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Old 12-28-2013, 12:13 PM   #1
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No power to the 12 volts and batteries have completely discharged.

Greetings folks and Merry Christmas!!!

Just about finished renovating my 1983 Excella and now a new problem .... ;-(

I came out to the trailer the other day after not being in there for a week or so and noticed that radio light was dim and lights would turn on but be very dim as well. Within an hour the batteries were completely tapped. Both batteries are 1 year old and in excellent shape.

The trailer is plugged in to a 30 amp outlet on the side of my house and is getting power to the breaker box. The breaker box test button does flip the switch and it resets fine. My Microwave and AC systems are on a "one or the other" switch and they both get power fine. However nothing else in the trailer is getting power. The storage switch which provides power to the inverter is "on". Checked all the fuses and nothing appears to be blown....

My inverter is a PD9160A and I believe it is original. Before I order a new one could this be anything else? I will say that I am in Virginia and all this occurred during a very cold snap...

Any advice?

Thank you!!

Bryan
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Old 12-28-2013, 12:55 PM   #2
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The outlets are working as well so it appears to be only the 12volts not working.
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Old 12-28-2013, 01:17 PM   #3
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If the Converter is not equipped with the charge wizard and was plugged in 24/7 for any length of time you may have ruined the batteries.
I would remove the batt's, ck electrolyte, re-charge completely and test.

Good luck>>

Bob
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Old 12-28-2013, 05:17 PM   #4
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does your trailer have a switch to turn off the converter? (front curbside wall) it looks like a wall switch you'd see in a home.
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Old 12-28-2013, 08:54 PM   #5
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No converter switch that I know of. We do have a kill switch for the elec for long term storage. And I was wrong.... it's a 1993.

I will pull the batteries and try to recharge tomorrow.

Thanks,
Bryan
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Old 12-28-2013, 09:05 PM   #6
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look behind the curtain, you should have one.
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Old 12-28-2013, 09:18 PM   #7
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I have a 1993 34' Excella 1000. I have a factory installed standard light switch mounted on the wall, behind the curtains, near the window by the door. Some people find the converter noise annoying and this switch allows the owner to turn the power converter on and off. When the converter is running you can hear a hum.

I do not leave the converter plugged in to AC all the time because it will overcharge the batteries and boil them dry. I use a small trickel charger that maintains the batteries and turns itself off when they are fully charged. I run the trickel charger lines through the battery compartment door and attached the clips to the battery posts. I store the trickel charger in the nearby propane tank cover.

I hope this helps.
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Old 12-28-2013, 11:20 PM   #8
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I would strongly suggest that, no matter whether you have a switch or not, you install a modern converter with intelligent circuitry that will allow you to leave it connected to your batteries continuously. A modern converter will charge your batteries and then switch to a maintenance charge when appropriate. Some also have logic built in that will prevent your battery plates from sulfating. For a frame of reference, my 2010 trailer when new was equipped with a converter that would ruin the batteries in if were left on 24/7.
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:34 AM   #9
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I have a simular problem, I am currently staying in a trailer park. I was told that I should turn off the battery disconnect switch when connected to shore power for any length of time. If I don't have the battery connected I can't heat my water, my interior lights don't work, and the fridge also won't work with out it. I have replaced the original converter with a better 4 stage 4600 converter but it doesn't seem to matter. I had my batteries on a solar charger and on trickle charge and I could never get the batteries back to a full charge. Also, any recommendations on a good battery to get? right now I have optima marine batteries from Costco, got them in 2010. Can anyone give some insight on how this is suppose to work. I have never lived in the trailer full time before. Any help would be appreciated.
Julie
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Old 12-29-2013, 07:38 AM   #10
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Julie,

Sounds as though your new converter is not actually connected to the system.

The solar and trickle charger are keeping the batteries alive, but the converter is not charging the batteries or suppling power to the trailer.

It could be a circuit breaker on the converter or possibly a fuse, located at or near the electrical panel.

I guess worst case is the converter could be bad.


Get it fixed before the man burns……….



Regards,


JD
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Old 12-29-2013, 07:56 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaojamjab View Post
I have a simular problem, I am currently staying in a trailer park. I was told that I should turn off the battery disconnect switch when connected to shore power for any length of time. If I don't have the battery connected I can't heat my water, my interior lights don't work, and the fridge also won't work with out it. I have replaced the original converter with a better 4 stage 4600 converter but it doesn't seem to matter. I had my batteries on a solar charger and on trickle charge and I could never get the batteries back to a full charge. Also, any recommendations on a good battery to get? right now I have optima marine batteries from Costco, got them in 2010. Can anyone give some insight on how this is suppose to work. I have never lived in the trailer full time before. Any help would be appreciated.
Julie
Most modern solid state power converters will operate with no battery attached (unlike the old Univolt) and should provide sufficient 12VDC power for all of your interior needs. I would do some fuse checking on your DC fuse panel to see if one of the 30 amp main fuses is blown. You could also have a bad converter that is putting out voltage but no amperage. I have seen this situation several times.

On the subject of battery charging, power converters are OK for doing a basic charging job…..but even the best are still a compromise. The BEST charging mechanism is a full function inverter/charger for the following reasons (all of which are not available on a converter/charger):

• full temperature compensation: this feature uses a temperature probe attached directly to a non-load negative battery terminal to read the battery temperatures and provide this information to the inverter's charging section so it can vary the charging voltage according to the temperature readings. This is most important in warm to hot ambient temperature conditions where your batteries need a reduced charge and where a charger without temperature compensation WILL overcharge your batteries.

• adjustable absorption time: this feature actually tells the charger the size of the battery bank, as there is a direct correlation to the size of the battery bank and the time duration that should be spent in the absorption charging phase. Your batteries need the correct amount of charge, not a guess. One size definitely does not fit all!

• battery type… this is extremely important, as different batteries require different charging voltage profiles to attain a full and proper charge. Bulk and absorption charge voltages vary from 14.2-14.8VDC between liquid lead acid batteries and AGM batteries. This is a HUGE difference when discussing voltages and more that likely one of the primary reasons that your batteries do not last as long as they should. While some batteries are tolerant of varying charge voltages, others are NOT but the end result of all of them is shortened battery life.

I have several clients with large battery banks in motorhomes that have battery banks in their 9th year of service. These are Lifeline AGM batteries, and the primary reason for their extended life is proper charging.

The second most important reason for premature battery failure is over drawing your battery bank due to insufficient capacity. For example: if you have a single battery and regularly draw it down below 50% of capacity (12.2VDC), you will drastically reduce the amount of charge cycles that your battery has and will drastically shorten it's useful life.

A battery bank of sufficient size that is discharged no more than 20-25% on a regular basis, coupled with proper charging and battery care will last you far longer than not. Also, there are many reasons that cheap batteries are CHEAP! From my experience and that of many of my clients, an investment in a quality battery bank and accompanying charging system is an investment, not an expense!
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Old 12-29-2013, 08:29 PM   #12
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Thanks folks for teaching me new things about my Excella!!!

So now we have a plot twist.

I removed both batteries. I have 2 6 volt batteries installed by Southern RV in Richmond VA last year. Both batteries are full of acid/liquid. One battery tested at 100 % and the other at 95% so I charged it to 100.

I cleaned the terminals and reinstalled the batteries.

I plugged in 30Amp shore power and turned the kill switch to "on".

I DO have a converter switch!!! A new one on me. Once located, I turned the switch to up and lo and behold the lights and radio came on.... a "duh" moment.... red faced.....

However...the plot twist. If I turn the converter switch off, the lights and radio fade out within seconds..... Leaving the converter switch up and using the kill switch also causes the lights to dim and go out (a no duh moment there).

So it appears at least to this Airstream electrical pseudo novice that I am not getting any battery power from my batteries to run lights , radio etc.....

There must be a "use the battery power now" switch? Probably another red faced moment for me. I will check the manual after I post this update.

I'm also going to consult the manual.... I'm starting to think that Southern RV in Richmond VA should have sold me two 12 volt batteries.... not two six volt batteries..... I see that each battery has a red and black cable connected leading me to the conclusion that I have 2 fully charged 6 volt batteries connected in parallel giving me a whooping 6 volt feed....not 12. I'll need to check the connection further tomorrow when it gets light.


I would say that on most DIY jobs I am a " home owner expert".... i.e. I spent 15 years as a carpenter, roofer, plumber and builder, etc... Elec would be a weaker suit for me though I can tackle most jobs at home. (Just giving an idea of my background)

Any help is appreciated!

By the way when I finish the front bed and my wife finishes the upholstery I will post a start to finish renovation thread. We have redone the floors, plumbing, layout, etc...

Thank you
Bryan
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Old 12-29-2013, 08:59 PM   #13
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Bryan,

It sounds like you have one of 2 conditions:

Your batteries are effectively dead, regardless of what your charge voltage says and they are not providing you any 12VDC to your interior loads… or…


Your batteries are being disconnected from your DC fuse block when you turn off your switch…….making it a battery disconnect switch.

What happens with the switch in the off position when you are plugged into shore power? If you have 12VDC lights with that switch off, then your converter is supplying the power to your interior while being disconnected from the batteries……. as it should. If not, your disconnect switch may be mis-wired and is cutting off all of the 12VDC, when it should only be removing the batteries from your circuit.
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Old 12-29-2013, 09:04 PM   #14
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(Talking to my wife she reminded me that we have run on just batteries for short times this summer so it must be series).
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