HELP - Refrig and lights out, outlets work

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JPBJR

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Old 90's Bounder RV that's plugged in to power, we're living in it while our house is being built. The lights and refrigerator are out but we have power in the receptacles. We're in Greenville, SC. Any help is appreciated, thanks
 

Old_Crow

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Sounds like your coach batteries and/or converter have gone dead.  The lights all operate off 12v from either the batteries or the converter.  The fridge also needs 12v to operate, even when running on shore power.
Maybe something as simple as a tripped breaker on the 110v circuit going to the converter?

Oh, just noticed this is your first post.  Welcome to the forum.
 

JPBJR

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Thanks Wally, have no clue where or what those are. We've been in it for a while and haven't really had to do much, maint. wise. Borrowed it from a friend so not familiar with working on an RV, but pretty handy. Any instruction to how I find out?
 

JPBJR

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Another issue is we're snowed/iced in today and can't get to Camping World as it's the only outlet for supplies on a Sunday. Should the battery be charging while we're on "shore" power. I assume that's what you call it if you're plugged in to power source.
 

Alfa38User

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Yes they should be being charged. With the coach UNPLUGGED and with a voltmeter, you can check the voltage across the battery terminals. It should 12V-12.6 volts for a battery that at least has some charge in it. Plug back in and make the same measurement again. If the charger is working you should read at least 13.5 volts or so. Any battery reading at 12V or less can be considered DEAD!! While you are at it check the water level in the batteries. It should be at least covering the plates, preferably up to the eye shown when you look into the hole. Top up using distilled water.

Your refrigerator, hot water heater and furnace all require 12V to function. The furnace is completely 12V whereas the the water heater and the fridge require it for the control circuits only whether using propane or not.

Breakers seldom "look tripped". It is always best to manually put them off and them back on to be sure. Breakers protected the 120V circuits (outlets, microwave, converter) and fuses usually protect the 12V circuits (all the lights and the control circuits for appliances.) The converter serves as a battery charger and supplies the additional 12V required to run things.
 

scottydl

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You are correct with the terminology... "shore power" is plugged in. There are a few of those terms you'll catch on to as you keep reading here. :) And yes, if everything is working properly, the house batteries should be charging when connected to shore power. Does that rig have a panel readout somewhere that shows you the current battery level?

If you found your RV's interior breakers (they all have them in different locations) and nothing seems to be tripped, finding/testing your converter and the house batteries are the next step. The converter is what changes power from 110v AC incoming (from the plug) to 12v DC (to the battery or batteries) and charges them. That charge allows the 12v items throughout the RV to keep running, as Wally indicated.

In most Class A's including your 1990's Bounder, the house battery (or batteries) are almost certainly in a "basement" storage compartment that is accessible from the outside. They should be deep cycle 12v batteries (often sold for golf carts, marine usage, etc.) and can be removed and tested for free at almost any auto parts store. You can also check the yourself in a simple way if you have a multimeter (small handheld device to check electrical connections)... a good/charged 12v battery usually measures around upper 12's to 13 volts.

The converter could be located in a variety of locations too... under an entry step, behind a cabinet panel somewhere, perhaps near that fuse block you located... although not likely above the door. ;) It looks like a metal box, wires attached, and will have a small fan that kicks on when it's working. If you can find the converter and learn its make/model, we can help test and troubleshoot that device also. Camping World is fine, but many maintenance items can be bought just about anywhere (Walmart, auto parts stores, etc.) or ordered online (Amazon and the like) for much lower prices than any RV-specific place.

You might want to start reading some articles in our forum library, to familiarize yourself with RV systems in general. Feel free to keep browsing the general discussion areas, jump into any ongoing conversation, or post new questions of your own as well!
 

JPBJR

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Wow, yall are so awesome! Sleet/snow is almost through so I'll take a trip outside shortly, still thawing out from letting the dogs run around haha. I'll also try to upload some pics. Thanks again
 

John From Detroit

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There is another thread which shoudl have new posts when your read htis "Batteries not charging on 120 volt" or well Click Here for the thread

I just posted how the batteries are charged when on "Shore" power. And posting the link saves me much typing.

Batteries on trailers are often mounted on the tongue (TT's) or in a front compartment (Front of Trailer onr on one or the other side in the front) for 5th Wheel.

Converter is often part of the main power/fuse panel assembly but may be a seperate box (See other post)

Some people disconnect or remove batteries when not in use  SOME converters will not go live without a battery... Some converters will destroy a battery if left plugged in for too long (post converter model if you are worried) however most of those were made many years ago (nothing like that this century).

If you are in Upstate South Carolina pm me and I'll grab test gear.. but not today.
 

JPBJR

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UPDATE: Ok, so there's a storage drawer under the refrigerator. When I pulled it out, the lights and frig came on (Converter under the drawer). I cleaned it out and slid it back in gently, as when it pushes against the wiring housing it turns it off. Everything is on now and need to put rat/mice poison under there as there was a ton of droppings. Not sure if I have a short or what, but we'll see. Thanks again everyone, you all have been a blessing! Life in the RV saga continues....
 

Alfa38User

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It is not a short, but sounds like a cable has been well chewed and pushing the drawer back in moves the cable bundle and separates the cable wires a bit. You are likely to find multiple chewed wires that will need repairing. This could be dangerous for a fire if allowed to continue.
 

JPBJR

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Greenville, SC
Sorry John from Detroit, we are in Fountain Inn/Simpsonville area. Thanks Alfa, not sure how to re-wire it but hopefully God wraps his wings around us til this snow and ice go away and I can get some help with it, thank you.
 

scottydl

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Check your area for a mobile RV tech. Those business are scattered around and guys will come out to wherever you are (if your RV is not mobile) and fix the problem on-site. Local campgrounds might have some names/numbers, or you can Google "mobile RV repair" and start calling around.

If you have chewed/exposed wires you really need to get that handled sooner than later. We are talking about a fire hazard here, especially once current is regularly flowing through the wiring. Don't push this off until a time that seems convenient, when dealing with your safety!
 

John From Detroit

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Well I'm in Fair Play (just off I-85_ about 1.5 hours from you by car give or take a bit. Too far to drive at this time for me.. BUT.. It sounds like you got a good lead.. In addition to a broken wire.. There is the old "Screw loose" I've encountered a few times.  Sadly I dont' do well at workign in areas that small.
 

JPBJR

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Greenville, SC
Still off and on but talked to local RV repair guy. Doesn't seem like bad converter, wires may be loose or jarred. I can't see any "chewed" up lines so don't know the cause or issue yet. Thanks again for everyones input
 

John From Detroit

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Repair man due (I HOPE) Tomorrow here for a different issue. then I move to Seneca for the week.

If the repairman says the converter is working, and batteries are good. Did he look for 12 volts in the refrig compartment?  There are several fuses in there. Some are obvious (The main terminal board bottom center) some are hidden in a black box in the lower left corner.
 

cavie

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JPBJR said:
UPDATE: Ok, so there's a storage drawer under the refrigerator. When I pulled it out, the lights and frig came on (Converter under the drawer). I cleaned it out and slid it back in gently, as when it pushes against the wiring housing it turns it off. Everything is on now and need to put rat/mice poison under there as there was a ton of droppings. Not sure if I have a short or what, but we'll see. Thanks again everyone, you all have been a blessing! Life in the RV saga continues....

You don't have a short. You have a loose connection.
 

JPBJR

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Greenville, SC
He didn't say, phone advice for free. I did a thorough look though and didn't see any "chewed" up lines. I moved several lines around though and it hasn't gone out any more. I'll check loose connections tomorrow, thanks!
 

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