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Old 11-10-2011, 06:57 AM   #15
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Lots of interesting discussion here but to you point--assuming this wasnt a progressive condition over several months, it looks like you have a "significant electrical event." You said your "EMS" gave you a warning but you continued to plug in anyway. Not sure what EMS you have but most surge protectors wont let you draw power from a bad source--that is unless you by-pass it. Yr bat config suggests you have a newer coach so your inverter should have detected high/bad AC voltage and atleast sounded a warning???? Assuming you didnt notice the bat condition until you arrived home, you may have an alternator/charging issue that "cooked" yr bats on the drive home--lots of possibilities here, so only guessing.

I dont know the signs or symptoms of "reverse polarity" but it does look like you got some very high DC current. Anything in your coach that uses 12v current could be impacted. The batteries maybe salvageable but think I'd start with your inverter to make sure it is both inverting and charging properly. Your smoke, propane and co/mo2 detectors are also at risk.

As for bat tie-downs--wouldnt leave home with out them--get some 1/2 inch plastic cutting-board material, cut it in strips, and using the existing bolts, secure the bats. Probably need to do some scaping, treating, sanding and re-painting of your bat compartment too.
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Old 11-11-2011, 01:07 AM   #16
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Richard and Cris: This doesn't help with your current situation, but if you decide to change out to 6 volt batteries or end up with multiple 12 volt batteries, you'll get better battery life if you balance your loads by having each 12-volt or pair of 6-volt batteries go through the same length of properly sized cables connecting to the LOAD and GROUND. Attached is a link to a schematic that shows how to to balance the loads. Balancing can also be done with minor adjustments to this schematic as indicated. "Balancing" means that the current from each 12 volt or pair of 6 volt batteries flows through the same length of cable regardless of where the battery is located in your array. In this schematic, each 12-volt or pair of 6-volts goes through one long and one short cable to connect to the LOAD and GROUND. It's important that each long piece and each short piece are identical in length to the other long and short pieces and the same gauge cable. The schematic can be found at:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1855642/Inte...One%20Bank.pdf ray
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Old 11-13-2011, 02:13 AM   #17
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FWIW - I just had the Lead acid batteries replaced at Lifeline with AGM's. The owner suggested I leave the metal straps off since they could cause a shorting issue with the polls as they are not raised up very high. To overcome this, I will get some good sized diameter shrink tubing and put that over the straps, heat to shrink it down and then reinstall the straps so the batteries cannot jump up. However, since they weight about 80 lbs each, and have big heavy duty wire on them, where can they go???. The ratchet strap idea is a good one, and maybe I will try that. One problem was at the back left side hooking up one of the positive leads, I had to put a 1/2" riser post on the terminal so the original cable would work, I also put some cardboard behind that post on the off chance it would rub on the back wall of the compartment and short out. Again, shrink tubing over this whole terminal would solve that issue as well.
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Old 11-13-2011, 04:04 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by targaboat View Post
Alternating current does not have polarity, period.
While this is true, the term "reversed polarity" is commonly used in this context to refer to the neutral and hot wires being reversed. The voltage between the hot side of a receptacle and ground should be 110 volts and between the neutral side and ground it should be zero volts. Current will still flow in a reversed connection, but some lamps and appliances may become dangerous.
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Old 11-13-2011, 06:24 PM   #19
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...However, since they weight about 80 lbs each, and have big heavy duty wire on them, where can they go???.
Side-to-Side, fore-aft... cracking cases. And remember that "heavy wire" is only bolted into soft lead.
The hold downs, plain and simple, are cheap insurance on high-dollar batteries. The best packaging immobilizes its contents to prevent damage, and just like airbags, we pray we never need it, but we're glad it's there.
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:18 PM   #20
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I have cleaned my battery compartment and replaced the corroded battery strap with a wooden one. I checked my batteries and all are OK. The battery cables are not touching anything going into the terminal box in rear of picture. They are routed through a large hole with rubber grommets. And are 1/2" from chassis.
I did the suggested battery leak test and found one battery leaking 1 to 2 amps on one area of top. Very interesting.
I have talked to refrigerator troubleshooting and reversed polarity not a problem with PC board.
Talked to Xantrex and not a problem with inverter.
There could be a safety hazard concerning grounding in an RV. So don't trust ground faults protectors or circuit breakers and pray there is not a short to ground that could energize the metal framing of the coach, even the entry step. I will never bypass my Electrical Management System and use reversed polarity again.
Thanks everyone for such useful information. This forum is invaluable!
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:38 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard and Cris View Post
There could be a safety hazard concerning grounding in an RV. So don't trust ground faults protectors or circuit breakers and pray there is not a short to ground that could energize the metal framing of the coach, even the entry step. I will never bypass my Electrical Management System and use reversed polarity again.
Thanks everyone for such useful information. This forum is invaluable!

Re: Electrocution protection.

I had the MH at my house to do some maintenance and cleaning recently. I plug it into a 15 amp. GFI outlet on the house to keep the batteries charged and allow me to vacuum inside. This requires using a 50 to 30 then a 30 to 20 amp adaptor and an extension cord. A total of 4 connections that are not hard wired. While washing the unit, standing on wet ground, I felt a tingle in my hand when I touched the windshield wiper arm. I pulled the plug at the house, and tried again - no tingle.

I have not had time to trace the problem yet, but just a warning to you all that it would be smart to disconnect from shore power when washing.
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:09 PM   #22
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Old Rv'er,

When I replaced my lead acid batteries with Lifelines, we had the same issue with the posts not being high enough. We covered the battery tie down straps with automotive heater hose and it has worked fine ever since -- last 3 years.
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Old 11-17-2011, 09:53 AM   #23
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Quote:
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Re: Electrocution protection.

I had the MH at my house to do some maintenance and cleaning recently. I plug it into a 15 amp. GFI outlet on the house to keep the batteries charged and allow me to vacuum inside. This requires using a 50 to 30 then a 30 to 20 amp adaptor and an extension cord. A total of 4 connections that are not hard wired. While washing the unit, standing on wet ground, I felt a tingle in my hand when I touched the windshield wiper arm. I pulled the plug at the house, and tried again - no tingle.

I have not had time to trace the problem yet, but just a warning to you all that it would be smart to disconnect from shore power when washing.
Agreed... When you are a closer "ground" than the GFCI is connected to, the electricity is still going to take the shortest path to ground. GFCIs are great, but are limited when you connect to them via a length of extension cord. My outdoor outlet is grounded to its own ground rod, right next to my pad. They aren't so expensive so as to be impractical, so I highly recommend them for any external outlets, even moreso for RV connections.
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:01 AM   #24
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Re: Electrocution protection.

I plug it into a 15 amp. GFI outlet on the house to keep the batteries charged and allow me to vacuum inside.
My motorhomes have always tripped a GFI when trying to use one. This is caused by the inverter 'stealing' some of the AC power and thus not all power going into the RV on black wire returns thru the white neutral. Your GFI should have tripped. Are you sure you were plugged in to a GFI (or maybe you don't have an inverter/charger??
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Old 11-23-2011, 12:40 AM   #25
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All - I was never able to get our coach to work on a 20A 120V household receptacle. It always tripped them, so when we changed over to Natural gas, and I used 1/2 of the 30A 220V power which used to power the water heater. Yeah I know about the neutral wire, so I made sure there was one. I could have made it a 50A RV plug, but the wire was not big enough to carry that load and pulling in new wire was more trouble than I wanted. 30A is large enough to power everything I need when home. I never get a tingle when washing the coach and touching any metal on the coach, you have a neutral wire or ground wire not wired correctly or not lugged down tight. RV's are NOT wired like a house, the neutral is not bonded in the coach, the neutral wire is bonded to the ground at the pedestal; don’t change the wiring in the RV. If you don’t know electrical stuff, get professional help.
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