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Old 03-18-2016, 12:34 PM   #1
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New to trailering and have an electrical problem already

I am new to trailering and bought my first ever trailer last summer and it is a 2004 Fleetwood Mallard 20 footer. It was at a trailer park last summer but I just recently moved it near my home so I could get it ready to do some boondocking.

I purchased 2 - 12 volt deep cycle batteries and hooked them up. Everything worked fine for about 20 to 30 minutes and then the power went off.

Have checked the breakers and all the fuses and they seem to be OK but I have no idea of how to tell if the main breaker is still good. Have checked the batteries and they are fully charged and OK.

So I hooked it up to the 120 AC outlet and still nothing turns on in the trailer. I know there is power coming from the outlet which is set up for an RV. Have turned off and back on all the breakers at least 3 times and still no power in the trailer.

I know nothing about trailers or RVs and know only a little bit more about electricity. Right now I do not have the money to pay the rate quoted to me to have a dealer do the work and they are book up for the next 4 to 6 months anyway. So I plan on doing the work myself if someone could point me in the right as to what steps to start doing now?

Appreciate all the advice I can get, thanks

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Old 03-18-2016, 01:07 PM   #2
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You've got two separate electrical systems in the trailer, a 12v and 120v. Most of the items will run on the 12v side and the "big" items (TV, microwave) on 120v.

Did you hookup the batteries in series or parallel. For 12v batteries you'd need to connect them in parallel to maintain the 12v output. If they were hooked up in series, you'd be outputting 24v, which could damage the 12v system.

First place I'd start checking would be the power distribution center (similar to your home's breaker panel). It will have the fuses for your 12v system along with circuit breakers for your 120v system. Check to see if any fuses are blown or circuit breakers have been tripped. You may need to replace blown fuses and reset any tripped or off breakers.

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Old 03-18-2016, 01:40 PM   #3
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This Web site is a great place to start:

The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)

There are diagrams on that page showing how to hook up 12V(and 6V) batteries. Make sure the batteries are correctly cabled together.

As "StuartN" said, the 120V and 12V systems are separate, except where they come together in the converter (assuming you have one). The converter will be connected to the power center ("breaker panel"), either with its own circuit breaker or by being plugged into a 120V outlet near the converter. If you shut off the converter's breaker, or unplug it, you can test the 120V side and the 12V side separately.

Shut off all the 120V breakers, then plug the shore power cord into an outlet. Turn on the main breaker. If nothing makes noise or smokes, turn on a breaker for a 120V-powered circuit. See if that circuit works. Check each breaker in turn. If they all work, the AC is probably OK. Shut off all the 120V breakers.

12V circuits and devices should work if the cables between the batteries and the DC fuse panel (in the power center) are intact, wired attached correctly to the batteries, and the fuses aren't blown. Turn on a DC-powered device. If it doesn't work, find the fuse that is in its circuit. Is the fuse blown? Get another one, but don't replace it yet. Check to see if there are "master" fuses or circuit breakers between the batteries and the fuse panel. Are they tripped or blown? Yes... THE STOP RIGHT THERE and check the battery cabling again! That's because these "master" fuses or circuit breakers protect the battery cables from damage, and also protect the circuits and devices attached to the fuse panel. If you just replace a master fuse or reset a DC circuit breaker without fixing the problem, you could damage the 12V wiring and devices in your trailer.

Enough info for you to get started.
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Old 03-18-2016, 02:02 PM   #4
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As for as the 120 volt side of power, if you have a GFCI outlet somewhere inside or outside, it may be wired to feed other outlets "downstream" of it. That means when it trips, the other outlets will also shut off. Reset the outlet and see if that restores power.

Google "GFCI" for more information.
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