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Old 02-03-2009, 07:46 PM   #1
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Battery loses charge when parked

I have a 78 tradewind with a new deep cycle battery, new inverter, and new cut of power switch installed on top of battery box. The battery looses power and drains down when left at storage place. I took it to a local RV place and asked them to check it out. They said that their was no problem but I do not know what they did exactly.
How do I find the culprit? Hoping their was a easy test to find out source of problem.
Not electrical minded. Do I get an electrician involved to diagnosis the problem?
Nick
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:04 PM   #2
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check for a parasitic drain if you have a multimeter by doing an amperage test,
To see if you have anything staying on that's draining your battery.
also have your battery tested at a battery house or a good auto shop they should do one of two test a load test and or a electronic test.
that should let you know.
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:21 PM   #3
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To add to the method of testing for a battery drain.
You will need a multi-meter that will test current up to 5 amps.
To get ready turn every thing off and disconnect shore power.

Set up your meter to test current.
Current is tested in series with the load, unlike voltage which is tested in parallel.

Pull the fuses one at a time.
Place your meter across the empty fuse holder. You should not see any current flow when all things in the trailer are turned off.
If using an analog meter make sure that any needle deflection is up the meter scale. If not reverse your leads.

If you encounter current flow you will have to track it down further.
With this method you can see in which wire the battery drain is occurring.
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:50 PM   #4
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Those with newer trailers need to realize that even with the master disconnect set to off, there may still be a draw from the propane sensor which on my trailer is powered all the time regardless of the switch position. If the master disconnect is on, even more power is drawn by the electronic boards in some of the appliances. (even though they are turned off).

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Old 02-03-2009, 11:16 PM   #5
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Good advise guys..

Following Gary's method should lead you to the culprit.
Jack, What year did they start the propane sensors? I have them on my 01 but they seem to be hardwired somehow up to the information display.

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Old 02-04-2009, 01:30 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcanavera View Post
Those with newer trailers need to realize that even with the master disconnect set to off, there may still be a draw from the propane sensor which on my trailer is powered all the time regardless of the switch position. If the master disconnect is on, even more power is drawn by the electronic boards in some of the appliances. (even though they are turned off).

Jack
But this is a 78. I would think the switch should disconnect everything.

Some discharge just sitting is normal. Does the battery go dead and how long is it stored? Were there similar problems with the last battery? Have any changes been made in the electical system? Did you check the coverter is fully charging the battery? Check the battery connections? If this is a wet cell, electrolite level OK?
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:53 AM   #7
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Without knowing what is in the '78, it's hard to say what is causing it. I would have asked the RV place what they did to test it so you had an understanding.

Also, how long are we talking the unit sits? 6 months? 3 months? Batteries do loose charge naturally over time if not maintained/exercised via cycling. Now if yer saying the batteries are going dead after a few weeks or around that time, I start to think two things. Converter is not charging properly, or the new battery or batteries have dead cells or are defective.

Propane sensors have been on models that I am aware of starting in 2003. That is not to say they were not on prior models too, by I started streamin' in a 2003 and it had one. Additionally if you do not turn off the bypass, the radio does continue to draw power as well. Not sure vintage units have a by-pass or what kind of radios have been installed.

...and Gary does have a good test to try to isolate the root cause.
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:57 AM   #8
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:01 AM   #9
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A quick easy way to check for a small draw on the battery. Disconnect the negitive cable, use a regular 12 v test light hooked to the negitive post and the other end hooked to the cable. If the light lights up you have a draw. Start pulling fuse and/or disconecting things till the light goes out. Adios, John
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:29 PM   #10
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You fellas are great...thanks for all your suggestions. I will try them and see if I can find the culprit. The battery drains down to very low level after two weeks sitting in moderate above freezing temp in NC.
Any other ideas appreciated. I replaced the convert this summer and it charged well when plugged in. Really appreciate the suggestions.
Nick
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