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Old 04-21-2015, 08:04 PM   #1
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Magnetek/Parallax 6345 converter died after furnace died

We took our 1990 Fleetwood Jamboree Rallye 26' out for it's maiden voyage yesterday. FYI we bought this last week and fixed a ton of problems with it. I tested everything after repairing them (furnace, HW heater, battery wire on wrong post, plumbing, etc.). In particular, since I had the issue with one of the (+) positive battery wires connected to the negative post on the house battery, I tested that the alternator, the converter and the generator all charged the house battery.

So we headed to upper lower Michigan to do a service call. Found one campground open. Hooked up to 30A shore power. Kicked furnace on, played cards, went to bed. About 3:30AM I wake up, freezing, hearing the furnace motor making a weird sound.. like the bearings in the motor were bad or something.. it wasn't spinning up to full speed and would shut off, repeat. Around 4AM I shut the furnace off, threw on another blanket. I get up at 7AM, freezing, 34 degrees out and snowing.. went to start the engine to get warmth... dead battery. OK, I've got a generator... dead house battery.. won't even kick in the starter. So here I am, the only one in the camp ground, both batteries dead and no furnace, left my booster pack, jumper cables and battery charger back at the house. But I have 120VAC and 12VDC power from my converter! lol

I disconnected the house battery and whalla... 0V. Converter is not charging my batteries, I.E. no voltage on the filtered side of the converter (red wire), which also supplies 12V to the furnace, range hood, 12V accessory plugs. As I said, I do have 12V on the unfiltered lines (blue wire out of converter).

I contact the park manager, she sends her son out to give me a jump. Now the van's running, but it's not charging the house battery either. I don't know how this puppy is wired, but I do know there is no battery cutoff switch and I have not found any circuit breaker (other then the AC breakers).

I'm thinking the furnace doesn't have bad bearings, rather I lost the filtered power side of the converter and the furnace was running on battery power... until it was too low to turn the motor.

Now, first question is, what went bad? Next, would/should this drain the engine battery as well? I would think they would have the engine battery protected from getting drained. Or not?

I know the obvious answer.. upgrade the Magnetek. lol I will, when I get back to work and can afford it. Until then.. what to do?

Thanks in advance.

P.S. A 40+mph wind gust today ripped my awning 1/2 off going down I-75 at 60mph. Now I have to figure out how to remount the rear mounting bracket. Great maiden voyage, eh? lol
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Old 04-22-2015, 06:27 AM   #2
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Lot of information here...

I assume the truck portion is OK, i.e. the alternator is charging the chassis battery.

Sounds like you have a volt meter and know how to use it. This is good...

Measure the DC voltages on the batteries (Chassis and house) for these three conditions:

Truck off, genny off no shore power.

Truck ON genny off, no shore power

Truck OFF, Genny OFF, Shore power plugged in. (make sure you have 110 at outlets)
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Old 04-22-2015, 04:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiter21 View Post

Measure the DC voltages on the batteries (Chassis and house) for these three conditions:

Truck off, genny off no shore power. Chassis 12.8V House 11.45V

Truck ON genny off, no shore power Chassis 13+V House 11.45V

Truck OFF, Genny OFF, Shore power plugged in. (make sure you have 110 at outlets) Chassis 12.8V House 11.45V
Now, if I do the same thing with the house battery disconnected... (reading the wires to the house battery)

Truck off, genny off no shore power. Chassis 12.8V House 0V

Truck ON genny off, no shore power Chassis 13+V House 0V

Truck OFF, Genny OFF, Shore power plugged in. (make sure you have 110 at outlets) Chassis 12.8V House 0V
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Old 04-22-2015, 05:50 PM   #4
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Based on the voltage readings I would say you have a problem between the converter and the house battery.

I'm assuming that if the truck is OFF and you are NOT connected to shore power, the coach lights do not work.

1) When the truck is running do you have coach lights

2) Turn the truck off, plug into shore power, do you have coach lights?

If #1 i OK, that means your isolator is probably OK.

If #2 is OK, that means your converter is probably OK

********************

Look very carefully at / around your coach battery to make sure all the wires are hooked up, both ground wires and plus wires.

Also look at your converter to see if you have any blown fuses.

I've also seen coach batteries that have a self resetting breaker in line with the plus wire, these are also known to go bad.

The photo is a very basic wiring diagram. Yours may be similar. This should give you a rough idea of how the systems are tied together.

..
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Old 04-22-2015, 06:31 PM   #5
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Your old Magnatek is probably bot exactly like this 6345Q model, but it should be close enough to show you how the voltage on the RED and BLUE wires are developed.

You may be able to clean the contacts of the output relay or jumper certain connections together to get by for a day or two.

On your old unit, it may not have the capability to develop voltage when the battery is removed, so don't condemn the charger just yet. It may not be completely dead..

There is also a circuit breaker in line with the battery charge output that may be tripped.

RE-check (and re-connect) anything you have disconnected since the problem started. It's a good bet that you caused the current N0 charging condition of the chassis batteries from the engine.
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Old 04-22-2015, 07:49 PM   #6
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I have coach lights all the time, but they are dim due to the battery being low. They only go bright with shore power. Remember, this model has a separate circuit (blue wire) for the lights. The charging (red wire, what they call "filtered") circuit is what's dead. The furnace motor, range hood light/fan and cigarette lighter plugs are fed off this red wire. Again, due to the low battery, they are low/slow. If I remove the coach battery, they are dead, but the coach lights running off the blue circuit still work. There can not be a bad connection since the coach battery will power everything. It's just not getting charged.

I don't know exactly what the isolator looks like or where it's at. Maybe I do and just don't know what I'm looking at. There is a solenoid under the hood where the two batteries are connected on opposite sides with a small purple wire to a small terminal on the front side. Coach battery connected on the left (11.45V), chassis battery on the right (12.8V). When I push the emergency start switch, I hear it click. With the engine running, I get 13+V on the right side, 11.45V on the left. When I push the emer start switch, I get the alternator's 13V on the left side. I didn't push the switch long enough to test further for fear of frying something. Is that the isolator?
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Old 04-22-2015, 07:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Old Bounder View Post
There is also a circuit breaker in line with the battery charge output that may be tripped.

RE-check (and re-connect) anything you have disconnected since the problem started. It's a good bet that you caused the current N0 charging condition of the chassis batteries from the engine.
How could I cause it to stop charging when it stopped charging while I was sleeping? lol


Any idea where this circuit breaker would be? Is it inside the converter box?
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Old 04-22-2015, 08:54 PM   #8
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if you need a converter i have one. i am going to change over to 50 amp
and bought a 50 amp model
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Old 04-23-2015, 11:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SatWorld View Post
I have coach lights all the time, but they are dim due to the battery being low. They only go bright with shore power. Remember, this model has a separate circuit (blue wire) for the lights. The charging (red wire, what they call "filtered") circuit is what's dead. The furnace motor, range hood light/fan and cigarette lighter plugs are fed off this red wire. Again, due to the low battery, they are low/slow. If I remove the coach battery, they are dead, but the coach lights running off the blue circuit still work. There can not be a bad connection since the coach battery will power everything. It's just not getting charged.

I don't know exactly what the isolator looks like or where it's at. Maybe I do and just don't know what I'm looking at. There is a solenoid under the hood where the two batteries are connected on opposite sides with a small purple wire to a small terminal on the front side. Coach battery connected on the left (11.45V), chassis battery on the right (12.8V). When I push the emergency start switch, I hear it click. With the engine running, I get 13+V on the right side, 11.45V on the left. When I push the emer start switch, I get the alternator's 13V on the left side. I didn't push the switch long enough to test further for fear of frying something. Is that the isolator?
That solenoid could very well be the isolator, as this is the usual method in larger class A coaches. Yours may(most likely) have a diode isolator. Follow the charge wire from the back of the alternator and see where it goes. If it goes to a small box (usually with cooling fins on the side) that is your isolator.

The circuit breaker that I mentioned in my last post is located inside the converter. It will prevent charging, if tripped, but is not the only thing that could be wrong with the charger. As you can see from the diagram that I linked, the relay contacts connect the lights to the batteries when the charger is has no incoming 120vac. They could also be the problem.
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Old 04-23-2015, 11:33 AM   #10
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How could I cause it to stop charging when it stopped charging while I was sleeping? lol
My quoted comment referred to the lack of charging from the engine alternator (which is a completely different problem than the lack of charging from the converter that was being discussed).

Unless you went to bed with the engine running, that charging didn't just stop while you were sleeping.

You also said that you disconnected the house batteries and measured 0V. My comments also tried to alert you to the fact that you would likely measure 0v on the charger output with the battery disconnected, because the charger requires that a battery be connected to develop that voltage. The point is that you can't measure the BLUE wire with the battery disconnect, it must have a battery connected.

If you actually measure 0V AT THE BATTERY your batteries are ruined or there was no actual connection.
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Old 04-23-2015, 06:01 PM   #11
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Sorry, I've been working and haven't had a chance to get back to troubleshooting.

The alternator charges the engine battery. It does not charge the coach battery. When it stopped doing that, I do not know. I do know it did charge the other day when I was troubleshooting. Yes, they are different problems. I'm trying to understand the path and how it charges the house battery. The picture I posted shows the solenoid that has the coach battery connected on the left side with a heavy wire. That heavy wire goes directly to the coach battery. That solenoid is the only device that has both the chassis and coach batteries connected to it. It looks new, so maybe they replaced it just before I bought the rig. There are two wires going to the trigger input. Obviously one is from the emergency switch, which works, so the solenoid (or isolator) must be good. The question is, where does the 2nd wire come from?

As for the blue circuit... it has 12+V from the converter with shore power, with or without the coach battery connected. Without shore power, I get the voltage of the coach battery at both the red and blue wires. So that pretty much rules out the relay. Looking at the schematics, it appears SCR, R1 or CB1 are bad.

I think I'll just buy a new converter now. lol

So which is the best one and way to go...
55 Amp Converter Replacement Kit or

https://bestconverter.3dcartstores.c...ion_p_352.html ?

Or?
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Old 04-23-2015, 07:25 PM   #12
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I got a second wind, bundled up and went back outside... I ripped the guts out of the power center... the 0.3 ohm 50 watt resister R1, cracked in two places. Circuit breaker CB1, which was inside the converter.. open... bad... kaput. I'm not going to replace those parts.. no sense in repairing a crappy converter. I guess it didn't like the furnace running so much. I'm going to order a new converter.. just waiting on input what you guys think is the best way to go.


FYI: The circuit breaker is a Short Stop 12V 15Amp Auto Reset Circuit Breaker. I see them on ebay for $8.85. I can't find the exact resistor.
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Old 04-24-2015, 06:02 AM   #13
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EXCELLENT - Looks like you found the problem. Don't buy any parts for the converter, your going to be replacing the power supply portion and possibly upgrading the distribution /fuse board (I would) These old converters were notorious for boiling batteries and on rare occasions, starting fires.

I just replaced the converter power supply in my Coachman Mirada to a 4 stage.

Here is a link

Upgrading converter to 4 stage | 2001 Coachmen Mirada 300QB

HOWEVER - I think this one would be a better fit for you - LOOK AT THIS ONE - Appears to be the same as yours.

I had an old Toyota class C micro, I replaced the converter in it many years ago. This upgrade included a new distribution board, etc. Look at this one as it might be your better choice.

12 Volt Converter Upgrade - Electrical - Toyota Motorhome Discussion Board

When you look at this link, scroll down and you'll also see where I added / upgraded the 110 AC portion of the converter by adding a couple circuit breakers.

..
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Old 04-24-2015, 08:14 AM   #14
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Thanks Waiter21. I was leaning towards the 55A Ultra III kit. It's a little more then others but less headache to install. I also wanted the new fuse panel with the LEDs showing a blown fuse, which is included.

Now on to the alternator not charging the house battery....
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