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Old 10-25-2014, 10:40 AM   #1
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Needing help with wiring system and buttons

We are new to having a RV and the one we bought at auction is a 1986 Holiday Rambler Presidential. We can not get anything in the rv to work but the runner lights. We have checked the breakers in the bottom of the closet and they all look good. We also need info on what all the buttons by the door go to as they do not have writting on them. Any help is welcome. Also we do not have an owners manuel and have not been able to find one or even a wiring diagram.
Thanks in advance Shari
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Old 10-25-2014, 10:53 AM   #2
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Dead battery. Almost everything in an RV is operated from a 12VDC source. The exceptions are microwave, air conditioner.
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Old 10-25-2014, 11:10 AM   #3
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Hi & welcome,
If you are new to an RV and your unit is a 1986 me thinks your first priority would be learning how to work on it. I'll assume that your budget is limited unless you have great skills and are planning a bit of a restoration. If your skills are limited your are on a fairly steep learning curve but just take it one step at a time.

First of all I'd go to one of the big box stores and get a DVOM. That's short for Digital Volt Ohm Meter ($20-$30). Looking at a circuit breaker/fuse panel does not tell you much of anything. Fuses should be visually looked at out of the panel and even tested.

Next I'd take the batteries out of the coach. There should be two of them and they are usually easy to find. Check the water level in each cell and top off if some are low. If you have a portable battery charger charge each battery for 24 hours. Once the batteries have been charged I'd take them to a battery place and have them load tested. If they pass you are good to go. If they fail then replace them. Put the old/charged or new batteries back into the coach. Clean all battery terminals with a wire brush.
Take your brand new DVOM out of the box and read the instructions on how to measure DC (Direct current) voltage. Now check the battery voltage. If the batteries are charged they should read about 12.6 VDC.
Now plug your coach into an outlet at home. Now go back and read the battery voltage. It should read about 13.4 or so volts. If it still reads 12.6 VDC then your converter designed to re-charge your coach batteries is not working.

Now that you know the batteries are good you can check for lights.

This would be a good place to stop. Complete these steps and let us know how it's going.

You'll have a lot more questions.

TeJay
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Old 10-25-2014, 12:05 PM   #4
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Hi & welcome,
If you are new to an RV and your unit is a 1986 me thinks your first priority would be learning how to work on it. I'll assume that your budget is limited unless you have great skills and are planning a bit of a restoration. If your skills are limited your are on a fairly steep learning curve but just take it one step at a time.

First of all I'd go to one of the big box stores and get a DVOM. That's short for Digital Volt Ohm Meter ($20-$30). Looking at a circuit breaker/fuse panel does not tell you much of anything. Fuses should be visually looked at out of the panel and even tested.

Next I'd take the batteries out of the coach. There should be two of them and they are usually easy to find. Check the water level in each cell and top off if some are low. If you have a portable battery charger charge each battery for 24 hours. Once the batteries have been charged I'd take them to a battery place and have them load tested. If they pass you are good to go. If they fail then replace them. Put the old/charged or new batteries back into the coach. Clean all battery terminals with a wire brush.
Take your brand new DVOM out of the box and read the instructions on how to measure DC (Direct current) voltage. Now check the battery voltage. If the batteries are charged they should read about 12.6 VDC.
Now plug your coach into an outlet at home. Now go back and read the battery voltage. It should read about 13.4 or so volts. If it still reads 12.6 VDC then your converter designed to re-charge your coach batteries is not working.

Now that you know the batteries are good you can check for lights.

This would be a good place to stop. Complete these steps and let us know how it's going.

You'll have a lot more questions.

TeJay


Thank you TeJay,
Could you please tell us where the converter box is we cannot find it i know what it looks like but can not find it
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Old 10-25-2014, 12:07 PM   #5
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Needing help with wiring system

Thank you TeJay
Could you please tell us where to find the converter box we know what it looks like but can not find it.
Thanks
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Old 10-25-2014, 12:24 PM   #6
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We found the converter and checked the batteries as suggested and the converter is not recharging the batteries now just need to find out how to fix the converter
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Old 10-25-2014, 12:47 PM   #7
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Shari Lutz--Day light running lights-( If that's what you talking about) are not on all vehicles, they were mandated on all vehicles in Canada after Dec 1, 1989 but I'm not sure if that are in the US even yet.Someone pls advise if you know, Thx
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Old 10-25-2014, 01:46 PM   #8
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A photo of the switches just inside the door may help pinpoint one in particular however.

IN an RV most everything except the microwave (And sometimes even it) needs 12 volts for one thing or another.. Lights, Furnace, Water pump all run on 12 volt, Air Conditioners, if they have wall mounted or electronic thermostats use 12 volts for control (A/Cs when mechanical T-Stats mounted on the intake do not) Fridge and water heater both use 12 volt to run their control computers, Yup, these days evey your water heater is a computer..

Some RV's have a device called an Energy management System, of the load shedding type.. On a 50 amp rig these sense if you are on 30 or 50 amps and if on 30, (also on a 30 amp rig) try to keep your power use below 30 amps by shedding loads, Example you fire up the microwave the Air conditioner or water heater turns off.

THIS too needs 12 volts to operate. So, if you have no 12 volts loads it controls have no power.

Plugging in normally provides 12 volts to the house via the converter.

Her is your assignment:

First the converter; Try to find it's make and model, if your power distribution center has both 12 volt fuses and 120 volt breakers behind a COMMON door.... The make and model of that door will help. else try to find the unit.

Second: Check out the HOUSE batteries, make sure they are good and charged.

Finally.. Just inside the door may be a panel with two switches and a digital display and an indicator light.

Try the bottom switch.. if it is a 3-position center off spring return switch press the top, You should hear a clunk (if the batteries are good and everything works) and the light should come on.

If nothing happens try the bottom, again you should hear a clunk (nothing else will happen).

With the light on the top switch should activate the digital display. (either top or bottom).

Once you have 12 volts, we can test the other swiches.. Some of the things there

Porch/work light (on mine this is a 3-position center off, NON spring loaded.
Compartment lights
Steps (Locks them in out position, may work differently on yours)
Ceiling lights (3 of the 7 ceiling lights, the two covered by the side when in and the one over the steps, this is a 3-way "Master" (other switch on main control panel) very handy cause I can turn on the over step light and then turn it off as I leave, restoring power to the light before I climb in)

However other functions may be switched there.
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Old 10-25-2014, 02:54 PM   #9
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Needing help with wiring system and buttons

Thank you all for the help we found out that the problem may be a bad inverter but we are still checking out all the other things that wa8yxm helped us with still need lots more help with this problem and now if anyone knows how to check the inverter I would really appreciate it.
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Old 10-25-2014, 02:56 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post
A photo of the switches just inside the door may help pinpoint one in particular however.

IN an RV most everything except the microwave (And sometimes even it) needs 12 volts for one thing or another.. Lights, Furnace, Water pump all run on 12 volt, Air Conditioners, if they have wall mounted or electronic thermostats use 12 volts for control (A/Cs when mechanical T-Stats mounted on the intake do not) Fridge and water heater both use 12 volt to run their control computers, Yup, these days evey your water heater is a computer..

Some RV's have a device called an Energy management System, of the load shedding type.. On a 50 amp rig these sense if you are on 30 or 50 amps and if on 30, (also on a 30 amp rig) try to keep your power use below 30 amps by shedding loads, Example you fire up the microwave the Air conditioner or water heater turns off.

THIS too needs 12 volts to operate. So, if you have no 12 volts loads it controls have no power.

Plugging in normally provides 12 volts to the house via the converter.

Her is your assignment:

First the converter; Try to find it's make and model, if your power distribution center has both 12 volt fuses and 120 volt breakers behind a COMMON door.... The make and model of that door will help. else try to find the unit.

Second: Check out the HOUSE batteries, make sure they are good and charged.

Finally.. Just inside the door may be a panel with two switches and a digital display and an indicator light.

Try the bottom switch.. if it is a 3-position center off spring return switch press the top, You should hear a clunk (if the batteries are good and everything works) and the light should come on.

If nothing happens try the bottom, again you should hear a clunk (nothing else will happen).

With the light on the top switch should activate the digital display. (either top or bottom).

Once you have 12 volts, we can test the other swiches.. Some of the things there

Porch/work light (on mine this is a 3-position center off, NON spring loaded.
Compartment lights
Steps (Locks them in out position, may work differently on yours)
Ceiling lights (3 of the 7 ceiling lights, the two covered by the side when in and the one over the steps, this is a 3-way "Master" (other switch on main control panel) very handy cause I can turn on the over step light and then turn it off as I leave, restoring power to the light before I climb in)

However other functions may be switched there.


Thank you so very much and we are checking them out found out that the voltage going into the inverter is not sending the power back out to the rv any advice?
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Old 10-25-2014, 09:09 PM   #11
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Be careful with your wording....you're saying "Inverter" and others here are talking about "converters."
RV's can have both; an inverter takes 12v battery power and inverts it up to 120v power. A converter takes 120v power and converts it down to 12v power. Are you positive you have an "inverter"?
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Old 10-27-2014, 05:07 PM   #12
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If your converter is bad you should replace it with a new3 or 4 stage converter your old one is normally a single stage. As far as inverter you don't really need one to run your 120 volts in your camper. Hook a battery charger to your battery and see if Your 12 volt works.
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Old 11-02-2014, 08:14 AM   #13
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Be sure to check the fuses on the converter. I found the fuses blown on my 99 Bounder and the coach batteries would not charge.
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Old 11-02-2014, 08:51 AM   #14
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It is a 1986 Presidential there is no inverter unless it was added it has a very old converter unless it was replace likely a Ferro Resonate style which require a good working battery to regulate. As suggested get a good converter in the 60 to 80 amp range for that unit. However before you toss a couple hundred dollars at it try hooking a battery charger up and see what works. So as mentioned start with working batteries. Let's not turn this into a parts changing party but find what works and what does not before we run to the parts store. Many of the old converters will not work unless paired with a good battery. That really does not matter much I would replace the converter any how but first find out what all is bad before you spend your money.
Next be very specific in make model and info on the unit and parts your asking about unless you want to get lots of bad answers. The Presidential was made as a travel trailer a 5th wheel and a motor home which do you have? Next be realistic unless this is in near perfect condition odds are you will spend several times what it is worth to fix it. It was a very nice unit when built but it is old and very heavy so you need a big truck to pull it. Most of the trim pieces are unavailable so keep your goals within reach.
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