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Old 09-15-2021, 09:44 PM   #1
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Battery Doesn't Power Anything

Hi friends. We just bough a 2016 X17z and brought it home yesterday. We're super excited! I had hoped for this first post to be about something more fun, though...

This morning, I went into the trailer and nothing would turn on. Even the propane alarm light was out. I've since confirmed everything works as it should through both the TV power and shore power. It's just the battery that doesn't work.

When this first occurred, the battery was a little low -- 12.25V. I charged it to 12.9 but that did nothing. The battery settled to 12.5V for the rest of the day.

Other clues/troubleshooting I've tried:
- Continuity is good on the positive and negative wires to the first splice I could identify (3-5').
- I don't know how old the battery is, but I don't think that's the issue. Plugging the battery into a 10A charger while attached to the trailer didn't change anything.
- I refilled the battery with distilled water. A couple of cells were slightly low, but nothing I'd expect to cause a problem.
- (Possible clue?) The trailer doesn't seem to be charging the battery -- it was hooked to shore power for 3 hours yesterday, then driven for another 3 (I know the TV shouldn't charge much). I hooked it back onto shore power at my house for the last 2 hours but the voltage still reads 12.5V.

I disconnected the battery and will leave it on a charger over night to see what that does. I'll take it in to get load tested in the morning.

Does anyone have a guess what the issue is? Anything else I should try?
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Old 09-15-2021, 10:35 PM   #2
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Many rigs have a battery disconnect switch which takes the battery out of the circuit. There also will be a fuse or circuit breaker near the battery. In theory your 12 volt items should work when plugged in even if the battery was missing. The converter should supply power to all 12 volt things.

Another common failure area is when the ground cable from the battery connects to the metal frame. Many have reported broken or corroded connections there. End result is no 12 volt power from the battery.

I have attached some troubleshooting docs that may shed light on how things work.
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File Type: pdf RV Electrical Troubleshooting (ver 2).pdf (2.01 MB, 4 views)
File Type: pdf Quick Multimeter Instructions (ver 1).pdf (376.3 KB, 2 views)
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Old 09-15-2021, 11:00 PM   #3
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Thanks. Those are good suggestions across the board. I'll check those docs out, too.

I looked for a master switch and couldn't find one. The X17 is a pretty simple trailer so I don't think it has one. I forgot to mention I pulled all the fuses and they all look good to my untrained eye, including the 30A main and 40A reverse polarity. I also checked continuity across them each and didn't find any issues.

Regarding the grounding issue, I think that was the place I checked continuity. It looked like it was in good shape but I'll take another look tomorrow.

The wiring from the battery looks a little shoddy once it emerges above the trailer frame. There's been at least one splice on the positive wire coming straight off the battery and there's a second positive wire connecting to the battery.
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Old 09-15-2021, 11:13 PM   #4
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If you have a junction box on the frame, it probably has connections made with house wire nuts. A prime place for corroded/bad connections. I replaced the metal box on our TT with a plastic Pollak stud connection junction box, and found corrosion starting on the ground wires. Splices out in the elements are a good place to start looking.
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Old 09-16-2021, 06:15 AM   #5
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Bear in mind that your CO/Gas detector is powered at all times the battery is connected and it will drain the battery over time.
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Old 09-16-2021, 07:10 AM   #6
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Check for voltage between the positive battery terminal and the trailer frame. That will let you know if the negative connection between the negative battery and the frame is good.

Then visually/manually check the negative/ground cable that attaches to the frame and goes to the power converter.

Check for 12vdc at the power converter between the incoming 12 volt positive wire coming from the battery and the negative wire that's attached to the trailer frame. If you have close to the same voltage there as you have at the battery terminals, the problem is most likely with the converter.
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Old 09-16-2021, 12:49 PM   #7
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The battery should be settling in at 12.7v. If it has been charged and itís dropping to 12.5v you need to remove your battery and have it tested.
12.5 is a bad sign.
I have had 2 different batteries showed 12.7 but as soon as I put a load on them they drop to 9v and then back to 12.7 without load. They were both around 10 years old and needed to be replaced.
Thatís why a battery pro can test voltage and can check what happens with a load tester. Most auto parts stores can test.
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Old 10-12-2021, 06:45 PM   #8
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Still working on this one

Hi thanks so much for the replies. I've been slowly chasing down this issue for the last month as time allows. Here's where I'm at:

I've tested all the fuses -- everything's fine.
I've checked the converter output -- All circuits are powered at 13.6V as the should.
I've checked the torques at the negative 12V DC bus bar -- everything was tight (I don't have a torque wrench, but it all looked at felt good)
I've checked the main grounding point under the trailer -- everything is tight and appears in place.
There are some funky splices in the wiring on the forward end of the trailer -- they look unprofessionally done (10 AWG connected to 8 AWG) but I've checked the connections and have continuity across all of them.
Though the converter output is at 13.6V, I'm not getting any voltage at the terminals when disconnected from the battery.
I've load tested the battery and it checked out
I took specific gravity measurements on it and I found 1 low cell and 1 bad cell.

So bottom line, I think I have a bad battery AND some bad wiring. Anything I'm missing?
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Old 10-12-2021, 06:57 PM   #9
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Replace the battery, not worth the headaches. The battery should have a round date code sticker on it, on top or side.
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Old 10-12-2021, 07:02 PM   #10
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Yes, that's my plan regardless. Will swapping the battery "fix" the issue I have with not getting voltage to the terminals with the battery disconnected?
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Old 10-12-2021, 07:06 PM   #11
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Our smaller TT had a 30A fuse holder near the battery. It was a small rubber block just big enough to hold a fuse. When you get a new batt I’d suggest not leaving it hooked up for more than 3-4 days because of the parasitic drain, even less (an hour or two) in case there’s a more serious short which might kill a new battery.
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Old 10-12-2021, 07:08 PM   #12
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You cannot really fully diagnose the system with a questionable battery. If you do not know how old it is, eliminate that as problem so one your first outing, you do not have that problem.
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Old 10-12-2021, 07:16 PM   #13
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I just swapped a car battery into there to see what it would do. It didn't change anything in terms of the converter output to the battery terminals.

So definitely bad wiring then?
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Old 10-16-2021, 07:10 PM   #14
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Yes, you are not getting converter voltage to the battery. Check for resettable circuit breakers near the batteries. Jay
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Old 10-17-2021, 07:30 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alifbaa View Post
Though the converter output is at 13.6V, I'm not getting any voltage at the terminals when disconnected from the battery.
This sounds strange.
Should be getting the same volt reading.
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Old 10-17-2021, 03:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alifbaa View Post
Though the converter output is at 13.6V, I'm not getting any voltage at the terminals when disconnected from the battery.

So bottom line, I think I have a bad battery AND some bad wiring. Anything I'm missing?
Check the continuity between the ground wire at the battery and the trailer frame. You likely don't have a good ground connection. They get corroded pretty easily even though they appear tight.
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Old 10-17-2021, 03:51 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alifbaa View Post
Though the converter output is at 13.6V, I'm not getting any voltage at the terminals when disconnected from the battery.

So bottom line, I think I have a bad battery AND some bad wiring. Anything I'm missing?
Check the continuity between the ground wire at the battery and the trailer frame. You likely don't have a good ground connection. They get corroded pretty easily.

You can also check the converter output at the battery positive terminal and the trailer frame. If you read 13.6 volts your ground is bad.
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Old 10-17-2021, 06:31 PM   #18
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I know this may sound strange but I had "battery" problems that I finally found was very minor looking corrosion on the ring terminal on the battery. The crimp of the ring terminal was also corroded. I also had loose connections at the 12 volt ground bus bar that I fixed a year earlier and beginning rust on the frame ground under the converter on the main frame. None at the same time. Now all are on my annual pre-season check list.
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Old 10-17-2021, 07:11 PM   #19
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Somehow I think he missed what Redhorse 1 said about the fuse in the little black holder. I've told a couple people to put their finger on the big positive wire and slide it down to the frame. You can't miss it. It's about the size of a postage stamp.
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Old 10-23-2021, 10:56 AM   #20
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Solved!!!

I exhausted all of my troubleshooting abilities so I ended up hiring it out to a great mobile RV repair person. (Check out RVLad if you're in the Sacramento, CA area.). I wanted to post the final solution as thanks for all who contributed their expertise and so perhaps it can help someone else out in the future.

Talking to the WFCO tech support rep, (Also a fantastic experience BTW.) RVIA set a standard starting in 2016 that a battery protection resettable circuit breaker would be installed in a visible location within 3 feet of the battery.

Apparently that 2016 policy went into effect with the 2017 model year because in my 2016 Jayco J Flight 7 J17X trailer, there is no resettable circuit breaker. Instead, there's a standard automotive 30A fuse. It's buried under the forward dinette bench, under the screwed down panel, under a bundle of wires.

It took my intrepid repair person and I about 10 minutes of head scratching to track it down after we traced the short to a 6" location on either side of where the main wiring harness enters the trailer.

The attached pictures zoom in one by one to show the fuse location. You absolutely will not find it unless you reach under the bundle and start feeling/pulling for a somewhat looser wire than the rest of the bundle.

Click image for larger version

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An interesting side note... This fuse is a 30A fuse and the reverse polarity fuse in the converter is 40A. Between being closer and a smaller fuse, in the event of a battery short or reverse polarity, this one will very likely blow before anything touches the converter.

Once again, thanks to everyone for their help.
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