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Old 06-27-2013, 10:19 AM   #1
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Battery cables getting hot

Just purchased a 2004 Flagstaff 829RBSS, While plugged into shore power (30-15 amp reducer) at my home I noticed both the positive (red) and negative (white) cable were very hot to the touch at the battery. Also I am getting a decent spark from the negative post when hooking up. I checked the output voltage of the cables with the battery disconnected and read 13.6V-13.8V. The battery itself measured 12.0V.

IM new to the camping world but familiar with elec systems. I didn't have much time last night but a quick glace on the frame rail near the battery I saw what appeared to be two terminal strips, and a breakaway switch. I know when I picked up the trailer the battery had a higher voltage. Which tells me either the original owner left it plugged in and it is a bad battery or I have a slow draw.

The hot cables is what is bothering me and sparks. I know a bad cell in a battery can cause this (considering both pos and neg were hot), or I have a short (sparks). But I would think a short would only cause heat on one side not the circuit. I know the capacitor in the converter can thrown a spark in the beginning but should not continuously spark as you hook up the battery and move the ring terminal

So my question for those here that have been there, what is the trailer tying in with the terminal strips on the frame, I will obviously check for loose connections here and the all nearby areas. I know the breakaway switch can not be seated properly and allow voltage to escape but I would think with the battery at 12V I would feel the drag from the breaks. What else besides a bad battery would cause both cables to get overheated? I plan to have the batt tested over lunch, and buy a battery disconnect. I would like to know if there is something causing a battery failure before I ruin another battery. I know it could be from neglect from the previous owner. I am assuming the 13.6V I read would mean my converter is working propery in normal operation mode. I plan to hook up my new battery and test for amp draw this evening. IF there is a draw i'm going to isolate with fuse panel and label the functions since apparently FR does not want to share any diagrams.

The hot cables and sparking makes me want to look for loose connections and or shorts. I know I can remove fuses in the panel until the sparks stop then narrow down the circuit that is faulty. With that do a voltage drop test to find the faulty wire.

So what are your thoughts? oh and nice to meet everyone, new here.
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:51 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by ksgoosekillr View Post
Which tells me either the original owner left it plugged in and it is a bad battery or I have a slow draw.
I literally don't know enough to answer anything else - but all campers have slow draws on them in the forms of propane/CO detectors, radio units, etc. For my fifth wheel, it'll drain my OEM battery in less than a week with seemingly nothing on. I installed a battery disconnect switch to kill the power to everything when store it.
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:04 AM   #3
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Your converter/charger trying to charge a bad battery may be a cause.

A bad or loose ground.

You also have to remember that the charger is constantly charging your battery as it never shuts off unless disconnected from shore power.

As mentioned you also have parasitic draws at all times on the battery.


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Old 06-27-2013, 11:11 AM   #4
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Your converter/charger trying to charge a bad battery may be a cause.

A bad or loose ground.

You also have to remember that the charger is constantly charging your battery as it never shuts off unless disconnected from shore power.

As mentioned you also have parasitic draws at all times on the battery.


Turbs
that is kinda the direction I was leaning towards. THe sparking of the terminals though is what makes me think something more is going on. In general without the disconnect switch do most people see this due to the charge in the capacitor?
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:24 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ksgoosekillr View Post

that is kinda the direction I was leaning towards. THe sparking of the terminals though is what makes me think something more is going on. In general without the disconnect switch do most people see this due to the charge in the capacitor?
Do what exactly?

Also if you have a wfco converter/charger go to to library right next to user cp on the browser towards the top of this page in the green stripe and there's a trouble shooting guide for your charger under electronics
It may be that your charger is stuck in bulk mode over charging battery.


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Old 06-27-2013, 11:31 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ksgoosekillr
Just purchased a 2004 Flagstaff 829RBSS, While plugged into shore power (30-15 amp reducer) at my home I noticed both the positive (red) and negative (white) cable were very hot to the touch at the battery. Also I am getting a decent spark from the negative post when hooking up. I checked the output voltage of the cables with the battery disconnected and read 13.6V-13.8V. The battery itself measured 12.0V.

IM new to the camping world but familiar with elec systems. I didn't have much time last night but a quick glace on the frame rail near the battery I saw what appeared to be two terminal strips, and a breakaway switch. I know when I picked up the trailer the battery had a higher voltage. Which tells me either the original owner left it plugged in and it is a bad battery or I have a slow draw.

The hot cables is what is bothering me and sparks. I know a bad cell in a battery can cause this (considering both pos and neg were hot), or I have a short (sparks). But I would think a short would only cause heat on one side not the circuit. I know the capacitor in the converter can thrown a spark in the beginning but should not continuously spark as you hook up the battery and move the ring terminal

So my question for those here that have been there, what is the trailer tying in with the terminal strips on the frame, I will obviously check for loose connections here and the all nearby areas. I know the breakaway switch can not be seated properly and allow voltage to escape but I would think with the battery at 12V I would feel the drag from the breaks. What else besides a bad battery would cause both cables to get overheated? I plan to have the batt tested over lunch, and buy a battery disconnect. I would like to know if there is something causing a battery failure before I ruin another battery. I know it could be from neglect from the previous owner. I am assuming the 13.6V I read would mean my converter is working propery in normal operation mode. I plan to hook up my new battery and test for amp draw this evening. IF there is a draw i'm going to isolate with fuse panel and label the functions since apparently FR does not want to share any diagrams.

The hot cables and sparking makes me want to look for loose connections and or shorts. I know I can remove fuses in the panel until the sparks stop then narrow down the circuit that is faulty. With that do a voltage drop test to find the faulty wire.

So what are your thoughts? oh and nice to meet everyone, new here.
One clue you provided was the battery measured 12 volts, 13.6 under charge. Although the battery's common name is 12 volt that is not charged, should be more like 12.4-12.6 standing alone. The sparks you are simply the the charger doing its job.if it doesn't reach above 12 overnight with 13+ volts on it, the batt is probably gone.
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:45 AM   #7
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Both cables being hot is a problem indicating a short somewhere probably in a battery or bad cable connections. Could be the cables are too small also or have several strands broken.
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:49 AM   #8
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One clue you provided was the battery measured 12 volts, 13.6 under charge. Although the battery's common name is 12 volt that is not charged, should be more like 12.4-12.6 standing alone. The sparks you are simply the the charger doing its job.if it doesn't reach above 12 overnight with 13+ volts on it, the batt is probably gone.
actually I isolated the battery to check the output of the converter. I know that most batteries carry a higher than 12V charge, the closer to12 they go the worse the battery actually is.
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:51 AM   #9
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Both cables being hot is a problem indicating a short somewhere probably in a battery or bad cable connections. Could be the cables are too small also or have several strands broken.
I checked the cables thoroughly no broken strands or kinks and no corrosion. The cable size is something im concerned about. Usually a short downstream of battery results in overheating on pos or neg cable but not both at the same time usually just pos side
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:57 AM   #10
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Fyi you should have a 3 stage converter and with a good battery you should see
Bulk mode "highest voltage"
Absorption mode
And float mode "lowest out put voltage"

If your charger remains in bulk it will kill the battery.



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