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Old 10-14-2013, 06:09 PM   #1
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Question 2008 Navion 12 volt system dead

The 12 volt "house" system in our 2008 Dodge Itasca Navion went dead yesterday when we were dry camping. I ran the generator to have 120 volts for the coffee maker, but when I shut it off the "house" 12 volt was gone. It works with the generator on. I checked at the circuit panel and no juice is coming from the batteries. The batteries are fully charged and the cable connections are good. I cannot figure out what the problem is, the manuals are no help. Has anyone else had this problem?
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Old 10-14-2013, 06:18 PM   #2
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It's been several years but that happened to our Navion and as I recall it was diagnosed as the converter. Changed it out and that fixed it, as I remember.
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Old 10-14-2013, 06:30 PM   #3
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This may seem obvious, but did you check ALL relevent switches, breakers & fuses?

Did you check the voltage on the batteries, with and without the gen/shore power connected?

If you did the above, please report results so we can provide additional support if required.
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:24 PM   #4
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As for the converter, it actually is working. It seems to be the only thing that is working off the "house" batteries.
Second response: yes I checked every single fuse I could find, both under the front seat and in the panel for the "house" 12 volt system. All fuses are good. The 30 amp incoming wire has no power. Maybe I cannot find another fuse or circuit breaker somewhere? The batteries are stand-alone at 12 volts or more. We also have a solar charger on this camper, and the readout says it is working to keep the batteries at full charge. I actually have not plugged into shore power in quite a while.
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Old 10-14-2013, 08:25 PM   #5
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As for the converter, it actually is working. It seems to be the only thing that is working off the "house" batteries.
Second response: yes I checked every single fuse I could find, both under the front seat and in the panel for the "house" 12 volt system. All fuses are good. The 30 amp incoming wire has no power. Maybe I cannot find another fuse or circuit breaker somewhere? The batteries are stand-alone at 12 volts or more. We also have a solar charger on this camper, and the readout says it is working to keep the batteries at full charge. I actually have not plugged into shore power in quite a while.
Thanks. Don't understand the statement "the converter is working off the house batteries"

The converter input is 120vac and the output is 12v DC and the converter/charger connects to the house batteries. Plugging into shore power in this situation is not really relevent if you have a genny on and the AC is working you should have input power to the converter and if the AC is working you must be getting 12v also.

Is this true - you have 12vdc in the coach with the gen on but not with it off?

If this is the scenario then your batteries are too low. Or they are not connected for some reason. Bad connection perhaps. Actual battery readings would help here.

You are certain all connections are solid. They may look fine but corrosion can be there and not seen. I would check and clean all connections again.

If you can measure the voltage on the batteries without input voltage and then with the genny on (solar panels disconnected for each measurement) you should notice a difference. During sunlight you should also notice more than 12v on the batteries with the solar system connected.

Providing actual voltages under the different conditions I noted would be helpful.

I would also recycle the salesman switch (the dc shutoff switch inside the coach) that switch activates a relay and it is not uncommon to have those relays to act up but if you have DC in the coach with the gen on, I would need to look at the schematic or trace the circuit re this area to see where that disconnect is made.

Hope my comments and suggestions help.
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Old 10-14-2013, 09:25 PM   #6
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Libero...I think your comments are correct and would add that I too think it is dead batteries and he is not getting true battery voltage readings. 2008nav....suggest you put what YOU think is a full charge on your batteries from your generator or shore power...then physically disconnect your batteries from everything for 12 hours or more. Then using a voltmeter...take readings at the +/- terminals and determind exact voltage to 1 decimal place. i.e. 12.5V.
If they are wet cell batteries...you can accomplish the same thing by fully charging the batteries, disconnecting them physically and then waiting 4 hours and taking a hydrometer reading of each cell. Get a hydrometer at the auto parts store and get one (turkey baster type) that has actual numerical readings...not colors only. Like this :
Amazon.com: Temperature Correcting Battery Hydrometer: Automotive

Good luck!
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Old 10-14-2013, 09:38 PM   #7
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Thanks guys. First of all:
"Thanks. Don't understand the statement "the converter is working off the house batteries"

oops thats because I mistakenly said converter when I meant inverter. My Navion has an inverter that will invert the 12 dc volts from the house batteries to 120 ac. That is the thing that still works.

"The converter input is 120vac and the output is 12v DC and the converter/charger connects to the house batteries. Plugging into shore power in this situation is not really relevent if you have a genny on and the AC is working you should have input power to the converter and if the AC is working you must be getting 12v also.

Yes that is the way it is, I only get 12v. dc power when the genny is on.

"Is this true - you have 12vdc in the coach with the gen on but not with it off?"

Correct.

"If this is the scenario then your batteries are too low. Or they are not connected for some reason. Bad connection perhaps. Actual battery readings would help here."

I have a built in readout for the house battery charge on my solar system readout, I have 12.0 to 12.4 v. I also checked with a hand held voltmeter and got the same readings.

"You are certain all connections are solid. They may look fine but corrosion can be there and not seen. I would check and clean all connections again."

I am aware that connections can look good and not be good so I checked each wire going off the battery terminals with the voltmeter to make sure they were good.

"If you can measure the voltage on the batteries without input voltage and then with the genny on (solar panels disconnected for each measurement) you should notice a difference. During sunlight you should also notice more than 12v on the batteries with the solar system connected.
Providing actual voltages under the different conditions I noted would be helpful."

If that would help I will measure that, but the original batteries were recently replaced with deep cycle marine batteries.

"I would also recycle the salesman switch (the dc shutoff switch inside the coach) that switch activates a relay and it is not uncommon to have those relays to act up but if you have DC in the coach with the gen on, I would need to look at the schematic or trace the circuit re this area to see where that disconnect is made."

That sounds like something I need to look into. I am not aware of that switch. It is not mentioned in the manuals.
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Old 10-14-2013, 09:41 PM   #8
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Libero...I think your comments are correct and would add that I too think it is dead batteries and he is not getting true battery voltage readings. 2008nav....suggest you put what YOU think is a full charge on your batteries from your generator or shore power...then physically disconnect your batteries from everything for 12 hours or more. Then using a voltmeter...take readings at the +/- terminals and determind exact voltage to 1 decimal place. i.e. 12.5V.
If they are wet cell batteries...you can accomplish the same thing by fully charging the batteries, disconnecting them physically and then waiting 4 hours and taking a hydrometer reading of each cell. Get a hydrometer at the auto parts store and get one (turkey baster type) that has actual numerical readings...not colors only. Like this :
Amazon.com: Temperature Correcting Battery Hydrometer: Automotive

Good luck!
I could try that too. I have a hydrometer. I also have a battery load tester. However everything worked perfectly and all of a sudden the 12v system was like it was disconnected. I suspect a relay, or fuse or circuit breaker somewhere I am not aware of.
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Old 10-14-2013, 09:47 PM   #9
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""You are certain all connections are solid. They may look fine but corrosion can be there and not seen. I would check and clean all connections again."
BTW, the wire going to the 12v circuit panel is not connected direct to the battery. None of the wires on the battery look like the circuit panel feed wire, so somewhere there is another connection. Wish I had a wiring diagram but the manuals do not include that.
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Old 10-14-2013, 10:31 PM   #10
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""You are certain all connections are solid. They may look fine but corrosion can be there and not seen. I would check and clean all connections again."
BTW, the wire going to the 12v circuit panel is not connected direct to the battery. None of the wires on the battery look like the circuit panel feed wire, so somewhere there is another connection. Wish I had a wiring diagram but the manuals do not include that.
I suspect there is a disconnect relay somewhere in that circuit and that relay will be controlled by a switch. I would really be surprised if you did not have a battery disconnect relay. And that relay would be controlled by a switch in the coach.

What are the actual and precise voltages with and without 120vac or solar panel input measured right on the lead posts of the batteries?
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Old 10-14-2013, 11:32 PM   #11
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I could try that too. I have a hydrometer. I also have a battery load tester. However everything worked perfectly and all of a sudden the 12v system was like it was disconnected. I suspect a relay, or fuse or circuit breaker somewhere I am not aware of.
I'd still test w/ the hydrometer AFTER RESTING from charging...but given the additional info you provided, yeah, most likely a relay, fuse or connection.

One thing that concerns me is your solar voltages from 12.0 to 12.4...Is that at night with a load on the batts...or in full sunshine? You should be seeing over 14.2V in full sunshine with partially discharged batts...or at LEAST 13.2V with fully or nearly fully charged batts and the panel providing additional juice.
If instead, those are nite readings under some load...no problem.
I may be just misunderstanding you!
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Old 10-14-2013, 11:55 PM   #12
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It is night and I just went out and read the battery voltages: 12.4 on the "house" and 12.5 for the engine battery. There is no load on the batteries now. I did notice before when the system was working normally that is about what the voltage was then.
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Old 10-14-2013, 11:59 PM   #13
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It is night with no voltage going into the batteries, and no load. Since I have solar panels I do not plug in a shore line when I am not using the camper. The readout right now is 12.4 for house batteries and 12.5 for engine battery. This is about the same reading I was getting when everything worked properly.
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Old 10-15-2013, 12:04 AM   #14
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Guys, I was just thinking that it is odd that the 120v panel has a main circuit breaker, but the 12v panel does not seem to have a "main". There must be a main fuse or breaker somewhere so that when working on the 12v system it can be disconnected. Strange that the manual does not say where that is. As I mentioned, the feed wire to the circuit panel has no juice.
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