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Old 11-16-2021, 05:37 PM   #1
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Lost all 12 volt power. Need help.

I have a 2002 mountainaire, Freightliner chassis. We've had a hellacious storm here in the San Juan Islands. Yesterday power went down. My 12 volt lights flickered rhythmically about 10 times and went dark. I have no 12 volt at all. I can't start the engine or the generator, no 12 volt lights in the house are working. What should I be looking for? It's getting freaking cold here.
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Old 11-16-2021, 06:50 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodekyll View Post
I have a 2002 mountainaire, Freightliner chassis. We've had a hellacious storm here in the San Juan Islands. Yesterday power went down. My 12 volt lights flickered rhythmically about 10 times and went dark. I have no 12 volt at all. I can't start the engine or the generator, no 12 volt lights in the house are working. What should I be looking for? It's getting freaking cold here.
Some thoughts. Do you have a surge protector or EMS? If not, you may have had a surge or low voltage situation that caused some damage. Check fuses, of course, and breakers in the coach and at/on your inverter. I would also check your chassis and house battery grounds.
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Old 11-16-2021, 07:01 PM   #3
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I'm pretty sure the inverter is working, because the 110 part works. In other words, the wall outlets, water heater, etc. It seems to be the entirety of the 12 volt power that is gone. My batteries are flat now from keeping the refrigerator going.
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Old 11-16-2021, 07:04 PM   #4
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Your 12 vdc is dead because the batteries are dead. I'm not sure how the batteries can be dead and you still have AC from the inverter??? Since the inverter gets its power from the batteries, that are dead. That's why you can't start the generator or the engine. Sounds like you need a jump start from someone.
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Old 11-16-2021, 07:06 PM   #5
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I'm pretty sure the inverter is working, because the 110 part works. In other words, the wall outlets, water heater, etc. It seems to be the entirety of the 12 volt power that is gone. My batteries are flat now from keeping the refrigerator going.
Iím pretty sure your inverter charger is also your converter. Not certain, but I think all 12 V power goes through it to the 12 V systems. The other thing to check would be your BIRD.
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Old 11-16-2021, 07:07 PM   #6
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I'm guessing the batteries were already dead or close to it and you didn't know it and were running off the converter till the storm took it out.
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Old 11-16-2021, 08:09 PM   #7
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Your 12 vdc is dead because the batteries are dead. I'm not sure how the batteries can be dead and you still have AC from the inverter??? Since the inverter gets its power from the batteries, that are dead. That's why you can't start the generator or the engine. Sounds like you need a jump start from someone.
Let me clarify. The inverter ran the 110 when the power went out. Only the 12v went down. The batteries went flat because the residential refrigerator was running and the inverter supplied power until there was no more battery left.

The control panel on my microwave was also lit up, and I was able to recharge my phone from a wall outlet. So I had 110 throughout the rig. However, the engine would not start, generator likewise, and all house lights and fans are inoperable.

We are estimated to be out of power for another couple of days.
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Old 11-17-2021, 06:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodekyll View Post
Let me clarify. The inverter ran the 110 when the power went out. Only the 12v went down. The batteries went flat because the residential refrigerator was running and the inverter supplied power until there was no more battery left.

The control panel on my microwave was also lit up, and I was able to recharge my phone from a wall outlet. So I had 110 throughout the rig. However, the engine would not start, generator likewise, and all house lights and fans are inoperable.

We are estimated to be out of power for another couple of days.
Sir, you need to jump start your engine and get it started first, then after 20 or so minutes start your genset and then go into your basement and reset your inverter/battery charger report back!!! Good luck
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Old 11-17-2021, 06:27 AM   #9
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My coach is a 2001 Alpine. It won't be wired just like yours, but it will be similar. On my coach, all 12v power comes from the batteries. There is a fuse in that circuit between the batteries and the coach. The fuse could be your problem. The inverter provides AC power from DC batteries when no other AC is present. The inverter does not provide 12v power for anything but battery charging. AC Inverter capacity is seldom enough to power the whole coach. On my coach, the microwave and a few recepticles are powered through the inverter. You chould have chassis batteries to start and run the motor and driving systems. House batteries to provide DC for camping. The 2 battery banks are not the same. On my coach, there is a boost switch that can be activated to bridge the 2. In the event one bank is dead, the other bank con be used for starting power. Will your coach start? Will the generator start? Do you have a way to measure the voltage of each bank of batteries?

Below is an illustration I made of how my coach's power system is configured. Hope this helps.

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Old 11-17-2021, 06:45 AM   #10
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It will be a lot easier to jump a little 4 cylinder generator and it will make a lot more power than the motive engine. However you do it getting the batteries charged is the first order of business. The trouble shooting you can do with dead batteries is slow and detailed compared to voltage checks. And you need power to keep the refrigerator and everything else running.
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Old 11-17-2021, 07:22 AM   #11
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Where (Why?) does a 4 cylinder generator come into this and who has one in a MH? Depending on the OPs layout and what/if there is a problem with the house batteries, maybe boosting the in house generator is not an option, I do not know. But starting the engine or generator is a priority as they said the shore power is kaput for a few days.
When the OP stated the "12 volt lights flickered rhythmically about 10 times and went dark" I automatically thought it was a 'auto reset' fuse/breaker that then failed... maybe because it was overloaded and kept 'tripping'.
They state the microwave works, so then the inverter works(?) and that means there is battery juice... but they say the batteries are 'flat'. So again, the main DC fuse power is not coming through except to the inverter.
I hope the OP has it running today, and will give us more feedback.


EDIT: I did look and see that there could be a 3 cylinder (even 4 I guess) generator in some of these behemoths, just something I am not used to in my travels. So I typed before I verified, my bad.
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Old 11-17-2021, 10:03 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by rodekyll View Post
Let me clarify. The inverter ran the 110 when the power went out. Only the 12v went down. The batteries went flat because the residential refrigerator was running and the inverter supplied power until there was no more battery left.

The control panel on my microwave was also lit up, and I was able to recharge my phone from a wall outlet. So I had 110 throughout the rig. However, the engine would not start, generator likewise, and all house lights and fans are inoperable.

We are estimated to be out of power for another couple of days.
With dead batteries, you need to start at the beginning and take it one step at a time.

#1, check your house battery bank connections. You may have a separate positive and negative going to the inverter, and another set of cables to supply everything else. Separate fuses too.

#2, you need to get the coach started so the engine can start charging the chassis batteries.

#3, with the engine running, you need to check that the charge bridge has engaged and the chassis batteries start charging also. Without 12V power, your EMS panel (or whatever you have) in the coach will probably be dark, so find someone with a volt meter. The voltage across the house battery bank should be around 13V or so if they are being charged.

#4, if the above is OK, start the generator. This should allow the inverter / charger to start charging the house batteries. Leave it running.

If you can get through these steps, and still no 12V, then we can look elsewhere.
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Old 11-17-2021, 11:43 AM   #13
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If you have one, check your battery disconnect switch, AKA salesman switch. Mine can act as a circuit breaker & yours may have tripped. This comment is based on experience with our Winnebago. We don't have a Newmar...yet.
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Old 11-17-2021, 04:03 PM   #14
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My chassis batteries were flat. I left the switch in the accessory position, and parasitic drains must have finished it off. I jump started the generator by hooking a car up to the chassis bank. After 2 hours of charging, the house batteries appear normal, and I have full power in the house.

The chassis batteries however are not charging. I think the generator is supposed to do that, for shore power. I have that bird thing. I think it's supposed to shift the charge from One bank to another as a given Bank becomes charged.

The immediate problem is that as soon as I shut my generator down, I won't be able to start it again without the jumpers. I think I'm going to try running jumper cables from the house battery Bank to the chassis battery Bank and try charging them that way. Anybody see a problem with that?
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