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Old 04-27-2016, 01:32 AM   #21
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SOLVED

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Originally Posted by RSchleder View Post
Agreed---THANK YOU for informing everyone on the resolution. Too many folks are able to solve their problems because of the info provided by Forum members and don't have the courtesy to come back and close the discussion!.
In computer-related forums, it is allowed and *expected* that the original poster update the subject line with "[SOLVED]". Really helps when searching.

Drove today through heavy rain and water in roadway. No *electrical* problems noted. A water-in-the-trailer problem, but that would be another post! :-/
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Old 04-27-2016, 01:35 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Steelhorzz View Post
While you are at it. Check your battery acid level. My dealer charged my batteries after they had my rig for a month doing some repairs. (Sat most of the the time waiting for parts). The charge lasted less than a day. The acid level was so low I could see the top of the plates. I let them know. Just something to remember to check occasionally.
Thanks! Sealed batteries here, so I can rule that out.
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Old 04-28-2016, 11:47 AM   #23
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I have a similar issue. All elect. systems (12V and 110) work great when on shore power. 12V all works fine when hooked to TV and engine running, but nothing works when on battery. Thought I just had a dead battery after sitting all winter and 4 years on the battery. Bought a new one (it tests 100% at the auto parts place) but no luck. Checked the battery shut off switch. Polarity fuses in the converter box are OK. Found the in-line breaker box - looks exactly like the picture that boondocking posted (TY!) but there's no reset button on mine. Went back with a flashlight and still don't see any black button - it's just a grey box on all sides. Any other suggestions?
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Old 04-28-2016, 12:00 PM   #24
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They come in two flavors, re-settable and auto reset. Sounds like you have an auto reset that has gone bad.
Turn a light on in your trailer then make contact between the two lugs (there the cables connect on each side) and have someone in the trailer see if the light comes on.
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Old 04-28-2016, 01:26 PM   #25
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Thanks boondocking!

I tried bypassing the breaker by taking the two large red wires off the breaker and directly connecting them together. I got lights to come on, and they were very bright for about 10 seconds, but then started to get significantly dimmer. I checked the battery monitor inside the camper - first time said 'FULL' but then 15 sec later it was only 2 lights lit.


Since I got the dimming issue, I thought it might not be the breaker after all. So, I then reconnected the wires on the breaker, and got the same results - lights came on (not quite as bright as the first time) but then immediately dimmed significantly. Trying the tongue jack motor doesn't even 'click' - not enough juice for it to even try to come on.


Is it possible that the new battery I bought is just faulty? Even though it's showing 100% when tested?

All the circuit breakers, fuses, etc are 'all or nothing' right? IE if they have been tripped then I wouldn't even get a dim light right? It would be no power at all?


What else might cause the lights to come on, but then dim like it's draining the battery almost immediately? There is some corrosion on my + battery wire loop but not horrible.

And, to confirm, everything 12V works just fine when I'm on shore power OR hooked up to the TV with the engine running.

I did get the auto parts place to agree to give my money back for the battery. Anyone have a 'favorite' battery they like? The new one I bought has MCA of 685. Does that sound right? They didn't have one exactly like the old one I had.
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Old 04-28-2016, 04:22 PM   #26
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DO the same experiment but this time put a multimeter on the battery posts (not the connector lugs but perhaps the outside of the battery terminal or at worst on the lug bolt.) When the lights dim, see if the voltage on the posts drops as well. If it does, your battery is toast, if it doesn't you have a bad ground or corrosion somewhere. The lights are bright until the bad connection heats up and starts dropping a lot of voltage but the battery voltage will remain OK since the problem would be resistance in the circuit.

Of course, do this with the shore power disconnected!
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Old 04-28-2016, 05:47 PM   #27
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The battery you have is a starting battery, not a deep cycle. The give-away is the MCA, CCA, or similar "cranking amps" rating. It will not take many discharges where lights are visibly dimming before it will be useless.

That said, I think you may well have 2 issues. 1) a battery that cannot take a load for more than a few seconds, and 2) a hidden load of 5-10 amps. A 10 amp load could pull a weak battery down quickly, but could be supported by your Ford's alternator and/or the converter on shore power.
To check for the hidden load, pull all the DC fuses in your main panel (while on battery). Replace the fuses one by one until you discover which circuit pulls the battery down quickly. Common "hidden loads" are the emergency breakaway plug has been pulled just out of position, the dehumidifying heating strip inside the fridge to preventing frosting, and a stereo that is accidentally turned on or turns itself on (mine does the latter).


I installed two Costco (made by Interstate) GC2 golf cart batteries for $150 total (including tax). That gives me more AH for less bucks than any other dual battery arrangement. Keeps my A-frame going for 4 nights using the heater 5 hours per night.

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Old 04-28-2016, 06:16 PM   #28
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....
Presuming it was a new battery and can't be all that bad. Your TV keeps everything working well as does your converter with shore power. I would take a really hard look at your battery terminals AND your connection to the chassis on the negative side. Your TV and your converter have their own grounds, but the battery does as well. Have had exactly the same problem. Don't trust the chassis connection, take it apart and clean and emery the surface. Everybody cleans the posts, but many ignore the chassis ground point.
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Old 04-28-2016, 06:27 PM   #29
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Just a thought as this has happened to several members. Check the break-away switch ( plunger to insure it is in all the way. Sometimes when working around the tongue, it is possible to pull the cable and plunger and activate the brakes. This will kill the battery quickly.
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Old 05-04-2016, 06:05 PM   #30
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Thanks to those who responded - it helped me narrow down the problem. I took back the auto-part-store battery last week, and then ordered a new one from Amazon and and it just came in today, so today was the first day I could try anything else. The newest battery is an Exide no-maintenance group 24 battery from Amazon. Knowing how much I hate to do any sort of maintenance that I don't have to, I figured I'd spring for the $$ and get the sealed battery.

I've installed it and everything works like a charm - Lights are bright, and the tongue jack and slide are able to function. After lifting the tongue up and then back down, (which it wouldn't even 'click' on the battery I had purchased a couple weeks ago) the charge is still showing 'full'. So, I think the auto-part-store-battery had a bad cell or something - whatever would cause it to show 100% charged, but not actually be able to generate enough juice to power anything more than dim lights in the camper.

I'm feeling vindicated now that the auto-part-store-battery was just faulty - despite them being VERY reluctant to return my money. I could tell they just thought I was a stupid woman who didn't know how to hook up the battery right or something and I'm sure they are going to resell that battery I returned to someone else because they didn't believe me that there was a problem with the battery.

Anyway, thanks for all the help here and I wanted to come back and close the loop. I did learn a lot about batteries, in-line breakers, etc but in the end my initial hunch was right - it was a faulty battery from the Autozone (who based on the attitude of snarky manager who handled the return, I won't be going back to anytime soon...)
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