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Old 07-29-2012, 09:32 PM   #1
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Very strange electrical issue . . . HELP!

'08 299RLS 5er. In a nut shell, we were camping this weekend for the first time all year and noticed that all lights, water pump, fridge, furnace, etc worked fine when the generator was running. But did not work right just on battery power.
You turn on a light and the LP alarm would tweet! Then the light might come on slowly (like a rheostat) or maybe not come on at all. Anything you tried to turn on would tweet the LP alarm and may or may not come on.
YET! The batteries had 12.8V when tested with a multi tester both when connected or when ground lead removed!
It's as if the 12V coming out of the converter was powering everything properly, but the batteries (even completely charged) would not!?
Is it a bad converter? Or what?!
Never had any issue before this weekend.
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:47 AM   #2
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Very likely a poor connection some where. Start with the battery terminals. Look for corrosion. Check the ground from the battery to the frame. Then check the fuse holders. Particularly the main 12V battery fuse in the converter. If everything works OK when connected to shore power/generator your converter and DC distribution should be OK. Assuming the battery is, in fact, fully charged as you say, the problem is going to be between the battery and the converter.
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Old 07-30-2012, 07:49 AM   #3
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dig4gold-- Did you put your meter on the battery when on battery power, you can get a good reading from a dead bat with out a load the true test comes when loaded. Good luck Larry
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Old 07-30-2012, 08:12 AM   #4
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I tested the batteries (we use 2) both connected (under load) and disconnected (removed ground lug). Both readings were 12.5V or more.
Also tested them while gen was running and they were getting over 13V.
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Old 07-30-2012, 08:32 AM   #5
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Where would the ground connect to frame? The wire goes into the wall & Idunno? All connections are tight and pristine. We have very little corrosion in our dry climate.
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:31 AM   #6
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What colors are the battery cables... If they are BLACK and WHITE then the BLACK goes to the POSITIVE TERMINAL of the BATTERY and the WHITE goes to NEGATIVE terminal of the battery.

If the COLORS are RED and BLACK then the RED goes to the POSITIVE Terminal of the BATTERY and the BLACK goes to the NEGATIVE side of the battery.

The BEST WAY is to hand trace the cable that is connected to the BATTERY TERMINAL that is stamped "NEG" or "-" symbol and make sure it goes to the trailer FRAME GROUND but you have stated you can't see where the cable goes to. Once you get it hooked up correctly I would use RED fingernail polish on the both the POSITIVE Battery Terminal and the correct BATTERY CABLE to remind you where it goes.

If you got them reversed and the battery terminal sparked when you hooked it up then you will have three blown fuses inside.

Two FUSES will be blown on the Power Distribution Panel where all your 12VDC fuses are loacted. Two fuses will be off to them selves and they will be blown. They are marked "REV POLARITY" or something like that. There will also be an IN-LINE FUSE that will be installed in the POSITIVE BATTERY cable lead usually real close to the battery. It could also be just up under the frame of the trailer tongue.

Need to check the cables colors and get them on the correct battery terminals, then replace the blown fuses and then you should be good to go.

Just for your info both the battery and the converter/charger unit provides 12VDC to the Power Distribution Panel so that you can have ceiling lights etc when you are camping off the power grid. If your lights are working when plugged into 120VAC but not working off the batteries then you converter/charger unit is good. It is not getting 12VDC from the battery circuit for one reason or another.

Those three fuses i described are in the circuit between the power distribution panel and the battery terminals.

No harm has been done with the wiring or anything if they the cables were reversed - only blows the three fuses described.

Happens to all of us one time or another...
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:41 AM   #7
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You did say both batteries were 12VDC batteries and not two 6V batteries where they have to be connected in series to get 12VDC???
If they are two 6VDC batteries they are connected up differently...
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2008 STARCRAFT 14RT OFF-ROAD POPUP with PD9260C and three 85AH 12VDC batteries
2010 F150 FX4 5.4 GAS with 3.73 gears - Super Cab - Towing Package - 2KW Honda EU2000i Gen
K9PHT (since 1957) 146.52Mhz
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:14 AM   #8
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I know . . . black/white, +/- . . . and all connections are right and tight. I used a silver Sharpie and wrote "+" on the black wire(!) They are 2 12V batt's in parallel. I'll just have to crawl around underneath and find where the ground wire connects to the frame.
It is a 4 season unit but the frame is exposed. Hopefully they put it near the battery compartment! Sounds like all you guys are leaning towards a loose ground off the batteries. At least the converter seems O.K.
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Old 07-30-2012, 05:51 PM   #9
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Well - It has to be somewhere between the battery and the converter/charger.. The Black Large cable on your Batterry comes directly from the Converter/charger...

If that black cable is hooked and a connection is made then another way to tell if converter is working is to measure the Battery voltage first with the Shore Power Disconnected. Using the digital meter your battery volatge should read somewhere around 12.5-12.6VDC if the battery is charged ok. Then go plug in your shore power cable and when the converter/charger unit comes on then your DC Voltage reading at the battery terminals should jump to 13.6VDC.

That would tell you ALL of the fuses between the Converter and the battery are good...

You will find it sooner or later... Keep plugging away...

Another thing I always do when measuring Battery voltage is first put my meter on the battery terminal cable not the center of the battery post. This then will tell me I have a good connection between the battery terminal and the center post. Since you probably have only the ring terminals showing then put the meter tip on the ring terminal not the battery stud.

Some trailers have a battery disconnect switch - I assume you dont have one...

You can also remove the front panel of the Converter/Charger unit and expose the battery connection. This will be the other end of the cable that is connected to your battery.

Hard to believe a mouse will eat thru that big cable...

I guess you actually have located the two fuses in the Power Distribution Panel that is MARKED "REV POLARITY" they could be blown. Also you need to locate the INLINE fuse near your battery and check it. All three of these fuses are between the Converter and the Battery terminal. Need to put your finger on ALL hree of these fuses and get back that you found them...

We are all just throwing things out at you... haha... Hard to work on something you can touch youself...

When you finally figure it out then it wont be a problem for you anymore. And the bad thing is it will be something real simple when you finally find the problem. Its usually is the last thing you did before you had this problem haha...

My fifth wheel battery has the cables on it coming from the converter/charger unit, cables coming from the slides mounted to those small circuit breakers, and more cables coming from the main jacks. I have a whole bunch of cables around my single 12VDC battery.
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2008 STARCRAFT 14RT OFF-ROAD POPUP with PD9260C and three 85AH 12VDC batteries
2010 F150 FX4 5.4 GAS with 3.73 gears - Super Cab - Towing Package - 2KW Honda EU2000i Gen
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:24 PM   #10
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ALL fuses are good. Fuse box, fuses on converter, fuse in battery compartment. I did a continuity check and the black battery wire does not connect to the black wire connected to the converter. NO CONTINUITY. Our assumtion was the battery cables come from the fuse panel and not the converter. In other words the fuse panel is in between the battery and the converter and that maybe there's some relay or something prohibiting 12V flow from batteries to camper.
But you know what happens when you assume too much . . .(lol). I tried so many things in different configurations that I'm not sure exactly what is what. Getting away from it for a day or so and then tackling it again with a fresher outlook!
I don't remember any fuses being labeled "REV POLARITY" in the fuse panel.
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