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Old 06-19-2012, 01:00 AM   #15
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here is another photo of the connection area.
the Main battery cable coming up from the floorboard (red) connects to the far right strip connector terminal.
The left red cable connects to the left side of the use/store unit.
The right red cable coming from the use/store unit goes thru the chassis to the converter in the cabin.
On the lower left you'll see the grounding block. The two larger white cables on the right end are the negative cable from the battery (larger wire next to the main ground wire) and the negative lead to the converter ( just left of the battery wire).


IF I bypass the unit by coupling the main battery cable (red) to the red cable on the right side of the use/store unit (removing from the unit) ...say with a nut/bolt to link the two together, thus sending a straight 12V line to the converter, without the use/store unit in play, would that suffice for a short term fix to supply a safe 12v supply to the trailer, pending further diagnosing and repair? Considering that the converter itself may not be malfunctioning? That would just take the use/store relay out of the chain, which should be okay, shouldn't it?
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:12 AM   #16
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WARNING: If you are unfamiliar with low voltage (e.g., automobile) circuits, you may wish to have a knowledgeable person help you with the troubleshooting instructions below; because some of the steps could possibly damage the wiring in your Airstream. Also, while the following does not involve 110 volt AC circuits, if you do work on the AC wiring, you should be aware of safety requirements to avoid electrocution.

===============

See Important Note at end of of this post.

The USE/STORE switch is very similar to an old Ford starter solenoid. The +12v goes in on the left side of the solenoid in the photo and comes out on the right (both are heavy gauge red wires). The two smaller terminals turn the switch ON and OFF by reversing the polarity on these two wires.

If the terminal labeled "S" (brown wire) measures +12 volts, the switch is ON and both red terminals should measure +12 volts (ground lead on voltmeter should be connected to the ground bus bar at lower left in photo).

If the terminal labeled "I" (white wire) measures +12 volts, the switch is OFF; and only the red terminal on the left should measure +12 volts. The terminal on the right should measure zero.

Note: The "S" and "I" terminals should not measure +12 volts at the same time; one should measure +12, while the other measures zero (ground).

I'd remove and check the two fuses located on top of the solenoid with an Ohmmeter to make sure they are not open. If you get continuity on both, and the red terminal on the right measures zero; the solenoid is probably not turned on.

Also, if the large gauge red wire on the left side measures significantly less than +12 volts (e.g., less than +10.5 volts) with shore power disconnected, your batteries are discharged and the solenoid may not operate reliably. However, if you have shore power connected, I believe that you should read +12 to +13.5 volts on this wire whether or not your batteries are discharged; because I think this is connected to the +12 volt output of the converter, which also charges the batteries.

To test the solenoid, you can manually turn it ON and OFF by connecting +12 volts to either the "S" or "I" terminal, and connecting ground to the remaining terminal. However, you should disconnect and insulate the existing brown and white wires to prevent sending these voltages backwards to the USE/STORE switch and possible blowing out other fuses or burning up wires.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You may wish to check both of your batteries before performing the above tests. If they are discharged or dead, you may get unpredictable results; and your problem may just be bad batteries. This is especially true, if they are the original (five year-old) OEM batteries.
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:15 AM   #17
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Thanks Phoenix, I understand that completely. It appears that right now the switch is off. I am charging up the batteries to test the voltage at all points on the solenoid. Good news is I have power flowing to the tongue jack this morning.

Re; Bad batteries; Batteries are only 12 mo old. This issue developed between unplugging from a State Park and making a 90 mile drive home and reconnecting to the shore power at home. The breaker kept tripping at the park hookup whenever we ran the A/C and microwave simultaneously. I went thru my usual tear down/pack for home routine, unplugged, drove home, reconnected and had no 12V power once home. All was working fine at the park, except for the breaker tripping.
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:07 AM   #18
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You had mentioned that you did not have voltage on the left Red wire on the terminal block. Is that correct? I would think that terminal block should have voltage on all studs. If you do not have voltage on the left side wire use a heavy wire and jump from the right side terminal to the output side of the solenoid. That should give you lights. If so the terminal block has opened, not something I would expect but then again we are troubleshooting and you have to test everything in series.

Studying that diagram as best I can with a small screen my first question is have you located the control panel and made sure the switch is not in the storage position. If the switch is in the usage position the solenoid should pull in and give 12 volts on the output side of the solenoid.

If you have voltage on one side of the solenoid not take the heavy jumper wire touch it across the 2 terminal on the solenoid and you should have light in the trailer. If that works the problem is in the switch or it system.

If you have a granddaughter like mine she has most likely turned the switch off without you knowing it.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:43 AM   #19
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The switch in the cabin is inactive...does nothing...because no 12v is getting past the solenoid. Funny thing though...I got out of bed at midnight or 1am last night and went out to check the tongue jack for power so I could hook up this morning...got no power to the jack and went back to bed. This morning I remembered that I'd disconnected the batteries when I put the chargers on them...duh. Reconnected the batteries this morning and went ahead and hooked up and took the AS to my local RV service center. It's just so danged hot and humid here my brain cells start to fizz if I'm out in it too long. And I suspect it's an issue with that solenoid/relay.
I still have a year on the ext warranty so I'm gonna let them fix it. I gave them all my diagnostic info and they're going to check the system components and fix...said they'd have it back to me in 2 or 3 days. When I get it back I'll update this thread on what the gremlin was.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:55 AM   #20
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Go back and check the switch now that the batteries are hooked up. If there is 12 volts on one side of the solenoid there will be 12 volts to the switch. If the switch is in the on position and the solenoid should pull in. If not the problem is in the solenoid control system.

Can I assume you have tested the 2 small fuses on the solenoid. The one on the left is the one that feed voltage to the switch.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:26 PM   #21
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Regarding running the air conditioner and the microwave at the same time; on occasion, we have also encountered this in campgrounds. I suspect that campground circuit breakers are often old and/or weak due to being out in the weather all year, and they may trip at less than 30 amps. This guess is based on the receptacles that are often worn, discolored and sometimes chipped/broken. If you use the 20 amp circuit, the combination of air conditioner and microwave probably exceeds 20 amps.

We now consciously do NOT use both appliances at the same time, even when on our own generators. Also, don't forget other high-current devices that others in your family may be using in the other room; e.g., a hair dryer.
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:06 PM   #22
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Go back and check the switch now that the batteries are hooked up. If there is 12 volts on one side of the solenoid there will be 12 volts to the switch. If the switch is in the on position and the solenoid should pull in. If not the problem is in the solenoid control system.

Can I assume you have tested the 2 small fuses on the solenoid. The one on the left is the one that feed voltage to the switch.

Yeah, did that already and those two fuses are good. I've checked and rechecked everything with and without shore power, and with a 3rd fully charged battery. My guess is the solenoid is shot or the relay is stuck.
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:09 PM   #23
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Regarding running the air conditioner and the microwave at the same time; on occasion, we have also encountered this in campgrounds. I suspect that campground circuit breakers are often old and/or weak due to being out in the weather all year, and they may trip at less than 30 amps. This guess is based on the receptacles that are often worn, discolored and sometimes chipped/broken. If you use the 20 amp circuit, the combination of air conditioner and microwave probably exceeds 20 amps.

We now consciously do NOT use both appliances at the same time, even when on our own generators. Also, don't forget other high-current devices that others in your family may be using in the other room; e.g., a hair dryer.
The state park we stayed at was pretty new. Even the charcoal grills...those standard state park fixtures...hadn't begun to rust yet.

But I'm going to swap the 20a lines on the A/C and Microwave to move the A/C connection to a breaker farther away from the main 30a breaker. That is apparently a well known heat related issue and fix. Even the service guy this morning mentioned that. You'd think they'd do that at the AS factory but I guess they don't realize how hot it gets down this way. Easy swap though.
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:01 PM   #24
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Thought I'd share with everyone what the problem turned out to be. Turns out it was a wire under the chassis that had been rubbing against metal and eventually rubbed thru the insulation and was causing a short in the circuit. Go figure. The service guy said whoever installed that wiring bundle at the factory had his head where the sun doesn't shine. It was only a matter of time before it wore through.

I guess I would have found it, eventually, but am glad I didn't have to lay on the hot concrete, under the AS In my driveway, in 102 degree heat! Glad I took it in to the service center.
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Old 07-02-2012, 05:10 PM   #25
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PS: They had to drop the pan to find it.
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