Did we destroy our batteries? If so, how did we do it? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 09-04-2018, 09:17 PM   #1
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Did we destroy our batteries? If so, how did we do it?

We have an almost 3 yr old classic 21. The battery monitor shows full power.

Today after disconnecting from shore power I noticed that we had no power in the trailer. Sure enough the main breaker had been tripped. I turned it back on and still nothing. Turned the battery on and off and still nothing. We now have 3 ways we can get power. 1. When connected to shore power. 2. When connected to the car and the car is running. 3. After connecting to the car and running, then turning off the car.

In 1 and 2, everything works fine. In the 3rd case, our big lights flicker, and the Samlex has really weird readings. Amps and Watts are zero, and the Volts vary from 12.5 go 16.5.

Any ideas? Is it safe to use even shore power when the battery might be damaged? When my husband disconnected shore power he disconnected at the trailer first. Did that cause our problem? Anything else we might have done wrong? I've tried turning the battery switch off and on but that didn't solve the problem.

Any ideas are much appreciated!
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Old 09-04-2018, 09:20 PM   #2
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Check your battery main fuse. There are several other things to check but start with that.

Next, check the connections, particularly the battery cable negative side.

Yes, it's fine to use shore power in the meantime.

Do you have a multimeter?
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Old 09-04-2018, 09:52 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
Check your battery main fuse. There are several other things to check but start with that.

Next, check the connections, particularly the battery cable negative side.

Yes, it's fine to use shore power in the meantime.

Do you have a multimeter?
Thank you Robert. I replaced the fuse and still no power. The battery cables look good. We don't have a multimeter but sounds like we need to get one. It's good to know we're ok with shore power for now, thanks!
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Old 09-04-2018, 10:04 PM   #4
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yeah, checking the actual battery voltage would be my very first step. I don't go anywhere without a decent multimeter. currently mostly using a Craftsman I picked up about 10 years ago.

if you unplug all power sources and let the batteries sit overnight with no loads, they should read about 12.6V if they are fully charged. 12.1V is a 50% discharged battery, which is the lowest I like to let them get, 11 volts is a nearly fully discharged batt, anything below that and you're getting into battery damage land.

With the power converter plugged into shore power, or a solar system in the sunshine, you should see 13.6 or maybe 14.2V if they are fully charged.

the 2014 Escape we bought at Christmas had hardly been used but the factory batteries were pretty much dead as it had been parked for a year+ with the battery disconnect switch on (disconnected), so the solar panels weren't keeping the batts charged. lead acid batteries like to be kept 100% charged at all times, and on a battery maintainer such as the power converter or solar charger.
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Old 09-04-2018, 10:13 PM   #5
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Thank you Robert. I replaced the fuse and still no power. The battery cables look good. We don't have a multimeter but sounds like we need to get one. It's good to know we're ok with shore power for now, thanks!
I'm still leaning toward a blown fuse or a tripped breaker. Not the breaker at the power station mind you, but the inline one. A telltale sign of this is to test your batteries at the terminals. If there is power, the problem lies downstream in the circuit.

Some are self resetting, some fail to self reset and need to be replaced, and some are manual reset which requires you to push in the little button on the side. They look something like the ones below. I don't know where yours would be on the 21, but start at the positive battery cable and work your way back.20180904_221124.jpeg20180804_012552.jpeg

Oh, and just as a side note Jill, since you mentioned it: the preferred method for connecting shore power is to make sure the receptacle breaker at the post is turned off, plug in, then turn the breaker on. To disconnect, turn the breaker off at the post, then unplug.
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Old 09-04-2018, 10:23 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
yeah, checking the actual battery voltage would be my very first step. I don't go anywhere without a decent multimeter. currently mostly using a Craftsman I picked up about 10 years ago.

if you unplug all power sources and let the batteries sit overnight with no loads, they should read about 12.6V if they are fully charged. 12.1V is a 50% discharged battery, which is the lowest I like to let them get, 11 volts is a nearly fully discharged batt, anything below that and you're getting into battery damage land.

With the power converter plugged into shore power, or a solar system in the sunshine, you should see 13.6 or maybe 14.2V if they are fully charged.

the 2014 Escape we bought at Christmas had hardly been used but the factory batteries were pretty much dead as it had been parked for a year+ with the battery disconnect switch on (disconnected), so the solar panels weren't keeping the batts charged. lead acid batteries like to be kept 100% charged at all times, and on a battery maintainer such as the power converter or solar charger.
Thanks John. I really appreciate these fast responses! When on shore power we see the 13.6v you mention. I do have a meter I can plug into one of the 12v outlets. I will try it next time we unplug but expect it to show zero power since nothing works when we are off shore power.
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Old 09-04-2018, 11:59 PM   #7
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Quote: it had been parked for a year+ with the battery disconnect switch on (disconnected), so the solar panels weren't keeping the batts charged.

Could you clarify this? When we had our orientation on August 8, we were told to switch on the Battery Disconnect Switch when we left our 2018 trailer in storage, and assured that the solar collector would charge the batteries.

Perhaps I have misunderstood what you wrote, but on the Leisure Travel Van site, I read:

When master power switch is off, does the solar panels still charge the batteries?
Assuming it's not night time of course...

(Updated over a week ago):
The solar panels are wired directly to the house batteries, completely bypassing the main battery disconnect. As long as you have sunshine up above, your batteries will continue to charge!
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Old 09-05-2018, 12:01 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
Oh, and just as a side note Jill, since you mentioned it: the preferred method for connecting shore power is to make sure the receptacle breaker at the post is turned off, plug in, then turn the breaker on. To disconnect, turn the breaker off at the post, then unplug.
I've never messed with the breaker before plugging and unplugging the shore power on either our Casita or Escape.

Now, with the Casita, I plugged in an external power filter/conditioner module before plugging in the trailer... and the Escape has the power filter/conditioner built in...

if your trailer does NOT have a built in surge protector, this one is excellent.
https://www.amazon.com/Technology-Re.../dp/B00T36Q7R2

goes way beyond basic surge protection, it verifies the ground and polarity is correct, regulates the voltage to safe range, and tells you the voltage and current usage. yes, its a bit pricy and yes its kinda big and bulky, but if it saves your trailer from getting fried, its paid for itself a dozen times over.
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Old 09-05-2018, 12:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egraham View Post
Quote: it had been parked for a year+ with the battery disconnect switch on (disconnected), so the solar panels weren't keeping the batts charged.

Could you clarify this? When we had our orientation on August 8, we were told to switch on the Battery Disconnect Switch when we left our 2018 trailer in storage, and assured that the solar collector would charge the batteries.

Perhaps I have misunderstood what you wrote, but on the Leisure Travel Van site, I read:

When master power switch is off, does the solar panels still charge the batteries?
Assuming it's not night time of course...

(Updated over a week ago):
The solar panels are wired directly to the house batteries, completely bypassing the main battery disconnect. As long as you have sunshine up above, your batteries will continue to charge!
pretty sure my 2014, the solar panel controller is wired in downstream from the disconnect but I'll check that next time I'm poking around back there and try to remember to follow up.

I did note that the sellers house, where it was parked was between two 2-story houses and didn't look to get much sunshine, so maybe that killed the batts, I dunno.
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Old 09-05-2018, 07:31 AM   #10
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During one of our first trips with our 2018, 21' I had a similar problem (no power from batteries) and found that the jumper wire that runs between battery 1 and battery 2 had a poor crimp and the wire had come loose I suggest you make a quick check of all battery connections / wiring to see that it's intact and not a cause for concern. Think simple first.
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Old 09-05-2018, 11:46 AM   #11
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thats a quick test with a volt meter. both ends of the wire should have 0V across them
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Old 09-05-2018, 12:08 PM   #12
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I do have a meter I can plug into one of the 12v outlets. I will try it next time we unplug but expect it to show zero power since nothing works when we are off shore power.
My first rule for trouble shooting is "never presume anything".
That's a sure way to miss something obvious. As others have said, use a multi-meter and start with the battery and "follow the power".


Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
I've never messed with the breaker before plugging and unplugging the shore power on either our Casita or Escape.
To me, plugging or unplugging without turning either the pedestal power or trailer main breaker off first is like plugging in a device by its' plug while it's under load. Probably creates an arc and doesn't do the plug any good.

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Old 09-05-2018, 12:17 PM   #13
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Ditto post #10 regarding a bad crimp of the battery cable.
We had some voltage, but weak. If there is any looseness of the cables at the batteries, there will be problems.
Twice we re-crimped the cables, then this season, I replaced them with “factory” ends and thicker cables.

Sounds like you could use some help from someone who likes to sort out electrical issues.
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Old 09-05-2018, 12:34 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bill and Earline View Post
Ditto post #10 regarding a bad crimp of the battery cable.

We had some voltage, but weak. If there is any looseness of the cables at the batteries, there will be problems.

Twice we re-crimped the cables, then this season, I replaced them with “factory” ends and thicker cables.



Sounds like you could use some help from someone who likes to sort out electrical issues.


Thank you everyone for the help. Cables all look good to us but we’re no experts

We are on our way home today and have to get the fridge looked at so will get this problem reviewed too. Glad this happened at the end of our trip and not the beginning!
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Old 09-05-2018, 02:56 PM   #15
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To me, plugging or unplugging without turning either the pedestal power or trailer main breaker off first is like plugging in a device by its' plug while it's under load. Probably creates an arc and doesn't do the plug any good.
True, but I rarely see an accessible breaker at the pedestal, and I don't think many people flip the main breaker in their RVs (of any type or brand) each time they hook up and unhook. Also, the main breaker is intended as a protective device, not a switch, so flipping it every day probably isn't good (for the breaker), either.
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Old 09-05-2018, 03:10 PM   #16
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True, but I rarely see an accessible breaker at the pedestal,.
We must travel in different circles. I usually see one. A lot of the time it's been left in the "off" position indicating that I'm not the only one that would rather not plug in a cable under load.

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Old 09-05-2018, 03:17 PM   #17
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We must travel in different circles. I usually see one.
It certainly varies by region, and by type of campground. The majority of our serviced sites have been in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces, but we've used them in all of the provinces west of that, too.

If the receptacle is in a sheet metal pedestal, there's a good chance it has a breaker beside it. A receptacle on a wooden post is normally just a socket, in our experience. You work with what you've got...
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Old 09-05-2018, 03:40 PM   #18
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most ive seen have a breaker i try to remember to turn it off before plugging in or unplugging
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Old 09-05-2018, 08:03 PM   #19
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... My first rule for trouble shooting is "never presume anything". Ron
Ditto! Our home landline stopped working once. Standard response by phone company was to plug our phone into the outside NID (Network Interface Device), and if the phone worked, the problem was the wiring inside our house, and they would charge to fix it. Using a multimeter, I finally tracked down bad wiring within the NID where one of those tiny wires had pulled out of crimped terminal, and the NID is their responsibility, not mine. I had to show the problem to the service technician before he would believe me. He said that in 20 years he had never seen a NID go bad before. Never assume anything...
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Old 09-05-2018, 08:37 PM   #20
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My first rule for trouble shooting is "never presume anything".
That's a sure way to miss something obvious. As others have said, use a multi-meter and start with the battery and "follow the power".

Ron

And if there is a second rule, it should be "Do the easiest test first". As many others have suggested, a $20 multimeter used at the battery terminals is a 10 second test and gives you much useful information. And I bet you will use the multimeter many times and get your money's worth.


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