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Old 04-03-2013, 01:56 PM   #1
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Electrical Puzzle

A year ago, a 15 amp breaker tripped. It was labeled "Conv./Gen'l". I had difficulty getting it to go back to "on" position, but was finally able to do so. I intended to replace it, but never did since everything was fine until on a recent trip to Arizona it tripped again.

This time, it tripped while I was in the trailer. When it tripped, the lights slowly dimmed until they went out--connected to shore power at the time--and this dimming was accompanied by a high pitched whining noise (no, not me or my wife).

I again had difficulty getting the breaker to reset, but did so and now will replace it. But the question is, what is going on here? Is the breaker bad, or is is something else having to do with the converter, or some other arcane electrical situation?

Any feedback and guidance would be appreciated. Thanks, RM Drifter
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:57 PM   #2
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Its hard to tell from your description. I would check all the connections and make sure they are tight.
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:14 PM   #3
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when your breaker tripped,it shut off the power to the converter. the lights (12vt) were then running on battery power which sounds like a dead battery if your lights dimmed and then went out. the fan on the converter makes a high pitched whine when it is under load,but in your case your converter wasn't running,so i can't say what the noise was. first thing i would do is replace the breaker. then i would check the battery and connections. . you didn't say how old your rig is or the battery,
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:46 PM   #4
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SP 186 2009, battery one year old. Battery was fully charged before we left, and charged whole 600 miles to AZ. We were on shore power the whole trip, or driving. Thanks for your insights, and I will replace the breaker.

When you indicate the "converter under load", what exactly does that mean? I ask because the noise sure sounded like the one you reference above. And to clarify, only one breaker switch tripped, not both.
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:48 PM   #5
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Squeel was probably from CO detector from low voltage. You stated that lights went dim and finally went out. Your battery is either dead or not working.
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:59 PM   #6
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Interesting and accurate. If the converter is not working because breaker thrown, then no more AC obviously, but I assume from what you're saying that all electrical now reverts to 12V...correct?

And when I'm on shore power, is the 12V system being used at all? Just trying to figure out why battery would go dead. If not used for a week, would it just discharge?

Just checked battery by turning on lights in trailer, and they're at full illumination. Is it possible trip home--700 miles--recharged battery?
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Old 04-03-2013, 04:10 PM   #7
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700 mile trip connected to TV will charge batteries, might not be full charge but sufficient to either maintain or partially charge, depending on TV.
Convertor uses A/C from campground or home hook-up to convert to 12 volt dc. This is used to charge the battery and supply all other 12 volt needs. Most equipment is 12 volt except for Television, Microwave, and any other appliances plugged in.
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Old 04-03-2013, 04:18 PM   #8
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Thanks. So if the breaker throws on the converter, is there some mechanism which puts all non-AC dependent appliances back on to the trailer battery, or if the converter is dead, does the whole system shut down? Still having trouble believing the battery was dead I guess.
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Old 04-03-2013, 04:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmdrifter View Post
Interesting and accurate. If the converter is not working because breaker thrown, then no more AC obviously, but I assume from what you're saying that all electrical now reverts to 12V...correct?

And when I'm on shore power, is the 12V system being used at all? Just trying to figure out why battery would go dead. If not used for a week, would it just discharge?

Just checked battery by turning on lights in trailer, and they're at full illumination. Is it possible trip home--700 miles--recharged battery?
There's parasitic draws that will drain battery dead if not plugged into shore power .
Co detector
Radio
To name a few.

You need to disconnect battery if not plugged into shore power
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Old 04-03-2013, 04:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmdrifter View Post
Interesting and accurate. If the converter is not working because breaker thrown, then no more AC obviously, but I assume from what you're saying that all electrical now reverts to 12V...correct?

And when I'm on shore power, is the 12V system being used at all? Just trying to figure out why battery would go dead. If not used for a week, would it just discharge?

Just checked battery by turning on lights in trailer, and they're at full illumination. Is it possible trip home--700 miles--recharged battery?
rmdrifter, what the converter does (as it names implies) is to convert AC power to DC power. The converter takes 120 volt AC power, and converts it over to 12 volt DC power. This converted 12 volt DC power is what powers all your things in the trailer that run off of 12 volt DC power.

Now when you are not plugged into 120 AC volt shore power, all of your 12 volt stuff still works, but now it runs directly off of the battery....and not the converter.

Your 12 volt DC powered things always run off of 12 volt DC power.....either from your converter, or your battery. The 12 volt system is tied together with your battery and your converter. You just have two possible sources of 12 volt power, that are connected.

If plugged into shore power, they run mainly off of the converter. You don't have to do anything besides plug into 120 volt shore power for this to work. The converter also charges your battery to a point. Some converters are better than others, and have battery stage chargers built into them. If you leave your trailer plugged into shore power all the time, depending on what converter you have, it can actually overcharge the battery. You need to always keep an eye on the battery water levels.

If not plugged in (or the converter is turned off, faulty, or a breaker thrown) then all your 12 volt stuff runs off the battery.
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