We just bought a used Sunseeker and took it out for our annual family vacation. We were plugged into a 30-amp site with an extension cord. Over the trip, we had to replace the house battery because it was drained beyond saving, and we thought maybe it was the source of our trouble. Then we thought it might be the converter. But home and plugged into the home electrical line (and with a different extension cord, in case that's relevant) we are having no trouble.
Here is what we were seeing: living room lights work fine, but if too many (more than two or three) are turned on, they all start to dim. If we continue to use built-in electronics, eventually we will get a warning from the LPG leak sensor that it is not receiving sufficient power; this is our warning that we have drained too much power. The battery reads as full most of the time, but it got a little confusing toward the end. At the same time, the bedroom and bathroom appear to be unaffected (different circuits?) and all AC powered electronics (such as the fan plugged into an outlet) work fine, even when the lights dim in the living room. When we got home, we plugged into the house power, turned on everything we could, and let it all stay on for an hour. No trouble.
So is this an underpowered campsite? A bad converter? Something else? I spent a lot of time reading forums here while trying to understand and learned a lot. Now I would love to prevent future problems!
It sounds to me like you may have had very low voltage. What type of extension cord are you using is it a 30 amp cord? If you purchased this unit used I would take a wire brush to all the electrical connectors and make sure they are bright and making good contact when plugged in (nothing loose or wiggly).
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How old is the battery? It may have gone bad and won't take a charge. I would also suggest checking the inverter and battery charger circuits. Sounds like the battery is being drained And no power is coming through the inverter for the DC items.
Since the only thing you changed out between camping and home is the extension cord, I would start there. It is best not to use an extension cord in addition to the RV cord. If you must, make sure it is a HD cord with 30amp capability and as short as possible. A standard 120V household 12G or 14 G extension can cause the issues you were seeing. If the battery was old, it most likely did not do much to power the 12V appliances and the converter ( running on low voltage) was trying to keep up.
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Thank you so much! I really appreciate the insight. The current house battery is new, purchased in the last week. And I checked and replaced the fuses in the converter, though there might be bad connections there. I will definitely look at the extension cord and at the prongs to make sure everything is strong and shiny.
In general, is a 30-amp site going to provide enough power for a Sunseeker? Should we just be looking for higher-amp sites?
From your post, I am assuming that you have your camper plugged into a 20 amp circuit using an extension cord and an adapter. If the extension cord is not a 12 gauge, that could be your problem. Too much current draw through a wire that is not large enough.
If you are using another 30 amp RV cord, and hooked up to a 30 amp RV wired receptacle, then the problem could very easily be your converter.
If you are using another 30 amp RV cord and hooked up to a 20 amp circuit using an adapter, your current draw would be limited by the adapter, or the converter could be your problem.
If you do not have an EMS in place, then you are leaving yourself open for electrical problems no matter where you plug in.
30 amp site is all you need if the available voltage is 115-125 volts.
The extension cord is most likely your problem.
Is the extension cord rated for 30 amps and how long is it? Low voltage can be made even lower with a long extension cord and using electric on your hot water heater. When you are using the "properly rated" extension cord ALWAYS use propane for your water heater and fridge.
If the site voltage is on the low end of the "normal range" and you use an extension cord, the voltage may drop below the converter's ability to make 12 volt DC. It can also damage items like your microwave and air conditioner.
You NEED a cheap volt meter to check incoming voltage to make sure it is OK to use. There are also accessories called Autotransformers (topic for another conversation) that can check for you, make sure the voltage is not only good, but repair low voltage, and protect your equipment from voltage spikes and sags.
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It sounds like you had a perfect storm of issues. Low shore power, undersized extension cord and low battery. As you increased your voltage draw by turning lights and other items on the converter had to pick up the load and the lights will dim.