Well, my converter is also a battery charger (says so right on the front panel - LOL).  But I left shore power plugged in for 24 hours with no other drain and it's definitely not charging.  I have it on a simple monitor and no love this afternoon when I went to check (12.5 just after turning off loads down to 12.3 per the monitor).

Otherwise the converter is working as expected.  Well, as long as I have it plugged in (yes, that was this week's facepalm).  12v and 110v all work as expected.

House battery also runs 12v as expected when not plugged in and before I popped her back in a couple of weeks ago made sure the water levels were topped up.

I did a little research– and so tomorrow will double check my fuses in the converter (they are those glass tube ones) as well as my battery polarity although I'm pretty sure the latter is not the problem.  Just cover all my bases.

If it's not either of those things then I assume that my converter is bad?  

And more importantly, am I also correct in assuming that I can't trickle charge and leave the house battery connected at the same time?  Currently I'm disconnecting before putting on the charger, but just checking to see if that is perhaps an unnecessary step.

As always, thanks in advance for any thoughts!

Tags: battery, charging, converter

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 Dawn, sorry but I'm a bit cornfused about which battery is which. What I call the "house" or "coach" battery is the one that runs your lights and water pump and vent fans inside the RV with those such circuits usually fed by fuses in the DC distribution portion. What I call the "engine" battery is just what it says, it starts the engine but does NOT go back and feed RV 12 volt loads.

 The Converter/Charger is what a) Charges the house battery and can also b) Supply 12 volt RV loads, so its DC output (maybe 13+ to 14 volts subject to load) HAS TO BE WIRED TO THE HOUSE BATTERY PERHAPS VIA FUSES BETWEEN CONVERTER OUTPUT AND HOUSE BATTERY IN ORDER TO GET TO AND CHARGE THE BATTERY

 If the Converter/Charger is working and iffffffffffffff it has a good solid no blown fuse connection to the house battery, if on and has worked a while THE BATTERY VOLTAGE WILL RISE. A good flooded lead acid battery stabilized and at rest will be around 12.6 volts so in order to pump current thru it to charge it the chargers voltage must be higher and have enough energy to raise the battery to 13 to 14 or so volts. If battery voltage isn't rising ITS NOT BEING CHARGED

 If the converter charge is "working" by supplying 12 volts to loads when you're plugged in and they all work  BUT THE HOUSE BATERY VOLTAGE ISNT RISING TO 13+ VOLTS the Converter must be okay BUT there's no connection or wires or there's a blown fuse between battery and converters output, or there's some sort of switching that isn't working or set correct.

 The only other thing may be that the Converter is faulty in that sure its producing close enough to 12 volts to run the RV BUT it lacks power to raise the battery volts as it needs to for charging IE a WEAK charger but still good enough to act as a converter

 Years ago I recall some Converter/Chargers that had a small switch you had to change from Converter to Battery.

 If house battery voltage isn't rising when converter is on, it must not be wired to battery or a blown fuse or its JUST BAD or were missing some sort of switching or setting. 

 Once you posted some good close up pics of the converter chargers label and directions and fuses and all that stuff, that may help. If I recall there were terminals that wired to the house battery and that 12 volt DC outlet and other circuits????????

 A Converter/Charger is just what you called it. It CONVERTS 120 VAC to 12 VDC and it CHARGES the house battery and in order to receive a charge, the battery must be wired with no blown fuses to the CHARGERS output   

 I wouldn't be afraid to operate a small trickle charger or battery tender or maintainer at same time the Converter/Charger is operating BUT if the charger is working you shouldn't need the trickle charger right??? The trickle charger is more for when you're NOT plugged in so the battery still stays up.

 Those glass fuses can be verified by just looking to see if they opened or else use an ohm meter or a simple continuity tester to verify a closed circuit from one side to the other. If under power and NOT blown there would be 12 volts ON BOTH SIDES of the fuse.

 PS a bad battery may not be capable of accepting a charge !!! About any auto or battery store will check and load test it for free, SURE ITS A GOOD BATTERY?? If full charged again its around 12.6 volts

 Nuff said fer now

 John T

Hi John - sorry if I was at all confusing.  I call my house battery/coach battery same as you, just it is in my engine compartment (just the opposite side of the engine from the starter battery)!  

I put the battery on the trickle charger last night and late this afternoon I'm almost back up to full capacity.  I think it's good - maintained all winter in the basement and gave me a good 3-4 days (a few hours each day) running lights and fans before it dropped to 12.3).  All winter on trickle it was 12.8+

So from what you are saying - 

1 - could have a blown fuse (I didn't check today - will tomorrow and test)

2 - something could be wired wrong so while the converter is working, it's not wired back to the battery (possibility - there's a mess of wiring under the hood that I haven't sorted through yet).

3 - the converter/charger could be faulty and not generating enough to charge the battery even though it's converting my 120 to 12v as expected

4 - there's a switch I'm potentially missing

I wasn't sure if I could trickle while the battery was hooked up so had it unhooked - but then today was nice so didn't need to run a/c while I was working and just let it continue to charge.  Enough light for what I was doing (taking down and rehanging cabinet doors and the blinds).  Thanks for the heads up.  I've fixed it up so I'm using the post rings from my charger instead of the clamps so it'll be easier for me to hook it up when needed.

I'll report back after I've checked the fuses tomorrow and reviewed that control panel - I think my 'owners manual' is for a previous converter and not going to do me any good.  The hardest part is going to be tracing the wires.

Thanks for the fantastic review of what I should be looking for!

  You pretty well have it. My PRIME suspects would be No 1 or No 2, 3 and 4 were me grasping at straws lol. If alls well its supposed to charge the battery anytime its on and the fact it powers all your lights etc when plugged in (if that's my correct understanding) tells me the converter itself is likely okay, so it may just not be getting charging current to the battery ??? By any chance does the converter have terminals labeled something like say BAT and 12 VDC or Distribution or Loads ???

 Have a good one

 John T 

 PS there could be a relay that's not latching in which ties the house battery to the chargers output, I just cant say from here without charger info and it and the RV s schematic.

 John T

Thanks again John, definitely not the fuse(s).  

That photo of the converter panel, for reference is here: https://api.ning.com/files/QTgBRfols157yNddm8k9V8rNYtAsLfo0B7yuuaiN...

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You can see shared fuse B-C?  That's the new 12v accessory I installed in that discussion and it's working well - ran the vacuum.  And none of the other fuses are broken per visual inspection.

So, under the hood - I'm thinking this might be my culprit?

The top larger gray wire coming into the big gob of electrical tape is the positive from the house/coach battery.  The battery otherwise just has a negative grounded to the chassis.  The lower black wire from the gob goes back under rig and I'm assuming back in and through the wall back to the converter.

The cord for the converter (that goes out right hand side, not the left which is the 110 stuff) does go back into the wall of the rig and branches to the front. Tomorrow,if necessary I can get under the chassis and see if I can follow better but I really don't expect to find anything other than the wiring itself.

What would have been removed here?  A relay like you were talking about?  So perhaps I just have electric going one way?

I will note when I got the rig I noticed the city water had been completely bypassed as well as the water heater (permanently - i have to rebuild that connection).  It's almost like someone was using this purely for off grid?  

 Shucks, this is harder to look at pics and analyze online versus if there so I will just try this:

 1) Top gray wire is + of house battery so it should read 12.6 volts if full charged right????????? THATS WITH RV UNPLUGGED AND CONVERTER NOT RUNNING

2) Bottom black wire I guess goes to the DC output (around 13+ volts) of the converter right??? IF CONVERTER IS ON AND THATS THE WIRE TO ITS DC OUTPUT????

3) If I were there Id first unconnect the battery + gray and the bottom black (don't let them short to frame)

4) Then with converter OFF there should be no voltage on the bottom black

5) Then Id turn on the converter and see if that bottom black (to converter output) goes to 13 + or so volts IF SO THE CONVERTER IS WORKING

6) Then hook the gray and black and the battery voltage should rise form 12.6 up to 13+ after some time IFFFFFFFFFFF the wires go to where you say they go

CAUTION be careful and dont let those wires short to ground and Id turn off power before connecting or reconnecting

Converter if on and working should show 13+ volts on that black if its really ?? wired to converters CD output.   House battery voltage on that gray should read 12.6 if full charged BUT RAISE IF HOOKED TO A GOOD CONVERTER

NOTE there may be or was before some sort of a diode (electrical current flow one way check valve) between converter and house battery or some sort of a relay I JUST CANT KNOW OR SAY FROM HERE. A relay or diode has to allow converter current to flow into and charge the battery but NOT allow the battery to discharge back thru the converter when its turned OFF. But still the battery output has to get to the converters DC fused distribution panel to power loads via the battery when you're not plugged in and converter is OFF. I JUST DONT KNOW HOW ITS WIRED OR SWITCHED  OR HOW RELAYS OR DIODES MAY FIGURE INTO YOUR SET UP

I DO KNOW THE CONVERTERS OUTPUT HAS TO BE WIRED SOMEWHERE SOMEHOW TO THE BATERY (direct or relays or diodes???) TO CHARGE IT  

 Best I can do fer now

 John T

First, what you have outlined and how to test makes PERFECT sense and I certainly get about not letting them ground out, not have them touching anything, etc., and carefully cutting off all my electric as I test.

:-)

I have observed another thing - when battery is unplugged (disconnected) and converter is on, 12v works.  However, when converter is on, and battery is plugged in as well, and I'm running lights and and fan (12v) I'm actually seeing the battery drain.

More and more I am suspecting that I am missing some sort of relay/diode IF they would have been wired inline and not part of the converter itself.  Again I am suspicious of those wires being taped up and connected like that.  There is nothing else in the visible wiring harness that is accessible.  If those relays/diodes are normally part of the converter then maybe that is faulty.

Your test however should offer some more information.  

I'm going to try to find some time to pop the hood and check this out today - I'll report back.  And thanks again - sometimes the best is advice is talking through the variables and how to test for them!

 I just gotta quit "guessing" lol not being there makes it difficult. I just cant know how its wired or configured or maybe modified over the years, sorry.

Usually any sort of a diode or relay for connecting charger to battery etc  is built into and a part of the Converter/Charger but things tend to get jury rigged sometimes grrrrrrrr I'm NOT talking about a typical "isolation relay"  (maybe located under hood or near engine battery) its purpose is to connect the house battery to the engine battery while driving so it gets charged then via the engines alternator. 

To eliminate all such problems in my current motorhome, I re wired ALL my loads located in the fused DC distribution panel direct to my battery bank. That way all loads always work anytime I have batteries and they are charged. Then I installed my PD 9280 Smart 4 Stage 80 amp Charger direct to my batteries only so anytime I'm plugged to shore power (or genny runs) it charges my batteries and consequently powers those loads already connected to my batteries.

 Some of the older converter/chargers worked a bit different NOT how I'm now wired so again the converter chargers output MUST get connected (be it via relays or diodes or direct) to the house battery in order to charge it....

 Nuff said

 John T   

Turned out the charging part of the converter was bad. Figured I'd have to update it anyways as it's an old one.  I'm running up against time issues so going to let the fixit place deal with it. They've been great so far and there's been a bunch of little things they fixed/tweaked without charge and saved me money with advice and answering questions so this seems like a no-brainer.  

Turns out the solenoid wasn't hooked up either (the big gob of electric tape in the above pictures had a twin I didn't notice). Fortunately that does work despite also being older.  I really am amazed that the battery lasted for months for the BF - but then I expect the only thing he did was turn on the led lights now and again.

Besides I have a solar system to install later this fall to flex my newbie DIY muscles on - lol.  

They are recommending piggybacking the new converter on the old one since it's just the charging we have deal with right now.  Apparently that will take minimal wiring.  That will save me labor until such time I need to replace it entirely.  I'll post a picture after it's done.

Thanks again for all your help John - each step I take I gain more confidence understanding how the puzzle all fits together!

Good morning, Dawn; 

One thing that John T. and I have in common is an appreciation for the 12 V DC power supplies made by the Power Dynamics people.  John has the PD-9280 in his, and I put the PD-4655 into mine to replace the old original B-W 6345 so called "RV 12 V DC power converter" that was in mine, but when I found out that the B-W 6300 series of "RV power converters" really are nothing more than the first half of a real power supply, it had to come out.  It is still OK, and it still "works" as much as it ever did, which really is not saying very much.  Anyway, the Power Dynamics people have a collection of of power supplies in several different forms that will fit into the place where almost any of the older "RV 12 V DC power converters" were located.  I really do recommend this type of device.  

As you have learned, some of the old "power converters" also had a separate 12 VDC battery charger built into them also, but it is not very big, and it can take a long time to recharge a discharged coach/house battery system with one of them.  The Power Dynamics systems are a very different more modern design, and their four (4) stage charging method is much nicer to the batteries, and you do not need to worry about them "boiling" your batteries dry leaving them on one of the modern four stage chargers.  I have had my PD-4655 sitting on the shore power cable for two years now, and the coach/house battery water level in my Winnebago Elandan has not dropped yet.  I have not needed to put any water into the batteries over that time period. 

It sounds like your local shop is going to put in a separate battery charger for your coach/house batteries (not the engine battery) for now, and that is a good way to go to get you back on the road right now.  Later when you get back, consider something like contacting Randy at    www.bestconverter.com    in Idaho and telling him what you have in your RV now.  He can tell you what in the Power Dynamics line will fit in your RV.  

By the way, it cost me less to buy the greatly improved Power Dynamics PD-4655 power supply than what it would have been to buy a replacement B-W or Magnatek 6345 "power converter with charger." 

OK.  Time to get this off. 

Ralph 

Latté Land, Washington 

Ralph - I'll get the model/brand they are recommending on Monday and post back....

 Dawn, you are welcome and hopefully you and/or others have learned from this whole experience. FWIW I'm with Ralph and HIGHLY ADVISE you to buy a new modern "Smart" charger that has automatic 3/4 Stage Charging such as BULK, ABSORPTION and FLOAT and many (like my PD) also have an EQUALIZATION cycle. The old technology cheap noisy buzzing humming DUMB chargers can overcharge your batteries and sure they are much cheaper, but no way Id install a brand new charger that wasn't Smart 3/4 stage automatic which GREATLY extends battery life. My RV had the cheap old school old technology dumb charger and ALL you have do to is disconnects its old charger (can leave 12 VDC distribution all in place) ,,,,,,,,,run the two new charge wires to your battery no external relays or diodes required, its all built in,,,,,,,,,hook it up to 120 VAC power, and you're off to the races, so easy and simple and labor saving. I would expect any competent RV repair shop to suggest a new 'Smart" Charger anyway even if you don't ask for or order it. While I like Progressive Dynamics there are many brands out there.   

NOTE this is NOT the same as an isolation relay that connects the engine to house battery while driving to charge them BOTH. It has to be 100% duty cycle rated unlike say a Ford starting relay although they look the same.

 Youre doin good Dawn

 John T

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