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Old 07-28-2011, 10:06 AM   #1
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1970 18' Caravel
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Converter Conundrum

Hey all,

I have a 1970 Caravel that I had a new converter installed in 2 years ago (Xantrex-40A). Last summer I installed 2 new deep cycle batteries and figured I was set in the electrical upgrades and could move on to other matters.

When I put it to bed last fall, I pulled the batteries and stored them on my basement. Everything was working fine at that point. I hooked the batteries back up and plugged the trailer in last week and it seems that the converter is dead (no fan, no charge going to the batteries). When the trailer is plugged in all the AC outlets work and the DC circuits (lights, water pump, etc...) run on the whatever charge was left on the batteries. I'm accustomed to seeing the battery check on the control panel maxed out when plugged in, but it's giving an accurate reading of battery levels.

I've checked and replaced all fuses in the converter and the inline fuse to the batteries (none looked bad). All DC fuses in the separate DC panel look fine, no AC breakers were popped. I used a volt meter to check either side of the converter. AC power in reads well, DC power out reads well, DC power out of DC fuse panel on the way to batteries reads well, DC power across battery leads reads well. I'm no electrician and can't make sense of what happened between Oct. and July.

I've seen threads referencing ground issues causing trouble for converters, as well as a converter getting overloaded and tripping an automatic shut off.

Any thoughts? Enlightened experiences? More things I should check before I put a new converter in there.

Humble thanks for any assistance from the masters.

Best,

Ben
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:43 AM   #2
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Perhaps the converter is not grounding properly?
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:54 AM   #3
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Tim,

How do I address that? There is a screw port on the outside of the converter for a ground wire. Should I run a wire from there to the skin of the trailer?

Thanks for the reply,

Ben
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:04 PM   #4
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Ben,

When you say all the DC voltage readings are good, what exactly are you reading? If you temp disconnect the batteries, do you still have 12 VDC on the converter output? Do any of the 12 VDC devices work while plugged into shore power with the batteries temp disconnected?

Chris
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:06 PM   #5
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Chris,

Good questions. I'll check those and re-post.

Thanks,

Ben
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Old 07-28-2011, 01:39 PM   #6
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I know it's silly, but you didn't turn the storage switch to the OFF position by any chance?
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Old 07-28-2011, 02:10 PM   #7
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Checked Chris' suggestion and indeed when the batteries are disconnected, there is no DC power out of the converter and none to the lights, etc..

I assume the converter is dead, no? Could it still be a grounding issue?

Greg,

Not sure which switch you're referring to.

Thanks for all the help,

Ben
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:20 AM   #8
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Not sure which switch you're referring to.

I don't know much about the 1970s era AS, and defer to the VAC vets around here. Behind my couch is a rather large lever which disconnects the batteries from the rest of the system for long term storage, or so I'm told. I've not used it yet because we just got our AS this Spring, but will use it this winter when I put her up in January. Do you have such a lever/switch?
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:32 AM   #9
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Greg,

Interesting. I'm not aware of any switch like that, but I'll look into it.

Thanks for weighing in. This community is great.

Ben
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:40 AM   #10
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i think the switch is an excella thing.
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:43 AM   #11
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I am not aware of any switches in the 70s units, but you never know what a PO may have added.

If you have 120 volts to the converter, you should have 12 volts coming out. You need to verify that the outlet that the converter plugs into is hot. There is a breaker that could be tripped.
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richinny View Post
i think the switch is an excella thing.
I think it's a newer Airstream thing. I don't have one.
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Old 07-29-2011, 09:53 AM   #13
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You might try contacting Xantrex customer support directly. They have a good website with detailed info. Xantrex | Power Inverter, Inverter Charger, Battery Charger Manufacturer .


Dennis
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Old 07-29-2011, 11:52 AM   #14
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Three seasons ago I had a new Xantrex "upgrade" fail within 8hrs of use, replaced with IOTA IQ4 55a.

The ground should be a solid copper wire from the trailer frame to a screw post on the converter. As I understand it is an external ground for the converter chassis, the converter should operate without it, (not safely).

What are the voltage readings with and without the converter plugged in?, were the batt's on maintenance charge while in storage?
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