Battery won't charge on AC pedestal - Fiberglass RV
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Old 05-03-2020, 01:58 PM   #1
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Name: Rita
Trailer: 2018 Casita SD; 2017 Toyota Highlander with tow package
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Battery won't charge on AC pedestal

I'm plugged into a working electric pedestal. My air conditioner runs, and the refrigerator is running on AC. However, my battery (Battle Born 100Ah) is not charging. When I plug in to my car, it charges the battery fine. Is the problem obvious, or do I need to do more testing?

Also, no breakers are tripped
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Old 05-03-2020, 02:16 PM   #2
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Have you checked for current coming out of your converter to see if it's feeding the battery, and checked the fuses as well?
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Old 05-03-2020, 05:27 PM   #3
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Thanks for your reply. I will check connections tomorrow. I'll have to get a multimeter before I can check current output.
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Old 05-03-2020, 07:05 PM   #4
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Yup.. a multi-meter or volt meter is one of the most helpful things a camper owner can own. If you have a cigarette lighter style 12 VDC outlet and only have a volt meter that plugs into that, it still can tell you a lot. If the voltage when the tug is hooked up is over 13 AND IF ALSO the voltage when on shore power is less than 13, then I can almost promise that your converter is not working or it is shut off (check circuit beakers, etc), or it is otherwise disconnected (fuse blown). Now if it were a Scamp then a good bet would be that the converter plug into the 120 VAC had come out.
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Old 05-03-2020, 07:06 PM   #5
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Is the battery going completely dead? with out any meter how are you sure its not charging? Trying to help but we need a little more info. also check auto DC type fuses and make sure the AC breaker thats runs the converter is on.
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Old 05-04-2020, 10:15 AM   #6
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Yes, the battery shut down when voltage got low (Battle Born has its own management system). No breakers are tripped. I can read my battery voltage from the solar charge controller. I'm diving in today to see if I can find any problems. I think that involves pulling up my bed, though. :-(
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Old 05-04-2020, 10:21 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by rlsooby View Post
Yes, the battery shut down when voltage got low (Battle Born has its own management system). No breakers are tripped. I can read my battery voltage from the solar charge controller. I'm diving in today to see if I can find any problems. I think that involves pulling up my bed, though. :-(
If its charging from solar and also from car. I would check the output of converter . you can craw under the bed to check this.
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Old 05-05-2020, 05:10 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by NEWYORKHILLBILLY View Post
If its charging from solar and also from car. I would check the output of converter . you can craw under the bed to check this.

Well also check the input. Make sure there is AC going to it ;-) Just because you don't think a fuse or breaker is tripped doesn't mean it is not. And some of them in fiberglass RVs are actually plugged into a dedicated AV outlet. And they can become unplugged ;-)
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Old 05-05-2020, 08:02 PM   #9
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Did you get it working?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rlsooby View Post
I'm plugged into a working electric pedestal. My air conditioner runs, and the refrigerator is running on AC. However, my battery (Battle Born 100Ah) is not charging. When I plug in to my car, it charges the battery fine. Is the problem obvious, or do I need to do more testing?

Also, no breakers are tripped
Was it unplugged?
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Old 05-05-2020, 08:08 PM   #10
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No all AC working in the trailer. If you mean unplugged and plugged in again. Yes. Pedestal was verified in working order. I now have a multimeter and the A-Z Casita Guide, but I have to find a block of time to check the connections, fuses, etc.
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Old 05-05-2020, 08:11 PM   #11
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Some RVs

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Originally Posted by rlsooby View Post
No all AC working in the trailer. If you mean unplugged and plugged in again. Yes. Pedestal was verified in working order. I now have a multimeter and the A-Z Casita Guide, but I have to find a block of time to check the connections, fuses, etc.
The converter in Some RVs plugs in. Have you confirmed AC power to the converter yet? Please let us know what you find it may help others "down the road".
Model number of the converter would help, some have fuses inside.
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Old 05-05-2020, 10:32 PM   #12
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The converter in Some RVs plugs in. Have you confirmed AC power to the converter yet? Please let us know what you find it may help others "down the road".
Model number of the converter would help, some have fuses inside.

Actually I had not thought of this, but about 2 years ago I was at a camp ground that only really operates for a few weeks at a time for a big event. There was a very non fiber glass trailer also with converter problems. Yeah probably a 30 footer or better old style one. But the point was was off line. Being the nerd type I offered to help. It was plugged into it own kind of hidden ground fault outlet. And it was tripped. Resetting it didn't keep it on, it kept triggering.

I luckily had a bunch of extra test equipment with me. And one of them monitored the current on all of the lines and when I plugged the unit into that test set no problem. OK bad GFI right. (wrong tested that too). Now really frustrated tried plugging the unit into a drop cord to my pedestal. Worked great. Plugging the camper into the drop cord and no ground fault. Finally found it. The ground line on the pedestal was bad and was putting weird votages and currents out.

So check for a GFI too.
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Old 05-06-2020, 10:32 AM   #13
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Here's my progress so far. With polarity plugs out, DC is 13.81V. With polarity plugs in, DC is 12.75V. According to A-Z, because my in-plug voltage is not within 13.2-14.2, I have a short in the wiring somewhere.

I think my next step is to pull the converter and inspect the wiring. Yes?
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Old 05-06-2020, 10:38 AM   #14
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@computerspook:
My AC outlets are fine (thank goodness). I am using them, when usually I only work on DC because I trust my battery more than I trust an unknown electric pedestal. My only problem is the battery not charging while I'm plugged in. So I don't think your tests are right for my problem?
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Old 05-06-2020, 10:43 AM   #15
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I'm not completely familiar with Casitas - what are polarity plugs?
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Old 05-06-2020, 11:15 AM   #16
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What are polarity plugs?

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I'm not completely familiar with Casitas - what are polarity plugs?
I don't know, either. The instructions just said to pull them, test, replace, test.
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Old 05-06-2020, 12:17 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by rlsooby View Post
I don't know, either. The instructions just said to pull them, test, replace, test.
Could you post a photo of them? Knowing what they are would help in the diagnosis of the problem.

13.81V is close to a fully charged lithium battery. If putting the polarity plugs in somehow disconnects the battery, the 12.75V would be a fairly low output for the converter alone unless in is under a heavy load. Is there any possibility that your refrigerator is on 12V?

In any case, 12.75V would not charge a lithium battery unless it was heavily discharged. The typical charging voltage for a lithium battery is 14.4V - 14.6V.

The 13.2V - 14.2V is the typical output of a converter set up to charge lead acid batteries.
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Old 05-06-2020, 12:47 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by rlsooby View Post
@computerspook:
My AC outlets are fine (thank goodness). I am using them, when usually I only work on DC because I trust my battery more than I trust an unknown electric pedestal. My only problem is the battery not charging while I'm plugged in. So I don't think your tests are right for my problem?

Probably got a little far afield there. But the main point is to make sure that the AC is getting to your converter. And also that some of the converters are plugged into a GFI. If it does have an ac plug that it plugs into I would put a light on it to make sure you get power from it.

But it kind of sounds like you are now getting power to the converter. By the way a fully charged battery should be giving 13.8 (ish) volts. And a bad battery will pull the voltage down.
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Old 05-06-2020, 01:22 PM   #19
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Could you post a photo of them? Knowing what they are would help in the diagnosis of the problem.

13.81V is close to a fully charged lithium battery. If putting the polarity plugs in somehow disconnects the battery, the 12.75V would be a fairly low output for the converter alone unless in is under a heavy load. Is there any possibility that your refrigerator is on 12V?

In any case, 12.75V would not charge a lithium battery unless it was heavily discharged. The typical charging voltage for a lithium battery is 14.4V - 14.6V.

The 13.2V - 14.2V is the typical output of a converter set up to charge lead acid batteries.
The Battle Born was advertised as a "drop-in" replacement, so I still have the standard converter, although I'd like to get a lithium-ready converter eventually.

Well, the picture from my album doesn't want to display. Basically, the polarity fuses are 30A labeled Reverse Protection and Battery Fuses.
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Old 05-06-2020, 02:50 PM   #20
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OK, now that you have labeled them fuses I know what you are plugging & unplugging. Still don't quite understand the voltage measurements you are getting. With my converter, when the reverse battery protection fuses are removed, the voltage measurement is the output of the converter. When they are in place, you would read the battery & converter charging voltage. Assuming yours is the same here is my guesses & suggestions:

With the fuses out, measure the voltage at the battery, not the converter. If your battery alone is measuring 12.75V, it is fairly discharged. Using voltage to determine the state of charge of a lithium battery is difficult. They are considered fully charged at between 13.6V & 14.4V. 12.75V is considered around a 15% state of charge, or near empty. You cannot use the standard lead acid battery state of charge charts or the "idiot light" panel that shows battery & tank levels (if your trailer has one) with lithium batteries.

If the voltage at the converter terminals (and distribution panel) is 13.81V with the battery disconnected, it is not unusual for the converter output without a battery connected.

When you replace the fuses, it may be that the converter voltage of is being pulled down to that voltage because it is trying to dump its full current output into the partially discharged battery. Lithium batteries, unlike lead acid, will take the full rated output of your converter until they are within 98% of fully charged. This may put enough of a load on the converter & wiring to show the lower voltage until the battery is full. If so, over a period of time, the voltage should increase until the battery is fully charged, or reaches the maximum voltage your converter can produce. Leave it connected for a couple of hours & see if the voltage increases over time. If so, nothing is wrong.

While it takes 14.4V to fully charge a lithium battery, charging one to 13.8V will get it close. You will not run the battery's battery management system to balance the individual cells in the battery since it starts when the battery voltage reaches 14.4V, which will shorten the battery life, but not so much that I'd worry about it. Changing to a converter that produces 14.4V - 14.6V is best, but not absolutely necessary.
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