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Old 11-22-2015, 12:21 PM   #1
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Power to one cabinet only delivering 80v?

My wife and I are new to full time RVing and recently bought a preowned Fleetwood Southwind 37U. We are working through identifying and corrected the inevitable maintenance issues. The day we picked it up I discovered that items plugged into one of three outlets in the entertainment cabinets right behind the passenger seat would not power on. It took a couple of weeks because issues with the water heater took first priority. So yesterday I started tackling tracking down that issue. I discovered two data points: The outlets in question are live but are only showing 80Vac. And they are on a seperate circuit from other outlets in the RV as I had previously determined which beaker the rest of the outlets are on and had that breaker off but still had voltage at the target outlets. I removed some interior panels in the cabinet to trace the wiring and located the incoming wire from the harness. I disconnected all outlets and measured the voltage across the hot and neutral wires directly and it is only 80Vac.

Any ideas would be much apreaciated!
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Old 11-22-2015, 12:32 PM   #2
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Is the power good at the circuit breaker?

Most RV's run circuits that are daisy chained, through a GFIC outlet, make sure you have located all the GFICs in your RV to be sure that power into and through them is correct.

Also the possibility of an invertor in the AV circuitry, that might ; like mine be manual change over.
Could you add the year of your coach to the post.
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Old 11-22-2015, 12:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikaho View Post
My wife and I are new to full time RVing and recently bought a preowned Fleetwood Southwind 37U. We are working through identifying and corrected the inevitable maintenance issues. The day we picked it up I discovered that items plugged into one of three outlets in the entertainment cabinets right behind the passenger seat would not power on. It took a couple of weeks because issues with the water heater took first priority. So yesterday I started tackling tracking down that issue. I discovered two data points: The outlets in question are live but are only showing 80Vac. And they are on a seperate circuit from other outlets in the RV as I had previously determined which beaker the rest of the outlets are on and had that breaker off but still had voltage at the target outlets. I removed some interior panels in the cabinet to trace the wiring and located the incoming wire from the harness. I disconnected all outlets and measured the voltage across the hot and neutral wires directly and it is only 80Vac.
Any ideas would be much apreaciated!
mikaho
Do you have that "80VAC problem" when you are connected to shore power?...
OR when running the generator?...
OR when using the inverter....
OR some combination of those 3 120VAC power sources?
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Old 11-22-2015, 01:17 PM   #4
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Our Southwind is a 2002

I've only found two GFI outlets: one in the kitchen which is on the main outlet circuit and the one in the bathroom which is on a separate circuit but I haven't identified that circuit yet. So, I'll locate that circuit breaker and see if that one is also protecting the entertainment cabinet.

We are on shore power.

I'm new enough that I did not even consider the inverter. When I first realized the voltage was low on those outlets, my first thought was are they connected to to 12vdc? I dismissed that because that would be useless but obviously that is the purpose of the inverter. So my followup question is how do I check the inverter? I'm not sure where it even is in coach or how to tell if it is on or off.
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Old 11-22-2015, 02:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mikaho View Post
Our Southwind is a 2002

I've only found two GFI outlets: one in the kitchen which is on the main outlet circuit and the one in the bathroom which is on a separate circuit but I haven't identified that circuit yet. So, I'll locate that circuit breaker and see if that one is also protecting the entertainment cabinet.

We are on shore power.

I'm new enough that I did not even consider the inverter. When I first realized the voltage was low on those outlets, my first thought was are they connected to to 12vdc? I dismissed that because that would be useless but obviously that is the purpose of the inverter. So my followup question is how do I check the inverter? I'm not sure where it even is in coach or how to tell if it is on or off.
Do you have a generator? Are the symptoms the same with generator running? My inverter is in one of the bays mounted in the overhead area. I've seen them all over the place on MHs. Look for an electrical type box that will have large DC cables (like battery cables) hooked up to it. They sometimes have reset buttons on them. Good luck.
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Old 11-22-2015, 03:48 PM   #6
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Unplug the shore line. Check the neutral wires at the 110V. electrical panel. Look for signs of brown, which could indicate arcing, wires where they go under the panel screws. It sounds like you have a loose or corroded neutral connection to me. (white wire)
Loosen and tighten every wire. While you are at it you could remove and coat each connection with a Di-Electric silicone compound too. Tighten each wire securely. You could also do the ground wires at this time also.
Plug it back into shore power and recheck voltage on the plug(s) in question.
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Old 11-22-2015, 06:23 PM   #7
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Several possible issues starting with a good old bad connection.

But.. The Electronics outlets (TV/Audio/Sat) are often powered via an Inverter.. This device could be faulty or the house batteries could be so low it's malfunctioning.. (though it should shut down if that happens).

They are NOT generally run via the GFCI in the bathroom.. They may have their own, but not often since it's all grounded hardware.
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Old 11-22-2015, 06:46 PM   #8
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I'm thinking a modified sine wave inverter that might be nearing end of life. Depending on the type of meter you are using to check the circuit in question a modified sine wave can show less voltage than pure sine wave power. Can't recall if you'll need a true RMS meter or something to that effect.

Try this, unplug the coach from shore power and check the circuit again. If you still have volts then definitely there's an invertor somewhere. Usually it is installed as close as possible to the coach batteries to keep the DC power cable run as short as possible but it could also be with your convertor/charger. An invertor does need some ventilation so it doesn't overheat and shut down so it shouldn't be buried too deep.
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Old 11-22-2015, 06:50 PM   #9
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Plug an extension cord into a good outlet.

If rv is 30 amp then all on same phase.

Check voltage from cord to outlet like hole to like hole.

All should read zero but the hot (small) leg may read 30 due to low voltage.

If the neutral (large) reads a voltage then bad ground.

Assuming you have checked at breaker.

If breaker good then turn off all but bad one then check voltage at all.

They are daisy chained with the finest outlets that 25 cents can buy so there may be a bad connection or defect at one of the outlets.

Others advise maintenance procedures which are great but only carefully make measurements until you find the issue.

Fix the issue then try to break it by wiggling or tugging then once satisfied repair is sound then proceed with maintenance issues but TEST YOUR WORK OFTEN to be sure you do not create new problems.
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Old 11-22-2015, 08:39 PM   #10
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If this IS a circuit from your inverter, and you are not using a 'true rms' voltmeter, then the voltage reading is not accurate and everything is probably OK. I tossed a couple of UPS units before I figured this out.
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Old 11-23-2015, 09:25 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the thoughts.

Here is some additional info based on comments above.

The CONverter is under the fridge and is not a combo converter/inverter. I couldn't find an inverter and when I unplugged shore power all outlets were dead so I believe that means there is definitively no inverter.

I located which breaker the outlets are on. The breaker in question is protecting the outlets in the entertainment cabinet and the outlets in the cabinets above the dash board. All of those outlets are showing 100v tonight. When I put a meter on just the wire leads yesterday they read 80v. Those readings are with no loads running. I'm not sure how to put a load on the circuit since nothing I plug into the outlets powers up.

I put a volt-meter on the breaker and it is showing 120v.

I did the extension cord test and got 0v on both long and short slots. I believe that means ground is good?

I have not tested on Generator power yet.

My multi-meter is analog but since I am not dealing with a MSF inverter should that matter?

I appreciate the suggestions above and any other ideas. I'm assuming the above results indicate an issue in the wiring between the breaker and the first outlet?
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Old 11-23-2015, 09:28 PM   #12
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If you have power into the breaker and none or low volts out then replace the breaker. Very simple to replace.


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Old 11-23-2015, 09:35 PM   #13
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Toni,

One of your steps was: "If breaker good then turn off all but bad one then check voltage at all." I'm not quite sure what you mean. Do you mean to turn off all breakers except the one for the entertainment cabinet and then recheck the cabinet outlets?
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Old 11-24-2015, 07:57 AM   #14
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It sounds like you were on inverter when you first measured those outlets. You cannot accurately measure voltage with a conventional meter and the output from a modified sine wave inverter. On shore power, you measured a conventional 120 v. It actually sounds like everything is normal and you have no problems.
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