RV DC not working- need help troubleshooting (New RVers)

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jessdemorest

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Bellingham WA
Hi, I’m new to this forum, but my boyfriend and I just bought a used 1997 38ft Class A Pace Arrow with the intent to move into it. We got it onto our first RV park, hooked up to shore line power, and the first thing we noticed is nothing that is run by DC power is working, including the slide and levelers.

We at first thought that the inverter didn’t have enough charge because the light was solid orange when we first plugged in to shore line power, so we waited until the light was solid green, and still none of our DC power worked. Then we checked our converter and noticed that the converter had 4 wires running off of it that were capped off and not connected anywhere.

Do those wires have anything to do with the converter not working? Also, if they do, my boyfriend didn’t see anywhere that he would connect the wires to, so, where would they go?

Also important information, the person we bought the RV from said she forgot to give us the adapter to connect to shoreline power, and my boyfriend thinks that the adapter is like a replacement converter. Could that be it?

Thank you in advance for your time, we really appreciate it.
 

HueyPilotVN

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Welcome to the Forum.

First check to see if you have a battery disconnect. It will be a switch to disconnect the batteries during storage, maybe near the door.
 

Henry J Fate

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Jun 14, 2018
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Mine is ON to provide power to the house however the terminology could be either way. Try both settings to see if anything works.

Also.... make sure your batteries are good. Use a volt meter to confirm battery state and to determine whether or not they are being charged when plugged in.
 

Mark_K5LXP

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You're interchangeably using the terms inverter and converter, which are separate and distinct devices that sometimes have overlapping function depending on what kind they are. So going forward it would help to know for sure what you have and call it by that name. A photo of the wiring issue might reveal what you're seeing there, as there's no way to guess what someone might have done there.

A shoreline adapter implies a 50 amp to 30 amp, or 30 amp to 20 amp plug adapter. If you've plugged into shore power, then there's no adapter needed. The adapters come in handy when you encounter a power pedestal or outlet that doesn't match the connection your RV is built for.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

donn

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If you don't have one go to the store, Harbor Freight, Lowes, Home Depot, true value and buy a volt meter. They can be had for less than 20 dollars. You need to start tracing voltage. You also need to find the house battery and follow the 12VDC from there to the fuse panel. It's really impossible to diagnose over the internet
 

Utclmjmpr

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You could also have a fuse/ breaker somewhere near the battery bank.. It will disconnect the entire bank of battery's if it's opened.>>>Dan
 

Larry N.

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Then we checked our converter and noticed that the converter had 4 wires running off of it that were capped off and not connected anywhere.

Do those wires have anything to do with the converter not working?
That depends on what they are -- is there anything connected to the converter? The converter is designed to take 120 VAC from shore power and converting it to 12 VDC to charge batteries and to operate 12V items such as lights. Do you actually have batteries? I ask because it's possible that the Previous Owner (PO) removed the batteries (a very few people do that).

We at first thought that the inverter didn’t have enough charge because the light was solid orange when we first plugged in to shore line power, so we waited until the light was solid green, and still none of our DC power worked.
The INverter is designed to take the 12VDC from the batteries and convert it into the 120 VAC like your house uses. It has nothing to do with charging or with DC operations. That's the CONverter's job.

Also important information, the person we bought the RV from said she forgot to give us the adapter to connect to shoreline power, and my boyfriend thinks that the adapter is like a replacement converter. Could that be it?
The adapter, as Mark indicates, is for connecting your shore power cord to something other than what it was designed for, such as connecting the 50 Amp power cord on some coaches to a 30 Amp connection on the shore power connection point (or a 30 amp cord to a 50 amp connection).
 

DonTom

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We found the battery disconnect right above the door. We want the battery disconnect to be off, yes?
Maybe. The problem is the term itself. If a disconnect is on, does it mean the batteries are on or does it mean it's disconnected? Could be either, depending only on who is asked or who labeled it.

A simple way to check it would be to temporarily disconnect your AC shore power. Now put that switch in the position that gives you 12V stuff. And leave it there, just plug the AC back in.

But above assumes there is a battery in there that is charged up at least a little.

When you're done with the RV for many weeks or months, only then put the switch in the opposite position where you have no 12V anywhere in the house section. That is for storage only. That will remove the 12 volts everything in the house, even stuff such as the refrigerator (A propane refrigerator still needs 12V to work). You do not want it to work while in storage.

-Don- Newkirk, NM
 

John From Detroit

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I frequently tell folks a TEST LAMP is your friend. You get 'em at the Auto parts store or Auto Dept at the super stores (Wall mart and competitors, Lowes, Home Depot. Mennards et-al)

Start at the battery.. Clip to negative, tip to positive BRIGHT LIGHT good no light dead battery.(dim light if it is a 6V battery you want the "MOST Negative and MOST posiutive with GC-2 batteries. the light will ID them for you)

Now move the clip to a good chassis ground (Unpainted metal) dark=bad negative(Ground) connection.

Now move aout along the positive wire. If you need to move the clip retest last point to insure you have good ground (or option 2) Problem exists between BRIGHT and Dark.

Option 2. A 50 foot coil of wire oh 18 GA is fine and a couple of clips so you can remain hooked to the battery for all but the ground cable test. (I do that too)
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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#1. Leave the Disconnect Switch ON (connected) at all times except long term (2+ months) storage when the coach is not plugged to shore power.
#2. A 1997 Fleetwood coach like yours probably has both a house (Aux) and a chassis/engine (Main) disconnect. Leave both on as stated in #1.
#3. In later model years the slides & jacks are typically hardwired to the batteries, bypassing the Aux and/or Main Disconnect switch, but I'm not positive about yours.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Then we checked our converter and noticed that the converter had 4 wires running off of it that were capped off and not connected anywhere.

Do those wires have anything to do with the converter not working? Also, if they do, my boyfriend didn’t see anywhere that he would connect the wires to, so, where would they go?
Maybe to the batteries? That maybe aren't there? We can only guess from that brief description. Please post photos of the converter, wiring, and any batteries.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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the person we bought the RV from said she forgot to give us the adapter to connect to shoreline power, and my boyfriend thinks that the adapter is like a replacement converter. Could that be it?
No. Shoreline power is 120vac and the adapter merely mates it to different style outlets, i.e. 15A, 30A or 50A. You already managed to plug in, so you don't need a shoreline adapter right now.
 

Ray-IN

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What is the brand and model of your inverter/charger? Mfgrs. often keep digital owners manuals in their archives, visit their website to find your owners manual. If that is not an option, hopefully someone here has experience with that brand and model.
 

gwinger

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Natrona Hts PA
I don't think the battery switch is the problem. Most of them just disconnect battery power to the RV. Even if it's off the converter should be supplying the 12 volt power. The battery will not charge with the switch off though. This sounds like the converter is not getting the 120 volts, or the converter is bad.
 

Larry N.

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Westminster, Colorado
Even if it's off the converter should be supplying the 12 volt power.
To what? In each of the rigs I've had the battery cutoff not only stopped charging, but also stopped any other 12V use (lights, fridge, etc.), except for maybe the steps.
 

Old_Crow

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To what? In each of the rigs I've had the battery cutoff not only stopped charging, but also stopped any other 12V use (lights, fridge, etc.), except for maybe the steps.
My old 89 Sportscoach had the old style WFCO converter. When the disconnect switches were off, it had no power to the 12v side. If you plugged it in to shore power and left the switches turned off, all the 12v stuff started working. I always assumed it was working off the converter.
 

Ray-IN

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My Xantrex RS2000 inverter/charger is wired directly to the house battery bank, other battery cables run to the house 12V functions. This means my house bank is being charged regardless of the disconnect switch position.
It also means if I forget to turn off the inverter part it will run down the house battery bank regardless of disconnect switch position.
 

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