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Old 03-07-2012, 12:30 PM   #1
yax
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Major electrical problems...

I full time in 2005 sierra by Forest River. Recently, my family and I spent 3 months out of the fifth wheel traveler. Before we left I had an electrical problem- most likely a circuit short (same fuse kept blowing). It was so close to when we were leaving I decided to fix it when we got back.

We arrived home yesterday. I turned back on all fuses (I turned all fuses off) only to find that a lot of my electrics weren't working. Most crucially the electrical ignitions for my water heater and furnace- but also the refrigerator and most of the trailers lighters. I checked all the fuses and there doesn't appear to a problem with any of them- except the one that already had issues.

So I am in a bit of pickle (we stayed elsewhere last night). It seems to be a major problem with something big out, but I am wondering if anyone had similar problems and what might actually be out?
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:52 PM   #2
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I am confused. Are you talking about AC or DC electric? What confused me is you say you turned off the fuses. I never heard about the ability to turn off a fuse. Are you talking about the circuit breakers? If so then we are talking about the AC power. One issue that will drive you crazy in an RV having AC Power issues is a loose neutral wire. RV manufactures use outlets with speed connectors (2 blades that they just push the wire inbetween). The wires on these outlets have a tendancy to come loose when bouncing down the highway.

If you are talking about the DC power, check the power convertor to see if you have two ouput legs (2 white and 2 black wires) and check the fuses on the power convertor (they should be near the power cord).

BTW -welcome to iRV2. I'm sure you will get help.
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Old 03-07-2012, 01:01 PM   #3
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I am confused. Are you talking about AC or DC electric? What confused me is you say you turned off the fuses. I never heard about the ability to turn off a fuse. Are you talking about the circuit breakers? If so then we are talking about the AC power. If you are talking about the DC power, check the power convertor to see if you have two ouput legs and check the fuses on the power convertor (they should be near the power cord).

BTW -welcome to iRV2. I'm sure you will get help, but (at least) I need more clarification.
Yes... sorry the circuit powers. Yes I believe that it is AC power. (sorry I am not too much of a handy man, and have very little experience with electrical systems).

The only slight hunch I have is that it could be the converter that converts 110v to 12v. But I think the fridge runs on 12v and that is working.
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Old 03-07-2012, 01:11 PM   #4
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Yes... sorry the circuit powers. Yes I believe that it is AC power. (sorry I am not too much of a handy man, and have very little experience with electrical systems).

The only slight hunch I have is that it could be the converter that converts 110v to 12v. But I think the fridge runs on 12v and that is working.
OK. The fridge uses both AC and DC. the control circuitry runs on DC power, but the fridge will run on either AC or LPG. Check to see if it is in AC mode or Gas.

Most of the lights in an RV are 12V DC. The only 2 AC lights in my 5er are the reading lights in the living room.

Check you GFI outlets to see if any are tripped (will have a red light on) if so, press the reset button. Many times they will put a string of outlets after the GFI outlet. All of those outlets will go dead if the GFI trips. You should have at least 2 GFI's; one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom areas. Otherwise you will have to see what circuits are working and which are not. Get a outlet test plug (home depot or lowes) and start checking outlets. Expecially the outlet that the Power Convertor is plugged into. If you have a group of outlets not working you may need to contact Forest River for a wiring diagram.
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Old 03-07-2012, 01:30 PM   #5
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The fridge and in fact all the circuits you cited in your first post (Fridge, Furnace, Water heater. and the lights) are all 12 volt items.. IF the converter is not working, and the batteries are dead. then they do not work.

If the converter *IS* working, and the batteries are dead, they may well still not work.

If you let the trailer sit for a long period with all breakers off, the batteries ARE dead.

However.... YOu should still be getting power from the converter. less it popped it's fuses.

Do you know what make and model converter you have. NOTE: If your fuses and circuit breakers are behind the SAME DOOR, the converter may be part of that assembley, what is the make and model of the door (This is not absolute, alas, in this post almost noting is absolute,, I'm fishing for leads to the answer)
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:21 PM   #6
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Thanks for your help guys. I'll get back to you on specifics.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:13 PM   #7
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Apologies for not posting this update sooner.... but this was a battery related problem. Unconnecting battery and manually charging it fixed the problem!
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Old 04-05-2012, 02:08 PM   #8
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Edit: The problem is almost fix not quite. The battery is not holding charge would I be correct in thinking that this is probably the charging cable or is there something else that could cause that problem?.
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Old 04-05-2012, 02:13 PM   #9
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Have you checked the electrolyte levels?

Older single stage converters have a bad tendency to overcharge and fry batteries- your battery may be shot, even if the converter is functioning.
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Old 04-05-2012, 02:31 PM   #10
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Have you checked the electrolyte levels?

Older single stage converters have a bad tendency to overcharge and fry batteries- your battery may be shot, even if the converter is functioning.
Even if the battery chargers when I connect it to a car battery charger it may still be shot?

Haven't checked the electrolyte levels...
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Old 04-05-2012, 02:49 PM   #11
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You said that unhooking the battery and charging it "Fixed" the problem

Check your converter, they do fail and if it's not providing power then the time to upgrade it is now.. What make and model converter do you have (NOTE in some cases that info is on the power center door, In those cases both 12 volt fuses and 120 volt breakers are normally behind the same door).

To test the converter method 1: Disconnect the battery plug into shore power and turn on some lights. they should all be bright. If dark, problem located.
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:24 PM   #12
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Yes, a bad battery can accept a charge, but if it has an internal short (like when the sulfates at the bottom reach one of the plates) it will immediately start discharging even without a load.

Pull the battery out and take it to a battery retailer for testing. Even if your converter is functioning, consider replacing your single stage converter with a modern 3-stage converter.
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:36 PM   #13
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You haven't said whether or not you are remaining hooked up to shore power while you are checking this problem out.

If you are unhooked from shore power and running strictly on batteries,(and if you are not using an inverter for heavy-draw 120v appliances), lights and water pump use alone should take several days to pull down a good battery. If it goes dead rapidly (in less than one day), you can presume you have a shot battery.

If the battery goes dead rapidly while you are hooked up to shore power, it is still most likely the battery's fault- if it goes dead slowly, it may be that (depending on how your 12 volt system is wired) that the cable from converter to battery or the battery ground is faulty.

If the 12 volt lights and water pump still work when hooked up to shore power even if battery is dead, your converter is functioning adequately. If 12 volt system does NOT work when hooked up to shore power, your converter (or converter wiring) is the likely culprit.
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:38 PM   #14
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Unless you have an AGM or gel battery, you should ALWAYS check the electrolyte levels of a don't-know-why-its-dead battery before charging it.

The water should be at least 1/4" above the top of the plates.
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