Electrical issues - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-12-2011, 11:16 PM   #1
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Name: Clint
Trailer: 13' Scamp
Missouri
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Electrical issues

Hello,
I have a 1995 13' Scamp that I just bought. Everything seems to be in good condition. However, there is a problem that I just recently noticed. The battery will not charge off the 120v power source. It will only charge when hooked up to the car. All the 120v electrical items work just fine. It's just the two dome lights and the outside light that don't work. I hooked it up to my car for about 10 minutes. Those three lights worked just fine while hooked up to my car but then started to dim shortly after I disconnected from my car. The 120v was hooked up, but the lights still continued to dim. Basically, it seems that the 12v and the 120v systems are only working independently of each other. I changed the fuse by the battery, but it did not change the issues. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:56 AM   #2
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Trailer: 2009 Scamp 16 ft / 2003 Durango
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I don't know if a 1995 converter is the same as a 2009 or not, BUT.

On mine the 120v supply cord for the converter is a normal 120v plug that plug's into the back side of my 120v panel. ( It comes UNplugged )

Also look for a fuse on the converter and make sure the breaker/fuse for the 120v for the converter is on or good.

Bill K


Quote:
Originally Posted by Clankster View Post
Hello,
I have a 1995 13' Scamp that I just bought. Everything seems to be in good condition. However, there is a problem that I just recently noticed. The battery will not charge off the 120v power source. It will only charge when hooked up to the car. All the 120v electrical items work just fine. It's just the two dome lights and the outside light that don't work. I hooked it up to my car for about 10 minutes. Those three lights worked just fine while hooked up to my car but then started to dim shortly after I disconnected from my car. The 120v was hooked up, but the lights still continued to dim. Basically, it seems that the 12v and the 120v systems are only working independently of each other. I changed the fuse by the battery, but it did not change the issues. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:44 PM   #3
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Name: Francesca Knowles
Trailer: '78 Trillium 4500
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clankster View Post
Hello,
I have a 1995 13' Scamp that I just bought. Everything seems to be in good condition. However, there is a problem that I just recently noticed. The battery will not charge off the 120v power source. It will only charge when hooked up to the car. All the 120v electrical items work just fine. It's just the two dome lights and the outside light that don't work. I hooked it up to my car for about 10 minutes. Those three lights worked just fine while hooked up to my car but then started to dim shortly after I disconnected from my car. The 120v was hooked up, but the lights still continued to dim. Basically, it seems that the 12v and the 120v systems are only working independently of each other. I changed the fuse by the battery, but it did not change the issues. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Are you sure that you have a converter? Not all trailers of that vintage came equipped with one. Without one, 110 power won't operate your 12v lights. If you DO have one, it may require that you manually switch between 12v and 110 power.
Also, even if you have a converter, if it has no charging function it won't charge your battery.

If you let us know exactly what you have, we can be more helpful!

Francesca
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Old 04-14-2011, 06:53 AM   #4
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Trailer: 13' Scamp
Missouri
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It very well may be the case that I don't have a converter. That's what I'm beginning to think. I have looked everywhere and this is the only electrical box I can find.

Is a converter a separate unit?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:51 AM   #5
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It very well may be the case that I don't have a converter. That's what I'm beginning to think. I have looked everywhere and this is the only electrical box I can find.

Is a converter a separate unit?

Thanks for your help.

Looks like shorepower to me! I think that's your 110v circuit breaker.
A converter is a separate unit that "converts" 110v AC power to 12v DC. Your 12v lights/pump/whatever-you-have won't work off shorepower without one.
Some, but not all, converters also charge the trailer battery. I think you can buy a combined converter-charger for less than $200.00.
My Trillium came to me with a converter only- I had to add a charging module to it.

Francesca
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Old 04-14-2011, 01:45 PM   #6
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That's what I was thinking. I appreciate your input! Thank you for clearing it up for me.
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Old 04-14-2011, 03:35 PM   #7
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Hello,
I hooked it up to my car for about 10 minutes. Those three lights worked just fine while hooked up to my car but then started to dim shortly after I disconnected from my car.
FYI:
Here's another little ray of sunshine...NOT

Your above observation deserves a closer look, too. If your battery is getting well-charged by your tow vehicle, your 12v lights should burn just as bright as they do when your t.v. is hooked up (with ignition off). At least, until you run your trailer battery down some. If there's a fan-forced heater and/or water pump in your Scamp, they're probably 12v,too and without a converter will continue to use battery power even when you're hooked up to shorepower. That, combined with your 12v lights, will draw the trailer battery down pretty fast. You don't say what your tow vehicle is, but some alternators don't put out enough juice to fully charge a battery in addition to the vehicle's own. It's more likely, however, that the difference is due to the fact that (as you've just discovered) the ONLY charging your trailer battery is getting is from the tow vehicle, and that your 12v systems must operate from the battery, which probably isn't getting fully charged (short trips?) between hookups to the tow.
Also, if your car's ignition was off at the time you conducted the above test, the fact that you noticed a difference in the brightness of the trailer lights is an indication that you're actually running the trailer 12v systems off BOTH the car and trailer batteries, which are linked as a series. Unless you have a vehicle battery isolator in-line to break that series when the car ignition is off, power is drawn from both batteries at the same rate. This can very quickly drain your car battery below its ability to start the vehicle.


Have a nice day-if possible after all this "good" news!

Francesca
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:24 PM   #8
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Trailer: Scamp 16 - floor plan #4
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I have this exact same issue (everything electrical that's supposed to run on battery or shore power does so, but only the tow vehicle charges the trailer battery) with my 1988 Scamp (new to me last fall).

I too initially assumed that the 120v box under the sink was the converter, but eventually found the converter under the street-side dinette seat (rear dinette). No blown fuses there that I can see, but after reading this thread I think I need to see if perhaps the root cause in my case is that I don't actually have a charger-equipped converter.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe in MN View Post
I have this exact same issue (everything electrical that's supposed to run on battery or shore power does so, but only the tow vehicle charges the trailer battery) with my 1988 Scamp (new to me last fall).

I too initially assumed that the 120v box under the sink was the converter, but eventually found the converter under the street-side dinette seat (rear dinette). No blown fuses there that I can see, but after reading this thread I think I need to see if perhaps the root cause in my case is that I don't actually have a charger-equipped converter.
Hi, Joe

Been there, done that!

When faced with the fact that my converter didn't have a charging function, I couldn't see any reason to replace it entirely, since it works just fine within its design limitations. Instead, I added a charging module to it, see below. It cost about $80.00, and came with installation instructions. This one might be hard to find, but I've thought since that one could probably add a marine charger such as those sold at any boating store and get perfectly satisfactory results. That solution should also cost under $100.00.

Good luck!

Francesca
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Old 04-14-2011, 11:12 PM   #10
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Trailer: 2000 Scamp 16 ft Side Dinette Deluxe / 2006 Toyota Tundra
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Good unit

If you want to add a converter, this is a very good unit, works well and very clean to install.
4000 Series
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Old 04-14-2011, 11:17 PM   #11
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Francesca and Dave,

Thanks for the good info!

Regards,

Joe
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Old 04-15-2011, 03:19 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by D Tharp View Post
If you want to add a converter, this is a very good unit, works well and very clean to install.
4000 Series
Am I looking at a 15 amp service in "clankster"'s picture?
The smallest unit on this page needs a 30 amp breaker...can't tell if that means it has to have the circuit all to itself.
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:43 AM   #13
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Trailer: 13' Scamp
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Awesome information everyone!!! Thanks so much. I think my plan is to call Scamp and see about ordering a converter at some point. Also, my thinking is if all that is running off the 12v power is the dome lights it won't be that big of an issue. This is a simple little trailer. The only things that would require power are the dome lights, floresent light, heater fan and fridge. Plus, anything we plug into an outlet. I know the fridge runs off of the source. If the heater does too I'll be in ok shape without a converter for now. Thank you guys for all your help!

Clint
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Old 04-15-2011, 10:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clankster View Post
Awesome information everyone!!! Thanks so much. I think my plan is to call Scamp and see about ordering a converter at some point. Also, my thinking is if all that is running off the 12v power is the dome lights it won't be that big of an issue. This is a simple little trailer. The only things that would require power are the dome lights, floresent light, heater fan and fridge. Plus, anything we plug into an outlet. I know the fridge runs off of the source. If the heater does too I'll be in ok shape without a converter for now. Thank you guys for all your help!

Clint
If my Scamp didn't already have a converter I wouldn't pay for one. A battery minder and a smart charger will keep the battery charged better than a converter. The one that Scamp put in my Scamp under charges the battery to keep from overcharging. That's not good for batteries either way.
I use a battery minder type of device when at home to keep the battery fully charged and it has a way of reducing sulfate from building up. If I was to be plugged in more than a few days I would connect the battery minder.
Most of the time when traveling the battery is charged from the tow. If I'm more that 3 or 4 days in one spot without power the solar panel comes out.
From my experience and a couple others on Yahoo Groups it's felt that a converter probably isn't worth the cost.
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