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Old 06-10-2024, 04:07 PM   #1
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Converter Charger Not Operating

Trailer: 2017 27 FBQ International
Note first: the two coach batteries are close to being on their last legs if this matters
The Issue Description:
1. Connected to shore power but the 120 volt power does not appear to be reaching the trailer, the LED lights come on very dim, no 120 volt power anywhere inside the trailer
2. Typically, when I connect to shore power, I hear the Converter Charger fan running, it is not running, the 20 amp breaker that feeds the Converter Charger is in the "on" position
3. The batteries show they are at 9 volts with shore power or without shore power
4. the batteries do not appear to be charging
5. when I press the "store" button, the light stays the same intensity as when it is "in use"
6. I disconnected the coach batteries but the "store" "in use" light remains on as in 5 above

Suggestions for what the issue is or some troubleshooting tips?
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Old 06-10-2024, 05:19 PM   #2
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imho replace the old batteries with good quality LiON
over the long term, the TCO ( ie initial cost and annual mtce) is lower
pls the can be run down to 1% without damage
lead acid life time is affected if they drop below 59%
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Old 06-10-2024, 08:46 PM   #3
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The batteries and the shore power problem are two separate issues, but they are likely tied together.

My hunch is that the reason your batteries are low is because the converter/charger has not been charging them. So the first thing to figure out is why not.

The fact that you have no 120vac power throughout the trailer means that something is stopping the power from getting in when plugged into shore power. You're a fairly new poster on Air Forums, so I'm wondering if this trailer is new to you? If so, have you ever seen the 120vac circuits in the trailer function? Have you ever seen the converter/charger working properly?

Things to check...

1) Is there power getting through the shore power cord? These can go bad, so using a voltmeter at the trailer end of the cord measure for voltage when plugged into shore power. If you're not comfortable doing this, find a friend who is. The voltage readings across the various terminals on the cord will be different depending on whether you have a 30-amp or 50-amp trailer, but assuming that you have a 30-amp trailer there should be 120vac between the hot leg and the neutral leg.

2) While we're talking about the shore power cord and voltage readings, have you ever plugged into this shore power outlet before? Are you plugging in at home? If so, are you sure that this is a 120vac outlet and not a 240vac outlet? It wouldn't be the first time that someone accidentally plugged into a 240vac outlet and zapped some of the electrical system. There are some 240vac outlets which will accept the plug from a shore power cord even though they are the wrong voltage.

3) Assuming that the shore power outlet and cord are all measuring okay, you need to follow the power into the trailer and test to see where it conks out. Is there power coming into the breaker panel? Is there power coming out of it?

4) If there is power coming out of the breaker panel, especially on the converter/charger circuit, is it getting to the converter charger?

Etc. Etc.

My hunch is that either no power is getting in due to a bad shore power cord or malfunctioning outlet feeding the cord, or that you've accidentally plugged into a 240vac circuit. The main breaker in the panel could also be bad, or you could have a loose wire in the breaker panel box preventing power from getting.

If you have a transfer switch to choose between two power inlets, it could be bad or have a loose connection. If you have a transfer switch and two inlets, try the other one and check the connections.

Hope this is enough to get you started.
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Old 06-11-2024, 07:28 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
The batteries and the shore power problem are two separate issues, but they are likely tied together.

My hunch is that the reason your batteries are low is because the converter/charger has not been charging them. So the first thing to figure out is why not.

The fact that you have no 120vac power throughout the trailer means that something is stopping the power from getting in when plugged into shore power. You're a fairly new poster on Air Forums, so I'm wondering if this trailer is new to you? If so, have you ever seen the 120vac circuits in the trailer function? Have you ever seen the converter/charger working properly?

Things to check...

1) Is there power getting through the shore power cord? These can go bad, so using a voltmeter at the trailer end of the cord measure for voltage when plugged into shore power. If you're not comfortable doing this, find a friend who is. The voltage readings across the various terminals on the cord will be different depending on whether you have a 30-amp or 50-amp trailer, but assuming that you have a 30-amp trailer there should be 120vac between the hot leg and the neutral leg.

2) While we're talking about the shore power cord and voltage readings, have you ever plugged into this shore power outlet before? Are you plugging in at home? If so, are you sure that this is a 120vac outlet and not a 240vac outlet? It wouldn't be the first time that someone accidentally plugged into a 240vac outlet and zapped some of the electrical system. There are some 240vac outlets which will accept the plug from a shore power cord even though they are the wrong voltage.

3) Assuming that the shore power outlet and cord are all measuring okay, you need to follow the power into the trailer and test to see where it conks out. Is there power coming into the breaker panel? Is there power coming out of it?

4) If there is power coming out of the breaker panel, especially on the converter/charger circuit, is it getting to the converter charger?

Etc. Etc.

My hunch is that either no power is getting in due to a bad shore power cord or malfunctioning outlet feeding the cord, or that you've accidentally plugged into a 240vac circuit. The main breaker in the panel could also be bad, or you could have a loose wire in the breaker panel box preventing power from getting.

If you have a transfer switch to choose between two power inlets, it could be bad or have a loose connection. If you have a transfer switch and two inlets, try the other one and check the connections.

Hope this is enough to get you started.
Thanks for the reply and suggestions. I have had the trailer since new. This problem appeared yesterday at the end of a weeklong trip. No such issues in the past. There is power in the shore cable from a 30 amp plug at the house. Will make the checks you suggested.
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Old 06-11-2024, 01:29 PM   #5
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Hi

If you don't already have a multimeter, now you have an great excuse to go buy one .....

Bob
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Old 06-11-2024, 01:30 PM   #6
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If your trailer is stock, the converter has nothing to do with the 120 volt outlets. If the outlets don't have power as you stated, turn off all breakers then turn them back on. If that doesn't get AC to the outlets you need to trouble shoot power to breaker panel first.
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Old 06-11-2024, 01:37 PM   #7
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Breakers can be finicky things. If you are confident you have 120v reaching the trailer on your shore power cord, turn off all the breakers and turn them back on one at a time just to be sure. If that looks OK, the next step is to check for a loose connection between the shore power inlet and the breaker panel. If a wire has worked loose it can cause these sorts of problems.

If you have a 12v battery charger (or know someone who has one) it would be a good idea to put the external charger on your batteries ASAP and see if they can be saved. 9v across the batteries is worse than dead, it may be that they really are toast and it's new battery time, but that should be more a symptom than a cause of the 120v problem.
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Old 06-11-2024, 03:17 PM   #8
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Converter Charger Not Operating

Thanks to all who replied. I followed the below guidance from Richard5933. After replacing the batteries, all systems are working properly. I did check for power to the fuse panel, OK; I did check using the second shore power outlet, OK. Also, the Battery Disconnect is now working properly. This suggests to me that the condition of the old batteries was interfering with the flow of power. It occurs to me that some subsystem is sampling the power circuit and was not allowing power to flow due to some condition that was being detected. I have to assume that either the Converter Charger would be that subsystem or the Battery Disconnect would be that system. Thoughts from the experts?


Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
The batteries and the shore power problem are two separate issues, but they are likely tied together.

My hunch is that the reason your batteries are low is because the converter/charger has not been charging them. So the first thing to figure out is why not.

The fact that you have no 120vac power throughout the trailer means that something is stopping the power from getting in when plugged into shore power. You're a fairly new poster on Air Forums, so I'm wondering if this trailer is new to you? If so, have you ever seen the 120vac circuits in the trailer function? Have you ever seen the converter/charger working properly?

Things to check...

1) Is there power getting through the shore power cord? These can go bad, so using a voltmeter at the trailer end of the cord measure for voltage when plugged into shore power. If you're not comfortable doing this, find a friend who is. The voltage readings across the various terminals on the cord will be different depending on whether you have a 30-amp or 50-amp trailer, but assuming that you have a 30-amp trailer there should be 120vac between the hot leg and the neutral leg.

2) While we're talking about the shore power cord and voltage readings, have you ever plugged into this shore power outlet before? Are you plugging in at home? If so, are you sure that this is a 120vac outlet and not a 240vac outlet? It wouldn't be the first time that someone accidentally plugged into a 240vac outlet and zapped some of the electrical system. There are some 240vac outlets which will accept the plug from a shore power cord even though they are the wrong voltage.

3) Assuming that the shore power outlet and cord are all measuring okay, you need to follow the power into the trailer and test to see where it conks out. Is there power coming into the breaker panel? Is there power coming out of it?

4) If there is power coming out of the breaker panel, especially on the converter/charger circuit, is it getting to the converter charger?

Etc. Etc.

My hunch is that either no power is getting in due to a bad shore power cord or malfunctioning outlet feeding the cord, or that you've accidentally plugged into a 240vac circuit. The main breaker in the panel could also be bad, or you could have a loose wire in the breaker panel box preventing power from getting.

If you have a transfer switch to choose between two power inlets, it could be bad or have a loose connection. If you have a transfer switch and two inlets, try the other one and check the connections.

Hope this is enough to get you started.
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Old 06-11-2024, 03:51 PM   #9
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I'd never claim to be an expert, but I think your charger is suspect. When plugged in, the charger/converter should provide DC power even if the batteries are dead. Everything is working now because you put in new, charged batteries. You can disconnect the batteries and plug in and see if there is DC power. If not, then it's likely the charger. But I think this was the problem you were first seeing, so that points to the charger since your AC power seems to be good.
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Old 06-11-2024, 04:27 PM   #10
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Do you have two shore power ports? If you do, then you also have an Automatic Transfer Switch. Both shore power connections feed to the ATS. If that malfunctions, power is prevented from going to the trailer’s main breaker.
Ask me how I know… I just yesterday replaced an ATS on a friend’s ‘14 25’ FC. The board was fried. A word of caution if you’re going to do it yourself. Try to get an exact replacement. His was a Progressive Dynamics ATS301. All we could find locally was an equivalent other brand. It was roughly the same size but none of the mounting holes lined up, additionally the wires between ATS and breaker panel don’t pass between the two the same, and method of connecting the wires wasn’t the same either. Also, to get the old one out you must take apart the 120v circuit breaker panel and move the 12v fuse circuit board to access the mount screws Remember to remove the battery leads and remove power provided by any solar panels, oh and insure the 120v power is fully disconnected.

Our local Airstream Dealer shop rate is $180/hr. I can put up with a little frustration at $180/ hr to try most things myself.
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Old 06-11-2024, 10:20 PM   #11
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It is possible that your batteries had a voltage so low that the converter/charger wouldn't charge them, but that still begs the question how they got so low.
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Old 06-11-2024, 11:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
It is possible that your batteries had a voltage so low that the converter/charger wouldn't charge them, but that still begs the question how they got so low.
Another question is how would the batteries have affected the 120v systems.
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Old 06-12-2024, 06:13 AM   #13
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Another question is how would the batteries have affected the 120v systems.
The only connection I can think of is the converter/charger.
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Old 06-12-2024, 07:19 AM   #14
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Hi

Again, the best way to do this is to have a meter. Watch a couple videos and learn how to use it. With it you can positively check this and that and *know* what's going on. If you measure 120V at this point ... it's there. If you measure zero volts ... it's not there.

Flipping switches / breakers and hoping things will be fixed is great if you are stuck 500 miles from nowhere. If you are at home, spend the $20 (and maybe an hour on YouTube).

Bob
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Old 06-12-2024, 09:07 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Again, the best way to do this is to have a meter. Watch a couple videos and learn how to use it. With it you can positively check this and that and *know* what's going on. If you measure 120V at this point ... it's there. If you measure zero volts ... it's not there.

Flipping switches / breakers and hoping things will be fixed is great if you are stuck 500 miles from nowhere. If you are at home, spend the $20 (and maybe an hour on YouTube).

Bob
I don't disagree, but to me the evidence points to an issue charger/converter as I stated above. When I responded I was trying to think of a simple way to test it with a multimeter. The charger wiring isn't exposed and anyways with the new batteries connected there will be a voltage. I couldn't think of one only getting into the DC box, disconnecting the charger wire and checking its voltage. Which is not simple. Maybe there are points in the converter that could be checked.

So, in this case, the only way I can think of is to disconnect the batteries and see if the charger is powering the DC loads. I'd be interested to know if there is a multimeter way for future reference, but maybe I'm missing something.

I'd also say there's a certain not so basic amount of knowledge required to diagnose with a multimeter. For example, there's the battery switch button which I don't think many people know exactly what it does (disconnects most DC loads from the batteries, but not a battery switch). I didn't know so much about our electrical system until I rewired to install lithium batteries. I wired in a new charger and figured out how it's wired to the positive bus bar. I have to stop and think if it's before or after the disconnect switch.

I think until something goes wrong most people are pretty uneducated about the intricacies of the electrical system and a multimeter is an essential tool but only if they know where to go with it.
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Old 06-12-2024, 12:14 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffKim View Post
I don't disagree, but to me the evidence points to an issue charger/converter as I stated above. When I responded I was trying to think of a simple way to test it with a multimeter...
With the converter/charger off you could run the batteries down enough that you know they need charging and then check the voltage level. Turn on the converter/charger and check the voltage again at the batteries. If the converter/charger is doing anything you should see a higher voltage.
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Old 06-13-2024, 06:12 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffKim View Post
I don't disagree, but to me the evidence points to an issue charger/converter as I stated above. When I responded I was trying to think of a simple way to test it with a multimeter. The charger wiring isn't exposed and anyways with the new batteries connected there will be a voltage. I couldn't think of one only getting into the DC box, disconnecting the charger wire and checking its voltage. Which is not simple. Maybe there are points in the converter that could be checked.

So, in this case, the only way I can think of is to disconnect the batteries and see if the charger is powering the DC loads. I'd be interested to know if there is a multimeter way for future reference, but maybe I'm missing something.

I'd also say there's a certain not so basic amount of knowledge required to diagnose with a multimeter. For example, there's the battery switch button which I don't think many people know exactly what it does (disconnects most DC loads from the batteries, but not a battery switch). I didn't know so much about our electrical system until I rewired to install lithium batteries. I wired in a new charger and figured out how it's wired to the positive bus bar. I have to stop and think if it's before or after the disconnect switch.

I think until something goes wrong most people are pretty uneducated about the intricacies of the electrical system and a multimeter is an essential tool but only if they know where to go with it.
Hi

Ok, to check the converter charger with a multimeter:

1) Check for 120V at the power panel. You take off a cover to do this. You check at the main input and the output of the breaker. Might as well check *all* the breakers while you are there. Might as well toggle the breaker to the converter charger while the cover is off and make sure it comes back on.

2) With the converter off. (there are multiple ways to make this happen). Measure the voltage on the battery. Yes you have to pop the cover to the batteries to do this. Might as well check them both *and* look at the wiring. See anything loose?

3) Check the voltage at the converter / charger output. Again there might be a cover to remove .... in some installs it's right there to get at. Is the battery voltage the same as the voltage at the converter?

4) Power the converter back up again. Does the voltage at the converter output rise a bit ( like > 0.5 V)? If not, the converter didn't turn on.

5) Check the voltage at the battery again. It should be < the converter output but not by a whole lot. A < 1 V delta is pretty normal. Higher than this suggests a problem. 14V on the converter and 9V on the battery suggests a wire loose / fuse blown.

Assuming you find a problem, you can now track it through the various fuses / switches / connectors and wires. You can actually find *what* the problem really is. That's the first step in working out a fix.

The real point is that the time to learn how to use the multimeter and check your system is with the RV in the driveway at home. You aren't depending on it for anything. If it takes a weekend to learn / figure out ... that's fine. You don't have a fridge full of food spoiling while you get it done ....

Bob
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Old Yesterday, 03:02 PM   #18
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Final Answer

Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
The batteries and the shore power problem are two separate issues, but they are likely tied together.

My hunch is that the reason your batteries are low is because the converter/charger has not been charging them. So the first thing to figure out is why not.

The fact that you have no 120vac power throughout the trailer means that something is stopping the power from getting in when plugged into shore power. You're a fairly new poster on Air Forums, so I'm wondering if this trailer is new to you? If so, have you ever seen the 120vac circuits in the trailer function? Have you ever seen the converter/charger working properly?

Things to check...

1) Is there power getting through the shore power cord? These can go bad, so using a voltmeter at the trailer end of the cord measure for voltage when plugged into shore power. If you're not comfortable doing this, find a friend who is. The voltage readings across the various terminals on the cord will be different depending on whether you have a 30-amp or 50-amp trailer, but assuming that you have a 30-amp trailer there should be 120vac between the hot leg and the neutral leg.

2) While we're talking about the shore power cord and voltage readings, have you ever plugged into this shore power outlet before? Are you plugging in at home? If so, are you sure that this is a 120vac outlet and not a 240vac outlet? It wouldn't be the first time that someone accidentally plugged into a 240vac outlet and zapped some of the electrical system. There are some 240vac outlets which will accept the plug from a shore power cord even though they are the wrong voltage.

3) Assuming that the shore power outlet and cord are all measuring okay, you need to follow the power into the trailer and test to see where it conks out. Is there power coming into the breaker panel? Is there power coming out of it?

4) If there is power coming out of the breaker panel, especially on the converter/charger circuit, is it getting to the converter charger?

Etc. Etc.

My hunch is that either no power is getting in due to a bad shore power cord or malfunctioning outlet feeding the cord, or that you've accidentally plugged into a 240vac circuit. The main breaker in the panel could also be bad, or you could have a loose wire in the breaker panel box preventing power from getting.

If you have a transfer switch to choose between two power inlets, it could be bad or have a loose connection. If you have a transfer switch and two inlets, try the other one and check the connections.

Hope this is enough to get you started.
Well, the final answer was that the Converter/Charger was dead. Don't know if my weak batteries caused the Converter/Charger to die or the Converter/Charger died and took the old batteries with it.

In any case, besides the two new batteries, I finished the swap out of the old Parallax unit for a Progressive Dynamics unit. Took awhile as the location is challenging but got the job done in a very hot trailer. I do like the feature on the Progressive Dynamics unit that you can do a system test and check the way the battery is charging, nice!

So yeah, several folks told me this is where this was going to go, and they were right.
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Old Yesterday, 03:31 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bella_intl View Post
Well, the final answer was that the Converter/Charger was dead. Don't know if my weak batteries caused the Converter/Charger to die or the Converter/Charger died and took the old batteries with it.

In any case, besides the two new batteries, I finished the swap out of the old Parallax unit for a Progressive Dynamics unit. Took awhile as the location is challenging but got the job done in a very hot trailer. I do like the feature on the Progressive Dynamics unit that you can do a system test and check the way the battery is charging, nice!

So yeah, several folks told me this is where this was going to go, and they were right.
Another benefit of new PD converters is that you're ready for LiFePO4 batteries next time, there's a jumper on the board of new PD converter-chargers that changes them to a lithium-ion charging profile.
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Old Today, 06:46 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bella_intl View Post
Well, the final answer was that the Converter/Charger was dead. Don't know if my weak batteries caused the Converter/Charger to die or the Converter/Charger died and took the old batteries with it.

In any case, besides the two new batteries, I finished the swap out of the old Parallax unit for a Progressive Dynamics unit. Took awhile as the location is challenging but got the job done in a very hot trailer. I do like the feature on the Progressive Dynamics unit that you can do a system test and check the way the battery is charging, nice!

So yeah, several folks told me this is where this was going to go, and they were right.
Hi

Our "factory" converter charger lasted less than one season. I didn't bother to get a warranty repair. The replacement lasted .... wait for it .... three whole weeks. Still waiting on the refund for that unit.

The gizmo I replaced things with didn't make it all the way to Alaska. Yes, Bob should have slowed down a bit on *that* part of the road.

Replacing it with something else in Tok (yes that's a place) was an adventure. I could have done a warranty repair, however driving from Alaska to Seattle and back really didn't seem like a good use of vacation time.

Fun

Bob
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