Battery Overwinter Discharge Take 2 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 02-05-2018, 10:49 PM   #1
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Battery Overwinter Discharge Take 2

Escape Community
We have new opportunities for problem solving with Tischer's 2016 Escape 21

For those of you following this thread a quick catch up:
Overwintering our 21 for 3-months without trickle charging resulted in the batteries sulfantating and ultimately failing requiring replacement.
For background the Escape has an ETI installed 160 W solar array, is stored on concrete in a secure, commercial RV storage area without access to 110 power. It is covered with a CalMark cover.

The new Interstate 6V deep cycle batteries GC2-ECL-UTL arrived and were installed in series as per the originals. No other changes were made in the electrical configuration beyond installing new batteries.
When the master switch was turned on the two 40 amp fuses in the Distribution Center blew out, were replaced and blew out again. There was no reading on the Go-Power solar instrument array battery storage percentage and the internal 12V internal lights in the Escape didn't operate.

A fellow Escape 5.0 neighbor and I attempted to trouble shoot the issue with the voltmeter and found no volt readings past the master switch in the "on" position. The batteries registered 13.8V. Neither one of us are electrical gurus so we can't verify the quality of the work.
An appointment has been made with our local auto/farm electrical shop to problem solve the issue on Wednesday.

There is a note on the Distribution Center insert that the 40 amp fuses only blow out if batteries have reverse polarity. No changes were made to the battery installation from the original so not sure how reverse polarity could occur.

So Escape Community
Do you have any words of wisdom on how we may trouble shoot our way around this problem?
I plan on calling ETI in the morning to see if they can shed any light on the issue the goal being to get on the road to Quartzite before all the fun is over.
Thanks to all who responded to Take 1 of the Battery Overwintering Discharge Issue
Jim Tischer
Woodland, CA
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Old 02-06-2018, 05:16 AM   #2
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So are we thinking the main 40 amp fuse is faulty? Looks like this
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Old 02-06-2018, 06:46 AM   #3
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21 main fuse

On our 2016 new 21 Escape our 40 amp fuse blew when installing an inverter ? It was a big blade green 40 amp style . Jim
Another reason to have ETI install the 1500 inverter . By the time you buy the inverter and wiring and fuse you are not saving that much $
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Old 02-06-2018, 08:09 AM   #4
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Good Morning Harley
Where is the 40 amp fuse, pictured in the rig?
The 40amp fuses I am referring to are in rhe Distribution Center. They are small bar-type insertable fuses.
Jim Tischer
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Old 02-06-2018, 08:11 AM   #5
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Good Morning Jenny Katz!
We only have a converter in our rig and have not installed an inverter as yet.
Thanks for the comment
Jim Tischer
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Old 02-06-2018, 08:56 AM   #6
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Hopefully member Brian BP will get in here, he can troubleshoot anything.
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Old 02-06-2018, 03:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
So are we thinking the main 40 amp fuse is faulty? Looks like this
That's not likely a fuse - it looks like an auto-resetting circuit breaker. If the trailer has any of these, anyone troubleshooting should be aware that this type of breaker opens (shuts off to protect the circuit from overload)... then resets itself (restoring power) after a delay. That means that what you are seeing when you check for power may not be what was going on just after the breaker tripped off.

Auto-resetting breakers are commonly used where it would be inconvenient or even dangerous to permanently lose power, but there is a risk of brief overloads - power to electric trailer brake controllers is a good example.
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Old 02-06-2018, 03:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtischer View Post
The 40amp fuses I am referring to are in rhe Distribution Center. They are small bar-type insertable fuses.
The Power Center contains an AC power distribution panel (not relevant to this issue), a DC power distribution panel, and a converter (120V AC to 12V DC power supply).

The DC distribution panel is the line of fuses, one for each 12C DC branch circuit. If there was a heavy load or short circuit in one of these branch circuits, the fuse for the circuit would blow as soon as power was supplied; however, changing the batteries would not cause this sort of load or fault to appear, and none of the branch circuits should have a 40 amp fuse anyway (two are limited to 30 amps, and the rest to 20 amps. It seems reasonable to assume that these are not the fuses which are blowing.

The converter's output goes through two fuses which are beside (left of) the stack of DC distribution panel fuses. They are described by WFCO as "reverse polarity" fuses, because they normally blow only when the battery is hooked up in reverse, as mentioned in the first post.

The DC panel fuses and the "reverse polarity" fuses are both blade-style ATC fuses, like this:


The attached diagram clipped from the WFCO operations manual shows where they are located.

These are the fuses that are blowing, right?
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Old 02-06-2018, 03:35 PM   #9
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The reason that WFCO says that pair of fuses only blow in case of reversed battery polarity is that the 55 amp converter is not capable of putting out enough current to overload them. Even with a short circuit somewhere on the DC wiring, the converter will just pump up to 55 amps into it, depending on other fuses in the affected circuit to protect any wiring involved.

When a battery is hooked up in reverse (and any switch such as Escape's storage switch is turned on) the battery pushes high current (backwards to the normal flow) through the converter, which will destroy the converter. The "reverse polarity" fuses are there to prevent that.

I have not yet been able to think of scenario in which these fuses would blow, other than reversed battery polarity.
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Old 02-06-2018, 03:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtischer View Post
When the master switch was turned on the two 40 amp fuses in the Distribution Center blew out, were replaced and blew out again.
That's consistent with reversed battery polarity... and I can't think of anything else which would explain it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtischer View Post
There was no reading on the Go-Power solar instrument array battery storage percentage...
Given that the batteries are charged, that's also consistent with either reversed polarity, or no battery connection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtischer View Post
... the internal 12V internal lights in the Escape didn't operate.
If all of the lights are LED, then that's also consistent with either reversed polarity, or no battery connection. If the polarity is reversed, then incandescent bulbs (and some devices such as pumps and fans, but probably not fans with electronic controls) would still work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtischer View Post
A fellow Escape 5.0 neighbor and I attempted to trouble shoot the issue with the voltmeter and found no volt readings past the master switch in the "on" position. The batteries registered 13.8V.
This is puzzling. If the batteries are putting out 13.8 volts and the switch is "on", there will be 13.8 volts on the other side of the switch; it won't matter if the converter's fuses had been replaced. How sure are you that the switch was 'on' when voltage past it was checked? Labelling of the storage (master) switch has been an issue in some units.

If the battery polarity is reversed, checking anywhere in the system where there should be power will give a reversed polarity reading (-12 V instead of +12 V), but digital meters that's normally fine - it just displays the negative sign. An analog meter will try to go backwards, and will normally be stopped by a pin; you could be measuring -12 volts, and it could look like zero.
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Old 02-06-2018, 04:02 PM   #11
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I normally read posts from oldest (of the unread) to newest, following things chronologically. Sometimes this backfires...

(from Battery Discharge Take 3 PROBLEM SOLVED
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtischer View Post
Escape Community

Per conversation with Reace this morning at ETI Tischer's battery problem is solved!
Tischer had the new batteries reversed resulting in a reverse polarity configuration. Installing the batteries correctly resulted in the system working properly.
Oh well, at least perhaps there is more understanding of why things look the way they do when the battery leads are reversed.
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Old 02-06-2018, 04:13 PM   #12
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Brian B-P
Thank you for the multiple detailed instructional posts on solving my battery issue.
If I had not been able to connect with Reace, you would have been my lifeline.
As you can see from Track 3 in the ongoin drama, the batteries were indeed reversed and the 40 amp fuses safeguarded the system just like they were supposed to do.
The Go-Power solar module readout indicated “POL” which Reace helpfully pointed out was indeed a reversed polarity condition.
When I re-installed the batteries correctly everything started working just fine.
Problem solved and we’ll be on our way to Quartzsite tomorrow.
Again, thank you for your interest and assistance. It is much appreciated.
Best Regards
Jim Tischer
Woodland, CA
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Old 02-09-2018, 11:01 AM   #13
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Yes, much appreciated by all here learning too. Thanks Brian.
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:41 PM   #14
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Did you occasionally peel back the cover to let the solar panel charge the batteries? My 19 is exposed to the elements here in Ottawa and I go out and clear the snow off when necessary because with a few inches on the panel, nothing gets through. So far so good.
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