120 Lights work; 12v are all dimmed!

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by lolly, Jul 12, 2003.

  1. lolly

    lolly New Member

    I have my camper plugged into regular electricity, so I'm not running on battery. Suddenly, all my overhead lights are dimmed.
    I can turn on lamps, my computer, and anything else 120v, but all the little automotive lights, etc. are dim.

    What's going on?
     
  2. Jay Raymer

    Jay Raymer New Member

    120 Lights work; 12v are all dimmed!

    Hi Lolly,
    It sounds to me like one of two things could be wrong. Either your power converter has gone bad, in which case it would need to be replaced, or you have your battery disconnect switch turned off. I would check the battery disconnect switch first, that's the most common problem, it's really easy to bump that switch and not realize it.
     
  3. Jay Raymer

    Jay Raymer New Member

    120 Lights work; 12v are all dimmed!

    Hi Lolly,
    It sounds to me like one of two things could be wrong. Either your power converter has gone bad, in which case it would need to be replaced, or you have your battery disconnect switch turned off. I would check the battery disconnect switch first, that's the most common problem, it's really easy to bump that switch and not realize it.
     
  4. lolly

    lolly New Member

    120 Lights work; 12v are all dimmed!

    Jay, thanks for answering so quickly.

    I have no idea where the battery switch is. This is a '93 Wilderness by Fleetwood. I've never seen such a switch. Would it be inside the camper, or outside in the compartment with the battery?

    Otherwise, is the converter definitely bad, or could there be a loose connection? I don't know where the converter is, either. Are they expensive?

    I'm living in this thing, and I really don't know much about travel trailers yet. I have a book ordered from Amazon on repair, though!
     
  5. lolly

    lolly New Member

    120 Lights work; 12v are all dimmed!

    Also, to make sure it's the converter, what else WOULDN'T be running if the converter was bad? My hot water heater and microwave and air conditioning still work. The only thing that appears not to work are the overhead 12v lights. Could this be a fuse? I dunno. I "thought" the hot water heater ran on 12v, but I guess not.
     
  6. ARCHER

    ARCHER Senior Member

    120 Lights work; 12v are all dimmed!

    Lolly,
    While your plugged into 120 your system should be charging the aux batteries (if you have them). I think you should check your batteries for fluid and charge or corrosion on terminals. Agree with the switch comment. If it is turned off no power will be coming from the batteries to run your 12 volt systems. Sounds as if your batteries slowly died (when you said the lights dimmed, etc. My switch is on the dash and labeled Aux Bat (they run my 12 volt stuff when it is on, as long as the batteries are charged. Sounds like the charger might not be charging.
    Regarding your hot water heater. If it is electric, it runs on 120. If only gas, the 12 volt system is used to ignite the burn and control the emergency shut off for the gas system if it detects LP inside the MH.
    Good luck ;)
     
  7. lolly

    lolly New Member

    120 Lights work; 12v are all dimmed!

    Archer and Jay,
    Thanks for responding.

    I was wrong about the a/conditioning. It no longer works and either does the fan on it (brand new rooftop unit 16K not 13K...)

    Everything else works except the a/conditioning and the 12v lights.

    My computer runs, so it's not low voltage coming into the trailer, since I know the computer takes 105v just to turn on, which an electrician told me a while back.

    The only "battery" I understand or know about is the automotive battery in one of those outside compartments, and that has always been disconnected, since I'm using 120v ac. Is there some other kind of charging battery that charges the 12v system and the a/conditioning, etc.? Because I've definitely lost voltage going to the a/conditioning.

    Now, the trailer place where i bought this mess changed out the air cond. to a bigger unit. Would it have been necessary to change the breaker when they put a larger air cond. unit in? Could this be burning a breaker out somewhere? Or could there be a loose connection to the air condit. that would cause this AND the dim/nonexistent 12v lights?

    Could it be the breaker box? Or whatever is supposed to be charging the 12v system and the air conditioner?

    So, is the "battery" you're talking about some kind of 12v charger somewhere inside the trailer? There is nothing about this in my owners manual.

    The problem is, I can't move the trailer. It is stationary. So I need to know your thoughts, since this is all I have to live in and it is 100 degrees out right now. Also, the outfit that sold me this did a few other things that were pretty upsetting, so I need to be able to go to them and explain what is happening if I can't fix this myself.

    Ah! Thanks, sorry so long. I'm very upset right now, since sitting in 100 degrees inside this can is making me a little nuts.
     
  8. ARCHER

    ARCHER Senior Member

    120 Lights work; 12v are all dimmed!

    Lolly,
    First of all, get out of that heat. Not good :dead: :dead: Go to dinner and cool off.
    When you feel better, maybe after dark. Check to make sure that your breaker is not tripped for the A/C unit. Battery will not run the A/C, they are designed to run on A/C not batteries. When they changed A/C to upgrade, they probably did not increase the circuit breaker (prob 20 amp circuit breaker but you ought to be able to see that in the breaker box). Check to see if it tripped. you have to have a breaker somewhere in the MH that is strictly for the A/C unit (find it :approve: ) Turn off the air conditioner and then...., try to reset the breaker (turn to off and then back on). If it was running and stopped, it sounds like it popped the breaker. See if they have an owner's manual for the new A/C unit and read it. Make sure the filters are clean in it (ought to be, if new). If it popps the circuit breaker again, you may have an overload or maybe a short circuit. Don't mess with the wiring on the A/C while your plugged into 110 volts..... :dead:
    Now for the battery piece. you say it was disconnected? What do you mean? What kind of CAMPER do you have??? If you have a Class A or Class C, the battery issue is one way. If you just have a Camper, you may not have a direct battery system for running 12 volt, but a converter to run the 12 volt system out of the 110 system. If you do have a class a or c, then you should or probably have some kind of charging system for the battery (s).
    Hope this helps some. Sounds like you need to be extremely careful....electric is not nothing to mess around with. :dead:
    It still sounds like you have a battery that will operate the 12 volt lights when you don't have 110 power, but when you say it is disconnected, it confuses me a little. Check your breaker box(s) and make sure all are set correctly. if they are, then you need to contact the people and explain to them the problem and have them come look at it. hopefully, you have some kind of warranty from them.
     
  9. lolly

    lolly New Member

    120 Lights work; 12v are all dimmed!

    Hi Archer,

    This is a pull-behind Fifth Wheel Travel Trailer.

    None of the breakers were tripped. There were 3 possible places to check: out at the telephone pole at the "big" breaker box there that also runs my well pump; at my "little" 30 amp pole where I plug the trailer in; and inside the trailer where the fuses are, there are breakers. And yes, there IS a separate breaker just for the air conditioning. I went ahead at all 3 places and flipped all breakers off, waited, and flipped them solidly back on, with everything in the trailer off.

    No dice.

    I suspect they wired something wrong when they put in the air conditioner, so I'm going to request they come out here, as you suggested.

    As for the "battery", yes, I was aware that 12v lights would run off the battery, which is really like a "backup" for me, since I am plugged into electricity. It is just an automotive battery in an outside compartment, and I disconnected it because I really don't "use" it, since i am permanently "camped". I'm sure it has since lost it's charge. But of course, that would not run my air conditioning, as you say, so it's really useless to me right now anyway. I know it would run my 12v lights under "normal" circumstances, and it would also run the water pump and maybe microwave/water heater, not sure. But since something is screwy with the electricity, it's a moot point.

    Wish me luck. I'll post back on Monday after I go see the travel trailer place that did this work. I am going to concentrate on being CALM, because right now, I'm not real pleased, :angry:

    You have all been a great help to me. Please know how MUCH I appreciate this place~
     
  10. lolly

    lolly New Member

    120 Lights work; 12v are all dimmed!

    Jay and Archer,

    I wanted to let you know what happened. You guys were on the money.

    It most likely IS the converter. I located it, and although it had lights, it was ice cold. Secondly, I found out my thermostat which controls my airconditioning runs off DC, so that and the 12v lights not working brought me to that VOILA! moment. I knew then it was the converter, not the airconditoning unit itself.

    Now, I found a wonderful company in Tuscon, very helpful owner and American made product...IOTA. They make a drop-in replacement for the one I have, which is from 1993 and the company who made it originally was Todd Engineering. They of course, are out of business now since they apparently made a bummer of a converter. Anyway, just wanted to say that Joe Benson from IOTA is super helpful.

    There are other companies like Parallax (who used to be Magna-Tech), Intellipower, and some other competitors. But I think Parallax is off-shore now.

    I want to buy American made since someone offshore already has my old job :evil:

    Any thoughts on a replacement? I guess it would be easiest to go with something "identical" to the one I had.
     
  11. Jay Raymer

    Jay Raymer New Member

    120 Lights work; 12v are all dimmed!

    Good job on tracking that down, Lolly. When my techs here are replacing converters they use whatever is on hand off the shelf as far a brands go. All converters are basically the same except for the amount of amps the produce. Just be sure to get one that matches your power needs.
     
  12. ARCHER

    ARCHER Senior Member

    120 Lights work; 12v are all dimmed!

    Lolly,
    Sorry, but I have never had to replace converter so I cannot provide you any guidance on brands, etc.
    Glad you found your problem. hope all turns out a little better once you get it installed... :) :) :) ;)
     

Share This Page