12V Problem - Fiberglass RV

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Old 06-24-2010, 06:11 PM   #1
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I do MANY MANY this. Some even do well. With respect to 12v I freely admit I don't know tons of stuff.

Scamp 19' trailer - two years old.

The other night noticed VERY dim 12v lights.
Were on "shore power" and all 110/120 worked FINE. Air conditioner, Fridge, florescent light. Everything 110/120 was ok

I plugged a 50/10/2 charger into an open receptacle on the shore power monument, and the 12v system immediately brightened up.

Left the charger on overnight and it was still putting in 3 amps (+/-) this AM - when battery is fully charged it will shut off.
So EITHER the battery didn't take/hold a full charge or there is something else going on.

Just plugged in again, and it immediately started taking lots of amps again.

QUESTION - where and how to I start to diagnose this.

What is most likely - Battery? Inverter? Fuses? Something else?

How and WHERE should I start?

Advice greatly appreciated. We have shore power tonight and tomorrow (Friday) then two nights no power and then a couple more with power before returning home. I have a Honda 2000i with me that I can use to limp thru this trip. I think. But I get home around the 2nd of July and plan to take off again 10 days later (12th) for Bandon, so I would like to have a head start on what and HOW to look for issues so that my time home can be productive.

MANY MANY thanks .

Alan W.

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Old 06-24-2010, 06:23 PM   #2
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Many 12v problems are easily fixed by cleaning the battery posts. You may have a loose connection or a bad battery.

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Old 06-24-2010, 08:44 PM   #3
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I vote for bad battery.
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:25 AM   #4
Trailer: 73 Boler
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I vote for bad battery.

I would also vote for bad battery I have a 12 volt that I use to start my model aircraft motor and it wont hold a charge, had it checked and the concesus was buy a new battery.
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:28 AM   #5
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Check and make sure the converter is plugged in.

Mine keeps coming UN-plugged.
( No KB I have not fixed it yet, still working on boat )

Also on the front of my converter there is a fuse.

Bill K
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:42 AM   #6
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I am down where I can get wi-fi (w/o the trailer...), BUT will take Bill's suggestion first - check under the bench and see if the connections came loose and/or if the fuse is out. Otherwise, the executive committee met last night and she also suggested that we swap out the battery. It **IS** only 2 years old - but then I also have no idea how long it sat [at] Scamp before we took delivery. Will report back.


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Old 06-25-2010, 07:49 AM   #7
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Trailer: Boler 1300 1973
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Usually the date the battery was manufactured is stampped on one of the poles, like B8 for February 2008, or D9 for April 2009, you get the idea... Often they sit on a tablet for a long time without being charged.

As an example, often when there is a sale on batteries, it is because they sat on a tablet for over 6 months without being charged, this causes damage to the cells and the battery has already lost 50% of its capacity to keep its charge. I would never buy a new battery that has more than 2 months old stamped on its pole.
Boler 1300 1973
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:07 AM   #8
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It soulds like the battery to me too. I would swap it with my car battery to test.
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:46 AM   #9
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Unless you've been very careful, checking and filling your battery's water levels before and after each trip and not drawing your battery down too far while you're out camping, two years is about the lifetime for a standard deep cycle, "wet" lead acid battery, but it's worth checking into other problems, too.

First, you have a Scamp Delux, so I assume your trailer has a converter; I'd check the power breaker for the converter. The easiest way to check it is to flip it off, then on again.

Clean your battery posts and clamps. A little lead/acid build up on the posts can seriously reduce your battery's ability to accept and release charge.

As for the battery itself, detach it and take it to a Walmart, RV shop, Costco, or auto parts store. (Make sure your battery stays upright and does not tip over, otherwise strong acid will leak from your battery, leaving a spill that is very difficult to clean up (I won't go into the steps here, you can Google it) and which will damage anything the spill touches. What you're looking for is a "Deep Cycle" battery that is about the same size as the one you're replacing. There are two types you should consider:

1) Conventional deep-cycle "wet" lead-acid-water batteries. My favorite place to buy these is actually Walmart, because they are everywhere and have a two-year, full-replacement battery warranty.

2) AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) deep-cycle or marine batteries are long lasting, maintainance-free, and hold their charge better than wet batteries. Unless you abuse them by discharging below 11.5 volts several times they should last five years or longer, but you'll spend two to three times as much buying one. Favorite place to buy: Costco.
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:57 PM   #10
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Ding, ding, ding... we have a WINNER!!!

Bill K., there is a beer or wine cooler or coffee or hot cocoa or soda pop or whatever with YOUR name on it...

I checked and the inverter plug had come loose. Plugged it in, and **SO FAR** it seems to have fixed the deal.

I **WILL** follow up at home - check the mfg date of the battery and so on. And, thanx PeterH for the info on average battery life. I thought they would last longer than that. Hmmmm....

And Don Deutsch - great advice too. I DO carry a group 27 Wal*Mart deep cycle for my CPAP, but the "standard" battery box from Scamp was for a group 24. FIRST time I have to replace it, I will go to the larger box and upgrade to the GRP 27. So I COULD have swapped out the battery, but in retrospect it would have just run down too.

I **think** I should be ok for the remainder of this trip.

Spent today at Mesa Verde. LONG, STEEP climbing, but WELL WORTH the effort. Great stuff.

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