2015, 02:11 AM   #8
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I think more people need to let Redwood know that they are not happy with the way battery cutoff switch is wired. There is no reason why the battery should be drained when the switch is off. Tell me what good the switch is if it doesn't shut off the battery completely. When I was at the Service Center in May, one of my issues was that switch. The Service Manager couldn't understand why the switch is wired the way it was either. They said that the engineers were afraid of someone hitching up and going down the road without emergency brakes because they forgot to turn on the switch. I explained it made more sense to have everything cutoff when the switch was off which would require me to turn it on to even work the hydraulic level up system to hitch the fifth wheel up. They finally agreed and rewired it for me. They said that they would probably start wiring all the units at the factory that way but obviously that hasn't happened. I turn off my switch now and my battery does not drain at all. They should be able to tell you how to rewire it. Why should you have to purchase an additional cutoff switch when you already have one that is made for that?
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick and Mindy View Post
I think more people need to let Redwood know that they are not happy with the way battery cutoff switch is wired. There is no reason why the battery should be drained when the switch is off. Tell me what good the switch is if it doesn't shut off the battery completely. When I was at the Service Center in May, one of my issues was that switch. The Service Manager couldn't understand why the switch is wired the way it was either. They said that the engineers were afraid of someone hitching up and going down the road without emergency brakes because they forgot to turn on the switch. I explained it made more sense to have everything cutoff when the switch was off which would require me to turn it on to even work the hydraulic level up system to hitch the fifth wheel up. They finally agreed and rewired it for me. They said that they would probably start wiring all the units at the factory that way but obviously that hasn't happened. I turn off my switch now and my battery does not drain at all. They should be able to tell you how to rewire it. Why should you have to purchase an additional cutoff switch when you already have one that is made for that?
Rick,
Good point. I plan to take my RW in to have a few items fixed soon, when I do I will ask them to rewire my cut off switch. You wouldn't happen to know how they rewired it?
Thanks

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Old 01-13-2015, 02:41 AM   #10
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Isn't that weird they recommend you disconnect the batteries! Normally you would install a battery shutoff to do just that!
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:44 AM   #11
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Rick,
Good point. I plan to take my RW in to have a few items fixed soon, when I do I will ask them to rewire my cut off switch. You wouldn't happen to know how they rewired it?
Thanks

I tried my best to keep my head under the front of the coach to see exactly what they were doing but there were already 2 heads in there, one of them was Randy the Service Center manager. It took him and the tech a couple of hours to decide the correct way and they ran it through the factory manager to make sure that their fix would solve my problem. He tried it on a new unit and they agreed their proposed fix would work. I do know that it entailed disconnecting one of the battery cables completely, shortening another and reconnecting. I can try to take a picture of it tomorrow, that might help, I'll see what I can do.
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:48 AM   #12
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Isn't that weird they recommend you disconnect the batteries! Normally you would install a battery shutoff to do just that!
Exactly! When I brought it up at the Service Center they suggested I disconnect the cables or get another cutoff switch and I told them I already paid for one, it just needed to do its job correctly.
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:56 AM   #13
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Mine gets rewired in the spring, although mine will go months without any dead batteries just using the switch. (no residential fridge or inverter). I just don't trust it the way it is over the winter so I disconnect cables, and that is a pain with two batteries and additional cables for the generator starter.
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Old 01-13-2015, 03:01 AM   #14
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I don't have a residential refrigerator or inverter either, and I only operate with 1 battery and I don't have a generator. Prior to having it rewired, my level up system, slide outs and front hitch lights all worked when the switch was off.
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:11 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by danrn View Post
Talked to the service department today and they said that if the batteries are completely dead there may not be enough power getting through to run things. He also said that this is a common problem, and recommended that I should disconnect the batteries to prevent the drain. The one battery disconnect that is already in the RW only disconnects some of the power, not all of it, as many of us already know. So, I am going to look at adding another battery disconnect and ensure "all" power is off. Plus I picked up a solar battery charger, and after fully charging the batteries I will hook it up and see if it can keep the batteries charged.
I am also going to check the fuses in my truck to ensure there is no problem there.
Thanks for everyone's input.


Back in November, I was doing some re-work in the battery compartment of our 2012 36RL. I decided to trace out the battery disconnect switch circuitry and found that there are 5 circuits connected to the bus bars. The main disconnect switch only disconnected 1 of the 5 circuits. I found that by removing 1 of the cables and re-connecting 2 other cables that the switch could be configured to completely disconnect the batteries.

As a retired electrical/electronics engineer, it is not at all clear to me why Redwood configures the wiring the way they do. Also, I don't understand why they don't supply a very specific and detailed wiring diagram for the electrical system on these coaches. The wiring may be slightly different from coach to coach, but once established should not need to change much on an ongoing basis. It makes me think that the engineering department is letting the manufacturing line technicians kind of wing the wiring from coach to coach rather than provide specific details. That means they are using non standardized assembly practices and that means "you get what you get". That is an absolute "no no" in the manufacturing world that I came from.

The one thought that comes to me about the way the switch is wired is "liability" of not having battery power to operate the trailer braking system on the coach in an emergency situation if the emergency brakes system is activated. So, if anyone does re-wire the switch to fully disconnect the batteries, "make absolutely sure that you turn that switch on when towing", otherwise, the liability will be yours.
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:24 PM   #16
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You are right Guy, the switch needs to be turned on but as I explained to the Service Center, how would I even hitch my fifth wheel up if I didn't turn the switch on? Ok, I suppose I could turn it on, hitch up the fifth wheel and then turn the switch off again but probably not.
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:47 PM   #17
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I can't believe after all this time of people having problems with this, that Redwood hasn't figured out a solution. This isn't something complex like changing the structure or the assembly process......it's a switch! And most class A MH have them as well as many 5th wheels so they're fairly common. At last years rally we heard numerous times from Andy that the company is listening to our concerns and working diligently on them. It appears to have been a good "dog and pony" show with no resolve.

After doing some reading, it appears that there's an employee shortage in and around where the Redwoods are made. Maybe that one employee that knows how to wire switches went somewhere else.
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:49 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by hoosierguy View Post
Back in November, I was doing some re-work in the battery compartment of our 2012 36RL. I decided to trace out the battery disconnect switch circuitry and found that there are 5 circuits connected to the bus bars. The main disconnect switch only disconnected 1 of the 5 circuits. I found that by removing 1 of the cables and re-connecting 2 other cables that the switch could be configured to completely disconnect the batteries.

As a retired electrical/electronics engineer, it is not at all clear to me why Redwood configures the wiring the way they do. Also, I don't understand why they don't supply a very specific and detailed wiring diagram for the electrical system on these coaches. The wiring may be slightly different from coach to coach, but once established should not need to change much on an ongoing basis. It makes me think that the engineering department is letting the manufacturing line technicians kind of wing the wiring from coach to coach rather than provide specific details. That means they are using non standardized assembly practices and that means "you get what you get". That is an absolute "no no" in the manufacturing world that I came from.

The one thought that comes to me about the way the switch is wired is "liability" of not having battery power to operate the trailer braking system on the coach in an emergency situation if the emergency brakes system is activated. So, if anyone does re-wire the switch to fully disconnect the batteries, "make absolutely sure that you turn that switch on when towing", otherwise, the liability will be yours.

Guy, can you draw up a diagram on what you did so some of us can copy it?
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:52 PM   #19
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I rewired our Redwood last year using the drawing that's on the other Redwood owners website, it appears to be a drawing from Redwood that shows what each wire on the buss/circuit breaker block does and where it goes.

A couple of other things that may cause the Redwood folks to wire the disconnect as they have (in addition to the braking comment above). I note that in the documentation for the bedroom slide there is a warning not to move the RV if the motors are not plugged in (leads me to believe that you require power to keep the brakes on on the slide to prevent movement). I put in some CAT hydraulic additive recently to stop the popping, I tried to exercise the cylinders while sitting on the campsite here without turning the batt switch back on, I got some solenoid chattering and the legs wouldn't move. After I threw the batt switch to "on" everything worked. It's the first time I tried to use the hydraulics without battery power.

Bottom line, it's not unsafe to re-wire assuming that you know these issues and what can happen if you don't reconnect the batts before you hit the road!
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:57 PM   #20
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The liability concern is a smoke screen for some ludicrous reason we don't know!

On EVERY rv I've had going back decades,
the cutoff switch cut off power - maybe that's why they first started calling it a CUTOFF switch

I guess my question is:
How do still push the liability question if the batteries are completely dead from NOT being cutoff?
the switch will not alleviate the liability concern then.

can you tell this is another hot button for me
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