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Old 01-21-2020, 09:28 PM   #1
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2018 27' International
LINCOLN , Nebraska
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New converter, batteries test good, without charger I loose power?

I am out of ideas? Have a 2018 27’ Intl Signature FB, twins, 50amp.
1. Park Manager replaced 50amp breaker after he determined breaker may be bad and I was having problems with power.
2. Interstate batteries bought new in April, 2019 and had load tested at Interstate dealer today. They tested good, both load and no load. Still, I must have battery charger on batteries or batteries continue to loose charge while on shore power.
3. I have replaced the inverter/charger thinking this must be the problem to no avail.
4. After getting batteries tested I reinstalled batteries and made sure all connections were tight.
5. Still, I must have a battery charger on batteries or they loose charge on shore power.
What do I look for next??? HELP!
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Old 01-21-2020, 09:46 PM   #2
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New converter, batteries test good, without charger I loose power?

Tricky one.

1. How fast to they “lose power”
2. What is the position of your use/store switch when on shore power?
3. Do they “lose power” when disconnected from the trailer ?
4. What is the voltage reading when on shore power and batteries are connected?
5. Have you swapped in a spare battery (maybe from
Your car) and does it demonstrate the same behavior?
6. When you say “I must have a battery charger on batteries” what do you mean? Do you mean an external charger? Your converter itself is a charger....
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Old 01-22-2020, 08:36 AM   #3
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When you say inverter/charger, I'm going to assume you meant converter. the inverter does not charge the battery, it produces 120VAC nominal voltage from 12VDC.

The AS Manual shows the 12VDC wiring up to the distribution panel including all the relevant possible problem points for this issue.

Since you did not complain about any 12V components not functioning, I will assume the circuit from batteries to Positive bus to shut off solenoid and to the fuse bus is at least partially functional. The converter, when wired correctly uses that path in reverse to charge the batteries.

The converter gets 120VAC from one of the two 50A mains and then through the distribution bus to a 15A dedicated branch circuit (if wired as designed). It outputs 12VDC nominal (12.8 -14.6 depending on circumstances) to either the battery bus but more commonly to the lead side of the shut-off solenoid (wire run is shorter).

So what to check?

1. disconnect shore power or trip the converter breaker. Verify 12V system is functioning, verify it goes off when the shut - off is set to off.

2. With the shut-off in run mode, Compare Voltage readout inside the coach to battery post voltage (post not the connector). If they are different, using the multi-meter used at the battery post, check the voltage at one of the 12V fuses. Still different? There is a poor connection which would explain the converter's poor charging performance.

3. Good so far? Connect shore power or flip the converter breaker on. Read voltage on inside display and check voltage at shut-off solenoid. They match and are at least 13.2 V? Check voltage at battery post (the post, not the connector that connects to the post). Does it not match? Again a poor connection.

4. With Converter active, voltage at shutoff solenoid less than 13.2 V? Check the converter is actually on, check voltage at converter output connector.

5. Still low? With Shore power on and converter on, disconnect battery negatives, does anything inside work? If not the converter is not outputting anything. Follow manufactures troubleshooting guide.

6. Still no resolution? We need a new plan. Let's talk more.
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Old 01-24-2020, 08:59 PM   #4
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Everything is good through #2. In 3, what or where is the “shut-off solenoid”??? Are you talking about the red(+) or black(-) wire going into the converter?? Or are you talking voltage at battery disconnect??
Item #1. I shutoff 15amp converter and tv went off so converter is functioning.

Item #2 the voltage is 12.5 at the inside gauge and my volt meter tester on the + & - battery posts. It has decreased from 12.7 to 12.5 since about 5pm. It is now 8:30pm so in 3-1/2 hrs it has decreased .2 volts.
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Old 01-24-2020, 09:17 PM   #5
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The solenoid (I should have called it the Store / Use system) is above and in back of the breaker / fuse / power distribution panel. Access it under the mattress by removing the plywood sheet. It is one of these: https://www.amazon.com/INTELLITEC-01...921716&sr=8-20

On one side, There will be one large lead going to the distribution panel, on the other there will be two or more leads, one from the converter and one from the battery bus bar. with the plywood off you should also be able to see the converter under and in back of the distribution panel. It should be energized and softly humming. Check the voltage on both sides of the solenoid and verify one of the wires goes back to the converter.

Caution, there are lots partially exposed 120 V connections down there so careful what you touch.
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Old 01-24-2020, 09:22 PM   #6
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Yes, you are certainly experiencing an odd series of events. I'd like to pose some more questions in an attempt to help you troubleshoot the matter.

Take a step back, giving some thought to when the system (your trailer) was last known to be working correctly. I presume there was a time when the electrical system was working correctly. What has changed since then? Why are things different now compared to when things worked correctly?

Battery voltage dropping indicates there is a load on the electrical circuit. Do you have a battery monitor system that will tell you how much current is being drained from the batteries? If not you may need to install such a device. BestConverter.com has a system that installs in most trailers in minutes and while it may not be the supremo battery monitor it will at least get you in the ballpark for about $100 dollars and that may prove invaluable.

Once you can determine the load (amps) being drawn from the batteries you can begin turning things off one at a time to see where the "juice" is going. You may have a defective electrical unit of some type.

As an example of how crazy these situations can be... a friend had a similar problem in his trailer. Couldn't go without charging the batteries every day from an external source. Shore power helped but still couldn't keep the batteries charged. He tried two or three RV dealers and they couldn't find the problem - actually could not duplicate the problem - the batteries charged fine when the dealer techs evaluated his trailer. Came to find out, after some scratching, belching and trading fish stories around the tongue of his trailer, that he was disconnecting the breakaway switch when he disconnected his tow vehicle. The batteries were draining because his electric brakes were fully engaged and draining 20A! Yikes! The dealers didn't locate the issue because the tow vehicle remained connected when he was on their lot. Only when he went camping and disconnected the tow vehicle did the problem occur. Not saying you have the same problem but only bring this up because troubleshooting can lead you down lots of paths, some of them rabbit holes, but you have to investigate them all.

A battery monitor that allows you to see the amperage draw will help.

Best wishes.
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Old 01-24-2020, 09:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissingLink5 View Post
Item #1. I shutoff 15amp converter and tv went off so converter is functioning.
All the factory tv's I've seen in an AS were 120V not 12V so either the tv is on the same AC breaker as the converter(not running off of converter) or it is plugged into an inverter outlet and running off of inverter(this would kill battery quickly).

NOTE: I'm not sure which years had inverter only outlets and people have said inverter is direct wired to battery, so if on inverter it should stay running.
Good to check if inverter is on no load and on uses some power.
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Old 01-25-2020, 10:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissingLink5 View Post
Everything is good through #2. In 3, what or where is the “shut-off solenoid”??? Are you talking about the red(+) or black(-) wire going into the converter?? Or are you talking voltage at battery disconnect??
Item #1. I shutoff 15amp converter and tv went off so converter is functioning.

Item #2 the voltage is 12.5 at the inside gauge and my volt meter tester on the + & - battery posts. It has decreased from 12.7 to 12.5 since about 5pm. It is now 8:30pm so in 3-1/2 hrs it has decreased .2 volts.
I re-read your post and from your description, it could be we are confusing the inverter for the converter, so let's try to clear that up. The converter is located under and in back of the power distribution panel which has the breakers and fuses. The inverter is in the front corner with the 12 VDC battery + and - busses. The inverter is connected directly to the batteries with #2 Gauge wires and then plugs into a 15A wall socket to supply the 15A "Inverter circuit" which includes the entertainment devices and some of the wall sockets. With Shore power, that circuit is supplied 120V through the 50A main and then the 15A "Inverter" branch circuit to the inverter transfer switch an into the same wall socket I mentioned.

So with shore power connected and working properly the converter and inverter should not be involved in supplying power to the TV (except that the inverter transfer switch does switch shore supplied 120V to the wall socket as explained). The previous poster already alluded to this, sorry to repeat....

So can you clarify what breaker you flipped to cause the TV to turn off?

I'm wondering if you are getting any shore power through the 50A main. I think you might not. Does the microwave and Heat Pump / Air Conditioner work with shore power?
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Old 02-10-2020, 07:54 PM   #9
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Question Humming noise from converter or inverter

I am a total newby here, so apologies if this question is out of place.
We have a 1982 34 ft Limited, so only have a converter under the front sofa. It hums all of the time when connected to shore power, I assume this is normal since it has been the case since we bought the trailer five years ago. To gain some of the benefits of a newer trailer we are looking at something in the 25 to 26 ft range (some solar, ducted a/c, a bit less maintenance hopefully).

Does the electrical equipment under the bed in the front bedroom layouts make enough noise to keep folks awake? I assume not since there are many front bedroom layouts now. For now I can not imagine sleeping near the humming sound, so am not even looking at a front bedroom layout.

Thanks
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Old 02-10-2020, 10:04 PM   #10
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The newer converters and similar electrical equipment tend not to hum so much due to improved component design and better manufacturing techniques. Really, it's a hit and miss thing due to manufacturing variances even for the older ones. In my 2018 the inverter and converter are both very very quiet. My aftermarket installed surge suppressor/power guard is much noisier but still difficult to hear.

Ours is front bed, I sleep on top of all three of these units, can't hear a one of them from the pillow. And consider this, a little white noise, once you're used to it, aids continuous sleep.
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Old 02-11-2020, 06:21 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColeH View Post
I am a total newby here, so apologies if this question is out of place.
We have a 1982 34 ft Limited, so only have a converter under the front sofa. It hums all of the time when connected to shore power, I assume this is normal since it has been the case since we bought the trailer five years ago. To gain some of the benefits of a newer trailer we are looking at something in the 25 to 26 ft range (some solar, ducted a/c, a bit less maintenance hopefully).

Does the electrical equipment under the bed in the front bedroom layouts make enough noise to keep folks awake? I assume not since there are many front bedroom layouts now. For now I can not imagine sleeping near the humming sound, so am not even looking at a front bedroom layout.

Thanks
If your unit is the original that Airstream installed in 1982 it is a completely different technology than most converter/chargers today. Your original unit is probably more like a transformer compared to today's units with a brain. I feel certain the "humming" will disappear when you replace it with any modern unit.

We replaced our old transformer with a Progressive Dynamics 9160 and have been very happy. If that's all you're upgrading it's almost drop-in. Just a few wires + and - to attach.

We
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Old 02-11-2020, 07:06 AM   #12
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On your 1982 unit. Look on the drivers side behind the sofa for a switch that cuts the converter off. Ours has a switch there so that you can just switch it off while sleeping on the sofa. Some trailers have that switch. Some do not.

New trailers have entirely different converters that do not hum.

If you keep the old trailer you should change the converter to the new type.
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Old 02-11-2020, 07:26 AM   #13
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The main reason to change the converter is not noise. The old converters will overcharge the batteries and boil out the electrolyte. They require close observation to top off the batteries with distilled water. The new converters are much easier on thebatteries.

Al
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Old 02-11-2020, 09:23 AM   #14
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Great point Al, that is far and away the best reason to upgrade! While you're at it, consider one who's charge controller includes a battery temperature sensor port and optional sensor. Especially if you frequently camp in temperatures below 45 degrees.
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