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Old 12-05-2020, 10:42 AM   #1
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Location: Front Range of Colorado
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Electricity on solar?

Hi all:

2008 Dutchmen Grand Junction 37QSL 40' 5th wheel, purchased 2 weeks ago.

This is my first post. I am new to RVing... and dove in as a full-timer. (I'll post more on the intro board.)

I am a n00b. My main issue is nouns. I use the wrong words ALL the time. Please forgive me!! (IE: watts / amps / volts / amphours -- I mostly know the difference, but I swap the words ALL the time. Since I never know which word to use, I often just say the number + ____. Please fill in the appropriate unit for me, ha!)

2 panels have been found: 120V & 12V, with an onboard converter/inverter. (I haven't found the converter/inverter yet.)

Current charging options:
shore: generator plugged into the 50 amp plug (with bones)
solar: 2 100W panels going to my bro's SunRunr (https://www.sunrunr.com/products.html), then to the rig's batteries. (He had it onsite, so why not?! I have to give it back eventually, lol.)

Current batteries: 2 Deka Marine Master 12V 800a -- came with rig: https://low.es/33IHdkk

Issue:
shore power: kitchen outlets work with simple light
solar power: NONE of the outlets work (I get some will not work on non-shore)

Troubleshooting:
Batteries: at full with solar
Furnace: will run on solar, with fan (yes, it's propane)
Fridge: will run on solar (propane, but running)
Panel: none of the switches are in the "off" position. I turned them off & back on just for good measure.
12V fuses: Not sure what I'm looking for. I'll put in pics.

Options:
Run the generator full-time. (Would prefer to run only at night.)
Extension cord to my brother's house. (Currently what I'm doing.)

We tried hooking my bro's house up to the rig as "shore" power. However, it's a 15 __ (amp?) & blew the fuse the second we plugged it in.

Ideas to try? Noobish assumption I made that I shouldn't have? Things that I don't know that I don't know?

Thanks for your help!

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Old 12-05-2020, 11:03 AM   #2
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined us!

Congrats on the new rig! Hope things are looking up for you.

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 12-05-2020, 11:03 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AuntJanet View Post
Hi all:
I am going to be making a LOT of assumptions here.

Quote:
Issue:
shore power: kitchen outlets work with simple light
solar power: NONE of the outlets work (I get some will not work on non-shore)
Inverters are typically wired in one of 3.5 ways.
#1: "Sub panel", there is circuit in the main breaker that goes the inverter. There is another break box beyond the inverter and only those circuits run on the inverter. Typically used with medium sized inverters.

#2 and #2.5, whole or half house wired. The inverter is wired inline with either L1 or L2 of the incoming power. This would allow anything on that side of the breaker box, or both sides, to be powered by the inverter. Typically use with large inverters.

#3 is a stand alone inverter only used to power 1 or 2 specific outlets. Typically found with smaller inverters.


Quote:
Troubleshooting:
Batteries: at full with solar
Furnace: will run on solar, with fan (yes, it's propane)
Fridge: will run on solar (propane, but running)
Panel: none of the switches are in the "off" position. I turned them off & back on just for good measure.
12V fuses: Not sure what I'm looking for. I'll put in pics.


Thanks for your help!
Solar does not "run" anything, it is simply a battery charger. Your fridge and furnace run on 12 volt when using propane. As long as you have battery power they will work.


Now for the assumptions: #1 are you sure there is an inverter? I am not seeing a circuit labeled for one.

The RV does have a converter which is what charges your 12v batteries when you are plugged into shoreline.

My assumption is that you do not have an inverter, no label and you have not found one and your outlets do not work off shoreline. If you do have an inverter it is not a whole/half house inverter.
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Old 12-05-2020, 11:23 AM   #4
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I agree with nwcid that you don't have an inverter, therefore you won't have any 120v power from solar or batteries. The photo you show is a charger/converter that keeps your 12v batteries charged. Your lights, 12v for the fridge, power to the thermostats, furnaces, etc all come from the batteries.

As for "blew the fuse" at your bro's house do you mean the circuit breaker in his house or a fuse in the coach? If the circuit breaker, then you may have had some 120v appliance such as water heater turned on that drew excessive power (amps) blowing the breaker. A 15amp circuit breaker can get overloaded very quickly as even the converter can draw almost that much power. Also, if the breaker is a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) RV power panels sometimes don't play well with them as they sense a ground fault in the way the panel is wired.
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Old 12-05-2020, 11:30 AM   #5
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And the learning continues!

Thanks to both of you!

You're right, it was a GFCI plug -- bro put it there on purpose. Good to know that THAT could be the issue. It was the GFCI that got tripped, not the rig.

I'll look for an inverter. The owner's manual SAYS there's one, but it's also the manual for a LOT of models. So... yeah. Already learned that saying something in RV-land doesn't make it true, heh.

The extension cord is working in the meantime -- and the solar is charging the batteries sufficiently to allow them to run the furnace. Yay!!

I WILL learn the lingo! Just a really old dog, and new tricks are HARD, ha!

Thanks again!
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Old 12-05-2020, 12:24 PM   #6
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The 800 Amp on the Deca battery is cranking amps, not relevant to using for house lights, pumps and fans.

Probable have a total of 200 AHs of deep cycle battery capacity.

You will want to charge them a few hours, every day if not plugged in. If plugged in, they should charge. 200 watts of solar is not much.
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Old 12-05-2020, 12:27 PM   #7
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The converter is behind the fuses.
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Old 12-05-2020, 12:35 PM   #8
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Your are asking all the right questions--RV electric and solar power are not that complicated but there is a lot to learn....the internet and YouTube is your friend--lots of information....but recommend you find someone locally with good RV knowledge to survey your rig and give you some first-hand information on the various components and how they work....right now, you are off to a good start, the size of your panels and batteries, and the 15 amp plug on your "bro's" house is not going to give you much power to work with....
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