Not enough power for electric lift

Discussion in 'Lift Systems' started by Dont slow down, Aug 13, 2018.

  1. Dont slow down

    Dont slow down New Member

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    Hello! My wife and I recently purchased a 2015 Columbia Northwest / Somerset pop up and it has a electric roof lift system. I grew up camping in pop ups since I was a kid and they all had manual cranks. The people we bought the trailer from told us the lift never worked on its own on battery power and they always used shore power to lift it. I confirmed this and It won’t raise, the motor just clicks but never turns. The trailer is equipped with a marine deep cycle battery and my initial thought was that the battery was just low. Well after charging it it still doesnt have enough juice. My second thought was to get a battery with more cold cranking amps, but most batteries that are higher rated aren’t deep cycle. I read about doing a 6v battery setup but from my understanding that would give me longevity but not initial amp strength. I also thought about adding a second battery in parallel, but I’m not sure that would give me enough amps either. Can anyone offer any insight? Are there any places I should check in the mechanical lift system for resistance, ie greasing areas? Thank you!
     
  2. NMroamer

    NMroamer Active Member

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    How old is your battery? If it is over 3 yrs old I would seriously think about replacing it.
    Batteries unlimited is one place to look for a replacement.
     
  3. Dont slow down

    Dont slow down New Member

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    I'm assuming it's the original battery, so it might be around 3 years old. But replace a 3 year old deep cycle battery?? Even so the original owners said the roof never raised on the battery from day 1. If I do replace it should I get another deep cycle? Or a regular battery with more cold cranking amps?
     
  4. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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    Deep Cycle. Cold Cranking Amps aren't really beneficial to a camper.

    The problem is either:
    • The battery is shot, and not providing enough volts when a significant draw is drawn
    • The motor has a problem
     
  5. Dont slow down

    Dont slow down New Member

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    The motor works fine when I'm plugged in to power, and it even lowers the roof on its own when only on the battery. I think it's just a amperage issue.
     
  6. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    I wonder why they would buy a brand new camper with a lift that didn't work with the battery? I know this is not the question, and I'm no help with that. Just curious about the situation. [?]
     
    WVhillbilly likes this.
  7. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    Before I would throw money at a battery. I would check all the connections making sure they were clean and tight and check the amp draw of the motor.
     
    neighbormike likes this.
  8. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

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    I have jumped my batteries with my truck a couple of times when my roof lift batteries have run down some... Extra juice helps sometime...

    Your setup sounds like it may be miswired or a fuse or DC circuit breaker tripped or some. Maybe the REVERSE POLARITY fuses are blown... Both the battery connection and the DC Power from your 120VAc Power Converter should feed the Trailer 12VDC Distribution Panel at the same point.

    Roy Ken
    [​IMG]
     
  9. mstrbill

    mstrbill Active Member

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    Test the battery, you don't know how the original took care of it. They could have never disconnected and let it discharge too many times damaging the battery. How do the other 12V items work on the battery?
     
  10. Dont slow down

    Dont slow down New Member

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    I wondered that too, they said they took it back to have other things fixed after delivery. Makes me think the dealer was trying to pull a fast one or something.
     
    Orchid likes this.
  11. Dont slow down

    Dont slow down New Member

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    We are taking the trailer out this weekend so I will test some other 12v items while we are out. So far in the driveway the lights work great, it runs my fans, and we'll other than the fridge that's all I have. My voltage reads 13.8v with no load on it, I've had it on the charger the last few days. I'll see what I can get from the lift on a full charge. Another thing that I found odd is they said the battery never charged when hooked up to shore power. They said it doesn't have an inverter. However I believe it does. I'm wondering if something is wired incorrectly
     
  12. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    The power winch on my pup barely has enough power to lift the roof unless I have the trailer level and have not deployed the stabilizers. If the pup is level and the stabilizers are up, it lifts just fine.

    She's a fickle girl.
     
  13. emoney

    emoney Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like something isn’t wired correctly. One quick way to find out if it’s a battery issue is try a different battery, say from the Tv and see if the lift works. If, by chance, it does why not replace the battery with one of those two way marine batteries.
     
  14. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    Just because the voltage is 13.8 does not mean the battery is good. If the battery is the original, take it and have it tested. I see this all the time, voltage is up and amp capacity is way down. Where are you getting the volt reading from?
    They were correct in saying the pup does not have an inverter.
    The pup has a converter and it will charge when hooked to shore power.
     
  15. McFlyfi

    McFlyfi Active Member

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    My '10 Niagara did the same thing. For sure check the battery polarity.
    I bypassed the original wiring, running a 10 g landscape wire directly from the power distribution panel to the current limiter. Problem solved.
    The original 12g wiring exited the back panel and was scotchlocked to a 14g pigtail. Not enough current through undersized wring and dubious connections caused my problem.
    20 bucks in wire and a half hour in labor later, and my lift works just fine.
     
  16. gardenbliss

    gardenbliss Well-Known Member

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    I am also curious why they never addressed this with the dealer since it is a fairly new camper. What model is it? I have a Columbia Northwest/Somerset Santa Fe (10 ft), and the battery lifts the roof just fine. I wonder if they tried to bypass the motor at any point in order to hand crank the lift and forgot to reconnect the wires underneath the winch? I'd call CNW and ask them, though I hear they are not very helpful, or else bring it to the dealership where it was first purchased if it is close.
     
  17. Dont slow down

    Dont slow down New Member

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    It's a Mesa I believe. I live in NC and bought it from a couple in PA, so the dealer isn't an option for me. I work as an electronics technician so I'm familiar with wiring. It sounds like I need to do some more testing and digging into it. Actually MCFlyfi has a good point, if the wiring is too small that would explain why it never worked from the beginning. I'll have to get into the "converter" (you are right joet, inverter is DC to ac, converter is ac to DC) and see if I can find a wiring diagram and trace out some of these wires. I'll also take the battery into autozone and see if they can test it for me.
     
  18. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you have a plan of action. (I'd have the battery tested first, since it's the easiest thing to do)
     
  19. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    Actually MCFlyfi has a good point, if the wiring is too small that would explain why it never worked from the beginning.
    The converter wasn't designed to power the lift motor. So wire size from the converter to the battery is not the issue
    Put an amp meter on the motor
     
  20. Dont slow down

    Dont slow down New Member

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    I dont think the motor is wired directly to the battery, I only have two wires on the battery, a positive and a negative. That motor is tied in somewhere else along the line
     

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