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Old 09-23-2020, 04:13 PM   #1
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Interior Lights changing intensity

2012 FR Wildcat 31' 5thwhl. While reading in bed we notice lights will get quite bright for a while and then dim down again. This repeats every couple of minutes. Nothing else 12volt will be running at the time. Is this serious and what is the most likely reason for this happening? Thanks for any help in advance.
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Old 09-23-2020, 04:27 PM   #2
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Are you plugged into shore power or running off the battery only?
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Old 09-23-2020, 04:40 PM   #3
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Plugged in to shore power when this happens.
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Old 09-23-2020, 04:41 PM   #4
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Could be a converter problem. Since you are also having problems with your hydraulic system, I would check out the batteries and the converter. I just replaced the converter in my 2012 Wildcat and everything seems to work a little better
The electric problems and the slide problems might be related to low or inconsistent 12v power.
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Old 09-23-2020, 04:48 PM   #5
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Either a failing converter or a bad battery that the converter is trying to charge.

Disconnect the battery and see if it still happens. If it stops happen with the battery disconnected then the battery is the problem. If it still happens with battery disconnected then the converter is failing.
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Old 09-23-2020, 05:02 PM   #6
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If winds up being a converter, get a new one from here: http://www.bestconverter.com/
Best place to order one from. Randy will call you back if nobody answers the phone and you leave a message. I went with a Boondocker, but they have other brands also.
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Old 09-24-2020, 01:57 PM   #7
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First check the liquid level in your battery... pop off the top cap on both sides and you will find 6 holes. Each hole should be filled with distilled water ONLY to the bottom of the ring of the holes in the battery. If those are filled, then next look at the age of the battery and consider replacing it.
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Old 09-24-2020, 03:52 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Holmes2016 View Post
2012 FR Wildcat 31' 5thwhl. While reading in bed we notice lights will get quite bright for a while and then dim down again. This repeats every couple of minutes. Nothing else 12volt will be running at the time. Is this serious and what is the most likely reason for this happening? Thanks for any help in advance.
This happened on ours, first night in the unit when we bought new. Dealer said it was the tank heaters cycling on and off (it was really cold that day/night). Could be?
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Old 09-24-2020, 06:42 PM   #9
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Absolutely!

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This happened on ours, first night in the unit when we bought new. Dealer said it was the tank heaters cycling on and off (it was really cold that day/night). Could be?
Absolutely! Any 12v unit that cycles on and off will cause this effect. It is the same effect you see when idling your vehicle at a traffic light at night and you turn the heat/AC blower from off to high. It is a normal occurrence but can be annoying.

The nominal 12v can actually vary from 12.6v to 13.6v depending on the load and battery state of charge. Incandescent lamps are very sensitive to voltage--brightness is proportional to voltage raised to the 13th power!

If everything else is in order, you could consider replacing the incandescent lamps with direct-fit LEDs. They are much less sensitive to voltage swings.
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Old 09-24-2020, 07:45 PM   #10
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I pulled the converter today and bench tested with Volt meter. It showed 13.7 volts with no load. I connected a small electric dc pump to output terminals and it barely turned. Read voltage at same time and it read 3.4 volts. The pump spun freely when connected to a battery. Can these converters fail under load?
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Old 09-24-2020, 08:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holmes2016 View Post
I pulled the converter today and bench tested with Volt meter. It showed 13.7 volts with no load. I connected a small electric dc pump to output terminals and it barely turned. Read voltage at same time and it read 3.4 volts. The pump spun freely when connected to a battery. Can these converters fail under load?
Absolutely. There are many articles and videos that show details on how to test an RV converter and batteries.
When my converter went bad, it was emitting a whine at times, the fan wasn't on, the battery was not charging, and the RV lights were flickering and dim. I turned the converter breaker off, charged the batteries, and all was well as long as I kept the batteries charged with an external charger.
On the bench, it tested fine until it was under load.
Let us know how it turns out.
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Old 09-24-2020, 09:49 PM   #12
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Yes

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I pulled the converter today and bench tested with Volt meter. It showed 13.7 volts with no load. I connected a small electric dc pump to output terminals and it barely turned. Read voltage at same time and it read 3.4 volts. The pump spun freely when connected to a battery. Can these converters fail under load?
Yes, they certainly can. Given that you tested on the bench and therefore ruled out bad grounds and bad connections, yours is probably a goner.
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Old 09-24-2020, 10:40 PM   #13
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I have been reading this with interest. This summer we have noticed our lights doing the same thing, getting brighter and dimmer. At first I thought it might be the converter, but it doesn't do it all the time and some campgrounds it doesn't do it at all. Could poor voltage when I am plugged in cause this? I normanly hook to 50 amp service.
Early in the season I noticed the fan in the converter making a little noise. After cleaning it we haven't noticed the noise anymore.
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Old 09-25-2020, 10:26 AM   #14
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No

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I have been reading this with interest. This summer we have noticed our lights doing the same thing, getting brighter and dimmer. At first I thought it might be the converter, but it doesn't do it all the time and some campgrounds it doesn't do it at all. Could poor voltage when I am plugged in cause this? I normanly hook to 50 amp service.
Early in the season I noticed the fan in the converter making a little noise. After cleaning it we haven't noticed the noise anymore.
"Could poor voltage when I am plugged in cause this?"
No. The converter provides a regulated voltage, regardless of the input voltage (within a reasonable range). It is one of three or four voltages dependent on the battery state of charge and does not frequently jump around.

One of the most common converters around is the WFCO 8955. Its specifications are here.

Here are some extracts from the specification.
Code:
Input Voltage/Hz	    105-130 VAC, 60 Hz	

Absorption Mode             13.6V DC (nominal voltage)
(Nominal Voltage)

Bulk Mode                   14.4V DC (quick charging voltage)
(Quick Charging Voltage)	

Float Mode                  13.2V DC (trickle charge voltage)
(Trickle Charge Voltage)
As you can see, regardless of the input voltage between 105 and 130 VAC, the output is regulated to one of the three listed voltages.
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Old 09-25-2020, 11:41 AM   #15
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I had yoru same issue, replaced my converter with one from Progressive Dynamics and all is better.

If I were you Id go with one of the INTELI-POWER 9200 Series that will take better care of ur batteries. I went with the 9280. More amps than I need.
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Old 09-25-2020, 12:23 PM   #16
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Disappointed with Progressive Dynamics

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I had yoru same issue, replaced my converter with one from Progressive Dynamics and all is better.

If I were you Id go with one of the INTELI-POWER 9200 Series that will take better care of ur batteries. I went with the 9280. More amps than I need.
I was actually pretty disappointed with the Progressive Dynamics product. I replaced a WFCO 8955 with the Progressive Dynamics "drop-in" equivalent, PD 4655 MBA.

The cables between the converter board and distribution board on the WFCO 8955 were AWG 8. The corresponding tiny cables on the PD 4655 were AWG 14. For those concerned that voltage drop affecting which charge mode is selected, this is a step backwards. The cables were soldered directly to plated-through-holes on the converter board. There was no opportunity to attach the old cables from the WFCO.

The PD 4655 includes a push button to permit manual selection of charge modes (Boost, Normal, and Storage). They use a push button which connects to the converter board with a 4-wire cable.
  • They could have mounted the push button directly on the converter board.
  • They could have placed the push button on a pendant cable, allowing you to place it wherever you wished.
  • Unfortunately they placed it on the distribution board for no good reason. This turned a 20-minute job into a 2-hour job, lying flat on the floor, transferring heavy battery and converter cables, and tediously moving 12-volt circuits one-by-one from one board to another. This is simply thoughtless design.
I would probably not recommend this change.
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Old 09-26-2020, 06:18 AM   #17
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I was actually pretty disappointed with the Progressive Dynamics product. I replaced a WFCO 8955 with the Progressive Dynamics "drop-in" equivalent, PD 4655 MBA.

The cables between the converter board and distribution board on the WFCO 8955 were AWG 8. The corresponding tiny cables on the PD 4655 were AWG 14. For those concerned that voltage drop affecting which charge mode is selected, this is a step backwards. The cables were soldered directly to plated-through-holes on the converter board. There was no opportunity to attach the old cables from the WFCO.

The PD 4655 includes a push button to permit manual selection of charge modes (Boost, Normal, and Storage). They use a push button which connects to the converter board with a 4-wire cable.
  • They could have mounted the push button directly on the converter board.
  • They could have placed the push button on a pendant cable, allowing you to place it wherever you wished.
  • Unfortunately they placed it on the distribution board for no good reason. This turned a 20-minute job into a 2-hour job, lying flat on the floor, transferring heavy battery and converter cables, and tediously moving 12-volt circuits one-by-one from one board to another. This is simply thoughtless design.
I would probably not recommend this change.
Hello Larry, Sorry you had such miserable experience with your PD converter.

However the 4600 series you purchased: https://www.progressivedyn.com/rv/po...r-4600-series/

is a far cry from the 9200 series I referred to: https://www.progressivedyn.com/rv/po...er-converters/

The 9200 series is fully automated and does not require any input whatsoever to change from charge to maintain etc.

It is like comparing a 1960s Volkswagen Beetle to a 2020 Cadillac Seville.
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Old 09-26-2020, 09:44 AM   #18
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It was recommended

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Hello Larry, Sorry you had such miserable experience with your PD converter.

However the 4600 series you purchased: https://www.progressivedyn.com/rv/po...r-4600-series/

is a far cry from the 9200 series I referred to: https://www.progressivedyn.com/rv/po...er-converters/

The 9200 series is fully automated and does not require any input whatsoever to change from charge to maintain etc.

It is like comparing a 1960s Volkswagen Beetle to a 2020 Cadillac Seville.
Hello Douglas,
The 4600 MBA was recommended as the best approach. It was supposed to be a quick and easy swap, since it was designed to fit in the PD housing, a drop-in replacement. I would not have considered a different model.
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