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Old 04-22-2013, 08:51 PM   #1
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No power to power step switch - '02 Storm

Greetings,
This is our third season with our '02 Storm 30H and one ongoing issue I've had is that when I first get in the RV and turn on the AUX power switch and MAIN power switch above the entry door, many times the power to the switch that controls the power entry steps does not come on. I can tell because the step switch has a red indicator light that comes on when it's switched on and working properly.
In the past, it's just started working - many times after plugging it in to shore power.
This past weekend I got the unit out to un-winterize it and the step never worked.
I'm not sure if this is significant but when I turn on the 'AUX' switch, I can hear a relay trip under the dash or under the hood. When I hit the 'MAIN' switch, I am not hearing any relay.
Could I have a stuck/weak relay?

If so, where might I find it?

Does anyone have any other ideas of what might be wrong?

THANKS!!!
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Old 04-22-2013, 11:38 PM   #2
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I would suggest testing your coach batteries and checking electrolyte levels. Any test under 12 volts suggests a possible battery cell problem.



Quote:
Originally Posted by neo102470 View Post
Greetings,
This is our third season with our '02 Storm 30H and one ongoing issue I've had is that when I first get in the RV and turn on the AUX power switch and MAIN power switch above the entry door, many times the power to the switch that controls the power entry steps does not come on. I can tell because the step switch has a red indicator light that comes on when it's switched on and working properly.
In the past, it's just started working - many times after plugging it in to shore power.
This past weekend I got the unit out to un-winterize it and the step never worked.
I'm not sure if this is significant but when I turn on the 'AUX' switch, I can hear a relay trip under the dash or under the hood. When I hit the 'MAIN' switch, I am not hearing any relay.
Could I have a stuck/weak relay?

If so, where might I find it?

Does anyone have any other ideas of what might be wrong?

THANKS!!!
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Old 04-23-2013, 03:40 AM   #3
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I would start with Steve's suggestion. There is a fuse for that step switch in the BCC ( battery control center ) on my Bounder. You might want to also check that.
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:23 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Clifftall View Post
I would start with Steve's suggestion. There is a fuse for that step switch in the BCC ( battery control center ) on my Bounder. You might want to also check that.
Thanks for the replies.

First - where is the battery control center? Is that the fuse box and converter that's under my fridge or is it under the hood? The 'AUX' relay is under the hood next to the fuse block there I think.

Regarding the battery's level of charge, I take the engine battery home and keep it charged up over winter. As for the house batteries, after sitting all winter without a charger on them, I just assume they are pretty drained. That said, when I plug in to shore power, wouldn't that energize the system such that any low voltage issue would go away? I left the RV plugged into shore power and I know there was good voltage going to the house batteries so I would think they should be pretty well charged (although I didn't check w/ voltmeter).

As for the condition of the house batteries, I bought the motorhome from a mechanic that did very complete maintainance on it... everything except the house batteries I guess - when i checked them the first fall we owned the RV, I used 5 qts of distilled water to get the 2 - 6 volt batteries full again. They have not lost any water in the 1.5 years since... they were/are buldged (from freezing I think). Since we are almost never off shore power or generator, I have not been inclined to replace them.

I actually assumed that when I got in the motorhome and switched on the power the first time that the reason the steps wouldn't function was due to low house battery voltage - but they've always worked when plugged into shore power before... not sure why they won't now.

THANSK!
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:40 AM   #5
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Sounds like you need to check out those house batteries. Here is a photo of my BCC.


Click image for larger version

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It is in a basement compartment on my Bounder. I think you may find yours in a different area ( under the hood , maybe ). A call to FW will get you that answer. 800-322-8216.
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:47 AM   #6
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Do I need to load test them of just voltage test them?

I assume they are weak/shot - but I don't know if that explains why my step relay won't trip - even on shore power - does it???

THANKS!
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Old 04-23-2013, 09:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neo102470 View Post
Do I need to load test them of just voltage test them? I assume they are weak/shot - but I don't know if that explains why my step relay won't trip - even on shore power - does it???
THANKS!
Your house batteries are definitely shot. If they are bulging, they are near dead.

However, they are not the source of your current step problem. The step (switch and motor) are powered from the chassis battery.

It sounds like you may have a problem with the MAIN battery disconnect if you don't hear the same CLUNK when you toggle it ON and OFF, like you do from the aux disconnect. Both disconnect solenoids (the source of the clunk) are located in the BCC, and operate the same.

Sometimes repeatedly removing and replacing the main battery can confuse the disconnect solenoid and it can be OFF when it thinks it's ON. Turning on the ignition and starting the engine will usually clear that up.

Another possibility is that the solenoid or one of the fuses or connections in the BCC are bad.
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Old 04-23-2013, 09:26 AM   #8
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Your coach batteries are toast. Usually, anytime the plates are exposed to air and no electrolyte is covering the top of the plates a short circuit can occur and one or more cells are probably no good. Replace the 6 volt batteries and recheck for functionality.



Quote:
Originally Posted by neo102470 View Post
Do I need to load test them of just voltage test them?

I assume they are weak/shot - but I don't know if that explains why my step relay won't trip - even on shore power - does it???

THANKS!
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Old 04-23-2013, 09:29 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by loulong View Post
Your house batteries are definitely shot. If they are bulging, they are near dead.

However, they are not the source of your current step problem. The step (switch and motor) are powered from the chassis battery.

It sounds like you may have a problem with the MAIN battery disconnect if you don't hear the same CLUNK when you toggle it ON and OFF, like you do from the aux disconnect. Both disconnect solenoids (the source of the clunk) are located in the BCC, and operate the same.

Sometimes repeatedly removing and replacing the main battery can confuse the disconnect solenoid and it can be OFF when it thinks it's ON. Turning on the ignition and starting the engine will usually clear that up.

Another possibility is that the solenoid or one of the fuses or connections in the BCC are bad.
This sounds EXACTLY like my issue. Many times in the past, starting the engine made the step work... It didn't work this time but I never did hear the MAIN make the clunk sound of the solenoid actuating. I may go under the hood (where the relays seem to be) and have someone flip the switches so I can identify what I'm looking for and then see what I can figure out with the other solenoid (is it seeing power when the switch is turned on, etc).

THANKS!
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Old 04-23-2013, 09:36 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by The General View Post
Your coach batteries are toast. Usually, anytime the plates are exposed to air and no electrolyte is covering the top of the plates a short circuit can occur and one or more cells are probably no good. Replace the 6 volt batteries and recheck for functionality.

Are the shorted plates dangerous or will they just run the batteries down quicker? I'm just wondering how urgent it is to replace them.

Thanks.
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Old 04-23-2013, 09:46 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neo102470 View Post
Are the shorted plates dangerous or will they just run the batteries down quicker? I'm just wondering how urgent it is to replace them.

Thanks.
Your converter is attempting to charge the coach batteries, full time, when you are plugged into house current, which is not great for the converter. Most components of the 12 volt system may not able to function properly without good coach batteries.
A tell tale sign of bad batteries can be solenoids not functioning properly so I would replace your batteries asap.
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The General View Post
Your converter is attempting to charge the coach batteries, full time, when you are plugged into house current, which is not great for the converter. Most components of the 12 volt system may not able to function properly without good coach batteries.
A tell tale sign of bad batteries can be solenoids not functioning properly so I would replace your batteries asap.

Ok, will do.

Thanks!
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Old 04-23-2013, 12:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The General View Post
Your converter is attempting to charge the coach batteries, full time, when you are plugged into house current, which is not great for the converter. Most components of the 12 volt system may not able to function properly without good coach batteries.
A tell tale sign of bad batteries can be solenoids not functioning properly so I would replace your batteries asap.
I agree the batteries should be replaced immediately.

Two things still puzzle me:
  • The house battery disconnect seems to be working (at least it clunks ON/OFF), but the MAIN does not.
  • The step is powered by the chassis battery NOT the house batteries.

It will be interesting to see the result and final fix.
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Old 04-23-2013, 12:42 PM   #14
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Well, I guess I'll start with the batteries and see if that takes care of it.

loulong, I didn't know what exactly the two switches turn on/off... Main vs Aux...

Aux = house
Main = chassis

correct?

What does having the chassis battery switched 'on' do for me (other than turning the step on...)? The engine starts either way.

I don't understand the need for 2 separate switches - is there any situation where I'd want one on and not the other?

THANKS
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