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  • Electrical Surge Issues 12v

    Please bear with me, it's going to take a couple of paragraphs to detail what happened setting up yesterday and continues to happen even though I got through the first issue.

    I'll start off by stating we used the camper last month for a week at the Michigan Rally and all systems worked flawless. We towed it home, emptied what we needed to and put it in storage.
    We pulled it out of storage and came up to Harrison MI for a weekender to see family and friends. We're bringing one granddaughter. Nothing happened on the road to think we might have caused an electical issue.
    We parked it and leveled the trailer no problem. Nothing to think we were about to find something has happened.
    I plugged my Surge Guard into the 50 amp outlet and turned on the breaker. All green lights. I turned it off, plugged in my 50 amp cord and turned it back on. Wife went inside to do her things, I stay outside to hook up the rest of utilities.
    Wife calls out to have me come inside. She had hit the switch to extend the LR and Kitchen slides heard a whine type noise and maybe one slide moved 1/4" and then nothing, that system is dead. I looked at the microwave and the clock is lit up so I know that we still have shore power. She had turned on the rear AC and it ran for a couple of minutes and then turned off although It was still quite warm. This shouldn't matter because the slides operate on 12v side. I check the circuit breakers and 12v fuses, all is good there. Besides the slides not opening also various ceiling lights won't go on. The rear lights over the LR, kitchen do light up. The hall, bathroom and bedroom ceiling lights do not go on. The bathroom ceiling fan does work. The closet light does go on. The two little reading lights over the bed & pillows do go on.
    I go up front and open the front compartment. There is an audible click from one of the relays on the front wall. About once every 30 seconds there'll be hum, a click, the compartment light will brighten for a second then a second click and the light will go back to normal. Wait 30 seconds, repeat.
    We called LCI trouble line and a very helpful Kim talked me through several diagnostic steps using a voltmeter. We determined the pedestal was fine with a consistent 120v being delivered, at the pedestal and at the camper. Because the leveling system worked we checked the volts at the hydraulic pump motor. Operating the switch we were getting 12.5v while we raised and lowered the levelers a couple inches.
    She had me then take off the control panel inside the camper. This gave me another opportunity to see that the circuits were all fine. Behind the panel you see that there are 6 wires to the switch. Determining the ground and red we operated the switch and found only 7.5v. This was the same on the schwintec bedroom slide and the awning switch. We talked for a couple more minutes about the power drop but she explained there was nothing further she could suggest over the phone. She stated we would have to go to a dealership, any would do because they all work on LCI components. We called Grand Design Cust Service but resulted in no assistance. She stated their mobile techs were scheduled 4 months out.
    We tried various camper outlets but could not get a mobile tech.

    Now thoroughly stumped I decided to put the control panel back secure. Now all of a sudden one 12v 15 amp fuse is shown blown. OK, how did that happen? I carry spares so I swapped it out and immediately the hall and bathroom, bedroom ceiling lights all go on. The switches obviously left in the on positions.
    What the heck I hit the slide switch and it operates perfectly. I hit the bedroom slide and it works. 8 yr old granddaughter who has been patient like a saint is exstatic, the trip is saved (her first extended camping trip with us). I'm a hero! But she already knew that.

    Now back to our story, the problem is not completely resolved. Not at all. This morning the bathroom fan started speeding up to very high speeds. Then went back to normal. The bedroom ceiling lights do not come on, there are four. The bedroom closet light flashed and burned out. This one is an automotive bulb. One of the two kitchen lights by the by the stove counter is now out. One of the two dining room table lights is now out. Although it was gone, I now sporadically hear the the hum and clicks from the front cabinet. One the 110 side both AC's, the television, the microwave, the electric side on the water heater all work. I did not test them all at the same time obviously.

    We go home Monday and I'm pretty sure the slides will retract. But what if they don't? We have a 2 week vacation planned for the east coast for later July. I cannot trust this is an isolated incident. There are some type of elec surges on the 12v side.

    If I had to guess I would bet my inverter is at fault. But I'm not an electrician. Before I crawl under there, and I will, I want some guidance on how to diagnose a problem and find and replace the inverter or other at fault issue.
    When we pull out Monday there'll be no place to work on it. There are no outlets where we store the camper so there's no place to plug it in and test the inverter. We live in a condo complex and there's no place to park it so I can work on it with a long 15 amp extension cord.

    Thank you for following along and any suggestions you can offer will be greatly appreciated.

    TomF

  • #2
    Hi Tom,

    This is certainly a complex series of electrical events. I think you are correct that the converter is causing 12V system voltage surges . . . but, how did it get that way?

    Back to the start of your description, there were hiccups in your initial shore power supply. Unfortunately, the Surge Guard at the post can only see the upstream (campground power). A problem with the power cord or its connection to the camper can't be seen by the Surge Guard. This is what happened to Paul a few years ago where the neutral did not connect which put high voltage through several appliances on the trailer. This might be what damaged your converter. The fact that this problem appeared and disappeared points to a loose connection at the cord-to-trailer connection. Check for any arcing or burn evidence.

    On to the 12V side, I have never heard of a converter producing high voltage surges . . . but anything is possible. I would disconnect the converter (open the 120V breaker feeding the converter). The entire 12V system can run off the battery . . . for a while. A work-around would be a portable battery charger directly to the battery. This will be providing the same function as the converter . . . just probably more slowly.

    Isn't RV camping fun .

    Rob
    Cate & Rob
    (with Border Collies Molly & Angel)
    2015 Reflection 303RLS
    2022 F350 Diesel CC SB SRW Lariat
    Bayham, Ontario, Canada

    Comment


    • #3
      By chance are you running a 90 degree adapter? I know the camco one is off a few degrees and can lead to a missing leg or neutral. Even if you are using the stock chord, verify lock rotation at the wall input on the camper.

      For trouble shooting, with the cover off the power panel check both of the hot legs on the main. If you have 240V then feed from panel is good. From there, check back to the neutral and ensure you get 120V on both legs.
      Joseph
      Tow
      Vehicle: 2018 GMC K2500 Denali Diesel
      Coach: 303RLS Delivered March 5, 2021
      South of Houston Texas

      Comment


      • #4
        Also with the power panel cover off , and no power to the rig, check that all of the screws are tight at the wire terminals and breakers. You can check these at the self resetting breakers, the hum clicking noise you heard, and at the connection on the converter and battery posts.

        Brian
        Brian & Michelle
        2018 Reflection 29RS Oct.2017 build date, EMS-HW50C , Lippert Remote
        2015 Chevy 3500HD CC LB Duramax , Reese Elite 18K

        Comment


        • #5
          Is what you're calling a surge actually just the opposite? A low voltage condition going to full normal voltage. Loose connections would give intermittent voltage swings.
          Ted
          2021 Reflection 310RLS
          2020 F350 PS,CC,LB,SRW

          Comment


          • #6
            Just to add to Country Campers excellent recommendation; with 12-volt power back on check down current side of the resetting breakers to ground for 12.5-volts. These are automotive breakers, so a replacement may be available at a local parts store. If not, jumper across the breaker temporarily to get back home.
            John
            2018 Momentum 395M
            2018 Ram 3500 Dually
            Every day is a Saturday, but with no lawn to mow.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for the input. Yes I'm using your suggestions now, with a friend's help.

              Comment


              • #8
                Well, 2 buddies came over to help. One has good electrical background and the other promised not to get in the way. I gave them my phone and they both read the thread all the way through. After a walk around Friend 1 and I took off the control panels and started diagnostics. Making sure connections were tight, no scorching etc. Friend 2 walked away, came back in 10 minutes and said "all fixed".
                WTH, what'd you do?
                He found the positive wire of the battery post almost off. The 1/2" nut was only spun on a couple of turns. After tightening the surges stopped.
                Regarding the humming noise and audible clicks, that was a result of a fault in the synchronized slide motor module in the front compartment. The hum was actually from the converter. The hydraulic solenoid would click, on or off I don't know. The converter would hum for a second, the volt meter would show a jump in power. The solenoid would cluck again and the hum would stop and power level return to normal.
                I went inside and pushed the switch to retract the bedroom slide. Nothing happened, or so I thought. The synchronized motor module reset itself. Second push of the slide switch and it retracted just like its supposed too. For good measure I retracted and extended the front slides as well. The clicking and humming had ceased and everything seems back to normal.
                In the 9 years I've owned this camper, or any camper, I have never had to deal with the positive wire at the battery ever.
                I messed up when I reinstalled the battery last month. I must have only hand tighten the positive wire. It worked itself loose driving about 500 miles on Michigan’s roads. What did it cost me? 11 puck lights and 2 auto type dome lights, and 8 hours spread over 2 days.
                Respectfully submitted,
                TomF

                Comment


                • #9
                  Good outcome.
                  Ted
                  2021 Reflection 310RLS
                  2020 F350 PS,CC,LB,SRW

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi Tom,

                    Good to learn that this was a simple fix. And, kudos to TedS for the right diagnosis.

                    Rob
                    Cate & Rob
                    (with Border Collies Molly & Angel)
                    2015 Reflection 303RLS
                    2022 F350 Diesel CC SB SRW Lariat
                    Bayham, Ontario, Canada

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Darn, that was exactly what I was going to tell you to check, no kidding.

                      BTW, if you ever get in a situation like this and need a generator drop me a line and you can borrow my Champion 4500
                      2021 Reflection 337RLS, 2021 Silverado 3500HD 6.6 gas. Nellie the wonder boxer

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yes, Friend 2 looked at the suggestions and did what he could do to try and help. Aren't there a couple of axioms that the easiest answer is usually the right one?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TNFSolitude View Post
                          Yes, Friend 2 looked at the suggestions and did what he could do to try and help. Aren't there a couple of axioms that the easiest answer is usually the right one?
                          I always say to start with the cheap and easy stuff first.
                          2021 Reflection 337RLS, 2021 Silverado 3500HD 6.6 gas. Nellie the wonder boxer

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            And me, I always check the negative battery connection because that's the side where I disconnect the wire while in storage. One nyloc nut 1/2" coming up. That sucker won't loosen again unless I want it loose.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Instead of removing a battery cable, why not install a true battery disconnect? They are cheap and easy to install. I think I have about $40 total in the install of the one I did not counting my time. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...e?ie=UTF8&th=1 Trip to the parts house to grab a https://www.amazon.com/TOPDC-4-Gauge...%2C112&sr=8-39 because I did not have a plan of where I wanted to put the switch at first.

                              This will beat having to remove the nylock nut (and replace every couple of removals).
                              Joseph
                              Tow
                              Vehicle: 2018 GMC K2500 Denali Diesel
                              Coach: 303RLS Delivered March 5, 2021
                              South of Houston Texas

                              Comment

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