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Old 03-02-2024, 04:44 PM   #1
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Battery switch for “house” not working

Hello Everyone!!

Before I get to my problems, let me first say thank-you for welcoming me and I look forward to searching this site and learning new things!
So my problem is that we just purchased a secondhand 2018 Jayco Greyhawk 31 fs. What we didn’t realize until we got it home, is that the house power /battery switch does not work unless the engine is running. I will let you know what we’ve tried thus far… most of which are suggestions on other threads that I’ve read from here. The battery is absolutely fully charged and is practically new so that’s not the issue. Some have suggested a GFI switch may be tripped but we don’t have any GFI’s in the unit. My co-owner of the MH is pretty mechanically adept so he does know what to look for, but this is new to us. So next we blew a breaker and couldn’t open the slide to access it, and apparently we have no manual way to open it? That seems a little ridiculous to me, but we called in a technician and he pulled the wires from the motor and jumped it. After he solved that I asked about the house switch only working with the vehicle running. He was pretty baffled himself and suggested we try a new converter saying that over 90% that’s likely what it is. So $500 later, we install it and nothing changed. 😡 Next we read about the fuse in the solenoid relay in the battery compartment. I was praying it would be such a simple and easy fix. Nope. Nothing changed. So we are going to try to change out the whole solenoid relay itself, ( no luck so far in finding the part in stock anywhere) but I don’t know if that’s the issue when it clearly works when the engine is running.. you can hear the “clunk” when it turns on and the light on the switch comes on and it “clunks” off, but as I said, only when the engine or the genny is running. Which brings me to another weird thing, the genny only starts when the engine is running as well. Is that normal?We have plugged in to shore power and everything but the microwave works. The reason why we never noticed this when we bought it is because it was March, in Ottawa, Canada, when we bought it so the previous owner had it running for heat and to show us it ran. Being so green, we never thought to have him shut off the engine and run the power in “the house”. I’m still hoping it will be something simple. Please give us any ideas, suggestions or explanations as to what might be going on here. Why would the switch only work with the engine running and why will the genny only start when the engine is on? It will stay on as we shut off the engine though. Thanks for all your help. This forum and the people here are amazing!
* now we’ve noticed a roller from each of the slides on the ground … we bought a lemon!
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Old 03-02-2024, 07:46 PM   #2
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You will save a lot of money by purchasing a cheap volt meter. Instead of what is called "shot gunning" a problem, which means just replacing parts until you stumble across the bad item, a few simple measurements will take you to the exact problem.

The technician wasn't worth his weight in salt. The 12 volt system is fairly simple in a motor home. Telling you to just replace the converter was very bad advice. Also, $500 seems a bit high for a converter. Even if the converter was bad you still should have 12 volts powering everything from the battery. Yes the converter can power the rig but it is mainly there to keep the battery charged.

I never realized it until just the other day when I was moving my rig. I had the battery disconnected via the switch and when I started my engine I happened to notice the light was on at the switch. Didn't know the engine would bypass the solenoid's operation. According to the wiring diagram the engine's battery will connect to everything through a small fuse and not do anything with the solenoid. I have attached the wiring diagram.

So, for now ignore the fact that the engine makes things work. You need to find out why the battery is not connecting. Try the following with the engine off and not plugged into shore power:

1. You said the battery is fully charged so I will take your word for it. Go to the battery and disconnect the negative lead for about a minute. This resets the solenoid which can become disabled if the switch is held in for more than a second. While down at the battery, verify that the ground cable has a clean tight connection to the frame. Often this bond fails which totally knocks out battery operation.

2. If step 1 didn't solve the problem you will need to use the voltmeter and follow the battery feed to the solenoid. Just measure it at each junction all the way to the solenoid. It probably goes through a fuse before connecting to the solenoid. If you measure battery voltage at the solenoid on one side, that will be half your battle. Measure on the other side of the solenoid (the big lugs are what you are measuring). If zero volts, have someone momentarily press the battery disconnect switch while you are at the solenoid. Remember, only hold the switch for less than a second. If you hear the solenoid click, measure the lug that previously measured zero. If no voltage appears at the lug, there is a possibility the solenoid is bad.

If you measure 12 volts on both sides of the solenoid then the next item in sequence is the fuse panel. You can measure to see if it is getting there.

There are 2 separate power systems in the rig - 12 volt and 120 volt. I have attached a document I created that may clear up some confusion.

The generator only starting when the engine is running is because your house battery is not in the system. Bad ground connection to the frame would cause this. According to the wiring diagram power is fed directly to the generator and has nothing to do with the solenoid. Could be the ground connection is the source of all your problems.


Other items to mention, the GFI would have absolutely nothing to do with the 12 volt system. It is there to protect certain outlets in your rig that are near water. Kitchen outlets, bathroom outlets, outside outlets, and possibly the microwave. Look your your GFI in the bathroom outlet. That is where my 2017 Greyhawk's is.

Good luck! Please reply back with your progress so we can offer more suggestions.
Attached Thumbnails
Voltmeter.JPG  
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Jayco 12V Chassis.pdf (448.1 KB, 9 views)
File Type: pdf RV Electrical Troubleshooting (ver 2).pdf (2.01 MB, 7 views)
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Old 03-02-2024, 08:13 PM   #3
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Ground issue or also a battery cable or cables may not be connected to the positive side. The geny should be a direct connection since it normally does not go through the battery disconnect. We have had people connect the positive cables to the ground terminals thinking black was ground.

Grounds would be white or a black cable with white tape on it.

Should have added you only push the disconnect switch for a sec, you do not hold it.
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Old 03-03-2024, 07:49 AM   #4
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Did you check the fuses in your electrical panel?
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Old 03-03-2024, 09:58 AM   #5
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Thank you! Yes the battery cable colours are confusing! Will double check that too. And we have “reset” the switch incase it was pushed too long with disconnecting the ground for a minute… but if the battery wires are hooked up wrong then I guess that wouldn’t have worked lol.
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Old 03-03-2024, 10:00 AM   #6
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Yes fuses have been checked … all good there
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Old 03-03-2024, 10:13 AM   #7
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I wrote a reply and don’t know what happened to it.
I’m a little premature in posting as I’m booking campsites at the provincial parks so I’m getting excited to get the rig out of storage! So I won’t be able to try anything just yet.
Thanks for the wiring diagrams… they are gold!
We will def try your suggestions at the solenoid and retry cleaning the ground wire. There was a wire floating around in there at the battery, not connected to anything, so we did clean it and connected it to the frame. Maybe we didn’t do a good enough job ����
As for the GFI… I know what they’re for, but I have yet to find one in my rig ( never thought to check the outside outlets though) which I thought was strange. The reason I mention that is that I’ve been told by a few people, and also on this forum, that if a GFI is tripped, that will cause the house switch not to operate until the GFI is reset.
I will update my post once the suggestions are tried and if I find the solution!!
Thanks again, I appreciate all the advice and diagrams!
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Old 03-03-2024, 10:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Good karma View Post
As for the GFI… I know what they’re for, but I have yet to find one in my rig ( never thought to check the outside outlets though) which I thought was strange. The reason I mention that is that I’ve been told by a few people, and also on this forum, that if a GFI is tripped, that will cause the house switch not to operate until the GFI is reset.
As Jim said absolutely no connection. GFCI is 120 volt, your battery disconnect is only 12 volt. Apples and oranges.
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