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Old 06-28-2014, 02:34 PM   #1
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Electrical Burning Smell

I went out to our '99 Chieftain this afternoon and as soon as I entered an electrical burning smell filled my nostrils. I immediately went outside and cut the AC power. I tried to track down the source but I cannot locate it. The first thing that come to mind was the Norcold fridge but nothing there. I then removed the grill from in front of the converter and it appeared to be cool. I checked the battery compartment and everything seems to be fine there. I am baffled as to the source. Any ideas as this scares me.
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Old 06-28-2014, 02:54 PM   #2
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Did it go away when you cut the shore power? How many amps were showing on the Power Management Display? What about water heater?
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Old 06-28-2014, 03:12 PM   #3
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I went out to our '99 Chieftain this afternoon and as soon as I entered an electrical burning smell filled my nostrils. I immediately went outside and cut the AC power. I tried to track down the source but I cannot locate it. The first thing that come to mind was the Norcold fridge but nothing there. I then removed the grill from in front of the converter and it appeared to be cool. I checked the battery compartment and everything seems to be fine there. I am baffled as to the source. Any ideas as this scares me.
I had this happen more than once with two different rv's. Was a loose wire in the transfer switch. Be sure to turn genset off and unplug from power source and turn coach battery's off. Remove cover and tighten all wire lugs with insulated screwdriver.
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Old 06-28-2014, 03:19 PM   #4
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Did it go away when you cut the shore power? How many amps were showing on the Power Management Display? What about water heater?
The smell is still there. Power Management Display was reading 1 when I disconnected the power. The water heater was off.
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Old 06-28-2014, 03:21 PM   #5
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I had this happen more than once with two different rv's. Was a loose wire in the transfer switch. Be sure to turn genset off and unplug from power source and turn coach battery's off. Remove cover and tighten all wire lugs with insulated screwdriver.
Jesse
OK I will check those connections. I haven't started the generator in a while.
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Old 06-28-2014, 03:48 PM   #6
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The smell of burned electrical components will linger until they are removed from the closed space of an rv. I would open the rv to air it out and try to localize the smell to narrow down the possibilities. TV/DVR/DVD, microwave oven, sound system, electric blanket controller, air-conditioner control board, charger/inverter, MOVs in a surge suppressor (either in central PMS or a power strip somewhere), etc are all possibilities. Suspects can be operationally tested by plugged into a heavy-duty extension cord that plugs directly into the shore pedestal so you can keep the RV unplugged for this testing.
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Old 06-28-2014, 03:58 PM   #7
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Quick question...Is the cooling fan on the converter 12V DC or 120 AC?
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Old 06-28-2014, 08:00 PM   #8
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Quick question...Is the cooling fan on the converter 12V DC or 120 AC?
There was on my 1995 and in my 2001.
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Old 06-29-2014, 05:33 AM   #9
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Happened to me once. Turned out to be the rear television set...
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Old 06-29-2014, 07:06 AM   #10
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Also you may need to check out anything with a power brick or small charger that might be plugged into an outlet running off an inverter that is not pure sine wave as the modified sine wave inverters can cause overheating of those and even some electric blankets or small appliences with digital controls.
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Old 06-29-2014, 08:44 AM   #11
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I would suspect that the fan is not cooling the power converter and causing it to overheat when it starts charging the house batteries.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:45 AM   #12
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I would suspect that the fan is not cooling the power converter and causing it to overheat when it starts charging the house batteries.
That was my suspicion as well but it checks out fine. This morning I plugged the AC shore power back in as I wanted to check the converter fan. I turned on as many 12V items as I could and after about 10 minutes the converter fan came on fine. It is still a mystery so I will just keep my nose and eyes on things for a while. I thought we have fuses and circuit breakers to protect us when things go wrong.
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Old 06-29-2014, 10:00 AM   #13
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Loose 120 VAC connections can cause over heating and not blow a fuse or breaker. I would check all the connections I could get to, especially the main lugs in the AC power center.
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Old 06-29-2014, 10:07 AM   #14
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Loose 120 VAC connections can cause over heating and not blow a fuse or breaker. I would check all the connections I could get to, especially the main lugs in the AC power center.
Thanks John. I checked the connections on the transfer switch yesterday and all was fine there. The Norcold fridge sort of worries me becaise of the problems they have had with them. I turned it off yesterday and it still remains off. I would think that if the problem was the fridge and something overheated that it would have stopped working but it was working fine yesterday when I turned it off. I also pulled the vent cover from outside behind the fridge and the burnt smell was not evident.
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