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Old 07-07-2013, 11:16 AM   #1
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Lights dimming and brightening?

We have a 2007 Southwind and the lights will suddenly brighten and dim slightly about every 10 minutes. I asked a service tech about this and was told that the inverter is increasing voltage when it charges the house batteries and that is the bright lights that I am experiences, when it isn't charging, this is the dim lights I am noticing. We have had the coach for 4 years and have only noticed this in the last 6 months. Has this been there all along and I'm just noticing it? Are my coach batteries getting weak and requiring almost constant charging? Is my inverter going bad? It does this with generator or shore power. Thoughts?
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:17 AM   #2
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These are the 12 v interior lights that I am referring to. Thanks.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger G View Post
We have a 2007 Southwind and the lights will suddenly brighten and dim slightly about every 10 minutes. I asked a service tech about this and was told that the inverter is increasing voltage when it charges the house batteries and that is the bright lights that I am experiences, when it isn't charging, this is the dim lights I am noticing. We have had the coach for 4 years and have only noticed this in the last 6 months. Has this been there all along and I'm just noticing it? Are my coach batteries getting weak and requiring almost constant charging? Is my inverter going bad? It does this with generator or shore power. Thoughts?
I think your RV tech is right on.

My thoughts are coach batteries are getting old right off the top. But about 13.5 V should is there with the converter on and 12.5v with it off.

Suggest if you measure voltage with and without the converter charging.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:40 AM   #4
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I kind of agree that it's the converter, thing is, it would only happen if there were something wrong with the converter, the batteries, the connections, or...and this is a long shot, an intermittent short somewhere in the 12V system.

Before replacing what may be perfectly good batteries, do all the regular battery maintenance stuff, like top off the water, clean all the connections, and chase the grounds to the frame and clean those up too.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:54 AM   #5
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My first thought was a loose ground... but hadn't thought about the converter/inverter/charger possibility.
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Old 07-07-2013, 12:03 PM   #6
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It might be interesting to know how dim they get. My first thought is a bad battery (Shorted cell) causing a thermal self-resetting breaker to cycle,,, HOWEVER. if you have an inverter... That is less likely (less said breaker is inside the inverter's housing)

Question.. Does the inverter tell you how much power it is dumping into the batteries in charge mode (mine does, also tells me how much it sucks in inverter mode) if so, Pass it on.(Post numbers)

DC volts dim:
DC Amps dim:
DC volts bright:
DC amps Bright:

If inverter is not as "Chatty" as mine then hook a digital volt meter to the battery terminals and give us those numbers please. (Just volts)
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Old 07-07-2013, 01:04 PM   #7
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I'll check the voltage and the inverter brand. The house batteries are probably original, at least I haven't replaced them in the 4 years I've had it. When I say dim, the dim I am describing is probably the normal , the bright appears suddenly but it seems to dim back slowly as its not as noticeable. It is a very subtle change, it is unnoticeable in the fluorescent lights, just the 12v bulbs in the bath and bedroom.
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Old 07-07-2013, 01:12 PM   #8
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I don't have an inverter but I did change the original WFCO aka Crap converter last year when my 12v lights started doing what yours are doing . I put in a Progressive Dynamics 9260.
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Old 07-07-2013, 01:34 PM   #9
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Trailer Life magazine had the same question a few months ago. They said that the converter was getting weak and needed replacement.
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Old 07-07-2013, 03:02 PM   #10
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Your converter should hold a steady 13.6 to 13.8 volts. When I was troubleshooting this problem, I usually found it was a 12 breaker in the converter output line that was opening and allowing the voltage to drop from 13.8 to 12.7. Of course this will cause the lights to dim. The usual problem was too much draw from the converter caused by a low water level in the battery or a bad battery.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
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I'll check the voltage and the inverter brand. The house batteries are probably original, at least I haven't replaced them in the 4 years I've had it. When I say dim, the dim I am describing is probably the normal , the bright appears suddenly but it seems to dim back slowly as its not as noticeable. It is a very subtle change, it is unnoticeable in the fluorescent lights, just the 12v bulbs in the bath and bedroom.
If bulbs are dimming in only a couple places that suggests a loose wire, so try removing the 12V fuses and reinsert them several times to mechanically scrub the contacts. And swap a few of the same value around. If it is still doing it, and it doesn't change to some other lamps, I'd remove the fuse panel and tighten all the wire contacts.

If it were the converter, it would affect all the 12V lights in the RV, not just a couple in a couple places. Assuming you have 12V lamps in the LR and kitchen.

You could make a 12V bulb tester and connect it to a 12V house circuit somewhere in the LR or kitchen to monitor, if you have all florescent there. The kitchen will have 12V to various devices like water pump and heater, step lights, etc.
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Old 07-10-2013, 06:28 PM   #12
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I have an Intelatec EMS and have noticed no voltage drop or increase. The bright/ dim is so slight that while cleaning and doing normal maintainance that I never noticed it happen. It happens throughout the coach but is more noticeable in the incandescent bulbs verses the florescent bulbs. I generally notice at night while reading in the bed or in the bathroom. I left it unplugged and the coach batteries held 12.6 volts throughout the time. I'll try to do a little investigating on our next trip and let y'all know the results.
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Old 07-11-2013, 07:32 AM   #13
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It happened to me, it was the converter going bad. Replace the converter.
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Old 07-11-2013, 08:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
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It happened to me, it was the converter going bad. Replace the converter.
X 2
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