New battery not powering 12V interior lights

Discussion in 'Wiring' started by qswv, May 30, 2010.

  1. qswv

    qswv Member

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    Greetings!

    First post here; looks like there is alot of great info. My wife recently purchased a coleman taos camper. Unfortunately, we are already trouble shooting electrical. When we purchased it, the interior lights worked using the 12V battery that the original owner had in there. Shortly after our purchase and while the camper was in our driveway, we began to hear a beep emanating from the inside of the camper.

    The next time we opened the pup up, nothing worked. We then tested the 12V battery and it was dead. We bought a new battery (Interstate Deep cycle) but nothing is working (interior lights, furnace fan, LP warning system) until we hook it up to our house 110V. Then everything works fine (kill switch works also). New battery is testing fine and the 30A fuse on the pos side is not blown. Is there an internal fuse?

    Can anyone shed some light as to what happened b/t our purchase 1 month ago and now? Any ideas on what the beep was? I've read that the LP system beeps when it detects leaking propane, but I did not see that this device responds when the 12V battery is low..

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. cruising usa

    cruising usa New Member

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    Welcome to the portal. Congratulations on the NYU Taos
    The beeping sound you heard is the CO/ propane detector beeping due to a low battery. If it detected a leak it will sound very similar to a smoke alarm going off. Look for a fuse in the converter panel might be blown. Next step would be check the connections at the battery. Make sure they are clean and tight and installed correctly. Then check the negative wire to the frame and also the inline fuse to insure they are clean and tight. If these are all in good conditions inspect the wire from the battey back to the converter it may be chaffed and shorting or causing a hi Resistance short causing your battery to go down.
    Good Luck
    Happy Camping
     
  3. qswv

    qswv Member

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    Cruising USA,
    thanks for your quick reply.
    I'm toadli new, but the battery connections are clean and tight...thanks for the confirmation on the lp detector.

    I don't know where the converter box is. Is it the harness that connects the battery & emergen brake wires to the wires that fit into the TV? Inline fuse? not sure where to find this. Does it involve removing the kick panel underneath the tongue-side bed? I can def check for frays on all wires (esp. the ground, that is a good call) but I think this may be a fuse issue...

    thanks again for the help!
     
  4. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    What year Taos?

    The power center houses the 120v distribution (breakers) and the 12v converter (fuses) inside the PU. It is inside the PU. The cord that plugs into shore power (120v) terminates into the power center.
     
  5. qswv

    qswv Member

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    rabird,
    2001 Coleman taos...thanks for the tips. I located the power center and opened up the top panel, no fuses or breakers..just wire connections and joins, everything seemed OK; no obvious frays..should I be looking to open up the side of the box?

    I'm not sure I'll be able to inspect the wires that go from the battery to the converter...it seems that they run from bow to stern in the frame of the beast..

    thanks again for any assistance.
     
  6. themanfromvan

    themanfromvan Van, PA - Near The PA Wilds

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    You don't have a safety switch on the galley or a lift post that isn't being engaged for some reason? One time the handle of one of my hog dog sticks got under the back of the galley and that prevented the switch from being depressed. It took about 45 minutes to solve that mystery.

    Otherwise, I'd be checking fuses.
     
  7. qswv

    qswv Member

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    Thanks. The kill switch works and is unimpeded..I'm only aware of one fuse and that on the pos side of the wire off of the 12V battery. I assume there are more fuses in the power center that I should be looking for..?

    Thanks again for assistance.
     
  8. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    The front of the power center has 2 120v breakers and some 12v fuses.
    Page 48 of the 2001 Coleman Owner's manual has a poor picture.
    The front faces into the PU.

    Here's the interior 12v wiring diagram 2001 12v wiring. click on taos.

    Hooking the battery up backwards usually blows a fuse.
     
  9. themanfromvan

    themanfromvan Van, PA - Near The PA Wilds

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    Your converter, or power center, is probably under one of your dinette seats. Is there a brown cover there somewhere that measures about 6X12 inches? It may even have a little red light on it that shines when you're powered up. You should be able to gently pry that front cover off and there are automotive type fuses under there. Mine has a total of four circuits.

    If you need clarification, let me know. My PUP is set up in the back yard. I'm going to tear it down today, but I'll take some pictures of this converter and it's fuses before I do. If you need me to, I'll post the pictures here for you.

    I've only ever owned one brand of PUP. But, from hanging around this forum for 6 years, it sounds like most RV converters are all about the same. We'll see, I guess.......

    I see rabird posted while I was typing. See if that info helps, too. I'll still have photos, if you need 'em. :) :)
     
  10. themanfromvan

    themanfromvan Van, PA - Near The PA Wilds

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    I decided to take the pictures and post them. Who knows - it may help someone else out someday. Rain is coming our way and I need to get the PUP closed up. Here goes.....

    [​IMG]
    This is my converter. A Centurian. I think that's a pretty common one, from what I've seen. That apparatus underneath is the LP leak detector. THAT is what has the light on it that lights if you're powered up.

    [​IMG]
    Here's the converter with the cover popped and breakers/fuses exposed. They're all just automotive type plug in fuses of various amperages. You may have to use a knife or screwdriver to get this cover open.

    [​IMG]
    Here's a close up of the fuse panel. Note all the crud on that opening around the cooling fan. It never hurts to clean that off every time you're in there.

    [​IMG]
    Here's a close up of a pulled fuse. Be sure to get the same amp fuse as what was in there to start with. I've found WalMart is USELESS for getting fuses. Most of the time the amperages you want are only in assortment packs and you have to buy two or more to get enough fuses. Go to an auto parts store and get them.

    I sure hope this helps you out. Good luck !!
     
  11. qswv

    qswv Member

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    Thanks for posting the pictures and for your assistance. I located the power center--all fuses are intact and are providing adequate resistance, I reset the breakers per the instructions...but still no power from the new battery to the interior lights, propane detector, furnace.. The new battery reads 13.5V, so that is not the problem..

    I also tried to connect the female piece at the end of the positive wire to the pos terminal of the battery and used jumper cables to connect the neg terminal to the frame of the camper..still nothing..

    Is there a method to assess whether the wire terminals are working correctly using my radioshack battery tester? Any other suggestions?

    The wire diagram helps but the wires connecting the power converter and the battery are housed in the frame of the camper (and therefore inaccessible?)

    Thanks for any other suggestions, I'd really like to avoid bringing it into an overpriced RV place for diagnosis and repair..$110/hr. for labor..
     
  12. Full Circle

    Full Circle Greely, Ontario, Canada

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    Hi, and welcome to the portal. Hopefully we can get this solved for you, $110/hr? I wouldn't want to spend that either. When you checked your fuses, did you actually test them or just have a look? You should test both sides of the fuses with your multimeter. If you've already done that then ignore what i've suggested :) . When you tested your battery's voltage, were you still plugged into "shore power"? If yes, then unplug the trailer, wait an hour or so and test the battery again. You mentioned 13.5 volts. Someone will correct me if i'm wrong but i believe that's the voltage of a battery being charged, or with the charger recently removed. Let it sit for a bit to make sure its holding its charge.


    Just a few thoughts, hope they help.


    Ad
     
  13. bols2Dawall

    bols2Dawall S.W. Ontario

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    I'd be checking that galley switch again , if you have one . Once and a while mine won't connect properly ( everything dead) and i just lift up the galley & drop it back down & presto .
     
  14. Full Circle

    Full Circle Greely, Ontario, Canada

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    I was thinking that too, but i re-read the first post and it was mentioned that everythings works off 110v so the safety switch must be working. Unless something has changed.
     
  15. qswv

    qswv Member

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    Thanks again to all your posts.
    I tested both sides of the fuses with the multimeter = proper resistance on all of them (four 15A fuses). I've checked the kill switch a few times now because that one seems to be the most obvious problem...but the switch works properly with shore power...

    As for the battery, its a new Interstate and has been testing OK even after a night in the garage..

    So, just to re-cap:

    all fuses test OK
    breakers have been reset (off then on)
    kill switch works with shore power
    shore power turns on interior lights, furnace etc...
    new Interstate battery
    but when on 12V battery, no interior lights, furnace, propane detector, etc..

    can it really be poor wiring from the battery to the power converter? All of these wires are housed in the frame of the camper..I'm not sure I can troubleshoot that.

    One last thing might be the actual female receptors at the end of the -/+ wires...Could the - not be grounded? If this were the case, then I would think attaching the + terminal to the + end of the battery, then using jumper cables to attach the neg end of the battery to the frame of the camper would suffice, but it did not work... I'm not an ee, but I'm stumped..

    Thanks again for any help.. Can you tell if the terminals are working properly with a multimeter?
     
  16. Woodzeke

    Woodzeke New Member

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    Have you traced down the two wires from the battery to the converter? If so check the voltage across the two wires for 12 volts DC at the converter. If you do not have 12 volts, you may have a break in one of the wires or in the male/female connector. Then Make a jumper wire long enough to go from battery terminals and run into the camper to the converter with an alligator clip on each end. With your volt ohm meter set to ohms/ resistance maybe 200 scale, AND BOTH + and - WIRES DISCONNECTED FROM BATTERY, you are ready to test either wire for continuity. Connect one of the alligator clips to the positive battery wire at the battery end, then connect the other end to one of your test leads to your meter. With the other test lead, touch it to where the 12 volts comes into the converter. The meter should read 8 or 9 ohms, meaning there is no electrical break in the wire. Check the ground wire in the same manner. My first guess would be a bad in line connector, or an in line fuse/circuit breaker you haven't found or a bad ground. Just because the wire has a good mechanical connection to a ground stud, it may have corrosion at the frame an no electrical connection. My PUP has two wires that mount to the positive terminal of the battery. Both have an in line fuse short distance from the battery terminal. This is to keep positive wires from melting if the insulation chaffs on the frame and the bare wire comes in contact with chassis ground. I hope your pup has the same safeguard. Trying to make a ground with a jumper cable maybe difficult, as you must be sure to place the jumper to the frame in an area where there is no paint, or corrosion. You must have a clean area for an electrical connection, and a set of jumper cables may not be the ideal test cable to use. Use your ohm meter to check the Resistance between the ground battery terminal and chassis ground too. Hope this helps.
     
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  17. Dusty82

    Dusty82 Active Member

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    I may be no help at all, and this may be a stupid question, but don't some converters have a switch on them that you have to manually flip to run things off of 12V? Could that be the issue?
     
  18. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    I'm sure they went to auto switching by 2001.

    Checking for 12v input at the back of the converter (probing for voltage red wire 12v+ input, white ground) is a logical step to determine if 12v battery is making it to the converter. If you have power going into the converter then check power out, the blue is 12v+ out and the white is ground. The wires don't extend far from the back of the converter before making connections to other wires.
     
  19. ogeer3

    ogeer3 New Member

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    Is the in-line fuse, usually located in the + battery lead close to the battery in good shape?
    Is the new battery connected with the proper polarity, black is +, white is - and fuse in + lead?
    Check +12V at the back of the converter.
     
  20. Lori3778

    Lori3778 New Member

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    My guess is the in-line fuse ogeer3 mentioned above. We had a problem with our battery boiling and smelling like rotten eggs this past weekend. It is a brand new battery as well. While checking it out we discovered a blown in-line fuse to the battery. Without it and no shore power we had no 12-V power. It was a very easy fix. Still not sure why our battery is overcharging. I think it's the battery -- Deep cycle marine battery. I think my DH should have gotten a purely deep cycle one, but he won't listen to me. [V]
     

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