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Old 09-04-2009, 10:37 PM   #1
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Lost 12v power.. Where to start looking?

We hooked up to Sunny 14 today, preparing to leave for the weekend. When I disconnected the shore power line, we lost all 12v power. I managed to get enough juice out of the truck, to get the coupler down onto the ball, but didn't want to risk blowing a fuse in the truck. I grabbed my multimeter and we headed out. (While hooked to the truck, all 12v appliances did work)

When we got to the campground, I took a voltage reading at one of the betteries and got 12.94v. That was with the shore power already connected.

With that much voltage showing at the battery, I knew the converter was working. I had Kitty unhook the shore power again and found out that we now had 12v power!

I'd like to know where to start looking, for what could have caused this outage. Anyone have any ideas?\\\

Gary
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Old 09-05-2009, 06:47 AM   #2
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Assuming that you weren't charging the battery as you drove to the campground, and since no fuses or breakers were blown, I would suspect a loose connection. Connections loosen in RVs due to vibration. As well you can get corrision between wire to terminal contacts.

I suspect that if you had read your battery voltage when you had no apparent voltage you would have possibly found the battery charged.

Good hunting,

Norm
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Old 09-05-2009, 08:22 AM   #3
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Gary,

A couple of questions that might point you in the right direction:

You said that all 12vdc was dead, but that the truck gave you enough juice to operate the power jack. Does that mean the power jack gets its power direct from the battery? (Unlikely as you had a decent voltage reading at the battery.) Or is it connected somewhere downstream?

These tt's are wired like this:
BATTERY HOT ----> MASTER FUSE OR BREAKER ----> CONVERTOR PANEL & FUSE BLOCK ----> LIGHTS & APPLIANCES ----> CHASSIS & BATTERY GROUND

On your '03, it should be a master breaker located in a small electric box out on or close to the A-frame. There should also be a master cut-off switch there. That breaker is a standard automotive style and will automatically reset itself when it cools down. That is probably a good place to check voltage readings. There is no visual indicator that this breaker is tripped; there simply isn't any juice. The breaker should look similar to this:


It's possible that the master breaker tripped and then reset itself. But I am wondering about the truck being able to power the jack if the breaker is tripped. Theoretically, everything in the TT should be downstream of the master breaker except the break-away which is likely wired direct to battery hot.

Note: the standard version of this type of breaker will auto reset. There is a slightly different version that requires the power to be removed from the breaker before it will reset itself. They only way to determine that is to examine the breaker to (hopefully) determine manufacturer and model number. If it is a Bussman brand, this link should help: http://www.wiringproducts.com/contents/en-us/d60.html

Loose wires, terminals, and crimp-on connectors is a good place to check, especially between your batteries and the convertor.

I believe you upgraded to dual batteries. If you can't isolate the problem, you might try disconnecting first one and then the other, checking your voltage readings as you go.

If the condition duplicates again, that is the time to grab the meter and start searching. Old electrician's trick is to turn on a radio while checking circuits. In this case, if it suddenly comes while you're looking for a problem, you know that power is restored to the TT either by your efforts or a reset breaker.

Keep us posted!
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Old 09-05-2009, 08:27 PM   #4
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I did a lot of searching, until I remembered something an old electrician taught me... "Start at the source" I went to the batteries and checked voltage there... 12.93v Good so far!

I decided to try disconnecting the terminals, so I could check for bad crimped ends... When I moved the positive, it popped on me... It turned out, that the positive ring terminal wasn't making contact on the battery post. When I hooked that one up, we were at the RV dealer and I did it in a hurry. I never cleaned the ring terminal, or put noalox on them.

Needless to say, they got a good cleaning and a healthy dose of noalox!

BTW: I haven't seen any 12v breakers between the batteries and the converter. I will have on in there ASAP! I also haven't yet installed the battery cut-off switch. I also have the tongue jack wired directly to the positive terminal of one of the batteries. It has it's own fuse/breaker.


Reporting from Brunswick Family Campground (MD),
Gary

P.S. Thanks for the suggestions!!!!
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Old 09-05-2009, 09:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EMD_Driver
BTW: I haven't seen any 12v breakers between the batteries and the converter. I will have on in there ASAP! I also haven't yet installed the battery cut-off switch. I also have the tongue jack wired directly to the positive terminal of one of the batteries. It has it's own fuse/breaker.
Paragraph edited 9/7/09 11:00 AM Gary, on my '99 the master protection is a 30 amp fuse and it's located in a little wooden box on the floor under the couch in the road side front corner of the TT. Part of the 7 wire TV cable terminates in that box also. For some reason, the left and right turn/brake light lines come in and go back out of this box. The marker/clearance light wire does too, but the front marker lights feed from this box as well. There is actually a pair of 30 amp fuses; one on the battery and one on the TV charge line. I've seen other Sunlines wired with only one fuse in this junction box.

Some time after '99, Sunline switched to the aforementioned circuit breakers and then eventually moved them outside onto or very near the A-frame in a small weatherproof electric box. And then they added the master cut-off switch. What I don't know is the year of each of these changes.

It is possible that your '03's master fuse or circuit breaker is still inside. If it is, it's most likely in the front driver side corner inside a compartment and not necessarily easily accessible. In mine, I have to balance the Flexsteel couch half way switched from couch to bed to get at the floor of the compartment underneath where the fuse is located. If it is inside, it may be in a small wooden box like this:

The main 12vdc feed from the battery goes to this fuse/circuit breaker and then to the convertor. So where ever the 12vdc hot wire from the battery enters up into the floor of the TT, just above that should be the master fuse/breaker if it is not outside on or near the A-frame.
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Old 09-07-2009, 10:28 AM   #6
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If I'm not mistaken, that box is stuck at the far end of the front compartment. Doesn't look very easily accessible!

While I was checking voltages, I decided to tighten all the connections in the converter. It's amazing how loose some of them were! I even had both my "Electrician's helpers" with me!

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Old 09-07-2009, 11:54 AM   #7
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If I'm not mistaken, that box is stuck at the far end of the front compartment. Doesn't look very easily accessible!
Does that compartment go directly under the head of the bed and the nightstands on both sides? If so, you might find better access by sliding the mattress off the bed as Sunline sometimes cut holes in the OSB under the mattress for access to things like the HW winterizing valves.
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Old 09-07-2009, 09:40 PM   #8
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Gary

Does Sunny 14 have a black plastic box on the header? I had heard in 2004 was when Sunline started putting the battery disconnect on as standard. You may have just confirmed it. And may have been when the header black box appeared.

Here is that they did in 2004. I did replace that darn little Phillips screws buried in there with stainless sheet metal screws on the outside. Picked that up from Art ( no screen name) at the Sunline M & G last year.


Once inside


There are 2, 30 amp breakers. One for the main battery lead to the converter, the other to the slide motor.



If yours does not have that box, then still somewhere 2 breakers or 2 large fuses should exist. I thought I saw on Sun Line Fanís older slide model (not his new one) he had a breaker for the slide and a fuse for the converter.

Good hunting

John

PS OK what is noalox? Is that a brand of dielectric grease?
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:45 AM   #9
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PS OK what is noalox? Is that a brand of dielectric grease?
Noalox - No Al Ox, or "No aluminum oxidation". It's an ideal product.

http://www.idealindustries.com/produ...ies/noalox.jsp
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:46 PM   #10
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Noalox is available at any of the box stores, Lowes and Home Depot and probably any electric supply house. I use it because we also had a fire due to loose electrical/high resistance connections in our Motorhome.

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Old 09-08-2009, 08:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB
Gary

Does Sunny 14 have a black plastic box on the header? I had heard in 2004 was when Sunline started putting the battery disconnect on as standard. You may have just confirmed it. And may have been when the header black box appeared.

If yours does not have that box, then still somewhere 2 breakers or 2 large fuses should exist. I thought I saw on Sun Line Fanís older slide model (not his new one) he had a breaker for the slide and a fuse for the converter.

Good hunting

John

PS OK what is noalox? Is that a brand of dielectric grease?
John, we do not have that black plastic box, nor the disconnect switch. I will search for fuses or breakers and report back. I have a new disconnect switch, but have not yet installed it.

Noalox is made by ideal. It's gray in color, not clear. We use it on the railroad.
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Old 09-08-2009, 09:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Collins
Does that compartment go directly under the head of the bed and the nightstands on both sides? If so, you might find better access by sliding the mattress off the bed as Sunline sometimes cut holes in the OSB under the mattress for access to things like the HW winterizing valves.
The front compartment on our 320SR is accessible only from the road side. The box I'm thinking about, is at the very far end of that compartment.
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Old 09-09-2009, 03:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Quote:
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Does that compartment go directly under the head of the bed and the nightstands on both sides? If so, you might find better access by sliding the mattress off the bed as Sunline sometimes cut holes in the OSB under the mattress for access to things like the HW winterizing valves.
The front compartment on our 320SR is accessible only from the road side. The box I'm thinking about, is at the very far end of that compartment.
If the box isn't out near the A-frame like in JohnB's picture, then it could be almost anywhere.

How deep is that compartment?

If you trace the red battery hot wire and the 7 wire TV connector cable, they both should either go into an electrical box of some kind on or near the A-frame or they should go under the trailer a ways and then up through the bottom membrane. Where ever they go up into the trailer through the bottom membrane, that is where the junction box will be.
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