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Old 12-25-2009, 10:53 AM   #1
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1st time out and have battery issues

Batteries went dead last night. Generator not charging them back up. Think I may have fried the inverter or charger, is there a difference in the 2 units?

Some background info:
Plugged MH into house, welder outlet, MH made BIG buzz sound , unplugged immediately. Only thing I found was that I fried both TV's (old CRT models anyway) . Now first night out and I find that the batteries won't charge by the generator or the engine. Checked the Inverter, it's in the OFF position (like the book says it's supposed to be) . I'm not familar with the batteries charging system (yet), what do I check next? All breakers and fuses that power the coach are ok. Battery door iced shut right now, so can't get into it. Is there a fuse panel in there also?

Thanks for any advice you can give.


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8500 Onan Generator

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Old 12-25-2009, 03:37 PM   #2
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I think the big BUZZ sound was not good ...

My guess is that you fried lots of stuff ... most likely your TV's, microwave, automatic line switch, ....

I say that because an electrician incorrectly wired an RV outlet in my brother-in-law's storage shed years ago ... his motorhome made a big BUZZ when he plugged it into the outlet ... everything that was 120 volts no longer worked in his motorhome ...

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Old 12-25-2009, 05:03 PM   #3
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This 50 Amp servcie link will give you additional info, and advice on the proper wiring for your outlet.

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Old 12-25-2009, 05:33 PM   #4
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Sounds like you plugged into a 220 volt outlet. It probably cooked every 110 appliance/gadget in the rig. Fridge, micro, a/c, converter/charger, etc.

Good luck. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.
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Old 12-25-2009, 05:55 PM   #5
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Hi Kerry,
I agree with the previous posts. You may have plugged into a 220 VAC line. That is very bad for a coach.

Once you get all the appliances replaced, an accessory to consider purchasing is a surge protector. This device would have at least tripped or maybe sacrificed itself to save your coach electronics. There are different brands for you to consider. This link is provided as an example. Search - surge protector - Camping World
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Old 12-25-2009, 07:29 PM   #6
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How is a welder outlet wired? I am not familiar with the term but your 50 amp motorhome service is a 240 vac service. The 2 opposing blades are each 120 vac out of phase. The round or u shaped blade is a ground and the other blade is neutral. Most motorhomes use this as 2 separate 50 amp, 120 vac circuits and do not use any 240 vac but is it potentially available. I don't know what could have happened unless the neutral or ground positions were actually carrying current.

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Old 12-25-2009, 07:34 PM   #7
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We have seen this many, many times. Someone plugs a 50 amp plug into a household "dryer" circuit thinking that this would be a good thing. I was lucky enough to have a good friend who was a professional electrician wire my household circuit for a 120V 50A circuit. Since you say you plugged into a welders circuit I suspect the above poster are correct that you plugged into a 220 circuit. This is as bad (or worse) than our friends who took their Prevost coach to Batteries Plus to have the house batteries replaced. Batteries Plus wired the house batteries into a 24 volt configuration and destroyed nearly every 12V circuit in the coach. The coach sat at Marathon Coach in OR f
or almost 6 months while the coach wiring and circuits were replaced.
You are going to need to start from scratch and see what does and does not work, system by system. It easy to tell if the inverter is charging with just a voltage meter. Turn the inverter on (whether necessary or not) and see if the battery voltage starts to climb. It will be immediate. If not, you are likely in big trouble, but it might well be as simple as a fuse. We had our inverter fail early on and a call to the manufacturer got me a tech who walked we through a step by step troubleshooting and finally to fuse which was found to be bad. A couple of dollars and a few hours later we were back in business!
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Old 12-25-2009, 08:10 PM   #8
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Every welder outlet I've seen is 240V, two hot legs and a ground. If that's the case, and you plugged your 30A cord in, I'm afraid that you got a very bad Christmas present. If you have a 50A cord, it's unlikely you could even come close to inserting it in a welder outlet.

I connect my 50A to my welder outlet thru the use of a "special connector" I made. Yes, I know that the neutral and ground can can by code only be bonded at the service, but I'm only about 3 feet away. Close enough if you are aware of what you have.
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Old 12-25-2009, 09:44 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ernieh View Post
Every welder outlet I've seen is 240V, two hot legs and a ground.

I connect my 50A to my welder outlet thru the use of a "special connector" I made. Yes, I know that the neutral and ground can can by code only be bonded at the service, but I'm only about 3 feet away. Close enough if you are aware of what you have.
I made a special conversion box and cable to allow for the use of a 240 volt 3 prong outlet for 50amp 4 prong service to my coach. A normal 3 prong 240 volt appliance outlet has 2 - 120 volt hot legs and 1 neutral leg. What's lacking is a true ground.

So I mounted the normal RV 50 amp receptacle into an outdoor heavy plastic waterproof box such that one leg of the 50amp hot is wired to one leg of the 240 hot coming into the box through the 3 prong plug. The second leg of the 50 amp hot is wired to the second leg of the 240 hot coming into the box. The neutral of the 50a mp receptacle is wired to the neutral of the 240 volt plug. The neutrals are the center spades of the two different connectors, both located in the center of the connector end. Now for the true ground of the 50 amp round type pin, I have wired a normal 120 volt 15 amp plug coming out of the box that goes into a normal 3 prong 15 amp 120 volt receptacle. The ground pin is the only one that is hooked up to the round pin of the 50 amp receptacle which is always used for ground. The two normal hot and neutral spades of the 15 amp plug are not used, the wire ends are cutoff and are not hooked to anything. The ground wire is the only thing used in that cable.

I have included photos of the two style plugs/receptacles. The X & Y are always the two Hot leads which are 120 volt on both the 50amp RV receptacle and the 50amp appliance receptacle. The W is always the Neutral on both the 50amp RV and the 50amp appliance receptacles. The G is the ground pinon the 50amp RV receptacle, however there is no ground spade or pin so I had to make one available by including another cable, 20 amp 120volt 3 prong which you can see in the very last photo.

Here is one of many links to Electrical wiring information that can be found on the Internet through a Google search.

RV Electric

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Old 12-25-2009, 11:01 PM   #10
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Been there done that. I "toasted" the microwave, inverter, and GFI outlet in the bathroom. You might want to check for any tripped or damaged GFI outlets. And then possibly replace the inverter.
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Old 12-25-2009, 11:19 PM   #11
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My "special" is a little simpler. All that I did was jumper the neutral and ground in the 4 prong recepticle and run the three conductors to the plug that goes into the welder outlet. From that point it's only three feet to the panel and there is no way to not have the ground connected. That also complies with the requirement that all wires must be in the same box, cable, or conduit.

Basically what I did is wire it the same way that dryers and ranges were wired before the mid 90's code change.
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Old 12-26-2009, 08:17 AM   #12
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Plugged MH into house, welder outlet, MH made BIG buzz sound , unplugged immediately.
Immediately is too late - you have fried several things by using a welder outlet, which is not compatible with your RV's power system.

Your inverter/charger (its all one unit) is almost surely a goner and there may be other 120v powered items that are dead as well. You probably need professional help with the RV repairs and you need to get a properly wired outlet at the house for the RV. Some others have already provided some links for further info.
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Old 12-26-2009, 09:18 AM   #13
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Welder outlet is usually 3-wire, 30-50 amp, 240 volt, a 30 amp welder outlet looks EXACTLY like a 30 amp rv outlet (in fact they are physically identical) I wish this were not the case but it is so.

You fried the converter, likely the microwave and if any televisions were on they may have gone too.. Some transfer switches will fry at that voltage (most won't) Any 120vac electronics that were active (Radio, CD/DVD, VCR, Sat receiver) may be fried.

Sorry. but here are the suggestions

Replace fried electronics (NOTE: Modern electronics do not always turn off 100%.. So some stuff MAY have survived, but much will not have)

2: Invest in a power guardian (Whomping big surge protector) such as a Progressive Dynamics

3: Measure voltage BEFORE you plug in next time
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Old 12-26-2009, 09:23 PM   #14
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Hey, Thanks for the responses.

Guess the LORD was smiling upon us ( HE does protect the dummies) . Only lost 2 TV's (which we wanted to replace anyway), everything else we checked seems fine.

Batteries did discharge. I finally turned everything off and shutdown the coach completely and left it for a couple hours. Then fired up the genset and let it run for a couple hours. The batteries now showed a FULL CHARGE! YEEHAAWW. Don't know if it was the genset or the solar panel, I really don't care, but they charged up and have been working fine for the last day & a half.

Upon return from Shreveport in a few days (depends on how the luck is running) I'll contact an electrician to just run me a feed out to the parking pad and forget about the welder outlet (NEVER AGAIN).

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