12V LIGHT PROBLEM - FIXED!!!!! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-27-2007, 09:09 PM   #1
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[i]
I'm hoping this is the last newbie question before we shove off this week on our maiden voyage
We have a new 12V battery and the 12V lights worked for a while. But, they get dimmer and dimmer - very quickly. Everything that plugs in to a socket works full bore. I thought if we were plugged in to shore power, that direct electricity, via the land line cord, trickle charged the battery that runs the 12 volt lights. (Also, it is an RV battery, not car.) Am I missing something here? We have some workshop lights that I can plug in and be on our way, but it irritates me that I can't get everything to work
Thanks, as always!!
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Old 02-27-2007, 10:31 PM   #2
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Chisti,
Sounds like you only have a surface charge on the battery. This means that there is only a small charge in the battery so the voltage drops quickly.The 12v socket might feed off a different point. If you have a digital meter to check the votage at the battery would be helpful.
Things that could be wrong:
1. Breaker or fuse on charger triped.
2. Charger bad.
3. Bad connections.
4. Short to ground draining system.
5. New battery could be defective.
It can be tough to track down electrical problems, even harder via the internet.
Hope any of this is helps. Dave
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Old 02-27-2007, 10:38 PM   #3
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do you have a convertor and if so, does it have a charger in it?

I can't think of why all other 12v items work fine, but not the lights tho..

Maybe corroded sockets in your light fixtures? Pull your bulbs and see if there is icky scaley stuff in there. If so, clean it (AFTER disconnecting your battery/convertor) with a small wire brush, like you would your battery terminals, or get corrosion cleaner at radio hack.

Replug in lamps and see if it gets better.
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Old 02-27-2007, 10:39 PM   #4
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A few things to start checking out
1/ when the shore line is plugged in, are you getting 110 in the trailer?

2/ is there a fuse or breaker that needs to be turned on in the converter box?

3/ are the charging leads to the battery on the correct terminals?

4/ disconnect the 2 leads to the battery and test with a meter to see what voltage, if any is coming through the battery connections

5/ If you have 13 or better volts coming through the wire, then start checking for something that is drawing power or connected wrong, that is draining the battery

6/ is there a refrigerator set to run on 12 volts or some other appliance such as an exhaust fan, this will draw down a battery quick.

If all of the above checks are clear and the battery is new, try taking it back to the supplier and ask them to load test the battery, occaisionally a dud gets through the system.
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Old 02-28-2007, 04:02 AM   #5
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When you are plugged into shore power, your lights should operate independantly of the battery. Most systems are set up so that a convertor changes the 110 input into a 12v source for interior lights. These systems also allow the refridgerator on 110v and some 110 circuits to operate appliances and TVs.

If you were to disconnect the wires from your battery and then plug back into shore power, would your interior lights work? In other words, do you have a convertor?

Is your dimming problem only when hooked to the battery and shore power is disconnected? Which would indicate your battery is not at full charge.

The convertor in most systems also has a 12v charging system for the battery. The best ones (smart chargers) will recharge an almost drained battery with a higher output and then switch to a maintenance trickle when the battery is fully charged. Perhaps yours isn't functioning correctly, or not at all, or maybe it just may not be there.

I recently put a new "smart" charger in my trailer and will go over the installation proceedures with you if you need the information.

Paul


PS: good luck on your maiden voyage...have fun
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Old 02-28-2007, 06:50 AM   #6
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I've been told, when I purchase an brand-new battery to put it on a charger before using it. Evidently, batteries aren't fully charged sitting on the shelf...or maybe they discharge while sitting there
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Old 02-28-2007, 08:12 AM   #7
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Quote:

I'm hoping this is the last newbie question before we shove off this week on our maiden voyage
We have a new 12V battery and the 12V lights worked for a while. But, they get dimmer and dimmer - very quickly. Everything that plugs in to a socket works full bore. I thought if we were plugged in to shore power, that direct electricity, via the land line cord, trickle charged the battery that runs the 12 volt lights. (Also, it is an RV battery, not car.) Am I missing something here? We have some workshop lights that I can plug in and be on our way, but it irritates me that I can't get everything to work
Thanks, as always!!
Sure sounds like your "new" battery isn't charged as this is exactly the same thing that happened to us when our original ('99) battery when it finally died this fall. The lights were bright for about 5 sec. and dimmed to a glow in about 15.

1) I would purchase a inexpensive volt meter since it's handy for all sorts of electrical problems in the trailer (and in the house etc.).
2) Charge your battery so you are sure it has a full charge. I have one of the "smart" chargers which will also do some of the diagnostic checks for battery condition (about $40 at Wallmart).
3) Check and clean the battery terminals. This has been the biggest prob. I have had with any of my car/boat/trailer batteries.
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Old 02-28-2007, 08:26 AM   #8
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Christi, when you say you plug in "other things", are you talking about things plugged into you lighter sockets (12v) or things plugged into your 120v outlets?

If it's your lighter sockets, then it can't be your battery. If it's your 120v outlets, they won't tell you anything about battery condition, you'll need to check the 12v items directly.

Does the fan on your furnace run OK? Does your water pump work OK? Anything else that runs on 12v?
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Old 02-28-2007, 08:53 AM   #9
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Thanks, as always!!
[/quote]
Okay everybody - heading to Wally World for the battery tester. Maybe I'll take the battery for a full charge on the way.
One thing - no, Gina, to my knowledge nothing else on 12 volt. The "plugs" work fine and full power. I don't run the fridge on battery = tried it once. That's probably what happened tp my charge
I'll be back in touch. Thanks for all the ideas.
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Old 02-28-2007, 07:26 PM   #10
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We have LIGHTS!!
Here's one to add to the files!! I bought a battery charger, recharged the battery and that worked, but the power would still run down - so I was able to tell the RV repair guys with some authority that "it's the converter" based on help from you all. Well, there was shore power running through the breaker box. There was power in the converter when they put power directly to it
There is only one romax running from said breaker box to said converter!! That romax was also supposed to power the fridge.
Give up?
There is a two receptacle plug on the front of the sink. No, not the one with the reset button, another one, a mod!! There is power to that receptacle, but no power coming out of the receptacle journeying on to the converter. They (someone) just spliced that plug in and the receptacle had gone faulty.
We now have lights and I know more about 12V, 120 and converters than I ever thought I needed to know.
Thanks to you all, I only had to pay for 7/10 hour of labor and the fridge works too.
Arizona and New Mexico here we come YEEHAW
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Old 02-28-2007, 08:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
I've been told, when I purchase an brand-new battery to put it on a charger before using it. Evidently, batteries aren't fully charged sitting on the shelf...or maybe they discharge while sitting there
Yes, they do discharge just sitting on the shelf (or anywhere else for that matter, including in your RV, car, garage, basement, etc., over the winter) -- That's one reason it's recommended to learn how to read battery date codes (now they seem to be almost in plain English) buy the newest one.

Battery Freshness and date code translation

Starting off with a fully charged battery is a good way to treat it!

Take a small voltmeter into a battery store and look at voltages compared to dates and you will see a correlation -- Taking a voltmeter with you when buying a battery is also a good idea because if the one they want to sell you has a much lower voltage than others of its date or older, it's likely a loser!!!
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Old 02-28-2007, 10:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
We have LIGHTS!!
Here's one to add to the files!! I bought a battery charger, recharged the battery and that worked, but the power would still run down - so I was able to tell the RV repair guys with some authority that "it's the converter" based on help from you all. Well, there was shore power running through the breaker box. There was power in the converter when they put power directly to it
There is only one romax running from said breaker box to said converter!! That romax was also supposed to power the fridge.
Give up?
There is a two receptacle plug on the front of the sink. No, not the one with the reset button, another one, a mod!! There is power to that receptacle, but no power coming out of the receptacle journeying on to the converter. They (someone) just spliced that plug in and the receptacle had gone faulty.
We now have lights and I know more about 12V, 120 and converters than I ever thought I needed to know.
Thanks to you all, I only had to pay for 7/10 hour of labor and the fridge works too.
Arizona and New Mexico here we come YEEHAW
Great! With the winter storm bearing down, I'd love to hook up tomorrow morn and head for sunny and warm! Lucky you!
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Old 03-01-2007, 12:42 AM   #13
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I got lucky with the battery I got last week. Manufacture date was 2-07. Fully charge
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