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Old 08-04-2010, 08:29 AM   #1
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Converter/charger weak

A friend of mine has a 1998 Sunline Solaris 2653 with a charge line problem. His converter is not putting out enough voltage on the charge line to keep his battery charged..it measures at app. 4V on our tester. So when he tries to use his power jack he MUST plug into his tow vehicle first. At my suggestion,he has been using a trickle charger plugged into the 12v outlet near his tv and that has solved the problem for now but....the problem is not cured,just has a temp solution. Also, I have told him to not leave the trickle on for an extended time as I don't believe it has a shutoff factor,so for now he just uses it when he is going to go camping and while he is there. He HAS changed batteries so that's not the problem.Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:39 PM   #2
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Hi Janalee

Something is not adding up or I'm not understanding what you measured.

In your edit you put a PS he only camps when plugged into shore line 110 source.

H’mm OK how exactly did you measure 4 volts? Meaning where did you put your volt meter and what was hooked up or on when you did that?

4 volts is not enough to do much of anything. It will barely make a 12 volt light bulb glow.

OK let me ask this. When he is plugged into shore power and the battery is hooked up, can he run the lights in the camper, run the furnace, run the water pump? Does not have to be all at once but that tells me something about the available voltage in the camper at the time.

I’m not saying his convertor is good or bad it is just that 4 volts is not even a very good number for a dead battery.

Need some more info to better help.

John
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Old 08-05-2010, 03:55 PM   #3
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convertor/charger weak?

Hi John B.
We measured the voltage coming thru the leads that would hook to the battery==4volts with a voltmeter.(I compared it to mine that is about 13.5 volts+/-) Yes, everything works fine inside plugged into shore power and hooked to the battery. He starts out with a full battery via an external charger, but after two weeks at the park (30AMP connection) the battery doesn't have the power to use the power jack w/o connecting to the TV...However,using the trickle charger it seems to keep the charge fine.
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:22 PM   #4
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Hi Janalee

Now I know a little more about the situation.

Your test, if I understood it right, with no battery hooked up you put a voltmeter on the leads to the battery with the convertor powered up. And when you did this on your friends 98 Sunline you read 4 volts.

And then you went and did the same test on your camper and got 13.5 volts

If I have that right I may have an explanation for those voltages the way you did the test. First a little convertor 101. Some of the older convertors needed the battery connected in order to establish charge correctly. Basically it read the resistance thru the battery and then determines a state of charge and then sends a charging voltage/current accordingly. Not knowing there convertor I can’t tell if it is operating that way, but it could be. This would mean that you cannot get a true charge voltage reading when not hooked to a battery. For a 98 Sunline I’m guessing it has maybe an older Magnatek convertor and some of them old ones needed the battery connected to work.

Now on the newer convertors, at least in the 2002 vintage or there abouts, many can create 12 VDC with no battery connected and you run the entire camper. These newer vintages are closer to DC power supplies then the older convertors. I lost track of your last camper but I thought you bought something newer then your last Sunline. How old is your present camper and what make/model convertor is it?

While yours may read 13.6 volts with no battery your friends may not just because of the way it works.

So armed with this info this is a better way to test if the convertor is working or not. Have your friend use the camper and battery as it is now, no trickle charger but to drain some power out of it so it is not 100% charged. 80% or 75% state of charge is good enough drawn down. We need to get it at least low enough so the convertor senses that it needs to put out a charge voltage as the battery resistance is then low enough to kick in the full charging circuit.

Then go out to the battery while the convertor is trying to charge or at least suppose to be. In order to actually charge a battery the voltage has to go high enough to create a charging situation. A normal battery charging voltage is around 13.6 volts. 13.25 volts is a float charge just to maintain the battery and is not really a charging voltage. Do this test right on the battery posts.

Now if the voltage at the battery is not that high, what is it? A 100% charged battery is like 12.65 to 12.7 volts. If you are getting 12.4 to 12.7 volts at the battery or lower when charger is suppose to be charging, well then odds are not good that the charger is doing anything at all to charge. Just in case something is not wired right, also do this same voltage test inside right at the convertor so you can read the voltage at the convertor. If it reads 0.1 to 0.2 volts lower then at the battery then the convertor is not doing anything at all and confirms the convertor is not working correct. Basically the battery is running his camper 12 volt system not the convertor. If the voltage is around 13.6 inside and 12 something at the battery, then we need to talk more as there is a wiring issue.

If you come back with that the battery actually tested 13.6 volts when the convertor is charging, then we need to get into doing an amps check in the line going to the battery. While it may be supplying some kind of charge voltage it also has to supply enough amps to do it’s job. I doubt you will get 13.6 at the battery as in order to get the voltage that high it has to be putting out enough amps to overcome the battery resistance. I doubt you can get 13.6 with a drained battery if you are not putting out enough amps.

It may be the convertor is just plain not working and needs to be upgraded or replaced. Most are not repairable but maybe. A new style convertor upgrade may not be that much in the big picture of things. If it does not boost the voltage up into the mid 13.5 volt area, the convertor is not charging the battery.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 08-06-2010, 06:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
....For a 98 Sunline I’m guessing it has maybe an older Magnatek convertor and some of them old ones needed the battery connected to work.

Now on the newer convertors, at least in the 2002 vintage or there abouts, many can create 12 VDC with no battery connected and you run the entire camper. ....
Just to add a tiny bit to John's excellent writeup, I have a 2002 T2363 with a CS4500 converter and it does require a battery to be connected to put out voltage/current to charge a battery.

There is a long story behind how I found that out!!!

Gene
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Old 08-06-2010, 07:17 PM   #6
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I have a '99 SR 280 and am thinking about replacing the converter, any suggestions from the outer world<G>
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Old 08-06-2010, 10:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pakrat67-68 View Post
I have a '99 SR 280 and am thinking about replacing the converter, any suggestions from the outer world<G>
This brand is my vote.

The Intelli-Power 4600 Series Upgrade or Replacement RV Converter/Charger with built-in Charge Wizard is the Brand of choice by leading RV manufacturers.

They now make them to drop in many other brands as an upgrade.

And they, make them stand alone. I installed the stand alone.

Here is mine
Power Converter Upgrade

Here is Lost Hunter's
Converter/Charger upgrade

There are others who have done this too and posted. Search under "converter" on the forum. It should turn up many of them

Good luck and take out a new post and report back if you do upgrade. Each of us so far have some this a little different. Learn something new all the time.

John
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Old 08-06-2010, 10:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene View Post
Just to add a tiny bit to John's excellent writeup, I have a 2002 T2363 with a CS4500 converter and it does require a battery to be connected to put out voltage/current to charge a battery.

There is a long story behind how I found that out!!!

Gene
Gene, would be good to hear your story. My Oct 2003 build date 2004 camper had a CS6000 (A Centurion gone American Enterprizes) and it would run the camper with no battery. And it would mix cement too when the fans went nuts

Is yours a Centurion brand or the American Enterprizes? They may have did a upgrade between 02 and 03.

John
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Old 08-07-2010, 10:49 AM   #9
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JohnB. Thanks for your help! I have forwarded the info to him as this got way too techie for me to understand! And to answer your other question--my "new" camper is a Wildwood 26FLS and we absolutely love it. I have seen other Forest River products and they were lacking--but this is rock solid and the dinette sllide is great..Also,more storage than I can use, and a huge trunk in the rear that houses our spare and mucho other goodies.Thanks agaiin! Janalee
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1981 Sunline1350
'86 & '87 Sunline1661
'85 2100& '87 2262 Sunlines
'96 2553 & '95 1950 Sunlines
'95 and '98 Solaris 2653's
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
Gene, would be good to hear your story. ....

Is yours a Centurion brand or the American Enterprizes? ...
Mine is a Centurion CS4500.

As for the story .... My Sunline was a consignment unit from a dealer in that was in Fryeburg Maine (since moved to New Hampshire). I drove up and inspected it one weekend, made a real lowball offer that was accepted and drove up to pick it up 2 weeks later. I knew it had a few issues like a dead battery when I drove up to pick it up and towed it 8 miles to my favorite campground in North Conway New Hampshire expecting a relaxed learning weekend in the Fall in New Hampshire ... WRONG .... I figured the drive would charge the battery a little and the converter would do the rest while we camped for the weekend with a full hookup. Well ... I plugged in the shore power and turned on a light ... nothing. OK, get out the voltmeter .... bulb good ....fuses good .. no 12 volts from the converter .... wondered why I never thought to bring a 12 volt charger with the Jeep full of tools .... messed around for an hour since I knew I could fix almost anything electronic ..... now getting dark so I thought, plug it into my tow vehicle to see if ANY light will work. WOW, the whole camper lit up !!!! hmmmm ..... unplug from tow vehicle and lights are still lit ... 14.5 volts now comming from the converter. AFTER I got home and went through the Sunline binder I saw some fine print that said it needed the battery connected for the converter to work.

Steep learning curve the first few days and 200 miles from home. BAD IDEA to try camping in an unknown unit.

Gene
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:13 PM   #11
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Gene

Thanks for the story. We all seem to have that "experiance" at least once when camping with a new unit. On the T2499 it was I could not figure out the darn ball coupler latch..... Now I use 1 finger, just slide it back, don't be trying to pivot it up...

On the T310SR when new to me it was inside water plumbing leaks at the pump when it was in the original location burried under the sink cabinet. Turn on the pump to end up with wet feet.... After 4 camping trips dealing with that, a new pump location and different plumbing was installed....

Thanks

John
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