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Old 02-12-2015, 02:57 PM   #1
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Question Electrical problem -- no battery power

I am new to this site. When my trailer is connected to shore power, everything works, both AC and DC (overhead lights,etc). With the RV battery only (no shore power), nothing works even though the battery is charged.

I think the voltage when connected to shore power are as expected:
AC going into the converter: 111.4 V (later -- 115.6 V)
AC in electrical outlets (hot to neutral): 111.0, 115.6, and 116.3 V.
DC distribution panel: NEG to POS, or NEG to +VCC : 13.21 V
DC voltage across unattached battery cables at front of trailer: 13.20 V

Voltage with battery connected, no shore power:
DC voltage across battery terminals: 12.24 V
DC distribution panel: NEG to POS: 0 V. I was expecting 12.xx volts here.

In addition, the overhead lights work with the truck battery through the tow vehicle connection. Just to be sure of the RV battery, I replaced the truck battery with the RV battery (still though the tow vehicle connection) and the lights in the trailer worked.
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Old 02-12-2015, 03:53 PM   #2
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Is there an isolator somewhere in the + wire, from the battery to the DC panel? They block current from flowing 1 way. If you do, it`s in wrong.

Good luck
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Old 02-12-2015, 07:32 PM   #3
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Normal DC wiring on most all RV's looks something like this if line drawn

Battery--Switch--(Breaker or fuse)---Fuse panel----Fuse--Converter

The switch and (breaker or fuse) can be swaped, the last fuse is part of the converter assembly.

The wiring diagram for my battery control system shows a pair of POST type (PUSH, and HARD to reset) breakers,, What I have is a self resetting breaker.

The solenoid on my Battery system has worked perfectly all along,, The control switch however... Worked (or a time) only to DISCONNECT (Store) it did not work to CONNECT (use) I managed to clean it (Easier than it sounds) and it has worked since.

I have also had a cable fail..or rather almost fail (Caught it and replaced before it failed).

Grounds (the frame end of the negative cable) are good at failing.. So are connections at the battery proper.
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Old 02-12-2015, 07:36 PM   #4
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Did you make sure battery cutoff switch is turned on? It is usually by the entrance to the RV and could have been accidently hit to off position.

Good Luck!
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Old 02-12-2015, 08:45 PM   #5
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Besides checking for a battery isolation switch that shuts off the battery for storage without shore power, you might have a large 80-120 amp fuse in the cable between battery and converter/charger or fuse panel. Also check the ground cable from the battery to the frame connection. You'll have to use a meter or test light at each step along the way between battery and fuse panel. The fact that everything works when plugged in shows power from the converter/charger to the fuse panel is O.K. Is there a charging current from the converter/charger getting to the battery? The charger should boost voltage to at least 13.4 v or more to charge battery.
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Old 02-13-2015, 12:23 PM   #6
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Electrical problem -- no battery power

I am new to this forum and pleasantly surprised at the quick responses. Thanks to all. I had sent a response once to the site, but somehow it did not post, so I am trying to post this response again.

All 4 responses referred to a “battery isolation switch” ( or “isolator”, or “battery cutoff switch”, or “Battery--Switch--(Breaker or fuse)”). What does this switch look like and where is it located? I can not find anything that looks like a switch at the front of my trailer near the battery. Perhaps my Keystone Outback travel trailer (model 26RKS, 26-ft) does not have such a switch.

Comment from Bflinn181: “....Is there a charging current from the converter/charger getting to the battery? The charger should boost voltage to at least 13.4 v or more to charge battery.”
Here is what I found:
Voltage with battery connected, no shore power: DC voltage across battery terminals: 12.26 V
Voltage with battery connected, shore power ON: DC voltage across battery terminals: 12.26 V
Shore power ON, battery disconnected, DC voltage across unattached battery cables: 13.26 V
No change with AC ON, but 1 volt higher without the battery.
I do not understand this.

Voltage with battery connected, no shore power:
DC voltage across battery terminals at front of trailer: 12.24 V
DC distribution panel: NEG to POS: 0 V
The gray cable attached to the POS connector in the DC dist panel was disconnected and voltage was measured across this bare wire and the NEG connector on the DC dist panel giving a reading of 12.25 volts. I think this means that there is an intact circuit between the battery POS terminal and the DC distribution panel. Is there a relay switch/solenoid or special circuitry in the converter or on the DC distribution panel that is activated when AC voltage is detected so it turns off the battery power to the DC distribution panel? If this relay switch/solenoid or circuitry were faulty, could it give the voltages observed?

Thanks for any ideas you may have.
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Old 02-13-2015, 12:48 PM   #7
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A battery isolation switch is usually located near the entrance door. It shuts down the 12 v power so your battery isn't discharged during storage. Almost always found in Class A or C motorhomes, not sure about travel trailers.
If you're not detecting any voltage increase at the battery when shore cord is plugged in, it sounds like your converter/charger and battery aren't connected. Check on the converter/charger sides for a 'hidden' circuit breaker push button.

Generally, the converter/charger supplies all 12 v power when connected in addition to charging the battery. It doesn't switch but adds voltage when connected to shore power. Usually this can be detected by a slight increase in voltage when shore cord is connected. Since you have power on shore cord, the converter/charger is working, but seems like battery isn't connected to be charged or provide power unplugged. In the linkk below, it explains electricity in RVs, but the diagram might be a bit simplified. Is your 12 v fuse panel directly connected to your converter/charger? Often they are directly connected to the converter/charger and are supplied by power from the battery or the converter/charger. I still think it's either a connection between battery and converter or a large fuse.

The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
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Old 02-13-2015, 01:53 PM   #8
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Electrical problem -- no battery power

Quote:
Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
A battery isolation switch is usually located near the entrance door. It shuts down the 12 v power so your battery isn't discharged during storage. Almost always found in Class A or C motorhomes, not sure about travel trailers.
If you're not detecting any voltage increase at the battery when shore cord is plugged in, it sounds like your converter/charger and battery aren't connected. Check on the converter/charger sides for a 'hidden' circuit breaker push button.

Generally, the converter/charger supplies all 12 v power when connected in addition to charging the battery. It doesn't switch but adds voltage when connected to shore power. Usually this can be detected by a slight increase in voltage when shore cord is connected. Since you have power on shore cord, the converter/charger is working, but seems like battery isn't connected to be charged or provide power unplugged. In the linkk below, it explains electricity in RVs, but the diagram might be a bit simplified. Is your 12 v fuse panel directly connected to your converter/charger? Often they are directly connected to the converter/charger and are supplied by power from the battery or the converter/charger. I still think it's either a connection between battery and converter or a large fuse.

The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
The converter/charger and AC/DC distribution panel is a WFCO 8955. The converter/charger has 3 light-weight wires from the AC distribution panel (ground, ACL+ live, and ACN- neutral) and 2 heavy-weight cables going to the DC distribution panel. The converted is not directly connected to the battery. There are 2 heavy-weight cables between the DC distribution panel and the battery: One cable from the battery (POS +) goes to the DC distribution panel POS + post and one from the DC distribution panel NEG - post to a negative distribution bar.

I will look to see if there are any "hidden" push button switches on the converter. Unfortunately, my trailer is stored on some property that is a 3-hour drive from here, so I won't be able to investigate this soon.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 02-13-2015, 03:55 PM   #9
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Your symptons are of a corroded, bad connecton.

I am wondering if your truck feed wire was spliced into your wire that goes from your battery to power distribution panel. If that was done poorly, it could cause your issues.

I am thinking this because, if I understood you, you stated that when you plug in the trailer connection, things work.

The power wire from the trailer plug harness should go right to the battery, don`t know if it does.

Last thought. Pull on the terminals, that hook to the battery. They could be corroded from battety acid.


Good luck
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Old 02-13-2015, 04:14 PM   #10
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Some trailers have a small dc reset able circuit breaker near the battery. Mine is in a 4” electrical box under the front of the trailer. If you follow the red wire you might see an electrical box, remove the cover and look for what looks like a dc relay, and on the side of that is a button to push to reset it.
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Old 07-19-2015, 03:33 PM   #11
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Problem solved! Thought I would let you know what happened ---
Well, I was quite surprised and feel a little embarrassed to say that the problem was simply a bad battery connection as suggested by Twinboat. Each battery terminal has a thick lead post and a screw connection. When I used jumper cables between the thick lead posts and the battery wires, everything worked; but when the wires were connected to the screw connections on the battery, it did not work. Although the connections looked clean, there was a thin barely-visible film on top of the battery screw connection. When cleaned up, the battery worked.

Just wanted to let you know. Thanks to all.
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Old 07-19-2015, 03:44 PM   #12
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Thanks for the follow up Johnny always good to know, here is a link to help in the future.
Welcome to irv2, enjoy and safe travels.
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Old 07-20-2015, 02:11 PM   #13
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switch

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny1000 View Post
I am new to this forum and pleasantly surprised at the quick responses. Thanks to all. I had sent a response once to the site, but somehow it did not post, so I am trying to post this response again.

All 4 responses referred to a “battery isolation switch” ( or “isolator”, or “battery cutoff switch”, or “Battery--Switch--(Breaker or fuse)”). What does this switch look like and where is it located? I can not find anything that looks like a switch at the front of my trailer near the battery. Perhaps my Keystone Outback travel trailer (model 26RKS, 26-ft) does not have such a switch.

Comment from Bflinn181: “....Is there a charging current from the converter/charger getting to the battery? The charger should boost voltage to at least 13.4 v or more to charge battery.”
Here is what I found:
Voltage with battery connected, no shore power: DC voltage across battery terminals: 12.26 V
Voltage with battery connected, shore power ON: DC voltage across battery terminals: 12.26 V
Shore power ON, battery disconnected, DC voltage across unattached battery cables: 13.26 V
No change with AC ON, but 1 volt higher without the battery.
I do not understand this.

Voltage with battery connected, no shore power:
DC voltage across battery terminals at front of trailer: 12.24 V
DC distribution panel: NEG to POS: 0 V
The gray cable attached to the POS connector in the DC dist panel was disconnected and voltage was measured across this bare wire and the NEG connector on the DC dist panel giving a reading of 12.25 volts. I think this means that there is an intact circuit between the battery POS terminal and the DC distribution panel. Is there a relay switch/solenoid or special circuitry in the converter or on the DC distribution panel that is activated when AC voltage is detected so it turns off the battery power to the DC distribution panel? If this relay switch/solenoid or circuitry were faulty, could it give the voltages observed?

Thanks for any ideas you may have.
My outback has a switch located in the slam box, mine has a red handle

and is marked appropiately.

Jim
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