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Old 12-31-2014, 03:47 AM   #1
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Finally decided to get a little comfortable

but to be honest, I am very new at this and not sure where to start.

I purchased a 1995 Dutchmen Classic tow RV that I think is in pretty good shape. AC works. Refrigerator works on electric, haven't tried LP yet. Previous owener removed the radio because the antenna was leaking so he just eliminated it. So I do have these wires, and not sure what to do with them?

I have some new LP tanks on the way. I have a 4 point anti-sway hitch system.

Some initial things I am hoping to get some advice with:

1. There is a "monitor" of some sort on the wall next to the stove. Not sure if it works or how it works?

2. There is a switch on the wall between the stove and sink. When switched, a red light tuns on, I breifly hear a sound near the bathroom then the light turns out?

3. How do I know if this has an "inverter"? No 12V automotive type outlets, only standard 110?

4. Toilet appears to have been used some time ago and not cleaned out. Hoping it was a 1 time use, but don't know for sure. What is the best way to clean out a probably dry black water tank in this state?

5. Need to replace the battery. Considering 2 - 6V? Opinions VS 1 or 2 12V?

I sure hope you all don't mind having a little patience with someone new at this. Ideas and opinions are very welcome!

Thank you- Greg
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Old 12-31-2014, 05:39 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by gtruchot1 View Post
but to be honest, I am very new at this and not sure where to start.

I purchased a 1995 Dutchmen Classic tow RV that I think is in pretty good shape. AC works. Refrigerator works on electric, haven't tried LP yet. Previous owener removed the radio because the antenna was leaking so he just eliminated it. So I do have these wires, and not sure what to do with them?

I have some new LP tanks on the way. I have a 4 point anti-sway hitch system.

Some initial things I am hoping to get some advice with:

1. There is a "monitor" of some sort on the wall next to the stove. Not sure if it works or how it works?

2. There is a switch on the wall between the stove and sink. When switched, a red light tuns on, I breifly hear a sound near the bathroom then the light turns out?

3. How do I know if this has an "inverter"? No 12V automotive type outlets, only standard 110?

4. Toilet appears to have been used some time ago and not cleaned out. Hoping it was a 1 time use, but don't know for sure. What is the best way to clean out a probably dry black water tank in this state?

5. Need to replace the battery. Considering 2 - 6V? Opinions VS 1 or 2 12V?

I sure hope you all don't mind having a little patience with someone new at this. Ideas and opinions are very welcome!

Thank you- Greg
Welcome, Greg. Here are my thoughts:
1. The monitor is probably a tank monitor. Wait until you start running water in/out of the fresh, gray, and black tanks, and then tell us what the monitor does.
2. That switch sounds like the fresh water pump. Pumps fresh water (by the way, you want to bleach and clean the tank) and brings up pressure on demand to the water outlets, i.e. sink, shower, and toilet.
3. If you are connected only to battery, and yet somehow have 110VAC available at the outlets, then you have an inverter. More probably, they won't work, which means you have a converter (to charge the battery from shore power) but not an inverter.
4. Again, get the thing working before you try cleaning it out. Get water flowing into the toilet, and a working drain out of the black tank, with no leaks. When you get that far, there are plenty of cleaning agents.
5. Keep it simple. For right now, and for your first season or two, use a regular 12V deep cycle battery. You can get fancy later, after you know everything works. Chances are, you'll find plenty of other places to spend you money on this rig over the next few months.
Have fun, and welcome!
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Old 12-31-2014, 08:21 AM   #3
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The switch near the stove/sink could also be for the hot water heater. I had a smaller Coachman that was like this and the red light would only stay lit up if the hot water heater fired up on gas. Without LP the water heater will not run and the sound you hear could be the ignitor. When there was LP in the system, the light would go out until air was purged from the lines and I would have to cycle the switch off then on again a few times before it fired up. Not saying it isn't the water pump, but just sharing - my water pump switch was on the monitor panel.
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Old 12-31-2014, 06:00 PM   #4
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Welcome! I concur with the other responses I've read so far, but I'll add my own opinion as well below.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gtruchot1 View Post
but to be honest, I am very new at this and not sure where to start.

I purchased a 1995 Dutchmen Classic tow RV that I think is in pretty good shape. AC works. Refrigerator works on electric, haven't tried LP yet. Previous owener removed the radio because the antenna was leaking so he just eliminated it. So I do have these wires, and not sure what to do with them? Install a 12V automotive style outlet with the orphaned 12V power wires since you indicate the RV doesn't have one. They are handy for charging phones or plugging in small inverters.

I have some new LP tanks on the way. I have a 4 point anti-sway hitch system.

Some initial things I am hoping to get some advice with:

1. There is a "monitor" of some sort on the wall next to the stove. Not sure if it works or how it works? Likely the tank and battery monitors. There should be some text saying "Fresh", "Gray", "Black", and "Battery". When you press the button corresponding to the text, then LEDs should light up indicating their status (i.e. full, 50%, empty). Also referred to as dummy lights, they are often not considered terribly accurate. Especially the gray and black tank ones because debris inside the tank will get stuck to the leads causing them to light and give a false status. The battery gauge will always indicate full charge if you are plugged in and the converter is charging, so don't trust it's reading when that is the case other than to confirm that it is charging. Only when the unit has been unplugged from shore power for a while will those battery readings be more realistic.

2. There is a switch on the wall between the stove and sink. When switched, a red light tuns on, I breifly hear a sound near the bathroom then the light turns out? What kind of sound? An electric motor sound like a pump?-then likely the on/off switch for the water pump power. A rapid clicking like an auto-ignitor?-then likely the on/off switch for a propane water heater with auto ignite. It could be a switch to turn on a propane water heater that has a manual pilot light as well, then I could see the light turning back off due to no burner flame detected. But I'm guessing the water pump, although I'm not aware of a setup that shuts itself off when no water is present and also shuts off the light. When your fresh tank has water in it, it is normal for the pump to turn itself off once the plumbing system has been pressurized; however, I don't think it is normal for the switch light to turn off as well.

3. How do I know if this has an "inverter"? No 12V automotive type outlets, only standard 110? It likely does not have an inverter unless the previous owner installed one and left it in there. They are not typically a standard feature except for motor homes. If there is one installed, there must be a way to turn it on. Either a remote switch on the wall or a direct switch on the inverter itself. Then one, some, or all of the standard 120V AC outlets would be live if the inverter was wired up with a transfer switch. If no transfer switch, then you would just plug 120V AC items directly into the outlets on the inverter. The converter that another poster mentioned is what supplies 12V power and charges the 12V battery when your unit is plugged into 120V AC shore power. That is usually a standard feature in any RV.

4. Toilet appears to have been used some time ago and not cleaned out. Hoping it was a 1 time use, but don't know for sure. What is the best way to clean out a probably dry black water tank in this state? Black tanks were meant to be pooped in, who cares how dirty it is in there! A 1 time use wouldn't result in any buildup with negative consequences, but a mountain of poop left in there to dry might. Clean the toilet in the same manner you would clean any toilet, but don't let debris that won't dissolve get into the black tank. Fill the black tank with water and a few bags of ice and drive it around, the ice will act like an abrasive and break up debris and scrub the tank. Then dump at an RV dump station and repeat if desired. Adding water softener to the black tank water is a common practice to help keep the tank clean. It makes it slippery so things don't cling to the walls and build up.

5. Need to replace the battery. Considering 2 - 6V? Opinions VS 1 or 2 12V? How are you going to use the RV? Frequent boondocking (no electric hookups except for a generator), then 2x6V are a good investment but 2x12V can accomplish the same thing. If you intend to primarily use campgrounds with electric hookups, then it is unnecessary to invest much in batteries and just go with the minimum 1x12V. Always get deep cycle batteries and not starter batteries.

I sure hope you all don't mind having a little patience with someone new at this. Ideas and opinions are very welcome!

Thank you- Greg
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Old 12-31-2014, 07:08 PM   #5
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Great inforative post!
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Old 12-31-2014, 09:20 PM   #6
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Thank you all for the information. It is very useful. I am going to keep digging in and trying to get things figured out. And hopefully you won't mind the occasional dumb question!

I wonder if I could find a way to post a photo of the old radio wires, would someone be able the help me decipher them? Obviously, some should be speaker and a power. How do you include a photo?

Thank you again and Happy "Safe" New Year!

Greg
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Old 12-31-2014, 09:53 PM   #7
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I use photobucket.com, it's free to signup, and once a pic is uploaded they give you a link to it, just copy it then paste it your post and the pic will show up.
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Old 01-01-2015, 04:28 AM   #8
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I use photobucket.com, it's free to signup, and once a pic is uploaded they give you a link to it, just copy it then paste it your post and the pic will show up.
I use Flickr.com, same deal. We use it to share photos with family all over. At the site, just find the share url for the photo, then, using the little photo link, you can provide the URL.

Alternatively, if you don't want to do all that, look for the attachment paper clip. There you can simply upload a photo from your hard drive to this website. I've used that not only for pictures, but for scans, too, like wiring diagrams. Happy New Year!
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Old 01-03-2015, 10:38 PM   #9
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Congrats on your purchase!
I see all your issues have been answered very well already so for now I'll just welcome you to the forum!
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Old 01-03-2015, 11:23 PM   #10
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I use Flickr.com, same deal. We use it to share photos with family all over. At the site, just find the share url for the photo, then, using the little photo link, you can provide the URL.

Alternatively, if you don't want to do all that, look for the attachment paper clip. There you can simply upload a photo from your hard drive to this website. I've used that not only for pictures, but for scans, too, like wiring diagrams. Happy New Year!
I started using flickr after webshots crapped out on me. I also use photo bucket, picassa and drop box. I figure I might as well cover all my bases.

With Flickr I go to "all sizes", click the size I want to share, then right click and copy the URL, then come to the forum and paste away using the IMG button.

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Old 01-04-2015, 09:18 PM   #11
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You are correct ewarnerusa, the monitor is the tank/battery monitor. It doesn't seem to have any buttons and doesn't regester anything. Tanks are empty (to my knowledge) and I don't think the battery is any good either, so likely nothing to register. But you would think it would register "empty"? If I need to replace the monitor, any suggestions as to brands, etc.? I cannot find any info so far.

In regards to outlets, 110V, 12V etc. I am assuming that if on battery only, the outlets will not function. Only lights, pump(?), ignighter for stove, etc.

I think I am on the right track?
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Old 01-04-2015, 09:36 PM   #12
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You are on the right track....also for the monitor....no battery = no readings.
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Old 01-05-2015, 04:04 PM   #13
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Hmmm, a monitor without buttons or LEDs doesn't tell you much does it! Without a picture, it is hard to offer advice on how to operate it. But like Nana & Poppy mentioned, without a battery it isn't going to do anything anyway. The image below shows the type that I have seen most often. The "Grey", "Black", etc. text are also buttons and a press and hold will light up the LEDs on the left corresponding to their status vs the scale.



You are correct in your question about what the battery operates. Basically 12V operates lights, pump, exhaust fans, and furnace. It's usually also necessary for the water heater and refrigerator to operate due to electric control boards and auto-ignitors, even when those items are on gas. Ignitor for the stove is usually a spark clicker thingy that doesn't require 12V battery.
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Old 01-05-2015, 04:35 PM   #14
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Here is an attempt to attach a photo. It worked! Sideways but it did work.
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Old 01-05-2015, 04:39 PM   #15
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TEST will light up the gages for the FRESH, HOLDING (BLACK), and GREY water tanks as well as battery level. PUMP will turn on you water pump. I am further assuming the other switch with red light is your water heater based on this.
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:47 PM   #16
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Have that same switch as yours in my 2003 Teton & no problems at all with it.
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:38 PM   #17
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Did you say your battery is dead? Some battery power is necessary for this device to work, you know, to light the led's.
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Old 01-06-2015, 12:17 AM   #18
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Pretty sure the battery is dead. I have had the trailer plugged into a home outlet. Would that still register nothing?
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Old 01-06-2015, 12:22 AM   #19
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Without a battery, everything is suspect. The shore connection, the converter, and how this is wired are all variables. You don't have to go out and buy a deep cycle battery right now, just hook up any good battery, from a car or even a little one from a lawn tractor, just to see what works, and what doesn't.
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Old 01-06-2015, 07:57 PM   #20
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If you're plugged into shore power and your converter is working, then the converter should be providing 12V to the TT to operate all of the 12V stuff. Although some converters require a working battery in the circuit to work properly, but I don't know enough about that stuff to make a statement. Like MartyG said, get some type of 12V battery power hooked up just to see what works. Use jumper cables to your vehicle's battery if necessary.
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