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Old 06-22-2017, 08:56 PM   #1
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2017 38FBD Electrical Issue

Our 6 month old 38FBD that we live in full time has an electrical issue. We are connected to park power through a Progressive Industries external 50A EMS.

My awning would not go out today and I saw that my awning lights were dim. The 2 of the AC units were on and some house lights were on. I checked the DC voltage on the 12V battery terminals and I read 8.6V. I turned off the park power, removed the batteries and checked their voltages. One was 9.3V and the other was 9.8V. They did need some water, so I add water to all the cells. I connected the single 9.8V battery back into the 12V DC system and turned the park power back on. Once the EMS allowed the power to flow, I checked the battery voltage again and it was 8.5V. I turned off the park power again and removed the positive wires from the battery. Restoring the park power, most of the 12V systems work, but I don't have any power to my awning or my level up system. I checked the voltage across the removed positive 12V terminal to the negative 12V terminal, and I get 0V. As a final test, I was able to get across the 12V power leads on the LED light in the convenience center and I see 13.2V. My interior LED lights and the AC units work. I don't see any tripped breakers or bad fuses in the distribution center.

It appears to me that my converter is working, but for some reason, I'm not getting charge power to the batteries. I did a search and I probably opened some fuses trying to charge the dead (9.8V) batteries, but I can't find them. Does anyone know where the converter is in the 38FBD. I checked in the basement, behind all the panels, but I haven't seen it. My distribution panel is in the bedroom in the wall behind the seat in the shower.

Is this the most likely problem? If so, will there be a problem running the 12V systems without a battery connected to the converter for a day or so?

Is there something else I may be missing?

Thanks
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Old 06-22-2017, 09:05 PM   #2
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If you are talking about possibly the reverse polarity fuses to your converter, they can can be in the RV's electrical distribution panel, or on the converter itself.

If in the panel, look for some bigger fuses, usually in the 40 amp range.



You may have also just tripped what is referred to as a ressetable fuse/cb that is located on the frame rail of your RV. This is common. Let me find some pics for you.
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Old 06-22-2017, 09:07 PM   #3
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Here is a recent thread or two on the resettable fuse/cb

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ml#post1524303

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ml#post1518638
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Old 06-22-2017, 09:38 PM   #4
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wmtire,

Thanks for the quick reply. I found a group of 3 resettable breakers near the battery compartment, I tried to reset them all and there was no change. I checked the voltage at the breaker rail and I measure 0V on both sides of the the breakers.

I think I have a separate distribution panel and converter. I just checked my panel and I don't see the polarity fuses there. I have a WFCO FP-01 distribution center and I haven't found the converter yet.

I should have mentioned that the 38FBD is a fifth wheel and the bottom of the trailer is completely enclosed.

I wish I had a schematic of the electrical system. That would definitely help a lot.

Thanks,
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Old 06-22-2017, 09:45 PM   #5
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OK. great. Until someone with absolute knowledge of your particular RV chimes in, here a few generalities of where you may can find your converter located.

It can be located directly below your circuit breakers/fuses in your electrical distribution panel. You'll have to remove the panel trim to see this:



Sometimes in 5th wheels, you may find it underneath a bedroom stair:

It can also be located in a pass thru storage area, and sometimes behind a panel there, that you have to remove.

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Old 06-22-2017, 09:51 PM   #6
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Not doubting your ability, but just to make sure of something (as I have seen this happen too many times), when you tested for voltage on the resettable fuses/cb...how do you do this with the leads from your multimeter.

You cannot test for voltage putting one lead on one side of the fuse, then the other lead on the opposite side. This will always show zero for voltage. You are testing for voltage on a single positive line, unlike at the battery where you are testing at the positive and ground.

You need to put the positive lead on one side of the fuse, then put the negative lead on a ground to test for voltage. You then move the positive lead to the other side of the fuse, leaving the negative lead on the ground.

You can test for continuity using the leads on both sides of the fuse, but not voltage.

Just making sure, before we start chasing the converter.
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Old 06-22-2017, 10:03 PM   #7
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Not doubting your ability, but just to make sure of something (as I have seen this happen too many times), when you tested for voltage on the resettable fuses/cb...how do you do this with the leads.

You cannot test for voltage putting one lead on one side of the fuse, then the other lead on the opposite side. This will always show zero for voltage.

You need to put the positive lead on one side of the fuse, then put the negative lead on a ground to test for voltage. You then move the positive lead to the other side of the fuse, leaving the negative lead on the ground.

You can test for continuity using the leads on both sides of the fuse, but not voltage.
No problem. It is a good question. I checked between the fuse terminals and the ground bar. You also have a good suggestion about checking the breaker continuity. I'll do that tomorrow. Just FYI, I've been an electronics design engineer for over 35 years, so the electrical system doesn't intimidate me other than the tight spaces where they seem to install them. That is why a schematic would really help me, but I understand that Forest River doesn't provide them.

Do you have any experience with running the converter without the battery to charge for a day or so? It appears to be running in float mode, since I read 13.2V on the LED and it is really hot here in North Texas, so we need the AC and associate 12V fans.

Thanks again,
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Old 06-22-2017, 10:11 PM   #8
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No problem. It is a good question. I checked between the fuse terminals and the ground bar. You also have a good suggestion about checking the breaker continuity. I'll do that tomorrow. Just FYI, I've been an electronics design engineer for over 35 years, so the electrical system doesn't intimidate me other than the tight spaces where they seem to install them. That is why a schematic would really help me, but I understand that Forest River doesn't provide them.

Do you have any experience with running the converter without the battery to charge for a day or so? It appears to be running in float mode, since I read 13.2V on the LED and it is really hot here in North Texas, so we need the AC and associate 12V fans.

Thanks again,
Good to know, as that helps. I should have clarified though, I was talking about the resettable circuit breaker when asking how you checked the voltage across them. These just are an easy to check thing, and do cause a lot of easily solvable problems...with just resetting them.
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Old 06-23-2017, 09:41 AM   #9
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Hmmm...the battery disconnect switch didn't get turned off by any chance, did it? Like you, I don't know how they wired your system. However, it sounds like the batteries are out of the circuit.
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Old 06-23-2017, 09:41 AM   #10
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To find converter look for a vent to nowhere. Usually under steps or behind breakers in a 5th wheel. I also have run 12 volt system without batteries
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Old 06-23-2017, 09:51 AM   #11
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Hmmm...the battery disconnect switch didn't get turned off by any chance, did it? Like you, I don't know how they wired your system. However, it sounds like the batteries are out of the circuit.
Joe, that is exactly what it was!

I still haven't found the converter, but it turns out that I "overengineered" the battery disconnect labeling. Here is a photo of my switch the way I've had it since we bought the 5ver five months ago. I read Battery Disconnect - Off as let power flow. No! When I switch it on, I get 13.7V at the battery terminal leads. So, Disconnect - On means let power flow!

Now I need to go check the batteries at O'Reillys and charge them with an external charger if they are good for enough to use for a few days until I can replace them with some AGMs.

I really appreciate all the recommendations and help!

Have a great weekend,

Jim
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Old 06-23-2017, 10:09 AM   #12
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Jim, I have a 2017 38fb2. I don't know why they changed the model number, but I believe it's the same floorplan. My converter is behind the breaker panel on the wall between the bedroom and front bath. I can't imagine why anyone would think that's a good location, but that's where it is. Pull the breaker/fuse panel and it's stuck up in the back.

Henry
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Old 06-23-2017, 11:03 AM   #13
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Jim, I have a 2017 38fb2. I don't know why they changed the model number, but I believe it's the same floorplan. My converter is behind the breaker panel on the wall between the bedroom and front bath. I can't imagine why anyone would think that's a good location, but that's where it is. Pull the breaker/fuse panel and it's stuck up in the back.

Henry
Henry,

Thanks, that is what I was thinking, since I couldn't find it anywhere else. Since it is such a tight work area and I'm worried I'd have to disconnect a lot of wiring to the fuse panel, I'll probably have to pay someone to change it out if it is ever a problem. You don't happen to know the brand and model of your converter do you? If so, I would like to know so I can proactively retrieve the installation/user manuals for the one that is probably in mine.

Thanks again and have a great weekend,

Jim
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Old 06-23-2017, 11:18 AM   #14
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Jim, sorry I don't know brand or size.

I use a CPAP machine and had my service guy run an outlet by the bed that runs off the inverter. I had asked him where the converter was because I read so many other CC owners were having converter problems.

He didn't know the location of converter either, but when he was hooking up my inverter supplied outlet he pulled the power panel and saw the converter behind it.

He said the breaker panel had long wires that allowed it to pull out a good distance, so you may not have to disconnect any wires.

The tight space between the bed and breaker panel is one reason I wonder why they chose this location.

Henry
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Old 06-23-2017, 12:54 PM   #15
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FYI in simple terms, do not use your RV without the batteries. The converter alone can not supply enough power for 12 volt motor driven accessories like awnings, leveling, etc. If I had a nickel for every newbie who had the battery disconnect turned off........ In this thread, the batteries should come right back up in a few hours. Anyone with time to haul batteries back and forth and money to replace them in this case needs to get involved in more charity work.
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Old 06-23-2017, 01:58 PM   #16
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Joe, that is exactly what it was!

I still haven't found the converter, but it turns out that I "overengineered" the battery disconnect labeling. Here is a photo of my switch the way I've had it since we bought the 5ver five months ago. I read Battery Disconnect - Off as let power flow. No! When I switch it on, I get 13.7V at the battery terminal leads. So, Disconnect - On means let power flow!

Now I need to go check the batteries at O'Reillys and charge them with an external charger if they are good for enough to use for a few days until I can replace them with some AGMs.

I really appreciate all the recommendations and help!

Have a great weekend,

Jim
Hey Jim,
We all make mistakes. As long as you learn from them, all is good! I would just let your converter charge the batteries. That's its job! No need to spend money on AGM's until the current batteries give up the ghost.
Enjoy your weekend, too!
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Old 06-23-2017, 03:20 PM   #17
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Hey Jim,
We all make mistakes. As long as you learn from them, all is good! I would just let your converter charge the batteries. That's its job! No need to spend money on AGM's until the current batteries give up the ghost.
Enjoy your weekend, too!
Joe,

I had the batteries tested to make sure I that when I connected them to the converter, that I didn't blow a fuse in the converter due to an excess load or a dead short. I was only going to replace them if they were bad.

They had to charge them up first so that they could test them and they were both fine. I reinstalled them and they are now connected the converter and all of the voltages look good. Plus the awning works again

I hope my experience helps someone else avoid a simple mistake that could be very costly.

Thanks again,

Jim
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Old 06-23-2017, 04:06 PM   #18
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You're welcome Jim. Sharing knowledge is what these forums are all about!
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Old 06-24-2017, 11:34 AM   #19
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You're welcome Jim. Sharing knowledge is what these forums are all about!
DITTO. Many read In silence and learn from everyone else's mistakes
Thanks for sharing this lesson..
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