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Old 08-18-2018, 08:18 AM   #1
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Please help w 6v battery problem

The 6 v batteries in my three month old 17A are not holding a charge. When hooked to portable solar or hooked up to car running, it will charge to 13 but within a few hours, discharges to 12.4. The batteries have plenty of water. There are 4 usb receptacles with that small green light, and a propane detector with a light. I havenít used any interior lights for the past couple days while dealing with this situation.so there is no drain at allexcept for the above. I have driven 4000 miles with no more than 2 nights without hookup until I arrived here in Maine a week ago. The battery cut off switch is not off.

Questions:
I have the refrig on gas but the auto light was also on. Could it have tried over and over to use battery instead of gas? I turned off the auto light this morning so we can see if it matters.
I havenít noticed any other light but gas / auto on in the days ive been here.

I have a surge protector that has a switch that can be set to bypass ems or normal use and it is set to normal use. There is no readout happening (because im not hooked up) but could that be drawing electricity?

Any suggestions are welcomed. There is no phone reception at the campground but i will get to a place where I can check responses several times today. Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 08-18-2018, 08:57 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by h2owmn View Post
The 6 v batteries in my three month old 17A are not holding a charge. When hooked to portable solar or hooked up to car running, it will charge to 13 but within a few hours, discharges to 12.4. The batteries have plenty of water. There are 4 usb receptacles with that small green light, and a propane detector with a light. I havenít used any interior lights for the past couple days while dealing with this situation.so there is no drain at allexcept for the above. I have driven 4000 miles with no more than 2 nights without hookup until I arrived here in Maine a week ago. The battery cut off switch is not off.

Questions:
I have the refrig on gas but the auto light was also on. Could it have tried over and over to use battery instead of gas? I turned off the auto light this morning so we can see if it matters.
I havenít noticed any other light but gas / auto on in the days ive been here.

I have a surge protector that has a switch that can be set to bypass ems or normal use and it is set to normal use. There is no readout happening (because im not hooked up) but could that be drawing electricity?

Any suggestions are welcomed. There is no phone reception at the campground but i will get to a place where I can check responses several times today. Thanks in advance for your help.
Sounds like you have something using up your amp hours. you could buy a cheap multimeter and start testing if you know how. you can also start pulling fuses and find the problem by elimination. Sounds like you have a short somewhere or something running. Do you have an inverter? Is it on? That can us buckets of amp hours if you let it! Good Luck!
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Old 08-18-2018, 09:12 AM   #3
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A fully charged pair of 6v batteries should be 12.65 volts. A reading of 13v is temporary when the charger is removed. It will settle down to 12.6 or 12.7 in a couple of hours. So the drain on your batteries isn't as much as you might think.

However, if it continues to go down in a few more hours you probably have a drain somewhere.

When the fridge is on auto it only hunts for AC or propane, not
12v. You have too manually set it to 12v.
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Old 08-18-2018, 09:12 AM   #4
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My guess is a loose connection/short too. I would agree to check with a multimeter.

As for the fridge, in auto it selects the best fuel source, but never auto selects DC. Whether you set it to auto or propane in this case makes no difference. I doubt the fridge is the problem.
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Old 08-18-2018, 09:27 AM   #5
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It is tough to diagnose electrical problems without being there, but if your voltage measurements are accurate, they are too low, particularly when under charge by the converter or solar controller. Even the rather conservative WFCO converter that comes with the Escape should produce 13.6 volts if the batteries are down, and the GoPower solar controller under full sun should produce over 14V with a low battery. As Ian or Sue mentioned, if the inverter is on, even without a load, it will use over an amp per hour, but that should not drag your battery down that fast. Checking for a load on the batteries that doesn't belong there is a good idea; it involves placing an amp meter in series with one of the battery leads. With everything off, it should be in the neighborhood of an amp to an amp & 1/2, reflecting the propane detector & misc LED indicator lights. If you don't have a multimeter or are not comfortable using one, other RV owners usually love to help!

One possibility is a bad cell in one of the batteries, something that can happen even with new batteries. You can check this by measuring the individual voltage across each battery. It should be the same for both.

As to your specific questions, when the refrigerator is on automatic, it won't switch to 12V, just between propane & 120V.

The surge protector/EMS will have no effect on the battery side of trailer's electrical system, other than if it is not in the bypass & it detects a problem, it won't allow 120v power to the trailer, so the converter won't charge the batteries. In that case you would see an error code. When it is in the bypass mode, it will power the converter & charge the battery. It does not draw any power from the 12V system.

Be sure you are hooked up to a pedestal long enough to fully charge the batteries, i.e. it takes overnight, or a full day of bright sun. If not fully charged, they will drop quickly. 12.4V is low, but still close to 80% full. Putting the last 20% into the batteries takes a long time because they cannot take current as high as they can when near empty.
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Old 08-18-2018, 10:24 AM   #6
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First I'd check the battery cable connections for being a little loose.

Measure the voltage at the battery terminals, with the converter powered (city power) you should see at least 13.3, which is what I think float voltage is, 13.6 being absorption.

Disconnect from city power, give it an hour or so and measure again. If below 12.6 turn off the 12v and what do you see?

Any load will temporarily drag down the measurement, even the fridge on propane will do so. With the 12vdc turned off you should get a true reading, even better would be to disconnect one of the terminals.

When down to 60% or less I've had it take over 24hrs to fully charge via the WFCO's charger.
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Old 08-18-2018, 11:05 AM   #7
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What brand batteries do you have and what is your tow vehicle?
Thanks,
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Old 08-18-2018, 11:44 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
My guess is a loose connection/short too. I would agree to check with a multimeter.
Ditto for the miltimeter, so many potenial problems can be pinpointed, even with a $10.00 one.

[QUOTE=Vermilye;259394]
but if your voltage measurements are accurate, they are too low, particularly when under charge by the converter or solar controller./QUOTE]

That was my first thought also. I'd definitely want to confirm what the charging voltage is.



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Old 08-18-2018, 11:45 AM   #9
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I appreciate all the suggestions. I didn’t make clear that I have no elec to plug into. I am only trying to use solar, and then connecting to 7 pin and running car in desperation. The tow vehicle is a 4 month old 2018 Toyota Highlander. I don’t know the brand of trailer battery—they are the ones installed by ETI, and oddly, I have no paperwork on them from ETI. (I have a binder w everything in it). My notes from orientation say that the bypass converter switch is only for using a generator so that answers that question.

I so have a multi meter and will google how to use it. I will test the batteries individually to check for bad cell. Do I need to disconnect the connection between the two batteries to do that? It seems I should but will wait to hear from someone here. Will also pull fuses one by one to check that.

I’ll check in again in a few hours.

The solar was working well in June during a week at the beach. That’s the last time it was used.
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Old 08-18-2018, 11:50 AM   #10
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Went though the same thing not to long ago. On my trailer turned out to be the frig light stood on. Hope this helps.
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The RV Doctor: How to find drain on RV batteries

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