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Old 05-24-2024, 11:47 PM   #1
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Batteries Not Charging

It would seem that my the battery charger on my trailer has quit working. I'm not very familiar with how this system works. Is there something that can be repaired or is it time for a complete new unit?
All the fuses on the panel are good and the breakers are are on. Although I don't think those would have anything to do with the charger working.
Any advice or direction on troubleshooting would be great.
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Old 05-25-2024, 12:32 AM   #2
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While it's possible, I would not jump to the conclusion that the power center / charger is at fault.

For your consideration, I would first check the following, none which requires you to have any particular electric knowledge or test equipment ....
  1. Verify that 120volt shore power is reaching your power center (are your air conditioner or things plugged-into AC outlets working?)
  2. Yes, the breaker to your charger-section must be "on"; toggle all your breakers off/on to ensure none have 'tripped'.
  3. Verify that the battery disconnect switch is "on"
  4. Verify that the two (~40A) fuses on the power center main circuit board are good
  5. With shore-power disconnected (abundance of caution), inspect the full-run of the cables from the power center / charger to the battery terminals, both positive and negative / ground (and all cables between batteries if you have two); try to 'wiggle' each connection; loose connections, broken wire strands, corrosion, etc can cause the symptom you describe; don't overlook the set-screw cable connections at the power-center main board itself.
  6. Pull the battery (batteries) and take to a local auto-parts house for a load-test / condition test. Noting the age of your trailer but not knowing the age of the batteries (and regardless of that), it's possible that the batteries are aged-out or damaged and are not accepting a charge.
There are other troubleshooting procedures to identify potential issues within the power center, but that will require familiarity with use of a multimeter and the wherewithal to safely work around 120VAC power. Is that within your capability / comfort zone?

FYI, but I wouldn't go there yet, yes, it is possible to replace the charger-section within the power-center rather than the whole power-center.

Good Luck!
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Old 05-25-2024, 04:30 AM   #3
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If it comes down to a need to replace the charging portion of the converter, I would suggest Best Converter @ (888) 828-1893.
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Old 05-25-2024, 09:07 AM   #4
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@Centex thanks for the help.
I'm pretty comfortable working around both 12v and 120v electricity. I'm just not sure how the system on my trailer works. I kinda understand how to use a multimeter. I do have several.
The 40 volt fuses both looked good. As did all other fuse I could see on the outside. I checked battery fluid levels. Topped them off with distilled water. Cleaned the small amount of corrosion off the battery terminals and wires. My system uses 2 6 volt batteries. One battery tested at 5.8v the other at 1.78v. They are from January 2019. So not terribly old, but getting old enough it could be time to replace.
I have a battery charger so I thought I might disconnect the wire from the batteries to the trailer and try to charge them with my battery charger to see if they'll take a charge.
I'll go through the list you gave me first. Where is the battery disconect switch? Is it under the seat? I did not see one of the breakers with that label.

Thanks again.
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Old 05-25-2024, 09:34 AM   #5
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One battery sounds fried

With 1.78V, that battery is dead and likely kaput! It may be able to be charged some, but will never perform adequately.
Deep discharge is hard on FLA batteries, real deep discharge can be fatal. 1.78V is real, real deep discharge.

4-6 years is a general lifespan for FLA. If babied, they can last a bit longer, but nothing is forever, and nothing lasts.

For your issue, I'd start with battery replacement first and work down from there. They're due for replacement anyways, and that eliminates one factor and your primary issue.
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Old 05-25-2024, 09:40 AM   #6
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OK. While plugged into shore power, the outside 110 plug in works. The 3 inside plugs do not. We don't have an air conditioner or microwave. The fridge appeared to be working on ac power. I toggled the breaker switches off and back on. No change. The breakers have labeling but they don't seem to make sense to me. It looks like there are 4 seperate labels: main, converter, fridge, plugs, but only 3 breakers. And why does the outside plug work when the rest don't? Couldn't find any switches on the back side of the unit. Trailer has been plugged into shore power now for about 36 hours. Still no charge in the batteries.
Added some pictures for reference.
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Old 05-25-2024, 09:47 AM   #7
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Scratch that. All 110 outlets are working fine while plugged into shore power.
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Old 05-25-2024, 11:34 AM   #8
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Your top breaker is a "tandem". The 30 amp (very top switch) is the Main breaker (controls 120v to the rest of the panel), the next one down is for the convertor, below that is for the fridge & plugs (fridge & plugs on the same breaker).

What DC voltage are you reading from the batts when the convertor is "On" (shore power connected)? (Measure from +Pos on left batt, to -Neg on right batt as shown in pic below)


Likely one of your batts is dead, do have access to a "stand alone" battery charger to see if they will take and hold a charge before lugging it to the auto parts store for a load test?
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Old 05-25-2024, 12:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 77FJ40 View Post
.... Where is the battery disconect switch? ....
Sorry, given my lack of familiarity with your 17B, which I believe may have bumper-mounted batteries (?), I'm not sure where that switch is located, but yes likely under the bench near the power center. Perhaps a knowledgeable similar-vintage 17B owner will chime-in.

Agreeing with others, given the stated age and particularly the low voltage on the one battery, methinks at least one of those is now DOA, with the other likely not far behind, and replacement of both is likely in order. Some folks get more life out of them, some less, but IMO you're in the range of reasonable life expectancy / end of life for those batteries. Hopefully that will solve your problem.
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Old 05-25-2024, 12:55 PM   #10
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Try replacing each of the 40 volt fuses. They may have very small breaks in them. Ask me how I know this!
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Old 05-25-2024, 01:45 PM   #11
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Critical item - battery disconnect switch

You need to find it.............

If this switch is not "On", the convertor will not charge the batteries............

Also, it should be "Off" for storage as there are parasitic draws that will run the batts down................
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Old 05-25-2024, 01:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
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You need to find it.............

Also, it should be "Off" for storage as there are parasitic draws that will run the batts down................
Which may be the reason why the batteries have such low voltage, but as a previous post stated, time to replace.
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Old 05-25-2024, 08:51 PM   #13
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Try replacing each of the 40 volt fuses. They may have very small breaks in them. Ask me how I know this!
Good point to note. A fuse can look good but still be open. Pull them out and verify this with your meter on the Ohm scale. A fuse should read as near zero ohms if good and max scale if bad.
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Old 05-26-2024, 08:20 AM   #14
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I checked battery fluid levels. Topped them off with distilled water. Cleaned the small amount of corrosion off the battery terminals and wires. My system uses 2 6 volt batteries. One battery tested at 5.8v the other at 1.78v. They are from January 2019. So not terribly old, but getting old enough it could be time to replace.
You are correct that 5 years may not be a long time for LA batteries, but that is dependent on how they have been maintained, It only takes one or two deep discharges to mess up their ability to take and hold charge. Personally, I would isolate the batteries and charge them independently and see how they perform before I look at the charger.
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Old 05-26-2024, 09:22 AM   #15
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Electrical demons

As the above post, I'd start with your batteries as the culprit. Near dead voltage on one is telling. You can diddle with all manner of fuses, wires, breakers, but your problem is dead batteries to start with. Logical & best to start there.
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Old 05-26-2024, 08:43 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the help guys.

Sorry I've been MIA. Went on an overnight tent camping trip with the family.
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Old 05-26-2024, 08:48 PM   #17
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I do have a stand alone charger that can charge 6v batteries. I'll try to see if I can revive them, but likely gonna face the music I guess.
Would really like to find that switch too though. Didn't know there was one.

Trailer is 2010.
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Old 05-26-2024, 10:26 PM   #18
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.... Would really like to find that switch too though. Didn't know there was one.

Trailer is 2010.
Given the age of the trailer I would still do the complete battery-circuit wiring inspection mentioned as item 5 in post #2.

A lot can happen in the way of vibration damage, loosened connections, and corrosion in 14 years, any or all which can degrade your charging system performance.

That complete circuit trace / inspection, staring at either of the batteries and tracing all wires to their end at the power-center and/or chassis ground, will reveal the battery disconnect switch. Post a pic of anything questionable or that you can't identify along that trace for help.

Are you the original owner of this trailer? I suppose, though hopefully not the case, it is possible your trailer does not have a master battery disconnect.
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Old 05-27-2024, 09:08 AM   #19
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I am not the original owner. I believe I am owner #3. I bought it in May of 2021. Owner #2 had the 2 6 volt batteries installed. He told me it originally had a single 12 volt. It's not very far from batteries to main unit so it won't be too hard to trace the wires and see if anything looks suspect. Admittedly I've not done real well with maintenance on these batteries. The fluid was down pretty low.
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Old 05-27-2024, 06:42 PM   #20
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OK. Put the low battery on the stand alone 6 volt charger for 8 hrs. Voltage now reads at 6.19 once I disconnected the charger. I have the other battery charging on the stand alone charger now.

I chased the wires between the battery terminals and the power box. Nothing looks suspect. I did not find a cut off switch. Maybe if I bring the batteries off the mat my in house charger will be able to do something with them? I don't mind replacing the old batteries, but I have replaced batteries in the past only to find out the alternater was the real problem, so I just wanna be sure that there is nothing wrong with my system before getting new batteries and assuming the problem is fixed.
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