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Old 12-28-2008, 01:04 PM   #1
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Hi all,

I'll spare you the back story and just say that I plugged my 1997 DS DP into 220 V shore power. When I went in and started flipping my breakers, it took me a moment to catch on. By the time I realized I had a problem, I had created some kind of short in the circuit labled "lights" in the bedroom panel.

I spent lots of time today sorting things out, and learned the following key bits of info:

The following outlets do not have power regardless of the battery/plugged/unplugged configuration of the coach: main tv outlet, bedroom tv outlet, bedside outlets, bathroom GFI outlet.

With the coach plugged in and all house breakers "ON" except for the bad one (Lights), but the battery disconnect switch in the STORE (off) position, all other coach outlets work, micro works, electric switch to turn on water heater comes on / lights up (don't know if water actually heats).... BUT fridge and thermostat have no power, and there are no lights working in the coach.

Now, I've only had this about 7 months, and it's my first one....I can't recall who I asked way back when, but I recall being told that I had to run the batt power in order to do anything, even when plugged in to shore power, so I don't think I've ever tried it any differently until today. (I was surprised that I have working outlets with the batt power off!)

When I turn the batt power ON, and also have the coach plugged in and the breakers on (but for the bad one), then I have all house lights and thermostat (I have these 2 items when I use ONLY batt power and am unplugged), and the fridge is on and will automatically use AC power. The outlets listed above as NOT working still do not work.

I did not run the generator to see if that made a difference. I could not locate any blown fuses, but I do notice, down in the power compartment, a line of 3 resettable breakers. Two are labled "House 40 A" and one is the step at 25 A (the step works). I wonder if one or both of these house breakers blew; I'm not convinced that I was able to reset them. I also notice two breakers along the left wall of the power box between my inverter thingy and some other boxes on that wall (yeah, my expertise is showing now!). These two breakers are not labeled and, again, not sure whether they are involved.

So, I wonder: can anyone shed any further insights on this situation? Should everything in the coach work with shore power on but the batt disconnect switch off (store)? If so, then I have a problem in this area. Any ideas where the short might be? The electrician who wired my shore power is coming over Tuesday to look at the coach for me; I guess he'll test all the outlets involved, at the very least. Anything else we should look at?

Any ideas/experiences are welcome, and greatly appreciated.

Sharon - novice- in TN
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Old 12-28-2008, 01:04 PM   #2
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Hi all,

I'll spare you the back story and just say that I plugged my 1997 DS DP into 220 V shore power. When I went in and started flipping my breakers, it took me a moment to catch on. By the time I realized I had a problem, I had created some kind of short in the circuit labled "lights" in the bedroom panel.

I spent lots of time today sorting things out, and learned the following key bits of info:

The following outlets do not have power regardless of the battery/plugged/unplugged configuration of the coach: main tv outlet, bedroom tv outlet, bedside outlets, bathroom GFI outlet.

With the coach plugged in and all house breakers "ON" except for the bad one (Lights), but the battery disconnect switch in the STORE (off) position, all other coach outlets work, micro works, electric switch to turn on water heater comes on / lights up (don't know if water actually heats).... BUT fridge and thermostat have no power, and there are no lights working in the coach.

Now, I've only had this about 7 months, and it's my first one....I can't recall who I asked way back when, but I recall being told that I had to run the batt power in order to do anything, even when plugged in to shore power, so I don't think I've ever tried it any differently until today. (I was surprised that I have working outlets with the batt power off!)

When I turn the batt power ON, and also have the coach plugged in and the breakers on (but for the bad one), then I have all house lights and thermostat (I have these 2 items when I use ONLY batt power and am unplugged), and the fridge is on and will automatically use AC power. The outlets listed above as NOT working still do not work.

I did not run the generator to see if that made a difference. I could not locate any blown fuses, but I do notice, down in the power compartment, a line of 3 resettable breakers. Two are labled "House 40 A" and one is the step at 25 A (the step works). I wonder if one or both of these house breakers blew; I'm not convinced that I was able to reset them. I also notice two breakers along the left wall of the power box between my inverter thingy and some other boxes on that wall (yeah, my expertise is showing now!). These two breakers are not labeled and, again, not sure whether they are involved.

So, I wonder: can anyone shed any further insights on this situation? Should everything in the coach work with shore power on but the batt disconnect switch off (store)? If so, then I have a problem in this area. Any ideas where the short might be? The electrician who wired my shore power is coming over Tuesday to look at the coach for me; I guess he'll test all the outlets involved, at the very least. Anything else we should look at?

Any ideas/experiences are welcome, and greatly appreciated.

Sharon - novice- in TN
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Old 12-28-2008, 01:55 PM   #3
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What exactly did you plug in? A standard 50amp RV shore power IS 220V. A standard RV 30amp is ONLY 120v.
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Old 12-28-2008, 02:06 PM   #4
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My electrician wired my new 30 A receptacle with 220 V, unknown to me (not that I knew which I needed, anyhow). First time I hooked up, I used my adaptor to plug into that receptacle. When I flipped the "lights" breaker the first time, it tripped itself. Not to be outdone, I tried again, and heard a "zzzzztttt." I immediately turned the breaker off, but obviously did some damage first. Also, I thought I smelled something a bit strange in the power compartment after that.

Bummer. and then some.

Side note: my guy came back out right away on that Sunday before Christmas and changed me to 110 V....
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Old 12-28-2008, 04:21 PM   #5
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It may be the GFI receptacle thats blown, relatively cheap to replace. Make sure that the tv's are also unplugged, as it could also be one of them. But if your lucky, and it is the GFI receptacle, It may have also saved your tv's.
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Old 12-29-2008, 06:00 AM   #6
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Hi Hillbilly2,

Well, the bedroom tv sacrificed itself in the event....but a little plug in surge protector saved my new front tv and components.

Based on a new little piece of the puzzle I discovered this morning, and the education I'm receiving from you guys and the Newmar Tech desk, I think it might be the inverter, or one or more of the breakers that relate to that thing.

Last night I decided to run the furnace since the coach is now outside and it was going to get near freezing. About 9:00 pm I went down and turned off and unplugged my little ceramic heater and turned the battery power "on" and turned on the thermostat, setting it for 55 degrees. The house breaker and "App" breaker were on, too, though nothing was plugged in...I noticed that the house voltage read about 11.4.

About 7:30 this morning I checked the coach and heard a funny noise inside: click click click hmmMMMMM, click click click hmmmmMMMMMM....I quickly determined that it was the furnace trying to kick on. The thermostat was still powered on, but my little wall thermometer showed a temp of 40 degrees. I turned everything off and checked the house voltage: 7.0. oops. looks like being plugged in to shore power had little to no impact on keeping the house batts charged overnight.

I now have all breakers and the batt disconnect off, and left it plugged in. wonder if any charging will take place today while I'm at the office....

More fingers pointing at the inverter now, I bet! Is there a particular way I should advise my electrician to test the inverter? He is coming out tomorrow....

How about those breakers that are inside the power bay on the 97 DP: anyone know what the two breakers are that are on the left wall immediately to the right of the inverter?

Anyone replaced an inverter before -- any idea how much money we are talking about? How 'bout the price of a surge guard that hooks in to the line prior to the inverter to prevent this from ever happening again?

Thanks, Sharon
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:13 AM   #7
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Hi Sharon,
If your coach power switch is in the off/store mode, there is, most likely, no charging going to your coach batteries. Since you were plugged in overnight and the batteries continued to discharge, the converter (not inverter) was not charging your house batteries from the shore power. The converter would also have been in the path of the 220 VAC error. For the health of your coach batteries, do not leave them in a discharged state. Do you have another battery charger you can use until the coach problem is solved?

I did not read all the previous posts. If this has been posted please excuse me. The inverter takes 12 VDC and makes 120 VAC. The converter takes 120 VAC and makes 12 VDC. The converter also charges your coach batteries.

Anything powered by the inverter should always be getting its' power source from the inverter (that's how my coach is wired).

Have him check the incoming VAC first to each of these components. If there is no power, the problem may be a fuse/circuit breaker. This is cheaper to fix than a new converter or transfer switch.
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:38 AM   #8
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Thanks, Gary. I never knew the difference between a converter and an inverter before! The inverter is probably ok, then, since all the systems that run off the house batteries seem to work (step, slide, lights, about half of the coach outlets).

I guess I need to buy an automotive battery charger. I should have one of these anyway.

The rear tv outlet does not work right now. so I am assuming it is in the circuit with the other outlets that are not working right now. The tv itself is fried, I fear, but it's 11 years old and I never used it anyway. But I may have two problems: that circuit itself, which may have a damaged outlet that the rear tv was plugged into and/or a bad GFI now, AND a damaged converter (which I would not have discovered had I not run the furnace last night).

Pete at RV Chassis Master has suggested that I unplug the converter from its outlet in the power compartment and see if my "lights" (should be called outlets!) breaker in the coach will reset. If it does, he says the converter is obviously bad. Sounds like a simple test to me - I hope he's right! In any event, I'm going to see him on Friday to get the M&G brake system put on my rig, so if I have not sorted this out by then with the aid of my electrician and this amazing wealth of insight on the forum, I'll let Pete solve it. Or, Newmar themselves, when I get there on jan 19.

Much obliged to you all - the electrician and I will certainly use your ideas. Sharon
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Old 12-29-2008, 11:09 AM   #9
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Hi Sharon,
If you purchase a battery charger be careful how you connect it to your coach batteries. The charger will be for 12 volts. Because you have a Newmar, your house batteries are, most likely 6 volt batteries.

The test for this is: are the coach batteries wired positive on one battery to negative on the other battery. And negative on one battery to positive on the other battery. If so, they are 6 volt batteries connected in series.

If they are wired positive on one battery to positive on the other battery and negative on one battery to negative on the other battery they are 12 volt batteries wired in parallel.

While the batteries are available, this is a good time to check the water level (assuming they are flooded batteries). If they are sealed batteries, skip this step. If you add water, use only distilled water.

If they are 6 volt batteries connect the positive cable on the charger (usually <span class="ev_code_RED">red</span>) to the positive pole on battery "A" and the negative cable from the charger (usually black) to the negative pole on battery "B".

If they are 12 volt batteries you can connect the charger cable the same as in the previous paragraph or to the positive and negative pole on the easiest battery to reach the +/- poles.

I know you will, but I need to say it anyway. Read the instructions on the charger. Make sure the settings are for a normal charge. Do not choose the "emergency start" or "power boost settings". These settings are made for a momentary boost of power to the batteries, from the charger. What you want to accomplish is a steady charge over the next day or two.

In all situations, always connect the cables before plugging in the charger. When finished, uplug the charger before disconnecting the cables.
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Old 12-29-2008, 01:18 PM   #10
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Gary, Thank you VERY MUCH for that extremely helpful batt charging advice. I did pick up a charger on the way home...it's a 10 A charger for deep cycle 12 V marine batteries, which is what I thought I had...

Before I take the charger out of the box I'll go look at the batteries and my owner's manual a bit more, as you suggested. I did pass up some more expensive chargers that had different charging levels (one for instance had a 2 or 6 Amp option). The batteries rebounded on their own, once I took the load off, to 10.0 volts when I got home, so I imagine they'll make it ok if I don't charge until tomorrow.

Meantime, I think I solved the mystery of the short: IT'S THE CONVERTER!! I arrive at this conclusion after considering all manner of ideas and then conducting a test suggested by Pete of RV Chassis Master: I unplugged the converter from its outlet in the power compartment, then went into the coach and tested the breakers. House main: on. All other breakers, including the one that would not stay on yesterday: ON! I then tested every outlet that would not work yesterday, and they all work now that the converter is unplugged.

So a light has dawned for me here: the converter takes my shore power of 110 V (ac or dc, whichever!) and converts it to 12 V (the ac/dc opposite of the 110 V) and charges the house batts. It's job - its only job - is to charge the house batts, like other appliances have specific jobs, like to be a tv or be a heater. When this "appliance" shorted out, it caused the circuit it was on to fail - but once the bad appliance was unplugged from the circuit, the circuit was fine to function.

Hopefully this rudimentary understanding is correct, because if it is, then I really feel like I've learned something thru all this.

There are no visible fuses or breakers or the like on this converter; its just a silver box.

It's a Power Source Model PC 75. Does this model strike anyone as good, bad, or otherwise?

So, very soon I'll replace this converter. And when I think my brain can handle it, I'll learn about the INverter...if I have one on my rig, I have no idea where it might be....yowza.

Thanks again to you all for your quick assistance during this little crisis. Happy New Year, Sharon
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Old 12-29-2008, 01:58 PM   #11
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Hi Sharon,
10 VDC reading on your coach batteries means they are flat out of power,,,,,dead. An overview of what you can expect from batteries is:
12.6 V or higher is fully charged
12.5V = 90%
12.4V = 80%
12.3V = 70%
12.2V = 60%
12.1V = 55%
12.0V = 50%
11.9V = 40%
11.8V = 30%
11.6V = 20%
11.3V = 10%
10.5V = 0%
The goal is to never discharge the batteries below 50% for any length of time.

The 10 AMP, 12 VDC charger should be perfect. I also use a 10 AMP 12 VDC charger.

Being a late 90's DSDP, your coach may or may not have an inverter. I'm not sure when Newmar started offering them as optional or standard equipment. In addition, the previous owner(s) may have installed one. An easy test to determine if you have an inverter is:
With the coach disconnected from shore power and the generator is off, do you have any 110 VAC appliances that will operate? Examples are TV and VCR/DVD player.
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Old 12-29-2008, 05:05 PM   #12
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Well, I'm closing in on the end of this saga....

My electrician came by tonight and pulled the converter, took it to his shop and confirmed a burned out resistor inside. He did some research and suggested that maybe an IOTA DLS-75 IQ4 (3 stage smart charge) would be a suitable replacement.

If anyone has any bad or good comments about that IOTA, I'd be interested. Thanks, Sharon

PS yes, the electrician will pay for it!
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Old 12-29-2008, 06:11 PM   #13
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That unit or, say, a Progressive Dynamics PD9270 will do nicely. Your batteries will thank you for the 3-stage charging treatment.
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Old 12-29-2008, 07:27 PM   #14
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The electricity on these things is SO COMPLICATED!

When it works it works really good.

When it doesn't it may drive you mad!

Fortunately you found a consciencious electrician!
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