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Old 08-10-2012, 11:06 AM   #1
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Interesting power issue has me totally stumped...

Before I call the dealer and be forced to drive the trailer 80 miles to them, I have a quick question to see if I'm missing anything.

Went out last weekend and had no issues with our 298RES.
Connected to clean power, so everything worked like a charm.
Came home, parked and attempted to use the power tongue jack still connected to the truck (12V only)...nothing. Hmmm...maybe a fuse.
Checked...nope, fuse was good. Checked the inverter. All fuses good there as well. Checked power level in the trailer. Nothing. Nothing would show on the panel nor would any lights work.

Plugged it into AC power and all was fine. Everything worked as it should.
Thought hmm...maybe the battery is dead, so we left it plugged in for a few days and tried it again. First verifying that AC power worked. (confirmed...slides, lights, fridge...jacks...all worked fine). Unplugged from AC power...nothing again. Panel showed 1/3 power remaining on the battery. Hmmmm.

Checked the voltage 'at' the battery with cables unplugged...multimeter reads 12.4-12.6V...so this is where I'm really stumped.
If I'm plugged into AC...everything is ok...if i attempt to run off of battery...nothing works. If you turn say the pump switch on, it will light up faint and then go out...
Would I be having some inverter issues???

Thanks all!!!
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:50 AM   #2
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You indicate that you may have an inverter issue. Are you sure? Do you mean a converter issue? I'm going to assume that you only have a converter installed in your TT, but correct me if my assumption is wrong. With that assumption in mind, it appears as though you have a converter issue. When plugged into shorepower (or "clean power" as you call it), you can think of the AC current taking one of two paths. The first path supplies power to your AC dedicated devices such as the microwave, the AC, electric water heater, etc. When not plugged into shorepower, these types of devices will not work. The second path goes to the converter, which converts AC current to DC current, and in turn, provides power to your DC dedicated devices. When a converter is working properly, you can be plugged into shorepower (with or without a battery) and everything in the trailer will work. Why? Because AC current is supplied to the first path for AC devices and, in the second path, AC current is converted to DC current which is necessary for most other devices in your TT.

I suspect that your converter has failed, and that you have been running all DC devices solely off the battery, where the converter also has not been charging your battery (if you have driven with the TT hooked-up, you may have slightly re-charged the battery (ie, pump switch lights up and then goes out). In essence, you have been draining your battery when operating the DC devices.

Here's what you can do to verify. First, disconnect your battery from the TT; then plug into shorepower. See if any DC device will work (eg, coach lights). If not, then this would suggest that the converter is not working. Second, locate the converter and get access to it. Take your multimeter and determine if you are getting 13.6 VDC output from the converter (you have be hooked-up to shorepower for this test). Let us know what you find after checking the converter. If you are not getting 13.6VDC, you can be sure that your converter has failed (assuming that the fuses are good as you indicated).
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:59 AM   #3
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oops..sorry...yes, converter is the word. I had my mind set on 120V to 12V inversion...

When connected to 120V shore power and no battery...everything works as it should, all DC devices work (lights, pump, fridge, slides...etc).
We've never used the battery for anything but running the electric stabilizers and power tongue jack.
With the battery connected and no 120V shore power connected...nothing.
This is why I'm stumped.
I'll check the converter as soon as I get home...I have a funny feeling I'll be brining it in for some warranty work.

Thanks for the reply!!!
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:08 PM   #4
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Okay, you may not have a converter issue. There might be a wiring issue from your battery to the power panel. With your battery connected to the TT and when plugged into shorepower, see if you get 13.6VDC at the battery terminals.
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:19 PM   #5
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Sounds good. Will do the tests and post the results.

Thanks again.
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WIBadger View Post
There might be a wiring issue from your battery to the power panel.
This is my thinking also.

While measuring the battery voltage with no load (terminals disconnected) doesn't give you an accurate indication of battery charge I would think you would get at least enough power to turn on a light if you're reading 12.6V at the battery. If you're getting no power to the TT from the battery then I'd suspect a fuse or some disconnect between the battery and power panel.
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:44 PM   #7
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Here is my take on how the 30AMP Electrical system works - Your 30AMP trailer electrical system revolves around the 120VAC Circuit Breaker Power Distribution Panel and the 12VDC Power Distribution panel. This is the PANEL that houses all of the 120VAC Circuit Breakers and the 12VDC FUSES.

The 120VAC Power Distribution side is only powered by the 30AMP Shore Power Cable...
Many 120VAC appliances are powered from this 120VAC Power distribution Center including the CONVERTER/CHARGER unit

The 12VDC Power Distribution side is powered by the Battery System as well as the Converter/Charger (Not Inverter as you refered to it as). Note: both the BATTERY and CONVERTER/CHARGER DC OUTPUTs feed the same 12VDC Power Distribution Center.
This allows you to operate all of the 12VDC appliances including lighting from both sources being the battery or the converter/charger.

From your description of events I am thinking somewhere along the way the BATTERY connection is not being made. There is an inline fuse between the battery connection and the converter/charger connection. This is something you need to find as it is usually very close to the battery side and may be located just under the trailer frame where the battery is located. If this fuse is blown or opened for whatever reason it would cause the events you have described...

There is another item you may have installed called a BATTERY DISCONNECT switch which also should be close to the BATTERY location. If this switch is OPEN or "OFF" it will also cause the events you have described.

The quick test is to first just have the battery system connected to the trailer and you should be able to turn on your ceiling lights inside the trailer. If this doesnt happen then you have NO connection between the BATTERY and the 12VDC Power Distribution Panel.

If you connect your trailer 30AMP Shore Power Cable to 120VAC source (Pedstal or House/Garage) you should be able to turn on your ceiling lights inside the trailer. Since this is happening then this is a quick check that your converter/charger unit is operating OK and is connected to your 12VDC Power Distribution Panel.

If the BATTERY was connected to the 12VDC Power Distribution Panel then the Converter/Charger DC output would then also charge your connected battery at the same time it is providing 12VDC power for your appliances.

The normal DC OUTPUT voltage of a charged battery is only 12.6VDC... The normal DC OUTPUT Voltage of your on-board CONVERTER/CHARGER unit is 13.6VDC.

Using your DC Voltmeter if you have your trailer plugged into a 120VAC source (Pedstal or house/garage) then you will read 13.6VDC on your battery terminals if all is connected properly with no blown fuses in-line. If you disconnect the shore power cable while still measuring the battery terminal then the 13.6VDC will drop down to 12.6VDC showing you what the charged battery DC voltage is after it settles for a couple of minutes.

However you have also stated you have disconnected the Shore Power Cable and turned on a few 12VDC Appliances and they worked for just a few moments then went dead. This is telling me the battery is reading 12.6VDC under no load but when you connected some other DC appliances it didn't hold them up very long. It would be interesting to read the BATTERY VOLTAGE when you was doing this. If the BATTERY was truly charged as the 12.6VDC was telling you when you measured it. For the 12VDC appliance to die off like they did then the BATTERY VOLTAGE had to be dropping as well. You would be reading something way below 10.0VDC on the battery terminals in this case. This momentary operation of DC appliances might also be the converter/charger capacitors still be charged up when you had the converter power up and it may take a few moments to drain off the capacitors inside the converter.

Bottom line is if you are reading 13.6VDC or higher if it has gone to boost charging mode which you will read 14.4VDC at the battery terminals then the on-board converter/charger is OK and all the connections are good between it and the battery. If you turn off the converter/charger and only have the battery on-line then you should be able to run your DC appliance if the battery is holding its charge.

You have to go from there to figure out where it is missing 12VDC power.

I have taken this long to type all of this up and you and the other guys have probably solved the problem already. If so just take all of this as "for your info only"
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:01 PM   #8
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wow! That's alot of typing and ALOT of great info...
Man...if i was closer to where you live I'd buy all of you a beer or maybe 2...
will do all the checks and post...
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:37 PM   #9
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I am going to say that based on what your stating there is an issue between the converter and the battery. I will just add one thing to all the good info above and that is simply clean and reconnect your battery terminals. Simple corrosion can give you a bad connection that is not allowing any amps to be drawn. A wire brush and a good clamping down after might solve the issue. The other thing you can do is take it to an autoparts store for a load check which would be what RB is elluding to above on draw.
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:40 PM   #10
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Looks like two or three of us here are coming up with same conclusion - will need some measurements from you at the battery when you are running battery only without the shore power connection made. If nothing works on the like your ceiling lights light and you still read 12.6VDC on your battery then I don't think you have a good connection between the battery and 12VDC power distribution center.

Beer sounds good no matter what the outcome is... I'll drink one looking NORTH when you get it fixed again.

Another question - Did you remove the battery cables anytime during this trip for any reason. Usually when some one talks about these issues they have their battery hooked up backwards. What we do here whenever we have to re-connect battery cables is to find the stamped "NEG" or "-" symbol on the battery case and make sure this is the cable that goes to frame ground. AS you have probably read that sometimes the battery cables are RED and BLACK or WHITE and BLACK.

All of us old are all familar with where RED and BLACK cables RED being POSITIVE and BLACK being GROUND or frame...

Then you throw BLACK and WHITE cables at us oldtimers which is the standard color combo for RV trailers where BLACK is POSITIVE and WHITE is GROUND or frame. You finally get used to the BLACK and WHITE and then you buy a new JENSEN AM/FM RADIO and it comes out of the box with RED and BLACK cables. SO now your BLACK "POS" and WHITE "NEG" inside the the trailer terminals have a RED "POS" and a BLACK "NEG" wires which ends putting the RED wire on top of a BLACK wire. makes all of us old timers turn over in our graves hehe...

If you did reverse your battery cables and got a small spark just for a second then you may have three blown fuses between the Battery terminal and the Converter chassis. One will be the in-line fuse I was referring to and then there is two more fuses located on the 12VDC Power distribution panel usually off to themself and may be labeled "REV POLARITY". If these three fuses are blown it will cause the same events you have been describing. After you get the battery cables back to their correct terminals then MARK it somehow on where they are suppose to go regardless what the colors are. I usually mark the POSITIVE ring terminal with a small round dot with bright RED fingernail polish. I have seen other folks type this on a small piece of PAPER and then wrap the paper around the cable and use clear tape around it to hold it in place. Still other folks will take a picture of their battery cables with the cell phone camera and store that away on the their computer files somewhere... I suspect we all have crossed the battery terminals one time or another hehe..

If they are not marked then you may have to go buy another battery of the same type and the manf has re-arranged where the battery terminal go - might be on the other side of the battery and when you turn it around to align up with tie wraped battery cables to fit it will be backwards. Always look for the stamped "NEG" on the battery case.

We wont drink the beer just yet...
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