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Old 03-07-2007, 01:59 PM   #1
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OK, I went to the camper today to check what I needed to restock for our trip this weekend. I was also planning on turning the fridge to propane so that I could see if it was working when we picked it up tomorrow for our departure.

Anyway, I went in and turned on a light to see. It did not come on. The battery was empty. It is a new battery, put in in late Dec when we bought it. We used it in late Jan as well, but have not since. Would the battery drain that fast?

OK, next I hooked up the van to the camper and let it run for about 20 minutes while I took care of my checklist. I then disconnected and checked the battery meter thingy in the bathroom. It read 3/4 full. I then turned the propane on and attempted to start the fridge. It would not turn on. I then checked the battery charge and it was empty.

Now for the questions... Was 20 minutes long enough to get a charge into the battery enough to start the fridge? Will the battery charge when hooked up to shore power? Will our 2 hr drive tomorrow be enough to charge the battery? Do I have an inverter? Isn't the inverter the thing that charges the battery? If so, where can I find it? You guys told me that the fridge needs 12V to run on propane, does it also need 12V to run on the electric? If so, could a battery problem be the problem with my fridge? Hopefully it is something this easy and inexpensive.

OK, now you guys must forgive me for such silly questions for 3 reasons... 1) I am still a newbie, 2) I am young, and 3) I am blonde.

Thanks in advance for the help, AGAIN.
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Old 03-07-2007, 01:59 PM   #2
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OK, I went to the camper today to check what I needed to restock for our trip this weekend. I was also planning on turning the fridge to propane so that I could see if it was working when we picked it up tomorrow for our departure.

Anyway, I went in and turned on a light to see. It did not come on. The battery was empty. It is a new battery, put in in late Dec when we bought it. We used it in late Jan as well, but have not since. Would the battery drain that fast?

OK, next I hooked up the van to the camper and let it run for about 20 minutes while I took care of my checklist. I then disconnected and checked the battery meter thingy in the bathroom. It read 3/4 full. I then turned the propane on and attempted to start the fridge. It would not turn on. I then checked the battery charge and it was empty.

Now for the questions... Was 20 minutes long enough to get a charge into the battery enough to start the fridge? Will the battery charge when hooked up to shore power? Will our 2 hr drive tomorrow be enough to charge the battery? Do I have an inverter? Isn't the inverter the thing that charges the battery? If so, where can I find it? You guys told me that the fridge needs 12V to run on propane, does it also need 12V to run on the electric? If so, could a battery problem be the problem with my fridge? Hopefully it is something this easy and inexpensive.

OK, now you guys must forgive me for such silly questions for 3 reasons... 1) I am still a newbie, 2) I am young, and 3) I am blonde.

Thanks in advance for the help, AGAIN.
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Old 03-07-2007, 07:31 PM   #3
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Now for the questions... Was 20 minutes long enough to get a charge into the battery enough to start the fridge? No A dead Battery that show 3/4 charge after 20 min is probable bad.
Will the battery charge when hooked up to shore power? Yes
Will our 2 hr drive tomorrow be enough to charge the battery? 2 Hr will not charge it completely
Do I have an inverter? No You have a converter.
Isn't the inverter the thing that charges the battery? No It makes 120 Volts out of the 12 volts
If so, where can I find it? your converter will be under a kitchen cabinet or maybe your couch.
You guys told me that the fridge needs 12V to run on propane, does it also need 12V to run on the electric? Yes
If so, could a battery problem be the problem with my fridge? Yes if you are not hooked up to power.
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Old 03-08-2007, 01:14 AM   #4
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Sandra, I suggest you have the battery checked to be sure it is good. You could have a bad cell. If not a bad cell there was some 12 volt power source left on the last time you used it.
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Old 03-08-2007, 04:23 AM   #5
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A good battery can lose a charge in that time.
There are drains on it when just sitting, the lp detector is one. I added a switch to ours so I can turn it off when in storage.
there maay be other drains depending whats on your rig.
a good idea might be a battery cutoff switch.
Have your battery charged and tested before replacing. I think sometimes they show more charge for a short time after charging as you did.
I've heard it refered to as a "surface charge".
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Old 03-08-2007, 05:06 AM   #6
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Wow, you guys are awesome!

So I guess it is the converter that charges the battery?

OK, then since I was hooked up to electric and my fridge still acted up, it is not the simple solution I was looking for.

I will have AAA check out my battery when we get back from our trip this weekend. I will plan on keeping our food in the cooler until I know what's up with the fridge. I will keep some sodas in it and see what happens. I will run it on propane first and then switch to electric and see. Luckily it will be a cool weekend so I won't have to keep putting ice in the cooler.

As for the fridge... I think I am just going to replace it if I can't get it working. Not looking forward to spending $200 on labor, but none of us know enough about it to do it ourselves. Like, dh said, still cheaper than a new camper. I like this camper and don't mind a little tweaking here and there. Although replacing the fridge is not "little".

Now, to make sure I got all the info correct. I have a CONverter not an INverter. The converter will charge the battery when hooked up to shore power. If I am hooked to shore power and the fridge still did not work on electric, then it is the fridge and not the battery. Did I get it right?

Thanks again for all the input and prompt responses. I don't know what I would do w/o you guys and can't wait to meet everyone at the rally.
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Old 03-08-2007, 05:45 AM   #7
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by mamaloya:
Wow, you guys are awesome!

So I guess it is the converter that charges the battery? **** Yes it is

OK, then since I was hooked up to electric and my fridge still acted up, it is not the simple solution I was looking for. **** It still may be a lack of power and the output on the converter should be checked. Also the gas burner and/or vent stack need to be checked on the fridge. Did it work on shore power alone with the electric option chosen or auto (I am guessing it is a 2 way so you have a choice of propane/electric)?
I will have AAA check out my battery when we get back from our trip this weekend. ***** An excellent idea however a battery shop would be better and it needs to be on a charger prior to the check.
I will plan on keeping our food in the cooler until I know what's up with the fridge. I will keep some sodas in it and see what happens. I will run it on propane first and then switch to electric and see.****Does the burner light and STAY lit? If so the vent/chimney is likely dirty.
Luckily it will be a cool weekend so I won't have to keep putting ice in the cooler.

As for the fridge... I think I am just going to replace it if I can't get it working. ****A very expensive option that I would only consider after the old one was declared DOA by someone who knows absorption fridges...I have had some that were 35 years old and still working fine with an occasional cleaning.
Not looking forward to spending $200 on labor, but none of us know enough about it to do it ourselves.**** If you have a good power source, heat produced by the electric element when on shore power and the burner lights correctly and stays lit then it should not take a knowledgable person long to determine if the cooling system is defective....200 sounds a bit high but then I'm old!
Like, dh said, still cheaper than a new camper. I like this camper and don't mind a little tweaking here and there. Although replacing the fridge is not "little". **** Alot of truth in that.
Now, to make sure I got all the info correct. I have a CONverter not an INverter.**** Yes
The converter will charge the battery when hooked up to shore power. ***** Only if the battery is in good condition as well as the converter.
If I am hooked to shore power and the fridge still did not work on electric, then it is the fridge and not the battery. **** Probably...not for sure as if the output (which should be about 13 to 14 volts) is less that 12 the "brain" of the fridge may be 'confused' and fail to switch properly.
Did I get it right?***You are a quick study!!

Thanks again for all the input and prompt responses. I don't know what I would do w/o you guys and can't wait to meet everyone at the rally. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>****Wish we could attend one this year but....DD's wedding is the current focus.
Good Luck
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Old 03-08-2007, 01:20 PM   #8
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Sandra, before spending over $800 to replace the frig cooling unit there are some easy free things to do first. Remove the battery terminals and clean both the cable clamp and battery post. Make sure all connections are clean and tight. Make sure the battery is full to the split ring with distilled/de-ionized water(remove caps and you'll see the split ring just above the plates). Now use a auto battery charger directly on the battery posts/clamps to re-charge the battery. The formula for finding how long to charge a battery is to divide the battery's amp-hours by the output of the charger. For instance, a battery having 100AH being charged by a 10A charger requires 10 hours to re-charge a depleted/flat battery. The battery FAQ website should answer most questions.
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Old 03-11-2007, 04:54 PM   #9
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Thanks for all of the advice. Once again, you guys are awesome and indispensible.

As for my probs, I have good news and bad news. Bad news is that I am blonder than I thought. Good news is that there is no problem. It was totally user error. I left a light on when we stored it, I turned the knob the wrong way for electric, there was air in the propane line, and I am so embarrassed.

Well, at least I got a little education out of it all.
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Old 03-11-2007, 05:49 PM   #10
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Sandra, we have all been there thats how we all learn, its just remembering everything is whats the hardest.
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Old 03-11-2007, 05:51 PM   #11
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Mamaloya

Been there and done that! (Or something similar)

Anybody that says that they haven't made stupid mistakes is lying. At least you are brave enough to admit it and didn't try to "snow"¯ everybody! That is what is called the learning curve.

After 7 years in the US Navy Nuclear Submarine Service then working 27 years in the Nuclear R&D industry, the most valuable that I have learned is "there is no such thing as a DUMB question, only DUMB answers"¯

May you have fair winds and following seas!

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Old 03-12-2007, 12:54 AM   #12
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Sandra, glad to hear that you have gotten the ref. going again. Take care.
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Old 03-12-2007, 05:30 AM   #13
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Thanks for all of your patience guys.
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Old 03-18-2007, 07:06 PM   #14
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I have been RV'ing since 1979 and 5 years of that was full time, but even so, I still use a check in list and a check out list. It has saved me a bucket full of money over time, especially now that I am 75 and my memory is more convenient then accurate
Best to you in your ventures.
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