Sqealing and beeping...not music to the ears!

Discussion in 'Wiring' started by gketchup, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. gketchup

    gketchup Member

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    We just back from a 5 day camping trip where we went without lights. Our converter box was squealing and beeping and the only way to get it to stop was to turn off the 15 amp breaker. Can anyone help us? We don't have any clue what to do to fix this. We did check all of the fuses and they seem to be fine.
     
  2. Wrenchgear

    Wrenchgear Near Elmira, Southern Ontario

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    If you plug it in at home, is the noise still there? Maybe there was crappy power service at the campsite and the converter was struggling to perform properly. Sometimes transformers will buzz or hum when they are doing their job, but if yours is squealing that loudly, maybe it's on it's way out. Might be time to be looking for a new converter.

    Whats interesting is the fact that when you turn off the 15 amp breaker it stopped, but you also said that you had no lights. The 15 amp breaker has nothing to do with the lights. They are on the 12v side and would be protected by the automotive style fuses and not the breakers.

    Do you have anymore info for us?
     
  3. gketchup

    gketchup Member

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    It was doing it at home also. DH thought it was a home power issue and didn't fix it. When the 15 amp was off we couldn't use the lights or water pump, but the AC worked. It started out as a beeping, about 10 seconds, every 2 minutes. After messing with fuses and as the week went on it turned into squealing. We turned it back on for short amounts of time to use lights when absolutely necessary. Neither of us really understand the ins and outs of the electrical side of the camper, so we are going blind here. Sorry! Wish I had better info!
     
  4. speckhunter80

    speckhunter80 Well-Known Member

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    You sure it is coming from the converter and not your O2 or LP detectors
     
  5. gketchup

    gketchup Member

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    Not those. Checked those first. :/
     
  6. raspivey

    raspivey New Member

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    Might also be fan bearings failing. They can sometimes sound like a chirping at first.
     
  7. gketchup

    gketchup Member

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    Is there a way to check those? Like I said, we don't know anything!
     
  8. raspivey

    raspivey New Member

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    Unfortunately, not that I'm aware of (aside from sticking an ear to it to try to see if that's exactly where it's coming from ). Someone else might chime in with a trick that I don't know. That may not even be what it is...just a wild guess. The reason I suggested it was that my fan doesn't come on until the unit gets warm, then cycles a little bit here and there depending on temperature. That would account for the delay and increasing frequency you were seeing. Without a speaker on it (and it might have one), the converter noise almost has to be coming from something mechanical...choices are limited pretty much to the cooling fan. If you have more than one breaker, turn them off except for the main 15A. At that point there shouldn't be any load on the unit except for CO detectors and the charging circuit and the fan. If it's still there, it's been isolated to one of those things. I'm willing to bet that when you kill the main 15A, the entire unit is completely off...hence the noise stopping. See if that fan stops blowing immediately when you turn that 15A off.
     
  9. gketchup

    gketchup Member

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    DH pulled the converter out tonight a little bit, just to see if he noticed anything unusual and now nothing works. We've tried every connection to see if anything was loose and everything looked fine. [:!]
     
  10. raspivey

    raspivey New Member

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    That sucks.... It may be coincidence that everything stopped working when it was moved, but it sounds almost like a bad connection somewhere. And, since you've checked the connections on the converter, try to trace the main wires, specifically the ground wire, and see if it's come loose or is corroded between the converter and the frame or battery. Other than that, I don't know what to tell you from there. Good luck and hope it's something simple.
     
  11. gketchup

    gketchup Member

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    DH called the local camper dealer about getting a new converter box. They gave him a quote of $600!! Does that sound right? I'm shocked!
     
  12. raspivey

    raspivey New Member

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    I don't want to give you bad advice as my experience with converters is somewhat limited. I can tell you that I'm finding 30A converter / chargers for around $200 online. Now, these don't appear to have any breakers or fuses other than mains so I'm assuming they just wire into your existing fuse / breaker panel. If that's the case, should be pretty much plug and play other than mounting it. I'm not sure what you'd do if your unit's breakers and fuses are combined with your converter (as I thought they all were....again, I've never had to replace one). If you've decided to replace it, I'd disconnect everything and pull it out to see how everything's connected and go from there. I can also tell you that, based on my experience, I wouldn't let an RV dealership touch anything electrical. The one's I've dealt with could barely hitch a trailer properly.
     
  13. gketchup

    gketchup Member

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    I soooo appreciate your advice! Would you mind sending me a link to what you found? It may be a starting point for us! Thank you sooo much!!
     
  14. DaveWo

    DaveWo Member

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    It seems strange that your a/c still ran when the 15 amp breaker was tripped. That doesn't sound right to me. Hmm... [RTM]
     
  15. teejaywhy

    teejaywhy Active Member

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    If AC = Air conditioning... Normal because that is typically on its own 20A breaker.
    If AC = Alternating Current, meaning the 120VAC household type outlets were working, that is odd as they usually are on the 15A breaker.

    What makes noise by design: (beeping)
    - Propane detector - when 12V supply is low
    - Converter - some make sound when an overload or low voltage condition is detected.

    What could make noise if there is a problem (squealing)
    - Fan in the converter going bad.

    How to check if the fan is squealing - put your finger in it and stop it from turning and see if the sound goes away. [}:)] OK not really. [RTM] You could switch off the 15A breaker, stick a pencil in the fan to keep it from turning, then turn on the breaker - if everything is silent, remove the pencil and when the fan starts turning, see if it squeals.
     
  16. raspivey

    raspivey New Member

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    How many breakers and fuses are on the converter in the trailer and what are they to, if you can tell? I'll PM you a link to a few converters to look at. I would actually have someone test everything to see if it's actually the converter before buying a new one, though.
     
  17. SUPERKSR

    SUPERKSR Member

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    This is true, however, on my converter, the DC side of the converter is powered "downstream" of the AC output of the 15 amp AC breaker. Therefore, tripping the 15 amp breaker will cut the power to the DC components and the overload alarm that was sounding.

    Keep looking for a better price on a replacement. I saw a range of $85 - $340 when I replaced mine earlier this season. I got an Elixer ELX-30 (a direct replacement for my ELX-25) for $87 plus shipping. Mine came from Class A Customs in Northern Indiana - Big surprise! [;)]
     
  18. gketchup

    gketchup Member

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    AC does mean air conditioning.

    We have 2 breakers (15 and 20). We have 4 fuses (3 are 15 and one 30).

    I'd love to see if it is the fan, because that is what I'm leaning towards based on the info you've given me about the sounds, but we have zero power now. Nothing is working.

    I have noticed that when we are trying to lift the camper (runs off of the battery) we are only able to get it to go half way and then we have to wait. We wait a few minutes and it will finish. Maybe our battery is bad and that has contributed to our bigger problems?
     
  19. SUPERKSR

    SUPERKSR Member

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    In this case I meant AC - Alternating Current, not A/C - Air Conditioning.
    Your 20amp breaker should run only to the receptical the A/C (Air Conditioning) cord plugs into.
    The 15amp breaker powers all other AC (House-Like) items - ie the power to run the DC (Direct Current) side of the converter, a few recepticals, and the fridge.
    The push-in automotive fuses are for the various DC items. The large (30) is most likely the one going to charge the battery from the converter. The other smaller sized fuses go to the lights, furnace fan/thermostat, fridge, propane detector, power lift motors-if equipped.

    Bad battery? Very possible. However, this may be a "Chicken or the Egg scenario." Did the converter make the battery go bad? Or did a bad battery make the converter act up? You still have some trouble shooting to do. Keep at it. Lots of people-in-the-know around here.
     
  20. gketchup

    gketchup Member

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    Okay. We go the converter working again for the 20A side of things. The 15A still chirps/beeps even if the fan isn't running. We looked at the battery and it is an older battery. We're going to test the battery later tonight and see if it is even any good any more. We may be getting closer?!? I hope!
     

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