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Old 09-17-2018, 08:12 AM   #1
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Converter and battery issues

I just entered the world of RV'ing with my wife with the purchase of a well maintained, pre-owned 1999 Damon Intruder 349 with two slides. We can't believe we have such a nice unit.

That being said, it is 19 years old and I am aware that there will be things to do, fortunately I'm a decent "shade tree" mechanic and enjoy turning a wrench. The dealership was sure that the issue with our 12v system was the converter, so they sent a tech out to replace with a new one.

Interestingly enough before they could make it out I was inspecting "stuff" and discovered that the house battery wasn't even finger tight on the leads. In addition, the voltage was pretty much kaput. I used a smart charger on the battery and it will manage 14 volts on my meter and reads 12.6 on the coaches meter, an Intellitec BD3 unit that I also suspect might be faulty because it won't switch between store and use by its rocker switch.

So, with all that said. If the coach battery is shot, will the converter not be able to manage keeping it topped off while on generator or shore power? I have run some tests at home with the coach running only on generator for most of the day and the battery continues to deplete over that time, dropping into the 11 volt and once even 10.6 volt category. Not enough power to restart he generator should I turn it off.

Should I start with a new battery or look more into the Battery Disconnect unit? All thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:51 AM   #2
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Battery issue or Converter

I would start with a new fresh battery. Sounds like the old battery had not gotten a charge for some time because of those loose connections. Always make sure you have good clean and tight connections because a spark could cause the battery to blow up.

A full charge battery with no load on it and no charge going in should read approx. 12.6 volts. Best read with a digital voltmeter because tenths of a volt mean a big difference in state of charge. Example: 12.3 = half discharged & 11.9 is fully discharged. Always put a charge back into a battery after a discharge otherwise the plates will sulphate and the battery won't recharge.

After a new battery is installed and power to the converter is applied you should see the battery voltage going up because the converter should be charging the battery. Voltage on charge should go up to about 14.2 volts and then will probably cut back ( this depends on the complexity of the converter) to around 13.5 float charging the battery. These voltages are temperature compensated on the better converters. Extreme heat should cut down the voltage on charge and extreme cold should increase the voltages somewhat.

Hope this helps!
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Old 09-17-2018, 09:22 AM   #3
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Awesome! Thanks!! In all my years of automotive experience it's always started with checking the fuse, then the battery. By the way, what battery do you recommend? I don't plan to be without shore or generator power so is their a budget minded battery that would fit these circumstances. I understand an automotive battery is not to be considered and with that, it looks like I could spend as much I want.
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Old 09-17-2018, 09:33 AM   #4
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Batteries made by East Penn mfg. are all American made and worth the $. Get a Deep Cycle Marine type. The East Penn brand is DEKA but they make batteries for many Auto parts stores. Ask at the counter who makes their batteries and they should be able to tell you that.

Stay away from imports. I had a made in Mexico battery fail on a dive trip on Lake Superior. Not a good situation that was!
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Old 10-07-2018, 02:31 PM   #5
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On this subject I just wanted to ask a simple question I cant find an answer to in my new/used 2012 Class C Freedom Elite manual, specifically, when on shore power should the coach battery disconnect switch be in the disconnect position, or left in the connected position. Or does it make any difference. Thanks in advance for any help on this from the great people on the forum!
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Old 10-08-2018, 05:40 AM   #6
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I wish I could respond with authority on this but I will have to yield. I know that my own disconnect does not seem to be working properly at the moment and it s stuck in “use”. I’m on shore power but battery has remained topped off and all is functioning well. We are in our second week of living in our RV.

I do plan to update my disconnect system soon,, we are prepared to be in our “tiny” house for a few months while we learn our new hometown and search for a stick house.
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Old 10-08-2018, 06:03 AM   #7
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Leave the battery connected when on shore power. Only disconnect when in storage. If you disconnect the converter will power most everything but the batteries will not receive a charge.

Back to the OP's question, if the current house batteries are shorted they could drag the converter down and limit both volts and amps available for the coach. Also the converter, if original, may not have enough power to start the generator. Start with fresh batteries but also keep a close eye on the converter. After 19 years it might be a bit tired and may want to retire to a nice condo in the Villages.

Also installed meters should also be considered suspect until the accuracy is verified. A 10% error may not seem like much but that is the difference between 14 and 12.6 VDC. Just the same as a the fuel tank gauge. How much do you really have when the gauge is pointing at the 1/4 level line?
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Old 10-09-2018, 05:37 AM   #8
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Thanks. Converter was changed out for new and is maintaining my two 12v marine batteries flawlessly.
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