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Old 01-03-2016, 11:04 AM   #1
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87 Itasca, no 12V throughout body

Hi all,

First off, thanks for having me, and I plan on being a regular poster (and eventually contributor) here for a good long while.

I recently purchased my first motor home, a 1987 Itasca Windcruiser. This one is the 37' model, with the tag axle.

Of the many questions I'll have as I fix it up, the first involves the auxiliary batteries. When I looked at it, all the 12v lights worked throughout the unit, as did the power vents, bathroom fan, etc. Now nothing works. The guy I bought it from said he turned off the main breaker, which I flipped back on, with no luck.

The RV batteries are a year old, and both read 11.9V. That is low, but I should still get some kind of light at that voltage. According to the owners manual I found online, if I switch the Battery selected switch to 'Dual' with the engine running, the batteries should charge. They do not. The main engine e battery is charging, however. Also, when I move the battery condition switch from Main to Aux, it goes from 13-14V, to nothing.

Where do I begin with this?

The owners manual isn't clear, and makes it 'seem' like the 12V converter should always be 'hot', and therefore ready on demand. Clearly this isn't the case. Is there something I'm supposed to turn on that I'm missing?

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Old 01-03-2016, 11:22 AM   #2
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Check for circuit breakers on the 12volt converter.

charlie 62 - 2007 Four Winds Windsport - 2010 Ford Flex
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Old 01-03-2016, 12:47 PM   #3
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The AC/DC converter with the circuit breakers and 12V fuses under the dinette seem to be in good shape. All breakers are 'on', and the fuses are not blown. This is supposed to be the 'central panek' in this unit. Do the lights usually run just off the battery if the generator is off, and it's not hooked to shore power?
I would try to test with a 110v source if I could, but I have no 30 A service here, and the generator needs a carb rebuild.
1987 Itasca Windcruiser 37RU
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Old 01-03-2016, 01:04 PM   #4
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Your ac/dc converter will only run if you have 120 ac, shore or generator power. If you do not draw a lot of power you can use a 15 amp to 30 amp adapter plug and plug it into a standard ac wall socket in your garage/house to test with. Next I would check battery cables for a dirty connection. When you measure the 11.9 volts where are you putting the test leads?
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Old 01-03-2016, 01:35 PM   #5
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You will find 2 of these near the converter replace them both. Had a neighbor were I store my RV and he had hit and miss voltage but nothing would light up. I replaced them both everything came back to life and a lot brighter.
2003 Sightseer 33L
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Old 01-03-2016, 05:29 PM   #6
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I measured them at the batteries themselves, under the front seats. If I hook a trickle charger up to one battery, will it charge both, since they are hooked together? Or do I need to disconnect one before charging them?

Rather embarrassingly, I discovered that the lights inside all work, but the RV does have to be running for the control head to power the 12V circuits. Learn as you go, I guess.
I'll recheck to see if the Aux. Batteries are charging now that I've figured it out.
Thank you for the heads up John dale, I'll look for them and replace them.
1987 Itasca Windcruiser 37RU
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:20 AM   #7
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Hi Ho: You could just willy-nilly replace everything in the electrical system and find a loose or broken connection somewhere. The right way to trouble-shoot electrical problems is to simply make voltage measurements starting at the batteries to each point along the way. (The real problem is finding problems that are intermittent)

The lights are all powered by 12 volts.

From the battery, the next easy place to check is the solenoid that connects the batteries together when the engine is running. One side is the chassis batteries and the other side is the coach batteries. With the engine running they should both be somewhere around 14 volts. If the voltages are not the same and you have 12 volts on the control terminal the solenoid is bad.

by the way, having an Itasca is a real plus as you have complete electrical schematics available. If you don't have them in you binder, you can download them from WI.

Then move to the next place in line that is easy to get to...anyway, you get the idea.

All RV batteries are 12 volt, even when they are made up of individual batteries (6 or 12 volts) that are connected together. So, you can (and should) charge both banks with a trickle charger if things are not working as they should, as leaving batteries discharged--as yours are--is hard on the batteries.

Even if you have only a 15 amp outlet, the best thing for you batteries is to leave the coach plugged in to 120 vac. The converter (battery charger) can then keep the coach batteries charged. (Make sure you maintain the electrolyte level by adding distilled water to the batteries.) If the coach is in storage you should also keep the chassis batteries charged by installing some kind of trickle charger. (I like the Trik-L-Start or something similar)

Good luck and have fun.

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