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Old 01-02-2021, 06:30 PM   #1
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Question Electrical & battery advice needed

Hi folks:


My wife and I are new to this site and to RVing but we're excited about getting on the road with our new 2009 Ventana! We have the rig parked outside our home and are currently working to outfit it for travel and for working remotely. But I hit a snag with our electrical and I've spent most of the day searching the internet for answers and am not much closer to understanding my situation and solution than I was when I started.


A few related questions:
We have the Magnum Energy (ME-RC) remote unit for our inverter and, initially, I did not realize you had to press the dial button to change a setting; I thought changing the value by turning the knob was enough (until I made time to read the instructions! As a technical writer, that should've been my first move! =). So when I thought I turned the max shore power to 15A, it was actually still set to 50A. When our GFI at the building where we plugged it in triggered (and there was a burn spot around one of the plugs), I eventually determined (I think) that the inverter was trying to pull too many amps from that circuit. I'm not so sure, now, though, because when I did correctly set it to max 15A, it still tripped the GFI--maybe because there are other things on that circuit? I'm going to try setting to max 10A next and see if it still trips--does that make sense?


I only retried this (after correctly setting to 15A max) after checking everything inside the unit and not finding any faults, errors, or obvious shorts that might've caused or resulted from my initial error but I'm not sure if there is something else I should try to ensure that there aren't any shorts in my rig. Advice is welcome!


Also, I'm trying to figure out how many hours I can actually run the inverter off my battery bank (4 6V Napa 8144 GC-2 batteries) that say "120 mins @ 75 AMPS" on their labels. A few questions related to this:
  • How can I check to see how much draw is coming off the batteries when I "believe" that there is nothing turned on in the coach?
  • What is the best way to determine how much each set/section of lights, tv, or other item consumes? Is a meter at the breaker box the most reliable? Or is there another/better way?
  • How do I know when the batteries have drawn down to 50% so that I know when to crank up the generator to recharge them (if/when I don't have shore power I can rely on to continually recharge them through the inverter)?
  • There is a low battery cut-off setting on the ME-RC--what setting should I use to make sure it cuts off at the 50% level?
  • There is a "Newmar" labeled iSeries monitor separate from the ME-RC which made a loud piercing beep when the batteries got too low but I could not see what that level was or if there is a way to change that.
  • And as an aside, that iSeries monitor says I have about a half-tank of propane and says 56 gallons but the brochure for my RV says it only holds 32 gallons; the water tanks all read in gallons so I don't think it's reading in liters but not sure why else it would read so high--any ideas?
Thanks in advance for any help you can send my way!
--Bill (& Janie)
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Old 01-02-2021, 06:52 PM   #2
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Welcome to iRV2 And the Newmar family .

Unfortunately , tripping a GFCI is not unusual for an RV , there have been posts from members who have tracked down and repaired the issue .
Myself ;until lately I considered it normal , because my last 2 RVs have done it.
Can you access a non GFCI outlet to get the, coach powered & batteries charged .
The GFCI trips for different reasons than an overloaded circuit , that would be the 120 volt circuit breaker tripping .
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Old 01-02-2021, 07:05 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply, Skip! I did plug in to a different (non-GFCI) outlet initially but it tripped the breaker so I figured there was too much on that breaker and moved my plug to this other (GFCI) outlet. And it worries me that there is a black mark and a bit of "melt" on one of the prongs, now, on that GFCI plug. Although, I'm hoping someone can confirm that this happened because I didn't set the shore power to the correct setting and the inverter was trying to pull too much through that cord/outlet. Altnernatively, if it's a short in my rig that caused this, then I'll be looking for someone with more electrical knowledge than me who can help me isolate what and where that is (really soon! =).
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Old 01-02-2021, 07:11 PM   #4
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Your 4 batteries are rated at 230 AH each, so 2 in series =12 volts @230 AH.

2 series sets = 460 AH at the 20 hour rate, the common used measurement.

If you draw 20 amps for 1 hour, that's 20AH from your batteries. 20 amps for 6 hours = 120 AH.

Inverters convert 12 volts to 120 volts. If something draws 5 amps at 120 volts, the inverter will draw 50 amps at 12 volts, + 10% conversion losses.

As far as energy use, Amps = watts ų volts.

If you find the watts of what your using, most things list them, you can find the amps at 12 volts.

This is just a primer on living on battery.

Your inverter shouldn't be pulling high amps, even if the batteries are low. Remember, the conversion works the other way. 80 amps at 12 volts is only 8 to 10 amps at 120 volts.

If you have a block heater, or water heater on, that will add to the amp draw.
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Old 01-02-2021, 07:18 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by BVJandJ63 View Post
Thanks for the quick reply, Skip! I did plug in to a different (non-GFCI) outlet initially but it tripped the breaker so I figured there was too much on that breaker and moved my plug to this other (GFCI) outlet. And it worries me that there is a black mark and a bit of "melt" on one of the prongs, now, on that GFCI plug. Although, I'm hoping someone can confirm that this happened because I didn't set the shore power to the correct setting and the inverter was trying to pull too much through that cord/outlet. Altnernatively, if it's a short in my rig that caused this, then I'll be looking for someone with more electrical knowledge than me who can help me isolate what and where that is (really soon! =).
Go back to the non GFCI outlet , but before you plug in , turn off all the RVs circuit breakers EXCEPT at main 50 amp and the one powering the inverter ; then plug in .
Lets see if you can get those batteries charging as a first step.
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Old 01-02-2021, 07:23 PM   #6
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Thanks, Twinboat! I'm starting to grasp the basic stuff but have a ways to go, still--and this helps. =) So do you know if the inverter will try to draw too much if I unknowingly left the max shore power set to 50A while plugged in to a 15A circuit? Would that explain the blackness and melted plastic? If I had successfully set it to 5A or 10A max, would that avoid this issue? Or am I more likely looking for a short in my rig?
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Old 01-02-2021, 07:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by BVJandJ63 View Post
Thanks, twinboat! I'm starting to gasp the basic stuff but have a ways to go, still--and this helps. =) So do you know if the inverter will try to draw too much if I unkowingly left the max shore power set to 50A while plugged in to a 15A circuit? Would that explain the blackness and melted plastic? If I had successfully set it to 5A or 10A max, would that avoid this issue? Or am I more likely looking for a short in my rig?
Your not looking for a short. Shorts trip breakers right away.

Your looking for excessive load on the 15 amp supply. To many things running.
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Old 01-02-2021, 07:54 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by BVJandJ63 View Post
Thanks, twinboat! I'm starting to gasp the basic stuff but have a ways to go, still--and this helps. =) So do you know if the inverter will try to draw too much if I unkowingly left the max shore power set to 50A while plugged in to a 15A circuit? Would that explain the blackness and melted plastic? If I had successfully set it to 5A or 10A max, would that avoid this issue? Or am I more likely looking for a short in my rig?
Iím a relative newcomer myself, and certainly no expert in the older magnum inverters, but I believe when you set the inverter to a maximum level, that is The max the inverter will allocate to power battery charging function, so that you leave an appropriate level of amperage for other devices running off of shore power. I do not believe the inverter will try to draw 50 A out of a 15 amp circuit simply because thatís what youíve sent it at. Again, I am no expert, but I believe thatís how my newer magnum inverter works
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Old 01-02-2021, 08:03 PM   #9
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Your not looking for a short. Shorts trip breakers right away.

Your looking for excessive load on the 15 amp supply. To many things running.

Thanks, again, Twinboat! Glad to know it's not a short... but then I'm really at a loss because I ran the generator for about 4 hours yesterday morning to recharge the batteries after it hit the low voltage warning. (I was not plugged in to the house because I still don't know what it got so hot at the plug before tripping the GFCI.) And before I turned off the generator, I walked around the rig, inside and out, to make sure that NOTHING was on (no lights, not the fridge (nothing in it yet), no other electronics, not even the water pump). But when I went back out there just now to put some things inside, the inverter "fault" light was lit and it said 'low battery 10v - 0a' on the display. Something that I haven't found, yet, appears to be drawing power from the batteries. I'm not sure where to look next...
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Old 01-02-2021, 08:12 PM   #10
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Iím a relative newcomer myself, and certainly no expert in the older magnum inverters, but I believe when you set the inverter to a maximum level, that is The max the inverter will allocate to power battery charging function, so that you leave an appropriate level of amperage for other devices running off of shore power. I do not believe the inverter will try to draw 50 A out of a 15 amp circuit simply because thatís what youíve sent it at. Again, I am no expert, but I believe thatís how my newer magnum inverter works

Thanks for jumping in, Bob! I appreciate the extra input and I hope (and originally thought) the same thing--that the inverter won't "pull" more than is coming in from shore power but I believe that setting is supposed to match the input, not to control the charge. In fact, according to the Owner's Guide:
"SHORE: Shore Max Ė This ensures the inverter AC loads receive the
maximum current available from the utility/generator. Whenever the
utility/generator is connected to the inverter (via AC HOT 1), the current
used to power the AC loads and to charge the batteries is monitored.
When the total current used to power the AC loads and charge the
batteries begins to approach the Shore Max setting, the current that was
used for charging the batteries is automatically reduced. This ensures
the AC loads have the needed current."


As noted in my reply to Twinboat, I'm at a loss, now... not sure why I'm burning up a GFCI electrical outlet or why my batteries are draining without any noticeable draw from the rig. I've got to be overlooking something...
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Old 01-02-2021, 08:25 PM   #11
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Did you reset the Magnum inverter? Need to crawl in the basement and hold the reset button down.

Also how long is your extension cord and how heavy is it? A long and lite cord can not supply 20 amps a long way.

Can you plug into a 50 amp dryer or stove outlet or drive to a campground or RV repair place that has a 50 amp to try a proper hook up?
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Old 01-02-2021, 08:26 PM   #12
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Get the batteries up to 12.6 or more volts and disconnect them.

You can take one end of each + to - jumpers off.

Wait overnight and the measure the batteries. If they are low again, they are no good.

Won't be the first RV sold with bad batteries.
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Old 01-02-2021, 09:34 PM   #13
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Get the batteries up to 12.6 or more volts and disconnect them.

You can take one end of each + to - jumpers off.

Wait overnight and the measure the batteries. If they are low again, they are no good.

Won't be the first RV sold with bad batteries.

Great idea, Twinboat--I will try that. Thanks!
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Old 01-02-2021, 09:44 PM   #14
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Did you reset the Magnum inverter? Need to crawl in the basement and hold the reset button down.

Also how long is your extension cord and how heavy is it? A long and lite cord can not supply 20 amps a long way.

Can you plug into a 50 amp dryer or stove outlet or drive to a campground or RV repair place that has a 50 amp to try a proper hook up?

Not sure if we have an open campground with a 50A connection near us in Northern California--everything is pretty much closed up and hoping to get past this COVID surge we're experiencing. Not even sure I want to head to an RV shop but I might try that if Twinboat's idea doesn't reveal bad batteries or an equalization effort doesn't help them (the batteries are only about 26 months old). But it's due for a maintenance visit anyway since we bought it from a private party and I think it would be a good idea to make sure we've got a clean slate going forward.



I really need to wrap my mind around this power stuff--I definitely want to be able to boondock--at least for a few nights at a time along the way--without worrying about how much fuel we're burning via our generator (assuming we're not somewhere that we can't run it overnight).


And so the adventure begins...

By the way--our batteries are 6V flooded batteries; if they do turn out to be bad, is it worth the extra expense to replace with AGM batteries? I don't want to go Lithium (high cost and not great in cold weather) but it might be nice to not have to worry about water levels so long as we don't lose functionality with AGM batteries.
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