Power problems - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-18-2010, 09:36 AM   #1
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Trailer: Bigfoot
Manitoba
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My Bigfoot 5th wheel systems workthrough continues. Furnace is up and working, shower no longer leaks, and the water tank drain valve has been replaced. A week ago (roughly), one battery was replaced and the other charged completely; the trailer has been plugged into 120 volt since then. I checked the battery panel yesterday and was surprised to find the batteries in only fair to poor condition (only three lights). Two problems - My MagneTek series 6300A model 6332 is not charging the batteries as it should (it has the battery charger). Something must be drawing current from the batteries to pull them down. I found the charger info at: MagneTek Series 6300A Model 6332 and I will reluctantly wade into the power converter, probably to replace a $7 resistor. Any thoughts on where to start searching for the battery draw? While I have a meter, I am an electrical neophyte.
Thanks for any light you can shed on this.
Cam
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Old 07-18-2010, 09:59 AM   #2
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Name: Michael
Trailer: 1993 Bigfoot 17 ftCB / 2011 Toyota Sienna
Ontario
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Cam;
If you search my name for early posts, you will find a couple of good and long post by myself and others on the Magnetek 6300 series of converter/chargers. Check for scorching under the transformer and/or overheated components. Unfortunately, this series has outlived many of it's original good features and really should be changed out! There is a Magnetek 'upgrade' or 'repair' kit available, but a replacement into the bottom section of the existing box with Progressive Dynamics Intellpower converter or other is probably the best way to go. I used a PD-9260C because it was a good size and works great - the cooling fan never even normally comes on with my 2 size 27 AGM Batteries.
My old Magnetek was a fire hazard and had scorched the vinyl under it - the transformer ran HOT! New units use switching technology instead of those old big transformers and run cool!
Good luck.
Mike .....>


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My Bigfoot 5th wheel systems workthrough continues. Furnace is up and working, shower no longer leaks, and the water tank drain valve has been replaced. A week ago (roughly), one battery was replaced and the other charged completely; the trailer has been plugged into 120 volt since then. I checked the battery panel yesterday and was surprised to find the batteries in only fair to poor condition (only three lights). Two problems - My MagneTek series 6300A model 6332 is not charging the batteries as it should (it has the battery charger). Something must be drawing current from the batteries to pull them down. I found the charger info at: MagneTek Series 6300A Model 6332 and I will reluctantly wade into the power converter, probably to replace a $7 resistor. Any thoughts on where to start searching for the battery draw? While I have a meter, I am an electrical neophyte.
Thanks for any light you can shed on this.
Cam
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Old 07-18-2010, 11:15 AM   #3
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Name: Ches
Trailer: 1992 Kustom Koach 17 FT
British Columbia
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I would also suggest you do a manual check of batteries. Get a Hydrometer and test each cell. I don,t trust those onboard gauges, They can be wrong.

I have always been told not to mix new batteries with old batteries. This also could be a cause of low readings. Something to think about.
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Old 07-18-2010, 11:33 AM   #4
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Name: Darwin
Trailer: 2002 19 ft Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel
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It is very likely you need to add distilled water.

Chester is absolutely correct in recommending the Hydrometer check. It is the only way to check each individual cell of the battery to determine the charge level and also to determine if you have a BAD cell and while you are checking you will also determine if it has enough water.

Of course this depends if you can get to the cells. Many batteries are totally sealed and make it hard to get to. Example: I had a 1963 Chevy with a Delco battery that did not have individual cell openings. I took a hammer and large screwdriver and cracked the top off and found it needed water. I added distilled water and charged the battery and it was good for another 3 years until I sold the car.

Note: I re-glued the top back on. This might not be a viable option for a camper unless you can be absolutely sure you can re-glue in order to maintain leak proof. It could be dangerous if you are not handy at doing the modification.

In the OLD DAYS batteries had a LEAD bar on the outside of the battery that connected the individual cells and you could use a cell load meter device to test. Canít do that now as the connection is inside.
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Old 07-18-2010, 08:05 PM   #5
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Trailer: Bigfoot
Manitoba
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It is very likely you need to add distilled water.
Thanks for all the info, I'm getting smarter already. I am looking into replacing the old converter. It's amazing how all that info just goes past you until you have a similar system which requires attention. While I accept that it would have been better to replace both batteries, one of them was topped up with distilled water, charged, cells checked, load-tested and found to be functional, so I kept it. My question is, the batteries were charged up and installed, tested green on the display, the trailer has been on 120 for the week, and now they test poor-fair. How much draw would it take to pull them down like that? Can I put a battery charger on them while they are hooked up, or should I disconnect them? Thanks again for working me through this.
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:33 PM   #6
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Name: Darwin
Trailer: 2002 19 ft Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel
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Disconnect the + and - sides of the battery and then use a meter placed between the + cable and - cable and with the converter turned on, what is the reading? This will tell U if the converter is putting out enough power.

You can also charge the Battery with a Battery charger while you have it disconnected from the camper wiring.

R U able to use the hydrometer on the battery? This will tell U if you have a bad cell.
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:23 AM   #7
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Trailer: Bigfoot
Manitoba
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Well, happy day. I have trouble extracting the batteries to service them, so I started by cleaning all of the posts/contacts. And now things are good. ? Thanks for the help; I will get better with this electricity thing. Proves the old adage, start with the basics.
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