Battery pwr not working - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 06-09-2019, 07:49 PM   #1
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Battery pwr not working

We recently bought a 2004 Aerolite and are starting to make sure what's good to go and what's not. All the power runs fine off a gennie, but when we hooked it up to the battery we got nothing. Of course it was dead, so new battery- check. Nothing still worked. Tested the shortstop circuit and it seemed bad. New circuit- check. Now when rehooking the battery I get sparks. So I connected the positive first, but still get sparks from the negative terminal. I know the radio is on. I've turned it off but can't actually get it to stay off. I don't see anything else that's on, though. Any thoughts on why I might be getting sparks, other than the radio? Is there a master battery disconnect somewhere I'm not seeing that I could try to shut off first? Or will it help if I pull fuses or shut off inside breakers first? I can't find an actual manual for this beast, it's my first RV, and I'm essentially clueless as to *anything* RV, so any assistance is greatly appreciated!
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Old 06-09-2019, 10:15 PM   #2
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when you first hook up the battery, the inverter probably starts running BUT, that's probably NOT why the battery is draining so much. Purchase yourself a volt meter and start searching. There are plenty of things that are probably ON, TV, Radio, etc. Those vampire loads can make a battery low in no time. As far as a main disconnect, you may need to add one yourself. There are plenty of threads here about installing a disconnect or bypass.

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Old 06-09-2019, 10:35 PM   #3
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I hooked up the gennie again to see what was on and turned it all off. Everything visible, anyway. For tonight I pulled the fuses. I'll start hunting escaping electricity in the morning, I guess. The reality is that I'll probably be spending most of the day on youtube watching how to check various power connections with my multimeter...hehe I appreciate the info. At least now I'm not so freaked out about the sparks! Oh, and thanks for the welcome note too.
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:24 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by CharlesnCrystal View Post
I hooked up the gennie again to see what was on and turned it all off. Everything visible, anyway. For tonight I pulled the fuses. I'll start hunting escaping electricity in the morning, I guess. The reality is that I'll probably be spending most of the day on youtube watching how to check various power connections with my multimeter...hehe I appreciate the info. At least now I'm not so freaked out about the sparks! Oh, and thanks for the welcome note too.

Don't look for an inverter, you don't have one. Look instead for the converter. There is a difference and some people get confused between the two.
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Old 06-10-2019, 06:50 AM   #5
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I definitely would have been one of those people, thanks!
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Old 06-10-2019, 10:28 AM   #6
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Welcome to the forums!

I live in your neighborhood. If you don't make headway let me know.

There are a lot of parasitic loads in a TT. Fridge, LP/CO detectors, radios, etc. There should be two large fuses ~40 amp on the converter, those are to protect against reverse polarity from the battery. You may have something grounded out too.

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Old 06-10-2019, 02:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by CharlesnCrystal View Post

All the power runs fine off a gennie, but when we hooked it up to the battery we got nothing. Of course it was dead, so new battery- check. Nothing still worked. Tested the shortstop circuit and it seemed bad. New circuit- check. Now when rehooking the battery I get sparks. Is there a master battery disconnect somewhere I'm not seeing that I could try to shut off first? Or will it help if I pull fuses or shut off inside breakers first?
Assuming you run the gennie using the shore power cord and everything works, means the converter/charger is working.
I don't know what a shortstop circuit is, but small sparks when connecting to battery is normal meaning something is drawing or supplying power.
Most TT's have a propane detector that is always on. You will have great difficulty turning it off or disconnecting it. It will protest loudly if you try. So, many TT owners install battery disconnect switches to allow storing for long periods with out drawing battery down flat. The switch could be anywhere between the battery and the house fuse panel or other fuse container.
Some high end units have a factory supplied disconnect switch. It is often near the entry door. The factory switch will not disconnect the propane detector, but it will disconnect almost everything else. You probably do not have a factory installed disconnect and it would probably not be the cause, but it is worth looking for.
TT service panels generally use breakers for 115 volt AC and fuses for 12 volt circuits. Fuses could be the cause. My Kodiak Cub has two main fuses; a 30 amp main and a 40 amp reverse polarity fuse. A blown reverse polarity fuse could cause your problem.
My Kodiak Cub has a self resetting circuit breaker on the front "A" frame near the battery. It is a small can with heavy terminals on it. It might be 1" by 1" by 2". If defective it could cause your problem.
Not all TT's are wired the same so look for blown fuses or tripped breakers anywhere between the battery and the house circuits, especially the converter/charger.

Note: Since you probably have a constant current draw on the batteries, you may want to install a battery disconnect for storage. Alternatives are disconnecting a battery cable
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:16 PM   #8
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continued

or leaving the shore power always connected.
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Old 06-11-2019, 01:51 AM   #9
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What I called the shortstop circuit may be what you were describing that's about 1"x1"x2" and located near the battery on the frame. It was bad and was replaced. I cant tell yet if there's any draw other than the usual, small items you mentioned. It rained today every time I had free time to start checking, of course! For now I've got all breakers om, fuses in, and battery connected. I planned to leave it this way for another day or so and then check the battery to see if the charge has been significantly reduced. If so, I figure theres a problem. If not, I figure it's just those little items drawing power.

The suggestion of adding a master cutoff is a good one. An earlier user said there are some good how-to's on here, and i think I'll be checking those out to get one of those installed pretty quickly. Thanks for the help!!
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Old 06-11-2019, 01:55 AM   #10
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Thanks for the offer, that's awesome of you!

For now I'm not entirely sure, but it "may" just be those little items like radios and such, and they may not actually be drawing much power at all. I've got everything connected and am going to check the voltage on the battery tomorrow to make sure it's not being seriously reduced. I'll tell you, tho, having only ever dealt with cars, it seriously freaked me out to have a battery spark at me like that..hehe. I'm a total moron about electrical stuff, and I try not to play with any of it in order to avoid burning my house down or frying myself. Guess I'm going to get to learn everything inever wanted to know about it, after all!!
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