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Old 01-02-2017, 06:32 PM   #1
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Sudden electrical issues

Happy New Year to all
We are currently full-timing in a 2016 30 ft Classic and are experiencing a variety of electrical issues. We just checked into Travelers Rest yesterday and are using a Progressive Industries EMS-PT50C surge protector at the pedestal.
Yesterday as we hooked up, we noticed a lack of power at the convection microwave, but the outlet is live. At the same time we noted the surge protector for our receiver had a red light indicating it had been tripped and needed replacement. (It has now been replaced) Now tonight, our portable induction cook top is tripping the GFCI, and it also tripped once when the A/C came on.
Any ideas whether these issues are related? I plan to call Progressive Industries tomorrow and we will also be moving on, so I am curious whether a new electric supply will make any difference
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Old 01-02-2017, 08:40 PM   #2
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Might be an open or compromised neutral at the pedestal. These conditions can show proper unloaded voltage with a meter but go haywire with a load on 120 volt single pole circuits. You can check by turning off all of the appliances in the coach and plugging in a single 120 volt device like a iron, heater or a vacuum. If they do not work or performs poorly then that would confirm it. A compromised neutral may not break down enough with the load from the Progressive Dynamics test mode or load from your converter. Although the A/C should be plenty to crater the poor neutral connection. The compromised neutral can also appear intermittent as the poor connection heats up and cools down making it difficult for the electrician to pin point. Good luck.
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Old 01-02-2017, 10:22 PM   #3
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We too are full-timing in a 2016 Classic and except when towing, are always hooked up to shore power. While your issues may be entirely unrelated to ours, we too experienced odd electrical issues, including repeated GVCI trips and a convection oven that would suddenly not work seconds after it had just worked.

This went on intermittently for some weeks until about a month ago when we discovered that although connected to shore power, our converter wasn't charging our batteries. A visit to an RV service center (and a few nights in a hotel) confirmed our suspicion that the converter was dead. If you search the forums, you'll find this is not an uncommon problem with Airstreams and the single-stage converters the factory installs.

We had the converter replaced with a multi-stage PD-9260 (and new Lifeline batteries). While we don't know if this was the cause of the previous problems, so far at least, things seems to be resolved. Fingers crossed!

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Old 01-03-2017, 04:51 AM   #4
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Have someone check the shore power connector on the trailer, and make sure the wires from the back of it are tight.
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Old 01-03-2017, 05:49 AM   #5
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thanks all. Relieved to hear it may be an issue at the pedestal rather than the tt. Moving down the road today and will reassess once connected there. Will also verify voltage at the batteries and check our connections
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Old 01-03-2017, 05:58 AM   #6
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If traveling north, stop in at JD sanders airstream north of Gainesville and ask if they will check it out for you since you are traveling. Good luck.
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Old 01-05-2017, 05:36 PM   #7
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now on shore power. we have 120 v at all receptacles except those labeled as inverter. Converter fan running continuously. disconnect switch on use gives us 12 v lights. when switched to store, lights are very dim. battery reads 12.5 v.

has our paralax converter failed?
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Old 01-05-2017, 05:49 PM   #8
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That is one possibility, but hopefully experts will show up to advise. [edit, as I re-read your recent post, it occurs to me that your system may be working normally -- except turning on the inverter -- see PS]

So is the 120-volt service working on shore power as expected at this point? [ignoring the inverter outlets]

Battery voltage of 12.5 represents 90% capacity, but a true reading should be taken more than an hour after disconnecting from shore power, which you may not be able to do. Have you checked all the connections of the cables at the batteries?

While disconnected from shore power, what is the level of the water in each battery cell? [caution -- wear gloves and safety goggles when checking battery water.] Could you have one or more cells which are low -- or bad maybe?

Also, sometimes the Use/Store switch can go bad, but I think it is an all-or-nothing deal, which would not result in dim 12-volt lighting on "Store." In fact, on "Store" you should not have any 12-volt lighting, right? Is your report accurate that the dim lighting occurs on "Store" ?

When connected to shore power, and using 12-volt lighting, it may be normal for the converter fan to run all the time IMO.

Good luck!

Peter

PS -- In most models, you have to turn on a small push button On switch to activate the inverter, and its 120-volt outlets, as described in the owner's manual. Have you turned on the inverter correctly?
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:00 PM   #9
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agm batteries which were fully charged when we pulled out this am (12.9 reading at the battery terminals). typically when on shore we have a reading of approx 13.8 volts when in the store mode
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:07 PM   #10
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AGM batteries -- therefore ignore my earlier post about water and voltage levels.

Bowing out here for expert opinions to come along.

Good luck!

Peter
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:13 PM   #11
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we are on shore power, so the inverter is not in use. it appears to me that our 120 is coming from the pedestal but 12 v from the batteries
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JVfromGrnBay View Post
now on shore power. we have 120 v at all receptacles except those labeled as inverter. Converter fan running continuously. disconnect switch on use gives us 12 v lights. when switched to store, lights are very dim. battery reads 12.5 v.

has our paralax converter failed?
When on shore power all of the 12 VDC in the AS is provided by the converter. Having the switch in Use will charge the batteries, Store will not, but 12 VDC is still in the trailer. The only way to stop this is to remove the shore power.

Can you take a DC voltage reading somewhere in the AS, not at the batteries? Do it for both Use and Store. You shouldn't be getting significantly different readings. It's also odd that the fan in the converter is running continuously.

In my 2006, when I bought it from the PO, the Parallax's fan ran that way. I had DC power in the AS but the batteries never fully charged. I upgraded the converter and that solved my problem. I never had any AC problems like you are experiencing.
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JVfromGrnBay View Post
Happy New Year to all
We are currently full-timing in a 2016 30 ft Classic and are experiencing a variety of electrical issues. We just checked into Travelers Rest yesterday and are using a Progressive Industries EMS-PT50C surge protector at the pedestal.
Yesterday as we hooked up, we noticed a lack of power at the convection microwave, but the outlet is live. At the same time we noted the surge protector for our receiver had a red light indicating it had been tripped and needed replacement. (It has now been replaced) Now tonight, our portable induction cook top is tripping the GFCI, and it also tripped once when the A/C came on.
Any ideas whether these issues are related? I plan to call Progressive Industries tomorrow and we will also be moving on, so I am curious whether a new electric supply will make any difference
What is your amperage showing on the battery when connected to shore power and your battery disconnect in the use position? I had the almost identical problem with my 2016 classic. Turned out that the converter was fried. I had it replaced and have had no further problems.
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:38 PM   #14
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When on shore power all of the 12 VDC in the AS is provided by the converter. Having the switch in Use will charge the batteries, Store will not, but 12 VDC is still in the trailer. The only way to stop this is to remove the shore power.

Can you take a DC voltage reading somewhere in the AS, not at the batteries? Do it for both Use and Store. You shouldn't be getting significantly different readings. It's also odd that the fan in the converter is running continuously.

In my 2006, when I bought it from the PO, the Parallax's fan ran that way. I had DC power in the AS but the batteries never fully charged. I upgraded the converter and that solved my problem. I never had any AC problems like you are experiencing.
Actually, if you are connected to shore power you WILL get different DC readings at the batteries related to the position of the USE/STORE switch. Here are the scenarios:

1. shore power ON......STORE position: the converter will be producing 12VDC (actually a constant and continual 13.6VDC from a Parallax converter) to power all of the DC loads in the trailer. The battery reading will be the resting voltage of the batteries ate time the voltage measurement is taken

2. shore power ON........USE position: this closes the contacts of the disconnect solenoid so that the converter is not only providing it's 13.6VDC for the house DC requirements, it is also sending this same voltage into the batteries as a 'charge' voltage

3. shore power OFF........USE position: you will still have house DC to operate all of your DC loads, but it will be provided solely by your batteries

4. shore power OFF.......STORE position: since there is no 120VAC power going into the converter and no DC power coming out of the batteries.....NOTHING SHOULD WORK with the exception of the parasitic loads like the LP detector and similar devices.

In order to get a true battery reading, it should be done after resting for 24 hours after the charger has been removed from the batteries and they are in a no load condition. An hour will suffice when in a pinch to get an 'idea' of your resting battery voltage. A voltage reading from any other location except directly at the batteries is not reliable as it will most likely be subject to measurable voltage drop thru the wiring.

PS: 12.5VDC from AGM batteries is approximately 75% capacity, or a 25% depth of discharge (per Lifeline Tech Manual). 12.8VDC is considered to be 100%.
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:58 PM   #15
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shore power "on" in the "use" position appears to be the indicator of a problem as we are not getting the 13.6 v output. I read no voltage across the dc lugs on the converter and our battery charge is at 12.5 whether in use or store mode on shore power.
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:43 PM   #16
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I only have "expertise by experience" but given my very similar experience your converter is dead. If need be, buy a small battery charger to charge your batteries for now and get your unit to a dealer ASAP for repair.
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Old 01-06-2017, 12:06 PM   #17
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Actually, if you are connected to shore power you WILL get different DC readings at the batteries related to the position of the USE/STORE switch. Here are the scenarios:

1. shore power ON......STORE position: the converter will be producing 12VDC (actually a constant and continual 13.6VDC from a Parallax converter) to power all of the DC loads in the trailer. The battery reading will be the resting voltage of the batteries ate time the voltage measurement is taken

2. shore power ON........USE position: this closes the contacts of the disconnect solenoid so that the converter is not only providing it's 13.6VDC for the house DC requirements, it is also sending this same voltage into the batteries as a 'charge' voltage

3. shore power OFF........USE position: you will still have house DC to operate all of your DC loads, but it will be provided solely by your batteries

4. shore power OFF.......STORE position: since there is no 120VAC power going into the converter and no DC power coming out of the batteries.....NOTHING SHOULD WORK with the exception of the parasitic loads like the LP detector and similar devices.

In order to get a true battery reading, it should be done after resting for 24 hours after the charger has been removed from the batteries and they are in a no load condition. An hour will suffice when in a pinch to get an 'idea' of your resting battery voltage. A voltage reading from any other location except directly at the batteries is not reliable as it will most likely be subject to measurable voltage drop thru the wiring.

PS: 12.5VDC from AGM batteries is approximately 75% capacity, or a 25% depth of discharge (per Lifeline Tech Manual). 12.8VDC is considered to be 100%.
I think you misunderstood me, Lew. The OP was saying the lights were significantly dimmer when on Store. I asked him to take a reading from elsewhere in the cabin, not at the batteries. If he's on shore power, the converter should be providing all the 12VDC needed in the cabin. The Use/Store will determine if the batteries will be charged.

I think his concern is that his converter is bad and not providing the necessary power to charge the batteries. His most recent post shows that the batteries are 12.5VDC and aren't getting any better. If he's in Store, the batteries are disconnected from the converter and he's getting only the 12VDC from the converter

(True??? If there were no batteries connected, wouldn't the voltage from the converter be about 12.8VDC?).

That's why I wanted him to take the reading elsewhere in the cabin, to see the voltage provided by the converter when the batteries are not connected (Store mode). If he takes a reading at the batteries in Store mode, he's just getting the battery voltage, which we know is 12.5VDC.

When he's in Use mode then the batteries are back in the circuit and the lights are brighter, drawing the batteries' power. So I think he's getting power from the converter, but not the 13.8 he needs, just maybe 12.5VDC or less. I don't understand why he's not getting any reading across the lugs at the converter, however. I should think that would be the low voltage provided when it's in Store mode.
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Old 01-07-2017, 08:20 AM   #18
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Sounds like the problems started with the first night on a bad pedestal. More than likely a bad neutral there. Might have fried your converter. The PD Surge Unit should have sensed the condition and not let any A/C power through unless the condition was intermittent as described and didn't catch it in time. About the only thing that will work right with a bad neutral is your 240 volt loads since they don't complete their circuit thru the neutral path.
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Old 01-07-2017, 11:07 AM   #19
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Sounds like the problems started with the first night on a bad pedestal. More than likely a bad neutral there. Might have fried your converter. The PD Surge Unit should have sensed the condition and not let any A/C power through unless the condition was intermittent as described and didn't catch it in time. About the only thing that will work right with a bad neutral is your 240 volt loads since they don't complete their circuit thru the neutral path.

There should be no direct 240VAC loads in an RV (with the exception of a Prevost or Newell bus). All the 50 amp services are dual 120 VAC connections.

The introduction of any 240VAC directly into the coach will cook every 120VAC appliance on those circuits. I've repaired thousands of dollars of damage from these situations.



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Old 01-07-2017, 01:19 PM   #20
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Correct. I'm referring to the electrical supply side of electrical distribution systems for standard services. Even though no 240 volt loads are present in an rv, the supply side at the pedestal comes from a 120/240 volt two pole single phase source. 30 amp pedestals will have one 120 volt hot leg, neutral and the ground. 50 amp pedestals will have two 120 volt legs, neutral and a ground. Just like a typical house service. Even though the coach is not using 240 v loads they are still subject to the effects of this circuit configuration. If the neutral is compromised any where along the return path for that circuit of pedestals in the park then all kinds of havoc can be present to the end user plugged into one. You could possibly even see 240v to ground on one hot leg if the neutral is completely open down stream on the circuit and your neighbor using the opposite 120 v phase on an adjacent pedestal has a load on. His volts would sink to zero and your would climb to 240 briefly. That's worst case though, usually even with a completely open neutral there are return paths for current to follow. Such as the bonded ground wires, metallic water and gas lines, bonded cable and phone lines, etc. Those paths will usually have higher impedance and cause the voltage swing to be much less. Anyway, this went way off the cliff as I got us away from the coach systems and into what we plug them into. But if your ever getting weird voltage from a pedestal or your house then I'll offer up more. I love power.
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