Battery and LP usage

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by Dede W, May 26, 2020.

  1. Dede W

    Dede W Member

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    Hi, my husband and I were just given a 1995 Palomino pop up camper and we are loving it! It's in great condition, but we are new to pop ups and how they work. We've taken it out camping with and without hook ups. When we used hook ups, we only used the electrical hook up. The vent fan and lights all worked, however the outlets did not. We have no idea how the converter works, and do not have the manual. I've searched YouTube and this forum but do really know what I'm looking at with the whole converter system.
    We are considering getting a battery and using LP gas, but again we have no idea how to go about learning how to use any of these things.
    We haven't even thought about the whole water system. We want to but are starting with the power... and trying to harness it!
    I appreciate any and all help.
     
  2. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Without being hooked up to shore power, your outlets and AC won't work.

    When hooked up to shore power, your outlets and AC should work. If they don't, first check the fuses. It may be as simple as a bad fuse. If that isn't the problem, then I'd recommend finding a friend, co-worker, or family member who is familiar with campers to help you go through and test for bad wires, etc.

    Dry camping (not having hookups) really opens up your world. Get a good deep cycle battery. People will have their own opinions about which type: wet cell, AGM. Read up on them and make the choice you feel comfortable.

    If you haven't used the propane, I recommend having the system tested for leaks. It will run around $75-$100, but you will be able to feel confident while using the heater, etc. Your heater will use propane for the heat, but battery power to run the fan, etc. It can run down a battery in less than one night. There are ways to work around that: use a generator and/or solar to recharge the battery daily; only use the heater to warm up the camper at bedtime and again when you first get up; or use a portable propane heater (like a Mr Heater). All have their pros and cons. When on shore power, use a small electric heater. I like ones with remotes so I can turn it on before I get up in the morning.

    Battery power can last a long time, depending on what you use. I use my flourescent overhead lights about one hour per day plus the water pump on all the time. I usually charge my phone, kindle and/or tablet once a day. I can run for 2 weeks without ever putting a ding in the battery. My fridge does not use any electrical power while on propane - most newer ones have a control panel that needs electric.

    Propane - I have my water heater on all the time, I use my stove at least twice a day, and my oven every couple days. I also have my fridge on propane. I do not use the heater. I get about 1 to 1-1/2 months on approx. 30 lbs.
     
  3. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Post a picture of the converter and someone will recognize it , but I suspect being a 1995 model it has a converter with manual switching for the power source. You may see a switch on it that has BATT. OFF. AC ( or MAIN) when on a serviced site select it AC or MAIN. Non serviced site select to BATT. ( for battery use) and as your packing up switch to OFF.

    Now if your lights worked while plugged on double check the breaker on the converter (breakers are for ac power like in the house) fuses are for the 12 volt dc battery power.
     
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  4. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    Welcome.png
     
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  5. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    Also check for a GFC outlet near the sink and reset it. I lost power to the outlets once and did not realize at the time that the GFC had tripped and all the other outlets did not work. resetting the GFC and they all came back to life!
     
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  6. Jimbow

    Jimbow Well-Known Member

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    There probably is a switch somewhere that lets the electrical system know your roof is open and let the electrons flow.

    You have two full electrical systems on board. Those receptacles (outlets) are 120V and will only work when you are plugged into shore power. Most other systems (lights, pumps) are 12V and will run off your battery. Best part of a pup is you can follow the wires everywhere. They meet and mingle in the converter for a brief moment.
     
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  7. Dede W

    Dede W Member

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    IMG_6683.jpg
     
  8. Dede W

    Dede W Member

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    Here's is the converter... I know there are fuses to be checked, but I'm not sure how to access them, or check them. I'm a complete newly to all of this and appreciate everyone's help. I've searched YouTube, and the web, as I don't have the owner's manual. I don't know anyone with a camper, so have no one I can turn to for help... this site is the best thing I've found, and I am glad to have found all of you experienced, helpful people!
     
  9. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Two circuit breakers are on the left, they are push to rest, pull to open type. Give each one a good tug, then push back "in" you should hear a click.

    Fuse is on the right above the switch. This is fore the 12 volt dc/ battery.

    The switch is what I mentioned before.. "conv."= to use shore power , "batt"= to use battery power and off = off.
     
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  10. Dede W

    Dede W Member

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    I cannot for the life of me remove the fuse. How on earth do I do it? I don't want to break it and have tried every gentle/yet firm way to get this to open, pop out, etc.
     
  11. Dede W

    Dede W Member

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    In further reading, I've found that this converter is obsolete. I wonder if it's ever worth buying a battery and trying to use it with this converter. Perhaps dry camping is going to be the way to go. Of course with hooks ups, we can use the light's and will have electricity for powered items... phone charging, water kettle, electric skillet, etc... Any thoughts?
     
  12. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    How you camp is entirely up to you. It is odd though you cannot use your outlets when camping with hookups. Now your outlets are not supposed to work on battery power. So if you dry camp(camp without hookups) your battery is only going to operate your lights, furnace (if you have), water pump (if 12v). My old Jayco had an ancient converter older than yours and didn’t even have the option to have a battery. Then again I only needed power for lights so didn’t bother buying a battery for the camper and just used battery powered lanterns and other tent lights. If I camped without hookups. So if all you have are lights personally I wouldn’t bother, but if I’m camping with full hookups I would want to use my outlets.
     
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  13. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    here is what the fuse looks like once removed
    2544724200100444047yQtqVL_ph_zpsaf867bba.JPG
    push in on the bottom and then up and it should come out, spring out, (if I recall correctly), if the lights work then the fuse works!

    Don't loose the front black piece that holds the fuse!
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
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  14. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    So the electric center consists of 3 things,

    1. AC breakers/distribution. the 20A breaker is for a hidden air conditioner outlet, mine was under bench, trace the wires out the back to find it, you can use it for the air cond or anything else like an electric heater. A 15A breaker that powers the internal converter and household outlets.

    2. DC distribution fuse, the blue wires out the back go to the safety switch and then the lights furnace water pump (anything 12v).

    3 the internal converter. This makes 12v to go to the fuse and then the lights ...

    One last thing is the battery input, the switch isolates the battery from the converter, without utility power switch to batt and then the battery would power the 12v items (not the household outlets).

    This type of electric center does not charge a battery, newer ones do, get this one working you may not need something new. a stand alone battery charger works if you get a battery.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
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  15. Debrab

    Debrab New Member

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    I feel your pain..bought new 2019 Flagstaff SE pup..and still trying to figure out the power issue..went camping this weekend. Smelled something..the battery was boiled fried..disconnected..but not sure what to do now..why did it boil over?
    Had to manually crank down., battery dead..I'm worried converter is bad
     
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  16. Dede W

    Dede W Member

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    I sure hope the reset button works! Wouldn't that be an easy fix? Thanks for your input, I can use all the help I can get.
     
  17. neighbormike

    neighbormike Well-Known Member

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    If your lights work, the converter is working and the fuse is good... as already mentioned above, try resetting the circuit breaker(s) and checking for a gfci outlet with reset button.
     
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  18. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Well-Known Member

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    Once you get a little camping under your belt. Would suggest that you might want to upgrade the converter to a newer model that will charge your battery (as noted, greatly expands camping freedom and options). The simplest ones with the lowest power output will run you just over $100, but will be modern with three stage battery charging and so on. Will also give you the option for additional 12V circuits for charging phones.... No rush, see what your needs and wants are first and go from there.
     
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  19. Dede W

    Dede W Member

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    Thanks, I appreciate your help. For someone with NO electrical experience, how easy or difficult is it to install a new converter? Is it something we would have to hire out, or is it pretty straight-forward?
     
  20. Dede W

    Dede W Member

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    Oh my gosh, that's so good to know! Truly... that's just what we were wondering. Happy Camping and thanks for your help!
     

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