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Old 11-20-2017, 08:05 PM   #1
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Potential Electrical Issue?

Ok, I know thereís a dedicated Electrical forum, but since my electrical knowledge & skills pale in comparison to my mechanical ones... and Iím not quite sure if our Voltage rigs have the same/more/or less components as smaller/simpler rigs... I figured Iíd post it here.

Anyway, Iím wondering if I may have a potential electrical issue creeping up on the horizon. This all happens when Iím connected to shore power, as I very rarely boondock.

A few weeks ago, I began noticing that it seemed that either my converter or inverter (do I even have both?) began cycling on more often than it had over the past. Iíd be sitting here in the rig watching TV or reading a book... and Iíd hear the thing under the bedroom stairs start up & run for a bit. (20-to-30 seconds, or so) While Iíd heard it occasionally in the past, I very rarely ever heard it more than once a day... and even less so after I changed all of my light bulbs to LED.

As I said, I began to notice the hum from the unit during the day a few weeks ago, but didnít really give it much thought. Then, at my last site, I begin to notice it more often. Iím currently on South Padre Island for the winter, and plugged in to good shore power here at the KOA... been here about 2 weeks now... and, as Iíve been inside most of the day due to some rain, Iíve already heard it cycling on & off 5 or 6 times now within a 3 hour period. It only runs about 15-20 seconds, and thereís usually a good 15-20 min break between runs... but itís got me wondering whatís going on.

On the positive side, Iíve not noticed any ill effects with my electrical appliances. All 110v & 12v components are working as advertised... so maybe Iím just being paranoid.

Any thoughts?
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Old 11-20-2017, 08:40 PM   #2
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More than likely you have a converter and not an inverter. The inverter uses 12 vdc and inverts it to 110 vac. Conversely the converter does the reverse.

With the fan cycling that tells you two things. The converter is working at producing 12 volts and charging the battery(s). With this work heat is created so the fan is doing its cooling process for the components.

Do a mental inventory to see what 12 volt systems/appliances are on more than normal. Maybe you are using more LEDs than normal.

Check the battery(s) for cleanliness and fluid level.

The 110 vac appliances don't apply (except for the converter) so those aren't a concern.

With that being said the OEM converter (Aaron will surely chime in on the OEM converter), may be working harder to do its job because you've gotten your money's worth out of it. Might be time to get one of the better ones in case it goes south on you. Or, the battery(s) might be getting tired too.

Given the fact that you live in your RV these guys get more use than normal.
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Old 11-21-2017, 01:18 AM   #3
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Tom,
I would also agree totally, but I would say the battery is the most likely culprit. Keep us posted on the outcome please. Watching this one closely.
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Old 11-21-2017, 02:50 AM   #4
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Tom, our Voltage does not have an inverter it's a converter as mentioned above to convert 120 v to 12 v . AC to DC. It keeps your battery charged when on shore power and runs most of the systems on the unit like the lights and landing gear but does not operate the 120v systems.

I agree I would look real close at the battery and see if it is failing and the converter is trying to keep it in a charged state.

There is always the outside possibility the converter is dying but not likely.. Everyone I have seen with a bad converter it just dies, No symptoms just dead.

Now if u have a surge protector when it starts this noise maybe a quick trip to the power pole and see if the amp draw is increased on the surge protector. That might give u some insight it is drawing a larger load than normal.
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Old 11-21-2017, 10:02 AM   #5
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Batteries would be the first thing I would check on. Are they the originals and what type are they? I have seen two failure modes on the WFCO converters, one they just crap out and you got nothing. The other is they start overcharging and boiling the batteries dry. If you batteries are getting old the converter will work overtime to keep the charge up on them. If you have true deep cycle batteries, like the Trojans, and have maintained them well 5+ years isn't out of the question. If you have the OEM Interstate type dual purpose batteries 3-5 years is the life expectancy.

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Old 11-21-2017, 03:22 PM   #6
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Thanks for all of the feedback...

Part of my limited knowledge is the difference between a converter & inverter... and while I knew I had the former, wasn't sure if the rig also included the latter. Especially considering how these rigs are sorta meant to be used in remote locations... or that it might include an inverter for using on long periods of generator use. Anyway...

Checked the battery compartment this morning, but saw nothing unusual there... as, since I keep my small air compressor in that compartment, I usually take a peak every few weeks when I have to adjust tire pressures. The terminals were all clean with no corrosion present.

The battery itself is about 2 Ĺ years old... bought & installed in July 2015. It is from VMAX Solar, and is a 12 Volt 125Ah Group 31 AGM Deep Cycle Heavy Duty Battery (no, I have don't have any solar panels). As you can see in the photo, it's a completely sealed, no maintenance type... with no fluid to check.

Again, I'm probably just being paranoid... or maybe it's just my imagination that the fan seems to be cycling more often. I like the surge protector check idea, just not sure I can get outside to check it in time when it next occurs. We'll see...

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Old 11-21-2017, 03:59 PM   #7
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I'm in agreement with the others, it's more than likely your battery. You should pull it out and bring it to an auto parts store (Auto Zone / O'Reilly's/ Advance Auto / Sears / NTB) where they can perform a load test on the battery. This will either rule it out or confirm it is the cause of your symptoms.
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Old 11-25-2017, 09:54 AM   #8
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The factory supplied converter is pretty low tech (being nice). Unfortunately, your upgraded battery may not be getting the love (proper charging) from your converter.

Because you spend extended time in your rig I would recommend budgeting for a new better converter at some point. Over time you will recoup some of the cost in extended battery life.
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Old 11-26-2017, 09:14 PM   #9
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Looks like a decent battery, I would bet that the converter is thinking about retiring. A bit surprised you only have the single battery. I prefer the dual battery setup for the extra power, but then again I do boondock/dry camp a fair bit.

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