Question on 12V system and battery function (Aliner Classic 2016)

Discussion in 'Power - Site Power/Batteries/Generators/Solar' started by KCandLP, Oct 26, 2018.

  1. KCandLP

    KCandLP New Member

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    Oct 18, 2018
    North Carolina
    My wife and I recently bought an Aliner 2016 Classic (used). I knew the battery was dead when we bought it so we didn’t test the things that ran off of the battery - or anything with the shore power disconnected. (The battery was actually low on water so the seller filled it with distilled water and we gave it a shot to see if it would come back to life after towing it with the TV and having it plugged into a 120V source for a while). We took the camper out last weekend for our first trip and to see what works and what needs repair (loved the platform and got a pretty clean unit and a good price so we’re happy). Here is what I found and I’m trying to get some more information about wiring, etc. to figure out how to resolve my core issues with the 12V battery system:
    1. The “old” battery was blowing the 20A fuse that runs to the positive terminal when shore power was connected and it was being charged. I disconnected the battery as I figured there was some type of short in the battery and had it tested (dead).
    2. When I put the new battery in it seemed to charge OK (no fuse issues). However - when I disconnected shore power and tried to run some of the 12V stuff (lights) they didn’t work. I was doing this at the campsite so I wasn’t sure the battery was charged. I put the battery on a tester/charger when I got home and it is charged - so there’s something that’s keeping the battery from connecting to the 12V loads. ???? (Fuses at the battery and in the panel are good).
    3. I disconnected the battery and tried the lights (no shore power) while I was hooked up to the TV - and they worked. I don’t know if the connection of the TV is different from the battery - I.e. I haven’t traced it back to the panel - but I’m wondering if this indicates something to anybody out there?
    4. We used to have an RPOD - and any 12V load worked - even with the auxiliary battery completely out of the circuit (disconnected). Is this the same for the pop up - I.e. the converter will supply the 12V to the load (since our lights we running I’m thinking “yes”)?
    Thanks for whatever insights you can provide. We liked our RPOD but we think that the pop up is going to be great for us. A lot more floor space and more aligned with the type of camping we expect to do.
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

    1,888
    277
    Jun 5, 2014
    Franklin, MA
    Sounds like one of the battery fuses is blown. There are 2 fuses in the battery wire. One at the battery and one at the charger. Check them both. What converter do you have. Typically battery fuses are 30A.
     
  3. emoney

    emoney Well-Known Member

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    Jul 7, 2018
    Definitely recheck all the fuses. There's usually a main, 30A fuse inline that's there to prevent back feed into the
    converter in the event someone connects the battery cables wrong. Which, btw, happens a LOT more than most
    people think. If the lights/heater work when connected to shore power, that means the converter is, in fact working.
    You just need to trace backwards to find the issue if it's not a fuse. Always start at the Ground. There should be
    a frame ground, make sure the battery side and the converter side are both still connected. Travelling can
    loosen up things pretty quickly.
     
  4. KCandLP

    KCandLP New Member

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    Oct 18, 2018
    North Carolina
    Thanks. There’s a 20A in-line fuse at the battery that’s good. There’s a 40A fuse on the circuit board at the panel that’s labeled as protection against miswiring the polarity. That’s also good. I’ll check the grounds. The lights work on shore power and with the TV connected electrically (with the trailer battery and shore power disconnected). I couldn’t test the furnace or HW heater as I think I have a bad gas regulator and gas won’t flow). The HW heater did try to strike but I was also getting the AUX led on the rocker panel for the HW heater flashing (don’t know what that means but the owners manual indicates some kind of fault). I’ll check the ground as that sounds like a possibility given the circumstances. Thanks.
     
  5. brainpause

    brainpause New Member

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    Sep 29, 2018
    Nashville, TN
    I have also seen breakers on the face of a converter that sometimes get missed for looking for fuses
     
  6. emoney

    emoney Well-Known Member

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    Jul 7, 2018
    Breakers shouldn't be affecting the AC, but always worth checking. Are you absolutely sure the battery is good and
    fully charged? If it is, start at the battery and work your way backwards. If the overhead (dome) lights worked
    on shore power, then the converter isn't experiencing a ground issue, I wouldn't think. A single open wire, however,
    can cause the DC to not function, so no other way than to trace back until you find it. I fought my Pup's DC wiring
    for a couple of days until I finally found that the connection at the corner post was disconnected.

    As for the LP, my pup had been taken totally apart and I had to put all the systems back together. I also learned
    in that case that it takes a while, sometimes, to get the air out of the LP lines. Before you replace any parts, open up each appliance's LP flow and see if that fixes it. You may need to do that to each system using gas. As an example,
    it took me about 2.5 minutes of holding the pilot "on" on the hot water heater before it actually lit. Once I got
    the air out, presto....everything worked.
     
  7. KCandLP

    KCandLP New Member

    13
    0
    Oct 18, 2018
    North Carolina
    Thanks - I do know the battery is good. Just replaced it and charged it on an external charger to check it. I know current was flowing to the old battery because it kept blowing the inline fuse. Shouldn’t that indicate that the wiring is unbroken from battery to the converter? What about the fact that when the TV is hooked up and the auxiliary 12V battery is disconnected - everything electrical works?

    I’ll follow your suggestions on the gas line to try to troubleshoot it.​
     
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

    1,888
    277
    Jun 5, 2014
    Franklin, MA
    The 40A is reverse polarity protection. There should be a fuse for the battery.
     
  9. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

    3,438
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    Mar 16, 2011
    Elkins WV area
     
  10. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    May 21, 2015
    When you disconnect from shore power or from the TV with the battery connected does the LP leak detector beep?

    What have you verified doesn't work? Just lights? Have you tried the water pump? What else do you have that runs on 12 volt?

    If all 12 volt does not work then the problem has to be the battery or battery connections. According to your posts you have eliminated just about everything else.

    As an aside, that 40 amp fuse is too big. Check the output on your converter, if you don't have the book it should be on a label attached to the unit. It should say something like "Output xx amps at 12 volts DC." That xx will tell you how big a fuse you need, but typical camping trailers with 10 gauge wires should not use more than 30 amp fuses.
     
  11. KCandLP

    KCandLP New Member

    13
    0
    Oct 18, 2018
    North Carolina
    Thanks for the reply. I haven’t tried the water pump but I’ll get the list of 12V items and check them off. The stuff I’ve tried other than lights have been tied to gas (furnace and HW heater). I’ll change out the fuse and will try to isolate things to the battery connections. I am thinking of connecting the battery through the TV connector to see if that works (I think it will) and that will isolate things to the battery connections. Are those connection errors generally going to be: bad ground; open wires; some type of high resistance in the wire?
     
  12. Fless

    Fless Active Member

    @KCandLP, a few simple tests would help to diagnose the problem.

    When connected to shore power, does the converter charge the battery:
    With shore power disconnected, and using a voltmeter, what is the voltage at the battery posts?
    With shore power connected, what is the voltage at the battery posts?

    When testing the DC fuses, is there voltage on both sides of the fuse? The little blade fuses can be probed in-circuit (for voltage) using the small conductor that is exposed at the top of the fuse. If there is power on one side there should be power on the other if the fuse is good.

    Fuse.JPG

    If all voltages are good at the fuses, then it's time to start at the battery (off of shore power) and work backward to the converter, checking how far the battery DC gets on its way back to the converter.

    And please let us know what you find!_
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
  13. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    196
    May 21, 2015
    The battery and the TV connector should share the same wire to the power panel in your pup. They should be joined in the wire bundle at the tongue.
    Could be all of the above. I would start with the connections to the battery. Based on the your description of the original battery they are probably very corroded and need to be cleaned or replaced.

    Once, while chasing an intermittent problem in my camper the fuse holder came apart in my hand. Both wires pulled out of it. A new fuse holder fixed that.

    In fact, I would get some new ring terminals and a new fuse holder and replace it all, including a new fuse to match the corrected fuse in the panel.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
  14. KCandLP

    KCandLP New Member

    13
    0
    Oct 18, 2018
    North Carolina
    Will do. Thanks.
     
  15. KCandLP

    KCandLP New Member

    13
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    Oct 18, 2018
    North Carolina
    Good ideas. Thanks
     
  16. KCandLP

    KCandLP New Member

    13
    0
    Oct 18, 2018
    North Carolina
    All is well that ends well. I traced the voltage back to the panel. Everything was “good” and all of the lights/etc. worked off of the 12V battery (new battery). There must have been some issue at the fuse housing at the battery. I did not replace the housing but maybe something was not seating properly. Anyway - all of the stuff that I expect should work from the battery is doing so. The battery voltage is about 12.5VDC. When I connect shore power the voltage goes up to 13.5VDC. I expect that’s correct (so that I get current flow to the battery)? Don’t know if this is where I posted something about the panel fuse for battery polarity being a 40A fuse. Someone warned me that that 40A was too high. I did find that the printed recommendations on the panel are for a 40A fuse for this circuit.
     

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