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Old 06-21-2022, 09:25 AM   #1
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HELP! Lithium batteries dead but blow a circuit when plugged in

Hi, I am not sure whatís going on here. Iíve been trying to charge our batteries, first from our house, and then from the ProPower (2000W generator) in our truck. I try plugging in with nothing on but the fridge and whatever background power is happening (even tried it with the master power switch off), but it blows the GFCI every time. I donít know what to do. We are now camping but donít have access to a 30 amp plug. I know it was working when we were at the dealer and they had us plugged into a 50 amp port. We donít have the A/C on or anything.

Iíve tried using both our original 30 amp cable as well as a SmartPlug 30amp to 15amp adapter, both have the same effect.

Are there any simple things I can do do diagnose why this is happening?
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Old 06-21-2022, 09:46 AM   #2
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Okay, so I just tried flipping off ALL the 120 circuits, and now itís not faulting, but it says less that 200 watts are being pulled. I think the batteries should be able to charge at a faster rate than that, right?
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Old 06-21-2022, 11:56 AM   #3
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Okay, well after a fairly unhelpful call to the dealer, we moved our trailer to my in-laws who have a 50-amp plug on a 40-amp circuit. Interestingly, when I was there I first tried plugging in with my Progressive Industries 30A EMS, connected to a 30 to 50 dogbone, but no power came through. It read E0 (normal operation), and it read 121 volts, but no amps were moving through. As soon as I removed that and plugged straight to the dogbone, no EMS, then we got power. The batteries are now charging at 340-ish watts (13.26-ish volts x 25.5-ish amps).

We have a Goal Zero battery at home with a 600 watt power brick. Iím wondering if getting a DC to DC converter would help with proper charging and getting faster charging from shorepower.
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Old 06-21-2022, 01:38 PM   #4
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As to your Progressive Industries surge protector, I believe there is a 2 min delay before it allows power to go to the coach.
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Old 06-21-2022, 01:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hikingcamera View Post
Hi, I am not sure whatís going on here. Iíve been trying to charge our batteries, first from our house, and then from the ProPower (2000W generator) in our truck. I try plugging in with nothing on but the fridge and whatever background power is happening (even tried it with the master power switch off), but it blows the GFCI every time. I donít know what to do. We are now camping but donít have access to a 30 amp plug. I know it was working when we were at the dealer and they had us plugged into a 50 amp port. We donít have the A/C on or anything.

Iíve tried using both our original 30 amp cable as well as a SmartPlug 30amp to 15amp adapter, both have the same effect.

Are there any simple things I can do do diagnose why this is happening?
The coach is probably drawing way more than a 15amp GFCI can take.
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Old 06-21-2022, 01:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by hikingcamera View Post
The batteries are now charging at 340-ish watts (13.26-ish volts x 25.5-ish amps).

As to my above post. No 120volt 15 amp GFCI will support this. It's overload.
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Old 06-21-2022, 02:02 PM   #7
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Hi

300 to 400W off of 120V is easily inside what a 15A circuit will handle. 25A and 12V is not the same as 25A at 120V .....

GFCI's typically trip because there is leakage to ground. If you are plugging your trailer into a GFCI and it's tripping, that's not a massive surprise. The typical 30A or 50A outlet does not care about leakage current. It *is* worth spending some time to tack down the issue, but it's probably not the cause of your charging issue.

A DC-DC converter will not help when charging from shore power or from a generator. It only works when charging via the 7 pin connector.

If your converter / charger has not been set up correctly for lithium batteries, all sorts of strange stuff can happen. Worst case, your batteries self destruct due to not being equalized. With zero info on your setup, that's only a caution.

If your EMS showed voltage on *both* legs and no current on either one, that's yet another thing to dive into. If it showed no voltage on one leg, again another ( different ) thing to dive into. Taking the EMS out of the circuit when there is a problem is generally not a great idea.

A multimeter is your friend when this stuff starts happening. Reading voltages will tell you what's what. You start at the source and work towards the load. At some point the voltage goes away. You now can dig further to find the fault. Much faster than some guy named Bob making random guesses about this or that ....

Bob
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Old 06-21-2022, 02:32 PM   #8
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If using your generator and an EMS, you will likely need to be using a Neutral Bonding Plug. Amazon...$15 or so.
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Old 06-21-2022, 02:45 PM   #9
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HELP! Lithium batteries dead but blow a circuit when plugged in

Okay, so let me make sure Iím understanding. So for my outdoor plug at home, the issue is that itís a GFCI. Our old 30A trailer did fine, but it had much fewer power requirements. I canít even use the GFCI top charge the batteries? Iíve never seen an outdoor plug on a house that was not GFCI. So how do folks plug them in to charge your trailers? Run it through a window? Iíve always wanted to get a 30 or even 50 amp plug installed, so maybe this means itís time to make that happen.

As for the EMS, perfect, that was the issue, i was just not patient enough, itís working now. I likely would not have removed the EMS if it hadnít been my in-laws house I was plugging into.

As for the multimeter, yeah, Iíll start playing with it, but man I donít know what Iím doing here, lol.

It is interesting, I wonder how the 600W charger for our Goal Zero battery works, because it plugs into a regular 15 amp port and somehow charges the GZ 12-volt battery at near 600 watts.

Itís also disappointing because itís been 4.5 days with basically only the fridge and occasional lights running, then we went camping (added the furnace and the inverter powering some additional USB charging bricks) and the batteries died after less than 12 hours. It feels like it should have run stronger. Iím also shocked by how few 12-volt ports there are in here. 4 USB ports at the beds and thatís it. Everything else is the inverter. I definitely want to get some 12-volt ports up front, wire the cell boost to the DC (our dealer just plugged it into the inverter-powered AC port where the DVD player is).

On the generator port, I called our dealer and that was one thing they said as well about the neutral bonding plug. I tried using a 15-amp dogbone on the other port on our carís generator, but that didnít help. Iíll pick one up and see if it helps. We were not using the EMS for the generator, we only used it when we got to my in-laws and the 50-amp outlet.
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Old 06-21-2022, 02:55 PM   #10
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One of the big problems here is that you don't **really know** exactly how much power your trailer is pulling. There just isn't any one device that tells you. Unless you make yourself one of these:



I built one...cheap. And it does the trick. It's a useful gadget to know exactly how much power your trailer is consuming.
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Old 06-21-2022, 03:35 PM   #11
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Those GFCI receptacles get weak after a while especially after tripping a few times. Also, did you set your converter board to Lithium? There's a switch on the board marked LA (lead acid) and LI (lithium ion). It's between the two red terminals on the left.
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Old 06-21-2022, 04:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hikingcamera View Post
Okay, so let me make sure Iím understanding. So for my outdoor plug at home, the issue is that itís a GFCI. Our old 30A trailer did fine, but it had much fewer power requirements. I canít even use the GFCI top charge the batteries? Iíve never seen an outdoor plug on a house that was not GFCI. So how do folks plug them in to charge your trailers? Run it through a window? Iíve always wanted to get a 30 or even 50 amp plug installed, so maybe this means itís time to make that happen.

As for the EMS, perfect, that was the issue, i was just not patient enough, itís working now. I likely would not have removed the EMS if it hadnít been my in-laws house I was plugging into.

As for the multimeter, yeah, Iíll start playing with it, but man I donít know what Iím doing here, lol.

It is interesting, I wonder how the 600W charger for our Goal Zero battery works, because it plugs into a regular 15 amp port and somehow charges the GZ 12-volt battery at near 600 watts.

Itís also disappointing because itís been 4.5 days with basically only the fridge and occasional lights running, then we went camping (added the furnace and the inverter powering some additional USB charging bricks) and the batteries died after less than 12 hours. It feels like it should have run stronger. Iím also shocked by how few 12-volt ports there are in here. 4 USB ports at the beds and thatís it. Everything else is the inverter. I definitely want to get some 12-volt ports up front, wire the cell boost to the DC (our dealer just plugged it into the inverter-powered AC port where the DVD player is).

On the generator port, I called our dealer and that was one thing they said as well about the neutral bonding plug. I tried using a 15-amp dogbone on the other port on our carís generator, but that didnít help. Iíll pick one up and see if it helps. We were not using the EMS for the generator, we only used it when we got to my in-laws and the 50-amp outlet.
Hi

The one point not addressed:

Is your converter / charger properly set up for Lithium batteries? If it is still set up for lead acids, your results will be very poor.

Next up:

On most rigs, running the inverter is not at all a good idea. They pull a lot of current just sitting there and not doing much. Is that an amp or is it several amps? It depends on various settings ( if yours is programable ), the power rating, the model , brand and even the year it was made.

Bottom line is that running the inverter to power usb this or usb that is a really bad idea. Get some 12V USB charger gizmos and wire them up to a 12V circuit. The power drain will be dramatically less ( like half / a third / 10% ...).

Down the road:

First off, watch some YouTube videos on RV power. Learn what your multimeter does Better to learn in a relaxed fashion than at 3AM with various alarms going off and the trailer rapidly cooling to below freezing ....

Consider a shunt, like the Victron BMV-712 to tell you what your batteries are doing and where you are at. Without something like that, there is no way to know what's going on. If you will be relying on batteries, this is information you will need to have. Voltage readings (especially on lithiums) do not tell you what's going on. Voltage readings on a lead acid meter when running lithium will very quickly lead you astray.

Corrections:

Your 15A outlet if it is set up right, is plenty to charge your batteries. The previous post about it not being up to the task was confusing current at 12V and current at 120V. They are not the same thing.


Bob
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Old 06-21-2022, 04:45 PM   #13
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It’s also disappointing because it’s been 4.5 days with basically only the fridge and occasional lights running, then we went camping (added the furnace and the inverter powering some additional USB charging bricks) and the batteries died after less than 12 hours.
4.5 days of the fridge running, that could be over 200 amp hours with an electric only fridge even if it ran slightly less then 50% of the time (depending on exactly which fridge you have). Take 200 amp hours out of a 200 amp hour battery bank, doesn't leave much if there isn't any charging.

"SOMETIMES" when another GFCI device on a circuit controlled by a GFCI breaker/outlet it interferes with the first one causing nuisance tripping. There have been reports of people replacing a GFCI with another (same brand and model) then no longer having problems.
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Old 06-21-2022, 05:42 PM   #14
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HELP! Lithium batteries dead but blow a circuit when plugged in

Quote:
Originally Posted by InvertdEagle View Post
One of the big problems here is that you don't **really know** exactly how much power your trailer is pulling. There just isn't any one device that tells you. Unless you make yourself one of these.
That looks super cool. So the difference in what it reads versus the battery monitor is that itís purely the power coming in, not being confused by the draw on the batteries?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Ware View Post
Also, did you set your converter board to Lithium? There's a switch on the board marked LA (lead acid) and LI (lithium ion). It's between the two red terminals on the left.
Good question, my dealer set it all up, so Iíll go check when I have the opportunity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Is your converter / charger properly set up for Lithium batteries? If it is still set up for lead acids, your results will be very poor.
Again, assuming the dealer did this, but not sure. How would I go about checking that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
On most rigs, running the inverter is not at all a good idea. They pull a lot of current just sitting there and not doing much. Is that an amp or is it several amps? It depends on various settings ( if yours is programable ), the power rating, the model , brand and even the year it was made.
Oh agreed. I came from a much cheaper camper that was much better equipped with DC outlets. Super disappointed in the lack of ports from Airstream and the degree to which our dealer leaned on the inverter (e.g., the cell booster).

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
First off, watch some YouTube videos on RV power. Learn what your multimeter does Better to learn in a relaxed fashion than at 3AM with various alarms going off and the trailer rapidly cooling to below freezing ....
I have watched TONS of videos, Iím all self taught. I know what a multimeter does, I just donít know what the read and look for in these complicated electrical setups.[/QUOTE]

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Consider a shunt, like the Victron BMV-712 to tell you what your batteries are doing and where you are at. Without something like that, there is no way to know what's going on.
Already there, thatís where Iím getting my numbers from.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wazbro View Post
4.5 days of the fridge running, that could be over 200 amp hours with an electric only fridge even if it ran slightly less then 50% of the time (depending on exactly which fridge you have). Take 200 amp hours out of a 200 amp hour battery bank, doesn't leave much if there isn't any charging.
My battery monitor says 360 watt hours have been used. The solar panels have been been up to keep up clearly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wazbro View Post
"SOMETIMES" when another GFCI device on a circuit controlled by a GFCI breaker/outlet it interferes with the first one causing nuisance tripping. There have been reports of people replacing a GFCI with another (same brand and model) then no longer having problems.
Good to know. My father-in-law is gonna help me install a 50-amp receptacle at our house for the future.
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Old 06-21-2022, 07:17 PM   #15
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One thing to consider with the GFCI circuit is: are there any other things plugged into the circuit? Frequently there will be single GFCI outlet that is wired to protect other outlets on the same circuit. The GFCI outlet may be being triggered by other or combined loads on the entire circuit.
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Old 06-21-2022, 07:50 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hikingcamera View Post
Iíve never seen an outdoor plug on a house that was not GFCI. So how do folks plug them in to charge your trailers? Run it through a window? Iíve always wanted to get a 30 or even 50 amp plug installed, so maybe this means itís time to make that happen.
Yes, 50A plug at home is the way to go if you can swing it in a location close to where your AS will be and you don't need a million feet of cord. Much easier to deal with your trailer, no GFCI, lack of power issues, no worries about dogbones and other stuff as well. Makes it very easy to charge quickly before a trip with a fully cold fridge before you hit the road.


We are in the black on solar every year so I don't worry about the power outlay, and if we lose power I have a 22Kwh Generac as well that powers pretty much everything including the 50A circuit for the AS.

Not a hard install if you know what you are doing, and an electrician can do it if need be for a few hundred bucks labor plus the box and materials.

This is my setup:
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Old 06-21-2022, 08:15 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by hikingcamera View Post
That looks super cool. So the difference in what it reads versus the battery monitor is that it’s purely the power coming in, not being confused by the draw on the batteries?



Good question, my dealer set it all up, so I’ll go check when I have the opportunity.



Again, assuming the dealer did this, but not sure. How would I go about checking that?



Oh agreed. I came from a much cheaper camper that was much better equipped with DC outlets. Super disappointed in the lack of ports from Airstream and the degree to which our dealer leaned on the inverter (e.g., the cell booster).



I have watched TONS of videos, I’m all self taught. I know what a multimeter does, I just don’t know what the read and look for in these complicated electrical setups.



Already there, that’s where I’m getting my numbers from.



My battery monitor says 360 watt hours have been used. The solar panels have been been up to keep up clearly.



Good to know. My father-in-law is gonna help me install a 50-amp receptacle at our house for the future.
Hi

If you have a BMV-712, is it properly set up? What does it say about the maximum discharge under the "history" tab on the app? If the batteries went to zero it should show that.

Bob
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Old 06-22-2022, 06:36 AM   #18
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HELP! Lithium batteries dead but blow a circuit when plugged in

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffb831 View Post
One thing to consider with the GFCI circuit is: are there any other things plugged into the circuit? Frequently there will be single GFCI outlet that is wired to protect other outlets on the same circuit. The GFCI outlet may be being triggered by other or combined loads on the entire circuit.

I disconnected everything else from that GFCI circuit. Itís appears kinda oddly wired though. So Iím not sure whatís going on behind the scenes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
If you have a BMV-712, is it properly set up? What does it say about the maximum discharge under the "history" tab on the app? If the batteries went to zero it should show that.

It was not setup correctly. In particular the SOC was never synchronized, so itís read about 90% the entire time. But since I havenít until now been able to charge the batteries (beyond the roof mounted solar, I haveís been able to sync it yet. Below is the dashboard.
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Old 06-22-2022, 07:19 AM   #19
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The status says that the batteries are hot and the relay is open. Is the relay the power relay that supplies the trailer? If so, it should be closed.
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Old 06-22-2022, 07:31 AM   #20
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HELP! Lithium batteries dead but blow a circuit when plugged in

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The status says that the batteries are hot and the relay is open. Is the relay the power relay that supplies the trailer? If so, it should be closed.
Unfortunately I donít understand the question. Not sure what a ďrelayĒ means here. Iíve looked at the relay settings, but have no idea what they mean or what to do with them. I am happy to learn more though. One of my goals today is to find some videos to explain more about how the battery monitor works.

The batteries re currently in use. We re plugged into a 40amp power source (with our 30 amp cord). And the solar panels might be pulling in a miniscule amount of power from the early morning cloudy light.
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