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Gradual Power Loss


Best Answer dmtheys, 11 July 2013 - 08:39 PM

The lessons that I have learned this past 24 hours; I now know how to use a voltage meter, I know where the inverter/charger is located(under the frig.), I now know what I should be testing with the voltage meter, I know now to check the source of where the electricity comes in(shore cord) first and I have learned that there are some pretty wonderful people in this organization that are willing to help someone out by sharing their knowledge about the various problems and solutions that they have incurred! Thanks to you all, I now have a working coach!!!! The problem was burnt wires in the shore cord! Changed the cord out and BAM.....things are working again!!!! Thank you all!!!!!! Go to the full post


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#1 dmtheys

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 05:54 PM

Whether I am plugged into a shore line or am running on my Onan generator I am experiencing a gradual power loss until I start the rigs motor then everything goes back to normal.

 

I am very new to the Motorhome way of life and bought this 2007 Fleetwood Terra35N a year ago. Haven't had a lot of problems except for the electric steps, motor burning out x2 and had to have the brain(not sure what that is or where it is at?) replaced in Memphis last summer.

 

I am currently on vacation in northern Wisconsin where there aren't any RV service center available. I was not given the electrical schematics to the rig so it is difficult for me to figure this one out. I have tripped the breakers to see if there is a problem there but again I have to start the engine to regain any power that I have lost. I do hear a clicking sound once the engine is started.

 

Need help!

 

Thanks,

 

dmtheys


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#2 DickandLois

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 06:25 PM

dmtheys,

 

Welcome to FMCA!

 

Do you have any 110 volt AC power on shore power?

 

Check the circuit breakers on the Generator, Look to see if there is a square box in the same storage area that you keep the shore power cable in. The shore power cable plug could plug into that box if the socket and plug match. This connects the generator to your AC power panel and breakers.

 

This system is used when a Automatic Transfer switch is not installed in the coach.

More about the ATS circuit once you look at your setup.

 

Sounds like you are charging the house / coach batteries from the chassis engine alternator.

When connected to shore power or when the generator is running the batteries should charge from a battery charger / inverter in many cases.

 

The Group can cover those items once we get you shore power or AC from the generator. One thing at a time.

 

Rich.


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#3 wolfe10

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 07:49 PM

Yes, let's define the problem.

 

When on shore power or generator on, does the roof A/C work?  That will tell you that you have 120 VAC into the coach.

 

And, what is on the "doesn't work list".  Are the don't work items powered by 12 VDC or 120 VAC. 

 

If the items that don't work are all 12 VDC, then you need to tell us what you have to change 120 VAC to 12 VDC.  Could be a converter, charger or inverter/charger.

Suspect that this part is not working if the "doesn't work list" all run on 12 VDC. 

 

Starting the engine charges the house battery from the engine's alternator.


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#4 hermanmullins

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 08:41 PM

Sounds to me to be dirty or loose connections on the shore power cable. Also check the receptical where the shore power connects. Check the connections to the inverter. I thought my inverter was bad and all it was, was a loose ground connection.

 

Herman


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"Fair winds and Following Seas"

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#5 dmtheys

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 09:55 PM

Thanks for answering guys. Ask me about fractures, heart attacks and special needs people and I generally have the answers but when it comes to my RV, I am just learning. Be patient and gentle with the questions you all! Believe me I do appreciate the help!!!!

When I am plugged into Shore power or I have the generator on the AC works for a short time/ about 2 hours, then it's just the AC fan for about an hour then the AC unit completely shuts down. I have the AC fans, the house lights and the refrigerator running right now, everything else is off. I just started the engine so the lights are bright in the coach and in the frig. I have no idea where the inverter is? I did check the shore cord and the box it connects to for the generator, those are good.

Thanks for the help thus far.
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#6 kaypsmith

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 11:07 PM

It does sound as though the 12 volt is not charging when on shore power. The ac should not be shutting down due to low 12 volt, as the ac is run on 120 volt ac. A ground issue may be the problem with the 120 volt ac, or simply a blown breaker. In the coach. Is this a 30 amp circuit, (3 prongs on the shore power), or is it a 50 amp circuit, (4 prongs on the shore power cord)? It really, so far, sounds as though there is not enough current entering your coach to supply everything inside. You can acquire a 12 volt charger and attach to the house battery, and charge these, just in case the converter is not working. Also the inverter, may very well be the only thing powering the whole 120 volt circuit, which would explain why the power dwindles pretty quickly, and the coach must be started to recharge the house batteries. Any additional info, as mentioned above will certainly help in trouble shooting the problem. Good luck, hope you find the problem soon.

Kay Smith


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#7 DickandLois

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 11:10 PM

From your description it sounds like things are working properly. Now ! I need to clarify some items.

With the AC running for 2 hrs, then going to just fan mode and then off. That sounds like you have your temperature control panel set to Auto Cool and that is the way it works. Well, for the most part.

Now! question, is this the way the Air conditioning works during the heat of the day or what happens in the evening?

Always something and you are on a learning curve we are very familiar with and to be honest still are on. Just when one thinks they have things figured out something throws you a curve.

When you mention that everything else is off, is that by choice?

The fact that you started the engine and the lights are bright. Makes me wounder if you have a charging issue somewhere. To clear that up you need to do your home work and look at the materials you got with the coach.

Think I would ask you to look and make a list of the owners manuals you have to start with and let the group know what information you have. First look for and information about the coach batteries, chargers and monitor panels related to the 12 Volt system.

The unfortunate thing is you have a per-owned unit and many owners do not understand the value of the manuals. So they do not keep the information in the coach and it just gets lost over time. However! many are available on the internet.

That is the best thing that has happened regarding information, look around and one can find just about everything over time.

 

Rich.


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#8 dmtheys

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 12:39 AM

Thanks Kay and Rich for your responses. I have a 30amp/3 prong shore cord. As far as what is turned on in the coach is by choice. The AC had been running fine until we experienced a couple of 100% humidity days, then my problems began. Maybe just a coincidence but you never know. No I haven't used the Auto cool on the AC, the gradual shut down of the units are on their own along with the lights dimming and very little juice from the outlets. I do have a Fleetwood manual but the information is vague. No wiring schematics in it. The most information I have is that the chassis fuses are under the hood on the drivers side, the breaker box is under the frig and there are 2 house batteries in the steps of the coach. I have nothing on the generator, although it was serviced this past Monday and seemed to be running well. I have limited access to the Internet, meaning it depends if I can pick a signal up with my I-pad, I will try to get more information on the rig. The breaker box and fuses are not labeled so it's gonna take time to figure which is for what. You are dealing with a totally green RV'er! I will go into town and see if I can at least find a parts place, replace the 30amp shore cord to start with. Any help in resolving this problem is greatly appreciated,
!
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#9 DickandLois

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 06:15 AM

The information on what you have is very helpful ! I will see what information I can find on how you coach maybe equipped and then send you some links to check out when you have internet access.

How are you about height and working on the roof?

You might check and see if the AC units on the roof are clean and clear of anything blocking the movement of air through the Evaporator, that is the item that looks like a radiator you can see through the back opening of the AC covers and the the roof fans are running smooth and quite.

The AC units will remove the humidity from the air and drop the temperature to a point, but extreme conditions can overwhelm them.

What temperature do you set your thermostats ?

 

Think your coach is built on a Workhorse Chassis, but could be a Ford Chassis?

Do you have a volt meter to work with to check voltages and continuity?

Meters can be you best friend for checking the current voltage levels on items from AC line voltages to the DC voltage levels and what the charging levels for you house and coach batteries. 

Then over time as you look around you will find where all the little control modules and switches are hidden.

 

Coach information brochure link.

http://media.rvusa.com/library/Fleetwood2007_tra_b.pdf

Coach owners manual Link.

http://fleetwoodrv.com/partsandservice/manuals/2007_FIESTA_TERRA.pdf

Look at section 8-page 4 for information on inverter location. When you find the inverter note the Make, Model and Series and post it for the group, so we can look for traditional information on how the unit works and is wired into your coach

 

Rich.


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#10 wolfe10

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 09:06 AM

Let's divide the issues into "bite sized" pieces:

 

Is shore power reaching the coach-- yes.  But, if this outage occurs when lots of other people are using their A/C's and CG power is low (i.e. low voltage) that could be an issue.  For under $10 you can buy a digital voltmeter.  You want one that reads 12 VDC and 120 VAC.  Verify that the shore power is between 108 and 132 (120 VAC +/-10%).  You can plug the leads of the voltmeter into any 120 VAC outlet in your coach.

 

A common thread in your posts is that it is likely that your batteries are not charging from the inverter/charger.  Again, with the digital voltmeter measure from the house battery positive to negative terminal.  Fully charged is 12.7 VDC.  50% discharged is 12.2 VDC.  With the inverter/charger working, voltage will be 13.2-14.0 VDC depending on how long the charging unit has been on (higher voltage just after plugging in-- lower voltage after the batteries are fully charged).

 

Your 120 VAC breaker panel should have a breaker for the inverter/charger.  Turn it off and back on.  There may also be a resettable breaker on the inverter/charger itself.  As to location, it WILL be close to the battery compartment. Do you have an inverter remote panel?  If so tell us what the readings are-- particularly battery voltage.

 

And on some coaches, lack of adequate battery voltage can affect the A/C's, as some thermostats are 12 VDC from the house batteries.

 

To me, first job is verifying that your house batteries are over 13 VDC-- i.e. the inverter/charger is working.

 

If not, as you have seen, the more specific information you post (i.e. what inverter charger you have) the better.


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#11 dmtheys

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 08:39 PM   Best Answer

The lessons that I have learned this past 24 hours; I now know how to use a voltage meter, I know where the inverter/charger is located(under the frig.), I now know what I should be testing with the voltage meter, I know now to check the source of where the electricity comes in(shore cord) first and I have learned that there are some pretty wonderful people in this organization that are willing to help someone out by sharing their knowledge about the various problems and solutions that they have incurred! Thanks to you all, I now have a working coach!!!! The problem was burnt wires in the shore cord! Changed the cord out and BAM.....things are working again!!!! Thank you all!!!!!!
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#12 hermanmullins

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 09:28 PM

Good to hear that you found the problem and got it fixed. However don't trash your old power cord. If just the end of the cord has burnt wires, just cut off the burnt wires and put on a new plug or receptacle and you will have a extension cable if you need one.

 

Herman


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"Fair winds and Following Seas"

Herman & Bobbie Mullins, F302225
Whitewright, TEXAS
'02 Monaco Dynasty, 40-foot 400 HP ISL
Chevrolet Silverado (M & G air brakes)
U.S. Navy PR-3 1956 to 1964

Southern Region Vice President for Six-State Rally Association
Lone Star Chapter FMCA Past President
South Central Lucky Rollers
Rally in The Pasture


#13 dmtheys

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 06:00 PM

Thanks Herman! I will do that!
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