Major Electrical Issue - HELP!

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

skedman

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2018
Posts
16
We just moved into our RV (1998 Fleetwood Bounder 32') over the weekend.  We are living in it full-time and have it parked (very long-term) in a mobile home/RV park.  When we bought it we then took it to a major RV dealer to have it checked over for anything major that needed to be fixed before we moved our entire lives (and 4 cats) in.  We have noticed a few minor things that they missed, but one thing they did say was that the house batteries needed to be replaced.  I bought the batteries and was going to change them in a couple of weeks when I had time to focus on them and in the morning before is got too hot.

Well, after two days in, the house batteries died just after dark.  I then went out, got the new batteries, took pictures of the connections on the old batteries and changed them out (it takes 2).  When I went to connect the last wires to the terminal, it sparked.  I (like the wuss that I am) dropped the cable immediately (and away from any connection).  I took a breath and tried again.  I got an initial spark, but then nothing and the house lights came on!  After a few seconds, I started to hear a hiss come from the engine area.  I quickly pulled the connection off and the hiss stopped.  I then got some help from our park mangers who know a thing or two about this.  They took their time going over my pictures and the connections and so they basically connected it again.  No noise this time.  Everything's fine.  WRONG!  A few minutes later we start to smell the chassis battery "burning".  I immediately disconnected the house batteries.  Then we disconnected the chassis battery which looks like the acid came out on top a little bit (probably the hissing I heard).  Reconnected the house batteries.  We have power.  Now we have TOO MUCH power.  After about 30 minutes, we blew a light bulb.  This morning when I got up to go to work, I realized that the lights were WAY too bright.  I put my hand on the cover and it was very hot to the touch.

Does anyone have any ideas about what could be causing this?  I am new to the house battery thing as I have always had a trailer that only had 30 amp power.
 

mel s

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 28, 2014
Posts
836
skedman said:
We have power.  Now we have TOO MUCH power.  After about 30 minutes, we blew a light bulb.  This morning when I got up to go to work, I realized that the lights were WAY too bright.  I put my hand on the cover and it was very hot to the touch.
Does anyone have any ideas about what could be causing this?  I am new to the house battery thing as I have always had a trailer that only had 30 amp power.

skedman
To much 120VAC power?
Or to much 12VDC power?
What does the power measure with your meter?
https://s.hswstatic.com/gif/volt-ohm-milliammeter-1.jpg
 

PJ Stough

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 20, 2009
Posts
2,118
Location
Central Iowa
The first possibility that comes to mind is that you have the new batteries hooked up in series and not in parallel, but I dont see how that would boil the chassis battery.

A picture of your batteries and the connections may help.
 

skedman

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2018
Posts
16
mel s said:
skedman
To much 120VAC power?
Or to much 12VDC power?
What does the power measure with your meter?
https://s.hswstatic.com/gif/volt-ohm-milliammeter-1.jpg

Not sure, but the park managers tested the batteries before they reinstalled them and both were 6v
 

skedman

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2018
Posts
16
Paul 1950 said:
The first possibility that comes to mind is that you have the new batteries hooked up in series and not in parallel, but I dont see how that would boil the chassis battery.

A picture of your batteries and the connections may help.

Here is a picture of the old battery setup which we duplicated.  I am at work right now (where I have internet access) so I can't get a pic of the new batteries or shrink the photo, but we used the same setup to the same terminals.
 

Attachments

  • battery.JPG
    battery.JPG
    132.5 KB · Views: 69

cerd

Well-known member
Joined
May 29, 2018
Posts
621
Location
MN
Its hard to see from that picture since the wires are not showing entirely. Your batteries should be connected + to + and - to -. The + should not be jumpered to the -. If you have a multimeter, you should see 12-13 volts, not 24.

EDIT: I was unaware that these were 6v batteries. In that case, one should go from + to - to make 12v. If you put the + to + and - to -, it would stay at 6v.
 

skedman

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2018
Posts
16
cerd said:
Its hard to see from that picture since the wires are not showing entirely. Your batteries should be connected + to + and - to -. The + should not be jumpered to the -. If you have a multimeter, you should see 12-13 volts, not 24.

When we saw that on the setup of the old batteries, we did think that it was weird, but it was working fine that way.  I sent a text to my wife to see if they can try and hook it up the way you suggest and see what happens.  My other concern is why it would fry the chassis battery.
 

Back2PA

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 26, 2015
Posts
5,766
Those are 6 volt batteries which need to be wired in series, wiring appears correct:


+ to house__+batt 1-___+batt 2-___ house -
 

PJ Stough

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 20, 2009
Posts
2,118
Location
Central Iowa
I can not see the pos and neg markings on the battery on the left, but if it is marked the same as the battery on the right, it would appear that you have your 6 volt batteries connected in parallel, as it appears that the negative on the battery on the right is connected to the negative on the battery on the left, so your output would only be ~6 volts, and you are using the positive post on the battery on the right as the positive for the combined batteries, and the positive post on the left battery as your negative, or ground, and that wont work.

I believe if you put the batteries in the same orientation, you would see the problem easier.
 

Back2PA

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 26, 2015
Posts
5,766
Paul 1950 said:
I can not see the pos and neg markings on the battery on the left, but if it is marked the same as the battery on the right, it would appear that you have your 6 volt batteries connected in parallel, as it appears that the negative on the battery on the right is connected to the negative on the battery on the left, so your output would only be ~6 volts, and you are using the positive post on the battery on the right as the positive for the combined batteries, and the positive post on the left battery as your negative, or ground, and that wont work.

I believe if you put the batteries in the same orientation, you would see the problem easier.
That's what I initially thought also Paul, however if you look at the orientation of the batteries (right one is upside down so pole orientation is reversed from left) and the clearly marked poles that you can see, I believe the wiring is correct if you follow it through

Edit: I made the assumption re pole orientation based upon the sticker orientation on top of the batteries
 

skedman

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2018
Posts
16
Sun2Retire said:
That's what I initially thought also Paul, however if you look at the orientation of the batteries (right one is upside down so pole orientation is reversed from left) and the clearly marked poles that you can see, I believe the wiring is correct if you follow it through

Edit: I made the assumption re pole orientation based upon the sticker orientation on top of the batteries

I verified that that was the case.  Also, the orientation of the batteries in that manner is necessary as the cables won't reach otherwise.
 

Back2PA

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 26, 2015
Posts
5,766
Kevin Means said:
Did you replace 6 volt batteries with 12 volt batteries?

Kev
That's sure what it sounds like, but OP reported that he had someone test the new batteries and they were 6V ?? ???
 

Back2PA

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 26, 2015
Posts
5,766
Since there is no way to get more than 12V from the house batteries no matter how they are wired (assuming they are indeed 6V batteries as you report), it would seem to eliminate wiring right at the house batteries. It sounds as-if this rig is new to you, so you never know what sort of modifications could have been made by the previous owner. The only way to get more than 12V on a 12V system is to wire two or more 12V sources in series. Since you have perceived (and the blown light bulb would seem to indicated) that the house voltage is high, this is the only scenario I can dream up which would cause your problem. This is a wild theory, so hang on.

First, the house batteries have somehow, possibly by simple previous mis-connection, been wired in series with the converter. Don't even know if this is possible, but if it is that would account for high voltage in the house. Second, the fact that the chassis battery reacted (again apparently to high voltage) means it is somehow receiving voltage from the house batteries and/or converter. And if this theory is correct (unlikely  ::) ) the chassis battery would be receiving double the voltage. I am almost certain your Bounder does not charge the chassis battery from the charger but I could be wrong. Assuming it doesn't normally charge the chassis battery from shore, that it was receiving ANY voltage from the house batteries either means there has been a failed closed "Emergency Start" relay, or someone has wired around it.
I would run the following tests:
  • First disconnect shore power then disconnect the chassis battery and test voltage across the disconnected chassis battery leads - it should read zero as there should be no source at that point. If you do get voltage, how much?
  • With shore power still disconnected, removed a bulb anywhere in the house and test voltage.
  • Plug in shore power, test voltage at bulb.
  • Test voltage across still disconnected chassis battery leads.
If at any point you find in excess of about 14V, immediately disconnect shore power
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
73,535
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
Without a picture of the current (new) battery hook-up, we can only guess and guessing is not a productive diagnostic. We may be able to help with a up-to-date picture and some voltage measurements. In the meantime, it appears to be a case of the bllnd following the bllnd.
 
Top Bottom