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Author Topic: Electrical problem or something more?  (Read 597 times)

KayJay99

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Electrical problem or something more?
« on: August 10, 2017, 07:48:14 PM »
My husband and I own a 2012 Heartland Road Warrior.  Over the past month the toy hauler has been sitting with no power even though it has been plugged in.  When we finally got around to checking it, we found that the battery was dead, the generator wouldn't run and it was getting no power when plugged in (to the required 50 amp).  With an outrageous quoted fee to have it looked at that we declined, we went ahead and got a new battery and installed it ourselves.  Everything seemed to work fine but it took only a few hours to show the battery was draining and not charging.   With the lights also dimming, we determined (by looking at suggestions online) that the problem was the power converter.
We bought another that matched the one in the trailer and installed it (thanks to some great posted youtube videos).  Everything worked and the battery was charging. 

At least we thought everything worked.   It turns out that the refrigerator and microwave doesn't work at all.  We checked the circuit breaker for the two and when flipped to on, the plug has power where the microwave is plugged to but it still doesn't work.

Could this be a "byproduct" of replacing the power converter?  Is there a step that might have been missed?   When we first replaced the new battery, we didn't think to check either appliance so I don't know if the problem has been long term or not.  We last took the RV out in February and everything was fine and working in it. 

Rene T

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2017, 09:13:26 PM »
The microwave and the converter have nothing in common except the fact that they both run off 110 Volt AC. How did you conclude your converter needed replacement?  Did you check the 12 Volt DC output while plugged into 110 Volt AC?
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

TonyDtorch

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2017, 09:17:35 PM »
go into the bathroom or the kitchen area and see if there is a GCFI wall plug receptacle that has a test and reset button.

push the test button and then re-set it,  then go check things.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 09:22:28 PM by TonyDtorch »

Rene T

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2017, 09:22:08 PM »
go into the bathroom or the kitchen area and see if there is a GCFI wall plug receptacle that has a test and reset button.

test and re-set it,  then check things.

Tony, they said "the plug has power where the microwave is plugged to but it still doesn't work".

I assume the word plug actually means wall receptacle.
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

TonyDtorch

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2017, 09:23:23 PM »
 it has power ?   so you can plug an electric fan or any other known good appliance into it... and it works ?

 on a GCFI plug it's common to have power on the lines coming into the receptacle but nothing to the output of the plug.

if it is a GCFI,  push reset.   everytime anything stops working for no reason...go push the GCFI reset button.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 09:47:49 PM by TonyDtorch »

KayJay99

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2017, 09:51:14 PM »
Tony - I was excited for the idea but it didn't work.  The wall receptacle (thank you Rene) was checked to have power and we plugged a fan into it that worked. 

Rene T - I'm not exactly sure what you mean to check for the 12 Volt DC output.  (Note: we did check the AC output and cord used and it was fine)
The trailer was totally dead (except for the constant beep in the background signifying loss of power).  The battery was dead also and we tried to charge it without luck.  So we bought and installed a new battery which caused everything to work (that we checked) to include the generator.  However, after leaving it running for a while, the lights started dimming, and the battery showed to have drained down to the "fair" level.  The AC ran while it was plugged in but since the thermostat ran off the battery, it shut off which caused the AC to shut down.  We check across the internet what could be causing this and it was  said to be the power converter.   So we bought another that was the same one installed (of course, it has to be the most expensive one too...)and put that one in.  So everything (other than the fridge and microwave) appears to be working normally.  The battery is also staying charged too. 

It's good to hear that replacing the converter shouldn't have affected the problem.  But the problem is still there.   :P

Rene T

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2017, 10:01:29 PM »


Rene T - I'm not exactly sure what you mean to check for the 12 Volt DC output.  (Note: we did check the AC output and cord used and it was fine)


Disconnect the ground wire from the battery then plug in the RV to shore power. Then using a volt meter, check the voltage at the battery cable you disconnected and the other battery cable. That will check then output of the converter. You also have to make sure you have 110 Volt AC power going into the converter. Is the battery a wet cell or dry cell?  Are there caps on the top which can be removed to check the level of the water in each cell.
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

KayJay99

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2017, 10:18:37 PM »
Thanks for explaining.  We will check the battery per your instructions.  We didn't previously think to do so because it's a brand new battery just like the one that went bad.  (I personally didn't see it to answer your questions as my husband bought it and put it in when I wasn't home.)

Just to make sure I understand, you disconnect the GROUND wire and check that for output?   

Lou Schneider

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2017, 11:05:51 PM »
When working around a battery, always disconnect the negative (ground) wire first and reconnect it last. 

If you work on the positive terminal while the negative wire is still connected you'll short out the battery if your wrench accidentally gets between the positive post and any grounded piece of metal.  Disconnecting the negative wire(s) first eliminates this danger.

You only need to disconnect one side of the battery to make this test, so disconnecting the ground wire is correct.  You're looking for voltage between the wire you took off and the wires still going to the positive battery post, since the battery is disconnected you'll read the converter's voltage.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 11:09:36 PM by Lou Schneider »

John From Detroit

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2017, 06:40:32 AM »
Ok, some primers  Stuff (Like this is optional) and often found only in motor homes or on 50 amp RV's
120 volt side
SHore cord-(Outlet/Inlet)---(Automatic transfer switch)---Main power panel---Branch circuits to stuff including a CONVERTER

12 volt side

Converter---Fuse box---Switch---Batteries   ... Fuses to branch circuits   Also some scattered circuit breakers to other stuff.

Now testing

120 volt side. Most folks use a volt meter but as you found out you can use other devices like a fan to tell if the outlet has power.. It did I see.

But check all branch breakers.. I have found many times it's nothing more than loose screws (NOTE UNPLUG before using screwdriver please).  tighten all screws in that box  #2 Square worked best for me.

If the branch circuits have power than it's not a 120 volt issue less there is a problem down-line (Microwave outlet had power so let us assume no problem down line)

The converter is the only crossover device.. IF YOU REPLACED it, I'd say you missed a step. if not then test it  This takes both a test light and a volt meter  Read voltage at converter 12 volt terminals both with batteries connected and disconnected.. Report findings and we can go from there
But I'm guessing that's your 12 volt issue if you replaced it

Microwave: Power at the wall but microwave does not work indicates one of two issues

1: There is a fuse, or breaker, inside the microwave.. The other is toast. The microwave is toast.

NOTE if you "open up" the microwave to check the fuse beware of SHARP EDGES on metal parts.  I have a friend who built a Microwave from a kit.... after he got rid of the bandages,
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Alfa38User

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2017, 06:41:59 AM »
Sounds to me like a residential power failure  (surge/lightning strike) had occurred in the neighbourhood and may have done a fair amount of damage. Were you plugged into a surge protector by any chance??

For the 12V side, check also the protection fuses on the converter, most converters have them. Depending on make/model of the converter, they may be located on the face of the converter or in the power centre. (Makes and models on the converter/power centre always useful here...)
« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 07:15:47 AM by Alfa38User »
Stu
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Rene T

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2017, 07:22:08 AM »
Thanks for explaining.  We will check the battery per your instructions.  We didn't previously think to do so because it's a brand new battery just like the one that went bad.  (I personally didn't see it to answer your questions as my husband bought it and put it in when I wasn't home.)

Just to make sure I understand, you disconnect the GROUND wire and check that for output?

You are NOT checking the battery. You are checking the output of the converter by testing the voltage at the battery cables while the converter is on.
If you get zero DC voltage, check the fuses in the face of the converter as previously mentioned by Stu. They may be blown.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 07:24:12 AM by Rene T »
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2017, 09:10:15 AM »
It has been stated that the battery began charging after the converter replacement and other things work, so I see little point in further battery testing. The remaining issue appears to be microwave and fridge, not battery & 12v power. The microwave uses no 12v at all.

The micro itself could be tested by running an extension cord from another, known good, outlet, but KayJay says the regular outlet works with a fan.  If that's the case, it would seem th micro itself has failed for some reason. Could the timing be just coincidence?

Please describe in more detail about the fridge. Is all power off, e.g. no interior light with door open and no lights on the control panel? If the control panel lights up, what does it say? And what fridge make/model is it?

The fridge can be tried on LP instead of AC, to help determine if the problem is related 12v power or 120v power. It needs 12v for both modes, but LP will work without any 120v.
Gary
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Rene T

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2017, 10:18:01 AM »
It has been stated that the battery began charging after the converter replacement and other things work, so I see little point in further battery testing. The remaining issue appears to be microwave and fridge, not battery & 12v power. The microwave uses no 12v at all.



Gary, they did say  "So we bought and installed a new battery which caused everything to work (that we checked) to include the generator.  However, after leaving it running for a while, the lights started dimming, and the battery showed to have drained down to the "fair" level.
The new battery is still  draining and not being charged that's why I recommended checking the output of the converter.
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

Stephen S.

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2017, 11:20:36 AM »
I'm also reading "lightning strike" or "power spike" in those posts. Sounds like it took out the converter, fridge, microwave, etc.. Check the wiring for burn marks and heat damage. You might want to check your insurance coverage. See if it covers lightning.
Stephen S.
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TonyDtorch

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2017, 11:30:55 AM »
I think so too...

I would love to do an electrical autopsy on that old power converter and see if you can tell what happened. 

KayJay99

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2017, 12:03:59 PM »
Thanks for all the info and ideas!  It's a lot to digest for us people that barely understand the workings of electricity.

The more I read, the more I'm thinking that there was power surge (we do have a power surge protector but not the best...)  that may have taken out the appliances.  And now that you mention it, also the power converter too. 

I'm sorry if I've confused you with my comments.  We went and bought a new battery first and replaced it.  Everything appeared to work but after a few hours, the lights dimmed, the thermostat (with AC) shut off so we then deducted it was a power converter issue.  Since replacing it everything has been working normally and the battery has been charging.  The only issue still remaining is the two appliances.  One thing I didn't think about until last night was the fact that my husband brought me the bulb out of the fridge, saying that it was blown.  This was before we replaced the battery and power converter.

Gary - the refrigerator is a Dometic DM2852RBX.  And as mentioned, my husband brought me to bulb to replace because he thought it was blown before dug deeper to find the other problems.  There is no power, lights or anything on it that is coming on.  He also tried trying to run it on gas with no luck. 

As John brought up - the only other thing we can see that involves both appliances is that they run off the same breaker.  Although we have flipped it on and off several times to reset (to no avail) and will check to make sure they are tight - is there a chance that the breaker itself may be bad?  And could be replaced?  I'd rather pay to have that done rather than having the cost to replace both appliances. 

Stephen - We did check the wiring for any obvious burn damage and didn't see anything.  We bought the trailer used and didn't have the lightning insurance.  (Hence why we did pay to have a surge protector).  We also were able to get behind the refrigerator (thanks to kdbgoat) from the outside and double check that wall receptacle and it works too.

Tony - you are more than welcome to have the old power converter to do with what you want.  ;D
 

kdbgoat

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2017, 12:20:33 PM »
Since you have power at both receptacles, I think you can rule out the breaker. To me, the microwave looks like it's toast.

The manual for your fridge can be found here:

http://www.dometicmanuals.com/PROD/MASTERDometic.nsf?Opendatabase

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Old Blevins

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2017, 04:48:21 PM »
Looking at an online manual for your refrigerator, it appears to have an internal 3 amp and a 5 amp fuse.  If you can figure out how to get to them, those would be the next thing to check.  I don't think you mentioned what model microwave you have, but you might look it up online and see if it, too, has an internal fuse you can replace.  With luck, it will be something cheap and simple like that.  Otherwise you may need a new circuit board for your fridge and possibly a new microwave.

I just want to add I think you and your husband have done an excellent job of diagnosis and repair so far.  It looks like you had a power surge that toasted your converter, resulting in no charging to the battery (which subsequently died) and also damaged some internal appliances.  That's a lot of different stuff to figure out and fix.  Color me impressed.
Jim
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Gods Country

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2017, 05:04:22 PM »
I think it is safe to say your microwave is fried.  Although checking it with an extension cord can't hurt.
As mentioned there should be a couple fuses for the fridge.  Mine has two on the circuit board, and I believe a small blade fuse visible behind the outside access. 


Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2017, 06:35:05 PM »
Since the fridge has no lights or controls, you need to verify that it is receiving 12v power (at the control board, in the back). If it is, remove the cover over the board and check the 12v fuse (one of the two is strictly for 120v heater power and not relevant to this problem).

The 120v power circuit breaker only supplies power to the fridge heater when using AC mode. The controls still run off 12v from battery or converter, so the fridge will NOT work in either AC or LP gas mode if the 12v power is lost.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 06:38:05 PM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
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Summers: Black Mountain, NC
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KayJay99

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2017, 05:51:34 PM »
I want to thank everyone for their input.  Regardless of the result, I did learn some things here I wasn't aware of!   ;D

So, up until today the RV has sat waiting but with the oncoming storm, we took the trailer to a shop to have it looked at.  I wanted to share what was found in case anyone else has the same kind of issue.
There was nothing wrong with the black "board" but when the tech traced a couple of wires that ran behind a metal shield/cover he found that there was a reset switch between them.  It's definitely not obvious to the untrained eye and he wasn't initially aware of it being there.  But, lo and behold, after hitting the switch the refrigerator is back up and running just fine.  The lady at the desk said that it might be an easy (and inexpensive) fix - she wasn't kidding.  I did pay for one hour labor, which was so much better than buying a new appliance.

Also, as noted by some people, the microwave is totally fried.  No problem - I found the same model elsewhere for 100.00 + shipping - an expense I can live with.   :)

John From Detroit

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #22 on: September 07, 2017, 07:38:08 AM »
You have a dometic Fridge.. I can tell you I looked at that reset button several times and never did see it. A Technician finally directed me to it and I figured it out.. WAS NOT my problem however.

Now on No-Colds er, NorCold.. I know where the reset is.. But that's another brand. (And I don't have one which makes it strange that I'd know where the reset is.. not really. I read a lot)
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

KayJay99

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Re: Electrical problem or something more?
« Reply #23 on: September 07, 2017, 01:40:11 PM »
TY.  I don't feel so bad unable to find it. 

 

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