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Old 06-10-2019, 10:25 AM   #1
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Nauseous or toxic odors after hooking up to electric in campground

I have a 17 year old Winnebago Adventurer, I'm the original owner, and this weekend I hooked up to electricity and experienced the above. I don't think my charger-converter is working properly, but I have solar power and I've never noticed a problem before. Would a bad converter be causing these headache and odors I'm experiencing. The odor also comes from my solenoid area above my steps and battery area. Right now I'm using battery power, so as not to experience the fumes, but I'm in a full service campground for a week and I'd like to get this fixed as I'm 2000 miles from home. Tucson, Arizona Any suggestions would be appreciated or you can write me direct if you know how to solve this problem. [email protected]
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Old 06-10-2019, 03:45 PM   #2
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Boiling Battery off gassing. Vent the battery area and check to see if a battery is boiling or very hot.
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:08 PM   #3
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Yes, it sounds like an overcharged or shorted battery, rotten egg smell that will choke you. Pull out the voltmeter and check the voltage at the battery with the converter charging. Then if that's OK start up the engine and check the voltage at the chassis and house batteries. I remember the night driving home from Florida in our last DP rig, 500 mile day and within 50 miles of home I smelled it, pulled off the road in the middle of nowhere GA, really, and the house batteries were really almost on fire. I unhooked the dingy and put DW and the dog in, made it 15 miles to an auto parts store and when I got out of the rig the real issue was obvious, the big chassis batteries were almost on fire. Quick check and the alternator internal voltage regulator was fried, putting out 18-20VDC. Both sets of batteries and a new really expensive alternator and some high dollar mechanic work and I got home slightly after dark thirty. It took weeks to vent out the smell, washed everything in the rig. Sometimes it is just a bad converter, sometimes a shorted battery and once in a blue moon - something a tad bit worse.


The bad thing is the idiot gauges only show low charge - never had a hint from the console anything was wrong until the smell - then the tranny went nuts, electrical systems were chiming and dinging all the way to the parts store.
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:04 PM   #4
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Odor

Your converter/charger may be OK. How old are your house batteries? Old batteries can "sulfate" resulting in swelling of the battery plates and shorting. Take a look at them.
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Old 06-16-2019, 10:26 PM   #5
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If its the house batteries and the 12 volt lights and such are working properly then you likely have house batteries that are failing and need to be replaced. How old are they and when was the last time you checked them?


Note that the original charger/converter was notorious for overcharging the house batteries. I changed mine out for a Progressive Dynamics PD9200 Series with the Charge Wizard Remote Pendant.
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Old 06-16-2019, 11:06 PM   #6
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I agree, his converter is old model and the 9200 series is far better and will treat his new batteries to a longer and healthier life. Getting this fixed on the road is really pretty simple. If the batteries are "old" anyway, like 5 years, buy new batteries. Measure the voltage as I said to determine if the converter is overcharging or possibly the alternator. If the "blue Moon" event has happened and the alternator is bad that is also not really a big deal, I think the Adventurer is a gasser, right? Access could be easier if so. Any one of the three things or even a combination has happened.


Most likely - batteries sulfated and have a shorted cell
Second most likely - the old converter is overcharging them
Least likely - alternator regulator has failed
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:58 AM   #7
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Nauseous odors

Batteries are new, i replaced the Converter. When I turned on the electric hot water switch, it stopped working and odor returned and now I have discolored hot water, so I'm having the hot water tank replaced, it's 17 years old. I think this will solve the problem. I'll keep everyone posted as to if this fixes the problem. So it's not always the batteries.
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:32 AM   #8
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So many possibilities:

If you are in very dry climate and using AC, the water traps might dry out and cause grey water and or black water tank to vent into the unit. Just a thought. I replaced the air vents on the roof with a wind vane directed vent instead of the cap and that greatly reduced the issue of tanks venting into the unit under certain circumstances. The wind directed vents create a positive vacuum in the tanks as per their literature.
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Old 06-20-2019, 11:54 AM   #9
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Toxic odorsl

Itís not always what do you think, my water heater is 17 years old and it had a switch in the back that allowed it to be installed in residential houses or cabins. that switch burned out and caused the shorting out of the hot water heater element. that switch is not necessary in a motorhome application. tech did not replaced it but just wired around and everything is working fine now. itís all Winnebagoís fault for not eliminating that switch in the beginning, as it just created another potential problem. The cost to solve was $325.00.
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