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Old 01-04-2013, 10:24 AM   #1
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Do I have a converter problem?

Hello,

I was trying to use my furnace over the weekend, and I could not get it to stay on more than a few minutes before the Co2 detector low voltage light would glow and then the system would turn off.

I was hooked up to my 110 generator power. My rig is a 2008 Flagstaff classic super lite. I was checking to batteries with my meter while the gnerator was running, and they were indeed increasing in charge. They were low at first, which I dont know why (maybe running the jack stand, and slide outs in and out).

Do they need to be above a certain voltage before being able to be used? I let the generator run for several hours before trying to use anything, and they were never getting above about 11.5 volts. If I kicked the furnace on, within 20 minutes, they would be down around 9.5 - 10 volts. I thought with ground power, the inverter would charge them enough to run the furnace indefinitely?

Is there something I am overlooking regarding the inverter? I read somewhere maybe there is a switch I need to flip to put it into "battery mode" vs Ground power mode? As far as I know, the only other thing running would have been the refrigerator, which I tried to flip over to gas mode, and still couldnt get the heat to stay on. Made for a very cold night in the camper =(
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:26 AM   #2
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One final note, when I gave up on the heat, I just let the generator run all night hoping it would recharge the batteries, and in the morning they were way too weak to move the slides all the way in and I had to get jumper cables to do that. Also, the batteries are both new..maybe 2 months old.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:15 AM   #3
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first, yoii mean "converter", not an inverter.
no such switch on travel trailers.
the furnace is the biggest drain on batteries and if you don't have a battery disconnect switch, the parasitic power drains will empty a battery in just a few days.

sounds like your batteries are bad or have been drained down to the point that they can't hold a charge anymore.
or the converter is bad.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:01 PM   #4
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The converter will only bring the batteries up to about 1/2 charge running all night. That should be enough to run the heater if nothing else is using power.

If they have been discharged to zero more than a few times; you have most likely ruined them.

A 4 stage charger with a "battery recovery mode" might save them, but you will need to remove them from the camper and power the charger with your generator. It may take 24 hours with the battery removed to see if this will work. If not, replacement is your only option.

Deep cycle battery charge management is the single largest factor in battery life. NEVER allow the battery charge to drop below 50% without recharging. When the "G" (Good) light goes out on the Micro-monitor you MUST recharge it to prevent permanent damage to the batteries total capacity.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:10 PM   #5
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One final note, when I gave up on the heat, I just let the generator run all night hoping it would recharge the batteries, and in the morning they were way too weak to move the slides all the way in and I had to get jumper cables to do that. Also, the batteries are both new..maybe 2 months old.
If the batteries are that new, I would think it unlikely you toasted them already without several charge-full deplete cycles.

you said you were running of a generator - any idea how much juice it was actually putting out? There are a lot of variables, but clearly your batteries were not getting a charge.

I would also check to make sure you do not have a blown fuse at the battery - or a loose ground.

Here is what I would do to check the problems:
- check your gen output, make sure you are getting what you think you are getting, hard to check load on a gen, but just plug something that draws a lot for juice direct to it, an hair dryer or coffee maker for example.
-check your rig by plugging into true house power and letting it go for a while. Some gen units may develop a sine wave your converter does not like.
-try removing the batteries and having them tested at local auto parts store.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:50 PM   #6
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Well, I am not sure if they ever got discharged all the way to zero or not. I was trying a few different things to get the furnace working that night - including hooking up one of those portable car battery jump start boxes. I had the generator on and off and different times trying to do differnet things to see how long the charge would last.
The one thing I am not sure I checked was whether the fridge defroster was on. I need to check that tonight.

Assuming everythign is working, should I be able to run all the 12v stuff with the generator hooked up, and assume the batteries would stay up?
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:52 PM   #7
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I just re-read the post above with the chart showing charge %. I didnt realize a battery at 11.5v might be completely dead. I guess I just always assumed that 0v = completely dead. Maybe I need to re-think and re-check some things on those batteries after I put them on a charger for a while so I can see if htey will hold a charge.
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by bluegras View Post
Well, I am not sure if they ever got discharged all the way to zero or not. I was trying a few different things to get the furnace working that night - including hooking up one of those portable car battery jump start boxes. I had the generator on and off and different times trying to do differnet things to see how long the charge would last.
The one thing I am not sure I checked was whether the fridge defroster was on. I need to check that tonight.

Assuming everythign is working, should I be able to run all the 12v stuff with the generator hooked up, and assume the batteries would stay up?
In general, if your converter is receiving 30 amp 110 power, it should power all 12v devices. The batteries will absorb momentary high drain, but the converter should power everything without discharging the batteries.
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:11 PM   #9
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There's a trouble shooting file in the "files" section right next to user cp of this web page.
For wfco converters.

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Old 01-04-2013, 02:49 PM   #10
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In general, if your converter is receiving 30 amp 110 power, it should power all 12v devices. The batteries will absorb momentary high drain, but the converter should power everything without discharging the batteries.

How do I check the converter directly, exactly? Should I just plug up any battery (that has been charged to full charge) and then plug up the generator, and put the volt meter to the battery to see if its going up or down? If I turn on a fan or something in the camper while doing this, and the battery goes down, I am to assume the convertor is bad?
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bluegras View Post

How do I check the converter directly, exactly? Should I just plug up any battery (that has been charged to full charge) and then plug up the generator, and put the volt meter to the battery to see if its going up or down? If I turn on a fan or something in the camper while doing this, and the battery goes down, I am to assume the convertor is bad?
Lol I just told u how to check it via the trouble shooting guide in the files section right next to user cp tab upper left hand corner of web page.

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Old 01-04-2013, 04:27 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by bluegras View Post
I just re-read the post above with the chart showing charge %. I didnt realize a battery at 11.5v might be completely dead. I guess I just always assumed that 0v = completely dead. Maybe I need to re-think and re-check some things on those batteries after I put them on a charger for a while so I can see if htey will hold a charge.
Any voltage reading below 10.5 volts is "dead"

Did you find the guide?
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:13 PM   #13
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Batteries not charging thread

This is a continuation of this thread:

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...lem-32873.html


Sorry for the late reply. I just got around this past weekend to checking some stuff out. I did find those guides, but when I wasnt able to resolve the problem just yet.

I put the two batteries in the system while it was hooked on ground power (shore line, not my generator, just for good measure).

I could flip on the furnace and watch the system slowly decay the voltage on the batteries, which started out at about 12.7VDC. My converter is a parallax 7100 series converter. I found the test procedures here: http://www.parallaxpower.com/7100/PP...gnostic%20.pdf

Basically going through those procedures pulling the polarity fuses, etc. I ended up in the "Converter is working correctly" box, with a reading of 13.7VDC at the converter.

I was glad to see this, but still havent found my problem exactly.
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:05 AM   #14
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So wait.

Is the camper plugged into the shore power (or generator) when the battery decays with the furnace running?

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Old 04-25-2013, 08:08 AM   #15
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So wait.

Is the camper plugged into the shore power (or generator) when the battery decays with the furnace running?

That's the way I took it.


I can't see the converter actually working and yet not charge.
But yet the furnace runs off of battery and not converter.

to
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:17 AM   #16
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Since the furnace is powered THROUGH the converter, if there is shore power the battery should never even see a load.

Also the idiot light system measures CAMPER voltage; NOT battery voltage.
That is why even without a battery installed and the converter running you will get all 4 lights lit on the panel.

This leads me to believe that he is getting the voltage die down without it being plugged in.

Having said that, his battery needs a load test to rule out a bad battery.

He needs to pull the battery out of the camper and put it on a dedicated 4 stage charger (with desulphation circuit) to try and recover his most likely heavily sulphated battery. It may be ruined if it stayed dead for any length of time.
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:12 AM   #17
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To clear up - yes, the camper IS plugged into external power (doesnt matter whether generator or shoreline) when the battery decays with the furnace on. Eventually the batteries get so low the furnace will not stay on, and won't cut back on.

The idiot light in the camper only ever gave me a maximum of 3 lights lit, indicating "G", and would drop down to "F" or lower after running. I will try again running the batteries on a dedicated charger to see what happens.

I went ahead and scheduled an appointment at camper world to have them look at it. I am trying to rule out some things so I can maybe save myself some time when they look at it. I intend on charging the batteries proper, and putting them in the trailer right before I take it up there.
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:21 AM   #18
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To clear up - yes, the camper IS plugged into external power (doesnt matter whether generator or shoreline) when the battery decays with the furnace on. Eventually the batteries get so low the furnace will not stay on, and won't cut back on.

The idiot light in the camper only ever gave me a maximum of 3 lights lit, indicating "G", and would drop down to "F" or lower after running. I will try again running the batteries on a dedicated charger to see what happens.

I went ahead and scheduled an appointment at camper world to have them look at it. I am trying to rule out some things so I can maybe save myself some time when they look at it. I intend on charging the batteries proper, and putting them in the trailer right before I take it up there.
When plugged into shore power the furnace should run without a battery just off the converter. And if the built in battery gauge does not show full when plugged into shore power (it is simply measuring the juice going to the battery) then the converter is not working properly.
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:25 AM   #19
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To clear up - yes, the camper IS plugged into external power (doesnt matter whether generator or shoreline) when the battery decays with the furnace on. Eventually the batteries get so low the furnace will not stay on, and won't cut back on.

The idiot light in the camper only ever gave me a maximum of 3 lights lit, indicating "G", and would drop down to "F" or lower after running. I will try again running the batteries on a dedicated charger to see what happens.

I went ahead and scheduled an appointment at camper world to have them look at it. I am trying to rule out some things so I can maybe save myself some time when they look at it. I intend on charging the batteries proper, and putting them in the trailer right before I take it up there.
Your battery is bad.

The converter has a safety circuit to disconnect (shut itself down) from the battery if there is a short in the battery. REMOVE the battery COMPLETELY and try again.

Everything should work as advertised. Then replace your battery.
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:44 AM   #20
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Interesting. Maybe I do have a converter problem after all then. I know for a fact the last time this was happening, the furnace would not run while plugged into ground power only. I will test that again today - take the batteries completely out, plug in to ground power, and see if the furnace works/idiot light reads correctly.

Thanks for the tips!
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