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Author Topic: Travel Trailer Electrical Trouble  (Read 10096 times)

cgaydula

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Travel Trailer Electrical Trouble
« on: July 01, 2008, 10:48:46 PM »
Hi,
I would like to start by thanking everyone who helped me with my roof issue.
I have a 2003 33' Fleetwood mallard that the electric worked fine (30 amp)when plugged into my shore cord until yesterday when an alarm started beeping and I lost power in the camper.
Everytime I turned on a light the alarm beeped and the lights were very dim.
I was not using excessive power, just a fan and small tv.
The outlet i was plugged into works fine.
The breaker is not popped and converter which I usually hear running is not running and in
quick mode.
I did notice however that both of my batteries are stone cold dead and will not take a charge.
Will this effect the electric when plugged in.
Sorry for another question but i am very new at the RV thing and appreciate all the help.
Thank you very much.
Chris

Ned

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Re: Travel Trailer Electrical Trouble
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2008, 06:36:48 AM »
If your converter isn't running, then the batteries aren't getting charged, and none of your lights or other DC appliances will work.  Find out why the converter isn't working.  Either it isn't getting 110VAC or it's died.
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Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Travel Trailer Electrical Trouble
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2008, 09:23:37 AM »
The beeping probably comes from your converter/charger or inverter/charger (which ever you have) or from something that requires 12v power (propane detector or maybe the fridge). It is likely a low voltage alarm of some sort. I know our inverter will beep if the voltage goes low when it is on, though that would not happen on shore power, and our Norcold fridge beeps if it loses 12v power.

As Ned says, your first chore is to find out why the batteries aren't being charged. A shorted battery will usually cause the charger to shut down. Your interior lighting is almost all 12v, so it is powered through the batteries and charging system, not direct from shore power. Have you checked the water level in the batteries (I'm guessing they are the flooded cell type)?
Gary
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cgaydula

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Re: Travel Trailer Electrical Trouble
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2008, 05:07:46 PM »
Thank you so much for your help.
Outlet is good shore cord is hooked to and converter is in the flashing mode that according to converter manual Battery level is below 50%
They have since died completely.
The water level in the batteries I am sorry to say is dried up.
After filling with water (I think it is too late) they will not hold a charge on a battery charger.
I am planning on getting two new batteries.
Do you think new batteries hooked up might fix the problem?
Thanks again
This forum is truly wonderful.
Glad I discovered ya'll.
Chris

SCR

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Re: Travel Trailer Electrical Trouble
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2008, 06:10:13 PM »
Do your 12v lights and other equipment work with the batteries disconnected and plugged in to shore power?

When was the last time you checked the water in your batteries? Before the discovery that they were dry that is.

New batteries may solve the immediate problem. The question remains as to why and how quickly the existing batteries went dry. This may be a sign of over charging or other issues.




Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Travel Trailer Electrical Trouble
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2008, 07:48:32 PM »
New batteries should fix it. I suspect yours are the originals and wonder perhaps if they have never received any maintenance?  Five years of charging is enough to dry out any battery, so I would not suspect your charger, at least not yet.

Do you know the make and model of the converter/charger?
Gary
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cgaydula

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Re: Travel Trailer Electrical Trouble
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2008, 10:10:33 PM »
Breif history of camper.
I purchased the trailer from a close freind who bought it new in 2003, used it three or four times tops over the course of 2004 and it sat in storage till i purchased it this past winter.
Bathroom, kitchen,two bedrooms were used for the first time two weeks ago by my family when we took it on our first trip local.
Condition is phenominal except it has some maintenance issues meaning nothing was ever done.
Batteries are original and have never been checked by me till recently and i am thinking have never been checked.
They look old.
Converter is a WFCO brand which I am thinking is still good (I hope)
I am going to hook up new batteries thurs after work and see what happens.
Please let me know your thoughts.
Thank you so much for all your help.
Chris

mayfair

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Re: Travel Trailer Electrical Trouble
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2008, 12:11:23 AM »
I think the new batteries will fix you up just fine.

You've now leaarned a very important lesson that is very often overlooked. You MUST keep a check on the water level in batteries. They'll take care of you as long as you take care of them.  ;)
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Carl L

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Re: Travel Trailer Electrical Trouble
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2008, 12:22:23 AM »
....Batteries are original and have never been checked by me till recently and i am thinking have never been checked.
They look old.
Converter is a WFCO brand which I am thinking is still good (I hope)
I am going to hook up new batteries thurs after work and see what happens.
Please let me know your thoughts.
Thank you so much for all your help.
Chris

Do yourself a favor and buy a pair of deep cycle AGM (absorbed glass mat) batteries.  They are about twice the price of a good deep cycle flooded cell battery but they are sealed units which do not need maintenance.   Given the use of trailer batteries including long storages, they make more sense than the flooded cells units which need monthly if not weekly electrolyte checks.

BTW those dried out batteries may have KOed your converter/charger.  Have its output checked.
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Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Travel Trailer Electrical Trouble
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2008, 10:03:15 AM »
Amen concerning the AGM batteries - I love 'em even though they are expensive. Essentially no maintenance worries of any kind and good longevity too.

The WFCO converter has decent function but is not known for its long life - they came into widespread use in Fleetwood products in 2003 and quite a few people are now experiencing failures in them. I'm not suggesting you replace it ahead of time, but check the battery voltage regularly and  don't be surprised if you find it is not charging one day, i.e. system voltage in the 12 or less range rather than 13+.  Normal float  (fully charged) voltage should be 13.1-13.7v
Gary
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Pierat

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Re: Travel Trailer Electrical Trouble
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2008, 04:37:10 PM »
Do the AGM batteries last just as well in the dry desert (SE Arizona)?
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Re: Travel Trailer Electrical Trouble
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2008, 04:50:34 PM »
There's no reason they shouldn't. They're sealed batteries, so there's nothing to boil off or evaporate as there is with flooded wet cell batteries. That's the nice thing about AGM batteries, they're maintenance free.
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Carl L

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Re: Travel Trailer Electrical Trouble
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2008, 05:15:25 PM »
Do the AGM batteries last just as well in the dry desert (SE Arizona)?

Better.  As Tom said, nothing to evaporate.

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Lowell

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Re: Travel Trailer Electrical Trouble
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2008, 09:53:06 PM »
I'm still using a wet cell battery for my TT until it needs to be replaced.  But when the TT is in storage, I keep the battery in my garage and use a trickle charger on it every so ofter to keep it charged up.  I am amazed how quickly the water level in the battery drops.  I fnd it necesary to top it off every couple of months.  I sure that is partially due to the AZ dryness and heat.  But the battery has lasted a long time for AZ and is nearing 6 years old.  Most of the batteries in our vehicles last less than 3 years in the AZ environment and tyoically fail during the first cool spell at the start of their 3rd season. At least, thats my experience.
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Carl L

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Re: Travel Trailer Electrical Trouble
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2008, 12:23:11 AM »
I'm still using a wet cell battery for my TT until it needs to be replaced.  But when the TT is in storage, I keep the battery in my garage and use a trickle charger on it every so ofter to keep it charged up.  I am amazed how quickly the water level in the battery drops.  I fnd it necesary to top it off every couple of months.  I sure that is partially due to the AZ dryness and heat.  But the battery has lasted a long time for AZ and is nearing 6 years old.  Most of the batteries in our vehicles last less than 3 years in the AZ environment and tyoically fail during the first cool spell at the start of their 3rd season. At least, thats my experience.

I suspect the difference is in the construction of the batteries.   A deep cycle has few but thick plates designed to deliver a moderate current over a long span of time and to under recharging after heavy draw downs.    A starting batter has many but thin plates designed to give a sudden burst of high amperage and then being quickly recharged.   Coupling the heat of recharging with the heat of the environment has got to deteriorate those thin plates.

BTW at 6 years your TT battery is on its last legs with failure becoming more and more likely.
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John From Detroit

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Re: Travel Trailer Electrical Trouble
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2008, 07:48:39 AM »
Another items is the "Trickle charger"

There are basically 2x2 classes of chargers

One split is "Fast/Slow" A trickle charger is slow

The other is "smart/dumb"   When people say "Trickle charger" they usually mean "Dumb" no regulation

A battery MINDER (20-100 dollars depending on brand, store and features) is technically a "Trickle" charger (1-4 amps usually) but has a "Brain" so it can charge the battery to full, then cut back to a lower voltage for maintenance.. Some of them can also perform desulfation
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cgaydula

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Re: Travel Trailer Electrical Trouble
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2008, 06:28:28 AM »
Thanks again
Everything seems to be working now . I installed the deep cycle maintenance free Batteries
( not cheap but I am sure worth the price) Converter seems to be working (have to check output) I do have solar panels for the batteries hooked up that is supposed to give them a trickle charge when trailer is disconnected.
Thanks again for everyones help
Chris

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Travel Trailer Electrical Trouble
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2008, 09:05:44 AM »
Glad to hear it is working again. Happy camping!
Gary
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