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Old 02-02-2016, 08:55 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
1996 21' Sovereign
Nanoose Bay , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 7
2 Inline 6 Volts and a Converter/Inverter... 3rd owners Confused.

Hello!!

Looking to tap into your wisdom! We acquired a '96 21 foot Sovereign. Love her to bits, even though her clear coat is patchy as a mangy dog. Anyway, she has her issues and her puzzles. We're 3rd owners and have inherited a girl who has been roughly re-wired with 2 golf cart batteries (inline 6 volt). We've only just recently had trouble re-charging these, but have an unused and unloved converter/inverter under the front Gaucho. According to previous owners, we can't 110 and we have to hit the 'charge' switch to charge the batteries.

Can anyone provide me insight into what we're dealing with? ie. how to keep/maintain batteries and how use, or discard the inverter/converter under our gaucho.


Thank you for the help!!!
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:18 PM   #2
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2015 30' Classic
Pleasanton , California
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 620
I might be more confused than you...

1. "We've only just recently had trouble re-charging these...". Do you know if the batteries are good? Can you measure the voltage? Do you know how long the batteries have been unattended?

2. "...but have an unused and unloved converter/inverter under the front Gaucho". So the previous owners have a converter/inverter that they've never used? Could you tell us the make and model?

3. "According to previous owners, we can't 110", I'm guessing this means you can't plug it into 110V? Is this because you don't have 110 V easily available or is there another issue that's preventing you from plugging it into shore power?

4. "...we have to hit the 'charge' switch to charge the batteries". Well, if you can't plug it into 110 V (shore power), then hitting the charge switch won't do anything. You need 110 V for the converter to run and charge the batteries.

Perhaps after getting some more details we can help you move forward.
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2015 30' Classic, "Chez Nu"
2014 RAM 2500 w/Cummins Diesel
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Old 02-02-2016, 10:32 PM   #3
1 Rivet Member
 
1996 21' Sovereign
Nanoose Bay , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 7
Thank you!!! I appreciate your questions and will endeavour to answer them:

1) I haven't measured the voltage lately. But three months ago they were as good as they could get... could so much have changed (unplugged where previously plugged (mostly) to shore power)?
2) we have a GPC-30. Should I provide more information?

3) I have no idea about 110. It's just what the previous owners told us. We have always - when we could - plugged into shore power with success. I am, perhaps, ignorant about terminology. After plugging in, we've been able to boondock for a few days very successfully. Now, it seems, our batteries just drain...

4) hmmm, we have a random switch on the wall ( passenger side). A past owner placed a printed label on the switch that says 'charge'. We only assume this relates to battery charging??? It seems to enable battery charging, but we're going on hope and a little (very little evidence).

Any guidance you provide is more than appreciated!!!
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Old 02-02-2016, 11:23 PM   #4
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2015 30' Classic
Pleasanton , California
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 620
OK, I have a clearer picture.

So first, let's talk about battery charging. You batteries are charging when you plug into shore power and your converter (GPC-30) is on. I believe the "charge" switch that you're referring to is used to turn on and off the converter. So, the first thing you should know is that your battery charger is a single-stage charger. Modern chargers use a three-stage technique and can be left to charge the batteries indefinitely, while the single stage chargers can overcharge and damage the batteries. I don't know if your batteries are permanently damaged, more about that later, but when you are connected to shore power and your converter is on, it's important to not overcharge your batteries. Folks often will swap out their old single stage converters for a modern three-stage converter. The new converters cost approximately $200 and can be done by someone with basic electrical skills or you can find a RV tech to install it.

When the previous owner said there's no 110 V, I think he was saying that even when you are connected to shore power, you don't have 110 V available inside the trailer. You can always upgrade your trailer to include an inverter. An inverter converts 12 V DC into 120 V AC. Depending on the configuration you can add 120 V wall sockets powered from your inverter. Some inverters come with automatic switchover circuitry which means that your 120 V wall sockets, when connected to shore power, will receive their power externally, rather than using your 12 V batteries as a source of power.

So, I guess your first problem to solve is to see if your converter is charging your batteries and if your batteries are healthy. Can you measure the voltage across each battery BEFORE connecting shore power? Can you repeat the measurement across each battery AFTER connecting shore power? Make sure the switch is in the charge position when you connect shore power. This will give us some clues. A good way to check the state of the battery is to buy a battery hydrometer. You can pick up a cheap one from Walmart and it will give you and us a clear picture of the health of your batteries.
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