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Author Topic: Help! Just lost power inside my coach  (Read 880 times)

petepell

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Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« on: February 04, 2018, 12:45:07 AM »
Hello all, 

I have a 2001 Fleetwood Bounder 39Z.  Today I was getting it ready for a short trip down the coast.  Generator was running and I had every light in the coach on to test everything was in good order.  Fridge was firing up on LP and seemed to be ok.  Suddenly every light in the coach and the fridge went out.  Generator was still running.  Certain electrical items, such as the automatic retractable steps still operate, but nothing on the inside at all.

I don't know much about RVs yet as I recently purchased this RV, however I did look at the fuses and breakers and all seems to be ok.  Anyone have an idea where I should check?

Thanks in advance!
Pete
2001 Fleetwood Bounder 39z

SeilerBird

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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2018, 03:28:27 AM »
This is a 12 volt problem so start by checking the batteries for a good connection and go from there.
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Arch Hoagland

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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2018, 04:01:24 AM »
There are circuit breakers on the generator, check them.

The steps get their power from the engine battery.
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wae

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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2018, 07:10:08 AM »
First, I'd make sure that the generator is still putting out good 110v power.  Check the outlets in the coach and see if you're getting 110v.  If you're not getting good 110v the issue is between the generator and the power distribution.  (but we need to come back to this anyway, so hold on).

If you are getting good 110v power from the generator, the next step the electrons are taking is to the power converter.  This will take the 110v AC power and feed the 12V DC portion of the coach.  As previously mentioned, certain things will be connected to the other battery system (the chassis battery).  The steps are typically fed by that other battery as is the starter for the engine as well as anything that would be required for the motorhome to act like a car.  Or a medium-duty truck as the case might be.

At the converter, there should be a place by the fuses to pick up the 12V system.  Find a ground connection, set your multimeter to DCV and probe the fuses -- you should be getting +12V on each one.  Or on at least one of them.  If not, there's something up with the converter -- either it's not getting 110v AC power or it isn't operating properly.

That all comes back to something else, though.  Even if the generator is totally disconnected from the coach's electrical systems, the 12V systems should be fed by the house battery(ies).  So if the converter goes out, or if the generator breakers blow, or anything like that, 12V should still work as long as you have voltage in the batteries.  Most coaches have a battery disconnect switch for the house batteries -- good for parking the rig for a couple months to eliminate any parasitic drain on the system.  On mine, the converter bypasses that switch, but perhaps they don't always wire it that way?  I would hunt for and check that switch to make sure that it isn't in the "off" or "store" position.  I would also check the house batteries with your multimeter -- anything north of 10.5VDC should get an incandescent lightbulb to at least try to glow.  If you've got good battery and the disconnect switch is in the correct position, then I would find the disconnect solenoid and try jumping the two sides together to bypass it.  If that gives you power again, then the solenoid is failed and should be replaced.

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petepell

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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2018, 08:49:05 AM »
Thank you all, I'm going to get into some of these tests and see what's up.  It makes sense to me that the issue might be in the converter, but I haven't checked the 110v outlets yet.  I'll post a reply after and let you know what I found!

Pete
2001 Fleetwood Bounder 39z

99dart

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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2018, 08:55:21 AM »
I am admitting up front I know very little about the electrical systems in these things. But, we recently lost all 12v power in the coach. We had to stop at a an RV repair shop to get things figured out/working again. The Tech found a very small silver relay of sorts under the bed where the converter and all our electrical is. That little relay had a little black "button" sticking up. When he pushed it it clicked back into place AND restored all power! He didn't seem to know what it was for, but it cured our problem.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2018, 09:19:06 AM »
Since the power was lost suddenly, the first thing to check is the battery disconnect (main power) switch. If somebody accidentally hit that switch, just about everything on the "house" power side will go off. Steps still work because they get chassis battery power. LP detector as well.
Gary
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petepell

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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2018, 09:47:13 AM »
Ok checked the 110v outlets and they are all dead.  This morning the generator wouldn't fire up either.  I could hear the faint clicking I usually hear before it starts, but then nothing.  Started the coach just fine and then the generator was able to start.  Let it run for a while before doing the tests.  That's where we stand at the moment.

Oh also I checked the house batteries with a test light as I don't have my multi meter with me at the moment.  I am getting light between the connections, although it appears to be a bit dimmer than expected.  Battery indicator on the dash just barely lights up the green LED, so that's telling me I've got around 75% there, give or take.

Still with the 110v outlets being dead, we're not even talking about 12v DC anymore.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2018, 09:54:44 AM by petepell »
2001 Fleetwood Bounder 39z

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2018, 12:25:12 PM »
Well, the 110 outlets will be dead unless genset or shore power is present. Were they still dead after you got the genset started?

Inability to start the genset, i.e.clicking starter, says the batteries are too low and the state of the test light & battery gauge confirms that. Once the genset is running, does the voltage come up? Should see 13.6v at batteries or gauge once external power is on. If no battery charging and no outlets, then look at the genset 120v breaker(s) and also the power to the converter/charger.  If still no 120v power, check the auto-transfer switch for proper changeover (genset vs shore).
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petepell

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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2018, 09:38:12 PM »
.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2018, 09:43:29 PM by petepell »
2001 Fleetwood Bounder 39z

petepell

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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2018, 09:42:27 PM »
Hi Gary,

Here's the update.  I checked the generator and found that the 30A breaker was in the off position.  Flipping that back on caused all the outlets to work again, however no luck on the DC in the coach.  The house batteries were looking pretty bad, even to the point of looking like they had boiled over at some point causing most of the batteries to be covered in white.  Looking at them, they hadn't been changed since 2011.  I replaced all 4 batteries and hooked them back up as they were before.  No luck on the DC power coming back. 

Now with the new batteries we should have plenty of power for the generator starter.  Are we down to the DC converter at this point?

Thanks,
Pete
2001 Fleetwood Bounder 39z

99dart

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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2018, 09:49:16 PM »
"Now with the new batteries we should have plenty of power for the generator starter.  Are we down to the DC converter at this point?"

Your problem really does  sound like what just happened on my coach. Somehow while retracting our slide there was an overload that popped the little relay I spoke of earlier.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2018, 09:51:04 PM by 99dart »
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petepell

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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2018, 09:55:00 PM »
99dart,

Yeah I'm going to look at the issue you brought up tomorrow.  I had only passed by your comment because at the time we didn't have AC power either, however now that we do, that could definitely be the issue.  I didn't see any relay or black button on the converter though.  I'll keep posting until this is resolved.  You know what...I was also trying to operate the slide as well, however it didn't go out at the very moment, but a little later when I really wasn't doing anything, however with all the lights fired up at the same time, that alone might have pulled an overload.

Thanks!
Pete
2001 Fleetwood Bounder 39z

Sun2Retire

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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2018, 09:57:37 PM »
It’s not the converter. The batteries are after the converter and with new batteries you should have lights.


Since the power was lost suddenly, the first thing to check is the battery disconnect (main power) switch. If somebody accidentally hit that switch, just about everything on the "house" power side will go off. Steps still work because they get chassis battery power. LP detector as well.


This seems the most likely explanation at the moment. Have you tried holding the switch to the “use” or “on” position for a couple seconds? What does the voltage read at the status panel?
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petepell

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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2018, 10:02:34 PM »
Sun2Retire,

Gotcha.  That helps.  This is sounding more and more like a pretty easy fix.  I know where that switch is, however I didn't hold it, just tried pushing it a few times.  The voltage reads 13v after changing the batteries out, whereas before it was reading around 10 or so.  I didn't push the indicator on the dash.  The coach is in the storage yard again, however I'm going back over 1st thing in the AM, armed with this new knowledge.  I'll have my laptop and phone out there so I'll be posting from there.

Thanks again to everyone for all the comments and help!
Pete
2001 Fleetwood Bounder 39z

99dart

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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2018, 10:07:36 PM »
It’s not the converter. The batteries are after the converter and with new batteries you should have lights.



This seems the most likely explanation at the moment. Have you tried holding the switch to the “use” or “on” position for a couple seconds? What does the voltage read at the status panel?

I tried the same thing. I held the use/store switch as well as flipping it multiple times. It was the RV Tech that found the relay with the tiny plastic button on it. It didn't look like a button though, it was a tiny vertical rectangle protruding from the relay. I'll get a picture tomorrow if needed.
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petepell

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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2018, 10:11:32 PM »
99dart,

Going to try to find that for sure as well.  I'm sure the converter has one and in the case that the switch doesn't work, I'll be after that next.  It makes sense to me what Sun2Retire is saying that if the converter is downstream from the batteries, and the batteries are new then the coach should have lights.  Either way I really hope I just feel kinda stupid realizing it was something simple.  :D
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John From Detroit

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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2018, 08:18:21 AM »
One thing on the converter.. Now there are two (for this post) types or 3
One is built into the power distribution panel.  Magnetei 6300, Parallex 7300 and selected models of WFCO, Progressive Dynamics and others are built this way.. Nothing wrong with that though some (Magnetek for example) you should upgrade.
On these there are usualy two fuses or more, often 30 amps.. You need to check all of them and WITH POWER OFF replace any that are blown. ALL POWER OFF batteries not connected and shore power off, work by flashlight.

Often they are on the end of the fuse block  IF two or more are blown those must be replaced at the same time that is why power off to re-fuse.

Other types the converter is "Elsewhere" and that can be most anywhere.  Again there are fuses, on my Progressive Dyanamics you have to unbolt the thing from the wall it's mounted on or stick you head in a way too small compartment to see 'em (or uce a mirror or camera) but they are three (3 of 'em)

The (or 3) In this last group of converters some are "hard wired" and some are Plug in (mine 9is plug in) Mine has "Fai9led" several times and Failed once.. What's the difference.. Well most of the "Failures' were fixed by plugging it back in.
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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2018, 09:01:41 AM »
Hello all, 

I have a 2001 Fleetwood Bounder 39Z.  Today I was getting it ready for a short trip down the coast.  Generator was running and I had every light in the coach on to test everything was in good order.  Fridge was firing up on LP and seemed to be ok.  Suddenly every light in the coach and the fridge went out.  Generator was still running.  Certain electrical items, such as the automatic retractable steps still operate, but nothing on the inside at all.

I don't know much about RVs yet as I recently purchased this RV, however I did look at the fuses and breakers and all seems to be ok.  Anyone have an idea where I should check?

Thanks in advance!

Start with simple - you had everything running which makes me think a breaker somewhere!   RV's don't have all the breakers in the same place so you will need to find them - there should be one on the genset. 
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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2018, 09:31:49 AM »
I tried the same thing. I held the use/store switch as well as flipping it multiple times. It was the RV Tech that found the relay with the tiny plastic button on it. It didn't look like a button though, it was a tiny vertical rectangle protruding from the relay. I'll get a picture tomorrow if needed.
That sounds like a DC circuit breaker and not a relay.  Did it look something like this?
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petepell

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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2018, 09:43:07 AM »
Thanks all,

I'm headed over the the storage yard today to solve this issue.  I was working on a different issue involving replacing my leaking shower fixture and the mechanic I'm speaking to mentioned that once you change your house batteries, the coach automatically puts you in storage mode and shuts off the DC to the coach.  I didn't try to hit the cutoff switch after installation as I didn't know that.  Going to be trying that first, then getting into the more investigative repairs if needed.  As I said before though I will have my laptop and phone out there so I'll be posting what I find!

Pete
2001 Fleetwood Bounder 39z

petepell

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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2018, 09:28:59 PM »
Success!  After looking around and tracing the positive on the house, I was able to find the battery transfer case.  Inside I found a whole new set of fuses, and guess what??  99dart was right all along.  Inside there were two relays with the black buttons.  Both of them were tripped!  Resetting these fixed the problem.

So in essence it goes

1. House batteries to...
2. Battery Transfer to...
3. Converter or inverter to...
4. DC or AC (Inverted)

Genset or shore power comes in and powers outlets and also connects to converter for AC/DC power.  I get it now!  :o

So these relays are in the middle and will indeed kill your coach even if you only have house batteries hooked up.  At least in my setup.

Thank you to everyone for your comments and assistance!

Pete
« Last Edit: February 05, 2018, 11:35:56 PM by petepell »
2001 Fleetwood Bounder 39z

99dart

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Re: Help! Just lost power inside my coach
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2018, 09:00:50 PM »
Success!  After looking around and tracing the positive on the house, I was able to find the battery transfer case.  Inside I found a whole new set of fuses, and guess what??  99dart was right all along.  Inside there were two relays with the black buttons.  Both of them were tripped!  Resetting these fixed the problem.

So in essence it goes

1. House batteries to...
2. Battery Transfer to...
3. Converter or inverter to...
4. DC or AC (Inverted)

Genset or shore power comes in and powers outlets and also connects to converter for AC/DC power.  I get it now!  :o

So these relays are in the middle and will indeed kill your coach even if you only have house batteries hooked up.  At least in my setup.

Thank you to everyone for your comments and assistance!

Pete

WOW! Glad you got it! I lost this thread so didn't see you resolved it. Your issue sounded so much like mine I just knew that would be it! Glad I got something right. So many times I/we expect the worst and it turns out to be the simplest of things. Glad you are up and running!   :))
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