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Old 09-19-2013, 10:28 AM   #1
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Power problem '06 Tour

I went out to my coach today to do some routine stuff (water in the batts, etc). We last used it about 3 weeks ago, and has been plugged in to a 20 amp plug since then. I tried to start it and noticed that the chassis battery was very low. Further checking revealed that there is no 12V in the coach. Can't start the genny, no lights, nothing. Sometimes the GFI on the outlet I use for charging will pop, so I made sure that was ok. When I check the voltage on the batteries using the control panel inside, I get 11.4 for the chassis (dead, I know), but the house batteries won't even read. Not a 11.4, not a 0, no reading on the screen at all.
I don't typically turn on the salesman switch when I store it, but I made sure it wasn't engaged. No difference.
I can understand that if the GFI popped, my batteries could have run down. I didn't check before I tested and reset it. But shouldn't the meter in the coach still have a reading for the chassis batteries even if they're dead? Also, there is no humming from the box (not sure what it's called) that the power cord leads into.
Not sure where to go from here...
BTW, the batteries are only about a year old and had plenty of water in them when I checked on them today.

Thanks,
Jeff
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Old 09-19-2013, 11:01 AM   #2
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After only 3 weeks, your batteries should not be discharged, especially if your salesman switch was activated and I assumed you turned your fridge etc off before you left the coach.

Suggest you get a multimeter and take some more readings. Also check all breakers and switches,

Determine if you are getting 120v into the coach and then check all voltages and record them and report back here and people will have more to go on.

If you do not have sufficient voltage on the battery, many chargers have a relay that will not engage, thus will prevent the charger from connecting to a very low resistance load such as a discharged battery.

You say your monitor panel displays the chassis battery voltages - have never seen that so I live and learn.

You might want to get a jumper to start the coach and once chassis battery gets up a bit and then hold the emerg start button to get the house batt up a bit, or just put an external battery charger to charge your batteries to bring them up to a level for further testing.

Good luck and please report back with additional info.
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Old 09-19-2013, 01:02 PM   #3
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If you are going by the coach panel meter it may be that you turned off the house and coach batteries and forgot. That is a normal condition when the batteries are off. But the inverter is not disconnected and will continue to draw from the house batteries.

The only way to know what is truly happening is to measure your batteries at the terminals with a volt meter. Jump starting your genset is a good idea. I suspect there is more to come with this story.

Happy hunting.

Rick
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Old 09-19-2013, 04:00 PM   #4
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Went back by this afternoon. It doesn't matter what position the salesman switch is in, there is no reading for the house batteries on the meter in the coach. The automatic steps, power locks, and microwave panel all are working. The engine will turn over, but there's not enough juice to start it. No lights will come on, even with it plugged in. The genny won't start. I know the plug is good, but I don't get the humming sound in the compartment that I usually hear when it is charging.
I think I may have a breaker tripped somewhere. I looked at the ones I could find quickly, but didn't have time to search for more.
Any other thoughts or advice?

Thanks,
Jeff
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Old 09-19-2013, 05:59 PM   #5
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In my coach the 12v master(I think you are calling a salesman switch) must be on to charge the batteries. Also my 12v converter/charger is connected to my gfi circuit so if that pops no 12v power. I would charge the batteries at the terminals with an external charger, test/reset my gfi, check the gfi circuit breaker is not tripped and then take voltage readings at the battery with the master on and off to see if anything is happening after recovering your batteries.
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Old 09-19-2013, 07:02 PM   #6
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Bobzira, you are talking about the GFI in the coach, right? I didn't even think about checking that. I'll check it out tomorrow. Hopefully that's all it is. I'll feel like a bit of an idiot, but at least it won't cost me any money.
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Old 09-19-2013, 07:26 PM   #7
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It sounds like you have not yet determined if you have 120v in the coach yet, is this true? The next trip to the RV I suggest you take a multimeter and do more troubleshooting as I noted in a previous post. Start from the power source (shore power in this case) and work your way to the battery.

So many varriables without more data. You will note I suggested you also check ALL switches and breakers also, but first determine if you have power from the getgo and trace the power route.

Good luck

- a multimeter and the "know how" necessary to use it are ESSENTIAL for any RV owner IMHO - don't leave home without it.
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Old 09-20-2013, 04:54 AM   #8
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Libero just voiced my opinion.

Sorry to say this Jeffwit, but you missed a bunch of troubleshooting steps coming to your confusion. Rule of thumb. Follow the power. No pedestal, no inverter charging output, no charging, no juice in batteries after a time, and no engine cranking.

Look for problems, breaker, bad receptacle, burnt contacts on your shore plug... When you are satisfied that all is good and normal there, only then move toward your coach.

Happy hunting,
Rick
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Old 09-20-2013, 08:54 AM   #9
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You may want to check that the LP leak detector switch did not get turned off. Happened to me. Nearly drove me nuts.
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Old 09-20-2013, 09:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Libero View Post
After only 3 weeks, your batteries should not be discharged, especially if your salesman switch was activated and I assumed you turned your fridge etc off before you left the coach.
I agree that batteries should not be discharged after only 3 weeks.
However some battery disconnects are 12V electric solenoids and they continually draw current when they are switched to OFF.
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Old 09-20-2013, 11:34 AM   #11
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Went back out this morning. Unfortunately, nothing miraculous seemed to happen overnight. I know the pedestal is good, I plugged in my phone charger and it worked. So there's at least enough juice there to power that. Still no 12V power anywhere. I hunted for breakers everywhere, and did not find any tripped ones. I tested and reset the GFI inside the coach. I switched out the reducer that converts a 30 amp plug to 20 amp. No dice.
I'll be the first to admit that I am an electro-idiot. I have a multimeter, but am not at all proficient at using it. I'll bring it out to the coach tomorrow. I can test the pedestal and the batteries, but aside from that, I'm clueless where to test. Can y'all help me out?
The power cord comes into the bay and attaches to a silver box marked automatic line/generator ignition. There is also a white box marked inverter/converter/charger. What do I need to test on those? How exactly do I go about that? What should I see to indicate that either it's normal or there's a problem?
Am I in over my head? I really want to figure this out on my own so I can learn how to circumvent future issues.
One last embarrassing question. Where is the main breaker box for the house? I looked everywhere, and the only thing I can find is 3 50 amp breakers in the bay where the power cord comes in.

Thanks, I really appreciate y'all helping me out.

Jeff
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Old 09-20-2013, 11:57 AM   #12
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If you have voltage at the batteries, and none elsewhere in the coach, you need to look for these " whole system " fuses . Freightliner places the fuses , mine are within 3 feet of the batteries. One for chassis batteries the other for coach. Picture shows both fuses and the starter relay.
Mounting plate is on the frame rail.
Even a poor connection here will shut things down. On my chassis , they are 135 amp.
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Old 09-20-2013, 12:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
If you have voltage at the batteries, and none elsewhere in the coach, you need to look for these " whole system " fuses . Freightliner places the fuses , mine are within 3 feet of the batteries. One for chassis batteries the other for coach. Picture shows both fuses and the starter relay.
Mounting plate is on the frame rail.
Even a poor connection here will shut things down. On my chassis , they are 135 amp.
What happened? It looks like arc welding 101! I have seen blown fuses but not like this. That looks like new cable ends, fuse blocks, paint AND new fuses.

Don't forget that the fuse will 'snap' an arc when the connection is made for the inverter because of the capacitors charging. That is always a surprise to me even though I know it will happen. Shorting the fuse block terminals momentarily and then slipping the fuse in right away helps.
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Old 09-20-2013, 09:07 PM   #14
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Ours is located on our bed pedestal, behind a door.

You should have 2 panels, a main panel and a sub panel for your inverter.

Check on your One place panel & make sure your Inverter/Charger is turned on.
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:48 AM   #15
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I can't even turn the inverter on from the panel in the coach. That whole panel seems dead except the part that tells me the charge in the chassis battery. It's pouring rain here today, so the mystery will have to wait....
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Old 09-22-2013, 11:39 AM   #16
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Yes Jeff I meant the gfi in the coach. If you have 120 in the coach and you are only missing 12v and Your batteries are totally dead... I would recover the batteries at least 24 hours with a 1-2 amp charger just to get the voltage up. My converter will not charge completely dead batteries. Once they are up over 12v reconnect to the coach and plug it in to see if it starts charging them at 13+ volts. You need to get them charged. Every minute of being dead is destroying them. In fact I am sad to say they are likely ruined already. I trickle recharge or a battery charger with a reconditioning feature may help but the sooner you get some voltage to them the better.
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Old 10-05-2013, 08:39 PM   #17
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Ok, a quick update. My mobile guy came out and tested the batteries. Between 1 and 3 volts on each of the house batteries. Ugh. The chassis batts had around 11 volts, but no CCAs. I had tried to jump start it, but no dice. That's where those volts came from. He took my batts back to his shop to charge and test them. Here's hoping...
Most likely my inverter/charger, right?
Once I get this all straightened out, how should I store my coach? The only power I have available is a standard outlet. Typically, I stay plugged into that. The repair guy recommended installing switches at the batteries to completely isolate them, and store the coach with the batts completely shut off.
We use our coach about once a month. I go out and run the genny once a month if we don't use it.
Advice???

Thanks,
Jeff
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Old 10-18-2013, 06:52 PM   #18
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Finally got resolution. My repair guy took all my batteries and charged them. The 3 house batteries charged and held. The 2 chassis batteries wouldn't even take a charge. We put the charged house batteries and the new chassis batteries in. Everything now works as it should. Inverter is inverting, gennie starts, engine starts, all is well.
Amazing to me how much effect batteries have on everything in the coach. Thanks to all for your help.

Jeff
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Old 10-19-2013, 05:22 AM   #19
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Glad to hear the good news. Happy trails are yours again!

Jeff, do you know if the RV guy checked the BIRD relay? Even though things are back to good the BIRD could still be bad. Best to find this out now I would say.

Rick
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Old 10-22-2013, 02:26 PM   #20
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Not sure if he did or not. How does one check the BIRD? Is that the charger portion of my inverter/charger? I know the inverter is working.
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