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Old 05-07-2009, 06:13 PM   #1
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Battery voltage question

03 Pace Arrow, and I can barely spell lek, lectek, lectrick, uh, lektrishatee, so please bear with me.

Aside from the inoperative converter (which gets replaced in a few weeks) I do not understand the battery voltage readings at the "control panel" vs. the battery vs. the 12 v connectors at the inop converter.

- Battery voltage on each of 2 new batteries (cables disconnected): 6.7v ea

- Battery voltage at control panel (battery cables connected): 11.98V

- With battery cables connected to converter, voltage at 12v terminals of inoperative converter (plugged into 110v): 13.7v

- With battery cables disconnected from converter, voltage at 12v terminals of inoperative converter (plugged into 110v power): 0.0v

Three questions:

#1 - Why is the voltage reading at the control panel ~1.5v lower (and occasionally almost 1.8v lower) than actual voltage at the battery?

#2 - Why is battery voltage at the inoperative converter's 12v connections slightly higher than measured voltage at the battery (converter registers 0v with the 12v cables disconnected but with 110v power to the converter)? Shouldn't it be slightly lower?

#3 - Should I be concerned with a low voltage reading at the control panel (11.98v) or just consider that to be the new "fully charged" voltage value?

All readings were taken within about a 3-4 minute period of time. Battery disconnect was OFF for all readings except for the control panel reading. (Had to turn ON the disconnect in order to get a reading on the panel.)

Hopefully it's clearer than mud? Let me know if I have really confused you.

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Old 05-07-2009, 06:57 PM   #2
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I can't explain the voltage change except that there is probably a load somewhere on the system.
I think that your "inoperative" converter is functioning even though you say it is not. 13.7 is a pretty common single stage converter voltage. Maybe there is a bad connection between the converter output and the batteries.
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Old 05-07-2009, 08:57 PM   #3
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"3. I think that your "inoperative" converter is functioning even though you say it is not. 13.7 is a pretty common single stage converter voltage. Maybe there is a bad connection between the converter output and the batteries."

Thanks for your thoughts. I don't think the converter works because with the batteries and their cables disconnected from the converter, there is no 12v power at the converter terminals. I believe there should be at least 13.6v at those terminals when 110v power is applied to the converter.
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Old 05-07-2009, 09:11 PM   #4
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In your OP something is just not computing. I have some questions for you:
1. How many house batteries do you have, are they ALL 6 or 12 volt batteries, are they connected in series or parallel?
2. Tell us your chassis battery set up too.

Voltage losses through wiring due to resistance is a possibility and the differences between your handheld VOM and the panel volt meter are also possibe explanations. But, still something is not computing in your original post.......maybe it's because it's late.
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Old 05-08-2009, 08:19 AM   #5
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Some brands of converters won't put out any voltage if they detect no load. That could explain your "no voltage at the terminals". I wouldn't replace it until you sort out the other anomalies - something is whacky in what you described. Since you say you have little electrical knowledge, you ought not to jump to conclusions.

The 6.7v at the batteries suggests you have two 6v batteries in series. They should therefore show 13.4v at the display panel. The fact that they do not indicates another problem, possibly a bad ground connection on the battery pair.

The 13.7v at the batteries with the converter on indicates the converter IS operating. That's pretty standard converter output voltage for charging. The fact that the batteries appear to be adequately charged also suggests that.

If the engine is running, your engine alternator may be charging the coach batteries too.

Is the converter the original "World Friendship" model? They DO have a tendency to fail after about 4 years and many Fleetwood owners have had to replace them, so it could possibly be dead. However, your measured results say otherwise.
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:31 AM   #6
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Lightbulb Clean the Ground

CLEAN your coach batteries GROUND CABLE... Even if it LOOKS ok.. Take it off the chassis and CLEAN it!!!..

I was about to replace some EXPENSIVE components when words I had heard before kept popping into my head... "CLEAN THE GROUND CABLE"

My converter was actually putting out 13.8V but if I measured at the batteries, I was only showing 12.48V... This is with the generator running or engine running... Would NOT charge those batteries... Couldn't get 12v lights to come on most of the time...

CLEANED the Negative coach battery cable at the chassis and now life is good... EVERYTHING now works... Lots of little gremlins seemed to disappear.. I won $1000 at the gas station with $1.. Met a fantastic lady who likes to RV and other things.. Found the best deal ever on eBay..

Not saying all this will happen to you, but at least your RV will be happy.
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:55 AM   #7
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Regarding different voltage readings at different points.

Let me ask a question.. Do you understand plumbing and water pressure?

Do you know what a flow restrictor washer is in a shower head? (It is the washer with the small hole that restricts the flow of water)

Imagine water pressure on the "City" side of that washer, perhaps 80 PSI (At my house) or 50 (In the motor home)

Now measure pressure on the head side of that washer (10psi if I'm lucky)


Well, as a certified electronics tech, which I am, I see that washer as an electronic part called a RESISTOR, it does exactly the same thing. NO difference

Also, if you were to take a small (1/2 inch) garden hose,, in fact take two of 'em 50 feet long, put a pressure gauge at the faucet and at the junction of the two hoses.. Let the water flow, again 80 PSI at the faucet, perhaps 60 or even less at the junction

That hose is like the wire in your RV, as current (Water) flows the wire has some resistance, the smaller the wire the greater the resistance

The greater the current the greater the difference in pressure

And it's that simple
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Old 05-08-2009, 08:15 PM   #8
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Elaboration

Thanks for your comments, Gary. Let me elaborate a little.

"The 6.7v at the batteries suggests you have two 6v batteries in series. They should therefore show 13.4v at the display panel. The fact that they do not indicates another problem, possibly a bad ground connection on the battery pair."

- Yes, there are 2 house batteries. They are brand new from CW with 3 hrs of engine alternator charge during the drive home from a trip. Also, I have cleaned the battery posts and their connectors as best as possible and they appear to be bright and tight.

"The 13.7v at the batteries with the converter on indicates the converter IS operating. That's pretty standard converter output voltage for charging. The fact that the batteries appear to be adequately charged also suggests that."

- I figured the 13.7 batt voltage was due to the 3 hrs of engine alternator charge from the return road trip. Would that be a wrong assumption?

"Is the converter the original "World Friendship" model? They DO have a tendency to fail after about 4 years and many Fleetwood owners have had to replace them, so it could possibly be dead."

- Converter is an Intellipower 9160. Don't know if that makes it a World Friendship model.

"However, your measured results say otherwise."

If the converter is working, why is there 0v at the converter with the batt cables disconnected from converter? Seems like it should read something more than 0v. Does the converter have to have a load for it to produce even a slight voltage?

Thanks for your help.

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Old 05-09-2009, 07:20 AM   #9
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Yes, the 13.7v could have been produced by the engine alternator. However, that voltage would not remain long after the engine was shut off unless there is no load at all on the batteries.

The PD 9160 is not one of the converters that needs to have a load in order to show a measurable voltage. The fact that you have a PD converter indicates the original (which would have been the World Friendship brand) has already been replaced once. PD makes an excellent converter and a failure would surprise me. However, it does have two fuses right on the converter to protect against reverse polarity hook-ups. Test those fuses to make sure they are not blown. Here is a link to troubleshooting help for the PD 9160: http://www.progressivedyn.com/troubl...g_pwr_con.html
Note that you cannot check converter output voltage with the Charge Wizard optional device plugged into the 9160.
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Old 05-10-2009, 12:21 PM   #10
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PD website

Gary

Thanks for the link to the PD website.

When I tested the converter previously I removed both the pos and neg cables and got a 0v reading. The T/S directions on the website says to remove the positive cable and does not mention the neg. I assume what I did and what PD recommends will both produce identical readings, in my case 0v.

As for the Charge Wizard, if I have it I am not aware of it. What does the Wizard look like? Is it plugged in next to the 2 external fuses (where there is one empty fuse location) or internally?

The two fuses look good, although I did not do a continuity check of them. They are 30A fuses which normally are very easy to ID if they have blown. I will get two new fuses to see if the old ones are bad.

Also, I removed the neg cable from the chassis 12v battery and checked the voltage with everything off on the coach. Voltage was 13.6. Then I went to the control panel and it indicated a voltage of 12.1v. Again it is ~1.5v lower at the panel than at the battery, just like the house batteries. Beginning to wonder if my digital voltmeter is out of calibration.

Strange

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Old 05-10-2009, 01:40 PM   #11
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Do check the continuity of the fuse - eyeballing them is too unreliable, though I agree that it should be easy to see on a 30A fuse.

The Charge Wizard is a tiny gadget with short wires and what looks like a phone plug on the end and it plugs into a phone-type outlet. Here is what it looks like:
PD9105, PD9105G Charge Wizard

There is some problem with the wiring because your display panel is not seeing the true voltage on the batteries.

The charge on your batteries seems to be staying up nicely, so its hard to believe they are not getting a charge from somewhere. Suggest you put several lights on and leave them on for 3-4 hours and see what happens to the voltage. Leave the converter plugged in and powered on.
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:31 PM   #12
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I don't know how to get this across to people... TAKE THE GROUND WIRE OFF AND CLEAN IT!!!!

Let me explain how I found mine was bad... First, my brand new Trojan t105's were NOT charging even though the charge wizard said they were... My converter was replaced by Fleetwood and the output checked by the tech's... Plugged into shore power for 3 days and the batteries went dead! Drove home 100 miles and they still didn't charge!!! About to replace the Battery Control Center board for $180... My son and I were talking about it and he said "Dad, did you really check the ground? I remember thats what you taught me was, always check the simplest things first on my VW Bug". with his words still in my head... I did just that. I started the generator and put a meter to the batteries.. across the 2, 6V I was getting 12.48, BUT!!!!!!!! I took the meter lead off the Ground terminal of the battery and touched it to a screw that I knew was a good ground... 13.8VOLTS!!!!!!!!! CRAP!!! Thats all it was.. a BAD Ground!!! Life is now good... EVERYTHING now seems to work or work better.. Even those holding tank gages are now right on...
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Old 05-11-2009, 10:40 PM   #13
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Shore Power

"There is some problem with the wiring because your display panel is not seeing the true voltage on the batteries.

The charge on your batteries seems to be staying up nicely, so its hard to believe they are not getting a charge from somewhere. Suggest you put several lights on and leave them on for 3-4 hours and see what happens to the voltage. Leave the converter plugged in and powered on."

Gary

Moved the coach today and plugged in shore power to cool the fridge for our Wed departure north.

Before plugging in shore power, I changed out the 30A fuses. Before and after plugging in, checked house batteries on the control panel and they showed 13.2v after a 20 min drive to home (personally I think this charge is only from the engine alternator).

After shut down and only on shore power, started the fridge and turned on some 12v lights. After about 1 hr on shore power, the panel showed 12.1v. Then, after 8 hrs on shore power the panel showed 11.7v. I expect it will continue to decline and tomorrow AM it will be even lower.

I think any charge the batteries now receive are only from the engine alternator. I'm convinced when running on gen or shore power the converter is not functional.

I'm sure you are right, Gary. There must be something wrong with the control panel. In addition to a defective converter, I wonder if it is a control panel calibration issue or the result of a power surge at a recent RV park, or something else like that.

Unfortunately, I think I'm looking at a new converter and also paying for a tech to solve the control panel issue.
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Old 05-11-2009, 11:01 PM   #14
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Ground

"Drove home 100 miles and they still didn't charge!!! About to replace the Battery Control Center board for $180... My son and I were talking about it and he said "Dad, did you really check the ground? "

Rick

I agree with what you said in your post. However, unlike your experience mentioned, when I start the engine (for even a few minutes) I get an almost immediate 13.6v reading at the engine and the house batteries. Wouldn't that indicate a good ground is present?
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