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Old 09-18-2011, 01:38 PM   #1
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Converter/Inverter Mystery/Problem

where to start?

dry camping, using inverter as usual running only tv/cable box. after about ten
minutes inverter goes into overload protection and shuts off. I go and hook up generator. as i plug trailer into generator a surge makes the generator race like when one turns on the ac or some other heavy load.....then no 110 ac service at all in the trailer....then each time the inverter is turned back on it kicks into overload and shuts down....no 110 v anywhere but 12 volt is un interuped .

i am at fishing bridge at yellowstone when this happens so i hook up trailer and haul to the rv tech at the station. he looks at it and i hook up generator and since details become fuzzy for me, we ck voltages and so forth and then out of nowhere all becomes operative...inverter powers all ac outlets...generator powers all ac outlets. works great for the next day and one half...but i suspect converter is not operative...not charging batteries....but i do not really know how to discern except for the noise it makes....and now i do not detect any noise.

next day i move down the road to grants village...set up trailer...hook up generator...turn on tv and all seems to work...but then as there was cell service available...i began to plug in my computer(at outlets in bedroom) and found that no other outlet works...except for the tv which is in the front of trailer...then i began to investigate and found that the breaker in the converter...the one labeled bedroom/converter was tripped......

so i attempted to reset it and boom....a loud noise from the converter and the overload on the inverted occurred....and then i had no 110 again...but 12 volt still worked....so i hooked up trailer and hauled to rv tech at grants village....and he scratched his head and mumbled and so i hooked up the generator and again got this surge....but after that all began to work...that is all 110 outlets provided power....

i now am at a campground in victor, idaho hooked to shore power and all works

except i suspect converter is not operative...i can i tell??

i have solar panels...that is charging some.

do my batteries get charged while towing

my batteries....two 8D agm lifelines show 12.3 volts...this is 48 hours after first occurrence

i am going to try to make a service appoint in albq NM ......and then what...

anyone know of that dealer????

thanks
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Old 09-18-2011, 02:35 PM   #2
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If I had to make a guess, based on your symtoms, you've got a intermittent short on the input side of the converter.

Your 12 VDC seems a bit low at 12.3...should be 12.6, or more if it's charging.

The load on the generator when you kick it on says it sees a short on the AC input to the trailer, but it is obviously intermittent.

Your tow vehicle should be charging the battery when you drive. However, after driving, and with solar working, I would expect to see 13.3 to 13.8 volts.

All of it together points to the input side of the converter, but it could also be in that A/C circuit of the trailer.

It's gonna be a tuff one to isolate. Good luck.

I've done some business with Holiday Travel Trailer, 11810 Central Ave.,S.E. Albuquerque, NM
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Old 09-18-2011, 02:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingfisher24 View Post
where to start?

dry camping, using inverter as usual running only tv/cable box. after about ten minutes inverter goes into overload protection and shuts off. I go and hook up generator. as i plug trailer into generator a surge makes the generator race like when one turns on the ac or some other heavy load.....then no 110 ac service at all in the trailer....then each time the inverter is turned back on it kicks into overload and shuts down....no 110 v anywhere but 12 volt is un interuped .

i am at fishing bridge at yellowstone when this happens so i hook up trailer and haul to the rv tech at the station. he looks at it and i hook up generator and since details become fuzzy for me, we ck voltages and so forth and then out of nowhere all becomes operative...inverter powers all ac outlets...generator powers all ac outlets. works great for the next day and one half...but i suspect converter is not operative...not charging batteries....but i do not really know how to discern except for the noise it makes....and now i do not detect any noise.

next day i move down the road to grants village...set up trailer...hook up generator...turn on tv and all seems to work...but then as there was cell service available...i began to plug in my computer(at outlets in bedroom) and found that no other outlet works...except for the tv which is in the front of trailer...then i began to investigate and found that the breaker in the converter...the one labeled bedroom/converter was tripped......

so i attempted to reset it and boom....a loud noise from the converter and the overload on the inverted occurred....and then i had no 110 again...but 12 volt still worked....so i hooked up trailer and hauled to rv tech at grants village....and he scratched his head and mumbled and so i hooked up the generator and again got this surge....but after that all began to work...that is all 110 outlets provided power....
i now am at a campground in victor, idaho hooked to shore power and all works except i suspect converter is not operative...i can i tell??

i have solar panels...that is charging some. do my batteries get charged while towing

my batteries....two 8D agm lifelines show 12.3 volts...this is 48 hours after first occurrence
thanks
i get the feeling that your inverter is overloaded. how many watts is it?

i don't think that the inverter is supposed to feed every outlet. if it is then it might be trying to power the fridge. it might be deeply draining the batteries and have blown a fuse in the converter while trying to recharge the batteries.

are you turning the inverter off when on shore or generator power?
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Old 09-18-2011, 03:19 PM   #4
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I'm in Ricky's camp...without seeing a wiring diagram for the INVERTER's AC circuits, it's difficult to advise with any certainty...

1. You need a digital multi meter to check the circuits...

2. I would unhook the DC to the inverter, and unhook the AC out of the inverter to isolate any bearing it may have on your problem...

3. plug in genny (or shore power) and check for normal AC and DC circuit operations - use you multi-meter at the battery terminals to see if CONVERTER/CHARGER is indeed charging the batteries...note voltage at battery with AC off - then compare voltage with AC on, voltage should be elevated to a charging voltage...

4. After checking, if all AC and DC operations are normal during #3 above (if not, you know where to continue your search) , you can assume your problems are associated with the INVERTER or it's wiring...an internal inverter problem may be at fault - they can be fussy little critters...

Good luck...
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Old 09-18-2011, 03:25 PM   #5
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Uh-oh!

Good luck in resolving quickly.

Maggie
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Old 09-18-2011, 03:26 PM   #6
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more battery power

inverter is 2000 watts...operates with a transfer switch...has been operating normally for more than two years....this is just an out of the blue occurrence....even now i can switch from inverter to gen/shore power and still be normal....except i suspect converter is not working.....where would short be??

how do i check input to converter?

why would it throw that breaker just the one time????

thanks for the input
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Old 09-18-2011, 03:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingfisher24 View Post
inverter is 2000 watts...operates with a transfer switch...has been operating normally for more than two years....this is just an out of the blue occurrence....even now i can switch from inverter to gen/shore power and still be normal....except i suspect converter is not working.....where would short be??

how do i check input to converter?

why would it throw that breaker just the one time????

thanks for the input
You need to check your DC voltage with a good meter to see if the converter is charging.

The converter could have gone bad, not drawing any power, or could have possibly distroyed it's power input circuit from the trailer (first is most likely).

In any event to trouble shoot it, you need to isolate the inverter, and check for voltages coming out of the converter, and if there's not good voltage there, check for power (120VAC) going into the converter (where it's plugged in).
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Old 09-18-2011, 03:57 PM   #8
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If it is the factory airstream converter it will immediately read 13.5 or so volts as soon as it is plugged in to 110. If it reads 12.3 when plugged into 110 the converter is not working. If you leave on of the 12 volt lights on and plug in the trailer the light should get brighter, expecially if you are at 12.3, if the converter is working. Is there a switch to the converter? Many of the Airstreams have what looks like a light switch mounted near the front sofa that turns the converter off. My trailer does not charge much when I am pulling it. some, but I can not get it over 12.3 towing, and that takes a while. Too much voltage loss in the long wiring from the truck alternator. Never heard a loud boom from a converter, but I bet that is a hint. Be a good time to buy one of the new smart converters.
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Old 09-18-2011, 07:20 PM   #9
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KF24,

As has already been noted, it's not a good idea having the inverter wired into all the outlets, better one double receptacle.

As Mexray noted, get that inverter out of the system so you can test the AC & DC on the converter.

If it's not charging at least 14.2v on a 50% discharge the converter went ka-plooie,(tech term).

Bob
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Old 09-24-2011, 04:27 PM   #10
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still trying to figure it out

Parallax 7300 series converter/charger supplied with airstream....

Converters vs. real battery chargers
the converter in your RV really isn't designed to be a decent battery charger.

It's main purpose in life is to provide 12 volt power for your rig while you are plugged in to an A/C outlet. ( what does this really mean????)

Since the converter is designed to not exceed a voltage of about 13.5 volts, it will never fully charge your batteries.

so i found these words of wisdom on a site Maxrv.com

now...a week ago i had something happen to my electrical system...as i have tried to describe above....

I can now say...that something has happened/disabled my converter/charger...i don't know what......

I have a solar charging system that, i believe is keeping my batteries charged.....that and the 7 way as i drive down the road....

I have two 8D lifeline batteries....180 watts of solar panels...a 2000 watt inverter, a pulse wave modulated solar charge controller and a 30 amp transfer switch....after a day in the sun or a 150mile or so drive my batteries register from 13.1 to 12.6..... these voltages are represented to be from 90 to 100 percent state of charge.......

my inverter works and i can use tv/sat receiver, computer and monitor for several hours....

all of my 12volt systems work........

so what does my converter/charger do for me...even if it were working......

if it is in fact not working....why do i care........

any thoughts appreciated
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Old 09-24-2011, 06:26 PM   #11
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Parallax 7300 series converter/charger supplied with airstream....

Converters vs. real battery chargers
the converter in your RV really isn't designed to be a decent battery charger.

It's main purpose in life is to provide 12 volt power for your rig while you are plugged in to an A/C outlet. ( what does this really mean????)

Since the converter is designed to not exceed a voltage of about 13.5 volts, it will never fully charge your batteries.

so i found these words of wisdom on a site Maxrv.com


KF


Thats not quite tru...the 7300 series overcharged and cooked two sets of of OEM Interstates in our Classic.

This is the replacement.

IQ4 IOTA Specs.

Bob
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:10 AM   #12
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unless

i should have included the following......but i am not going...at the moment ...ever be plugged in more than a few days
FROM MAXRV.COM
Also, after it has succeeded in partially charging your batteries, it will then commence to boil off electrolyte, as the "float" voltage is too high (should be about 13.2 volts max.).

If you plug your rig into A/C power for months at a time, you MUST keep a close eye on your battery's electrolyte level. It is very common for a converter to boil a battery dry in a month or two. Don't let it happen to you!

If you must live with your converter, it is a big help if you unplug it or switch it off when the rig is in storage and attached to A/C power. Just run the converter overnight once a month or so and it will be much easier on your batteries.

i still question, if all else is right....why i need worry about mine??????

the converter ...... It's main purpose in life is to provide 12 volt power for your rig while you are plugged in to an A/C outlet. ( what does this really mean????)

WHAT DOES THIS REALLY MEAN......
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:57 AM   #13
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Perhaps I'm missing something, but one thing that strikes me when I read the sequence of events described stands out. It seems like your Airstream is set up such that the inverter provides 120v power to all outlets in the trailer. I think in many trailers, the Univolt (or its replacement) gets its 120v power through an outlet. Something was causing your inverter to go into overload UNTIL the Univolt finally gave up the ghost.

My suspicion is that the inverter was supplying the Univolt, which should never happen, it's wasteful (google perpetual motion machines.) The Univolt was overloading the inverter and the generator at different times, and now that it's dead those work normally.

PS: Oh, and regarding the "converters aren't battery chargers" thing... it seems like most of the ones installed by RV manufacturers are relatively poor battery chargers. RV manufacturers don't have to replace the batteries in your unit so they don't really care if the converter overcharges a bit, but there are several good aftermarket converters that take much better care of batteries.
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Old 09-25-2011, 03:37 PM   #14
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still trying to figure it out

quote...
It seems like your Airstream is set up such that the inverter provides 120v power to all outlets in the trailer. I think in many trailers, the Univolt (or its replacement) gets its 120v power through an outlet. Something was causing your inverter to go into overload UNTIL the Univolt finally gave up the ghost.

by univolt, i suppose you are referring to the converter/charger???...does it not get its power directly from the fact that shore power/generator is engaged???

this was an incident that happened out of the blue...all of a sudden after two and one half years of service. .


quote....
My suspicion is that the inverter was supplying the Univolt, which should never happen, it's wasteful (google perpetual motion machines.) The Univolt was overloading the inverter and the generator at different times, and now that it's dead those work normally.

i don't believe this is the case...

the transfer switch...which "transfers from shore power to inverter power...worked...still works....

still a mystery....will be until i get to an airstream service facility....in albq new mexico on the 10th of october......
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