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Old 08-01-2016, 01:56 AM   #1
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Power winch stops and starts

We took our first trip over the Canadian Rockies this past week with our 2009 Rockwood 2270 and managed the tow up the hills with no issues at all. The problem came when we arrived at our first campsite. I plugged into shore and went to raise the roof. The winch worked for the first 24" and then stopped. At first I thought the 50 amp fuse blew (again) and I went and grabbed my bag of fuses. Before I took apart the winch cover I tried the switch one more time and the roof went up another 18-24" and then would stop again. After a short while I would hear a couples clicks and then I was able to raise the roof another 24" and so on until the roof was completely raised.

This happened at the 3 campsites we stayed at and I figured the land yachts around me were sucking all the campsite power, but once home the same thing happened when we were plugged in. This has never occurred in the 4 summers we have had the trailer. Any suggestions as to what the issue is? Is the motor shot, is the battery done?




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Old 08-01-2016, 03:02 AM   #2
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What kind of readings are you getting from the battery? Resting voltage, charging voltage?
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Old 08-01-2016, 06:45 AM   #3
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I had same issue one time, clean and tighten all contacts under winch cover (believe there is 8 of them).
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Old 08-01-2016, 08:16 AM   #4
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You have a fuse? My powerwinch had a auto circuit breaker at the positive battery post.
And with the stopping and clicking, it sounds like a circuit breaker popping open, then after cooling down, pooping closed to allow the roof to open.
A fuse does not do that.
But even if it is a breaker, the question is why it pops.

I would wonder, since it is a used trailer, has the cable track been greased every year, have the lift springs been lubricated? If not, there could cause some restrictions in the cable tracks and spring conduit.
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Old 08-01-2016, 04:47 PM   #5
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winch

I would say you have a problem with your battery.
The winch works off the battery.
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Old 08-01-2016, 04:51 PM   #6
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winch

I would say you have a problem with your battery.
The winch works off the battery.
After the first try the battery recharges some and then works a bit more and so on.
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Old 08-01-2016, 05:51 PM   #7
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we had that happen with our 2010 hw277, it was about five years old when we had the issue....it would raise the roof up a bit, stop, hear the click and could raise it up a bit more etc etc until at full height. it was not the battery, it was the winch motor going bad.
Carefree has since changed the motor they use and they don't make that particular winch motor anymore, the new one is a different style and unfortunately a whole lot noisier. took some getting used to.
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Old 08-01-2016, 05:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daggles View Post
... The winch worked for the first 24" and then stopped. At first I thought the 50 amp fuse blew (again) and I went and grabbed my bag of fuses. Before I took apart the winch cover I tried the switch one more time and the roof went up another 18-24" and then would stop again... This happened at the 3 campsites ... but once home the same thing happened when we were plugged in .. 4 summers ... Is the motor shot, is the battery done?
4 Summers, wow! Time for professional help? I can't imagine a shot motor still trudging on like this for four years. Sounds like a fault caused by a weak auto-reset breaker; wiring too light (gauge wise) for the amps the winch motor is demanding; or a winch motor lifting more than it was designed to lift (weight wise). Mentioning fuses, I assume it is blowing each time and your replacing same gets it to work for a few more feet or inches? Interesting problem.
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Old 08-01-2016, 06:44 PM   #9
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Thanks for the responses everyone

My unit has the breaker inline with the battery and a 50 amp fuse tucked up in the motor assembly. I found that fuse the hard way when one of the roof latches bounced back up after unlatching and caught on the roof. I didn't realize this and when I tried to lift the roof the motor blew the fuse. That was fun manually raising the roof.

This issue is new and not happening for 4 summers now, although, if I was to buy a tent trailer again I would get a manual lift as lifting the roof is something a little too important to rely on the battery or motor.

The trailer was bought used from the original dealer and they greased and lubed everything. I have to admit that I haven't been greasing the cables every year, I did use a dry lube on the supports and those work fine

I'll test the battery for voltage drop and take a look at the breakers etc, and report the findings. The trailer is tucked away nicely in the garage and pulling it out to check these items is not my kids idea of a fun summer break!


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Old 08-01-2016, 09:38 PM   #10
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Many on this forum have replaced their power winch with a manual. Not expensive fairly easy to do, and I'm one of those. Got tired of the problems with the power winch.
I would bypass the circuit breaker and see if it works. If so, get a new circuit breaker.
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Old 08-03-2016, 03:22 PM   #11
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To blow a 50 amp fuse, needless to say, something is very wrong. From what I read a lift winch (the one I was looking at) takes a 30amp breaker and had a 50amp fuse at the motor as a back up. That winch was drawing only a little over 20 amps of current. I am curious why it blows the fuse before tripping the breaker. I would look over the wiring very well to the switch and winch. Resist the temptation to go bigger on the fuse, very important...but when testing again, do so with a fully charged battery. I would probably do like f5moab suggested and go with a manual winch if all else fails.
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Old 08-03-2016, 07:01 PM   #12
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Well, I tested that battery voltage; 13.6V and then 12.3V under load. I called the dealership and the service manager mentioned that the winch "may" be covered under the extended warranty, which is good news. Of course, once she mentioned that I've been able to raise and lower the roof about 10 times this afternoon without an issue. I could only raise it 2/3 due to the garage clearance and in my opinion the winch sounds off, like it is working harder than it should.

I'm still going to bring it in to the dealership and have them check it all out....then go from there.

Thanks for all your tips, as always, I learn something new on this forum every time I go online


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Old 08-04-2016, 03:23 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by daggles View Post
Well, I tested that battery voltage; 13.6V and then 12.3V under load. I called the dealership and the service manager mentioned that the winch "may" be covered under the extended warranty, which is good news. Of course, once she mentioned that I've been able to raise and lower the roof about 10 times this afternoon without an issue. I could only raise it 2/3 due to the garage clearance and in my opinion the winch sounds off, like it is working harder than it should.

I'm still going to bring it in to the dealership and have them check it all out....then go from there.

Thanks for all your tips, as always, I learn something new on this forum every time I go online


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If you voltage was 13.6 while being charged by the converter.......your battery is on the way out. Should be more like 14.4 or better while it is being charged.
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Old 08-04-2016, 07:36 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daggles View Post
Well, I tested that battery voltage; 13.6V and then 12.3V under load. I called the dealership and the service manager mentioned that the winch "may" be covered under the extended warranty, which is good news. Of course, once she mentioned that I've been able to raise and lower the roof about 10 times this afternoon without an issue. I could only raise it 2/3 due to the garage clearance and in my opinion the winch sounds off, like it is working harder than it should. Sent from my iPad using Forest River Forums
That 13.6v was that high since it was being charged and had not stabilized yet... however the 12.3v under load seems like a big drop to me. Why don't you leave it unplugged for several hours and repeat the voltage readings. Definitely read it while raising the top.

When you raise it, can you tell if one of more of the corners aren't coming up level?
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Old 08-04-2016, 04:16 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Trevor43 View Post
If you voltage was 13.6 while being charged by the converter.......your battery is on the way out. Should be more like 14.4 or better while it is being charged.
Why?
13.6 is the absorption mode for the WFCO converter.

Absorption Mode: During this mode, the converter output is in the
13.6 Vdc range. This is the normal operation mode. This mode
provides the 12 Vdc and current required by the 12 Vdc RV appliances,
as well as slow charging the battery.

Bulk Mode: When the converter senses that the RV system voltage is
less than 13.2 Vdc (equivalent to less than 50% of battery charge) the
converter will automatically go into the “Bulk mode.” In this mode, the
output voltage of the converter will switch to 14.4 Vdc for a maximum
of four hours. If the converter cycles between “Absorption and Bulk
mode,” there could be a shorted battery cell or other issues.
If the output voltage drops below 13.2 Vdc, the converter automatically
changes to a “Bulk mode” 14.4 Vdc (unless the converter is in overload
condition). There are two signs of an overloaded converter:
Low output voltage, and full converter fold back or shutdown. In both
cases, the converter will automatically turn ON, once the complete load
is removed. For low output condition, removing the extra (over the
current rating) load will be sufficient. If it is impractical to remove all
the load, resetting the main breaker will have the same effect.

Float Mode: If the RV is not being used for approximately 48 hours,
with a “no load” condition and the shore power is plugged in, the
converter will automatically go in to the “Float mode.” In this mode,
the converter is charging the battery with a trickle voltage of 13.2 Vdc.
When the converter senses a demand (by turning on lights), the
converter automatically returns to the “Absorption mode” 13.6 Vdc.


The 12.3V during operation might be high, but that motor does draw a lot. I can say that watching my meter inside the trailer, if I have 12.6 showing as stabilized voltage, if I turn on the propane heater and water pump for a few seconds it can drop to around 12.4, but when the pump and heater are turned off it pops back up to 12.6.
When the draw is stopped, this is due to the infusion of the acid in the battery.
So a drop to 12.3; might not be abnormal, depending on the draw of the motor.
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Old 08-04-2016, 04:25 PM   #16
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Based on what has been described in addition to unknown life/history/care of the battery.......I'm going to safely say the battery is done for. I just replaced one because my Battery Minder would not go into Pulsation Mode.......charging voltage maxed out at 13.45........yes I know he was using his WFCO converter.
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Old 08-04-2016, 06:06 PM   #17
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Agree Trevor 43
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor43 View Post
Based on what has been described in addition to unknown life/history/care of the battery.......I'm going to safely say the battery is done for. I just replaced one because my Battery Minder would not go into Pulsation Mode.......charging voltage maxed out at 13.45........yes I know he was using his WFCO converter.
Easy to determine if the battery is bad, take it to a auto parts store and they can test. Or spend a couple days checking the converter.
Run the winch of other items to drop the battery voltage below 13 volts. Plug i t in and check to see if it goes into bulk mode. Then check about 4 hours later and turn on the fridge to AC and see if it goes to absorption mode; 13.6. Then after a while turn off the AC and see if in a few days it drops to 13.2 to float mode.

That is one way to make sure rather than have people (me included) hundreds of thousands of miles away trying to troubleshoot a problem.

I'm also trying to figure out the 50 Amp fuse, the factory wiring diagram does not show one.
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Old 08-05-2016, 04:43 PM   #19
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I'm with f5moab. If you read my previous lengthy thread, my electric winch stripped out the main gear, and would no longer raise the roof. IMHO, the electric winch is nothing but a sales gimmick. I replaced with the manual winch (took about 30 minutes total to switch out the winch), and I am very happy with it. It is easy to lift, even with an AC unit on the roof. Takes about 30 seconds to raise, and it is tons quieter than the electric that was on it.
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Old 08-07-2016, 04:03 PM   #20
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A resting fully charged flooded cell 12 volt battery reads 12.65 vdc. A dead one reads 11.9 to 12.0 volts... and no I am not kidding.

13.6 volts is bulk and absorb voltage for the WFCO. It is TOO LOW ... if you care how long a battery lasts. Should be 14.6v.

Float should be 13.4v for a flooded cell battery.

If the battery is 12.8v or less Bulk mode begins ... when 14.6v is achieved Absorb is next, which continues until a period of time is reached, such as 90 minutes in my case. Then Float phase is started and continues, usually indefinitely for the typical charger... which is probably only putting out 13.1 to 13.2 volts, again too low.

However if the battery reads 12.9 volts or higher, Bulk is skipped and it goes into the Float mode.

My charger has two more modes, the first one Battery Saver mode, switches the Float mode on and off to save water and I also have Equalize that prevents Sulfication and extends the life to the batteries. Equalize is 15.5 volts BTW.

I don't know about you, but an auto parts geek will never lay his hands on my deep cycle batteries. No, not ever. I can test my own, but for those that can't only take then a charged battery. To take a dead battery to them is a guarantee that they will find it bad and you more than likely will buy a new one. Many of the trade-in batteries the get are perfectly good.

I agree with several that if I had a popup, it would have a manual winch at the first sign or trouble. However, if the mechanism or components are dragging, jamming, dry, etc. ... why not service all those pieces first? I would also look at the size of the wire / cable to the winch and run larger if needed. If they are made like all the other units we all have, that power cable probably is too small for the task at hand.
WW
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