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Old 07-18-2012, 04:06 PM   #1
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Question Electrical Problem

I recently started to have problems with my 12v battery not charging. Up to now, it had been working fine but this past week-end we noticed the battery was getting very low. Even though we were plugged in to CG electrical 30amp service, the battery would not charge. In fact, the only thing that was working inside was the microwave oven. The AC would not work until I replaced the battery with a new deep cycly marine battery. Everything worked fine for about 1-1/2 days and then the new battery started to get used up and wasn't charging either. I went to Menards and purchased a Stanley Battery Charger/Maintainer and that seems to have taken care of the problem temporarily. Can anyone tell me more about the power inverter and how it works in relationship to 120v power supply? I assume all of the lighting is 12v and the AC, Microwave and outlets are 120v. My fuse panel has (2) breakers on the 120v side and a bunch of automotive type fuses ranging from 5amp to 30amp on the 12v side. All of the breakers & fuses test ok. I can't figure out why the AC wouldn't work until we replaced the battery. We also discovered a GFCI that was "popped" in the bathroom and I assume this might just be the culprit and/or at least control the circuit that the inverter charger is on. Another thing that happens is the normally green light on the outside of the inverter panel turns amber and an audible beep occurs about every minute when the battery gets to a low level. Additionally, when it gets low, the lighting dims every time the AC turns on. Can anyone shed any light (no pun intended) on what I should do to troubleshoot this problem? Like I said, with the battery charger (2amp)/maintainer it appears to be working fine. My trailer is a 2003 Terry Dakota Model 829T. Thanks for helping in advance!
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Old 07-18-2012, 04:19 PM   #2
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Your 120V AC - 12V DC converter/charger is either bad are may have blown its own fuse trying to charge and keep up with a bad battery. I suspect that since you have no 12v power at all the converter/charger is bad. The converter side of this unit should give you most of the 12volts you need even without a battery un less your really over taxing it with to much 12v demand. It you have a 12v tester diconect the battery and see what is comeing from the converter/charge at the disconnected battery terminals. should be 12.5 - 13 volts if the charger side is working.
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:35 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply, you mention the inverter's own fuse, I assume this is an internal fuse? This makes sense because I haven't heard the cooling fan kick in for some time now. Is this an internal fuse and if so, how do I access it? I believe we have a Progressive Dynamics fuse box/power center. Does the entire unit pull out from the wall somehow??
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:42 PM   #4
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Thanks Chief02,
Please not my other reply to you as well, I maybe wasn't to clear in my initial problem review: We have 12v power and with a fully charged battery, I have 120v power while plugged into 30amp service at the CG. The problem is the battery (approximately 2yrs old) is not charging without adding the external trickle charger/maintainer. Additionally, when the battery gets low, it seems to impact even the 120v side because the AC won't work until I hook up a battery charger or replace the battery with one that is fully charged, unfortunately, it will not charge up like it used to. What is the relationship with 12v to 120v circuits? I thought if I was plugged into 120v 30amp service that everything should work off that, but if the battery starts to get low, everytime the AC kicks in, the lights get dimmer and dimmer as time goes on and the battery gets depleted. This takes about 1-2 days and then we are back to square one. Am I wrong in assuming that the 12v side should not have any impact on the 120v side??
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:11 PM   #5
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When you are plugged into shore power a device called a converter converts 120vac into something close to 12volts DC which both charges your battery (normallY, if needed) AND powers lights, water pump, air conditioner, water heater and Fridge control systems and more. This is not happening, the converter is not convertering.. OR the power from teh converter is NOT reaching the house.

Possible causes in line order are:

Tripped circuit breaker,, Screw loose (Breaker or other screw inside breaker box)
Bad converter, blown fuse on\in converter, loose wire (Screw loose) connecting to inverter, broken wire, broken circuit breaker, and finally the ever popular "Other"

In my case.. I'd snagged the plug (my converter pluggs in) and pulled it out. (one of those "Others" i mentioned).

Some of those are real easy to fix.

OH, Some builders put the conveter after a GFCI too, mine did not so I tend to overlook that one.

All the other stuff that's not working, A/C, Furnace, Fridge, Water heater and so on, all use 12 volts to CONTROL the 120 volt they eat big time.
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:37 PM   #6
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Thanks wa8yxm,
So, if I understand you correctly, with shore power plugged in, my battery should not even be doing anything to help with the power load? It should remain fully charged and only be necessary for use in the event that I lost or disconnect power?? If that is the case, that would explain why my lights dim as the power in the battery gets lower because the converter is not converting my 120v to 12v for the lighting as it should be. The next question is how to troubleshoot my converter??? Does the unit simply unscrew from the wall, there is no access any other way that I can tell? How do I tell if my converter is working properly? Is this one of those problems best left to a pro?
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:40 PM   #7
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I should also mention as before, once I installed a charged battery, my AC and all 120v items began to work, but they would not work with the previous battery, even though I was plugged into shore power. I thought that was a bit strange and still can't figure out what the relationship is of the 12v to the 120v for the AC??
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:18 PM   #8
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Go back and read the last line of the reply from wa8yxm again. Even though your air conditioner runs off 120 volts AC, the thermostat that controls the air conditioner uses 12 volt DC. Same for almost all your other 120 volt AC appliances. The microwave is the notable exception. It doesn't need a control circuit.

If you haven't heard the fan run in your converter for some time, chances are that the converter is dead. Without regular cleaning, those little fans tend to get clogged up with dust and/or pet hair and quit working. And without that fan working, the converter over heats and burns out.
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:43 AM   #9
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Thanks Miljet and WA8YXM for your insights.....Again, what is involved in changing the converter, is this something best left to an experienced electrician and/or RV repair shop or is it basic enough that I can do it myself? And, what should I replace it with? Should I replace the 30amp with 45-50amp??
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Old 07-19-2012, 01:18 PM   #10
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Another thing about the lights dimming.. One common issue is low line voltage in a park (Have you checked it) in this case if the converter is "Contributing" power just not charging the drop in voltage when the A/C starts can dim the lamps.

I would hope the relay does not draw THAT MUCH power (but it might).

YOu mentioned you have an inverter, sounds like the converter may be part of that device (It sometimes in) Can you please post it's make and model. And if you have a converter that is seperate... It's make and model as well.
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:34 PM   #11
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Smile

I am currently not at the CG therefore I cannot post the type of inverter/converter that I have. I will post as soon as I get the mfg info this week-end. Thanks for your help.
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:50 AM   #12
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You said you have a Progressive Dynamics power center.. These come in two types.

The one I have, well actually the Two I have (one DC one AC) are nothing more than power distribution centers, as noted one is DC (Fuses) and the other is AC) Breakes) The DC one is the best DC board I have ever seen, LED's to indicate if a f use blows.

The converte ris elsewhere and in my case the fuses are part of the converter assembly (I think they are accessable without removeing the cover but having never actually seen them I can not be sure)

IF yours is a combo-box, with DC and AC behidn the same door and the converter in the rear, the converter fuses are usually on the fuse part of that panel, NOT hidden at all. USUALLY.

What model is the power center, and/or the converter.
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:27 PM   #13
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Again, what is involved in changing the converter, is this something best left to an experienced electrician and/or RV repair shop or is it basic enough that I can do it myself?
Since we have no idea of your knowledge and/or experience with electrical circuits, no one can answer that except yourself. But I will offer the comment that since you seem to have a problem understanding the relationship between 12 volt control circuits versus 120 volt circuits, I think I would leave it to a professional.
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Old 07-21-2012, 09:33 AM   #14
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To All,
I in fact, do have a Progressive Dynamics Power Center with (5) 120v breakers on the left side (from top to bottom: 30, 20, 15, 15, & 20amp) and (12) automotive type fuses on the right side ranging from 7.5 - 25amp) I also discovered that I have a stand alone WFCO Power Converter Model WF8845 - 45amp model made by World Friendship Co., LTD. Upon further investigation, it appears that the problem was being caused by this unit becoming unplugged (in transit?). Once I plugged it in, I was able to attain 14.5v at the disconnected battery cables and everything now appears to be in order. The plug-in for this unit is in a remote area under the stove and had apparently come loose (in-transit) by things moving around. Sorry for all of the endless confusion, but it's usually the simplest problems that become the toughest to solve. Problem is solved. Thanks everyone for your input.
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