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Old 05-17-2016, 09:22 PM   #1
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Electrical/12v issues.

I've scoured this forum for answers. I'm stumped.

Our new to us forester is a 2015 -2401r. It had 7,000 miles on when we bought it. Pretty much love it.

Anyways all was well first few times we took it out. But when we started boon-docking we noticed all sorts of gremlins in the 12v system.

#1 our batteries after being plugged into shore power while stored for a week were only at 12.48v not the 12.6+ I would have expected them to be.

At the campground we lost about .05v about every 2 hours or so. We didn't use the lights, water pump or anything. Just extended the slides and ran the Fridge on the gas. After overnighting we ended up about 11.78 volts. Had to run the chassis engine to start the generator. 2nd time this happened. In Yosemite with limited generator hours it set off our propane alarm with low voltage.

I've been suspicious about the batteries since day 1. They have water in then.

But in our looking for RVs almost every dealer every time we looked at an RV had dead batteries - it seems they don't keep them plugged in on the lot. I'm wondering if by sitting and being discharged and recharged at the lot if they're bad.

#2. My manual says I have a progressive dynamics 9200 but all I found was a WFCO 9855 under my sink drawer. I'm wondering if it was replaced by previous owner? Either way when batteries die I can't seem to get it to charge in boost mode. Before storing it plugged in I left it for a few days and came back and batteries were at 8v. Even at that low it charged at 13.6v.

#3. When driving the MBS alternator charges at 14.1 volts. Even when the battery disconnect switch is off it gets 14v from MBS. The problem is that while connected the 14.1 volts is going to the entire system so it melted a 12v tv plug. Shouldn't the power center prevent that? So now driving we have to have battery system disconnected.

I'm a little irritated because the previous owner/dealer had to know about these power issues - but that's life. I'm not super savvy on electrical but not clueless either. Any help or advice particularly about the alternator feeding 14v to the entire coach while driving and where to start with 12v system would be super appreciated.
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Old 05-17-2016, 09:40 PM   #2
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#1 - Sounds like your battery is shot. A charged battery should be at 12.6 volts or better. I also learned the hard way. My battery would go dead in about 5 days, with the trailer in storage, if I left it hooked up.

#3 - Seems odd that 14.1V from the alternator would melt a 12V plug. 14.1V is a normal alternator output.
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Old 05-17-2016, 09:55 PM   #3
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The plug melting just happened. My assumption is that it was the higher voltage.

If not what would cause a plug to overheat like that? Vibration down the road? It's a cigarette plug that the tv is powered by - would road vibrations cause a short or something like that?
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Old 05-17-2016, 10:06 PM   #4
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Seems the batteries have been brutalized over the past two years and most likely down to half capacity or less. They can be capacity tested by a battery retailer. If changed, you can test the ability of the charger/ converter to hold the normal load and charge coach batteries. If the Wfco is bad, go back with a progressive.


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Old 05-17-2016, 10:20 PM   #5
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We have a 2013 solera, and like to dry camp at the beach. I noticed that the refer draws power even on propane only. Also co2 detector, and I'm sure other parasitic draws as well. I thought batteries bad, but had them tested and fine. My solution for the dry camping was 2x100 watt solar panels and a mppt controller
Batteries seem to stay charged all day, where as before I had to run gen to recharge , even if we were careful not to use power at night(lanterns in rv for light)
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Old 05-17-2016, 10:22 PM   #6
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By the way, no issues of melting plugs
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Old 05-18-2016, 01:36 AM   #7
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Buy new batteries and get a portable solar panel if you dry camp. Some here have had 12volt TV plugs melt and were replaced by a vendor here in warranty if I remember right...not related to you bad battery problem.
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Old 05-18-2016, 05:06 AM   #8
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A short in the tv plug or tv circuit could explain the overnight dead battery and melted plug. Surprising that the power center fuse did not blow, may want to check if it was subbed with the wrong amp rating. Voltages of 14.1 to 14.4 are normal charge voltages during bulk charge, the electric system is designed for it. A short will draw amps . Try pulling the fuse to the tv circuit and see if batteries go down overnight. Might still may have battery issue if 2 years old or more. Progressive dynamics 9200 would be better. The 13.6 on the WFCO might be ok ,13.6 may be float charge rate that follows a time limited bulk charge at 14.4 . Would need to check a manual to know the charging profile if you intend to keep the WFCO.
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Old 05-18-2016, 05:43 AM   #9
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Consider AGM batteries

If you do find that your coach batteries are shot, you may want to consider replacing them with AGM batteries. If you boondock a good bit, there are higher capacity batteries that will fit. AGM's don't need much maintenance and they rarely offgas (which can set off your propane/CO alarm).

I installed Group 31 AGM's on our Forester MBS. You may want to check out my post here - AGM Battery and Victron Battery Monitor Install
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Old 05-18-2016, 06:07 AM   #10
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I re read your post and realized we have the same model. We also dry camp frequently. A typical evening with refridge on propane, led lights 4 hours, brief pump use and 2 hours fantastic fan will usually draw us down from 12.7-8 to 12.3-4. Your batteries should not be dead overnight. Don't feel too bad about needing new batteries. Ours is the same age and we already had to replace the stock batteries for an acid leak. Used grp 31 agm as suggested by KatanaPilot.
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