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Old 09-30-2010, 02:42 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Erial, NJ
Posts: 35
93 Coachmen Santara power problems

Hello everyone. I'm new to the forum and the rv-ing community. My wife and I purchased a 1993 Coachmen Santara in pretty good shape, however, the rig has some minor issues I'm hoping won't be too much of a hassle to remedy. The most important one being the power gremlins. When I'm plugged in to shore power, the only things that work are the clock on the microwave and the air conditioner. the cabin lights go on VERY dimly when you step in the right place on the step (that's how I found the coach battery.) When the generator is running, the cabin lights are nice and bright, the fridge works, and the air conditioner works. The fridge won't work when you switch it to gas, even though the panel AND the bottle read half a tank. I did notice that the cabin battery is just a regular automotive battery and not a deep cycle battery. But regardless, shouldn't EVERYTHING run when I'm plugged in to the shore power anyway??

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Old 10-01-2010, 03:08 AM   #2
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Hello Hooper and . We are glad to have you join us here and we look forward to reading of your adventures and experiences. I am sure you will enjoy the website and forums. Good luck, stay safe and keep us posted.
It sounds like a scenario I ran across on a diesel coach where the generator puts out 12 vdc back to the battery, which in this case is the 4 six volt house batteries. The problem was that the inverter/charger was not getting 120vac and so could not charge the batteries. I found the circuit breaker feeding it tripped. Reset breaker and then batteries could charge.
Make certain that the house battery disconnect is on, all circuit breakers are on, all ground connections are good, (sounds like a loose connection near entry steps), battery cable connections are good. When plugged into shore power, you should see an increase in dc voltage at the batteries from the charger. If not then check that there is indeed 120vac feeding the charger and that there is around 13.8 coming out. If not then, correct whatever is incorrect. If you do have power feeding the charger but none coming out; the charger is bad. Let us know what you find and we can help you. Is this a diesel or gas Santara?

Mike, RVIA & RVSA Certified Master RV Technician
Amy, Dr. Assistant - Roxie & Mei Ling, four legs each
2000 Gulf Stream Scenic Cruiser 450 hp & 1330# torque
06 Saturn Vue, 06 Chevy Z71 4x4 & 2014 Corvette Z51 M7
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Old 10-01-2010, 01:36 PM   #3
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Hi Hooper,

Welcome to the forums and hope you get your electrical Gremlins corrected. I think RV Wizard has the correct suggestions. Let us know what you find out.

Is your Santara a Class C (van chassis) or a "big box" Class A like mine - they made them both styles just to keep us all confused. So far I'm really enjoying my big Santara.
1995 Coachmen Santara 360MB 36' w/slide.
Ford F53/460 chassis, 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee "toad"
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:28 PM   #4
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I am not sure of this but, is there a plug on the opposite end of the power cord that has to be plugged in & the Generator unplugged? I seem to remeber reading this on the forum here in the past. Mike the RV Wizard may be able to answer this.

Welcome to the forum.
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:47 PM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: South Jersey
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I would load test house battery. Most auto parts houses do this for free. My guess is a battery replacememt after checking connections including frame ground.
Kathy & George Zimm
Mickleton, NJ
2006 Coachman Epic & 2013 Chevy Equinox Toad
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Old 10-04-2010, 03:33 PM   #6
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Location: Erial, NJ
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Hi everyone, sorry it took so long to get back. I spent the weekend helping a friend move (the privileges of owning a van). Wizard, I checked the fuses and they all seem good. I believe I will replace them anyway to make sure. The connections to the house battery all seem good also. Would you recommend I replace it with a deep cycle battery?
Nick, it's a class c, glad you told me they came in a class a, I'll make sure I specify it's a class c from now on.
DS, I'm going to look underneath and see if I can trace the plug wire and see what that tells me as soon as the rain stops... If it ever does.
George, good idea, I think I'm just going to replace the battery with a deep cycle. it's just a regular automotive battery in there right now.
Thanks for the replies and the help folks, I'll keep you posted!
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Old 01-20-2015, 09:34 AM   #7
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Hi Hooper! I know your post is a bit old now, but just wondering if you had an update on how this went. I have just bought the same model RV and would like to know about your experience. ... thanks for your feedback!

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