Multiple Electrical Questions (related?) - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-28-2016, 06:30 PM   #1
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Name: Ginny
Trailer: '09 Scamp 13' w/ Bath
Oklahoma
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Multiple Electrical Questions (related?)

Ok,
I have a series of electrical issues and questions, that may or may not be related. I will post them all here together, but if we all agree that something is totally unrelated, I can split it off into a separate thread.

1. My battery does not seem to be charging when driving. I am 99% sure I have a converter, because I believe my battery has charged in the past. It is a new battery. I am having it tested at AutoZone as we speak, but either I have a battery charging issue, or some sort of unknown drain on the battery. I just drove over 20 hours the last few days, battery is still dead. Fridge was off.

2. I just removed the florecent light above the sink. It is my understanding that this only works on the 110v shore power. Does this mean that it IS 110v? or after it runs through the power converter is it actually 12v? I tried to put a volt meter on this to measure on ACV (camper plugged into shore power), but i only got a spark/pop and no measurement. What is really going on here?

3. This brings me to problem 3. I am going to run a few IKEA Dioder puck lights under the kitchen cabinet.
DIODER LED multi-use light - IKEA
My question is, how can I wire them? Can I convert the lights from the flourecent light above into a plug so that I can plug them in? or can I just hardwire it to these now exposed wires?
I would love to hardwire if possible, so that I can bypass the bulky plug, but I am open to putting in a socket as well. Check out more pics here (scroll to bottom) https://goo.gl/photos/1U5Y5jr3jbrYxnAA6

4. I removed the tv/dvd combo that was installed under the kitchen cabinet, and I am replacing it with a nicer tv/dvd combo that I will mount on the wall above the bed. I have 2 power options, dc via a cigarette lighter adapter, or a regular 100-240v wall plug. I assume I can just plug this in to one of the sockets (or maybe the new socket I can run from question #2).

Ok, I think this is all of my electrical issues all in one. Thank you all in advance for your sage advice!!

-Ginny
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Old 11-28-2016, 07:06 PM   #2
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Ok,
I have a series of electrical issues and questions, that may or may not be related. I will post them all here together, but if we all agree that something is totally unrelated, I can split it off into a separate thread.

1. My battery does not seem to be charging when driving. I am 99% sure I have a converter, because I believe my battery has charged in the past. It is a new battery. I am having it tested at AutoZone as we speak, but either I have a battery charging issue, or some sort of unknown drain on the battery. I just drove over 20 hours the last few days, battery is still dead. Fridge was off.

2. I just removed the florecent light above the sink. It is my understanding that this only works on the 110v shore power. Does this mean that it IS 110v? or after it runs through the power converter is it actually 12v? I tried to put a volt meter on this to measure on ACV (camper plugged into shore power), but i only got a spark/pop and no measurement. What is really going on here?

3. This brings me to problem 3. I am going to run a few IKEA Dioder puck lights under the kitchen cabinet.
DIODER LED multi-use light - IKEA
My question is, how can I wire them? Can I convert the lights from the flourecent light above into a plug so that I can plug them in? or can I just hardwire it to these now exposed wires?
I would love to hardwire if possible, so that I can bypass the bulky plug, but I am open to putting in a socket as well. Check out more pics here (scroll to bottom) https://goo.gl/photos/1U5Y5jr3jbrYxnAA6

4. I removed the tv/dvd combo that was installed under the kitchen cabinet, and I am replacing it with a nicer tv/dvd combo that I will mount on the wall above the bed. I have 2 power options, dc via a cigarette lighter adapter, or a regular 100-240v wall plug. I assume I can just plug this in to one of the sockets (or maybe the new socket I can run from question #2).

Ok, I think this is all of my electrical issues all in one. Thank you all in advance for your sage advice!!

-Ginny
#1) Maybe your vehicle does not have a 12 VDC charge conductor to the 7 pin receptacle on your vehicle or a fuse is blown ,or a wire is broken or the trailer load is too high or it's a bad connection or ETC, ETC. If your trailer battery is not charging while you are under tow ,the converter is NOT the problem
#2 ) The flourescent light operates on 120 VAC . It is NOT 12 VDC
#3 ) You will need to run the existing 120 VAC feed for the flourescent light into a junction box The power cord from the puck lights would then be run into the same junction box and spliced to the 120 VAC feed cable.. 120 VAC wiring cannot be spliced in the open, you need a junction box. ( A plastic box is recommended. )
The 120 VAC feed cable from the puck lights is not approved to be concealed such as under carpet or behind walls ,it must be visible along its entire length for inspection and must be protected from physical damage .
IE : The cable is not designed to have junk / stuff piled on top of it.
So if you plan on using the cabinet for storage , you will need to protect the cable with something like Smurftube.
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Old 11-28-2016, 07:18 PM   #3
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ok, so if I run it to a junction box (there isnt much cable btw, so not sure how I will do this unless i can just wire cap to extend the line, but my guess is no)
can I also just run it to create an outlet?

What do I do if the wires are super short?
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Old 11-28-2016, 07:25 PM   #4
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Ginny

I think you likely do have a converter but there are fuses in it that may be blown or connections that are loose or unattached maybe affecting the battery in the Scamp?

1-see if there is a fuse inline somewhere from the battery that might be blown thus preventing the battery from being charged while connected to the car.
This presumes that you have indeed been charging the battery this way already?

2-I don't know about the lamp over the sink for sure but if you look at the bulbs in there it will tell you if they are AC or DC and we can go from there.

3-Those IKEA pucks run on 12vdc plain and simple but the "big plug thing" plugs into 120vac and turns it into 12vdc where it plugs into the little junction box that came with the pucks so......you can cut the cord from the big plug thing and attach a lighter plug to it or just splice the pucks junction box into 12vdc anywhere in the camper and they should work fine.
I know as I just installed a bunch of them myself!

4-You can plug the TV in either way but I suggest the lighter plug method as the TV runs on 12vdc so that is how I would use it,then you can also use it when not connected to shore power!

So the big question I have is do you have a lighter socket in the trailer anywhere?
If so connect the 12vdc stuff there but first connect your meter there on the DC scale and see if there is in fact any DC power?
Try with the shore power plugged in and without it plugged in too and report back.
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Old 11-28-2016, 07:32 PM   #5
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Our Uhaul had 12 volt florescent lights, and they are available on Amazon
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Old 11-28-2016, 07:37 PM   #6
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Oklahoma
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Ed,
I have checked fuses but will check again. I just checked the one at the battery today and it was fine. I will check the ones under the bench tomorrow. I suppose I should try to find my converter box as well, though I am not sure how to tell if it is working or not.

Maybe I should back up and ask another question. When I am plugged into shore power, are my DCV items (such as the porch light and bed lights) running off the battery? I assume so- but then the 2nd question is, does the battery re-charge from the shore, or only from the tow vehicle, and if so, does the tow vehicle have to be in motion or just on?

I ask all of this because I dont mind running the ikea lights or TV off the DC if my battery is getting recharged, but if it is only running off the battery and will eventually drain until I drive again, that is not a good option for me. 99% of the time I am at a campground with power.

As to your last question. No, at this time I do not have a lighter socket, but I could install one. Or, I can just plug the TV into the existing plug that is right next to/below the sink.
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Old 11-28-2016, 08:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by fieldphoto View Post
Ed,
I have checked fuses but will check again. I just checked the one at the battery today and it was fine. I will check the ones under the bench tomorrow. I suppose I should try to find my converter box as well, though I am not sure how to tell if it is working or not.

Maybe I should back up and ask another question. When I am plugged into shore power, are my DCV items (such as the porch light and bed lights) running off the battery? I assume so- but then the 2nd question is, does the battery re-charge from the shore, or only from the tow vehicle, and if so, does the tow vehicle have to be in motion or just on?

I ask all of this because I dont mind running the ikea lights or TV off the DC if my battery is getting recharged, but if it is only running off the battery and will eventually drain until I drive again, that is not a good option for me. 99% of the time I am at a campground with power.

As to your last question. No, at this time I do not have a lighter socket, but I could install one. Or, I can just plug the TV into the existing plug that is right next to/below the sink.
Well I guess we need to start at the start maybe?

Can you tell where the cable comes into the trailer from the Shore Power Connection?
The converter should be there!

The Battery should also be connected to the Converter there and the 12vdc loads(lights) should be connected there through a fuse panel of some kind probably.

So to answer your other questions you really do need to know for sure if there is a converter at all?

If there is a Converter then the battery should also be connected to it and then the answer is Yes it should charge the Battery when plugged into shore power as the Converter usually also can charge the battery.
Not always but usually.

But it sounds like there is something blown or open somewhere if the battery is dead at all?
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Old 11-28-2016, 08:40 PM   #8
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If you are driving, the tow vehicle should charge your battery. I would try to measure the voltage on the trailer battery while connected and engine running, no headlights. It should be 13VDC or more.

If you are on shore power (120VAC) and disconnected from the tow vehicle, the converter should be charging the battery and you should also see about 13VDC. That fluorescent is 120VAC and only works off shore power.

As noted, run those 12V things from 12V lighter sockets, since you don't have an inverter that makes 120VAC from 12VDC. (Note: all those conversions waste power.)

If you need longer AC lines, use a box and splice using those twist caps inside the box, so they are protected. Or, better, remove the whole line and restring it, as long as needed.

These are just some basic ideas, I hope they help. And, careful with the sparking 120VAC - it hurts, but much less than the 240VAC in Europe!
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Old 11-28-2016, 09:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by fieldphoto View Post
ok, so if I run it to a junction box (there isnt much cable btw, so not sure how I will do this unless i can just wire cap to extend the line, but my guess is no)
can I also just run it to create an outlet?

What do I do if the wires are super short?
They do make an approved spice kits for cable but they are expensive and take up a lot of space.
You may have to cut the carpet back on the cabinet bottom and expose more cable. Splices made on 120 VAC circuits using
wire nuts / scotckloks are required to be made in a junction box.
The reason the NEC requires 6 " of free conductor at all junction boxes and openings is so you don't have the problem you are encountering .
If the wires are a short as you describe then a receptacle is not the answer either because a 120 VAC receptacle also requires a box with a clamp or method of securing the cable.
I am only telling you the code compliant method of installation.
It's your trailer so you may do as you wish. Sometimes doing it the correct way is neither easy or convenient.
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Old 11-28-2016, 10:32 PM   #10
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Name: Ginny
Trailer: '09 Scamp 13' w/ Bath
Oklahoma
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Thank you all for the replies. I will pick up the battery from autozone and also check on my converter tomorrow.

In the meantime... any guess as to where that florescent light line goes? I dont mind cutting the carpet and running a new line for a longer cable (I am getting ready to cover the carpet anyways), but I would like to know where it goes before I figure if I can run a new line or not.

I assume it drops down behind the sink? Then?

(PS. I have a 13ft 2009 Scamp w/ bathroom)
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Old 11-28-2016, 11:19 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by fieldphoto View Post
Ok,
I have a series of electrical issues and questions, that may or may not be related. I will post them all here together, but if we all agree that something is totally unrelated, I can split it off into a separate thread.

1. My battery does not seem to be charging when driving. I am 99% sure I have a converter, because I believe my battery has charged in the past. It is a new battery. I am having it tested at AutoZone as we speak, but either I have a battery charging issue, or some sort of unknown drain on the battery. I just drove over 20 hours the last few days, battery is still dead. Fridge was off.

2. I just removed the florecent light above the sink. It is my understanding that this only works on the 110v shore power. Does this mean that it IS 110v? or after it runs through the power converter is it actually 12v? I tried to put a volt meter on this to measure on ACV (camper plugged into shore power), but i only got a spark/pop and no measurement. What is really going on here?

3. This brings me to problem 3. I am going to run a few IKEA Dioder puck lights under the kitchen cabinet.
DIODER LED multi-use light - IKEA
My question is, how can I wire them? Can I convert the lights from the flourecent light above into a plug so that I can plug them in? or can I just hardwire it to these now exposed wires?
I would love to hardwire if possible, so that I can bypass the bulky plug, but I am open to putting in a socket as well. Check out more pics here (scroll to bottom) https://goo.gl/photos/1U5Y5jr3jbrYxnAA6

4. I removed the tv/dvd combo that was installed under the kitchen cabinet, and I am replacing it with a nicer tv/dvd combo that I will mount on the wall above the bed. I have 2 power options, dc via a cigarette lighter adapter, or a regular 100-240v wall plug. I assume I can just plug this in to one of the sockets (or maybe the new socket I can run from question #2).

Ok, I think this is all of my electrical issues all in one. Thank you all in advance for your sage advice!!

-Ginny
Ginny,

The converter changes 120 volt AC shore or generator power to 12 volt DC to run the trailer and charge the battery. When you say you think the battery has charged in the past, do you mean when plugged to shore power or while driving? Test your tow vehicle plug (trailer unplugged), with the engine running, to see if it is putting out power to the trailer plug.

If you have 12 (actually 14 volts) at the plug, engine running, plug in and go look for that voltage at the battery connections. You could have some draw that is greater than the current available from the tow vehicle plug, or the power is just not getting to the battery for some other reason. If the battery is good, why is it dead? Where is the unaccounted for draw?

If your lights are 110 volt. It means they are 110 volt input and not 12 from a converter. If you need to run them without shore power, you'll need an inverter that changes 12 volts DC to 110 volts AC.
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Old 11-29-2016, 10:55 AM   #12
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My 2 cents worth. I have puck lights from Costco. They are AAA battery powered, dimmable, and controlled remotely. Mine are powered by rechargeable AAA also available at Costco and elsewhere. Battery life is good and they can be recharged from shore power when necessary. just a thought to eliminate running wire etc
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Old 11-29-2016, 12:10 PM   #13
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I'll throw in my 2 worth as well.

1. Not surprising to me. I think very little trailer battery charging goes on from the tow vehicle. This is an unpopular opinion because people really, really, really want to recharge during towing. I suspect people think they are recharging are being fooled by what I think of as the surface charge of the battery, i.e. they see a high voltage (about 13.5vDC) after a trip but there really hasn't been the current flow to replace the amp hours consumed. Recharging needs both the voltage and the amps, not just the voltage. Another case of where those cheapo 12v plug in meters mislead people. Besides, an alternator is fine for maintaining a charge, but it's not a proper 3 stage charger.

FWIW, the converter has virtually nothing to do with if the battery is recharging from the tow vehicle.

2. Spark/pop is not normally a good thing and often precedes a blown fuse.

3. I suspect they're 12vDC pucks but read what's on the plug to be sure. It should say something like "Input: 120vAC, 1A, Output: 12vDC, 10A. (Sometimes AC is shown as "~" and DC as a dash with three dots over or under the dash). It might be on the distribution block but my first guess would be the plug.

4. I'd use the 12vDC plug for the TV/DVD, but that's a holdover from when I boondocked more. If you expect to always be plugged in, nothing wrong with the normal plug. Might depend more on which outlet is convenient.
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Old 11-29-2016, 12:29 PM   #14
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Name: Ginny
Trailer: '09 Scamp 13' w/ Bath
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OK,
Partial Update.
1. Headed to Auto Zone to get the battery. Will have more info on this later.

2. Found the main source of some of my power issues. The converter had become unplugged. I plugged back in and all is well.
This still may or may not explain the drained battery- I was under the assumption that driving or plugged into shore power would recharge the battery? I do have a little solar panel that should keep it topped off, but that doesnt seem to have been doing the job.

3. I am going to attempt to follow the florescent light wire back to its source and replace with a longer wire. If I am successful, I will run it into the kitchen cabinet to a plastic junction box, and put in a socket. Into this socket I will plug in the puck lights and the new tv. Then I can 'hide' it behind the little false wall they have in there already.

Further thoughts, insights, or suggestions?
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Old 11-29-2016, 12:33 PM   #15
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You should check the water level in the battery and charge it up and test it. Going to an auto parts store with a dead battery equals you coming home with a new one.
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Old 11-29-2016, 12:34 PM   #16
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Well, it is a very new battery, FROM autozone... so if they say there is something wrong with it, they WILL be replacing it for me.
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Old 11-29-2016, 01:59 PM   #17
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It is a dead battery and that is wrong. They may charge you to charge it.
Check to see if your converter is putting out 12VDC and if it is, connect your battery and charge it for a day.

Every test I know of says you must have a charged battery first. I know of no test that will determine if a dead battery is good.

Will it hold a charge?
Are there any week or dead cells?
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Old 11-29-2016, 03:37 PM   #18
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It is a dead battery and that is wrong. They may charge you to charge it.
Check to see if your converter is putting out 12VDC and if it is, connect your battery and charge it for a day.

Every test I know of says you must have a charged battery first. I know of no test that will determine if a dead battery is good.

Will it hold a charge?
Are there any week or dead cells?

I would go to an automobile battery store that do a "load dump". The ones I've gone to will make sure the battery is fully charge then put a heavy load (draw lots of power from the battery) on and measure the voltage again. This usually gives a pretty good indication of the condition of the battery. And every one I've gone to it's a free service.
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Old 11-29-2016, 03:37 PM   #19
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Name: Ginny
Trailer: '09 Scamp 13' w/ Bath
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Confirmed with AutoZone... battery is not taking a charge at any reasonable speed.

They are replacing with a new battery at no charge.

More updates to come!
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Old 11-29-2016, 03:41 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fieldphoto View Post
Ok,
I have a series of electrical issues and questions, that may or may not be related. I will post them all here together, but if we all agree that something is totally unrelated, I can split it off into a separate thread.

1. My battery does not seem to be charging when driving. I am 99% sure I have a converter, because I believe my battery has charged in the past. It is a new battery. I am having it tested at AutoZone as we speak, but either I have a battery charging issue, or some sort of unknown drain on the battery. I just drove over 20 hours the last few days, battery is still dead. Fridge was off.

2. I just removed the florecent light above the sink. It is my understanding that this only works on the 110v shore power. Does this mean that it IS 110v? or after it runs through the power converter is it actually 12v? I tried to put a volt meter on this to measure on ACV (camper plugged into shore power), but i only got a spark/pop and no measurement. What is really going on here?

3. This brings me to problem 3. I am going to run a few IKEA Dioder puck lights under the kitchen cabinet.
DIODER LED multi-use light - IKEA
My question is, how can I wire them? Can I convert the lights from the flourecent light above into a plug so that I can plug them in? or can I just hardwire it to these now exposed wires?
I would love to hardwire if possible, so that I can bypass the bulky plug, but I am open to putting in a socket as well. Check out more pics here (scroll to bottom) https://goo.gl/photos/1U5Y5jr3jbrYxnAA6

4. I removed the tv/dvd combo that was installed under the kitchen cabinet, and I am replacing it with a nicer tv/dvd combo that I will mount on the wall above the bed. I have 2 power options, dc via a cigarette lighter adapter, or a regular 100-240v wall plug. I assume I can just plug this in to one of the sockets (or maybe the new socket I can run from question #2).

Ok, I think this is all of my electrical issues all in one. Thank you all in advance for your sage advice!!

-Ginny
I strongly recommend that you go to somebody that understands electricity and the difference between 12 VDC and 120 VAC. Knows what a converter is and basicly what it does. Otherwise I fear you're headed for some big head aches and will end up going to somebody to fix everything that doesn't need fixing at the moment, but will if you continue down this path. This isn't meant to criticize, electricity is "magic" to most people.
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