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Old 12-18-2019, 03:27 PM   #1
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Trying to find help with power issues

My batteries are no longer being charged when I'm connected to shore power. I believe the cause is the converter/charger has died and will need to be replaced.

I also wish to increase my power capacity and am looking at two options: add two more batteries or replace AGM batteries with lithium ones.

I've had my trailer at the Seattle dealership for a month and am just now getting some responses from them. Their prices seem exorbitant and getting detailed information from them regarding their proposals is very difficult. Thus, I wish to find someone else to do the work.

Does anyone have any recommendations for someone located in the Pacific NW that is capable of doing this work?
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Old 12-18-2019, 03:39 PM   #2
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Call AM Solar only about 5 hours south of Seattle in Springfield, OR. One of the top installers in the country for airstream lithium and solar. They’ll take care of you.

I would also say call Lew Farber - he is in hood Oregon but only in the summers.
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Old 12-18-2019, 03:45 PM   #3
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So, when you're connected to shore power, do your interior lights and fans and the fridge work? Because if all those things are working but your batteries aren't getting charged, the problem is more likely to be between the converter-charger and the batteries (or the batteries themselves) rather than the converter-charger itself. If all the 12v electrical was down whether plugged into shore power or not, it could be the converter-charger itself or it could be the power to it or connections out of it.
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Old 12-18-2019, 03:46 PM   #4
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Appreciate the response.
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Old 12-18-2019, 03:47 PM   #5
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The Converter does not share a circuit breaker with any other devices. Did you check the breaker? You didn't mention which converter you have, but most have indicator lights to give you a hint as to what it's doing. You can find the manuals online. Do you have 30A or 50A service?

I don't have any advice about battery upgrades but there are lots of thread on it with lots of opinions and advice.

The Seattle dealership doesn't get many positive recommendations. I was unfortunate enough to have to work with them twice when I was visiting earlier this year.
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Old 12-18-2019, 03:49 PM   #6
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Agree with Wulfraat, AM Solar and Lew Farber (when he's in Hood River,OR). AM's assistance after repair and/or parts purchase is worth the trip, let alone their expertise to diagnose and help you decide the best solution for upgrades. I've used both during my rebuild.
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Old 12-18-2019, 04:00 PM   #7
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So, when you're connected to shore power, do your interior lights and fans and the fridge work? Because if all those things are working but your batteries aren't getting charged, the problem is more likely to be between the converter-charger and the batteries (or the batteries themselves) rather than the converter-charger itself. If all the 12v electrical was down whether plugged into shore power or not, it could be the converter-charger itself or it could be the power to it or connections out of it.
Yes, everything works when connected to shore power, except the charging of my batteries.

The converter/charger is a Boondocker 1260 that is still under warranty. When the problem first occurred I spoke to Randy at Best Converter & he thought it could be a blown fuse between the batteries & the converter. I checked this out and the fuses I could find were OK. I have no expertise in this, which is why I took the trailer to the dealership. They claim they checked it out and believe the converter is at fault. I've asked how they determined this and the only response I've gotten thus far is they measured the output at the converter to be only 3.5 volts.
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Old 12-18-2019, 04:06 PM   #8
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The Converter does not share a circuit breaker with any other devices. Did you check the breaker? You didn't mention which converter you have, but most have indicator lights to give you a hint as to what it's doing. You can find the manuals online. Do you have 30A or 50A service?

I don't have any advice about battery upgrades but there are lots of thread on it with lots of opinions and advice.

The Seattle dealership doesn't get many positive recommendations. I was unfortunate enough to have to work with them twice when I was visiting earlier this year.
I checked all the breakers and they are fine. The converter is a Boondocker 1260. I have 50A service.

I agree there is a lot of info on this forum regarding battery upgrades. I think my best bet is to add 2 AGM batteries due to the expense of the lithium batteries. However, the prices at the dealership seem way out of line for either option so I'm not sure if I'm making a good comparison.
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Old 12-18-2019, 04:07 PM   #9
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AGM batteries are chargeable with most charge controllers. The lithium ion will need a charger that can run the lithium ion charge profile. Battle born makes popular 100 ah battery for about $1k each. You may find that the Charger/converter/inverter is also more expensive and all the equipment expense will add up Fast, especially with dealership mark-up
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Old 12-18-2019, 05:08 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by lkuzel View Post
Yes, everything works when connected to shore power, except the charging of my batteries.

The converter/charger is a Boondocker 1260 that is still under warranty. When the problem first occurred I spoke to Randy at Best Converter & he thought it could be a blown fuse between the batteries & the converter. I checked this out and the fuses I could find were OK. I have no expertise in this, which is why I took the trailer to the dealership. They claim they checked it out and believe the converter is at fault. I've asked how they determined this and the only response I've gotten thus far is they measured the output at the converter to be only 3.5 volts.
Call me skeptical of their assessment. 3.5VDC at the converter output isn't going to run the fans or the fridge or the radio. It MIGHT light the LED lights because their actual power demand is pretty low, but I'd expect that not to even run the drivers for the LED lights until you get up to 10V or so. They may have turned up their noses because you don't have the standard Parallax.

I'd expect AM Solar to be sharp with RV electrical systems, if they're willing to look at your issue.
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Old 12-18-2019, 05:25 PM   #11
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Amazon has vendors offering no end of battery options. Obviously some brands are better than others. Those prices will give you a better indication of what you may end up spending.

On your converter there's the reverse polarity fuses and it is unlikely but possible it is bad. The manual generally describes troubleshooting procedures as well. Generally on these converters you can remove the reverse polarity fuse, power up the unit and check voltage between the DC+ out and the AC Neutral. It should be 13.6 or more. I was not able to find your manual online, it may suggest a different method to test it.
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Old 12-18-2019, 05:29 PM   #12
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Call me skeptical of their assessment. 3.5VDC at the converter output isn't going to run the fans or the fridge or the radio. It MIGHT light the LED lights because their actual power demand is pretty low, but I'd expect that not to even run the drivers for the LED lights until you get up to 10V or so. They may have turned up their noses because you don't have the standard Parallax.

I'd expect AM Solar to be sharp with RV electrical systems, if they're willing to look at your issue.
I don't know, and am frustrated that I can't get any answers out of the dealer. I went to AM Solar's website & sent in a quote request. We'll see what they have to say.
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Old 12-18-2019, 05:31 PM   #13
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A good converter/charger connected to good batteries will produce lots of good power, unless you are trying to boondock a lot.....

Of course, if money is no object, get the lithium ion batteries and the correct charger for it....it will work great.....But if money is not just floating around, then new batteries and a new charger will work great....

Remember, for conventional batteries, discharging them frequently, and significantly, does damage to them.....but if they do not get discharged, they will work well for a long time.....
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Old 12-18-2019, 05:55 PM   #14
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A good converter/charger connected to good batteries will produce lots of good power, unless you are trying to boondock a lot.....

Of course, if money is no object, get the lithium ion batteries and the correct charger for it....it will work great.....But if money is not just floating around, then new batteries and a new charger will work great....

Remember, for conventional batteries, discharging them frequently, and significantly, does damage to them.....but if they do not get discharged, they will work well for a long time.....
Cost is always a concern for me. The lithium batteries are very expensive, but supposedly last much longer. So in the long run the added cost may be justified.

The other concern is the weight added if I were to add another pair of AGM batteries. However, my TV is a Ram 2500 so in my case the additional weight is of little concern.
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Old 12-19-2019, 11:51 AM   #15
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My batteries are no longer being charged when I'm connected to shore power. I believe the cause is the converter/charger has died and will need to be replaced.
Is your Use/Store switch in Use mode?

In some models (it is the case with mine) when connected to shore power, if you are in Store mode, the 12V circuit will work fine, except for the charging of the batteries.

When connected to shore power the red light on the Use/Store switch will be On, even if you are in Store mode (which is not the case if you are not connected to shore power-- it will be On only in Use mode).
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Old 12-19-2019, 11:54 AM   #16
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Best to get the actual schematic for your unit off the official AS site.
then review to see what goes where in YOUR unit/mode/year.

the store switch may/may not be the issue
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Old 12-20-2019, 09:33 AM   #17
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Is your Use/Store switch in Use mode?

In some models (it is the case with mine) when connected to shore power, if you are in Store mode, the 12V circuit will work fine, except for the charging of the batteries.

When connected to shore power the red light on the Use/Store switch will be On, even if you are in Store mode (which is not the case if you are not connected to shore power-- it will be On only in Use mode).
I'm sure the Use/Store switch was on. After having my trailer for a month, I gave up on the dealership. Picked up the trailer yesterday and took it to a local RV repair shop that has a good reputation to have the converter/charger checked out. Despite my warnings the dealership ran my batteries down. Couldn't even operate the hitch jack without connecting the trailer to my truck. Further confirms that the dealership is a poor choice to have work performed.
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Old 12-20-2019, 10:15 AM   #18
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I'm sure the Use/Store switch was on. After having my trailer for a month, I gave up on the dealership. Picked up the trailer yesterday and took it to a local RV repair shop that has a good reputation to have the converter/charger checked out. Despite my warnings the dealership ran my batteries down. Couldn't even operate the hitch jack without connecting the trailer to my truck. Further confirms that the dealership is a poor choice to have work performed.
Oh lordy running your batteries down that far after being warned seems inexcusable.

If you have some mechanical aptitude, in the future consider getting a medium or better quality digital multi-meter and do your own troubleshooting. Then when you take it in for repairs, you at least know what you're dealing with.

For future readers of this thread: Some converters are designed and intended to be used without a battery as a high quality precision power supply. The Boondocker is one such unit. They generally will be connected to the load side of the store solenoid so the store switch will isolate the batteries as someone else mentioned.

Some people devoted to treat their batteries with "kid gloves" like this mode. They may use the converter to happily provide all the 12 V power required while using a very high quality battery temperature compensated solar or other charger with custom charging profiles tuned for their particular battery arrangement. If you are in love with your batteries, consider this approach, they will love you back. This way you use your battery only when you need it.
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Old 12-20-2019, 11:41 AM   #19
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Agree!
Different battery types and brands have different charging profiles. The solar industry understands that their equipment has to take good care of their customer’s batteries given the size/cost of the battery banks (number of batteries). In my rig the converter supplies 12V power when connected to shore power and the MPPT solar controller takes care of the batteries. So far so good.
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Old 12-20-2019, 12:33 PM   #20
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Is your Use/Store switch in Use mode?

In some models (it is the case with mine) when connected to shore power, if you are in Store mode, the 12V circuit will work fine, except for the charging of the batteries.

When connected to shore power the red light on the Use/Store switch will be On, even if you are in Store mode (which is not the case if you are not connected to shore power-- it will be On only in Use mode).
I would check this for sure. I got tricked by the light one time in exactly the same situation!
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