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Old 08-01-2015, 09:31 PM   #1
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1st Boondocking - 3 questions / comments

Just took our 4th trip in our 2010 25FB flying cloud. staying a week at a national Park campground - Quosatana (14 miles up Rogue River). No power or water. We lasted a week on batteries and water (we conserved a lot).

came across three issues: 1) I did try to hook up a charger to charge my phone to one of the two inverter outlets. For some reason, no power. Anybody have any ideas. 2) The fan in the electric compartment under the bed (also where fuzes are), which is used to cool the electronics -- will have a tendency from time to time to come on for ~39 seconds every few minutes. Frequency seems high. 3) Under the bed on the front side (side opposite fuze box, toward the hitch side), there is a piece of electronics and it has a three prong plug and it is just sitting there not plugged in. As far as i can tell everything works on the AS, so wondering what this could be for? Was thinking maybe something to do with two stock solar panels - but the gauge in the kitchen indicates solar hours and charge level - so looks like it is working. Any ideas?

also learned a good lesson. Lat night we pulled over on the way home in a state park, and hooked up to electricity. Then since ~100 degress, we turned on the AC. When turning off AC, found a large hum that sounds like it was coming from the Refridge. When looking under it, and moving air ducts - the sound changed - so i suspected it was some type of blower fan. WELL! it turned out that we forgot to tun off the water pump when we broke camp that morning. So when we powered up -- it was probably automatically starting up - but couldn't;t hear it due to AC. We spent ~20 minutes trying to figure out what the sound was. Hopefully - didn't ruin it / wear it out.
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Old 08-01-2015, 10:22 PM   #2
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The inverter must be turned on when using the inverter outlets. Did you do that? Be sure to understand it takes about two amps essentially doing nothing like when charging a phone. Use a 12 volt power supply for phone charging.

The fan you are speaking of must be the one in the converter/charger and came on when you are plugged into grid power, right? Since you probably had run your batteries down a lot, the recharge most likely warmed up your converter charger with a big load, so the fan came on often.

The box with the plug on it not plugged into anything is the inverter. It is slightly complicated to explain why it has a plug. For now, just ignore it, it is neither connected to anything inside the inverter, nor will it do anything if it is plugged in.

This should get you started.
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Old 08-02-2015, 06:28 PM   #3
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Thanks -- forgot about the inverter on/off switch (Duh!). will watch the fan, definitely right that battery was down (to about 40%), so will keep an eye to it - if it only does the frequent fan op at that time.
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Old 08-02-2015, 06:45 PM   #4
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Re the pump left on and tracking down that odd noise.....all part of your learning curve, and we have all been there.

Good for you for boondocking! You will get it all figured out, and just when you think you have it all down, something new will pop up and add to your learning.

Have a great time.


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Old 08-04-2015, 08:03 PM   #5
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I had the same problem last week. Crawled under the bed and looked but did not see an off/on switch for the inverter, but assuming I overlooked it, is there some reason why it should ever be turned off?
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Old 08-04-2015, 10:19 PM   #6
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If you have a factory inverter, you should have a remote on/off switch and have no need to get under the bed to turn it on and off.

Yes, there is a very good reason to turn it off. It takes about 1.75 to 2 amps just sitting there doing nothing. That will kill your batteries very fast unless you are plugged in full time, and then you don't need the inverter.
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Old 08-05-2015, 03:55 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by idroba View Post
If you have a factory inverter, you should have a remote on/off switch and have no need to get under the bed to turn it on and off.
That is not a foregone conclusion. I have a Tripplite inverter/charger. The front of the inverter— under the bed— has a three-position switch, auto-invert/off/charge. However, when the switch is in the auto-invert position, that actually engages the remote switch, which only has two positions, auto-invert/charge. No "off" position on the remote.

So there are four possibilities in all:
1 - main switch in "charge" position, the unit charges, IF there is a source of 120vAC power. If there's not, it does nothing but uses power to monitor whether it should be charging or not. The remote does not control the unit with the switch in this position.
2 - main switch in the "off" position, the unit is off. The remote does not control the unit with the switch in this position.
3 - main switch in the "auto-invert" position, remote in the "charge" position, the unit charges, IF there is a source of 120vAC power. If there's not, it does nothing but uses power to monitor whether it should be charging or not. The remote controls the unit and it will not invert in this position.
4 - main switch in the "auto-invert" position, remote in the "auto-invert" position, the unit inverts if there's no other source of 120vAC power, and charges if there is another source of 120vAC power, and always uses power itself to monitor which mode it should be in. So both switches have to be in "auto-invert" for the unit to invert at all.

On mine, the inverter/charger is NOT shut off by the 12vDC disconnect, so when I store my Airstream, I have to shut off the inverter/charger under the bed in order to prevent the inverter/charger from running down my house batteries, because I can't do it from the remote.
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Old 08-05-2015, 09:57 AM   #8
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With all of the variations in equipment and model years its always a good idea to post photos of what you see or are asking about. That way the question might be answered about the exact equipment you have. The old picture worth a thousand words syndrome.
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Old 08-05-2015, 10:17 AM   #9
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The old picture worth a thousand words syndrome.
Off topic, but fun fact… "A picture is worth a thousand words" can be attributed to newspaper mogul William Randolph Hurst, who literally paid his photographers the same price for one published picture as he paid his reporters for one thousand published words.
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Old 08-05-2015, 10:25 AM   #10
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Yes, many variations can be found. I assumed that your 2010 FC 25' uses the 600 watt WFCO inverter that was used in that time period, and upgraded to a very similar 1000 watt one in 2104. Protagonist has an Airstream Interstate motorhome and they are of course quite different.

If you don't have the original instruction manual, Airstream makes them available on line for a few years back at no cost. I am out camping now with marginal net reception or I would look it up for you.
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Old 08-07-2015, 04:01 PM   #11
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My inverter looks factory. And I found the on/off switch as well as the wall-mounted remote switch, which is by the bathroom. It doesn't seem to work whether in the On position or Remote position. The LED light on the remote does not come on when you press the bottom, even with the inverter in Remote mode. The breaker on the inverter does not seem to be tripped. All the lights and radio work off the batteries, but none of the outlets work or the television. But when plugged into shore power, everything works fine. it looks as though the inverter has been hard-wired in, but there's a plug in the back of the unit that's not plugged in, and doesn't seem as though there's anywhere to plug it in anyway. On the closet wall behind the television, there's an outlet labeled For Inverter Use. That doesn't work either. I'm wondering if when I had solar installed, something was disconnected or bypassed. Any pointers would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 08-07-2015, 04:19 PM   #12
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You need to check to see if there is 12 volts getting to the inverter. There may be a large fuse somewhere that has been blown. Or, the wires to the battery could have been disconnected sometime by some PO or service person. Not having the light come on is an indication that there is no power to the inverter. Of course, it also may have toasted sometime in the past.

The plug on the inverter is probably a by pass transfer switch input, so the outlets operate when plugged into line power. The WFCO inverter in my 2014 has that same cord, but the internal circuitry has been de activated and it does not work as a transfer system. It apparently was spec'ed that way by Airstream from WFCO. I don't know about the one in your 2006. I would not worry about it, it is not your problem a this point.

So, if you have a meter, check the wires going into the inverter at the inverter to be sure there is 12 volts on them, and let us know. If there is, your inverter may be toasted. If not, you will need to track down how they connect to the batteries and any fuses in the circuit.
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