Sunline RV Forum
Sunline User Photos

Go Back   Sunline Coach Owner's Club > Technical Forums > Repairs and Maintenance
Click Here to Login

Join Sunline Club Forums Today


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 10-02-2011, 05:55 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 8
SUN #2980
lnchboxvox is an unknown quantity at this point
12 volt power diminishing when lots of lights are on

Went camping this past weekend and on our second night notice our 12 volt lights dimming way down. At first the converter ( Centurion CS 3500) would start up and the lights would get brighter but immediately dim when the converter shut off. As time went on they got dimmer and dimmer. At this point the converter was struggling to keep up, with intermttent bursts about a 1/2 a second long, it would brighten and dim the lights like a very slow strope. Eventually I had to shut all 12 volt items off including the heater (fan) and bundle up for a very cold night for this time of year. In the morning it seemed to be all better but it eventually happened again when we used a lot of 12 volt items. It's almost as though all 12 volt items are being powered by the battery and the battery is needing to be charged by the converter but it's not doing the job. We purchased this Sunline T-2470 earlier this year. This is our first trailer with a working converter and I must admit I have left it plugged in when not using it because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. The converter has been noisy all along, having a pretty high pitch tone when it comes on.

Does this scenario indicate that the converter is bad? Does the condition of the battery have anything to do with the operation of the converter? It is not "dry". When I take the caps off the water level is at the top.
__________________

__________________
lnchboxvox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2011, 07:24 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Gene's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 1,515
SUN #768
Gene is an unknown quantity at this point
Hi lnchboxvox, welcome to the forum.

THe CS3500 converter is rated at 35 amps output and the note inside the front cover indicates average charge rate is 15 amps. It is possible the conveter was overloaded and shutting down and then trying to restart. It is what is called a "switching mode" rectifier and those things will just stop under heavy load. (If you have never heard of a "switching mode" rectifier you are not alone, a few electronics techies will understand) Sometimes just turning off all but one or two lights will let it recover. Each of the 921 lamps draws about 1.4 amps so they add up fast along with the drain from the fridge control board and the gas detector and the furnace blower can be a real hog.

It sounds like the battery came back up by the next morning so the converter may be ok. It is important that all the connections (including the battery) are clean and secure.

By any chance did it make a buzzing type sound? I had a strange condition on mine where something was loose and I fixed it with some glue. It caused the lights to dim and brighten like that.

Gene
__________________

__________________

Gene & DW Ginny
2002 Sunline T-2363
2008 Toyota 4-runner 4wd 4.7L V-8
Reese Dual Cam straightline - P3 Brake controller
Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2011, 09:03 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 8
SUN #2980
lnchboxvox is an unknown quantity at this point
12 volt power diminishing when lots of lights are on

Thanks Gene. I don't recall hearing any buzzing but it is noisy. Do you have any idea what the other items you mention draw amp-wise? This hasn't happened before but then again we don't normally use the furnace. My concern is that it will let us down at a critical time.

Paul Spears
__________________
lnchboxvox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2011, 11:16 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Gene's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 1,515
SUN #768
Gene is an unknown quantity at this point
Paul,

I didn't find much on the current drains other than the furnace. You have a T-2470 and the 2001 brochure shows it has a 20K BTU furnace (like mine). My Atwood book for the 20K BTU (model 8520) furnace shows the current drain is 4.6 amps. (The 25 & 30K furnace has a drain of 7.6 amps and the 34K furnace is 9.8 amps.) My Dometic fridge just shows a 3 amp fuse for the DC so the drain has to be well under that, probably 1 amp or so.

If you had 6 single lights on plus the furnace and the fridge and LP detector you could be up to 15 amps drain. It seems like the converter should handle that ok.

Gene
__________________

Gene & DW Ginny
2002 Sunline T-2363
2008 Toyota 4-runner 4wd 4.7L V-8
Reese Dual Cam straightline - P3 Brake controller
Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2011, 11:35 AM   #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 8
SUN #2980
lnchboxvox is an unknown quantity at this point
I appreciate you looking that up Gene. When you say it should handle that do you mean it should not go into the Switching mode or that I just need to make sure I don't get it close to that full load?
__________________
lnchboxvox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2011, 08:30 PM   #6
Moderator
 
JohnB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,144
SUN #89
JohnB is on a distinguished road
Hi Paul

What year is your camper?

Do you know if you have a deep cycle battery or a automotive starter battery? And the age of it?

By any chance do you know what size the battery is? Amp hours ratings and or the physical size of the battery, not the battery storage box.

The furnace like Gene says is a power hog. But is sounds like you are using the shore line power and the convertor and that should help keep that power hog fed.

By any chance do you have a volt meter? If you put the meter on the battery terminals what is the voltage when it is dimmed and drained and then what is it with the battery running with the convertor on?

You may be fighting a battery problem, a convertor problem and or both.

Hope this helps

John
__________________
Current Sunlines: 2004 T310SR, 2004 T1950, 2004 T2475, 2007 T2499, 2004 T317SR
Prior Sunlines: 2004 T2499 - Fern Blue
2005 Ford F350 Lariat, 6.8L V10 W/ 4.10 rear axle, CC, Short Bed, SRW. Reese HP trunnion bar hitch W/ HP DC

Google Custom Search For Sunline Owners Club
JohnB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2011, 10:01 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Gene's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 1,515
SUN #768
Gene is an unknown quantity at this point
Quote:
Originally Posted by lnchboxvox View Post
..do you mean it should not go into the Switching mode ...?
Sorry, I may have confused the issue when I mentioned switching mode power supply. In simple terms, switching mode power supply refers to the way the converter changes the 110 volts AC to 12 volts DC. It is different from the basic transformer, rectifier, filter capacitor type thing found in a battery charger.
__________________

Gene & DW Ginny
2002 Sunline T-2363
2008 Toyota 4-runner 4wd 4.7L V-8
Reese Dual Cam straightline - P3 Brake controller
Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2011, 03:49 PM   #8
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 8
SUN #2980
lnchboxvox is an unknown quantity at this point
Its a 2001 John. I don't store it very close to where I live so I can't look to see what the battary ratings are. Nonetheless, it shouldn't matter since most of these converters will operate without the battery, right? If I'm understanding you and Gene and others I've spoken to, the converter (when plugged into shore power) should be able to handle the demand. I'm either going to have to replace it or reduce extraneous demands while the furnace is on.

Agreed?
__________________
lnchboxvox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2011, 06:51 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Maine
Posts: 2,988
SUN #2097
mainah is an unknown quantity at this point
I agree that 35 amps is enough for the demands of the camper lights, water pump, heater and fans. Some of the earlier converters had two circuits one for 12 volt power and the other for battery charging they mostly were linear supplies. The newer ones are switch mode far more efficient, 1/4 the weight and had one circuit to do both charging and powering the accessories. The whine could be the unit it's self or a bad cooling fan for the converter. Does every thing work OK if it's unplugged? If every thing quits when it's unplugged it's a battery issue of some sort either bad connections or a bad or discharged battery I suspect the converter but I would pull the battery and have it tested first and go from there.
__________________
mainah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2011, 08:17 PM   #10
Moderator
 
JohnB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,144
SUN #89
JohnB is on a distinguished road
Hi Paul,

OK you gave us a little more to go on. Iíll comment to your questions. See how this fits to your situation.

Paulís comments in blue

Went camping this past weekend and on our second night notice our 12 volt lights dimming way down. At first the converter ( Centurion CS 3500) would start up and the lights would get brighter but immediately dim when the converter shut off. As time went on they got dimmer and dimmer. At this point the converter was struggling to keep up, with intermttent bursts about a 1/2 a second long, it would brighten and dim the lights like a very slow strope. Eventually I had to shut all 12 volt items off including the heater (fan) and bundle up for a very cold night for this time of year.

From this it appears the battery is not very charged or it is heavily sulfated and will not hold much of a charge. A 35 amp converter should handle the loads you are talking about. Could be the battery is sucking up all it can from the converter or the converter is not working right at all, or both.

Here an amp meter tells all. But if you do not have an amp meter then a volt meter is next best or even a hydrometer.

The amp meter will tell what current the battery is accepting. The volt meter can tell the state of charge of the battery if you unhook it and let it sit over night. An a hydrometer will tell each cell in the battery is OK or not and what the real state of charge is. If all you have is a volt meter that really helps.

With the battery unhooked and left to rest over night, measure the voltage at the battery. What is it? Ideally you have a digital meter but a high end analog is ok too.

Next is plug in the converter and then measure the volts at the battery. Is it in the 13.25 volts or the 13.65 volts area? Or something else? I had a 2003 American Enterprises converter, the one after the Centurion when they went out of business. In 2003 the American Enterprises would have the float 13.25 volt mode and the normal charge 13.65 volt mode. I do not know if the 2001 Centurion has the 2 modes. If it only has the 13.65 volt mode, (normal charge) then leaving it hooked up all the time will cook out the battery. But you said your is not cooked out. So if it has the 13.25 volt float mode the converter may be stuck and never going into normal charge mode.

If that is the case then the amps will not be there either and it can explain your dimming lights and the fact the battery will not charge right.


In the morning it seemed to be all better but it eventually happened again when we used a lot of 12 volt items. It's almost as though all 12 volt items are being powered by the battery and the battery is needing to be charged by the converter but it's not doing the job.

Odds are high it is pointing to the converter but I would not yet rule out the battery.


We purchased this Sunline T-2470 earlier this year. This is our first trailer with a working converter and I must admit I have left it plugged in when not using it because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. The converter has been noisy all along, having a pretty high pitch tone when it comes on.

The infamous cement mix fan syndrome. Yup I had that too. Drove me nuts. I ended up changing the entire converter to a Progressive Dynamics 3 stage charger with desulfate mode as part of my bookdocking genny setup.

Does this scenario indicate that the converter is bad? Does the condition of the battery have anything to do with the operation of the converter? It is not "dry". When I take the caps off the water level is at the top.

The converter may be having issues. A volt meter here goes a long way. I asked about the type of battery as if someone put a starter car battery in there that type does not like long drains like a deep cycle does. The fact that you are plugged in all the time and not boiling it out means a few things. You may be stuck in 13.25volt float mode and not charging enough to boil off at electrolyte. It may also not be even charging the battery as the float mode drops the current as well.

Its a 2001 John. I don't store it very close to where I live so I can't look to see what the battary ratings are. Nonetheless, it shouldn't matter since most of these converters will operate without the battery, right? If I'm understanding you and Gene and others I've spoken to, the converter (when plugged into shore power) should be able to handle the demand. I'm either going to have to replace it or reduce extraneous demands while the furnace is on.

Agreed?


I know that the 2003 vintage American converter can create 12 VDC and run the camper with no battery attached. I do not know if the 2001 vintages had that ability. Some of the older converters did need a battery attached to work right. I do not know how old has to be to get there. Maybe Gene can comment on his.

And I agree if the converter is creating 35 amps of power, you should not be in the situation you are in.

Need to narrow this down to the battery is OK or not.

Zoom down to page 7, listed as page 12 table 5 of this Trojan PFD file. It shows the standing voltage for percent of charge of a deep cell battery. Meaning the battery has been standing for over 8 hours and no load on it or charger.
http://www.trojanbattery.com/pdf/TRJ...UsersGuide.pdf

What does the standing voltage read?

Is the converter working? Short of an amp meter what is the voltage at the battery with the converter hooked up? With all the stuff running in the camper and suppose to be charging the battery, it needs to be in the 13.65 volt range. If you have the right voltage and the right amps are coming out of it, the lights should not go dim like they are.

Hope this helps

John
__________________
Current Sunlines: 2004 T310SR, 2004 T1950, 2004 T2475, 2007 T2499, 2004 T317SR
Prior Sunlines: 2004 T2499 - Fern Blue
2005 Ford F350 Lariat, 6.8L V10 W/ 4.10 rear axle, CC, Short Bed, SRW. Reese HP trunnion bar hitch W/ HP DC

Google Custom Search For Sunline Owners Club
JohnB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2011, 07:47 AM   #11
Senior Member
 
Poppy & Nana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: New York
Posts: 2,907
SUN #93
Poppy & Nana is an unknown quantity at this point
OK so I'm going to jkump in on this conversation and hopefully NOT hi-jack the link! If you all want me to post elsewhere...let me know!

Leo and I don't do much full hook up camping and we are spending 10 days with hookups and learning alot! Leo has the battery off and we are plugged into house current....everyone talks about the converter and a fan noise....I have not heard a thing coming from it BUT we do have 12 volt lights, the heater worked and we are NOT having any issues. How would I know if the converter is working???? iT IS A WORLD FRIENDSHIP COMPANY CLASS CTL PANELBOARD TYPE 1 - MODEL WF8955AN W/PLASTIC.....should it make some type of noise?????

We have a 2007 2499
__________________
Kathy & Leo SUN 093
Central Adirondacks of New York
2013 Rubicon 2900 Toy Hauler
We loved our 2007 T-2499
2010 Ford F-350 4x4 Lariat Super Crew Dually Diesel
Poppy & Nana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2011, 10:21 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 308
SUN #2943
Tod Osier is an unknown quantity at this point
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poppy & Nana View Post
OK so I'm going to jkump in on this conversation and hopefully NOT hi-jack the link! If you all want me to post elsewhere...let me know!

Leo and I don't do much full hook up camping and we are spending 10 days with hookups and learning alot! Leo has the battery off and we are plugged into house current....everyone talks about the converter and a fan noise....I have not heard a thing coming from it BUT we do have 12 volt lights, the heater worked and we are NOT having any issues. How would I know if the converter is working???? iT IS A WORLD FRIENDSHIP COMPANY CLASS CTL PANELBOARD TYPE 1 - MODEL WF8955AN W/PLASTIC.....should it make some type of noise?????

We have a 2007 2499
I'm pretty sure that the cooling fan on the 8900 WFCO converters only comes on if the converter is producing more than 15 amps of 12V DC.
__________________
Tod Osier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2011, 10:43 AM   #13
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 8
SUN #2980
lnchboxvox is an unknown quantity at this point
Thanks John, Gene and Mainah. This is a lot of information. I will have to get back to the trailer and diagnose using your tips. I'll let you know how it goes. I really appreciate all the time you guys have taken to help.

Paul
__________________
lnchboxvox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2011, 06:11 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Maine
Posts: 2,988
SUN #2097
mainah is an unknown quantity at this point
Your 8900 wfco is a switch mode converter and a 3 stage charger nice modern unit. The battery can be causing your issues because it is tied to the same power as your accessories and if it is trying to charge a battery with a bad cell it's going to cause problems. Leave the battery disconnected until you can have it checked as it may cause damage to your charger. I think you'll find your battery voltage to be some where close to 11 volts but regard less it should be load tested with a proper tester. The 8900 does have a fan but unless you are drawing a fair amount of current it probably won't run.
__________________
mainah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2011, 07:16 PM   #15
Senior Member
 
Gene's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 1,515
SUN #768
Gene is an unknown quantity at this point
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poppy & Nana View Post
.. Leo has the battery off and we are plugged into house current......we do have 12 volt lights, the heater worked ....
I think you answered your own question. The battery is off and you have 12 volt lights so the converter must be supplying the 12 volts.

With my CS4500 the converter doesn't put out 12 volts if the battery is off.
__________________

Gene & DW Ginny
2002 Sunline T-2363
2008 Toyota 4-runner 4wd 4.7L V-8
Reese Dual Cam straightline - P3 Brake controller
Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2011, 07:23 PM   #16
Senior Member
 
Poppy & Nana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: New York
Posts: 2,907
SUN #93
Poppy & Nana is an unknown quantity at this point
thanks.....still learning this full hook up stuff.....
__________________
Kathy & Leo SUN 093
Central Adirondacks of New York
2013 Rubicon 2900 Toy Hauler
We loved our 2007 T-2499
2010 Ford F-350 4x4 Lariat Super Crew Dually Diesel
Poppy & Nana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2011, 08:52 PM   #17
Moderator
 
JohnB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,144
SUN #89
JohnB is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poppy & Nana View Post
OK so I'm going to jkump in on this conversation and hopefully NOT hi-jack the link! If you all want me to post elsewhere...let me know!

Leo and I don't do much full hook up camping and we are spending 10 days with hookups and learning alot! Leo has the battery off and we are plugged into house current....everyone talks about the converter and a fan noise....I have not heard a thing coming from it BUT we do have 12 volt lights, the heater worked and we are NOT having any issues. How would I know if the converter is working???? iT IS A WORLD FRIENDSHIP COMPANY CLASS CTL PANELBOARD TYPE 1 - MODEL WF8955AN W/PLASTIC.....should it make some type of noise?????

We have a 2007 2499
Kathy,

Gee step'in up in the world to full hookups! When we had the T2499 we had to put it up on 4" of wood to get the sewer pipe to go down hill.... Ohio health code the CG sewer pipe has to be 6" above grade....

Your new modern converter is not plagued with the issues of the older ones. Yours may even have variable speed fans depending on heat load. The cement mixers fans I had on the T310 was a 2003 generation. They where on or off and on most all the time. In time the fan bearings go out and then the cement mixer starts....

My new Progressive Dynamics with T stat controlled fans I never hear a thing.

An like Gene said, if you have no battery in and the camper is all working, well so is the converter.

Enjoy your full hookup.

John
__________________
Current Sunlines: 2004 T310SR, 2004 T1950, 2004 T2475, 2007 T2499, 2004 T317SR
Prior Sunlines: 2004 T2499 - Fern Blue
2005 Ford F350 Lariat, 6.8L V10 W/ 4.10 rear axle, CC, Short Bed, SRW. Reese HP trunnion bar hitch W/ HP DC

Google Custom Search For Sunline Owners Club
JohnB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2011, 07:13 AM   #18
Senior Member
 
Poppy & Nana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: New York
Posts: 2,907
SUN #93
Poppy & Nana is an unknown quantity at this point
Thanks guys....I read all about the cement mixer noise and was concerned that ours was not working.....see what happens when you put a dumb broad in front of a computer to read!!!! LOL!!!!

And Gene, I thought if we had no battery power and all the 12volt lights were working we should be good....but then again I go directly to the experts on SOC for my advise!!!
__________________
Kathy & Leo SUN 093
Central Adirondacks of New York
2013 Rubicon 2900 Toy Hauler
We loved our 2007 T-2499
2010 Ford F-350 4x4 Lariat Super Crew Dually Diesel
Poppy & Nana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2011, 05:27 PM   #19
Senior Member
 
264SRinPA's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 506
SUN #67
264SRinPA
Kathy,
Even when you have full hookups, leave the battery turned on. Let the on board charger do its thing. Your WFCO is modern technology and will adjust itself as needed. It won't over charge or boil the water out of your battery. Our batteries are 6 years old, and I've never had to add water to them.
__________________
Mike & Roz
2018 Grand Design 315RLTS
2013 Ford F-350 Lariat PSD/CC/LB/FX4
Sunlines= '06-2075, '06-264SR
264SRinPA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2011, 09:16 PM   #20
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 8
SUN #2980
lnchboxvox is an unknown quantity at this point
Well I'm thinking the converter is bad. I unhooked the battery overnight then tested it and although one cell is a bit lower (more then 25 points) than the others, I'm not sure its the culprit. While it was unhooked I plugged into shore power and the converter does indeed work without the battery inline. However, as I turned on a number of lights it quickly became overpowered and shut down and after a few seconds would attempt to come back on. If I shut down a few lights it would again stay on but only if I kept the demand to a minimum. On the other hand, if we view the converter like and alternator on a vehicle, where the battery is actually powering everything and the alternator (or converter) is constanly keeping the battery properly charged to do so, the system is still shutting down. The question is, can a battery with one cell significantly lower than the other have an inordinate draw on the system and cause this. If so, how can I truly measure this with the volt/amp meter that I have? When it is hooked up to the converter the measurement will be a combination of the battery voltage and the voltage coming from the charging circuit, right? It may necessitate getting the battery load tested on a machine.
__________________

__________________
lnchboxvox is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
centurion 3000, converter, cs 3500, cs3500, lights dimming


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
tow vehicle power works - battery/landline power do not af masterson Repairs and Maintenance 6 05-12-2009 06:28 PM
12 volt tv power source JTHogan Repairs and Maintenance 2 06-24-2008 11:40 AM
12 Volt lights gw423 Sunline Travel Trailers 3 05-07-2008 08:34 AM
NO 12 VOLT Battery Power kanyonkitty Repairs and Maintenance 11 04-01-2008 10:53 PM
no 12 volt power craig Repairs and Maintenance 7 02-23-2008 08:57 PM


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sunline RV or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:42 AM.


×