Electric lift not responding

Mark Stovall

Member
Jun 16, 2021
14
My electric lift isn't responding at all. I pulled the camper out of an embarrassingly long storage (almost a year) and wanted to set it up and check it out before taking it out this weekend. The electric roof lift doesn't do anything. No grinding, no whining, nothing that sounds (or looks) like it's even trying to move the lift.
I figured the battery was dead, although I tried it with Shore Power plugged in as well. Put the battery charger on overnight (Shore Power unplugged), no change. Although now I'm seeing that the battery charger reads the battery at full capacity before I throw the switch on the lift, then it immediately goes to "low" and charges it back up again. Perhaps the battery is shot. But the lift should work from Shore Power, right?
Does anyone have any ideas? I have not had time to do any troubleshooting other than what's described above. I hope to open the cover on the lift motor this afternoon but I have so much to do before the trip, I can't afford 8 hrs of work. Of course, if I can't get the roof up, there won't BE a trip to prep for.
I'm hoping it's just something stupid that I forgot to do.
It's a '13 Rockwood.
It doesn't appear to have a manual crank attachment. I posted here a while back with some photos and some folks said that it HAD a manual crank attachment but seems to be broken off.
Right now I'm just trying to make it through my family's camping trip. At least it didn't fail at the campsite, right?
 

Grandpa Don

Super Active Member
Sep 5, 2018
1,886
Southern California
The lift will not work on Shore Power. It is a DC motor that needs to be connected directly to the battery. The controller in the camper doesn't not put out enough power to raise the roof. There are possibly two things causing this problem. The most obvious is a faulty battery. The other thing could be a corroded connection between the lift motor and the battery. (e.g., bad ground, corroded fuse, dirty battery terminals.) You have some work to do. But it should be easy to figure out. Keep us informed. We like that.
 

BikeNFish

Super Active Member
Apr 24, 2017
4,473
Maplewood, MN
Like @Grandpa Don said, it's most likely the battery.

If it is the original battery, it is time to change it anyway. If it is not the original battery, lack of maintenance in the year you let it sit probably killed it.

My 2014 Flagstaff had the same issue last year and the issue was caused by a dying battery. When I replaced the battery, I took the opportunity to upgrade from a group 24 to a group 27 battery and battery box.
 

rth3775

Member
Apr 26, 2020
33
Rochester, NY
Yup, as others have said the first thing is to try is a new battery. On my Rockwood, the electric lift winch has a direct connection to the battery, separate from the rest of the camper... Mine also has a fuse in-line on the hot lead that could also be the culprit!

Also, the manual crank on mine is behind a little "cover" as shown in the photo: 20200415_131617.jpg
 

Mark Stovall

Member
Jun 16, 2021
14
Well, I removed everything from the system except for the motor and the wires coming straight out of it (i.e., removed the switches, terminals, etc.), and manually touched it to the battery terminals in my truck. Still no motion from the motor. I'm declaring it dead. The batt on the camper may be dead too, but it's not the cause of this problem.
After fully disassembling everything, I can confirm, no manual crank attachment. It looks like it was sheared off at one point.
I went and got a hand winch and rigged it in. it's not the best solution, but it raised the roof (eventually). I may upgrade later, but for now I can at least open the camper up.
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
If you own a camper you really need to own and learn how to use a multimeter. I say this to be helpful, not condescending. So many questions could be answer with about 2 minutes of meter usage: What is the battery voltage? Are you getting power to the lift switch? Are you getting power to the lift motor? etc.

I get a little frustrated when I see people throw out a very general problem like this, and others jump in with definitive solutions (like "replace the battery") when we don't have nearly enough info to get to that solution yet.
 

Grandpa Don

Super Active Member
Sep 5, 2018
1,886
Southern California
When I first got my Viking with the electric winch, I tried to raise the top with the little green height cable hooked around the bunk slide. I just didn't notice it right away. My bad! It put such a strain on the motor that it quit working. I checked everything I could think of to fix the problem. In the end, I found a hidden 60 amp inline fuse in the wiring harness very near the motor. It was hidden in some factory installed tape. It didn't look like there was a fuse in there, but there was. So my suggestion is, that if you are going to test the motor by applying 12 volts directly to it, use the terminals on the motor. Not the wires attached to it. I replaced the fuse with an automotive type fuse and then ordered these two off Amazon. But I have never needed them.

One other thing. Give the motor a slight but firm tap with a hammer. Sometime corrosion make the brushes lose contact and a good wack will free them up.

inline fuse.jpg
 

Mark Stovall

Member
Jun 16, 2021
14
If you own a camper you really need to own and learn how to use a multimeter. I say this to be helpful, not condescending. So many questions could be answer with about 2 minutes of meter usage: What is the battery voltage? Are you getting power to the lift switch? Are you getting power to the lift motor? etc.

I get a little frustrated when I see people throw out a very general problem like this, and others jump in with definitive solutions (like "replace the battery") when we don't have nearly enough info to get to that solution yet.
I do own and understand a multimeter. I guess I got a little lazy on troubleshooting, but I knew I had voltage at the battery.
 

Mark Stovall

Member
Jun 16, 2021
14
When I first got my Viking with the electric winch, I tried to raise the top with the little green height cable hooked around the bunk slide. I just didn't notice it right away. My bad! It put such a strain on the motor that it quit working. I checked everything I could think of to fix the problem. In the end, I found a hidden 60 amp inline fuse in the wiring harness very near the motor. It was hidden in some factory installed tape. It didn't look like there was a fuse in there, but there was. So my suggestion is, that if you are going to test the motor by applying 12 volts directly to it, use the terminals on the motor. Not the wires attached to it. I replaced the fuse with an automotive type fuse and then ordered these two off Amazon. But I have never needed them.

One other thing. Give the motor a slight but firm tap with a hammer. Sometime corrosion make the brushes lose contact and a good wack will free them up.

View attachment 88531
The wires are hard-lined in to the motor. No terminals on the motor itself. I could have taken the motor apart, I suppose, but I just gave up on it. Maybe I'll get it rebuilt, but with no manual crank option, I think I won't.
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
I do own and understand a multimeter. I guess I got a little lazy on troubleshooting, but I knew I had voltage at the battery.

Heh no worries.

I think it would still be informative to measure voltage at the battery, and again at the motor (or as close to the motor as you can get, since you said the wires go directly inside) while attempting to lift.
 

Mark Stovall

Member
Jun 16, 2021
14
Heh no worries.

I think it would still be informative to measure voltage at the battery, and again at the motor (or as close to the motor as you can get, since you said the wires go directly inside) while attempting to lift.
It wouldn't work when I touched the wires directly to a known good battery, with no load on the motor.
It's toast.
 

Mark Stovall

Member
Jun 16, 2021
14
16658850824457445496229137519810.jpg
No hidden fuse. That's not the entire harness, but I disassembled it already, and I'm not motivated to recreate it.
 




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