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Old 03-28-2022, 07:03 PM   #1
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Would lights work if power converter was bad?

I have a 1984 Sunline 24' T-2402 that has been sitting for unused the last couple of years. When I plug in the 30a cord the interior lights all work (except for 1 pair that may have a short) and the overhead fan runs (but does not seem to get hot or cold), and the power outlets all work for about a minute and then the GFCI in the bathroom trips killing power to all the outlets (but the lights and fan still work). I replaced the GFCI and it worked for 1-2 mins before tripping so I went to the pole and found water had gotten in my 30a plug and cord going to the RV. Also, just touching the 30a cord caused it to trip the power to the RV as well reinforcing my belief it was causing the gfci to trip.

I then arranged for someone who works on RV's to replace the cord and see if that was the problem, but instead of doing that he spent 3 hours using his tester looking for shorts and is convinced that my power converter is bad and wants $1,400 to replace it. This is where I get confused as both the overhead fan and interior lights work when plugged into the 30a pole (and turn off when unplugged) so doesn't that mean the power converter is working if its powering them?

He now says I now owe him $250 for the 3 hours he claims to have spent looking for the short, which I have a slight problem with given that he was supposed to replace the wet 30a cord and see if that fixed the problem before doing anything else (and still has not). That coupled with his being positive that the power converter is bad when the lights and fan are still working has me questioning if he is being truthful with me. He also offered to buy it for $500 (minus the $250 he says I owe) so I would be basically giving my camper away, but cannot afford to put thousands of dollars into it if what he says is true so I don't know what to do at this point. I would appreciate if someone could tell me if Im right about the power converter or if I owe him an apology as well as any suggestions you may have as Im feeling a little down and out here in Georgia...thanks!
----scott
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Old 03-29-2022, 08:29 AM   #2
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It is possible the converter is bad. If you have a battery install it, and see what happens do not plug it in. A wet power cord you should be able to dry out with a hair drier they are pretty well sealed if it hasn't been played with (new plug end?) The lighting and fan really has nothing to do with the GFI the converter and outlets yes. The older stock GFI's were a bit flaky but a new GFI should have corrected that. Check the outlets and make sure nothing is plugged in. His prices seem pretty steep. A new expensive converter is in the $250 range. Think I would try another tech.
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Old 03-30-2022, 09:31 PM   #3
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I agree with mainah, it is possible the converter has issues. It may still give some voltage, but not the right voltage or being stable enough for battery charging. It may put out enough voltage so the lights may work at some level of intensity, just not full brightness. Or it is going higher voltage that will cook out a battery. Need to know more on the DC voltage they found when tested. That should be a standard voltage test and where you would start the troubleshooting with.

Not knowing what they quoted, $1,400 for installing a power converter on a camper as old as yours with only a few circuits is well, very high. It does not sound accurate for only installing a converter, again, what else is included?

I do not know what to tell you on the $250 for 3 hours work, that is $83/hr which can be considered in line with a small shop charge out rate. Larger dealers can be $100 - $120/hr. In Ohio, shops are to give an estimate before starting work and they only have a small threshold to go over, or they need to ask for more money if they found other work needed to be done. I'm not sure what is for your state. If you called him to come out, and he did some work, he is owed something, just there should of been better communication on what he was doing.

If you really like your camper, I would not sell it to him, find another RV tech or if you have an electrician friend, they can help. What is in a 1984 camper is not very complex for an electrician. If there are some items in the camper that do not work after you get the converter sorted out, then we may be able to help tell you, to tell him, where to hunt for a wire separation or lost ground.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 03-30-2022, 09:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottATL999 View Post
When I plug in the 30a cord the interior lights all work (except for 1 pair that may have a short) and the overhead fan runs (but does not seem to get hot or cold), and the power outlets all work for about a minute and then the GFCI in the bathroom trips killing power to all the outlets (but the lights and fan still work).
Did you have a battery installed in the camper?

What are you calling the "overhead fan" (but does not seem to get cold or hot)? A fan in the bathroom vent, or a crank up roof vent or a roof top AC unit? Not sure where the hot and cold fits in.

Part of the camper runs on 12 volts DC. The lights, the water pump, the furnace, the LP gas part of the fridge if it has any electrical controls, and part of the water heater, if it has a control system and not an all gas unit. And this is assuming you have original appliances.

If you have a battery hooked up to the camper that is charged up, the 12 volt items will work as they are getting power from the battery even with the camper not plugged in.

The 120 volt AC shore line power, supplies power to the wall outlets, a roof top AC unit if yours has one, a microwave, if yours has one, an electric element on the fridge and or the water heater, again if yours has one and it powers up the power converter to charge the battery and supply 12 VDC to the camper DC items.

Hope this helps

John

PS. We are making an assumption a prior owner has not changed something major since the camper we new. You may ot may not know. We would need more info/pics to tell if someone changed something.
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Old 03-31-2022, 06:50 AM   #5
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Your biggest issue is the tripling GFI that is the clue to the entire situation. Turn off every thing heater, fridge, water heater ect unplug any thing plugged in. Plug plug the camper back in if the GFI is not tripping turn things on one at a time until it trips. If it trips with nothing turn on then it is pretty likely the converter is the problem. If that is the case then see if you can get some number off the converter. Being a 84 that is an old school converter pretty inefficient big and clunky. A lot of the old stuff had DC wiring and fuses inside the converter that does make it bit more of a pain to replace. Still it is not rocket science any one with electrical skill should be able to deal with it. My 1990 had old style converter when I bought it it was one of the first things I replaced, my main reason was the batteries (I use two) and I didn't want to deal with removing them for storage the older chargers were poorly regulated and would boil the water out of the batteries if plug in long term. The new ones will not do that.
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