Battery vs shore power

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RVMommaTo6

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I'm plugged in at the camp site. My outlets work when I plug stuff in, the microwave and AC work. The lights went dim and stopped working and the battery died. Doesn't shore power keep the battery charged? Is this normal?
 

Rene T

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RVMommaTo6 said:
Doesn't shore power keep the battery charged? Is this normal?

It does if the converter is working properly and you have to have 110 Volt AC power going to it. 

1) Check to make sure the circuit breaker for the converter in your entrance panel hasn't tripped. If there is a breaker, turn it off then back on.

2) If you have a meter, check the voltage at the battery posts while your plugged into shore power.

3) Then unplug from shore power and take another set of readings.

4) Tell us what you end up with.
 

Alfa38User

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No, it is NOT normal!! When plugged in the converter should keep up the batteries and supply other 12V stuff. Did you forget perhaps to turn on the Store/Use switch at the front door?? This could, in some coaches, prevent shore power and the converter from charging the house batteries.

I see you are on your way, Good Luck and have a fine trip, you don't need these problems!!!
 

RVMommaTo6

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I turned on the ignition because I didn't even have enough battery to start the generator. Now my battery is showing full power. While the ignition is on. When I turn the ignition back off, the battery still shows full power and everything seems to work except the AC. Turn the ignition back on and the AC works.
 

RVMommaTo6

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The switch is on use.

I don't have a meter that I know of. I have a power surge/ monitor thing on the plug into the site post that shows everything is normal with the incoming electric.

I'll see if I can find a circuit breaker.
 

RVMommaTo6

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Everything is pointed the same direction so I don't think anything is tripped but I added a pic.
 

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Alfa38User

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Don't forget you have 2 sets of batteries, one battery (usually) for the engine, starter etc and 1 or more to power the house stuff. These two systems are completely separate from each other. The engine alternator will cause the house set of batteries to be charged when underway but not when parked. That is the job of the converter when plugged in.


The house batteries are often used to start the Generator but not every make and model of RV is wired the same. It sure sounds like your house batteries have died and the first thing to do is to find the reason why. You should get yourself a small voltmeter from any source, Walmart, Radio Shack etc. Follow Ren?'s suggestions for starters.

The circuit breakers are used on 120V circuits and fuses are used on 12V circuits. These are located in you main power panel, usually skillfully hidden behind a decorative panel or larger door. Often the two are in the same panel. If so the make and model written on that door would be useful information.

For circuit breakers, looks don't count!! Switch them off then on to be sure. That said, it would be nice to see the rest of fuse list (all 9) on the bottom left of your picture to see what powers what and particularly the Reverse Power fuse(s) so we can make further suggestions.
 

SeilerBird

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The circuit breakers can be tripped and still in the wrong position. You need to turn off each breaker and turn them back on to make sure they are really on.
 

Hfx_Cdn

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    Amanda, it is a 12 volt, ie house battery problem, and the fact that your lights are working when you have the MH turned on certainly leads to either a converter or a house battery problem.  As others have said, check all the breakers, and often the converter has one or two, and usually they have fuses too, and you need to check them.  It could be as simple as a poor battery connection, or a bad batter. 
    Since you don't have a multi meter, ask around at the campground, or bat your eyes and ask for help from another camper, most will gladly help try to find the problem.
    It is a bummer to have a problem so early on your trip.

Ed
 

RVMommaTo6

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My house batteries are used to start the generator. If the house batteries are dead I turn on the engine to start the generator and then it charges the batteries.

I flipped all the switches off and then on. Nothing changed but idk if that's because they're already dead. So right now, I'm plugged in AND I have the generator going because it's too hot not to have the AC on.

Is the converter breaker different than the breakers I did? I see everyone talk about converters but idk what those are.
 

Alfa38User

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So right now, I'm plugged in AND I have the generator going because it's too hot not to have the AC on.
You should not need the generator to run the AC as it runs on 120V when plugged in BUT... The AC may be controlled from the dials on it or the thermostat. Depending on the type of AC installed  and if the house batteries are dead, the thermostat which needs a 12V connection to operate properly, may not be too functional. TURN OFF the AC before stopping the generator if switching over then start the AC again.


(FYI you should never start/stop the generator with a load on it, (ie air conditioners etc) as this will only lead to further problems down the road).

You really need that voltmeter or multimeter to troubleshoot much further. Check all the house battery connections for good, clean, solid connections and then measure across the battery terminals with the voltmeter and give us the readings.

How was the RV stored before the start of your trip, plugged in or not?? If not plugged in, that may explain why the house batteries are now dead, especially if the trip to the current campground was only a short distance away.
 

RVMommaTo6

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I knew the batteries didn't last long before we left but I didn't think that mattered if we were plugged in. They were fine the first 2 days and then died this morning. I thought they would be charging if we were plugged in so I assumed as long as we didn't go more than 2 days without being plugged in or running the generator, we would be fine.
 

Lou Schneider

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The batteries should last forever when you're plugged in, because the converter is supposed to provide the power to charge them and run all of the 12 volt stuff when you're plugged into power or running the generator.

It sounds like your converter isn't working, so whether or not you're plugged into shore power the batteries are running your 12 volt stuff, until the batteries run out.

If the A/C has a wall thermostat, it needs 12 volts to run the thermostat and the A/C's control circuits.  No 12 volts - the A/C stays off.

Your refrigerator also needs 12 volts to run it's control board.  No 12 volts - the refrigerator stays off (even in gas mode).

Turning on the ignition connects the house and starting batteries together, so the house 12 volt stuff will work ... until you drain the starting battery.

You really need a multimeter to see if your converter is working and charging the batteries.  We can talk you through using it.  If there's a Wal-Mart nearby, they have one in their tool section for about $25.  Or go to Harbor Freight, they have several.

One thing you can try first ... the two 40 Amp fuses on the left side of the 12 volt fusepanel as shown in your picture are Reverse Polarity Fuses.  They will blow to protect the converter if the battery is accidentally connected backwards even for an instant.  They don't have the Blown Fuse lights like the other fuses so you'll have to pull them to see if they're blown.  You should see the conductor going from one pin to the other when you look through them from the side - if it's missing a piece or not there it's blown.

And here's a link to your converter's Service Manual if you or someone else starts troubleshooting it:

https://wfcoelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/8900-Series-Manual-web.pdf

 

Rene T

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Lou Schneider said:
You really need a multimeter to see if your converter is working and charging the batteries.  We can talk you through using it.  If there's a Wal-Mart nearby, they have one in their tool section for about $25.  Or go to Harbor Freight, they have several.

I would recommend you get a digital meter and not a analog. The analog will work OK but the digital will be much more accurate.
 

wackymac

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If the A/C has a wall thermostat, it needs 12 volts to run the thermostat and the A/C's control circuits.  No 12 volts - the A/C stays off.

Some thermostats have batteries in them to operate.  Mine uses 2 AA cells.
 

Gizmo100

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First question ...

When you plug in to the AC, Can you here the converter fan come on? With dead batteries it go right into bulk charging mode. This should call on the fan to come on to prevent overheating.

Second question...For anyone having a similar RV.

Does the generator run the converter to charge the batteries? (I'm thinking yes but I don't have personal knowledge of this RV)

Best of luck RVMoma ...Keep us posted.
 

Isaac-1

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I agree with the others, it sounds like your converter is dead, or its output fuses are burned out.  Most modern converters will operate even if the house batteries are completely dead, though may have issues if a battery dies with an internal short.  As the others have said you really need a multi-meter to diagnose things much more, even a cheap $5 one from harbor freight will do, and we can talk you through what and where to test.  Without working house batteries the air conditioner, refrigerator, and most likely the water heater will not function as they all need 12VDC to operate their control boards even when plugged into shore power.  As an emergency fix, you could get a standard automotive battery charger and connect it to the house batteries until you can replace / repair the converter, if you go this route get one with at least 10 amps of continuous output, preferably more, those little 1.5 amp maintainer chargers probably could not keep up with the amp draw from the control boards, etc. Your converter probably has a 40-60 amp output rating in comparison.

Something kind of like this though there are many models to choose from https://smile.amazon.com/Schumacher-SC1360-Handheld-Battery-Charger/dp/B07895QQBN  should cost $50-$75 at Wal-Mart

p.s. if you are still in Erie PA, according to the Wal-Mart web site there is a fairly good Schumacher battery charger in stock at their store at 5350 W. Ridge Rd https://www.walmart.com/ip/Schumacher-100-amp-Battery-Charger/784428205  this is not a perfect fix, but hold you over until you can get the real one fixed.  (that 100 amp rating is for engine starting, not continuous output, looks like it is 12 amp continuous at the high output setting)
 

Larry N.

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So right now, I'm plugged in AND I have the generator going because it's too hot not to have the AC on.

Are you saying that with the generator running you have The air conditioning running but with shore power alone you don't have that? Can you use the house lighting (12V I presume) while plugged in, or does that also need the generator running?

The reason I ask is that whether you are on shore power or you are on the generator, the converter supplies the 12V DC to run lighting, perhaps the thermostat, and other stuff that should run on batteries when you're not plugged in to the shore. As a result, the various posts above have not been clear to me why you need to run the generator AND be plugged in.

And you talked about turning on the ignition to start the generator; did you start the vehicle engine or just turn the key to the ignition on position without starting the engine?

Or maybe I missed something in one of the posts...
 

Isaac-1

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Larry, she may have a battery combiner solenoid which bridges the house and chassis batteries when the main engine is running.
 

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