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Old 02-18-2017, 04:17 PM   #1
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Angry !2 volt issue

I have a 1982 280 diesel coach that recently stopped putting out power to the interior 12 volt system. No exhaust fan, no lights etc. All works on shore power and when the generator is on. I did check the house fuses and they all seem to be good. Does anyone have ideas?
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Old 02-18-2017, 05:04 PM   #2
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I have a 1982 280 diesel coach that recently stopped putting out power to the interior 12 volt system. No exhaust fan, no lights etc. All works on shore power and when the generator is on. I did check the house fuses and they all seem to be good. Does anyone have ideas?
Doug, that's an interesting problem. If I understand your post correctly, if you have the generator running or if you're connected to shore power your coach DC systems seem to work fine. However if you're driving then your coach DC systems cease to function. Assuming the above is true my first thought is your coach battery is dead with the added possibly that your battery isolator is bad as well.

When you're on generator or shore power the DC converter (univolt) will supply 12 vdc to the coach wiring regardless of the coach battery condition.

I'm not sure when Airstream started installing battery isolators but if your's doesn't have one or if yours is bad then while you're driving the alternator won't be able to supply charging current to the coach battery so if the coach battery is dead your coach DC circuits will also be dead.

My first suggestion is to have your coach battery tested. My second suggestion is to check your coach battery ground cable to make sure it's got a good connection to the chassis.

Hope this helps.

Brad
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Old 02-18-2017, 05:49 PM   #3
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Thanks Brad. I should have added that I did put my house batteries on a charger yesterday, and my meter was registering over 14 volts after the charge. Still no lights etc. A new battery isolater was put in last year. Would it be a good idea to disconnect the house batteries, start the coach and then put a meter on the leads?
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Old 02-18-2017, 06:23 PM   #4
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Check both the positive and negative cables on the coach batteries and their associated connections. I had a battery clamp that was brand new and the cable inside the clamp wasn't making contact with the clamp itself. Took me forever to figure that one out.

This is probably a dumb question but does your battery compartment have a battery isolation switch? If so is it on?
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Old 02-18-2017, 06:45 PM   #5
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I second what Brad says. Disconnect your ground strap from the battery compartment and the frame, throughly clean both ends and reinstall. If you do have a battery disconnect switch, located on the wall of the step well on my 82 310, clean the connection on both sides of the switch and where it connects to the solenoid on the other end. You can also easily bypass the disconnect switch by connecting the cable from the battery to the same side as the out going cable on the switch.

While connected to shore power or running the generator your twelve volt is running through the converter which has its own ground to frame. When running your twelve volt just from your batteries it relies on the ground strap from the battery compartment to frame. Hope this makes sense, once you take a close look at it you'll see what I'm saying.

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Old 02-18-2017, 07:09 PM   #6
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You DID check the salesman's switch, didn't you? That's a heavy duty switch, usually located near the door, that turns off almost all of the 12V stuff in the coach. Most people turn them off accidentally at least once and then wonder why nothing works.
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Old 02-18-2017, 08:11 PM   #7
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I don't think that there is a battery isolation switch. There are two locking levers on the wall at the door. Would the isolator switch be large or a small toggle of some sort? I'll go out and check it out tomorrow. Thanks for all the input.
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Old 02-19-2017, 04:48 AM   #8
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Here is a picture of my disconnect switches in my step-well. One is for the coach and one for the chassis.
Click image for larger version

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The wires are on the back of the switches and are battery cable size.
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Old 02-19-2017, 05:56 AM   #9
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Here is a picture of my disconnect switches in my step-well. One is for the coach and one for the chassis.
Attachment 280076

The wires are on the back of the switches and are battery cable size.
Mike, that's the first time I've heard of two switches! It makes me wonder whether a PO added one switch or two. The coach shutoff switch is fairly common but the engine cutoff is something I've not heard of in an Airstream before. I kinda like the idea of engine and coach cutoff switches. Might have to add one to my Argosy.

Brad
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Old 02-19-2017, 06:34 AM   #10
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Brad the chassis cutoff switch has come in handy on a few occasions. Once when tracking down some parasitic drains.
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Old 02-19-2017, 07:14 AM   #11
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I'm missing out! I have neither a 12 volt house cut off switch or chassis cut off. Along with possibly a new alternator and checking the charging system this spring I see some electrical happening soon.

Mike; neat switches, what are they? Part number; manufacturer, link?

Great job on the floor by the way!

Cheers
Tony
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Old 02-19-2017, 08:12 AM   #12
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Thank you Tony, the floor is holding up well so far. Very easy to clean too. Here is a link to the disconnect switches.


http://odmrv.com/catalog/index.php?m...oducts_id=1297
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Old 02-19-2017, 10:23 AM   #13
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On my 1986 345 the battery cut off switch is mounted in the battery drawer on the back wall.
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Old 02-19-2017, 10:41 AM   #14
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Money is definitely on the connections on the back of the battery tray. I've had numerous connection issues.

Undo battery connections
Remove main earth strap, clean wire brush and re-terminate
Clean each terminal to the isolator and each side of the battery disconnect switch
Connect up batteries
Measure voltage across batteries
Crawl under battery tray
Stick neg multimeter terminal into earth strap
Measure voltages on isolator/solenoid
Measure voltages either side of battery disconnect in switched on position
Measure voltages at heavy duty connection block (if you have one)
If you still have 12 volts here, the problem is further downstream
Measure voltages on hot side of internal 12v distribution board

Does the 12 v internal power flow through the isolator blue fin type above the radiator? The fault test for that is in the motorhome chassis guide which can be downloaded from the forum

You can always rig 12 v straight to the internal dist board to check that is grounded and working correctly

Hope this helps
Nick


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Old 02-19-2017, 10:43 AM   #15
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My 250 came with a stock battery isolation switch on the back of the battery tray.


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Old 02-19-2017, 01:41 PM   #16
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My 1982 280 diesel does not have a master disconnect switch. There is a relay behind the battery mount that auto connects the house to chassis batteries when the starter is engaged.

It appears to me that there is a loose or dirty connection or a wire/cable that has failed. Like Nick said start at the battery and check voltage along the wire run to the distribution panel or fuse block. Fix the negative lead of your meter to one point and only move the positive lead to check different points. Also check for voltage with no load and again with a load at each point. Many times a poor connection will show voltage with no load but will fail as soon as a load is applied. It's not really high tech but it certainly can be tedious and frustrating work. Good luck
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Old 02-19-2017, 02:12 PM   #17
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Indeed, sometimes you may read some voltage e.g. 6v or intermittent. If you see this, you have probably found the problem area. You can also jumper across the terminals on the battery solenoid to isolate that as a potential cause. In fact, if your battery isolator solenoid is stock or old, I would replace it with a new one anyway because it will fail and they are cheap to replace.

I know this is blindingly obvious, but don't do any of this with the coach running!!!


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Old 02-19-2017, 02:57 PM   #18
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As Dan suggested, I checked out the house fuse block more carefully. When I checked voltage on each side of the 50 amp positive fuse there was 13 volts coming in and 5 volts coming out. I cleaned up the leads on that fuse and now all is good!!
Thanks everyone!!!

Doug
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