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Old 05-07-2013, 10:07 PM   #1
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Intermittent Coach Battery Charging Problem

I have a Xantrex Freedom 2000 watt inverter/charger in my coach. In the past, the three stage charger worked properly, however lately I noticed while dry camping the generator would cycle between 75 amps and 10 amps on the in coach monitor, and occasionally the panel would turn off completely. This did not affect any power to the coach, but the charging of the batteries. I also noticed when I plugged into shore power, I was charging alternately between 5 amps and 28 amps, based on power coming into the coach via my progressive industries power surge protector. One tech I talked to said it may be a defective AC transfer board in the inverter.
Does anyone out there have any other posibilities that could cause this problem. My coach is 10 years old. If this is the problem, he can fix it for $500 if I detach the unit and deliver it to him. I can purchase a new one on line for $1000.
Any recommendations? Mark
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Old 05-08-2013, 04:05 AM   #2
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Before jumping to any conclusions be sure the battery bank is in good condition and all terminals are also clean and tight. Make certain the inverter is not getting too hot and shutting down for a cool off period. You may want to blow out any dust and dirt with compressed air if so and make sure the fan on the inverter is coming on when it is under a load and producing a fair amount of heat. Also make sure the compartment the inverter is in has adequate ventilation.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:34 PM   #3
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Thanks for your reply, Mike. I replaced all 4 6 volt batteries last summer and top off with distilled water 2 or three times per year. All battery terminals are clean with no corrosion and tight. The inverter is located in a separate bay next to the battery bay, and I only store a tool box in that bay. It seems pretty clean in there. The batteries are fully charged now so the fan is not operating now. I will unplug the coach for a few days to let the batteries draw down and check for fan operation then. When you say to blow out with compressed air, are you talking blowing into the vents on the sides of the inverter or take front panel off and blow air into inverter? I am wondering if my automatic transfer switch or my progressive industries power surge protector could cause this problem?
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Old 05-09-2013, 03:36 AM   #4
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Blow out any dust and debris from inside the inverter. As long as the inverter is getting a good 120 volt ac current the charging of the battery banks should be consistent. If the ac current falls off at the time of bulk rate of charge you will need to go back to the transfer switch and the surge protector and diagnose where the problem lies. Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:56 AM   #5
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Check the inverter fan. I should be on when charging, it could be overheating and cycling to allow it to cool down.
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Old 05-14-2013, 01:34 PM   #6
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OK, I disconnected shore power for a few days, and yesterday I repowered. I guess the coach did not depleate the batteries as much as I thought as the charger only was charging 18 amps when I plugged into shore power. The inverter fan did not turn on until after 5 minutes and ran for a few minutes. When it shut down I noticed my batteries were only taking 3 amps. One hour later, I checked my panel inside the motorhome and my batteries showed green (fully charged). Outside temps were 90 degrees. Should the fan run all the time when charging or just to cool down inverter? Also, I notice my 50 amp surge protector never shows more than 29 amps entering the motorhome when plugged into shore power, while the charging panel inside the motorhome shows 75 amps going into the batteries. How can that be? I believe the only time I see more amps comming into the motorhome is when I have both air conditioners operating.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:08 PM   #7
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The thing to bare in mind is that the amp reading at your surge protector is at 120 volts whereas the amps going to the battery is at 12 volts. Your 29 amps at 120 volts would equate to 290 amps at 12 volts (ignoring any losses in the system). Your 75 amps to the battery would only require 7.5 amps from your shore power.
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Old 05-15-2013, 03:35 AM   #8
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The fan is controlled by a thermistor inside the inverter/charger and will energize the fan for cooling the unit to a set temperature. The fan will only run when it is needed.
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:01 PM   #9
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That is very interesting! I always thought when I plugged into shore power, most of the amperage was dedicated to re-charging my batteries. If only 7.5 amps are going into the batteries, than where are the other 21 amps going? When the batteries are fully charged my coach uses 2 to 3 amps for onboard systems with nothing electrical being used. Do VCR's, TV's, DVD's, Direct TV box, and other appliances require more electricity for an extended time after they sense 120 volts comming into the coach?
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:46 PM   #10
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My owners manual states the battery charger is regulated by AC voltage input, if your AC electrical draw is near 80% of line voltage it regulates battery charger output to keep from tripping the pedestal breaker. That fits with your scenario. What does your owners manual say about the subject?
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:19 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CruisinCondo View Post
That is very interesting! I always thought when I plugged into shore power, most of the amperage was dedicated to re-charging my batteries. If only 7.5 amps are going into the batteries, than where are the other 21 amps going? When the batteries are fully charged my coach uses 2 to 3 amps for onboard systems with nothing electrical being used. Do VCR's, TV's, DVD's, Direct TV box, and other appliances require more electricity for an extended time after they sense 120 volts comming into the coach?
You can identify behind the screen loads by turning off circuit breakers one at a time like water heater electric element, refrigerator, block heater, etc.
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Old 05-20-2013, 01:00 AM   #12
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Thanks all for your info. I will be bringing my coach in for service at the end of the month and have them check out my complete electrical system. I suspect the problem is in the inverter as it varies charging during the bulk rate charge cycle, whether on 120 shore power or generator power. Batteries are relatively new and clean with no corosion and all clamps are tight. The fan works inside the inverter when needed and does not run hot. The inverter is located in a very clean compartment with plenty space around it. So back to my original question, since the coach is 10 years old, would you replace the AC Transfer board for $500 or buy new unit for $1000? Mark
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Old 06-19-2013, 02:03 AM   #13
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Problem solved! I had a defective inverter battery temp sensor. Mark
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