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Old 10-16-2017, 12:32 PM   #1
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Electrical on 02 Seabreeze

I went out to start the generator for monthly maintenance and it cranked for a few seconds before it started clicking like it had a poor connection or low battery.

In the meantime, the relay on the power distribution panel started chattering non-stop for several minutes but eventually stopped. Relay chatter also stops if I unplug the converter. Meter readings on both house batteries are 12.69V which seems ok to me. Lights and 12V accessories are operating normally with the exception of an intermittent issue with the water heater not firing.

We are plugged into shore power. The way I understand it, my 12 volt should be running off the converter (MagneTek 900 Series) using the batteries as a filter for higher loads.
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Old 10-16-2017, 06:27 PM   #2
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Only thing I'll say is a voltmeter is not a true test of battery capacity or of the connections . You have to load test the batteries, and remove and clean the connections .
Looks clean isn't good enough , you have to know the connections are clean and tight.
Battery electrolyte level right up ?
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Old 10-16-2017, 09:35 PM   #3
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TC Wndsr-

Every now and then a problem with the 12V ground mimics one on the positive.

While you're checking things, find the house battery ground and ensure it's solidly connected to the frame. Ditto for any separate grounds associated with the generator, converter or AC power panel.

Our first coach's house battery ground lug had snapped clean off at the screw head holding it to the frame. I couldn't see it until I went under the coach.

The Magnetek converter may be getting long in the tooth, too. Consider a replacement from Progressive Dynamics when the time comes. Links here and here.
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Old 10-17-2017, 03:24 PM   #4
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Connections are clean and tight, battery level is good. I'll be crawling under to look for bad grounds this afternoon. I don't pretend to fully understand all the intricacies of converter/battery/ power distribution but what would cause that relay/ solenoid to chatter like that? I'm assuming it might be low voltage but why is there low voltage while we're on shore power and not relying on the batteries?
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Old 10-17-2017, 04:46 PM   #5
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House battery ground looks fine. I managed to get the generator started but it stalled out once I unhooked from shore power. While unplugged the 12 volt stuff inside wasn't working - no lights, CO detector was chirping, etc. Looks like dead batteries but the 12.6-12.7 readings on the batteries have me confused.

Any insight is appreciated.
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Old 10-17-2017, 06:03 PM   #6
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I agree- dead house batteries is most likely cause.

1) Disconnect the positive and ground terminals from the batteries and measure their voltages.

2) Turn off the converter breaker in the power center, then plug in the coach to shore power. Measure the battery voltages.

3) Turn on the converter breaker. Any change in battery voltages?

If your house batteries are more than 4 years old and fail any of these tests, replace them with true deep-cycle batteries.

If fewer than 4 years old, get a battery charger and apply it to the house batteries for 24 hours. Or, haul the batteries out and have them load-tested.

You may want to pick up a specific gravity battery tester. They're pretty cheap, and tell in seconds whether a cells is healthy.

It sounds as if the converter is supplying some current to run the coach circuits, but not enough to charge the batteries. As I said before, consider replacing it.
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Old 10-17-2017, 06:19 PM   #7
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12.69 volts with the converter on = converter issue. Should be 13+ volts on shore power.

A resting battery with a shorted cell will measure 12.6-12.7 volts without any load. As soon as load is applied, the amperage and voltage drop almost instantaneously. A dead cell will also consume the available current from the converter to produce heat in the battery rather than power to the coach.

Insufficient power to the solenoid could cause chatter if it is near the latching threshold.
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Old 10-17-2017, 07:06 PM   #8
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I just replaced the noisy magnetec converter in my coach. Mine was only putting out 12.58 after running my slides in and out a couple times with out it being plugged in. I replaced it with a PD9260, much smaller and quiet too. It took 24 hours for the 9260 to go to float mode. I couldn't stand the noise that the magnetec made, could actually hear it inside the coach if the air wasn't on.
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Old 10-17-2017, 08:46 PM   #9
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How easy are they to swap out?
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Old 10-17-2017, 10:38 PM   #10
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How easy are they to swap out?
1/2 hour at most. 3 screws and 3 wires. I put the new converter in the same place the magnetec was. It is 1/2 the size and weight, got it on amazon for $220.00 free shipping. It came with the pendant so you can see what mode it is in at a glance, or you can change it if you want to. My magnetec was a 50 amp and I bought a 60 amp to replace it. I've never had a good magnetec converter yet, but I was giving this one the benefit of doubt before changing it out. I just bought the coach in March this year. Spent a lot repairing and upgrading, but about done now. I just replaced the batteries and wanted a good converter to take care of them.

Don't forget to remove the battery cables first. I just cut the wires where they come out of the magnetec and used them as they were still in very good shape. Ground wire was plenty long too.

Was you taking the battery volt reading unplugged or plugged it? If you were plugged in you was reading what the converter is putting out. Unplug and take the reading again. Mine wasn't putting out enough to fully charge the batteries.
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Old 10-18-2017, 08:31 AM   #11
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I just ordered the PD9260, pretty sure my problem is the converter but if not it needs updating anyway. I'll install and then deal with the batteries after. Batteries were reading 12.6 wether the converter was on or off. New unit was 179.00 + 15.00 shipping through Leisure Time Distributing which was recommended by Progressive Dynamics.

Thanks for the helpful info.
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Old 10-18-2017, 10:09 AM   #12
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I just ordered the PD9260, pretty sure my problem is the converter but if not it needs updating anyway. I'll install and then deal with the batteries after. Batteries were reading 12.6 wether the converter was on or off. New unit was 179.00 + 15.00 shipping through Leisure Time Distributing which was recommended by Progressive Dynamics.

Thanks for the helpful info.
Better price than I paid. I think you will be happy with the new converter. Do you have 6 volt batteries? If so check them individually. One of mine goes down to 4.8 volt over night, so I replaced them both. I don't know how old they were, so they were on my list anyways. The magnetec in my old Challenger used to boil the batteries dry if I didn't watch them very carefully, but it charged at a higher rate than the one I just removed.
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Old 10-18-2017, 11:03 AM   #13
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I have 2- 12v batteries, 5 years old, they will probably be replaced too after the converter is in. Of the 3 wires on the Magnetek, it looks like 2 grounds and one hot, sound right? I am electrically challenged so need all the help I can get! Thanks
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Old 10-18-2017, 04:32 PM   #14
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I have 2- 12v batteries, 5 years old, they will probably be replaced too after the converter is in. Of the 3 wires on the Magnetek, it looks like 2 grounds and one hot, sound right? I am electrically challenged so need all the help I can get! Thanks
Yes, but don't hook the - directly to ground. It's in the instructions, it needs to go to the battery. The solid wire that is chassis ground goes to the case ground on the new one. Unplug the magnetec, remove the NEG terminal from your coach batteries. Remove the three screws holding it down to the deck, remove the case ground wire, turn the unit so you can cut the wires coming out of the old converter. Pay attention which is POS and NEG. The POS went to a circuit breaker mounted on the deck also. I skinned the wires back about 3/8 of a inch and inserted them in the new converter. You will need an allen wrench to tighten the wires in the new converter. I used new self tapping screws to install the new converter and used the old screws to fill the original holes in the deck.
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