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Old 11-17-2014, 10:18 PM   #1
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Electrical DC Power Problems

Hey, everyone. Brand new to the forum. I have been having some very weird problems with my electrical system in my RV. It started with the lights dimming, then getting bright again. That problem grew to the DC power working part of the time. Then I could not get it to work at all unless I reset the main breaker several times. Now, I can only get DC Power sometimes if I reset the main breaker and flip a light switch at the some time. Then it works well - water pump, refrigerator, everything. BUT, if I flip off that light switch, I loose DC power again. Other times I cannot get the DC power to work at all. Well, not true, it will have just enough volts to set off the carbon dioxide alarm, nothing else. The AC power works great, it is shore power 100% of the time. Bad converter? Bad connection? I have a multimeter, but I have not mastered it use beyond testing the battery (good charge) and wall sockets (good - AC power). I should probably get an electrician, but I haven't been able to find one to get out to my "little" job. Open to any and all suggestions. Thanks.
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:45 PM   #2
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Sounds like a bad converter to me. Try to confirm with your meter you have constant 120V AC going into the converter and then hook your meter to the 12V DC side and confirm that the output is consistent. Leave the meter hooked to the 12v side and turn on different things such as lights and pumps and see if the voltage drops significantly. I'm not sure how the light switch plays into all this unless it is somehow shorted and causing a large current draw on the converter. Very strange!
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Old 11-17-2014, 11:10 PM   #3
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Thanks. I'm just learning how to use a multimeter, but I will try that soon. I discovered the light switch thing by accident, but it doesn't even have to be the same light switch. Whichever switch I have on when it finally works by flipping the main breaker, if I turn THAT switch off then I lose all DC Power. It is very strange and frustrating. I'm hoping it is not the converter, and I want to try everything before replacing it. Could it possibly be a bad ground or a faulty wire problem? I'm going to pull out the whole unit (circuit panel and converter are all in one) when I check the voltage and check all wires, grounds, etc. Also, when the DC power is working, I do not remember hearing the fan kick on for the converter. I guess that would mean a bad converter or obstruction??? I just don't understand how it can work perfectly some of the time and then have very little voltage the rest.
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Old 11-17-2014, 11:23 PM   #4
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I would forget the switch portion of the problem. It sounds like switching any load is causing a reaction from the converter. The cooling fan is probably on an internal thermostat and only turns on under a high load condition although it could be that it is supposed to be on and it has gone bad. Intermittent problems on equipment is very common so I'm not surprised when something stops and starts working. While it could be something else, I would focus on troubleshooting the converter.
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Old 11-18-2014, 05:43 AM   #5
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I believe you have a bad converter as well, BUT, get the battery out and properly checked. If your battery is bad then your converter may go into a "self protection" mode and shut down. If the battery is good, then it would have to be the converter. Battery checks are free.
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Old 11-18-2014, 06:36 AM   #6
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I'll attach a couple of way's to check your convertor. Also agree with RPAspey post hope's these help you.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Manual - Power Distribution Center WF-8900 English.pdf (1.89 MB, 68 views)
File Type: pdf TEST FOR LOAD.pdf (24.1 KB, 57 views)
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Old 11-18-2014, 09:03 AM   #7
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Thanks KenHwy61. It sounds like I may be out for a new circuit panel/converter. I will check everything out first, though. Still praying it will be something easy (and cheap!).

RPAspey, the battery checked out fine with the meter, but I assume you mean a load test at an auto parts store. I've read lots of battery posts, and I am confused as to whether you even need to have your battery connected when you use shore power all the time. Some say yes, some say no. The battery is a few years old, so that could be an issue. Thanks.

gljurczyk, I appreciate the step by step voltage check instructions. That will be very helpful.

It might take me a few days to get to it, but I will let you know how it goes. At this point, I might just hope it is just the converter and get off the bucks and get it fixed.
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Old 11-18-2014, 09:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don S. View Post
Thanks KenHwy61. It sounds like I may be out for a new circuit panel/converter. I will check everything out first, though. Still praying it will be something easy (and cheap!).

RPAspey, the battery checked out fine with the meter, but I assume you mean a load test at an auto parts store. I've read lots of battery posts, and I am confused as to whether you even need to have your battery connected when you use shore power all the time. Some say yes, some say no. The battery is a few years old, so that could be an issue. Thanks.

gljurczyk, I appreciate the step by step voltage check instructions. That will be very helpful.

It might take me a few days to get to it, but I will let you know how it goes. At this point, I might just hope it is just the converter and get off the bucks and get it fixed.
If you find it is your convertor.Let me get on my box again and recommend a Progressive 4600 instead of that WFCO you have for about 35.00 bucks more. Read up on it and you will see why I say this. Good luck.... in fact Ill attach some info....
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File Type: pdf Progressive.pdf (443.5 KB, 27 views)
File Type: pdf Progressive Dynamics Charge Wizard Profile.pdf (165.4 KB, 19 views)
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Old 11-18-2014, 09:20 AM   #9
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You're welcome and
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Old 11-18-2014, 09:43 AM   #10
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You don't say how old the battery is. Make sure there is not a battery disconnect switch. If you can not get to an auto parts store, get a helper.
Disconnect shore power. put test leads on battery and read voltage. Have someone turn on fan or multiple lights then read voltage again. You should see small drop in voltage. if there is a significant voltage drop, battery si going or gone.
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Old 11-18-2014, 10:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don S. View Post
Thanks KenHwy61. It sounds like I may be out for a new circuit panel/converter. I will check everything out first, though. Still praying it will be something easy (and cheap!).

RPAspey, the battery checked out fine with the meter, but I assume you mean a load test at an auto parts store. I've read lots of battery posts, and I am confused as to whether you even need to have your battery connected when you use shore power all the time. Some say yes, some say no. The battery is a few years old, so that could be an issue. Thanks.

gljurczyk, I appreciate the step by step voltage check instructions. That will be very helpful.

It might take me a few days to get to it, but I will let you know how it goes. At this point, I might just hope it is just the converter and get off the bucks and get it fixed.
You definitely need a battery when hooked to shore power if you have a wfco converter.
The new progressive dynamics "cant remember model" does not require a battery but is recommended.
All other progressive dynamics model require a battery.
Not sure about other brands like parallax or xantrax.

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Old 11-18-2014, 11:06 AM   #12
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I am attempting to attach a picture of the panel and converter that I had taken previously. I think it is a WFCO converter and assumed since it was not a stand alone converter, I would have to replace the circuit panel, too, but I've found out that is not the case. I can just hardwire the new (Progressive) converter to the old panel. Thanks, TURBS, I will check the battery as indicated while checking the other voltage.
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Old 11-18-2014, 08:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don S. View Post
I am attempting to attach a picture of the panel and converter that I had taken previously. I think it is a WFCO converter and assumed since it was not a stand alone converter, I would have to replace the circuit panel, too, but I've found out that is not the case. I can just hardwire the new (Progressive) converter to the old panel. Thanks, TURBS, I will check the battery as indicated while checking the other voltage.
You will see it the same board you would want to change that to takes about 15 mins. wire to wire thats all. If you do not change the control board you will not get the wizard. If you just want a convertor WFCO and the old board PM me and you pay the shipping and I'LL send you my old one FREE of cost.....
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Old 11-19-2014, 02:25 PM   #14
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It was the battery. It checked out fine with the meter, but when a load was put on it, it went down to nothing. I hate it that I need to have a good battery even though I'm using 100% shore power. No worries, though. I will steal the one from my boat until I can get a replacement. Thanks to you guys, I didn't go out and buy a new converter. Appreciate it!!!
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Old 11-19-2014, 03:47 PM   #15
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Thanks for updating us with your resolution. Its nice knowing exactly what was wrong as it helps everyone.
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Old 11-19-2014, 04:17 PM   #16
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I'm glad it was only a battery. Learn a few things myself from these wise guys. I mean wise guys only in the literal sense of course!
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Old 11-19-2014, 04:32 PM   #17
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Actually you do need a battery even thought you always have shore power, even with a new convertor, Trailers with electric brakes must have a battery powered break away switch to activate the brakes in case of a breakaway. If you store the RV for long periods of time between uses, look into adding a "Battery Tender" not a trickle charger. I keep my RV connected to a Battery Tender when ever it is not being used.
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Old 11-21-2014, 05:14 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TURBS View Post
You definitely need a battery when hooked to shore power if you have a wfco converter.
I've had three WFCOs that run fine when the battery is disconnected.
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Old 11-21-2014, 05:18 PM   #19
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I've had three WFCOs that run fine when the battery is disconnected.
It will "work" without a battery but highly not recommended!
Especially when moving slides in and out.
Just because they worked doesn't make it right.

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Old 11-21-2014, 05:20 PM   #20
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Don, make sure you charge your battery overnight every 30 days, then disconnect the battery from the camper so the LP detector and fridge control board don't kill it (within a week or two). Reconnect every 30 days. Or, if you keep everything plugged in make sure you check the water level in the battery often to be sure the converter isn't boiling it away. Downside to leaving it plugged in is a camper will use a fair amount of energy just sitting there. My prior camper used 35 watts with everything off - about half as much as a home fridge. Your other option is a battery tender as mentioned above. Disconnect the battery from the camper if you use one.

I'm stressing this because with your description it doesn't sound like your last battery was maintained properly. It was heavily sulphated to drop so low under a light load.
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