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Old 11-11-2019, 12:15 PM   #1
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How to test converter

While camping over the weekend the LED lights started to flicker. I checked the shore power breaker and then disconnected and the lights continued to flicker on battery power. Power is on at the disconnect. I reconnected the shore power and checked my breakers and they were good. The Lippert monitor showed the battery voltage jumping from 13.4 to 12.6 volts. We shut down the 12 volts items and went to bed. Next morning we had a constant 13.4 and 13.0 the day we left.

This morning I checked the monitor and it said 12.7 volts. Motorhome is connected to shore power. I disconnected the shore power and switched the battery disconnect to off. Tested the batteries with a multi meter and am reading 13.58 across both batteries.

I am pretty sure I have a bad converter. I do not hear the fan cycling. How do I use the multi meter to test if it is charging the batteries? The LED light on the panel was blinking slowly which I believe means that everything is normal?
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Old 11-11-2019, 12:56 PM   #2
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my first reaction is that there is nothing wrong. easy to test the converter. make sure it is off (either disconnect from shore power, disconnect batteries, or turn its circuit breaker off). then measure the dc voltage at the battery terminals. should be around 12.6 or so. then reconnect the converter and take the same measurement at the battery terminals. should be 13.2 or more. if so, converter is supplying power. if you have solar make sure the solar is disconnected also.
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Old 11-11-2019, 01:01 PM   #3
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While camping over the weekend the LED lights started to flicker. I checked the shore power breaker and then disconnected and the lights continued to flicker on battery power. Power is on at the disconnect. I reconnected the shore power and checked my breakers and they were good. The Lippert monitor showed the battery voltage jumping from 13.4 to 12.6 volts. We shut down the 12 volts items and went to bed. Next morning we had a constant 13.4 and 13.0 the day we left.

This morning I checked the monitor and it said 12.7 volts. Motorhome is connected to shore power. I disconnected the shore power and switched the battery disconnect to off. Tested the batteries with a multi meter and am reading 13.58 across both batteries.

I am pretty sure I have a bad converter. I do not hear the fan cycling. How do I use the multi meter to test if it is charging the batteries? The LED light on the panel was blinking slowly which I believe means that everything is normal?

A couple of things-

LED's often tend to flicker on their own.

Testing a converter is simple. Disconnect battery(s). BEST way is to merely disconnect the negative cable that goes to chassis ground. Make sure shore power is on and converter is running. Measure voltage at converter output. If 13.2 volts or more, converter is OK.

Converter fans only run when enough power is passing through it to generate heat. Fan kicks on when heat rises above a preset level. Some claim the fan comes on when current exceeds 10 amp. Either way, it doesn't run all the time.

Fluctuating voltage often means that a load on the system is fluctuating. This can cause Converter to switch between modes if there is sufficient voltage drop on line connecting converter to battery.

First step, make sure all battery connections are CLEAN and TIGHT. Then work your way up the line looking for loose connections on both positive and negative connections. Connection to negative bus bar is a good place to start. If connection between converter and bus bar is loose, everything 12 volt will be intermittent.
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:19 PM   #4
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You may need to turn solar off also to get a good reading
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:39 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by zoesdad View Post
While camping over the weekend the LED lights started to flicker. I checked the shore power breaker and then disconnected and the lights continued to flicker on battery power. Power is on at the disconnect. I reconnected the shore power and checked my breakers and they were good. The Lippert monitor showed the battery voltage jumping from 13.4 to 12.6 volts. We shut down the 12 volts items and went to bed. Next morning we had a constant 13.4 and 13.0 the day we left.

This morning I checked the monitor and it said 12.7 volts. Motorhome is connected to shore power. I disconnected the shore power and switched the battery disconnect to off. Tested the batteries with a multi meter and am reading 13.58 across both batteries.

I am pretty sure I have a bad converter. I do not hear the fan cycling. How do I use the multi meter to test if it is charging the batteries? The LED light on the panel was blinking slowly which I believe means that everything is normal?
This statement rules out the converter.

If you unplugged from shore power and the lights continued to flicker while running off battery, it isn't the converter causing it.

Others have told you how to check it though.
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:55 PM   #6
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The camper does not have solar. All the led’s including the awning lights and small manually operated lights would bling in unison. All was fine until we tried to turn on the television. It would turn off before we could scan stations. When I returned home I noticed the check indicator light was lit on the fridge and the big foot controller had not turned off either. I had to reset both . I did check the terminals at the camp ground and they were clean and tight. The temperature did drop about 20 degree after the sun went down. I will check the bus to make sure connection is tight and test the converter output as suggested.

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Old 11-11-2019, 03:57 PM   #7
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What is the model and year of your RV? Your profile does not list it.

Although it doesn't matter because the problem also occurs on batteries only, what converter do you have?

Our Progressive Dynamics "PD" series converter changes the voltage applied to the batteries and thus the motorhome depending on how much the house batteries are used. If the house batteries have not been used for thirty hours (because we've been plugged in) then the PD converter drops the voltage to 13.2 VDC. If I disconnect shore power after 30 hours for about thirty seconds it resets the PD converter and the voltage can go above 14 VDC, which is entirely normal.

I've read some posts from people who have 2018 or so models who started experiencing flickering LED lights but it was not all lights flickering at the same time. Is it every light flickering in sync with the others or just some? They had to replace the LED lights.

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Old 11-11-2019, 06:14 PM   #8
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What is the model and year of your RV? Your profile does not list it.

Although it doesn't matter because the problem also occurs on batteries only, what converter do you have?

Our Progressive Dynamics "PD" series converter changes the voltage applied to the batteries and thus the motorhome depending on how much the house batteries are used. If the house batteries have not been used for thirty hours (because we've been plugged in) then the PD converter drops the voltage to 13.2 VDC. If I disconnect shore power after 30 hours for about thirty seconds it resets the PD converter and the voltage can go above 14 VDC, which is entirely normal.

I've read some posts from people who have 2018 or so models who started experiencing flickering LED lights but it was not all lights flickering at the same time. Is it every light flickering in sync with the others or just some? They had to replace the LED lights.

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Old 11-11-2019, 06:34 PM   #9
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2017 Forester Class C, 2861 model.


Yes, they would all blink at the same time. We only had the kitchen lights on and the awning lights. Once we noticed they were blinking we turned others on and all blinked at the same time. No other 12 volt appliances were on except the co2 sensor and the antenna amp. I will tighten everything between the battery and panel/converter.
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Old 11-12-2019, 11:01 AM   #10
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Do all of them blink completely off and then back on or are they dimming and brightening?

If all of them are dimming at the same time, that sounds like something putting a load on the 12 volt system. Do you hear a clicking sound like a solenoid or relay pulling in?
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Old 11-12-2019, 11:17 AM   #11
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Good how to video here:


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Old 11-12-2019, 08:34 PM   #12
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And...

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A couple of things-

LED's often tend to flicker on their own.

Testing a converter is simple. Disconnect battery(s). BEST way is to merely disconnect the negative cable that goes to chassis ground. Make sure shore power is on and converter is running. Measure voltage at converter output. If 13.2 volts or more, converter is OK.

Converter fans only run when enough power is passing through it to generate heat. Fan kicks on when heat rises above a preset level. Some claim the fan comes on when current exceeds 10 amp. Either way, it doesn't run all the time.

Fluctuating voltage often means that a load on the system is fluctuating. This can cause Converter to switch between modes if there is sufficient voltage drop on line connecting converter to battery.

First step, make sure all battery connections are CLEAN and TIGHT. Then work your way up the line looking for loose connections on both positive and negative connections. Connection to negative bus bar is a good place to start. If connection between converter and bus bar is loose, everything 12 volt will be intermittent.
All of the above. Then go beneath the trailer and look at grounds. The battery negative cable may be connected only to the frame (with a star washer in between). And the converter negative may be connected elsewhere to the frame (also with star washer). Disassemble and clean these connections.
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Old 11-12-2019, 08:37 PM   #13
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It doesn't sound like a converter. Check the battery terminals and the chassis ground connection.
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Old 11-24-2019, 03:25 PM   #14
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Tried to cycle the generator today and had no power. Checked the batteries and have 5.8 volts. Ground is tight to chassis and two fuses behind the disconnect were good. Will have my father in law help with the panel side when he comes down for the holidays.
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Old 11-24-2019, 04:41 PM   #15
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Tried to cycle the generator today and had no power. Checked the batteries and have 5.8 volts. Ground is tight to chassis and two fuses behind the disconnect were good. Will have my father in law help with the panel side when he comes down for the holidays.
There are other grounds connected to the frame. One from the converter itself to the frame. Connection point may be hidden behind the belly cover but it will be almost directly below the converter. A bad connection at this point could well cause the batteries to go dead as it takes a good negative/ground connection at both ends (to the frame) to complete the circuit to the batteries.
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:59 PM   #16
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Ok, found part of the problem. Decided to check the specific gravity on the batteries for a dead cell and there is no fluid in the first battery. I did not check the second one but l am sure I will have to replace both of them. Excuse my ignorance when it comes to automotive batteries. I know they last around 6 years and then you have to replace but what would cause the electrolyte to boil off? Camper is 2 years old and the caps where on tight. I know they where topped off last summer when I had it serviced.
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Old 12-08-2019, 01:02 PM   #17
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Overcharging...

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Ok, found part of the problem. Decided to check the specific gravity on the batteries for a dead cell and there is no fluid in the first battery. I did not check the second one but l am sure I will have to replace both of them. Excuse my ignorance when it comes to automotive batteries. I know they last around 6 years and then you have to replace but what would cause the electrolyte to boil off? Camper is 2 years old and the caps where on tight. I know they where topped off last summer when I had it serviced.
Overcharging can do it. Before giving up on the batteries, get a gallon or two of DISTILLED WATER at the grocery store and carefully fill each cell to the bottom of the cylinder (not all the way to the top).

The part of the battery that was out of the water will not have been damaged at all.
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Old 12-08-2019, 03:21 PM   #18
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Ok, found part of the problem. Decided to check the specific gravity on the batteries for a dead cell and there is no fluid in the first battery. I did not check the second one but l am sure I will have to replace both of them. Excuse my ignorance when it comes to automotive batteries. I know they last around 6 years and then you have to replace but what would cause the electrolyte to boil off? Camper is 2 years old and the caps where on tight. I know they where topped off last summer when I had it serviced.
On wet batteries, you need to check the water levels at least every 6 months. The water can evaporate for a number of reasons. Even in your car or truck.
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