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Author Topic: Battery "low voltage" alarm is sounding too often..  (Read 4815 times)

Doccus

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Battery "low voltage" alarm is sounding too often..
« on: November 24, 2014, 04:10:57 PM »
As winter arrives I'm using more and more lights, and utilities.. However, my battery won't stay at full charge. The lights flicker and my "low voltage" alarmnm goes off regularly. I'm already on my second battery. I've had this problem since the day I bought the RV and they've always had a different answer..Playing dumb (there's no such thing as a low battery alarm" etc) until the sales warranty expired, and then suggresting $500 for a new conmverter. I son't want to have to buy a new battery and converyter is possible, as I suspect the crap converter has ruined another batteryt. The fluid levels are fine, in the battery they replaced for me. I've seen good inline chargers for $150, but the RV place that sold me the trailer with the defective unit now wants $500 to repair the issue. Is that my only option?

Wigpro

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Re: Battery "low voltage" alarm is sounding too often..
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2014, 04:33:45 PM »
Not sure what size V and the number of batteries that you have, but replacing the converter is not a tough job. I replaced mine with this one and it solved all my battery problems - it has a charge wizard that keeps the charger from boiling the batteries.

GO HERE to see it!

That would be my first thing to replace....

Good Luck...

Jim
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John From Detroit

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Re: Battery "low voltage" alarm is sounding too often..
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2014, 04:53:48 PM »
What battries are you using.. You may need to expand.

OFten we see the question which is better 12v or six volt pairs... Well, problem is that though six volt are fairly standard (220-250 amp hours) 12s run the gauntlet from pea size (Few amp hours) to giant size, (enough to run you for several days on a single charge,, However that size is too heavy to put into a motor home).

So we need to know what SIZE 12 volt batteries.
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Doccus

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Re: Battery "low voltage" alarm is sounding too often..
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2014, 05:29:54 PM »
I have a standard automobileish  (10" by 7")  sized , 12 volt deep cycle battery with a coding of SMA24. The kind that usually comes with a trailer (not motorhome or 5th wheel) It looks a touch larger than a car battery. I expect it's the bottom of the line in current delivery with that "24" number . If it wasn't for the flickering lights I'd consider just putting 2 in parallel, but I hear all sorts of warnings against that. I know enough, of course , to match batteries. I'd rather get a much larger battery instead, as there is all sorts of room fror me to place it in there is a huge storge area right next to the battery. It appears to me that more current is being demanded than it can handle, as , given time, it will recharge to the "4 light" status. Only if I turn off all the lights and wait a day, however.
So, charger, inverter, or just more available current?
Thank you for all yor time
Oh.. PS.. WHen you said "that size is too heavy to put into a motor home".. just HOW large is that, then? I mean, I have a space available in the "front" (by the towbar) of 18" x 24" x 8', right *next* to the current battery. That's pretty huge. That used to be the bedroom before I converted it into an office space. The bedspring completed the space but from outside it's a storage locker...
« Last Edit: November 24, 2014, 06:01:35 PM by Doccus »

Molaker

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Re: Battery "low voltage" alarm is sounding too often..
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2014, 07:41:01 PM »
Connecting batteries in parallel is done all the time.  Just need to use identical batteries and, preferably, same age.

Question: Is this problem occurring while plugged into shore power?  If the answer is yes, you definitely need to check out your converter.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2014, 07:44:17 PM by Molaker »
Tom & Joyce and Ditto the "don't tell her she's a dog" Westie
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Kevin Means

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Re: Battery "low voltage" alarm is sounding too often..
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2014, 12:41:39 AM »
One of the problems with many older or low-end converters is, they often don't fully recharge an RV's battery-bank, which in your case sounds like a single 12 volt battery. They can also over-charge it, causing significant damage. As RV battery-banks go, yours is pretty small. If you're running it down to 50% or so, it can take many hours for the converter to fully recharge it. It may be able to get it back up to about 80% in a couple of hours, but that last 20% may take several additional hours. I suspect that your battery is not being fully recharged.

A strong battery-bank and a good battery monitor (not a simple volt meter), are musts for boondocking, and a good three-stage charger should also be used. A battery monitor is the best way of knowing your battery-bank's condition - otherwise you're just guessing. I'd strongly recommend having at least two house-batteries and investing in a good three-stage charger.

Kev
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Battery "low voltage" alarm is sounding too often..
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2014, 10:52:33 AM »
You probably have a crap battery for its intended use - either  a basic car battery or maybe a marine type. A quality deep cycle battery would help, and so would a larger size battery, but it also sounds as though your charging system isn't keeping up with demand.

Please give us some more details:
1.Does this occur when the RV is plugged to shore power, or only when on battery alone?
2.What is the brand name of the converter/charger (it may be part of the 120v/12v power panel.
3.What year/make/model of RV?

I doubt if your charging system has a low voltage alarm, but there is a good chance the fridge has one to signal that it is about to quit do to low voltage at its circuit board. Next time you hear this alarm, try to track down its physical location.
Gary
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Doccus

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Re: Battery "low voltage" alarm is sounding too often..
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2014, 01:01:26 PM »
I'm not sure who I am replying to, as the "Reply" button doesn't seem to be specific. So I will answer all the questions posed, as well as comment on some statements.
1) Molaker.. Yes, it happens when plugged into shore power, and the flickering only occurs then. The lights are dim though and the battery status monitor rapidlly drops to low (it's a basic one with 1 to 4 red lights). When I first bought the trailer from a supposedly reputable dealer,  it was 4 years old. I intended it for full time living (which I have now done for several years already) At the time , however, I had not moved in, and repeatedly I would arrive at the unit with the power out and the battery dead. Despite a half dozen attempts to see why the 120V power cut out, we never really got to the bottom of it (the park blamed the power cable and the dealership blamed the park hookup). Be that as it may, this happened after my being  away for less than 48 hours and only one  or two lights had been left on (say, the porchlight) ,consisting of these tiny litle bulbs generally used . Also, the propane devices would not start and the battery monitor was dead.

2) So, yes, Kevin, A battery status monitor is part of the electrics in the trailer - As I mentioned it's the simple one with four red lights, four lit up for full and one for low..

3) I have no idea what brand the charger/converter is, but it's what they put in Fleetwood Quantums betweem 2004 and 2008. Mine is a deluxe edition 2006 Fleetwood Terry Quantum.

4) Gary- The system absolutely has a "low voltage alarm" .. which is precisely what it is labeled as.. it's next to the circuit board as part of the CO2 and propane alarm.

5) Kevin.. Yes, it is a single deep cycle RV battery, the green ones that RVs usually have. Mine appears to be the same as the old one I used to have in a tiny 14 footer. I think it's the bootom of the line, but the dealership was cheap. It appears to be a "group 24 SRM", but it simply can't tell if it's a good one or not. I would like a whole lot more capacity, however. Given enough time it will always charge back up to full. It just appears unable to deal with the amount of  current being demanded off of it.

What sucks is that at the time I did not know enough to know that the dealership was just trying to avoid their responsibilities when they said they "didn't know" why my trailer's battery should be dead after a day disconnected from shore power. He said "the battery should last several days". He acted like it was all my fault, though, probably to save the cost of a replacement converter / battery He also said that piercing alarm must have been a propane alarm because "there's no such thing as a battery alarm" - OK so I didn't know it was called a "low voltage alarm". It wasn't propane. I hadn't moved into it yet and had no need for hot water or heat , and anyways it was summer.. So, not a touch of propane in the unit, yet he claimed that iy "had " to be a propane alarm. Suuure. It turned out part of the problem was a bad battery (the one they originally supplied) although it toojk a year of complaining before they "found out" that it couldn 't hold a charge in half of it's cells. What I've found on line , though is that it's possible that  if it were a bad converter/charger it would have wrecked it.
 Over the last 3+ years I have brought up the issue almost a dozen times, always pointing out that this haoppened from the day I bought the unit. First they played dumb, now they say they can't remember me talking about it then, so it's not a  responsibility issue with them.
Fine. Lousy dealer. I still need to fix the issue. The upshot appears to be that if I have enough current availability for my needs (ie a larger battery, or 2 parallel 12 V), the charger won't be working overtime and causing it to, essentially, burn out. 
 I'd prefer a l;arger battery,(more AH) but don't know precisely what to look for. The ratings and pricings are confusing.  Also, because of my porevious experience with the dealership (thus my point in telling y'all what went down), I think they might havce replacesd mine with a bottom of the barrel.. It's an SRM 24 12 volt MArine/RV.. not a sealed battery, but fluid levels look good. Also, ATM, I haven't been using the furnace or many lights, so my charge meter reads full and my lights are NOT dim or flickering.

I can't think of anything else to add..
Thanks for all your suggestions! Nick
Also, where is the charger/converter located? I have a junction unit (not the master circuit breakers) in the front bedroom of the trailer. I haven't examined it closely, however, as I'm opposed to yanking wires willy nilly unless I am DEAD sure I know what I am doing ;-)
« Last Edit: November 25, 2014, 01:03:33 PM by Doccus »

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Battery "low voltage" alarm is sounding too often..
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2014, 02:04:55 PM »
You are replying to the message thread, not to an individual. Reply merely adds your text to the ongoing stream of messages in this topic.

OK, so you do have a battery alarm. Not a common feature, but a nice one to have.  The point is, you should not be running off the battery if you are plugged to shore power. That's why a couple of us have asked about that.

How long a battery lasts depends entirely on what you are powering with it. One day is entirely in the realm of reason if you have power-hungry things like the furnace running, or even lots of lights on. A single Group 24 size battery contains about 85 amp-hours, of which about 70% are likely to be usable before reaching an alarm threshold (I'm guessing 10.5v). There is no magic - the battery just stores power until needed, and the voltage falls as the level goes down. Think of it as  a glass of water - it lasts longer when you sip vs when you gulp.
Gary
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Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Molaker

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Re: Battery "low voltage" alarm is sounding too often..
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2014, 05:05:41 PM »
Gary touched on this, but I feel it needs some emphasis...if your problem occurs while plugged in to shore power then your converter is not delivering adequate DC power.  It could be the output wires are not sized properly (not large enough), but more likely the converter is too small for your loads or is defective and just not keeping up.  It should, however.  I can't feature you drawing more current than the converter can supply and not blow fusesl.
Tom & Joyce and Ditto the "don't tell her she's a dog" Westie
U.S. Navy (Ret)
2014 Winnebago ERA 70X 24' class B Sprinter chassis

 

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