Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 07-03-2022, 05:04 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
Currently Looking...
medford , Oregon
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 17
Calling all AS electricians

Hello fellow Airstreamers—

We are the new owners of a 2016 international serenity 25 trailer. This is our first trailer, so we are learning. The hard way 😁. Couple of things: what I believe to be the converter fan, underneath the front right twin bed, is now coming on all the time when connected to shore power, wherse-as in the previous few months of ownership, I did not hear it once. When I unplug from shore power, the fan goes off. This fan is extremely loud. It has been suggested, that there may be a grounding issue, though I don’t know enough about electronics to know more. I have turned off all sources that might draw on power, but still the fan persists.

There is another problem with the connection to the electric jack up front, which may or may not be related. I recently replaced the fuse holder, as I was having a problem with the electric jack, but now when I attempt to connect the fuse, there’s an arc and the fuse blows. This also happens if I connect a fuse holder first, and then its other end to the positive pull of the battery. An employee at the local ace hardware store, suggested it is likely a grounding issue somewhere. I am at a loss. Any ideas? Beyond whatever ideas you, dear reader, may have, I’m wondering who would be the best source for a fix – an airstream dealership, which is five hours away, or simply a local electrician.

I find the forum incredibly valuable and do not know how Airstream, hunters would manage the myriad of challenges that there are, without it.

Gratefully,
Nick
nickaroux is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2022, 05:18 PM   #2
Site Team
 
richard5933's Avatar

 
1994 25' Excella
Waukesha , Wisconsin
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 2,946
Images: 4
The two issues may be related...

The primary reason the fan in a converter runs is because the converter is getting warm - it only runs when it needs to. If the converter is getting warm it usually means that it's outputting a lot of current.

If the converter is outputting a lot of current, that means that something is pulling a lot of current.

When a fuse blows just by putting it in the fuse holder, then you have a short. Somewhere between the fuse holder and the switch on the jack there is a short - that positive wire is making contact with a ground somewhere.

My first step here would be to trace the line from the fuse holder to the. You're looking for worn/abraded insulation, signs of overheating like discolored insulation, or anything that makes you think the copper inside the insulation is making contact with a ground somewhere. It might be where the wire goes around a sharp corner, where it passes near a metal screw which is poking into it, etc.

If you don't find any shorts in the wire, the possibly your jack itself or the switch is the culprit and you have to look there for the short. Wires come loose from switches and make contact with covers, etc. and can cause a short.

If your converter fan is running all the time even with the jack out of the picture, then you likely have something else pulling a big draw on it. How new are your batteries? Have you had them checked recently? If a battery is failing it can cause a constant draw on the converter which will result in it getting hot and the fan running all the time.
__________________
Richard
11018
1994 Excella 25 Follow the build on Gertie!
1999 Suburban LS 2500 w/7.4L V8
1974 GMC 4108a - Custom Coach Land Cruiser (Sold)
richard5933 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2022, 06:45 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 4,560
Blog Entries: 1
It sounds to me like your jack wire is shorted to ground somewhere or the jack motor is defective. I would look at that area with a ohm meter. Could the wire be pinched under the gas bottle cover? Probably the batteries are drawn down more now and the inside temps are hotter. Maybe you are using more current. You could look at finding a less noisy PC. The noise issue is discussed sometimes on this board. How is your battery voltage? Is the PC keeping things charged? How old are the batteries?
Bill M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2022, 08:12 AM   #4
1 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
Currently Looking...
medford , Oregon
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
The two issues may be related...

The primary reason the fan in a converter runs is because the converter is getting warm - it only runs when it needs to. If the converter is getting warm it usually means that it's outputting a lot of current.

If the converter is outputting a lot of current, that means that something is pulling a lot of current.

When a fuse blows just by putting it in the fuse holder, then you have a short. Somewhere between the fuse holder and the switch on the jack there is a short - that positive wire is making contact with a ground somewhere.

My first step here would be to trace the line from the fuse holder to the. You're looking for worn/abraded insulation, signs of overheating like discolored insulation, or anything that makes you think the copper inside the insulation is making contact with a ground somewhere. It might be where the wire goes around a sharp corner, where it passes near a metal screw which is poking into it, etc.

If you don't find any shorts in the wire, the possibly your jack itself or the switch is the culprit and you have to look there for the short. Wires come loose from switches and make contact with covers, etc. and can cause a short.

If your converter fan is running all the time even with the jack out of the picture, then you likely have something else pulling a big draw on it. How new are your batteries? Have you had them checked recently? If a battery is failing it can cause a constant draw on the converter which will result in it getting hot and the fan running all the time.
Thank you for your reply. The batteries are essentially brand new Dash – AGM batteries I bought from Costco a couple of weeks ago and only connected eight or nine days ago. We immediately took a three day trip and we’re connected to shore power. It was only after monkeying around with the electric jack that the fan started to cycle frequently, so it seems logical that something I did – a pinched wire/other? – – Is the problem. How do I use an ohm meter to test for this? Maybe this is a moment for a YouTube video. I did check the batteries yesterday and they were at 13.7% per the monitor behind the sink.
nickaroux is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2022, 08:51 AM   #5
Site Team
 
richard5933's Avatar

 
1994 25' Excella
Waukesha , Wisconsin
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 2,946
Images: 4
If your batteries are at 13.7%, that's really low. Low enough to damage them.

My guess is that you have a short in the jack circuit somewhere which is draining the batteries and causing the converter to work overtime.

In electrical issues finding the problem is about 90% of the work, and fixing it is only 10%. Using the multimeter to check for continuity is something you can easily find information on by checking out YouTube.

If you have access to your 12v distribution panel, then you can also start troubleshooting by disconnecting the circuit to the jack and see if it resolves the problem with the fan constantly running. Either pull the fuse or pull the wire from the circuit breaker feeding the jack circuit.
__________________
Richard
11018
1994 Excella 25 Follow the build on Gertie!
1999 Suburban LS 2500 w/7.4L V8
1974 GMC 4108a - Custom Coach Land Cruiser (Sold)
richard5933 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2022, 09:25 AM   #6
Rivet Master
 
1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 4,560
Blog Entries: 1
Fixing the jack circuit will of course not make an immediate change in the fan running. After a couple of days to recharge the batteries then it might run less. So fix the jack circuit or pull the fuse to the jack and see if the batteries recharge overnight.

I am not familiar with a "battery monitor". Is that 13.7 percent charge or is it a volt meter reading 13.7 volts? If the batteries are really depleted to 13% then you need to attend to that immediately.

For sure buy a multimeter and learn to make a continuity check on the jack wiring and fix that.
Bill M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2022, 09:38 AM   #7
4 Rivet Member
 
2014 25' FB Flying Cloud
Hillsborough , North Carolina
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 304
Do Not Fry your OHM meter

If you are going to test continuity with an OHM meter, be sure there is no voltage on the circuit first.
Otherwise, you are likely to fry your brand new ohm meter. (or just blow it's fuse inside the ohm meter)

Be sure to check for voltage first, then continuity.

If you want to get fancy looking for the high current drain, get a clamp-on style ammeter that can measure DC amps. The ones that can measure DC amps are a bit more expensive, but great fun to see where and how much amps you are pulling from the various battery connections. And handy to find parasitic trickle drains.......such as in my case, the stereo sub-woofer seemed to be always on.

As others have mentioned above: If you hear your converter fan running more often than normal, strongly suspect it is time for a battery replacement.....not worth it to have a bad battery pulling too many amps and burn out your converter or at least shorten it's life.

Lastly: Check your converter to see if it has a profile specific to AGM as opposed to Flooded Cell....
GeeSag is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2022, 10:16 AM   #8
3 Rivet Member
 
2007 25' Classic
San Luis Obispo , California
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 149
Short?

If you are not comfortable checking out the wiring yourself, look locally for a utility trailer sales/service or a local RV Service center. They should be able to find the issue for you easily. Good luck
slofoks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2022, 10:23 AM   #9
4 Rivet Member
 
2014 25' FB Flying Cloud
Hillsborough , North Carolina
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 304
AGM Charger

Did the 2016's ship with chargers suitable for AGM?

For whatever this is worth: (Straight from DR. Google)

What happens if you charge an AGM Battery with Flooded Cell charger?

Both AGM and gel batteries are naturally more stable and have much lower discharge rate than flooded cell batteries. They also have different needs from flooded cell batteries, and a charger configured for flooded cell batteries may burn out VRLA batteries, and cause them to die.
GeeSag is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2022, 11:07 AM   #10
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
2022 Interstate 24X
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 14,241
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeeSag View Post
Did the 2016's ship with chargers suitable for AGM?

For whatever this is worth: (Straight from DR. Google)

What happens if you charge an AGM Battery with Flooded Cell charger?

Both AGM and gel batteries are naturally more stable and have much lower discharge rate than flooded cell batteries. They also have different needs from flooded cell batteries, and a charger configured for flooded cell batteries may burn out VRLA batteries, and cause them to die.
Hi

There is no difference at all between flooded batteries and AGM's in terms of the charger. You have them confused with another battery type that does not get used in Airstreams ....

A bit more on topic:

If electrical is not your "thing" get a tech out to work on the problem. This stuff is not unique to Airstream. There should be a mobile tech or repair shop that can straighten things out.

Next option would be to spend a bunch of quality time with YouTube studying up on electrical stuff. Again, none of this is really specific to any brand of trailer. There are *tons* of videos out there. Many of them are repetitive. It likely will be a couple days of watching to get all the various bases covered.

As mentioned earlier, 13.7V is a lot on a lead acid battery. 13.7% is a battery that is near dead. Units very much do make a difference. If you are looking at a stock battery monitor, understand that they have issues. Current flowing in the system throws them off. The only way to really *know* what the battery is at is to use a multimeter at the battery.

Converters to die. First thing to do would be to grab a clamp amp meter and see if the converter is putting out current. Like the multimeter, this is something that belongs in your "electrician toolbox". It also has some YouTube videos ...

If the converter is pushing current with nothing turned on, the next question would be why? Next stop is the fuse box. Note where all the fuses are and what type they are. Pull them out one at a time and see if the current goes to zero. If it does then that circuit is pulling power.

Once you know that this or that circuit is pulling power, go to the electrical diagram on your owners manual. It will show you what is on that circuit. Either that gizmo is not turned off ( yes this happens ) or there is a problem. Sometimes the answer is "both".

It sounds like your batteries got switched out recently. You might want to look at the wiring there and make sure something didn't come loose in the process. Things like the jack power often go straight to the battery via an inline fuse.

Jacks often are grounded directly to the frame. That means there is only one wire to the jack ( the power line). That wire might be crimped / broken / loose. Your jack might have an internal issue. The fuse might be the wrong size. There's no way sitting here to know which it is.

So lots of zigs and zags. Multiple issues tend to make for that sort of scatter shot reply. Things might be related or they might not. There is no way to know ....

Bob
uncle_bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2022, 11:29 AM   #11
2 Rivet Member
 
2022 20' Caravel
2019 Interstate Lounge Ext
Noblesville , Indiana
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 98
i'm not an electrician, but a card carrying electrical engineer. your two issues are most likely unrelated. as some have said, measure the resistance from the positive lead heading to the jack relative to the jack common (DC disconnected). most likely you have a shorted wire/switch or unfortunately...motor. you might try to use your manual jack to make sure there is no bind in the mechanical mechanism. The fan on your converter turns on via a thermostat. if you believe the fan is too loud, perhaps look to replace the fan. i doubt they used a fan with bearings, so its most likely a simple 12vDC fan you can get on amazon. good luck.
vanderwielen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2022, 12:18 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
sheriff1's Avatar
 
2012 27' FB Eddie Bauer
Sparks , Nevada
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,049
Fuse on the Jack needs to be of the slow blow variety.
sheriff1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2022, 01:14 PM   #13
1 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
Currently Looking...
medford , Oregon
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 17
Hi Richard--

Well, I'm afraid you're correct. I used my multimeter and both of the 'brand new' AGM batteries are at 11.4%, so I guess they are toast. Apparently, there is some short in the line between the fuse holder and the power jack and that drained the batteries, which also explains--as you saw--why the converter fan was running so hard. This morning I ordered a manual Bulldog brand sidewinder crank; I'm still young enough to hand crank it and would rather spend the money on:

A full solar package from AMsolar up the road from me in Springfield, OR. It's spendy--about 8k, before the lithium batteries, but if I do this, I suppose I should be good to go. If you were going to talk me out of this, what would you say? Another forum member suggested at a couple of 100w panels from Costco (suitcase style, I guess) in conjunction with the AGM batteries (a new set, now) would be enough for 3-4 days boondocking trips. We would use no electric appliances, aside from occasional DVDsm, the heater, maxair fans on the warmer evenings to pull cooler air in. The fridge on the 2016 can run on LP.

Really appreciate your post response.

Nick
nickaroux is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2022, 01:18 PM   #14
Site Team
 
richard5933's Avatar

 
1994 25' Excella
Waukesha , Wisconsin
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 2,946
Images: 4
Whether or not to go all out on solar is something I can't say. It all depends on the goals you have for the trailer and how you plan to use it. Seems like a lot of money, so it better be a whiz-bang solar kit.

I went with Renogy panels and have 400 watts on the roof, two Battleborn lithium batteries, and all the necessary hardware and equipment for about half the price you're considering for just the panels.
__________________
Richard
11018
1994 Excella 25 Follow the build on Gertie!
1999 Suburban LS 2500 w/7.4L V8
1974 GMC 4108a - Custom Coach Land Cruiser (Sold)
richard5933 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2022, 01:25 PM   #15
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
2022 Interstate 24X
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 14,241
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickaroux View Post
Hi Richard--

Well, I'm afraid you're correct. I used my multimeter and both of the 'brand new' AGM batteries are at 11.4%, s.....

Nick
Hi

Do you mean 11.4V or 11.4%?

If you mean 11.4%, what chart are you using to translate voltage into charge level? What *is* the voltage reading?

If you mean 11.4V, then that is not a "toast" level for an AGM. It is past the "stop using" point, but quite far from the "damaged" level for that type of battery.

Is this voltage or % or a resting battery or is the converter running? If the converter is running, what is the voltage reading at the converter? Best guess is the converter is disconnected from the battery. This could be from your use/store switch being wired to disconnect things and it being in the wrong position. It also could be from a full battery disconnect switch being in the "open" setting.

Bob
uncle_bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2022, 03:55 PM   #16
Rivet Master
 
1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 4,560
Blog Entries: 1
If you read the 11.4 on the voltmeter then it is volts. The batteries are depleted but AGM's should not be hurt too bad by that. They will recharge fine.

The jack is such an integral part of trailering and we hook and unhook so often that I cannot imagine not having an electric jack. I got tired of the manual jack on our popups and I was young then. But it is your trailer and your cash.

One more thing. If the jack fuse was blown? then the jack did not draw the batteries down. You still need to find and fix what ever is going on in the jack circuit. But with the fuse out it should not draw the batteries. Are the batteries recharging with the jack fuse out? Is their voltage going back up?
Bill M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2022, 05:09 PM   #17
1 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
Currently Looking...
medford , Oregon
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 17
Hi Richard-- May I ask where you bought the various parts for your solar set-up? If I were to DIY-it, it would be just over 3k, but about 8k for them to install. I assumed this was going rate, but maybe that's high. Still working in the salt mines, so no time for a DIY, but that is a lot of dough.
nickaroux is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2022, 05:56 PM   #18
:SPACE A" S/O 11 Air19745
 
guskmg's Avatar
 
2006 34' Classic S/O
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,732
If the jack is fully extended, a limit switch may be trying to shut things off, but blowing the fuse occurs first. Take another jack under the tongue and raise it to take the load off of your jack. You should then be able to replace the fuse and make the jack move in the opposite direction. Also, do not change direction of the jack's travel until it comes to a complete stop. That like dynamic braking adding more electrical load to an already max loaded circuit. It is a good idea not to run the jacks all the way to the stop in either direction. A bad limit switch could cause the problems.
guskmg
guskmg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2022, 10:09 PM   #19
Escape Pod II
 
John Ware's Avatar
 
2018 22' Sport
2022 23' Flying Cloud
Orange , TEXAS
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 366
You have two problems which happens all the time with 12v systems. I think you have your V and % mixed up. Don't give up on your electric jack yet. Disconnect your batteries and the jack, charge up the batteries and then find your short in the jack. Then ck your converter/charger for correct operation. Or disconnect your jack and ck your converter first. I hope all that makes sense.
__________________
JEWare
John Ware is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2022, 10:52 PM   #20
Escape Pod II
 
John Ware's Avatar
 
2018 22' Sport
2022 23' Flying Cloud
Orange , TEXAS
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 366
One way to ck for a short in the jack is to connect a test light or volt meter between the wire to the jack and the 12v source. As long as your light burns or you get a voltage reading, you either have a short in the wire, a stuck limit switch, the up/down switch is stuck or shorted( the motor is in travel mode), or the motor is shorted.
__________________
JEWare
John Ware is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Calling all 70's decade(70-79) EXCELLA 500 owners jaco Airstream Trailer Forums 41 03-19-2018 08:53 PM
Airstream Electrical 101 for Non-Electricians TimJ Batteries, Univolts, Converters & Inverters 10 03-15-2017 12:00 PM
Inverter Grounding Question for Electricians mello mike Batteries, Univolts, Converters & Inverters 6 02-07-2010 07:39 PM
ELECTRICIANS (or others knowledgeable) please help. SmokelessJoe Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 42 08-26-2007 05:23 PM
London Calling, London Calling.... addyman Member Introductions 7 07-01-2007 08:23 AM


Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:36 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.