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Old 10-14-2013, 11:31 AM   #1
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Beginner Question on Shore Power

Hi. I am an RV beginner, and need some help understanding what to expect from my 1994 Fleetwood Tioga Class C when hooked up to a home power plug.

Right now, if I am plugged in and run my furnace during the night, it will drain my house battery and the furnace will slowly die out and stop working. At that point, I can't run the furnace or start the generator either unless I turn the ignition to the 'on' position. Then everything works again.

All lights and plugs work fine.

Shouldn't the shore power run the furnace and starter for the generator?

Please let me know if there is any more info needed to help with a solution.

Thanks for you help,

BHB
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Old 10-14-2013, 11:38 AM   #2
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Converter (battery charger) is either not working or turned off. Shore power should run the converter, which charges your battery, which runs the furnace and starts the generator. The reason the gen starts and heater works with key on is they are running on your engine battery. If that runs down, you're toast. sort of.
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Old 10-14-2013, 11:51 AM   #3
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Hi Chuck; That makes sense. Thanks for the quick response. It sounds like I am just draining the house battery without it being charged back up by the shore power?

I didn't realize you could turn the converter on and off. Any idea how I can tell, or where the switch would be to do this. I don't see anything on the humming box (converter/inverter?) beneath my dinette seat. Sorry, I just don't really know what I'm looking at/for.

I do have switch under my steering column that has two toggles. One says 'off' and 'on' and is labeled 'Emergency Start'. The other is just and up-and-down toggle that is unmarked. But I thought this was just for switching between batteries in case my main ignition battery went bad.

Thanks for your help.

BHB
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Old 10-14-2013, 12:13 PM   #4
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Emergency start is probably a switch that ties your ignition system to the house batteries. This is useful in case your engine's battery dies. Instead of finding someone to give you a jump start, you can jump yourself by using your house batteries. Just leave that switch off until you have an emergency.

If you have a voltmeter, you can check the other switch. Just check the voltage at the battery and have someone flip the switch. If the voltage jumps to over 13.2v, then your shore power battery charger is on that switch.
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Old 10-14-2013, 12:33 PM   #5
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Converter should be plugged into a household looking out let. Check the voltage there. There will be a breaker in the breaker box that can shut it off as well. To confuse the issue even more, there are usually small 12 volt fuses on the converter, check those.
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Old 10-14-2013, 01:02 PM   #6
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There is a household (looking) plug in the same compartment with the Inverter is, but nothing is plugged into it. On what I think the is inverter (the steel box with attached behind the fuse and breaker panel), I don't see anything with a fan or a fuse on it. However, the Inverter Box says it is a "C" model which has the "Battery Charging" option. It must be built into the system? None of the breakers or fuses in the panel say anything about Converter or Battery Charging.

Under my hood, I have an Intellitech Battery Disconnect, but I'm not sure if that has anything to do with my problem.

Sorry for the novice information. I appreciate your help.

BHB
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Old 10-15-2013, 09:09 AM   #7
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Battery Disconnect is most likely because most RV'ers like to let their rigs sit for months at a time. Use the disconnect when parking your RV for storage, this will prevent you from killing the battery with a small drain. Cars are the same way, either put it on a battery tender or disconnect the battery, after 4-6 months you'll have a dead battery otherwise. I doubt the battery disconnect is your problem, unless someone did some sort of custom weird install and tied your house batteries to the alternator/mainbattery.

We should all be clear here, so we are all on the same page. An inverter takes 12v DC energy and inverts it up to 120v AC. Your problem is not this, your problem is taking 120v AC and converting it down to 12v DC with a battery charger(converter).

The converter might not be plugged into an outlet, it really depends on the builder. To me, that's just a half-assed looking install. I prefer a hardwire install myself, but regardless the converter should have it's own fuses, usually directly on the unit. Depending on the builder, it may or may not be in the same place as all the other electrical equipment.

You can try looking at name brands of your boxes and model numbers. Post them up here, and we can further assist you.
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:14 PM   #8
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It could be a 20 year old converter has seen its better days not to mention the battery may be on its last days.
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:30 PM   #9
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My first motorhome was a class A built in 93. The converter was part of the fuse box assembly. All power came into this box and left from this box. You may have a similar unit that does everything. The fan was built in and you could hear it when plugged into shore power and the lights were on.
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Old 10-17-2013, 04:29 PM   #10
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Thanks Everyone.

I think my converter IS part of the fuse box assembly, but all I hear from it is a humming noise when plugged into shore. I don't see or hear anything related to a fan or switch or fuse on the unit. I have replaced both batteries. I'm starting to think that my lack of understanding on how things are supposed to work, and what equipment I have, is the root of my problems.

I have a local veteran RV guy coming tonight to get me up to speed. He comes highly recommended by a few guys I met at the racetrack, and has been doing motorhome (only) repairs since 1978.

Once I understand more, I will be back for more questions.

Much appreciated,

BHB
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Old 10-17-2013, 04:53 PM   #11
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Check voltage of house and chassis batteries when unhooked, shore power on, and when engine is running. The battery should be at about 12.6 v alone, 13.4 v or more when being charged. This will help you know how your RV is wired. The emergency start switch is usually a momentary on switch, you have to hold it on to 'jump' start the other battery bank. The other switch might be a disconnect switch, you can only know by measuring and trying. Another thought, it could switch dash radio power from chassis to house power so you can use radio when camping and not need ignition on.

Try measuring output from converter with multimeter to see if it's working. The fan might only come on when it's creating heat and if the batteries aren't hooked up, it's hardly working.
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Old 10-18-2013, 02:00 PM   #12
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As many of you suspected, it turns out that my converter is bad. A local RV repair guy diagnosed pretty quickly with his testing equipment.

New unit is ordered and will be installed next week.

I'm sure I will be back with more questions as I continue to learn. Glad you are all willing to help. Thanks.

BHB
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