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Old 10-28-2021, 12:44 PM   #1
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2019 19' Tommy Bahama
MILBRIDGE , ME
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 13
Converter problem

Hello, all in Airstream land. I am relatively new to 'streaming. I have a 2019 19' FC, plugged into a 30amp circuit. As I understand it, being plugged into shore power means the converter should keep the batteries topped off without needing help from a battery tender or the solar panels. However, now when I check the panel indicating battery function, it shows a red light indicating solar panel charging, and the batteries (2 AGM deep cycle) at about 70%-80% at best. Yesterday was a cloudy/rainy day, and when I checked the panel, it showed the batteries at 40%. Worrisome. I have it parked in a spot with some sunlight, but some shade from trees, as well. I live in Maine, so the sun is at a low angle, and getting lower. I will remove the batteries soon to take them inside on a battery tender to keep them topped off, and out of freezing weather. I'm not sure if this indicates a bad converter. Is there anyone out there with experience in this problem? Is there anything I can do, or will I need to take it to a dealer for a converter repair/replacement? Thanks.
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Old 10-28-2021, 02:47 PM   #2
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Start with the easy stuff...

Did someone turn off the converter by accident?

Has the battery disconnect switch been set to the 'off' position?
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Old 10-28-2021, 03:18 PM   #3
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When my batteries started dying, I finally figured out it was a blown buss fuse on the positive battery terminal. A simple thing but took me forever! Replaced it and it fixed the problem. There is also 2 fuses on the back of the converter that you can check. Also a good idea to check the breaker dedicated for the converter, and make sure it is plugged in. Good luck.

-Arthur
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Old 10-28-2021, 04:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
Start with the easy stuff...

Did someone turn off the converter by accident?

Has the battery disconnect switch been set to the 'off' position?
I had this happen on my Airstream. The fuse for the converter at the electric distribution box had tripped to the “off” position.
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Old 10-28-2021, 04:52 PM   #5
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2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , Milky Way
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Welcome Aboard...

Is the charge 'problem' is fixed?
Why not just charge the batteries fully remove the neg terminal and leave in the AS thru the Winter?

Our Lifeline AGM's lasted 11 Seasons by doing just that. Well not entirely, for the first 3 years I charged fully and carried them heavy buggers down to the basement...still not on a charger though.👍

I'm old now.

Bob
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Old 10-29-2021, 09:05 AM   #6
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2019 19' Tommy Bahama
MILBRIDGE , ME
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Converter problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by turonueve View Post
When my batteries started dying, I finally figured out it was a blown buss fuse on the positive battery terminal. A simple thing but took me forever! Replaced it and it fixed the problem. There is also 2 fuses on the back of the converter that you can check. Also a good idea to check the breaker dedicated for the converter, and make sure it is plugged in. Good luck.

-Arthur
Arthur, thanks for your reply. When you say, "blown buss fuse on the positive battery terminal," I'm not sure what you mean, or where this fuse would be. Can you clarify? I have disconnected and reconnected my batteries several times, and I have never seen a fuse on either battery terminal. The breaker for the converter is in the on position, not tripped, and no fuses are blown. I have attached a photo of my circuit breaker/fuse box. Thanks again.Click image for larger version

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Also, you say there are two fuses on the back of the converter that I could check. Does this require removing the converter completely to check the back? It doesn't make sense for a fuse to be on the back of a unit that would require that much bother to check. Please clarify. Thanks.
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Old 10-29-2021, 09:18 AM   #7
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2019 19' Tommy Bahama
MILBRIDGE , ME
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Converter problem

All, thanks for your replies. I have attached a photo of my main circuit breaker/fuse box. The breaker that controls the converter is in the on position, and none of the fuses are blown, that I can see. When I leave the trailer I always turn off the battery disconnect. Could it be that the batteries won't charge if this disconnect is in the off position? Somehow that doesn't make sense to me. Are there other fuses on the converter that I can't see unless I remove the panel and the converter? Previously, I had this problem when I was living in the trailer, and the battery disconnect was on all the time. I got around it by connecting a battery charger to the batteries, so I can't imagine that leaving the battery disconnect in the "on" position would make any difference now. A lot about this doesn't make sense. The only thing that does right now is to assume the converter is bad and needs replacement. Thanks for your help.
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Old 10-29-2021, 09:48 AM   #8
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I doubt if the batteries charge when disconnected.
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Old 10-29-2021, 11:31 AM   #9
CLOUDSPLITTER "Tahawus"
 
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Zanadude Nebula , Milky Way
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Do you have a 'disconnect' switch AND a use/store switch?

Ours will charge if the use/store is in the store mode.
It will NOT if I use the 'disconnect' switch that I installed.

Bob
🇺🇸

As a matter of fact it's charging now...
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Old 10-29-2021, 01:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron P View Post
Arthur, thanks for your reply. When you say, "blown buss fuse on the positive battery terminal," I'm not sure what you mean, or where this fuse would be. Can you clarify? I have disconnected and reconnected my batteries several times, and I have never seen a fuse on either battery terminal. The breaker for the converter is in the on position, not tripped, and no fuses are blown. I have attached a photo of my circuit breaker/fuse box. Thanks again.Attachment 407166
Also, you say there are two fuses on the back of the converter that I could check. Does this require removing the converter completely to check the back? It doesn't make sense for a fuse to be on the back of a unit that would require that much bother to check. Please clarify. Thanks.
Aaron,

On our 21 Classic there are two large square fuses attached directly to the positive battery terminal. A safety feature i think. If you have them, they are easy to see. I’ve heard however, that most of the AS TTs don’t have them. Even other classics.

In order to see the converter & it’s fuses on our trailer, you have to unscrew the circuit panel, pull it out, and look behind it. It was intimidating at first, but now that i understand how things go together, not so much. I turned off shore power and disconnected the negative battery terminals first.

Best of luck, Arthur
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Old 11-01-2021, 11:47 AM   #11
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2019 19' Tommy Bahama
MILBRIDGE , ME
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Converter problem

Follow up...after reading another Air Forums post about converter problems in which a forum member recommended replacing a bad converter with a Progressive Dynamics converter, I went to their website. In one of their manuals, they gave directions on how to test the converter. It said to hook the AS up to shore power, then use a voltmeter to check if the converter was sending power to the + and - wires in the trailer battery box. I had already taken the batteries out and put them on a battery tender in my basement. So, I followed the directions, and there is no power going to the wires that would be hooked up to the batteries in the box. Trailer was hooked up to 30 amp 120 volt shore power at the time. So, I think my converter is fried. I checked every fuse I could find, and all are good. BTW...both batteries were depleted enough that it took several hours to bring them up to full power. One took 36 hours or so!
Does anyone here have experience replacing the converter yourself? I approach the prospect with some trepidation. Any suggestions are very welcome. Thanks.
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Old 11-01-2021, 08:55 PM   #12
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A few weeks ago I determined my converter was shot thanks to help from Forum folks like uncle_bob and some videos. Ordered a replacement and had it in 3 days. 4 wires to disconnect and reconnect. A couple of screws hold the converter in the power panel box. Pretty easy to swap.
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Old 11-01-2021, 09:48 PM   #13
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To be clear: When you were testing the converter function with the batteries removed, did you cycle the "Store/Use" switch and test both ways? *SOME* trailers are wired such that when you're in "Store" but plugged into shore power, everything in the trailer gets power (from the converter) but the batteries do NOT.

Also, when you're plugged into shore power without the batteries installed, do the lights and fans inside the trailer work? If so, the converter is DEFINITELY working, but there's something preventing power from reaching the battery cables. It may be as simple as the Store/Use switch, or it might be an inline fuse somewhere in the path from the converter to the battery terminals.

Another possibility, before you spend money on a new converter, is to check the AC input and DC output connections.
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Old 11-02-2021, 10:41 AM   #14
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2019 19' Tommy Bahama
MILBRIDGE , ME
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Converter problem

DKB_SATX, thanks for the reply and advice. I thought of this, also. My AS manual specifically states that the converter will charge the batteries whether the battery disconnect switch is on or off. Therefore, I assume the battery terminals in the battery box should be getting DC power when the AS is plugged into shore power. The lights, etc. do NOT work when the AS is on shore power (batteries removed), and the light on the store/use switch does not activate when pressed (no red light indicating on status). Before removing the batteries, the store/use switch would, when switched to "use" enable lights, etc, to work. When the batteries were connected, I believe the only power they were getting was through the solar panels. The red light on the interior panel indicating a charge from the panels was always on during daylight. When I first got the trailer, and everything was working as it should, that red light did not come on at all, unless I was disconnected to shore power. I believe that is the way things should normally work, which is not happening now.
Could you explain how one would test the AC and DC output connections? Thanks.
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Old 11-02-2021, 11:26 AM   #15
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Re: testing AC input and DC output for the converter: Do you own a multimeter and know how to use it? This is going to be the definitive test... simply testing checking the voltage of the AC input will help you eliminate a few possibilities. It starts to get theoretical for me here, because so far I haven't had to fiddle with my modern one that's built into the power-center module, but you should be able to get to the place where the incoming AC lines terminate in the converter and measure there for voltage (you'll likely have to remove a protective cover but again that's a guess on my part.) If you're getting voltage into the converter, look around on the converter itself for a couple of fuses. These are intended to protect against hooking the battery bank into the converter "backwards" but can also open from overload or due to a manufacturing defect. Make sure the fuses are well-seated and closed (use the multimeter again for that test.)

IMHO if the AC input is good and the fuses on the unit test good but the DC output posts are dead, it's time for a less-crappy converter. If there's 13+ volts on the output posts, there's a discontinuity between there and the 12v distribution panel (since you said the interior lights and other 12v accessories don't work without the battery.)

The fact that none of the 12v stuff inside the trailer gets anything from the converter suggests it's unwell, but those fuses I mentioned (or a bad connection on the input or output side) could also explain it.
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