2004 gulfstream cavalier - electrical problem

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Joined
Oct 16, 2012
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I bought this camper set up as a park model and I have no plans to move it.
It's been fine since spring.
The campground had to fix the A/C and the thermostat right after I bought it, but everythign else seemed fine.
Tested everything and all seemed well. had to run furnace a couple nights in the spring, ...it ran flawlessly.
but there was always one of the little permanent light fixtures that would flicker on and off, above the vanity sink, but I barely used it.  (figured I'd get to that when I got a chance)

Now the other night I was sitting outside with neighbors and they pointed out that a small lamp I had running on the kitchen table was dimming down (as if someone was getting fried in the electric chair nearby)
This worried me, so I shut it off.
Later that evening we came inside and the furnace kicked on...shortly after it started up the power in the whole place started failing, then coming back up, then failing....etc...

At that point, all that was running was tv, a small light above the sink and the fridge of course...so it shouldn't have been an overload.

The night before I did trip a breaker by running a pizza maker and a oil filled space heater at the same time.
But when the furnace did that neither of those things were plugged in.

I did have direct TV installed earlier in the day....but can't imagine how that would cause trouble.

any ideas other than "hire an electrician"....would be greatly appreciated!

 

donn

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Check your battery!  On many RV's a battery is required to supply the power for everything, the converter is only there to charge the battery.
 
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Donn:
emailed service tech at Gulfstream and he explained that the "femas", which mine is one, were'nt sent out with a battery.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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You have both 120vac and 12v dc power systems in the trailer. Most lighting is 12vdc and depend on a battery and a converter/charger for the 12v power. The furnace and fridge also require 12v power. If you had problems with those, look to the battery and 12v power converter. A battery that has boiled off all its internal water in the cells can cause problems like you experienced. So can a failing converter/charger.

It is possible you don't have an actual battery - trailers kept on permanent shore power sometimes eliminate them and either do without or substitute a battery eliminator device. The "FEMA" trailers were set up this way.

If you had a regular 120v table lamp plugged in and it was also affected, then you have a different problem. Most likely the problem was with the campground's own power, but it is conceivable you have some fault with the load center (breaker box) in the RV. You probably need professional help if the problem involves 120v shore power.
 
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Thanks Gary.
I'm going up this weekend with a multimeter and my fingers crossed, to see if I can trace the problem.
I'll post what I find out by monday
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Those FEMA trailers often bear little resemblance to production RV - they typically had no holding tanks, water pumps or tank, and some had no 12v power system at all. They were never intended to be self-contained. Then when sold for RV use, some of them were modified by the re-seller to be more suitable, at least as a "park model".  Bottom line is that it is hard to guess what you may actually have for power and water systems.  It is quite possible my previous remarks about 12v power and converter/charger does not apply at all.

Check to see if you have any fixtures with 12v bulbs. Also, is your furnace propane powered or perhaps electric only? What make and model furnace? And is the shore power 30A or 50A?
 
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I believe shore power is 30amp.
I need to find that out tomorrow.
It has the little built in lights on the ceiling with the odd little bulbs (I'm guessing it does have a 12v system, but no battery).

Here's a more condensed summary of what happened last sat night....it was a chilly evening.

-The table lamp (plugged into 110v wallsocket) ,after running for an hour or so without incident, began acting like someone nearby was being fried in the electric chair (flickering and dimming)
Tried the floor lamp (plugged into 110v wallsocket) across the room and it did the same....but the 12v light above the sink was steady and strong.
After that:
Turned off all non-essentials and ran light above sink and tv is all ...furnace kicked on a bit later and the whole trailer started blacking out.

 
Joined
Oct 16, 2012
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Furnace runs propane.

That's another question of mine.

Assuming there is a 12v system, and the furnace runs off propane, could the power source for the furnace blower be 12v, or could it only be 110v?
 

Alfa38User

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Again, the make and model of the furnace will tell you that. RV furnaces run on 12V and propane. BUT... with the mix of what you have said, it being a NEMA trailer and what various re-sellers may or may not have done, it is difficult for us to determine exactly what you might have.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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It sure sounds as though your problem is strictly with the 120v power system. That means either a bad connection in the RV load center or shore cord, or a problem at the campground power pole. Your symptoms sound like a loose or corroded wire, or a wire that is near-broken through.  The connection where the shore cord wire ties into its three-prong plug is one common place weher that occurs.
 
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