12volt system not working - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-09-2021, 11:35 PM   #1
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12volt system not working

OK are you electricians out there here's what is happened.

I had been using the 12 V outlet to charge my phone and then after a while it started blinking so the phone did not charge fully. What I also noticed was that my lights in the trailer started blinking. Then I ended up with no 12 V at all, nothing for would work.

Yes I have checked all the fuses everything's fine. I have also tightened all the electric connections I can get to.

So my question is could the 12 V outlet be bad thereby causing a gap in the 12 V circuit which would give me no power?

What do you think!
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Old 09-10-2021, 02:21 AM   #2
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Dead battery??

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OK are you electricians out there here's what is happened.So my question is could the 12 V outlet be bad thereby causing a gap in the 12 V circuit which would give me no power? What do you think!
Have you checked the battery voltage? Are you plugged in or boondocking? Is your converter plugged in? It is common on some Scamps for the converter to get unplugged when the big cord is pulled out. Also if you have a 7 pin T/V hookup, do you get the lights back when you start the T/V? All RV owners need a volt meter.
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Old 09-10-2021, 03:25 AM   #3
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Battery is fine

Of course the battery is fine, Duh!! Fully charged.

I have no 12 V operation even when plugged into tow vehicle.

Everything does operate fine in my trailer when plugged into shore power or plugged into the generator..

So there is a disconnect somewhere from the battery and as I said all the fuses are fine and I see nothing wrong or disconnected around the electrical panel and converter.
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Old 09-10-2021, 03:52 AM   #4
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I will ask again.

Isn't the 12 V outlet live at all times so if the outlet becomes faulty wouldn't that leave a gap in the circuit?
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Old 09-10-2021, 08:44 AM   #5
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How do you know the battery is "fine"?

What fuses have you checked? The ones in the converter? How about the fuse inside the shell where the wiring from the battery comes into the camper? What about the fuse at the battery?

Have you looked at the converter, and made sure the converter is plugged in? The converter on my 2000 Scamp is hard-wired, but the converter in many Scamps are not and the plug falls out.



Let us know what you find.



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Old 09-10-2021, 09:18 AM   #6
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Isn't the 12 V outlet live at all times so if the outlet becomes faulty wouldn't that leave a gap in the circuit?
It depends on whether you have a battery disconnect switch. If you do, and it is open, the 12V lights & receptacles will be on when connected to shore power (through the converter) or connected to the tow vehicle through the charge line. If you disconnect the shore power connection (shutting off the converter & disconnect from the tow vehicle, if the battery disconnect switch is open, all 12V stuff will be dead. With the disconnect switch closed, both the battery & the converter supplies power to the 12V circuits.

If you don't have a disconnect switch, and the other 12V receptacles, lights, etc work with shore power or tow vehicle connected, I'd suspect a problem with the wiring / fuses between the battery & the converter distribution panel.

If a single 12V receptacle fails, it will not shut off all the rest of the 12V systems unless, during the process of failing it opened a major fuse that protects everything. If you are sure the fuses are good (checked with an ohm meter, not just visually) I'd recheck the fuse sockets & connections, again particularly the wiring between the battery & the converter distribution panel.
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Old 09-10-2021, 11:28 AM   #7
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I will reiterate I checked all the fuses, I checked the converter, I checked the battery, I checked all the little twist caps that I can find. I find no problems anywhere. I know how to do this part. I know where all the fuses are.

I don't have any kind of shut off switch like Jon mentioned. So as far as I'm concerned all my stuff should be live from the battery when I'm not connected to shore or the vehicle.

I guess I will have to dig deeper along the electric lines to see if there's a short somewhere.

Thanks to those who responded.
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Old 09-10-2021, 11:42 AM   #8
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Dan mentioned a fuse that is usually well hidden, wrapped with tape and people more often than not are not ever aware of it so it gets skipped in the fuse checking.

Off shore power, remove positive lead on battery and check that the neg lead ring terminal has continuity with a few ground (neg) points such as light bulbs and where wire nuts join the neg (usually white) wires. Check the 12 volt neg at the power panel also. If the grounds (neg) are all OK and joined together then while off shore power reconnect the positive battery lead and use your voltmeter and check the hot side of the 12 volt fuses (with meter neg to any common neg). If no power on the hot side of the fuses work your way between the battery and the fuses checking along the way with the voltmeter. If there is power on the hot side of all the fuses then work between them and the lights and 12 VDC outlet (much wiring inaccessible however). Its just a matter of trial and error, narrowing down the loss of power until you find it.

BTW the biggest clue that you have given I think is the flashing lights.
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Old 09-10-2021, 01:52 PM   #9
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Thank you

After 21 years, I know where all the fuses are, I do know there is one under the couch, hidden under the couch. Actually I started my 21st year last January and it's birthday is the weekend before Christmas this year,

Anyway a lot of this seems to have started when I started using that 12 V outlet that's why I thought that maybe there might be some connection, who knows. So my thought went to a faulty outlet and could that be the problem. I'm not an electrician, but I do know how to check things and so I wasn't sure if a faulty outlet would cause my problem.

As I said I have checked everything and it all appears good so I'm just going to keep tinkering along until I find out what the problem is.

Once again I thank you all for your comments......Bye
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Old 09-10-2021, 02:40 PM   #10
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Well you said bye so maybe you have left the forum.. but if you still want to try to remote diagnose this we can. Its no substitute for a handy DIY or electrician being there in person but its possible.

Your first message left a lot of information out hence some of the follow-up questions. Reading the follow-up responses I gather the following:

1. 12 volt outlet didnt charge cell phone.
2. 12 volt outlet has a light that started blinking (or was it the cell phone blinking?)
3. Trailer lights blinked repeatedly before all 12 volt power died.
4. All fuses have been verified as good.
5. Some connections were re-tightened.
6. 12 volt power does not work when connected to tow veh.
7. 12 volt power does work when on shore power.

Now the next step is to clarify some of the known facts and make sure we have a common understanding.

2. The outlet has a light that was blinking? Any outlet I have seen from Scamp has no light so perhaps the light is some sort of indicator that will give us more info (such as it blinks when voltage is low).

3. Did the trailer lights blink or was it more of a flicker? (I assume the interior lights) For how long (if you know or can estimate). Are they LEDs, incandescent, or a mix. If both did they all do the same thing.

4. Have all fuses been verified as good by using a ohm meter and not just visual inspection.

5. Were these wire nuts? If so did you unscrew them and inspect the wires, then twist the wires together and put the wire nut back on?

6. Did 12 volt system work before when connected to tow veh AND with the trailer battery disconnected, or only when the trailer battery was also connected?

After we get those facts we can have some better suggestions. But it would also be a big help to get more details about the system (esp since its so old). What make model converter? Is there a seperate fuse box or power panel and its make and model? What modifications have been made?

But if you are still with me (and i have my doubts that you are) then there are some good troubleshooting steps to suggest even without the above questions answered.

If the 12 volt system works on shore power then that indicates the converter is likely working OK and fuses to the circuits are OK. So check the voltage at the battery posts with the converter on. If its over about 13 then the path from converter to battery is OK.. if its under 13 volts then chances are there is a break in that wiring and the battery will die.

Check the battery to ground connection for continuity (with positive post disconnected and off shore power) as I have described above.

Of course the basics.. are the battery posts and connections clean? If its not a sealed battery it is a good idea to clean the connections maybe once a year. Corroded connection cause resistance.

Lastly, experience makes this kind of troubleshooting easier.. so if you want to drop the trailer off here I'm sure we can get it back working in a day or two. One thing I might do in this case is bring a battery inside the camper and temporarily connect it to the power panel and see if it works that way, but you might not want to do that (accidental battery shorts are bad news!).
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Old 09-10-2021, 03:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joy A View Post
I will reiterate I checked all the fuses, I checked the converter, I checked the battery, I checked all the little twist caps that I can find. I find no problems anywhere. I know how to do this part. I know where all the fuses are.

I don't have any kind of shut off switch like Jon mentioned. So as far as I'm concerned all my stuff should be live from the battery when I'm not connected to shore or the vehicle.

I guess I will have to dig deeper along the electric lines to see if there's a short somewhere.

Thanks to those who responded.
if you had a bad ground at the battery that would explain it, especially since everything works with shore power.
Check the voltage at the battery without then with shore power.

Also...
Not to insult but I have seen a the battery installed with reverse polarity more times than I can say.
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Old 09-10-2021, 04:41 PM   #12
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Sounds like a corroded connection in the connections between the battery and the rest of the circuits.


1. Turn off the shore power.

2 Turn on some loads in the trailer. Note, this is important when using this diagnostic process.

3. Connect your meter to a frame ground. I assume the battery negative is connected to ground.

4. Using your voltmeter measure the voltage on both positive and negative terminals along the entire circuit from the battery to where it connects to the rest of the circuit.

A bad negative connection will show voltage. A bad voltage will show no or low voltage.
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Old 09-10-2021, 07:14 PM   #13
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Shore power 12v works

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Originally Posted by CarlD View Post
Sounds like a corroded connection in the connections between the battery and the rest of the circuits.


1. Turn off the shore power.

2 Turn on some loads in the trailer. Note, this is important when using this diagnostic process.

3. Connect your meter to a frame ground. I assume the battery negative is connected to ground.

4. Using your voltmeter measure the voltage on both positive and negative terminals along the entire circuit from the battery to where it connects to the rest of the circuit.

A bad negative connection will show voltage. A bad voltage will show no or low voltage.
We have had the ground problem. Replaced some wires to fix it. boler is not frame grounded it has wires. Old tech.

"You work 120v so battery to box or switch for battery is suspect as 120v goes through box for 12v" as stated above.

Our boler is old it maybe be different. Shut off 120v breaker switch, flip box switch over to battery and it has buttons for 12v and 120v breakers on box that could trip.
boler has no fuses just breakers. Old tech.

120v works with lights inside and battery is charged. Problem is battery to box or 120v to battery switch.
The clearance lights are separate they are powered from car.
Narrows your search though.
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Old 09-10-2021, 07:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd View Post
if you had a bad ground at the battery that would explain it, especially since everything works with shore power.
Check the voltage at the battery without then with shore power.

Also...
Not to insult but I have seen a the battery installed with reverse polarity more times than I can say.
Well said, did it once myself lol
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Old 09-10-2021, 07:31 PM   #15
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We have had the ground problem. Replaced some wires to fix it. boler is not frame grounded it has wires. Old tech....
Old tech? Bull hockey sticks! Frame grounding is crap. Using the frame of a trailer as an electrical conductor is a bad (yet common) practice. Running real wires to carry electricity is much better. Thats why I added marine grade wire to my important ground connections (such as brakes) instead of relying on frame clips that corrode and fail. Even if it failed, your Boler with real wires for negative connections is a better design.
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Old 09-10-2021, 08:13 PM   #16
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Old tech? Bull hockey sticks! Frame grounding is crap. Using the frame of a trailer as an electrical conductor is a bad (yet common) practice. Running real wires to carry electricity is much better. Thats why I added marine grade wire to my important ground connections (such as brakes) instead of relying on frame clips that corrode and fail. Even if it failed, your Boler with real wires for negative connections is a better design.
I wholeheartedly agree, frame grounding is not good. If you want to charge your trailer battery while towing, your battery will most likely be connected to frame ground. My trailer is frame grounded for the DOT lights, but not for the other 12 volt wiring. I designed it to be a floating system. I charge from the TV thru an isolating DC-DC power supply. My DOT lights circuits are frame grounded (it's just the way Lil Snoozy did it) but it is not necessary for operation because they are all mounted to the fiberglass and have dedicated return wires. And all the terminations are inside the trailer. Charger manufacturers, on the other hand, like you to ground the AC side of the charger to the frame for safety reasons, which is to keep all non conductors at equal potential in the event of a ground fault in the trailer.
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Old 09-10-2021, 08:18 PM   #17
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I wholeheartedly agree, frame grounding is not good..
Darn Carl.. this is a good post but its like College course 301 and OP is not there yet and only seems to be concerned with the DC side.
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Old 09-15-2021, 11:16 AM   #18
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OK are you electricians out there here's what is happened.

I had been using the 12 V outlet to charge my phone and then after a while it started blinking so the phone did not charge fully. What I also noticed was that my lights in the trailer started blinking. Then I ended up with no 12 V at all, nothing for would work.

Yes I have checked all the fuses everything's fine. I have also tightened all the electric connections I can get to.

So my question is could the 12 V outlet be bad thereby causing a gap in the 12 V circuit which would give me no power?

What do you think!
Joy, You mentioned the blinking lights prior to the failure. Do you know if your camper uses automatically resetting breakers? Automatically resetting breakers look more like a junction terminal than a fuse. If your battery starts to go dead and voltage on the system drops, causing the current to rise, the those breakers will sometimes trip, then reset, then trip, then reset, etc. until you take appropriate action. I have also seen them behave that way before they fail, and then just won't reset at all. Several camper manufacturers use those devices as front end protection between the batteries and the DC system. Just Google Fastronix automatic reset circuit breaker to see what one typically looks like. Hope it helps.
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Old 09-15-2021, 11:20 AM   #19
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EXPLAIN?

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Originally Posted by Rocketman View Post
If your battery starts to go dead and voltage on the system drops, causing the current to rise,
Can you please explain to me how a low battery can cause current to increase??
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Old 09-15-2021, 11:34 AM   #20
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Go to Harbor Freight and purchase one each of these:
https://www.harborfreight.com/612v-c...ead-63603.html
https://www.harborfreight.com/7-func...g_q=multimeter
Then test from the output of the convertor to the receptacle/light receptacle and you will have your answer.
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