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Old 07-27-2009, 03:06 PM   #1
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Converter fuse blowing (new converter)

Teach me to say that we have all the kinks worked out in our unit. We boondocked a couple of weeks ago and with very minimal battery use the battery was dead.

We looked into it and found out that the converter isn't working - it keeps blowing fuses. This is a new unit that was put in by us. Anything that we have tried to use in the AS works ok except the converter.

Any ideas?
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Old 07-27-2009, 03:25 PM   #2
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You could have a bad converter out of the box

First off make sure you have the polarity of the converter and battery correct positive to positive.

If correct disconnect the battery and test the voltage from the converter while the battery is removed and see if the converter will remain on while the battery is removed. Converter should supply about 14 volts while removed from the battery. if it blows the fuse while the battery is removed I would say the converter is bad.

If this checks out remove all the fuses in the 12 panel and reconnect the battery. If the converter remains on replace the fuses one at a time.
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Old 07-27-2009, 03:30 PM   #3
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Thanks HowieE- after dinner we will go and check those things.
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Old 07-27-2009, 05:42 PM   #4
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HowieE's advice is very good. If it turns out that the converter appears dead out of the box, I'd make a couple more checks. You may have the 110volt AC black supply lead reversed with the the white common lead on the input to the converter. Also to verify the wiring coming from the circuit breaker box is properly polarized, connect an AC voltmeter, set to read 120Volts AC and connect the red positive lead to the voltmeter and the black common lead anyhere on trailer skin or on the ground terminal of a 110 Volt ac outlet. If you don't find AC current on the black lead but do on the white, your AC input to your converter is reversed. Another thing you can check is the battery polarity. It is extremely rare but in the event of a lightning strike the battery polarity can change. Disconnect the battery and then using a voltmeter check to be sure the positive battery terminal is actually positive. If the battery is reversed, discharge it fully and recharge it with the battery charger positive connected on the positive terminal. CharlieE
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Old 07-27-2009, 05:45 PM   #5
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Make that the white common lead to connect to the trailer skin to test the input to the converter. CharlirR
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Old 07-27-2009, 05:48 PM   #6
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Thanks CharlieE, will try that tomorrow. We did try what HowieE suggested and got absolutley zippo out of the converter. 0.
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Old 07-27-2009, 07:18 PM   #7
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What kind of converter? What fuses are you blowing? Are the fuses inside the converter itself still OK? Did you check the voltage on the converter with the battery disconnected?
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Old 07-27-2009, 09:35 PM   #8
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Could I ask you guys what a converter is and what it does? Thanks.
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Old 07-28-2009, 04:37 AM   #9
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The fuses inside the converter are the one that keep blowing.
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Old 07-28-2009, 07:11 AM   #10
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Could I ask you guys what a converter is and what it does? Thanks.
The converter is a piece of electronics that converts the 120v AC shore power to 12v DC to charge the trailer battery and run the lights, furnace and other 12v systems and appliances. In older Airstreams it is commonly known as the Univolt.
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Old 07-28-2009, 07:15 AM   #11
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The fuses inside the converter are the one that keep blowing.
What kind of converter?

If the converter fuses are blowing (not the circuit fuses in the fuse panel) I suspect the polarity is reversed either with the 120v power source or you have the + and - wires leading to the battery crossed.
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Old 08-01-2009, 08:12 AM   #12
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If the fuses inside the converter are the ones blowing that is on the 120 input side. Is it a 3 prong receptacle you are plugged into in the trailer. If so get a receptacle plug tester, cheap and a good thing to carry into campgrounds, and test the receptacle. If the fuses blow as soon as you plug the converter in you may have a dead short to ground inside the converter.

If it is an older 2 prong receptacle did you cut the ground tab off the converter plug? If so try reversing the plug. Not a good long term solution but a test of polarity.

If this is the case I would replace the receptacle with a 3 prong one and make sure it is correctly installed.
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Old 08-01-2009, 10:25 PM   #13
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So does this mean that the trailer can't use the same voltage that comes from the plugs at say an RV park? That power has to be converted 'down' for the appliances and electrical system in the trailer? Is this what this means. I only understand 110 v or 220 v. Thanks.
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Old 08-02-2009, 07:41 AM   #14
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So does this mean that the trailer can't use the same voltage that comes from the plugs at say an RV park? That power has to be converted 'down' for the appliances and electrical system in the trailer? Is this what this means. I only understand 110 v or 220 v. Thanks.
Trailers have TWO electrical systems. A110 AC system that originally was used just to charge the batteries via the converter, before going camping. However time and demand on trailers have added toasters, microwaves, TVs, and various other appliances that require 110 volts through out the trailer. The original system was the 12 volt DC battery system. This system supports the functions normally required for "drier camping". The lights, the refrigerator controls, the water pump, and tongue jack.

Now we have both systems throughout the our trailers.
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Old 08-08-2009, 10:00 AM   #15
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The wall receptacle is a 3 prong, and other things plugged in there work normally.

We bought this converter 2 yrs and 6 weeks ago. We didn't get it installed until about a year and a half ago, and only began using the trailer last fall, as we were rebuilding almost everything. We never boondocked until last month and that was when we realized that the batteries weren't charging. Of course, it is now 6 weeks out of warranty as luck would have it. I suspect that this unit never worked - we noticed that with two new batteries the status lights never read higher than "good". After boondocking and losing all battery charge my husband manually charged the batteries up from the tv battery and finally it read as a full charge.

I am most disappointed in the person we bought this from. We called him several times over three days, and emailed him (per his request) and never got a reply by either method, all we could ever get was a recorded message when we called. Finally my husband got the Parallax company on the line and explained to them what was going on and they called the dealer, who called us right back. But with an attitude. And of course we were told it is out of warranty, period.

All of you know it takes a long time to get a unit refurbished and on the road. I just wish we would have realized that this wasn't working 6 weeks ago. We now appear to be stuck for a $225.

Does anyone else have any other ideas? If it is a bad ground could we/should we attempt to fix that ourselves? Or send it to the factory to see if it can be fixed?
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Old 08-08-2009, 10:20 AM   #16
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you are positive that the 120 ac wiring is hooked up correctly at the converter? and the wires from the converter to the battery are hooked up correctly? can you post any pictures of these connections?
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Old 08-08-2009, 10:23 AM   #17
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I will try to see if I can get pix. Hubby took it down last week and boxed it up in the hopes that we would be able to send it back.
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Old 08-08-2009, 12:16 PM   #18
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i'd also verify that the polarity is correct at the outlet it is plugged into and that any fuses on the unit test good.
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Old 08-08-2009, 06:24 PM   #19
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Can I ask: the outlet has to be wired correctly (correct polarity) since anything else plugged into it works.
Right??
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Old 08-08-2009, 07:26 PM   #20
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NO, NOT CORRECT. many things can work with reversed polarity, others will not work. the circuit tester can be a lifesaver which is why everyone will tell you to get one and use it! when you have a problem, you have to verify everything step by step.
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