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Old 10-04-2020, 04:58 PM   #1
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First camping....electrical 3-ring circus, ouch!

We took a beautiful Minnesota weekend at a lake and state park with a choice of 30A or 50A service. We plugged in(50), everything seemed to come on in fine fashion.
Fridge is on auto saying AC, lights are bright, two panels are reading 50 amp. We were playing cards with friends, listening to the radio in the coach and then the radio quit playing about 2 hours in (lights were still on radio, but sound gone).
Then as the night went on, the electrical gremlins came out for the weekend. It was fairly chilly overnight with lows in the 30s, so I turned on the heat pumps. They start up, blow warm for a little while the shut off, all the rest of the electrical stuff (lights) begin to dim. We put it on LP heater to try and stay warm that night and the fan did not stay on for more than a couple of minutes and the system shut down. Fridge said "DC low" by this time. The house batteries were down to 9.8.
It was bed time, so I got our an LED lantern so at least I could find my way around by this time. Went to bed and my wife and I froze all night.
Got up the next morning and the electrical gremlins had not disappeared magically overnight. For some reason I started the coach and the whole system seemed to "reset". All of a sudden, the radio is playing, the fridge indicates "AC", lights come on bright, the house battery reads 12.4.
That scenario replayed itself about 8 more times in the next two days as electricity came and went. Another night with no heat....burr.
My friend we were camping with is a pretty good tech/electric guy, so we read all the manuals, tried what we thought was following the instructions and always with the same results that the AC would end up "going away" after 15 minutes or so.
I am including pictures of what I feel are the items we studied and tried to trouble shoot with no success. To me it seems like something (inverter? or some other switch ) is not allowing AC to access the coach. Also, my generator (7.5K diesel Onan with the switch "on") has not been able to run the coach electricity even when the panel says the generator is is "running the electricity."

My "new" coach is a 2002 Itasca Horizon 32' foot 5.9 Cummins (300 hp), Allison 6 speed with 113,000 on the odometer....very nice ride), so far 8.2 on the mpg.

Again, I am going to try and post pictures of what we tried numerous times to "push buttons, or check circuits, etc) with no success.
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Old 10-04-2020, 05:23 PM   #2
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Too many variables for me to guess. But, I'd guess you have the battery disconnect on and are running off of the Inverter. But even that guess doesn't really fit what you've described because the heat pumps wouldn't work on the inverter.

It would be easier to figure out if everything stopped working at the same time. So... I"m out of ideas. I'll be happy to see what other's say.
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Old 10-04-2020, 05:46 PM   #3
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Where is the battery disconnect, as it did give us some indication we were running off the inverter?
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Old 10-04-2020, 06:45 PM   #4
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In recent motorhomes it's in the stairwell. On a few older motorhomes it's on the dashboard or near it.

Do you have an Operator's Manual?

Here's a PDF of yours:

https://winnebagoind.com/resources/m.../02Horizon.pdf

The "Battery Disconnect" on your RV is called the Aux Battery Switch and it's on your dashboard. Top left side.

Here's a diagram -- it's number 7. Leave it in the ON location when using the RV and when storing the RV (not using it storing it between trips) put it in the OFF position.

Also here's the description in your Operator's Manual at #2-19:
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Old 10-04-2020, 06:51 PM   #5
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Please know that I'm not at all sure that this is the issue. Just a wide ass guess. So, don't rely on this info.
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Old 10-04-2020, 08:26 PM   #6
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I will look and see whether or not it is on. I don't know what that would have to do with shore power not running the coach when plugged in.
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Old 10-04-2020, 08:31 PM   #7
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I had an old Born Free class C 1992 that when I plugged it in to shore power, that is what you got, AC current that automatically ran the coach's appliances. When I was boon docking and started its generator, it automatically ran all the stuff on AC generator power. It knew to do that. Was something 10 years older than my '02 that much easier and "smarter?" or is there a simple "switch" I am missing because the Itasca doesn't do it automatically?

Do I have a bad inverter or electrical panel on this Itasca that doesn't allow shore or generator power to take over when plugged in.

My friend we camped with this weekend simply plugged in his trailer to shore and ran on that power automatically. Why would mine always cut out and go back to DC current?
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Old 10-04-2020, 09:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgout View Post
I had an old Born Free class C 1992 that when I plugged it in to shore power, that is what you got, AC current that automatically ran the coach's appliances. When I was boon docking and started its generator, it automatically ran all the stuff on AC generator power. It knew to do that. Was something 10 years older than my '02 that much easier and "smarter?" or is there a simple "switch" I am missing because the Itasca doesn't do it automatically?

Do I have a bad inverter or electrical panel on this Itasca that doesn't allow shore or generator power to take over when plugged in.

My friend we camped with this weekend simply plugged in his trailer to shore and ran on that power automatically. Why would mine always cut out and go back to DC current?
First, I’d want to make sure that the power coming in from the post, was stable, do you have a shoreline power regulator? With this one, for example, you can see what’s happening in real time on your phone app.
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Old 10-05-2020, 02:37 AM   #9
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I'm sure you found your problem by now:

* Battery Disconnect switch is also called a "Salesman Switch" and mine is located just above the steps, so you can turn it on when you are outside the coach. (Watch out for the extending steps if they are not already down.)

* Your Battery Boost Switch is usually on the dash left side.

* Yes, I would agree you were running on inverter power until you drained all your Amp-Hours (AH) out of your battery bank; and you would not expect to make it through the night with your heater blower running if you were NOT getting any 120V shore power.

So here's a few tips:

* Buy a AC Volt meter you can plug into a wall socket. Make sure it can read RMS too. This way you will get an accurate reading when you are on inverter power (with our PSW inverter) and when you are on shore power.

* Check your Energy Management System (EMS) Panel to make sure you are on shore power. There is a 30A and 50A LED status light that will light, but on my LCD I like to make sure it says "Inverter Standby" so I know I'm on Shore Power and my Inverter is off... but the charger is on.

==> That "Power Line" 2-segment LCD (Amp Display) will only light and show you how many amps you are drawing when you are on 30A or 20A shore Power or when your Generator is "on". Why? ...Because on 50A shore power your Intellitec-PMS is off and so are those LSD digits.

==> Your EMS is that panel you took a picture of above. However, your Power Management System (PMS) is made by Intellitec (probably a 620 system with the circuit board located in your Main Power Circuit Breaker box); and the purpose of your PMS is to shed (cut voltage to) appliances if you attempt to put too much DEMAND on your system relative to your power source. This is supposed to keep your current under your power limits (20 or 30A service); and that is supposed to keep you from blowing circuit breakers.

==> Keep in mind, a circuit breaker only protects (trips) on the black wire and not the neutral wire; just like in you home.

==> Your coach interior lights and fans work on battery power even when you are on shore power. So you need your inverter-Charger to be pumping AH back in your battery bank or your house batteries will go dead over time without receiving a charge from A) Shore power via Inverter-Charger; B) Solar Controller; C) Other charger. ...So when you started your engine, your alternator put 14+V on your battery bank and that is why all your EMS status light came back to life. However, you still have now AH in your house batteries until you recharge them.

==> Your wall sockets are 120V power. And that power can come from either your shore power or your generator (see your ATS, Automatic Transfer Switch, located in your power real compartment, near your inverter usually) or your inverter power will be on... for as long as you have more than ~10.1V without any voltage on-demand. I.e., with a load your inverter may "turn off" at 10.8V depending on the strength of your battery bank.

==> Your inverter has a built in transfer switch too. This means that it will not pass inverter power to your Sub-Power-Panel when shore power or generator power is present.

==> When you batteries drop to 12.0V you should start your generator and not continue to drain your batteries further... if you want them to last.

==> Make sure find and understand the Battery Boost switch. This is used to jump your engine batteries to your house batteries; and you may need them to start your generator or start your engine some day. Note: I'm not a fan of trying to start the engine with the Battery Boost Switch... when the generator is running. You can, but your generator may quit and what you are doing is opening the circuit to your generator circuit board that may or may not be protected.

==> Buy yourself a high-count volt meter, and 12V circuit tester for your tool box and become familiar on how to take simple measurements. (Watch You-Tube for instructional videos if you need to.)

Good luck getting familiar with our coach. You will become an expert sooner than you think!

OTHER TIPS YOU MIGHT NOT OF HEARD ABOUT

* Learn how to adjust your Trimark 30-900 door lock.
* Carry an extra set of water heater thermostats and cut-off-diode.
* Keep a mini-tool box inside your coach with a battery power driver.
* Get a weather thermometer and put the transmitter inside your refrigerator... with the display mounted near your EMS or on the edge of your cabinet.
* Change your Allison Tranny fluid if it's been over 50,000 miles, no matter what anyone else tells you. (Look for a thread on this subject. It's just a little harder than changing your oil, but easy enough to do yourself if you are so inclined?)
* Carry an extra set of fuel filters with strap wrench.
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Old 10-05-2020, 06:29 AM   #10
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Hi Winnie-Wise:
Thanks much for the information. I really appreciate the help.
I am not currently very "electricity minded" but am trying hard to learn, so I will follow your instructions and also get the tools you mention and learn to use them.

You wrote: "* Check your Energy Management System (EMS) Panel to make sure you are on shore power. There is a 30A and 50A LED status light that will light, but on my LCD I like to make sure it says "Inverter Standby" so I know I'm on Shore Power and my Inverter is off... but the charger is on."
Mine would read either 30A or 50A (I plugged into both to see if something was wrong with shore). When I started generator (unplugged shore) the generator indicator light would come on, so that feature seems to be working by my thinking.

Also, after starting my coach and "resetting" all the electricity, the 110 outlets would work for awhile and then stop after awhile. Can those be 110 through the inverter?

Also, you mention an "inverter standby" switch to make sure it is off. Can you tell by my pictures if I have one of those switches as I don't recall running across one as we tinkered for a couple of hours on this "problem" last weekend?

Thanks again for help!
Doug
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Old 10-05-2020, 10:53 AM   #11
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I think I may have found the issue -- please put quotes around think and may. Honest, this is a guess based on your initial complaint.

Your RV has a Converter. It has a "Thermal Overload Protector" system. If it gets too hot it will slowly cut power to your devices. And, it is reset after it cools down and then slowly starts cutting power again.

It also seems to not be active when running the engine.

"IF" this is the issue then you have an electrical problem somewhere that is causing this Thermal Overload Protector to activate.

Here is the description in your Operator's Manual:
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Old 10-05-2020, 02:07 PM   #12
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Sorry to even ask, but I am so new to this coach that I have to....
Where would I even begin to find the power converter to check for ventilation?
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Old 10-05-2020, 02:12 PM   #13
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I'm going to guess... it's below your refrigerator. It's behind the fuses and circuit breakers-where ever those are in your RV.
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Old 10-06-2020, 09:57 AM   #14
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Can I use a 15Amp converter to plug into house current?

I am trying to chase down my electrical gremlin that won't allow shore power AC to run my coach (it always reverts to DC) when plugged in.

I have a 50A service plug and a converter to 30A. Can I reduce it one more time to a 15A so I can plug it in at home?

I have a 2002 Itasca Horizon 32' diesel.

Thanks for any input as I am eager to try and "fix" my electrical problem (or fix me if I am the problem for not pushing the right buttons.)
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Old 10-06-2020, 10:53 AM   #15
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Yes, you can, but you need to be careful with the load you put on it. You'll be depending on your house's breaker to protect the circuit.
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Old 10-11-2020, 06:02 PM   #16
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I had a 2003 Horizon 32T, under the cabinets on the floor, to the left of the sink, was the power converter, I always wondered why I heard fan noise periodically, later I found out it was cooling itself.

Fast forward to 2016, my 2010 Journey, my electrical started acting really strange, I learned all about the inverter, converter, ATS, and batteries. I would reset things, still issues. It was a perfect storm. My chassis batteries did not seem to hold a charge after driving all day, figured they were old, and replaced them.

They worked better but still issues. But they would be charged up after plugged into shore power overnight. Finally figured out my chassis batteries would not hold a charge because my alternator was going out. Once I replaced the alternator, I could run ok, and the inverter kept things working when on generator or shore power. But when it would periodically shut down for cooling, the lights would dim because the house batteries were not holding a charge very long. (like only minutes)

After testing, found that my 6 year old house batteries were bad. Replaced them, and everything got back to normal. Amazing that one weak link, affects everything.
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Old 10-11-2020, 06:10 PM   #17
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I have a travel trailer. Once I went to a campground and hooked up to shore power. When I grabbed the handle by the door to go inside I got a strong shock. Investigation by me determined the campground had the neutral and line reversed to their socket on the post, but it was wired to the right colors in the box by the site. When I told them about it they acted like I had two heads or something. I temporarily switched the wires in my plug. They had the neutral and ground both hot. I doubt they ever fixed it. So I bought one of those 3 light testers to check the wiring before I ever hook up my trailer. So, my point is don't overlook some problems might not even be in the rv. However, it does sound like your battery is disconnected from the charging circuit.
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Old 10-11-2020, 09:00 PM   #18
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shore power

Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgout View Post
We took a beautiful Minnesota weekend at a lake and state park with a choice of 30A or 50A service. We plugged in(50), everything seemed to come on in fine fashion.
Fridge is on auto saying AC, lights are bright, two panels are reading 50 amp. We were playing cards with friends, listening to the radio in the coach and then the radio quit playing about 2 hours in (lights were still on radio, but sound gone).
Then as the night went on, the electrical gremlins came out for the weekend. It was fairly chilly overnight with lows in the 30s, so I turned on the heat pumps. They start up, blow warm for a little while the shut off, all the rest of the electrical stuff (lights) begin to dim. We put it on LP heater to try and stay warm that night and the fan did not stay on for more than a couple of minutes and the system shut down. Fridge said "DC low" by this time. The house batteries were down to 9.8.
It was bed time, so I got our an LED lantern so at least I could find my way around by this time. Went to bed and my wife and I froze all night.
Got up the next morning and the electrical gremlins had not disappeared magically overnight. For some reason I started the coach and the whole system seemed to "reset". All of a sudden, the radio is playing, the fridge indicates "AC", lights come on bright, the house battery reads 12.4.
That scenario replayed itself about 8 more times in the next two days as electricity came and went. Another night with no heat....burr.
My friend we were camping with is a pretty good tech/electric guy, so we read all the manuals, tried what we thought was following the instructions and always with the same results that the AC would end up "going away" after 15 minutes or so.
I am including pictures of what I feel are the items we studied and tried to trouble shoot with no success. To me it seems like something (inverter? or some other switch ) is not allowing AC to access the coach. Also, my generator (7.5K diesel Onan with the switch "on") has not been able to run the coach electricity even when the panel says the generator is is "running the electricity."

My "new" coach is a 2002 Itasca Horizon 32' foot 5.9 Cummins (300 hp), Allison 6 speed with 113,000 on the odometer....very nice ride), so far 8.2 on the mpg.

Again, I am going to try and post pictures of what we tried numerous times to "push buttons, or check circuits, etc) with no success.

I've run into numerous parks with very "hinky" shore power hookups. That's where I'd look first - possibly a rolling brownout.
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Old 10-12-2020, 04:39 AM   #19
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Same symptoms

I had the exact same electrical gremlins in my 2004 Journey. On the second trouble shooting by Richards RV Center in Greer SC, the fix was that the red cable from the house batteries was severely corroded and also a fuse that it connected to needed to be replaced. Hopefully you have a similar electrical drain happening.
I never did understand why starting the engine seemed to reset the system. Was too relieved that the fix was something other than an inverter replace.
Good lucK.
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Old 10-12-2020, 07:50 AM   #20
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Shore power

We had a similar situation a few years back.
One of our first trips out, at a large State Park.
The morning after the first night, all the 12v was dead, even the refrigerator, which needed the 12v to run the switching from electronic to gas.
Half the 110 outlets worked.

I removed the plug to the 50amp and plugged into the 30 amp, bam everything worked.

I told the park people and they had an electrician check the shore power box. The 50amp was only wired on one side, so I had some power, but not to the 12v system.
This never happened again.
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