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Old 06-09-2016, 07:52 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2016
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Problem with 12 volt power

First let me start by saying that I am relatively new to Motorhome camping. My wife and I purchased a 2003 Pace Arrow 37A in Feb 2015, and we have really enjoyed it!

I will try to make this as short as possible, but I tend to be too detailed sometimes, so forgive me if this is more info then needed.

We store our rig at a local storage facility where we are constantly plugged into shore power, although it is just 120 service. We have a 30 amp rig, so I have an adapter that plugs into the 120. We have kept it at the same place, plugged in all the time, since we purchased it over a year ago.

About 3-4 weeks ago I went to do something at the rig, and when I got there I noticed that I had absolutely no power going in, even though I was plugged into the shore power outlet. The only thing I could think of was that the power pole that I was plugged into had been knocked out by recent storms we had been having. I have no idea when it actually stopped working though.

Obviously, when the shore power went dead the auxiliary "house" batteries where still being used, and ultimately they also went dead.

I checked other power poles at the storage facility and they were working (not sure why, but they were), so I ran my power cord to a different pole in order to get shore power.

Once plugged back in, I checked my power converter and it seemed to be working fine (at least the fan was working on it). However, I still had no 12 volt power in the rig, as I thought I should have since I was plugged in to shore power and the converter seemed okay.

So I did a couple of things... I removed the batteries (I have 2 6 volt GC battteries that are connected in series) and took them to an autoparts store where they checked/charged them overnight. One of them would only hold about 2 volts, and the other one wouldn't even turn the tester or the charger on!!! Needless to say, I ended up purchasing 2 brand new 6 volt GC batteries. I also went ahead and ordered a new power converter through Amazon (Progressive Dynamics - PD9160AV - 60 Amp Power Converter). This was the same converter that I had originally. With the new converter I also purchased the Charge Wizard (Progressive Dynamics - PD9105V - Lead Acid Battery Charge Wizard) which was designed for this converter.

I replaced the old with the new, and eureka, we had 12 volt power, and everything was fine and dandy! Since then we took the rig down to FL for a week, and didn't have any problems the entire time.

When we got home, just last Saturday, I took the rig back to my spot at the storage facility, plugged it into the pole, which the facility had fixed, and I turned on the roof vent fans to pull some of the heat out, and I left the unit, just like I had done for the past year...

Yesterday, I went back to the rig to take linens that we had washed, and to my surprise, I again have no 12 volt power...

This time, the shore power is working, and the items in the rig that run directly from that are working fine (i.e. the microwave, audio equipment, and some outlets apparently). However, the items that run on 12 volt are not (i.e. roof fans, frig and lights).

I checked the brand new batteries, and they are full of water... Checked the converter and it has shore power as the fan on it is running... Checked the charge wizard and noticed that the light on it was not on, so I clicked the button on it and still nothing...

As it was late last night and dark in the rig w/no lights, not to mention how frustrated I was, at my brothers advice (who I called when I realized my problem) I unplugged the converter since it wasn't doing anything anyway, I cleaned out the frig and I closed everything up.

Neither of us could figure out what the problem is... I have no experience with RV power, but my brother lives in his RV 90% of the time, so when he wasn't sure either, my frustrations grew. He is planning to come over tomorrow afternoon to see if we can trace the issue and get it fixed, but in the interim, I thought I would run this by all of you experienced folks to see if you have any advice/knowledge/experience or whatever, that you could share with an in-experienced fellow RVer!

Sorry this was so long, but I warned you at that beginning!

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!!!
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Old 06-09-2016, 08:39 AM   #2
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Hi h8. Welcome to the forum.
If I understand this correctly, you left your roof fans running . First, if this is correct, turn them off. Then plug your converter back in. Most motorhomes have a battery disconnect switch near the entrance. If you have such a switch, make sure it is on. With a volt meter, measure the voltage at the batteries and post the results back here.
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Old 06-09-2016, 08:43 AM   #3
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Without being there my first guess is a loose or bad connection from charger to batteries (either side, battery or charger) that developed on your way home. Maybe defective charger that you need to send back.
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Old 06-09-2016, 08:48 AM   #4
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If the converter was working properly all of the 12V items would work even without batteries. Use your meter and see what's coming out of (not into) the converter. You can even disconnect the batteries if they are dead.
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Old 06-09-2016, 11:49 AM   #5
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FWIW the one thing that can happen is that if the batteries are too low in charge they can overload the converter so it shuts itself down to protect itself. I would have tried the old converter with the new batteries before ordering a replacement. The new converter may be fried or not connected. Time to get out the meter.
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Old 06-09-2016, 01:46 PM   #6
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Look for a fuse on the output side of the converter or for a circuit breaker or reset button. These may be small and in an innocuous place on the device.
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