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Old 01-03-2016, 10:29 PM   #1
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Shore power and battery question

So I went out to my camper today and I had no lights when on shore power. Microwave had power and the outside outlet had power. But no lights. Checked inverter and smart charger, no lights. Pulled fuses in inverter, all ok. Checked breakers and fuses all good too. So for the heck of it I re-installed the 12V battery. Everything worked just as it should. Even turned on AC briefly and it ran. I went back out and disconnected the battery, no lights, no AC nothing works except micro and outside outlet. Hooked the battery back up and everything works. So why do I need my battery installed and hooked up for everything to work on shore power? note: 2006 Jayco 19H with Iota 45 inverter. Shore power is std house 20amp. Thanks.
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Old 01-04-2016, 08:05 AM   #2
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I would check the DC VOLTAGE OUTPUT coming from the IOTA Converter/charger unit using a multimeter. It should always read 13.6VDC when connected to shore power.

It could be this unit has failed and is not producing the 13.6VDC.

The IOTA Converter/charger is suppose to provide 13.6VDC to your 12V Distribution Fuse panel to run all of your 12VDC items when on shore power power. It also is suppose to charge your 12V Battery when on shore power.

Your 12V Battery connects to the same 12V Distribution Panel to run all of your 12VDC items when not on shore power.

Another test you can do is measure across your battery terminals and if the battery is fully charged you will read 12.6-7VDC when shore power is not connected. When you plug into shore power this DC VOLTAGE across the battery terminals should jump up to the 13.6VDC telling you the IOTA Charger unit is charging your battery.

If you still only read 12.6-7VDC across the battery terminal with shore power connected then that may be telling you the IOTA Converter/charger unit has failed.

This is a 30AMP configuration diagram showing what is connected for a typical 30AMP Trailer setup.


Hope this helps...
Roy Ken
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Old 01-04-2016, 08:20 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Sw7000 View Post
... So why do I need my battery installed and hooked up for everything to work on shore power?...
Just so we don't confuse each other, an inverter is a device that changes 12 volt DC power to 120 volt AC power. A converter is a device that changes 120 volt AC power to 12 volt DC power.

Your thermostat controls and refrigerator controls use 12 volt DC power to work, as do your lights. Even if plugged in to shore power, the AC and refrigerator will not work without 12 volt DC power. When you connected your battery, you had that DC power so your your lights, AC, and refrig worked. Without your battery, only the microwave worked since it does not use 12 volt power for anything.

What is wrong seems to be that your converter is not producing 12 volt DC power, so without the battery some of your equipment does not work.

You could check your 120 volt power breakers to make help make sure that none are tripped. Also, your converter (I think) has one or several reverse polarity fuses. Those fuses protect the converter if the battery is ever connected backwards -- even for a second, so those fuses could be blown. Here is a link to an Iota 45 user manual(clicky).

Let us know what happens, I'll bet there are other issues - including just a bad converter - that could be causing your issues.
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Old 01-04-2016, 12:09 PM   #4
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Thanks everyone. I will check DC voltage output this weekend. I did check both 30 amp fuses in the Iota. Both were good. Also, this unit is new (1 year old), so I hope it did not fail already. Where is the best location to check DC output on the inverter itself?
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Old 01-04-2016, 06:44 PM   #5
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RVhiker, you are correct it is a converter not inverter. But I am still confused. With the battery disconnected and shore power plugged in I had no lights, AC..etc, only Micro. When I hooked up the battery and was on shore power the AC worked. I know my AC does not work on battery power. Also, I did check both polarity fuses ( 2 of them 30amp each) and checked all 120 volt breakers. All were good.
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Old 01-04-2016, 08:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Sw7000 View Post
RVhiker, you are correct it is a converter not inverter. But I am still confused. With the battery disconnected and shore power plugged in I had no lights, AC..etc, only Micro. When I hooked up the battery and was on shore power the AC worked. I know my AC does not work on battery power. Also, I did check both polarity fuses ( 2 of them 30amp each) and checked all 120 volt breakers. All were good.
Maybe I'm confused. Check me on this - is this your situation?: When connected to a good battery, your lights work. When connected only to shore power, your lights do not work. To me, this indicates that the lights will work if they get power, so the lights and their wiring are OK. What's not working is the converter, since when on shore power (and no battery connected) you do not have working lights, because the converter should make DC power when it's getting 120 volt AC, but yours is not.

The AC compressor does not work on DC 12 volt power, but the relay and controls that switch the compressor on do work on 12 volt power. So the air conditioner system must have available both 12 volt DC and 120 volt AC power.

Echoing what RoyBraddy said, a simple way to check for converter output - assuming the connecting wires and fusing between the converter and battery are good - is to check the voltage at the battery first, with shore power disconnected, and then again with shore power connected. If you have at least 11 volts or so without shore power and then 13.2 to 14.4 volts with shore power, your converter is putting out DC power. If the battery reading is the same when shore power is connected and when it is not connected, something is amiss with the converter or its connection to the battery. You could also check for DC current directly at the converter lugs where the wiring from the converter is connected to your DC 12 volt wiring system but if you find that 13.2 to 14.4 volts at the battery lugs, this check really is not necessary.
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Old 01-04-2016, 08:59 PM   #7
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On my trailer, I have to have a good 12V battery installed for lights to work. The converter only charges the battery, it does not provide 12V to the trailer. My trailer is currently plugged in here at the house, battery is installed, I can go out and turn on the lights and everything works. If the battery were not there, or if I pull the main 12V fuse at the battery, then nothing. Just microwave and 120V outlets. From what I have read on your original post, your battery was removed, you had no 12V accessories, you re-installed the battery and everything works. Sounds like normal operation to me.
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:21 PM   #8
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I'm a bit confused [as usual]. If hooked up to shore power, shouldn't all systems in the camper work, even if there was no battery present? Mine does, except for the breakaway switch.
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Old 01-05-2016, 05:04 AM   #9
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Maybe the type of converter/charger that is installed will not provide 12VDC to the trailer with a battery removed. Should be a simple way to determine: what is the part number/serial number/model number of the Converter that is installed? A simple Google with this information would tell the OP if his converter is operating correctly or not.
As SMS1115 mentioned, some converters charge a battery, but do not provide 12VDC to the trailer with the battery removed. Others will provide 12VDC without a battery installed. The AC operation has already been explained with the requirement of both 12VDC and 120VAC requirements.
Seems strange though as to why a 12 volt battery would be removed; it's needed for the electric brakes on the trailer when towing, should the trailer and its plug become disconnected from the tow vehicle during towing.
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Old 01-05-2016, 05:24 AM   #10
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Great diagram!! thanks
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