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last_lemming 09-02-2012 09:03 AM

Newbie to forum, newbie to rv'ing, and I have a newbie problem
My dad passed away recently leving me his 2000 DynamaxIsata based on the ford ecoline 350 van chassis.

I know how to work on cars but don't know anything about rv's, so I can do basic work, but I'm know just enough on electrical to be dangerous.

There is a backstory: the rv was in enclosed and unair conditioned storage for a 1 1/2 years without any upkeep while my dad was sick, so it just sat. When I finally went to get it the fuel had gone bad and I had to have the fuel pump replaced to get it running again. Also the battery to the Onan generator was dead. I replaced all batteries on the RV but the generator carb was gummed up. I replaced that and got the generator running, and while it does everything on the inside works (ac, lights, etc.). However, when I plug into my house ac using the 30 amp power chord nothing comes on in the rv save the microwave light. All the fuses are good and the circuit breakers are on and not tripped. I have a Todd transfer switch and converter but I don't know if they are working. However I did "whack" the transfer switch with a rubber mallet as someone suggested on the forum, but nothing happened.

There is no owners manual per se, just a bunch of instuction sheets on all the different components, but noe one manual on how to operate the DynamaxIsata as a whole.

One thing to note on the power chord. It has a 15a cheater plug and that is hooked up to a typical orange 3 prong 25' extension chord into a 20a house outlet.

I'm not sure If there is something simple I'm missing or something more sinister going on.

docj 09-02-2012 09:35 AM

Welcome to RVing and the forum. I'm sure the folks here will help you figure out what is wrong with the rig.

It sure sounds like a stuck transfer switch to me, but I can't figure out why the light in the microwave works, unless the switch is making a very bad connection but one that is good enough to let a small amount of current pass. Depending on how electrically skilled you are, you could temporarily bypass the switch to see if that resolved the problem.

I assume that when you turn off the generator and unplug from shore power all the 12V lights, etc, work which would demonstrate that your new batteries are installed properly and your converter is working?

last_lemming 09-02-2012 09:52 AM

I know if the generator is off and the rv unplugged I do get power to everything, but I'm assuming this would drain the gen battery pretty quick. As of right now I disconnect the generator battery positive cable so the is no power drain on it since it will be sitting for some time between uses.

Skip426 09-02-2012 10:26 AM

Hello and :welcome:
I'll assume that you tested the house outlet to make sure you haven't just tripped a GFI. Then go down the line checking for 110 after each cheater/adaptor.
By microwave light , do you mean the clock? Interior light ? or range hood light?
Then as , docj , says if all the 110 works from the gen set and not from shore power a stuck transfere switch is the probable cause.

last_lemming 09-02-2012 12:41 PM

Power at the outlet is good. also the microwave clock and internal light to it works with shore power. I tried various small lights throughout the rv that can't be much more than 15 watts and they don't work though unless it's off the generator.

last_lemming 09-02-2012 01:45 PM

4 Attachment(s)
ok, took off the panel of the switch box, here is the panel (rotated 90 degrees) on the box and some photos of the switch box itself as it is installed. When the generator was running and the shore line uninstalled I took a small wood dowel and placed it on the black piece of plastic above each of the the light blue relays, between the contacts with the springs and tapped it with a mallet. On the top on the bottom were small blue electrical sparks on the contacts themselves. I don't know what that means or tells me.

If I wanted to see if I was getting shore power to the relay which contacts would I need to touch with my digital multimeter and what should I set the mulitimeter too?

I also noticed, if you look carefully, the red wire just under the gray threaded grommet with the male end (labled "panel neutral" in the top right photo) that it wiggles, but what the femal contact its connected to is solid. It might just be loose in the chassis and the connection solid, but I don't know.

last_lemming 09-02-2012 01:52 PM

more info.

the micorwave, mircrowaves under shore line power alone, though nothing else works at all, not even the liquid crystal display on the ac control. I put a glass of water for a min. on high and it ran fine and heated it right up.

Also I had my wife plug the shore line in the wall and unplug it. No sounds came from the switch box. Not sure if that means anything.

"007" 09-03-2012 07:34 AM

Welcome to irv2.
You have to have a load center some place maybe in cabinet or under bed.
The Micro is working through it so all other circuits feed through it plus the converter to charge your house battery.
If you have a dirty contact in TS clean contact by running dollar bill through it not bang with hammer.

last_lemming 09-03-2012 09:04 AM


Originally Posted by "007" (Post 1297188)
Welcome to irv2.
You have to have a load center some place maybe in cabinet or under bed.
The Micro is working through it so all other circuits feed through it plus the converter to charge your house battery.
If you have a dirty contact in TS clean contact by running dollar bill through it not bang with hammer.

Thank you for you help. I'm not quite sure I understand.

What is a load center? Is it the circuit breaker? If it is all fuses are good and no circuits have been tripped off. If not I'm not sure where it is because I,ve looked all over the inside of the rv and haven't found any other thing that one might call a load center. How big are they usually, and is the some kind of switch on it?

Is the house battery the same battery the generator is connected to?

So the generator doesn't charge the battery directly, it feeds this converter, which in turn charges the battery?

I will try a dollar thru the contacts, but I'm not sure how that would help with them from what I'm seeing. As you see in those pics above each relay has two contacts which are held open with little springs, if it was transferring wouldn't the relay cut on and shutting the contact and closing the circuit? In other words the circuit is open currently, so what would running a dollar through it do since it's already open?

last_lemming 09-03-2012 09:20 AM

Just went out to do the dollar bill, noticed that my description was a little bit off on the relays. The relay contacts do hav springs, and they are pulling the contacts to close the circuit for "power chord neutral" and "power chord hot" - I think at least that is what I see.

According to the circuit diagram above the default position is the power chord neutral and power chord hot. This confuses me because that would seem like the power chord should work right? I mean if the power chord circuits at closed (meaning electricity can flow) why wouldn't every work? Does a rv require 240v? Because I'm using my house 110.

last_lemming 09-03-2012 09:50 AM

Ok guys don't think it's the TS. I just started the generator and after about 10 seconds the TS switched over to the generator hot and generator neutral, and of course I had power to everything then. When I turned off the generator it switch went back to its default power chord position. So now I need to figure out what is stopping the power from being distributed with the power chord. Hpoefully, like 007 said, ther is a hidden load center I'm unaware of or maybe it needs more than 110/120v, i just don't know.

Skip426 09-03-2012 10:34 AM

The LCDisplay on the A/c control is a 12 volt item, strange that you have no display there when you have shore power pluged in:confused:
You only need 110 power, the reference to 220 in the diagram is for when the TS is installed for a 50 amp system.
I,m going to need to pull up your post on my wife's computor. Larger screen HD. Then maybe I can help some more, after I see your pictures there. Thinking it's a bad contact, just a mater of pin-pointing it.

last_lemming 09-03-2012 10:53 AM

Thanks for any help you can give! There is a box in the diagram between the two relay diagrams that talks of an LED indicator. What is this. Looks like something I could check to see if it's on.

Skip426 09-03-2012 11:09 AM

OK, what I'm seeing is humidity damage on the lower relay terminals.
Notice that the upper relay,picture 4, all the metal arms are clear of the white residue. Build up is worse the lower you go in the box.
You need an ohm meter, with all 110 power off; gen set shut down, power cord disconnected. Then check for zero ohms resistance from the spring loaded arms on the relay through the contacts to the stationary posts.
The posts have 2 contacts, 1 relay active, 2 relay off. You can push the spring loaded arm with you finger to check the active contacts.
Clean any contact that has any resistance.
If the dollar bill , clean the contacts doesn't work, then grab a fingernail file from the DW. If you were seeing a blue flash on a contact , then that indicates a poor connection.
Can't see all the house wiring exiting the box from the pictures, but I'm sure that there are at least 2 feeds from the TS to the 110 circuit breaker panel , and that 1 is not passing power.
Good luck.Hope this helps.

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