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Old 09-30-2013, 05:22 PM   #1
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Lights are dim...converter going bad?

If I run the fan (original) in my 79 sovereign throughout the day and part of the evening, by nighttime the lights inside my trailer will be dim. If I turn the fan off the lights will brighten some, but it still takes awhile for them to get back to full brightness. Is my converter going bad, or is it just too much load for it to keep up?
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Old 09-30-2013, 05:24 PM   #2
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What are the voltages?
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Old 09-30-2013, 05:31 PM   #3
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A couple of assumptions needed.. Assuming you have battery installed and that you are plugged into shore power when this occurs, I'd suspect battery problems (either dead cell or cooked "Dry" by converter.. The battery/batteries act as reservoir for electrical power for lighting, and converter acts to refill reservoir by recharging battery over time. If battery storage capacity compromised, then lights will dim and other 12V things will struggle if load varies.. <There are prior posts explaining why 12V systems and lighting don't work well without good battery installed..>

Converting 110V AC power to 12V DC power is something most converters are great at.. Problems arise when they need to maintain a "Floating" full charge on a battery without over-charging it and boiling off water.. That is something older converters are not good at, and a dry dead battery is generally a candidate for one-way trip to battery store.. <And if you do have two, they both need to be very close to identical in every way to make system work as designed.. Same brand/age/ratings are pretty much required..>

And finally, you may have some corrosion on fan or lighting terminals (often on ground side...) that causes higher loads and dimming when that device is on or running... First thing I'd do, however, is remove and check the battery thoroughly, including fluid levels, capacity to hold charge, etc to see if problem starts there...
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Old 09-30-2013, 07:03 PM   #4
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What are the voltages?
Voltage dropped to about 8 or 9 volts. It gets back up to normal after the vent fan has been off for awhile. Worth noting is that I had the vent fan running for about 12 hrs straight.
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Old 09-30-2013, 07:07 PM   #5
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. First thing I'd do, however, is remove and check the battery thoroughly, including fluid levels, capacity to hold charge, etc to see if problem starts there...
Yes, identical batteries installed and the converter is a newer (approx 4 yrs) progressive dynamics with charge wizard. The batteries are also about 4 years. I'm also connected to shore power 24/7. How would I check the batteries capacity to hold charge? They register as 12+ volts now.
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Old 09-30-2013, 07:10 PM   #6
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Should I try unplugging from shore power and see how long the fan will run before seeing a voltage drop at the batteries? What would be a typical time?
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Old 09-30-2013, 07:53 PM   #7
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If you have a converter and are on shore power. You don't even need batteries. Until you are ready to travel.
If you have the original glass type fuse panel. You could be experiencing voltage drop across bad fuse holders.
Let's say you have a Progressive Dynamics 9245 converter. It is capable of consistently providing 45 amps of current at just over 13 volts. Plenty of power for your coach.
I have this converter in my Argosy. It is on Shorepower 24/7. I can run all systems at the same time without the lights dimming. I do not have a battery in the coach unless I am traveling.
Again! I think you have bad connection problems. But if you have a battery with a shorted or dead cell, it will cause a heavy load on the converter. Disconnect both batteries and tape off the wires and see what happens.
When the current exceeds the limits of the converter it shuts down (crowbars) until the overload is removed. It does not cut back on the output voltage. It merely shuts it off.
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Old 09-30-2013, 08:00 PM   #8
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If you have a converter and are on shore power. You don't even need batteries. Until you are ready to travel. If you have the original glass type fuse panel. You could be experiencing voltage drop across bad fuse holders. Let's say you have a Progressive Dynamics 9245 converter. It is capable of consistently providing 45 amps of current at just over 13 volts. Plenty of power for your coach. I have this converter in my Argosy. It is on Shorepower 24/7. I can run all systems at the same time without the lights dimming. I do not have a battery in the coach unless I am traveling. Again! I think you have bad connection problems. But if you have a battery with a shorted or dead cell, it will cause a heavy load on the converter. Disconnect both batteries and tape off the wires and see what happens. When the current exceeds the limits of the converter it shuts down (crowbars) until the overload is removed. It does not cut back on the output voltage. It merely shuts it off.
All fuses have been replaced with breakers. Exterior road lights are all auto-reset breakers, whereas interior 12v are all manual breakers. So first step is to disconnect the batteries to determine if that's the problem? If it's not, then there's likely a bad connection problem elsewhere? Meaning likely a poor ground or loose connection of some sort causing more juice to be drawn?
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Old 09-30-2013, 08:01 PM   #9
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BTW, what do you do with the batteries when not used? Do you store them fully charged? Can they simply be left disconnected in the trailer?
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Old 09-30-2013, 08:02 PM   #10
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Also, my converter seems to be a little louder than I remember. That, or it is running more often so I notice the hum more....
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Old 09-30-2013, 08:55 PM   #11
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When you say louder. Is it the fan you hear? Typically the new generation converters do not humm.
The heavier the load the more the fan will run in order to keep the heat sinks cool in the conversion process from 120 volts AC to 12 volts DC.
I remove the battery and store it in my shop. I have it connected to a charger that is designed for Marine/RV type batteries. The charger is plugged in to a timer. It runs about an hour a day. I don't buy expensive batteries, just a Wal-Mart Marine/RV type. The battery I am using today is just over 3 years old and still does the job.
Yes; a poor ground connection or a lose connection at the converter or any of the circuit breakers. You must have several circuit breakers. How and where do you supply power to each of the breakers? What kind of connections are used?
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Old 09-30-2013, 09:26 PM   #12
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The noise is from the fan, but has somewhat of a deeper sound to it. I thought these progressive dynamics chargers were supposed to be good as far as batteries, but it sounds like a marine/rv charger is better. I think there are the same number of breakers as there were fuses, and that the arrangement is identical to the original set up. Power comes from the same source that was used with the fuses, which I assume is a lead from the batteries? I'd have to trace it to verify, but I seem to recall that's the case. I believe each breaker is then run from the main positive and negative terminals. The wires connect via ring terminals. Now that I think about it, awhile back I disconnected one of the leads for an exterior running light because it was lit up for some reason (when parked and not connected to the tow vehicle). I never did find the reason and just left the terminal disconnected unless towing. I don't suppose that could be part of the problem?
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:18 PM   #13
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There is nothing wrong with using the PD converter to keep the batteries charged.
It's a personal preference.
In my case the battery compartment is really small. Which makes it difficult to keep an eye on things. I just prefer to remove the battery.
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Old 10-25-2013, 09:29 PM   #14
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