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Old 07-21-2015, 05:18 PM   #1
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Battery circuit question

Hi,

We destroyed our 7-way pigtail plug over the weekend and have it replaced with a new one at a repair shop. We took off as soon as we found that all driving signal lights are functional. However, we got home and unhitched and found that we have no power from the batteries -- no lights, the GoPower panel is out, even the indicator light on the propane detector is out. We figure something may have short circuited during the cut-and-splice of the plug.

Everything work when plugged into A/C power, though.

I checked the battery fuse and it's intact. I double, triple checked the disconnect switch and made sure it's on. And yet, nothing.

I have, however, located the inline breaker behind the battery cut-off switch. It COULD have been the problem. Does anyone know if it is the auto-resetting kind? If so, does anyone know how long does it take to reset if it is tripped?

BTW we haven't ruled out the situation of a pair of drained batteries. The trailer is now plugged into A/C power (charging??) and we'll see if that helps in a few hours.

The shop that made the repair is almost 2-hour drive away and we are hoping we don't have to make the trip if possible. Meanwhile, we are trying to learn as much as possible.

Interesting finding: when I pulled the fuse out of the battery, everything inside seem to function perfectly on A/C power. However, when I flipped the disconnect switch while on A/C, the lights work but the GoPower panel would be out. So it seems to me that disabling the battery (pulling the fuse) is different from disconnecting the battery (flipping the switch) but I am not sure how.

Thanks!
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Old 07-21-2015, 06:09 PM   #2
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The breaker is self resetting - but I know of at least 2 trailers it went bad on. See No 12 volt power: solution found

Disconnect one side and use an ohmmeter to check for continuity across it. Or just go to an auto parts store and get another one.
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Old 07-21-2015, 06:21 PM   #3
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You should start by measuring the voltage on the batteries. A cheap volt meter will work. In the 7 way plug there is a wire which can charge the battery if your vehicle is set up for it. If memory serves, the battery disconnect cuts off the fuse panel, but the breaker feeds are not affected.
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Old 07-21-2015, 06:35 PM   #4
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If the repair shop is close and the failure occured immediately after the pigtail replacement, you may want to contact them and have them diagnose the problem. Guessing rarely solves problems. My instructors called guessing "wiji board diagnostics". Regretably we do not have basic wiring diagrams to implement a systematic diagnostic approach.
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Old 07-21-2015, 07:16 PM   #5
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Regretably we do not have basic wiring diagrams to implement a systematic diagnostic approach.
Yes, that's a real negative for trouble shooting, even my Scamp had a usable schematic.

One quick thing you can do is: remove the complete panel cover. It's only held on by two machine screws. Have you checked the two 40 amp fuses? Also, measure the voltage at the two large wires in the upper left and see if battery voltage is reaching that point. Ignore the screwdriver.

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Old 07-21-2015, 07:35 PM   #6
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Do you have and know how to use a multimeter? would make things easier by checking battery voltage, verify fuses and the resettable breaker.
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Old 07-21-2015, 08:50 PM   #7
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We have a multimeter stowed somewhere and can do some measuring later tonight.

By process of elimination and some assumption, we are guessing that the GoPower is connected between the inline breaker and the disconnect switch, and assuming we have a bad inline breaker (which connect straight to the battery), which would explain why the GoPower would work on A/C even when I pulled the fuse off the battery (the converter is supplying power) but NOT when we disconnect from the disconnect switch (which it needs 12V from battery but get nothing).

We would measure the inline breaker first and see. If it is sound, we would proceed to measure other connections.

We checked all fuses on the power panel and they are all intact.

I heard that chance of inline breaker failing is really rare. If it indeed is the problem, it would have been a faulty unit since it should have reset...

I have been wanting to know what is the max battery output is. Now see that both the fuse and the inline breaker are 50A, it amount to about 600W than?

Thanks all!
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Old 07-21-2015, 09:07 PM   #8
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You may also have shorted out the 12 VDC coming from your battery when you destroyed
your 7 pin cord cap . When the dealer replaced the 7 pin cord cap ,the damage may have already been done. With your trailer disconnected from both shore power and your tow vehicle , I would check for DC voltage at your battery . If 12 VDC is present at your battery then I would check for 12 VDC at your converter. If there is no power at the converter then the problem is between the battery and the converter. If there is 12 VDC power at the converter from the battery then the problem is probably in the converter. The only other problem I can think of is if the dealer misconnected the 7 pin pigtail and when you plugged your trailer into your tow vehicle there was reversed polarity on the 12 VDC supply wires .
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Old 07-21-2015, 09:08 PM   #9
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Yes, that's a real negative for trouble shooting, even my Scamp had a usable schematic.
If Escape Trailer Industries were as inflexible and static as Eveland's (the maker of Scamp), there would probably be Escape schematics, too

Seriously, I agree that it would be easier with the right documentation. We're spoiled by mass-production items that documented to the smallest detail.
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Old 07-21-2015, 09:14 PM   #10
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By process of elimination and some assumption,

I have been wanting to know what is the max battery output is. Now see that both the fuse and the inline breaker are 50A, it amount to about 600W than?
My main rule for trouble shooting is: Never assume anything. Check things down the line methodically.

There's a difference between what the maximum battery output is at the panel and at the battery. For example, my inverter is 3000 watts and runs directly from the batteries, not the panel.

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Old 07-21-2015, 09:20 PM   #11
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Hi Steve,
Thanks! I need to digest what you said...

One thing I do know is that the damage is observed only after the pigtail is replaced. Because we camped 2 nights without hookup after we found out the pigtail is destroyed. The battery was charging (solar) and we had used 12V appliances at night.

I had (could be wrongfully) assumed that if every 12V appliances work with 110v A/C, the converter and the circuitry after the converter should be intact.

And if the cut-off switch could affect the GoPower panel when we plugged into 110v A/C, the connection between the cut-off switch and the converter should be intact as well (This, is assuming the GoPower is on the battery side of the cut-off switch...)

I guess it is good chance for us to learn about these things anyway. Last time I used a multimeter was about 30 years ago!
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Old 07-21-2015, 09:38 PM   #12
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My main rule for trouble shooting is: Never assume anything. Check things down the line methodically.

There's a difference between what the maximum battery output is at the panel and at the battery. For example, my inverter is 3000 watts and runs directly from the batteries, not the panel.

Ron
Actually, I think it's ok to assume. Key is to remember the assumed parameters and ready to reverse the assumption. "Theorize" is what I would call it.

Even when I am holding the multimeter I need to decide which section to test first, and usually start with "most likely to fail" part which is assumption backed by statistic.

BTW my physics knowledge is really rusty. The 600W number does seem low. I may dig into that topic some other time. Or never.


ETA: wait! the 3000W inverter rating is measured in 120v which mean the current drawn would be around 25A which is well below the 50A fuse. I guess if I draw directly from the battery with 12V appliance it would be 600W max. OK I had confused myself enough on this subject.
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Old 07-21-2015, 10:00 PM   #13
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By process of elimination and some assumption, we are guessing that the GoPower is connected between the inline breaker and the disconnect switch, and assuming we have a bad inline breaker (which connect straight to the battery)...
So this 50-amp breaker is in a 12V DC circuit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akoaoka View Post
I have been wanting to know what is the max battery output is. Now see that both the fuse and the inline breaker are 50A, it amount to about 600W than?
Yes, if the power is going through that fuse or that breaker, you can only get about 600 watts through. As Ron mentioned, the power to the inverter is presumably taking a different path.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akoaoka View Post
ETA: wait! the 3000W inverter rating is measured in 120v which mean the current drawn would be around 25A which is well below the 50A fuse. I guess if I draw directly from the battery with 12V appliance it would be 600W max. OK I had confused myself enough on this subject.
Yes, 3000 watts at 120 volts would be 25 amps... of 120V (AC) current. But the power into the inverter is at 12V (DC), so about 250 amps would be needed. The input is only one-tenth the current of the output, because it is at ten times the voltage.
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Old 07-21-2015, 11:14 PM   #14
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Actually, I think it's ok to assume. Key is to remember the assumed parameters and ready to reverse the assumption. "Theorize" is what I would call it.
Well my problem has been that I've had the experience of making assumptions and ignoring checking items because they were "probably OK" only to find later that they were the problem. So I treat trouble shooting circuits the same way I would if I had a schematic, start at the power source etc. and trace the circuit.

At first blush it would be easy to think that the installer inadvertently shorted the wires and caused a converter failure. Yet your converter seems to be working fine I'll be interested to see what the problem is.

I guess if it was me, I'd try undoing the 7 pin connections in the junction box and see if that does anything. In other words, remove the installers work from the equation.
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Old 07-21-2015, 11:29 PM   #15
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I guess if it was me, I'd try undoing the 7 pin connections in the junction box and see if that does anything. In other words, remove the installers work from the equation.
Ron
That is a very good point. Right now we are actually assuming the damage has been done and not on-going. We will have to consider that possibility when nothing else fit.

The junction box is inside the trailer under the front dinette seat -- one of the reason we only replaced the connector and not the entire cable. It could be a bit naive but I don't want anyone else to break the seal around the cable and risk a bad patch-up job (read: a hole under the trailer!)

I looked at the 7-way pigtail standard PICTURES briefly and only 1 of them (the charge line) would be potentially connected to the battery. From the description it should mean the tow vehicle charging the trailer batteries and not the other way around. Won't know what happened to it....This is something we also have to look at if nothing else fit.
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Old 07-22-2015, 05:10 AM   #16
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We used to have a saying about assuming.
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Old 07-22-2015, 10:52 AM   #17
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Found the problem!

We found the problem! I haven't seen many blown fuse in my life but this is the prettiest blown fuse I've ever seen. It's not until we put it on the mutlimeter we confirmed it is dead. It is the fuse on the battery. The first thing we checked and first to moved past. I thought these things are designed to be eyeball-ed. Apparently not so.

We are not out of the wood yet. We are checking the pigtail to make sure we don't have it occur again. We ran the multimeter through all the points on the 7-way and found pin 1,2, and 3 are connected (multimeter detected continuity as my hubby said). I inclined to think that they should not have contact or otherwise defeating the purpose of being separate points. We will have to take it apart and have a look later.
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Old 07-22-2015, 10:58 AM   #18
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We found the problem! I haven't seen many blown fuse in my life but this is the prettiest blown fuse I've ever seen. It's not until we put it on the mutlimeter we confirmed it is dead. It is the fuse on the battery. The first thing we checked and first to moved past. I thought these things are designed to be eyeball-ed. Apparently not so.
A great example of the fact that you can't tell if an ATC fuse is blown simply by looking at it. Good to hear you found the problem.
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Old 07-22-2015, 11:10 AM   #19
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A great example of the fact that you can't tell if an ATC fuse is blown simply by looking at it. Good to hear you found the problem.
Thanks. From now on if someone ask me to "check the fuse" I am pulling the multimeter. Good thing we found the unit!
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Old 07-22-2015, 11:11 AM   #20
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. I thought these things are designed to be eyeball-ed. Apparently not so.
Strange coincidence, you're the second forum member this week to find that out.

Oh well, look at this as a learning experience and if you have another electrical situation far from home you'll already be more familiar with your electrical setup.

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