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Old 01-03-2018, 11:56 AM   #1
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Electrical Charging problem

Hello, I need some help on a battery charging problem.

I just bought this used 2011 19 foot. When I checked the batteries the other day I had to add water as the plates we exposed. Then I plugged in for several days. The battery seemed to power the front jack well for our first trip.

Now home I tested the batteries, not plugged in but battery cables connected, 2 6 volt, with an meter and read about 11.9 volts both with out being plugged in or being plugged in.

I disconnected the cables from the battery and tried to read the voltage at the cables, checking to see if they were charging the batteries, with it plugged in and could not get a reading. So I assume there is no power charging the batteries. Do you think that is correct?

I also assume there should be power charging the batteries when plugged in. Is that correct?

What other testing or thoughts do you have to repair this?

Thank you paul
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Old 01-03-2018, 12:23 PM   #2
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It is difficult to troubleshoot over the internet, but some suggestions:

Depending on how far below the plates the acid was & for how long, it is possible that the batteries are damaged beyond recovery. They may provide enough charge to run a load for a short time, but never charge to full. One way to determine their condition is to charge them with a battery charger, then get a load test. Most places that sell batteries (including many auto parts stores) can do load tests.

11.9 V is about as low as you want to let the batteries get (a little under 1/2 full). I'm not sure from your description which you were measuring - the batteries or the converter output.

With the batteries connected to the converter & the disconnect switch on (if you have one), when plugged in you should see between 13.2 - 14.8 measuring across the batteries. The voltage depends on how close to full the batteries are & what stage your converter is in.

If you don't see anything but the 11.9V with the converter plugged in and the batteries connected (again, be sure the disconnect switch is on) something is wrong.

Do the lights, furnace, and other 12V devices work when plugged in? If you see ~14V at a trailer load (such as a lamp socket or 12V receptacle), the converter is probably working, but there is a problem between it & the batteries.

Do you see any signs of charging by the tow vehicle? While it generally will not bring the trailer batteries to full, they should bring them up to more than 11.9V.

If your 2011 Escape 19 is wired the way my 17 was, there are 2 30 amp auto reset thermal circuit breakers in the charging circuit, one on the tow vehicle charge line, and one between the converter & batteries. A bad breaker could cause a non charging condition, although both going bad at the same time is unlikely.
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Old 01-03-2018, 02:09 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
It is difficult to troubleshoot over the internet, but some suggestions:
But we try anyway.

One other thing. The converter is powered via a circuit breaker on the panel. I'd check that all the circuit breakers are in the "on" position.

With the converter on you should get voltage at the battery terminals whether they're in poor shape or not.

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Old 01-03-2018, 03:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mrpdk View Post
...
I disconnected the cables from the battery and tried to read the voltage at the cables, checking to see if they were charging the batteries, with it plugged in and could not get a reading. So I assume there is no power charging the batteries. Do you think that is correct?
...
One suggestion...
As a rule-of-thumb, it is not wise to disconnect the cables from the batteries when attempting to charge, wether it the solar charger (aka "controller") or the 110v charger (aka "converter"). The device doing the charging might be damage or just confused and shut down to prevent damage. Not a guarantee but just a wise protocol. If a device is actively charging then the voltage across the batteries should be a minimum of 13.2 as Jon has said. (For solar charging this assumes full sun, of course.) Also keep the drain low, especially keep the fridge on propane or 110v, but not 12v. A light bulb or two to see what you are doing is not going to sway the results.

If all the fuses and switches check out then unplug from the 110v and throw a small blanket over your solar panel (if you have one, and it is daytime) and plug into a running tow vehicle. Again, you should see a voltage up around 13+. If all three sources fail to temporarily bring the voltage up on the battery terminals then you have to trouble shoot the wires or triple check the switches and fuses. You have a different problem - in addition to possibly dry-damaged batteries.

One thing to remember about dry-damaged batteries is that they can pretend to be full (12.8+v) but will discharge back down to low 12 or high 11 very quickly. In other words, will have very little storage capacity. But address this problem only after you can confirm that something can charge, or attempt to charge the batteries.

Plan on spending a fun afternoon in your trailer with your favorite multi-meter!
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Old 01-03-2018, 03:40 PM   #5
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Batteries

Do you know how old the batteries are? If they are originals,6 years of Cycling might be about all youre going to get. We used to load test batteries for customers. We would put them on the charger for what should have been enough time to fully charge them. Then wed put the load tester on the terminals and crank it up to see how long the battery could sustain the load on the meter that was part of the tester. Whether the battery made its rating for cranking amps or not wed note what it did almost always in front of the customer and then recharge the battery for an hour or so. And reinstall the battery. We would charge $1.25 for the whole procedure, the same as the price of a battery charge. If the customer had witnessed all of that he was very likely to come back and buy a battery in a week or so after his car let him down a couple of times. Those were the good old days.
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Old 01-03-2018, 07:13 PM   #6
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Thank you so far

Thanks for the suggestions so far. I will try these and see what I can find.

Regards paul
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Old 01-04-2018, 07:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
It is difficult to troubleshoot over the internet, but some suggestions:

If your 2011 Escape 19 is wired the way my 17 was, there are 2 30 amp auto reset thermal circuit breakers in the charging circuit, one on the tow vehicle charge line, and one between the converter & batteries. A bad breaker could cause a non charging condition, although both going bad at the same time is unlikely.
Does your new 21 also have the 30 amp auto reset thermal circuit breakers? If so, where are they physically located?

I'm in the process of trying to find all the electrical components on my new 21. I know about the 40 amp fuse inside the battery compartment, but I had not heard of these thermal circuit breakers.
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Old 01-04-2018, 05:03 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by richardr View Post
Does your new 21 also have the 30 amp auto reset thermal circuit breakers? If so, where are they physically located?

I'm in the process of trying to find all the electrical components on my new 21. I know about the 40 amp fuse inside the battery compartment, but I had not heard of these thermal circuit breakers.
In the 17, they are right next to the WFCO converter, under the dinette seat. They're the two small black rectangles at the bottom of the photo. One is on the line from the battery to the converter, and the other is on the solar controller line.
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Old 01-04-2018, 08:00 PM   #9
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Thank you. complete

Thank you again. I learned from this post the switch that turns on the 12v system also controls the charging. Thank goodness that was an easy fix.

Now I can see what is left in the batteries

It takes a Village to care for an Escape...............
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Old 01-05-2018, 06:37 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by mrpdk View Post
Thank you again. I learned from this post the switch that turns on the 12v system also controls the charging. Thank goodness that was an easy fix.

Now I can see what is left in the batteries

It takes a Village to care for an Escape...............
Those that post on this forum..... help so much.... a big thank you to all!

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