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Old 07-24-2012, 07:34 PM   #1
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New and an Electrical Question ???

Hello all, yes I'm new to RVing. I'm a 24 yr retired Navy Chief and have been a GM for Hardee's since I retired in 2006. I just bought a 1994 Vectra 33 ft (Chevy) motor home to relax with the wife and this is my issue. At the dealer they hooked it up to shore power and the house (?) AC worked. Now that I have it home the AC will not work with generator running alone, nor with the generator and engine running. I have to hook up the jumper cables from my civic to get the generator running. If I put the Aux Battery switch on, all the inside and outside lights work, but, the micro, fridge or TV will not. I ran an extension cord to the micro and if came on. I've learned to be a DIYer because contrary to popular belief you are not enlisted to beocome rich. I just have no ideal where to start. Sorry this is so long, but I am a Sailor and I will talk your ears off. More Questions to come this is just pressing, too hot to clean or update without the AC.
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:48 PM   #2
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When you plug it in at home did it work? your only going to have 15 or 20 amps depends on what amp size of plug in you have unless you have a 30 amp installed at home to plug in to. next you will have a auto transfer switch or you will have to plug the 30 amp power cord in to the plug in the storage compartment for the cord. your house batterys are dead that why the gennie won't start. when you push the aux start you tie the cranking and the house together that why the lights come on but with out 120v the rest of the items won't work. I hope this helps
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:02 PM   #3
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Looking at your online manual there are several possibilities.

First, if you are plugged in to shore power the transfer switch does not use the generator. It draws from shore only. So I'd try disconnecting from shore altogether and run the gen. I'd bet you are probably only running on 15 or 20 amp at the home with some pigtails, correct? May be enough to keep the transfer switch from switching to the gen but not enough to drive the air. Not sure why your other 110 appliances wouldn't work though. Maybe a bad transfer switch?

Your manual also states there is a switch above your microwave that toggles the air conditioner between "50a Shore or Generator" and "30a Shore." Make sure that it's in the proper position.
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:14 PM   #4
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Sounds like you have two problems.
1) No AC when the generator is running.
a)Check the circuit breaker on the generator.
b)The transfer switch my be inop, default is AC from shore power.

2)No DC power to coach unless aux battery is pressed.
a)Check the battery disconnect switch, it's on the dash close to battery aux switch.
b)Do you have lights when connected to shore power? Even with the coach batteries dead your converter should supply DC to the lights.
Our first class A motor home was a 94 Vector.
Hope this help.
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:23 PM   #5
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Thanks for the quick input. It was only on shore power at the dealership, not sure if 30 or 50 amp. At home, I only hooked up the microwave, the only plug I could find to fit 3 prong orange extension cord. I read on hear yesterday about 6v golf cart batteries, I will track them down and replace the the two interstate, no ideal on how old they are. I've downloaded some online material for this unit and will look for the transfer switch. Again, thanks for the reply.
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:28 PM   #6
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In case it's of any use, here is the 1994 Vectra Brochure and here are the Winnebago Wiring Diagrams -- you'll need to select the year and model of your coach.
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Old 07-25-2012, 03:44 AM   #7
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If you have a 3 prong plug then it's 30amp if it has 4 prong then it's a 50amp is there 2 A/C or 1 A/C on the roof
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Old 07-26-2012, 06:04 AM   #8
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I will look at prongs this evening after work. It has one a/c in a compartment about dead center under home.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:35 AM   #9
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You can get adapters to plug your 30 amp 3-prong plug into either a 15/20 amp house outlet (NOTE: many of these will have issues running the Air Conditioner and possibly the microwve, more in a moment) or a 50 amp RV park outlet.

DO NOT TRY TO PLUG IT INTO AN EXISTING 30 AMP OUTLET AT HOME There are some it will fit, but they are not (usually) the proper outlet.

Next: A multi-meter is your friend, as little as 10 bucks at Harbor Freight.

30 amp outlet at home: Meter the flat blades, if they show 240 volts that is for a dryer, air compressor, or other high power device DO NOT PLUG IN TO THIS as it will seriously damage your RV.

13/20 amp.. The Air Conditioner draws upwards of 1,ooo watts running, If your batteries are low, and they are, the converter can do that as well, a 15 amp breaker can't handle that much load. It will trip.

So till the batteries fill up.. Don't run anything else.

NOTE: some older trailers have a Magnetek 6300 series converter.. This one will take FOREVER (or so it will seem) to fully charge batteries that low. But since it does not draw anywhere near the power of say my Progressive Dynamics 9180 under those conditions (over 1,000 watts) you can run teh Air Conditioner even with dead batteries.

Air conditioner won't run if batteires are dead.. It does not run on 12 volts, but the thermostat does.

Finally... Re the batteries,, Many RV's have a battery disconnect system, either a switch or a solenoid that disconnects the batteries for storage,, Often the control is just inside the door.

The dealer may have switched this off.

Mine is an Intelletec Battery control system, Just inside the door is a panel (2 of them actually but only one of interest here) with two rocker switches, a digital display and a red light.

The top switch simply turns on the digital display, ti shows battery voltage, up or down same thing.

The bottom one disconnects and re-connects the batteries

The light means the house has 12 volt, either FROM the batteries or FROM the converter (it does not care) so even if the light is lit the batteries may be in disconnect.

yesterday I had to remove 12 votl from one of the devices, To do so I simply disabled the converter (Turned off the circuit breaker) then used the STORE switch. Worked as anticipated.
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:34 AM   #10
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First Winnebago labels the battery disconnect switch as "AUX BAT". It disconnects the house batteries in the OFF position.

You have a converter that converts 120 vac to 12 vac. This charges the house batteries and proves 12 vdc for the 12 volts items such as lights and control boards for the AC , furnace and so forth.

When you are plugged into shore power 12 vdc items should operate with the house batteries disconnected because the converter will supply 12 volts. When you are disconnected from shore power the AUX switch must be ON so the house batteries can supply 12 vdc.

You may or may not have an automatic transfer switch. The Vectra was a higher end model and I would think it does, but you will need to find out.

The wiring diagrams should tell you but you can check by looking in the service compartment where the shore power cord is located. If there is a receptacle there that the shore power cord can plug into you do not have a transfer switch and to operate 120 volt items you will need to plug the shore power cord into the receptacle which provides power from the generator.

This site has some good info on 12 volt RV systems HERE.
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Old 07-27-2012, 01:18 PM   #11
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If i'm not mistaken, that coach has basement air.. it takes quite a bit of amperage to get things working.. it also has a amp. readout. at least our 1993 did.. what a fine coach that is....
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Old 07-27-2012, 06:00 PM   #12
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:welcome: Navy Fish, your RV has two 12v battery systems and two 120v AC power sources. Before buying new batteries, locate battery cut off switches. As stated, they are usually right inside the door. These switches are used when you store the RV to isolate batteries from items that draw batteries down. Check batteries for water and clean terminals and connections, especially the grounds.

The 'house' batteries, not only power lights, but thermostat for A/C, refrigerator controller, furnace, water heater and smoke, carbon monoxide, propane detectors. This battery system is kept charged by the engine alternator while driving and when plugged into 120 v AC, an inverter that provides power for all previously mentioned 12 v systems plus keeps house batteries charged.

The 'chassis' batteries provide power for engine starting, headlights, radio, dash heater/ A/C fans, ...all the things a regular car battery system does. It is charged by engine alternator and sometimes a battery charger wired into 120 v AC shore power. There is often a 'boost' switch on dash that has to be held down to temporarily allow the house batteries to boost the chassis battery for an emergency start.

The 120 v AC is provided by a shore cord or generator. An automatic transfer switch usually detects how power is being supplied and switch to the power source. It takes a few seconds to activate after being hooked up. The shore power cord is 50 or 30 amp. A fifty amp cord has four prongs, 3 vertical blades and a rounded ground prong on top. A 30 amp cord will have 2 blades at angles and a rounded ground prong. The 30 amp cord looks like a dryer cord plug, BUT DO NOT PLUG RV INTO DRYER OUTLET!! Dryers run on 240 v, RV on 120 v, you'll damage RV electronics! Normal household outlets only provide 15 -20 amps and are 3 prong, 2 vertical blades and a round ground prong. Adaptors can be bought to change 50 amp to fit 30 amp or 20 amp household outlet, but they do not increase amperage.

Generator provides 120 v AC power when you can't plug into 'shore.' It needs 12 v DC to start and operate voltage regulator and it's own protective logic circuits. After started, the generator will be detected by the transfer switch and you will hear the generator start to work harder due to power draw. Usually the generator is sized to handle all power needs of the coach, both A/Cs, inverter, microwave, etc.

Most appliances are labeled with watts. to convert watts to amps, Amps=Watts/volts. Thus a 1500 w hair dryer uses 12.5 amps (12.5=1500/120) An air conditioner uses about 13-16 amps to start and run. A household power cord does not supply enough amps to run an A/C.

If you have the switch mentioned to select 50/30 amp shore power, this indicates you have a power manager that allows both A/C to work on 50 amp power and alternates front and rear A/C on 30 amps. Since you mentioned you have basement air, not sure this is true for your rig.

Wordy, but I hope this helps.
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Old 07-27-2012, 07:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
... This battery system is kept charged by the engine alternator while driving and when plugged into 120 v AC, an inverter that provides power for all previously mentioned 12 v systems plus keeps house batteries charged. ...
Minor correction: An 'inverter' converts 12V DC into 120V AC. A 'converter' or 'charger' (sometimes part of an 'inverter/charger') converts 120V AC into 12V DC to charge batteries and run 12V lights, etc.
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Old 07-27-2012, 07:38 PM   #14
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Oops, brain fa*t!

I was trying to inform, not confuse! Some of the other answers seemed to only give partial information or answers that would help someone more experienced. I've had to give same explanation to my DW....a couple of times.
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