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Old 11-07-2009, 09:19 PM   #1
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Is My Converter working ??

I have a feeling my converter has stopped functioning.

I have a 25' Safari 2005 with add on solar. In the past, when connected to external 110v service, my solar controller would read the battery charge at 13.28v. After disconnecting from 110v service, the controller would read the battery charge between 11-12.7v, and in full sun up to 14+ volts.

Now my controller is reading the battery charge at 12.15v while both connected and disconnected from an external 110v service. Yes the 110v service is active because the microwave clock functions and my 110v electrical heater works perfectly.

I checked the converter's circuit breakers and the converter's 30 amp micro fuses. They all appear ok. I did not check the 20amp micro fuses.

The battery cells are full with distilled water.

What can I do to confirm that my controller is working?

Thanks,
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Old 11-07-2009, 09:43 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.ervin View Post
...What can I do to confirm that my controller is working?
hi neil

is the store/use switch in the correct position???
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taking the OPPOSITE approach 2 your question, u can confirm the charger is NOT working in 2 ways...

1. put a multimeter on the 2 outgoing wires from the parallax, WHILE plugged into AC power....

it should be putting out 13.xxx volts.

2. the indirect way to confirm it's NOT working is to turn ON several 12v power draws (furnace and lights).

the battery will show LESS and LESS voltage, suggesting NO recharge from the p-lax charger.

of course doing THAT will drain the batteries, not a good thing.
__________

solar will boost the battery charge some even IF the parallax unit is dead.
_______________

there are a BUNCH of threads on dead charger/converters in newer streams...

search parallax or charger.

heres a couple 2 get the ball rolling...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...wer-44977.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...gms-29833.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...rex-50382.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...ans-54831.html


cheers
2air'
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Old 11-08-2009, 01:54 AM   #3
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Just to confuse you more...

I would do a simple test first...

1. with no AC power to the trailer, and if possible, a fuse removed from the solar charging circuit - to keep the solar 'out of the loop'...or do the test at night when the solar isn't producing any current...

2. measure the voltage at the battery with a digital VOM.

3. hook up the AC power and again measure the voltage at the battery - did it increase, showing that the converter/charger is producing current?

4. if there was no increase in the voltage at the battery terminals with the AC 'ON', you'll then have to backtrack through all the various connections, fuses, etc. to make sure the connections are secure - then test the converter itself - does your converter have it's own AC or DC fuses or circuit breakers?

4. be sure to test to see if you have AC current at the receptacle that the converter is plugged into - sounds basic, I know, but stranger things have happened...
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Old 11-08-2009, 12:21 PM   #4
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I'm not much with electricity but I do have a voltmeter.

put a multimeter on the 2 outgoing wires from the parallax,

At the converter panel there are two wires (+ and -) that lead out to the battery. Are you describing taking a reading across these?

The second reply mentioned taking a reading at the battery, so I would assume taking a reading across the posts that the converter's + and - wires lead to.

Correct?

Thanks,
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Old 11-08-2009, 12:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.ervin View Post
...At the converter panel there are two wires (+ and -) that lead out to the battery. Are you describing taking a reading across these?...
yes.

and if ya need a visual,

there are pics of folks doing just that in many of the diy threads on charger/converters or the oem p-lax.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.ervin View Post
...put a multimeter on the 2 outgoing wires from the parallax
based on the earlier notes, IF you've got the p-lax fully exposed,

measuring OUTPUT voltage right AT the p-lax unit before it reaches the PANEL is the best FIRST place to take reading.

cheers
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Old 11-08-2009, 12:54 PM   #6
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Here's one visual.

(Click on it a couple of times for a larger view.)
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Old 11-08-2009, 01:01 PM   #7
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IMO, the first place to check is the 120 volt outlet that the converter is plugged into.
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Old 11-08-2009, 01:48 PM   #8
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Sure, you can usually check the battery voltage by hooking the VOM to the fuse panel battery leads...but being a battery Biz guy, I always like to start at the 'source' - it gives you a chance to make sure the battery cable connections are in good shape, free of any corrosion that may offer resistance to proper performance, etc...

If there's any issue with battery lead corrosion, you must clean the terminals and cable connections first, to insure your standby power source is in good condition...IMHO

Another thought...In our older AS, the AC circuit breaker that powers the converter receptacle is a GFI type - it also powers the outside receptacle as well as the receptacle in the bath...anyway, our older GFI breaker, when tripped and reset, LOOKS likes it set, but isn't, and I have to reset it several times to get it to CONNECT properly - got to replace it sometime...just something else to check and eliminate as a potential problem...
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Old 11-08-2009, 03:31 PM   #9
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Using the voltmeter I crossed the + and - converter wires going to the battery. The posts are beside the 12v fuses. I read 13.9v which means the converter is putting out normal 12v electric.

However when I cross the same wires in the battery box (still connected to the battery terminals) I read 12.22v. My solar controller reads 12.08 on the battery. During this time my solar is not in play, not putting out current as the trailer is backed into a garage, and the controller panel shows it is not charging.

I think my next step would be to disconnect the converter wires at the battery and cross them with the voltmeter.

Thoughts?
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Old 11-08-2009, 04:34 PM   #10
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Neil,

a couple of issues come to mind...

1. did you remove the fuses in your panel that the battery wires are connected too? Sometimes the connection gets cruddy - while the fuses are removed, also check the the connections where both battery wires are attached to the fuse panel - sometimes the set screw for the wire cables becomes loose enough for contact to be lost.

2. when you checked the voltage at the batteries, were you contacting the cable ends or the actual post on the battery? If you had some corrosion present in the cable ends, the voltage reading might be different between the cable end and the battery post itself - remove cables, wire brush cables and posts and reattach - spray a bit of WD40 type stuff on the connections when done.

3. do you have a two-prong type plug in the battery cables, inside the battery box? Our older AS has these plugs - if you have the same, you might unplug, clean and spray some WD40 into them and reattach.

From your description, your converter is working, but the current isn't getting to the battery posts...you're going about it the right way, you'll just have to check all the connections between the two components...

Good hunting....Ray
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Old 11-08-2009, 05:17 PM   #11
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The battery wire set screws at the converter front panel were tight. I guess I'll have to take the wires off the batteries and clean/test.....The converter to battery wires seem well protected. So either bad battery connections or bad batteries....

Now to find out how to clean off the Permatex battery protector and sealer I sprayed onto the terminals......

Neil.
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Old 11-08-2009, 05:36 PM   #12
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Neil...another thought...

do you battery wires that run from the fuse panel then go into a battery disconnect switch? If so, there's a couple of more connections to check out...

BTW...I spent a summer in my youth up your way in the Elwha River Basin, inside the Park, working with a small group of high school age guys from all over the USA...we hiked in about 10 miles with all our personal gear to camp in an old cabin where we worked on trail restoration, etc...

The program was called the 'Student Conservation Program' and arranged by a couple of college gals back east that were working on their Doctorate degree, as I recall...

The last week of our stay was spent on a pack trip (we had two mules with our food) up into the high country - great fishing and lots of things to see...I can remember watching several bears in a meadow eating big fat wild blue berries like they were sitting in an ice cream store, having a great old time - didn't really pay much attention to us - as we stayed our distance from them, of course!

We even spent a couple of days camping on the beach at the costal part of the Park, building driftwood shelters and enjoying campfires at night when the weather was cool and clear!

That's great country you have nearby, one has to come and see it to believe it!

Regards, Ray in Northern Calif.
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Old 11-08-2009, 07:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.ervin View Post
I have a feeling my converter has stopped functioning.

I have a 25' Safari 2005 with add on solar. In the past, when connected to external 110v service, my solar controller would read the battery charge at 13.28v. After disconnecting from 110v service, the controller would read the battery charge between 11-12.7v, and in full sun up to 14+ volts.

Now my controller is reading the battery charge at 12.15v while both connected and disconnected from an external 110v service.
Neil, your experience seems similar to mine. As 2air' suggested read:

Battery at 45% even though connected to shore power.

Especially the troubleshooting post #10 by 5cats and my diagnosis, post #12 of this same thread.

You will see that what helped me was to put the Battery Disconnect Switch to "Store" position, which isolates the battery from the trailer, so any voltage read at the converter is only what the converter is producing.

I then used the digital volt meter to test the positive and negative wires coming out of the converter, which showed only 9.58 volts. My Safari Airstream Owners manual, converter testing steps in the electrical section, states that the voltage must be between 13.8 and 14.0 volts, and if not, the converter needs to be serviced or replaced by a qualified technician.

My Parallax converter was then replaced under warranty, only to fail six months later, which I then replaced with Xantrex as seen here.

Hope this helps... and good luck!

SilverGate
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Old 11-10-2009, 09:23 PM   #14
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All the replies have been wonderful, both in giving trouble shooting guidance and also in how to replace the converter (which given their track record, I'll have to do sometime in the future).

The problem is solved thanks to your posts.

Battery disconnect switch at the door.......Of course it is so labeled. Thus the light on it indicates when the battery is disconnected and not. Seems simple enough. Only the light must coincide with the phase of the moon because right now my battery is connected and the 110v is connected and my battery disconnect light is OFF.

Anyway, thanks to the posts, I discovered that my switch was off while the light was on. When I switched the switch ON, my solar controller that measures the voltage at the battery started rising slowly from 12.0v to 13.5v.

thanks again........
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