Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×
Jayco RV Owners Forum
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 11-30-2020, 01:08 PM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 36
Electrical Smell

Hi everyone,

I has a strong "hot, electrical" smell intermittently yesterday and then again this morning so I checked out the inverter and converter. The converter feels warm, and the inverter does not. I disconnected from shore power and confirmed that the inverter is functioning. No sign of any charring of wires, etc. and the transfer switch also appears fine. No breakers or fuses are tripped.

After 2 hours, the smell lingers and converter is still warm. We had a space heater on this morning, and I reduced the overall load on the system.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
chrisstraka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2020, 01:12 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Denver
Posts: 4,245
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisstraka View Post
Hi everyone,

I has a strong "hot, electrical" smell intermittently yesterday and then again this morning so I checked out the inverter and converter. The converter feels warm, and the inverter does not. I disconnected from shore power and confirmed that the inverter is functioning. No sign of any charring of wires, etc. and the transfer switch also appears fine. No breakers or fuses are tripped.

After 2 hours, the smell lingers and converter is still warm. We had a space heater on this morning, and I reduced the overall load on the system.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

My two cents is keep digging. Something is charring.


Did you pop the top off the transfer switch?


That was the eventual source of our burning smell. The lug connectors they used to connect the wires inside of the ATS failed, and it produced a lot of heat.


Melted stuff that's not supposed to melt.


I'm not going to dismiss that smell again. I think we 'ducked a bullet'. I also tossed in a dedicated smoke alarm into that rat's nest of wiring under the bed.
__________________
2016 Greyhawk 31FK
pconroy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2020, 01:20 PM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 36
Thanks for the quick reply.

Transfer switch is all good. The smell seems to be coming from near the converter which is at the front near the breakers and fuses. I suppose the converter can fail or maybe a capacitor?

Good advice on the smoke detector!
chrisstraka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2020, 01:26 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Jagiven's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 9,773
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisstraka View Post
Thanks for the quick reply.

Transfer switch is all good. The smell seems to be coming from near the converter which is at the front near the breakers and fuses. I suppose the converter can fail or maybe a capacitor?

Good advice on the smoke detector!
With both the AC and DC power disconnected. I recommend pulling the covers from the ATS, the main circuit panel. Common issue is a loose wire connection in those two locations. The main circuit panel most likely will need to be pulled from the wall to see all the connections behind it. When it is pulled out, tighten all the wire lugs.
__________________

2012 Jayco X23B
2020 Ram Laramie 3500 SRW Air ride 50Gal fuel tank.
2007 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab (sold)
Equal-I-zer 4-Point Sway Control
Jagiven is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2020, 01:44 PM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 36
Will do...thanks. The smell seems to center around the connections to the fuses and the converter. I checked all of the connections and they appear to be clean. Can the smell come from either the 120v or the 12v systems? Can I isolate it to one of the two or are they combined to a point where that is pointless?
chrisstraka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2020, 02:52 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
mkassab's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Brevard, NC
Posts: 413
Electrical "burn" smell is the same regardless of voltage, amperage or AC/DC... so all needs checked.

Mark
__________________
2021 Precept 34G, Brevard, NC
mkassab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2020, 03:21 PM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkassab View Post
Electrical "burn" smell is the same regardless of voltage, amperage or AC/DC... so all needs checked.

Mark
Excellent...thanks.

I disconnected AC and DC and tightened all of the connections on the ATS and circuit breakers. Batteries show 12.2V alone and 13.6V when shore power is connected, so I think that the converter is operating. Can't see evidence of a burn anywhere.

Anything else? Thanks in advance!
chrisstraka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2020, 04:14 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Camper_bob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: South Texas
Posts: 7,216
Check any junctions where shore or generator power enter the coach. I've had both the J-box at the shore power connection AND the ATS char wires. Both were the result of loose connections; loose connections create resistance, high load over that resistance creates heat, heat creates fire.

I was lucky I didn't start a fire in BOTH situations.
__________________

-2018 Greyhawk 29MV
-2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (JLU) (Primary Toad)
-1994 Jeep Wrangler YJ (Secondary Toad)
-2014 Jay Flight 28BHBE & Ram 2500 6.4L CC 4x4 (sold)
Camper_bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2020, 04:28 PM   #9
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 36
Thanks Bob. Do you think a couple of loose connections to the fuse panel could also produce the smell for the same reason? I've checked the ATS several times and can't find anything loose.
chrisstraka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2020, 04:48 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Camper_bob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: South Texas
Posts: 7,216
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisstraka View Post
Thanks Bob. Do you think a couple of loose connections to the fuse panel could also produce the smell for the same reason? I've checked the ATS several times and can't find anything loose.
Yup.

Though on the 12V side, I wouldn't expect it to be as big an issue? But I have seen some melted 12V wiring (in my old Jeep).

Connections on the back of the fuse and breaker panels are notorious weak points for Jayco assembly (or really any electrical connections). Rattling down the road in an earthquake doesn't help matters either.
__________________

-2018 Greyhawk 29MV
-2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (JLU) (Primary Toad)
-1994 Jeep Wrangler YJ (Secondary Toad)
-2014 Jay Flight 28BHBE & Ram 2500 6.4L CC 4x4 (sold)
Camper_bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2020, 04:58 PM   #11
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 36
Great! Checking connections needs to be a part of monthly maintenance.
chrisstraka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2020, 05:25 PM   #12
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisstraka View Post
Great! Checking connections needs to be a part of monthly maintenance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Camper_bob View Post
Yup.

Though on the 12V side, I wouldn't expect it to be as big an issue? But I have seen some melted 12V wiring (in my old Jeep).

Connections on the back of the fuse and breaker panels are notorious weak points for Jayco assembly (or really any electrical connections). Rattling down the road in an earthquake doesn't help matters either.

So the smell has definitely dissipated, but only having found that one loose 12v connection, I'm just not confident that solved the problem.

Since we're FT, considering finding a hotel until we can get it looked at. Overreacting or being prudent?

The service techs I've talked to today won't say it's safe or not...I don't expect them to. What does anyone's experience say? Thanks again in advance.
chrisstraka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2020, 06:25 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Jagiven's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 9,773
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisstraka View Post
Excellent...thanks.

I disconnected AC and DC and tightened all of the connections on the ATS and circuit breakers. Batteries show 12.2V alone and 13.6V when shore power is connected, so I think that the converter is operating. Can't see evidence of a burn anywhere.

Anything else? Thanks in advance!
How long has the coach been connected to shore power? 12.2V is very weak, if they have been connected for 12+ hours to shore power.

I know my batteries were dying they put out a smell (sulfur small???). The converter was working hard to putting out a lot of amps to try to charge the dead battery.

If 12.2 V is correct, might try disconnecting the battery (negative lead), and see if your smell disappears. You can still stay connected to shore power, just make sure the power leads (positive) is in a safe spot not to ground out to the frame.
__________________

2012 Jayco X23B
2020 Ram Laramie 3500 SRW Air ride 50Gal fuel tank.
2007 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab (sold)
Equal-I-zer 4-Point Sway Control
Jagiven is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2020, 06:27 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Denver
Posts: 4,245
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisstraka View Post
Overreacting or being prudent?

That's a good question. I tend to underreact, so I'd probably not stay in the hotel after checking everything as thoroughly as you did.


An extra smoke detector and another fire extinguisher would be prudent on my list. Familiarize yourself with the emergency exits, review the plan.


If the smell has dissipated like you said, I'd probably stay in the coach - after the additional detector and extinguisher were in place.



Good luck!!
__________________
2016 Greyhawk 31FK
pconroy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2020, 06:42 PM   #15
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jagiven View Post
How long has the coach been connected to shore power? 12.2V is very weak, if they have been connected for 12+ hours to shore power.

I know my batteries were dying they put out a smell (sulfur small???). The converter was working hard to putting out a lot of amps to try to charge the dead battery.

If 12.2 V is correct, might try disconnecting the battery (negative lead), and see if your smell disappears. You can still stay connected to shore power, just make sure the power leads (positive) is in a safe spot not to ground out to the frame.
Thanks...can I just turn off the converter? It's not a sulfur smell, def an electrical one...
chrisstraka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2020, 06:43 PM   #16
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by pconroy View Post
That's a good question. I tend to underreact, so I'd probably not stay in the hotel after checking everything as thoroughly as you did.


An extra smoke detector and another fire extinguisher would be prudent on my list. Familiarize yourself with the emergency exits, review the plan.


If the smell has dissipated like you said, I'd probably stay in the coach - after the additional detector and extinguisher were in place.



Good luck!!

Thanks. Picked up the items already!!
chrisstraka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2020, 06:48 PM   #17
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jagiven View Post
How long has the coach been connected to shore power? 12.2V is very weak, if they have been connected for 12+ hours to shore power.

I know my batteries were dying they put out a smell (sulfur small???). The converter was working hard to putting out a lot of amps to try to charge the dead battery.

If 12.2 V is correct, might try disconnecting the battery (negative lead), and see if your smell disappears. You can still stay connected to shore power, just make sure the power leads (positive) is in a safe spot not to ground out to the frame.
So, the converter definitely smells more than the wiring, etc. Maybe a relay or capacitor inside?

What effect will throwing the breaker on the converter have on the overall system?
chrisstraka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2020, 07:54 PM   #18
Senior Member
 
Jagiven's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 9,773
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisstraka View Post
So, the converter definitely smells more than the wiring, etc. Maybe a relay or capacitor inside?

What effect will throwing the breaker on the converter have on the overall system?
No power to keep the battery charged. If the battery is good, it will work for a few days or weeks, pending on what your running or parasite power drains.

If the battery is bad/weak, you will loose all your 12 volt features fairly quickly.

Click image for larger version

Name:	Battery volt chart.gif
Views:	3
Size:	6.4 KB
ID:	65895
__________________

2012 Jayco X23B
2020 Ram Laramie 3500 SRW Air ride 50Gal fuel tank.
2007 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab (sold)
Equal-I-zer 4-Point Sway Control
Jagiven is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2020, 08:06 PM   #19
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 36
Thanks much...really appreciate the info today!
chrisstraka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2020, 11:12 PM   #20
Senior Member
 
Vicr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Fortuna Foothills
Posts: 1,862
The best way to find the problem(s) is to rent a thermal imaging camera and look for “hot spots”.
Vicr is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Jayco, Inc. or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:27 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2002-2016 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.