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My RV's Power Converter Is Not Charging The RV House Batteries

by Richard Law
(Roseville, CA USA)

I have a problem with my Power Source converter in that I have 110/120 to all my AC plugs. I also have DC power to all my DC equipment but it will not charge the battery when plugged-in to an AC current.

The only way I can charge the batteries are while I'm pulling the trailer or with a battery charger. I didn't notice this until I stored the trailer and had it plugged in the AC current and the batteries went bad. Do you know if there is a fuse connection between the 110 AC and the 120 DC units in the converter that might have been blown?

ANSWER Greetings Richard thanks for submitting your question on our Ask An RV Question Page.

OK let's see what I can do to help. Now since you do not tell me if you are the original owner of this trailer, or if the batteries were charging prior to this or given me the year, make or model of your trailer, I am going to ask one simple question.

Are you sure that your trailer's converter is designed to charge the house batteries? You need to know this because we can do all the troubleshooting in the world to figure out why the batteries are not charging only to find out that your converter was not designed to charge the batteries. If you have the owner's manual the information should be there or there may be a separate owner's manual for the converter itself. This varies by trailer manufacturer. If you have no manuals then you might want to call the service department of an RV Dealership that either sells or services your make and model trailer and ask them.

I am going to assume from this point on that your converter is designed to charge your house batteries. Here are the steps I would like you to take.

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1. Unplug the RV from the 120 volt power source.

2. Go to the compartment where your converter is located. If visible check all of the wires coming out of the converter (do not attempt to open up the converter). Do any of the wires look broken, do any of the wires look discolored like they have gotten hot. Check to make sure that there is no bare wiring touching another bare wire. If you do find some damaged wiring, it will have to be replaced. Once replaced, check again to see if the batteries are being charged.

Do you see any in-line fuses on the wires? If so; check to make sure that the in-line fuse is not blown. If it is replace the fuse with the same amp fuse that you took out. Do not replace it with a higher amp fuse, as you could create a situation where the wires could overheat and cause a fire in your RV.

3. With RV unplugged from 120 volts. Go to the fuse and breaker panel of your RV. In most cases this panel will be in the same compartment as your converter. You will see breakers on the panel just like the breakers in your house. Those breakers are for the 120 volt system of your RV. Check the breakers to see if any are blown. Don't just look at them physically touch them to make sure that they are in the set position. If you have a manual or if the breakers are marked it will give an idea of what that breaker operate. If all the breakers are on continue to step 4.

4. With RV unplugged from 120 volts. On that same panel or close proximity to that panel you will see a bunch of auto type fuses. Check each fuse to make sure it is not blown. This may require you to remove each fuse to visibly inspect it, if you have a manual or if the fuse panel is marked it will give you an idea of where to start. If not just pull each of the fuses out one at time and inspect and replace. Again if you find a burnt fuse, replace it with the same amperage fuse. Once the fuses are replaced try plugging the RV in again and see if the batteries are receiving a charge. If not continue on to step 5.

5. With RV unplugged from 120 volts. Go to where your house batteries are. Check all the wires that are going to the batteries, are any of them broken, frayed, burnt or two bare wires touching each other? If so repair or replace as needed. Do any of the wires coming off the batteries have an inline fuse or fuseable link. Repair and replace these items as needed

Check the battery terminals, is there noticeable corrosion, are the battery cables attached tightly to the battery posts? Clean, tighten, battery cables and posts as needed.

Is there a battery cut-off switch located anywhere in the RV. The location of this switch varies by RV model and manufacturer. Make sure the this switch is in the on position.

If all of these steps are done and the batteries are still not charging, then the problem is most likely in the converter itself. Unless you are an RV Technician, you should not be opening up or tampering with the converter. This would be the time to your trailer to a qualified RV Repair Shop and have them repair the problem.

I hope this has helped you in identifying and repairing the problem with your trailer. As always, I invite our visitors to give you their tips and tricks as well. If you have some suggestions on how to solve this problem you can submit them by clicking on the add a comment link near the bottom of this page.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

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Comments for My RV's Power Converter Is Not Charging The RV House Batteries

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No Power
by: James

I have my motorhome (diesel pusher) connected to shoreline power here at my house. First I checked the voltage coming out of the plug attached to my house(all 220Volts) good power.

I plug my line going to the motorhome into this plug and the motorhome is "completely dead". No 12v I mean nothing comes on. I have checked all my breakers and fuses in the main control panel, the control panel under the bed and everything is good. Does this lead back to the converter.??

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RV batterys not charging
by: Anonymous

My batterys are not charging when I hook up to shore power.

The batterys run low but the AC works ref and micro works

But some of the out lets don't work I checked the surcute brakets and there fine do I need to turn on the converter on when I'm shore power. Pleas help

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Generator will not charge RV batteries
by: Anonymous

My batteries will charge fully when hooked up to 120AC house power. However, when I get out camping, after a couple of days of use, the batteries run down. I use a Honda 2000 generator to charge them. After about 2 hours of running the generator the batteries show they are charged to around 12.5V but then almost immediately begin to run down at a very fast pace. Within 12 hours they drop and are virtually dead. Any idea why they will charge at home but not with a generator?

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Batteries don't want to cahrge
by: Anonymous

Checked through it conferred with another tech. Changed the converter and all was good, but this morning they are not charging again. Any thoughts?

Thanks

Nick

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1998 Shasta Flite
by: Jeremy

I have some of the same issues and it sounds like some of you are very good at these problems.

I got a camper recently from my brother. I have it in my driveway plugged to a 110 outlet in my garage. The radio, fridge, and a few other things do not work unless I have a hot battery plugged in. I guess I do not understand the wiring on these things.

Why, when its plugged in, does the battery matter? I put a brand new battery in and the fridge and radio worked fine. For 1 or 2 days everything was good. I was under the impression that the converter kept the battery hot while plugged in? I came home from work yesterday, just walked through the camper and noticed the fridge was off. The radio isnt working. I really dont know what to do next. I could charge the battery every couple days but I dont think this is the way this is supposed to work. I have researched the 6345 converters and see there is a 8345 upgrade. I dont know that I would feel comfortable switching this out myself, but either way, Im also not wanting to spend the money if its not my problem.

Anyway, any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for your time.

Jeremy

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Low voltage
by: Anonymous

My problem is after a week of camping my battery is so weak it won't put the slid outs in. I checked voltage when plugged in and it reads 12.12 volts and cycles down to 12.2 like it is trickle charging. Is there something I'm missing?

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Cable Connections and Grounds
by: Sam Houston

Grounds. Check all your grounds. Most of everyone's issue is from a bad -12VDC ground or a poor connector/cable at the battery or the charger/converter.

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Kenny
by: Anonymous

Kenny if all that does not work is 12VDC, then it is your converter. First things first is to have your battery checked. If your battery is bad, you are spinning your wheels. Most autoparts stores will load test batteries for free. Check you liquid level and try to charge it first with an external battery charge. Make the testing go a lot easier. If the battery won't charge or hold its charge with no load, it is toast. If it has been completely drained, it will never last. Anytime a battery goes below 10 volts for any length of time, you are killing the weakest cell.

Your converter charges your batteries and supplies power to all the 12VDC items. You should be able to power 12VDC items with a battery connected. There are input fuses on the supply side. The Parallax units have 2 30 AMP ATC fuses that are parallel off the battery +12VDC. Check the lugs (power and ground) on the bread board for corrosion, that they are secure, and the lug is not loose on the bread board. Next would be to trace your -12VDC (ground) off the convertor (which probably goes to the frame) and the -12VDC (ground) on the battery to its location (probably on the frame. I thought I had a bad converter and it turned out to be ground going thru rusted metal. The voltage was there till a heavy current passed thru it, then the voltage would drop. New, clean ground and problem solved.

If your unit is a converter/inverter type, Try the same procedures as above. Be mindful that your RV has a floating ground system and should never have the ground and AC Neutral bonded together. This is more so when an inverter is onboard because unlike shore power with separate neutral that bonds at the external breaker box for the shore power feed, your inverter introduces AC current with no Earth ground. Check with your manual first. Also see which AC breaker will trip the output of the inverter to prevent it from energizing during your testing.

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Help
by: Kenny

When I plug in my camper nothing works. None of the outlets.microwave nothing works and batteries wont charge. Would that be the invertor?

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Same issue
by: Trish

Im parked in a campground, plugged into 110 all the time.. Keystone, 2011 outback.. New battery.. But converter wasnt charging it.. I had to use an outside charger... Even then all th lights etc were running on 12volt instead of 110...
I checked all the fuses.. Lines etc.. Unplugged battery.. Nothing worked.. Plugged battery back in, unplugged power.. Nothing worked... Hooked them both back up and nothing worked until i flipped the 12 volt switch... Now lights etc are working on 110...weird...everyone told me to keep that switch off unless I was running on battery only. Time will tell yet if its charging the battery.. But whats going on.. Is it ok to have 12 volt switch on while plugged into 110??

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LOST MY POWER
by: Anonymous

I have a 2014 leprechaun 317SA. If I use shore power everything works inside. If I start the engine everything inside works. Heres when trouble starts; when I switch over to the house batteries only - NOTHING WORKS. The panel will not light up, on board Onan generator will not prime or start, the house lights, the electric awning nothing works. I stopped by National Rv in Belleville, Michigan and was told by their ace mechanic....son you need new house batteries. Well $250 worth of new batteries didn't help. THANKS MECHANIC from National RV.

Anyone have any other suggestions that will help?

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Troubleshooting For Last Poster
by: Sam Houston

Check your battery first, especially if you haven't checked it in a while
1. Voltage check across the terminal lugs
2. Check for corrosion of the terminal lugs, clamps, and cables.
3. Check fluid level if wet acid.
4. Optional - You could take it to the auto parts store for a free load test.

After all checks out, then follow the wires from the battery to towards the load center and look for DC circuit breakers. Usually it is a little (2x1x1) box, light or dark grey in color self-resetting circuit breaker. Check the connectors here for corrosion, looseness, and that it is a solid connection. See if you have voltage across the breaker. It should be within 0.01~0.03VDC of the battery. Apply one of your loads that is giving you trouble and see if the voltage significantly drops. If it does and the battery check good/fully charged, then this might need to be replaced. You could put a jumper on it to temporarily test to see if it is indeed the fault. From there, it would be going to the load center and checking connections and fusing there. From what you are describing, your fuses aren't blown but they could be corroded or the female terminal they slide into have become loose fitting. You will also need to check for your DC grounds.

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no power
by: Anonymous

watching tv in camper all of a sudden, tv quite, refrigerator quite . tv will come on then it will shut off. refrigerator won t work

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Problem Resolved - What Was Actually Wrong
by: Anonymous

Check that you have a good 12VDC ground for your converter and battery. Continuity testers will show a complete circuit under no load. This can be a false indication as the load is applied, an insufficient ground will act as a current limiter. In my case, the converter ground in my conversion van was corroded. It always gave an appropriate DC voltage and drive the DC circuits (low amperage) but always failed to charge the batteries.

I redid the ground and the system work perfectly but went ahead and upgraded to a modern converter with smart charging to get the most out of my batteries.

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Converter not working
by: Howard

I have a 2005 Mountaner by montana,the rv has 110 lights & plugs but the converter blows the top 2 30 amp fuses above the other fuses.I instaiied a new deep cycle battery, but before this the converter would not come on and cycle as the battery pulled down by use of 12 volt lights ect. can you tell me why or where to look for this issue?

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Converter not working
by: Howard

I have a 2005 Mountaner by montana,the rv has 110 lights & plugs but the converter blows the top 2 30 amp fuses above the other fuses.I instaiied a new deep cycle battery, but before this the converter would not come on and cycle as the battery pulled down by use of 12 volt lights ect. can you tell me why or where to look for this issue?

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BATT DOES NOT CHARGE FROM SHORELINE
by: Anonymous

I HAVE A 1995 MONACO WINDSOR DIESEL MH . TWO BATTERY TRAYS . TWO 8 D BATTERIES . TOP BATTERY STARTS ENGINE POWERS INSIDE LITES ,STEP,THERMOSTATS FOR BOTH A/C UNITS AND OTHER INSIDE 12 VOLT ITEMS. BOTTOM BATTERY STARTS GENERATOR. WHEN PLUGGED INTO 30 AMP SHORELINE TOP (ENGINE START) BATTERY WILL DRAIN OVER NITE .SHORELINE IS NOT CHARGING START BATTERY .IS IT NORMAL FOR ENGINE START BATTERY TO POWER INTERIOR LITES , STEP AND OTHER INTERIOR ITEMS ? I JUST BOUGHT MH A FEW MONTHS AGO AND HAVE NOT USED IT . I AM RENOVATING IT . THIS PROBLEM HAS JUST STARTED . I PUT IN TWO NEW BATTERYS ,CHECK AND CLEANED CABLES AND CONNECTIONS. I AM LOOKING FOR WHAT IS DRAINING BATTERIES .VERY SLIGHT SPARK WHEN TOUCHING GROUND CABLE TO HOOK IT.I DO NOT BELIEVE CONVERTER IS CHARGING . THANKS FOR ALL TIPS CWC

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batteries not charging
by: ken

I have a damon intruder 2001 359 series and the coach batteries would go dead when plugged into 50 amp service. Took it to campingworld and they fixed it They told me it was a breaker but did not tell me which one someone. Told me there is a breaker under the hood but that is all they told me since they reset the breaker the batteries are charging but I wanted to know in case it happened again.

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Batery not charging
by: Anonymous

When cables are not connected to battery I get about 16 volts DC but after connecting cables to battery it does not charge battery. Is this a sign of a short? And how do I find the short if it is one?
Ty for your help.

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converter dropping out
by: Anonymous

Had the same problem, but found out it was the converter. Checked it and found 13.5 volts, but after a few minutes the converter dropped out to 8.0 volts. Took the converter out and brought it to camper place and they got the same results. The tech plugged it in and walked away for several minutes. I asked him why and he said he was letting it load up. He put volt meter on it and it was 6.0 volts. He unplugged it let it sit for several minutes then plugged it back in and put his volt meter on it and it showed 13.5 volts. He held his meter on it and then the volts started dropping out and within minutes it was down to 6 volts. Converter bad, put new converter in and let it start charging battery again. Checked battery and it showed 13.5 volts. Hope this helped.

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no 13 to 14 volts coming out of converter to battery
by: paulcho

I have the same problem with a Magnetek model 6345 I found R1 .15 ohms 50 watt resistor is open,At this point I don't know if their are any other problems until I replace the resistor, Which I have ordered from Digikey.com I am thinking that someone either grounded the positive lead to the battery to ground which is the rv frame or hooked it up backwards. I will post results when I get it repaired.

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My Charger/Converter Resolution
by: Navylife59

Just as in life, your results may vary.

Same problem as most with the same symptoms; good battery but no charging by converter. No use "re esplaning" so here's the nuts and bolts of what fixed it.

Unit is a Parallax Model 7355 55AMP. The fusing is all ATC automotive type. The female spade terminal lugs built onto the DC Distribution Panel had alot of play in them. As stated before, the lower amperage fuses still passed enough voltage across them to operate the 12VDC devices but the twin 30A fuses had a severe voltage drop when the converter tried to charge. The volt meter was the battery's current Voltage State which was, at the time, 12.03VDC. Taking the jawed end of my wire dikes, I gently and carefully squeezed the female spade terminals together (but not too much) with the fuses out.

*** Be careful as your panel will still be hot unless you disconnect the battery(s)
The fuses were then re-inserted. A quick check with the voltmeter confirmed 13.8VDC both at the fuse and the battery lugs on the DC Distribution Panel. Off/On with the converter circuit breaker also confirmed proper operation.

FYI... 13.8VDC is the typical 12VDC lead-acid battery voltage

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to fellow who cant figure out why nothing is working
by: Toni

if nothing electrical is working try your GFC plug mine cut off and nothing worked took me a while to figure that one out.

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Bad converter? Not charging battery?
by: Anonymous

I keep thinking I had bad converters (Had three new ones put in ) Come to find out the thirty amp breaker I had installed in my house just to hook up the camper was actually putting out 220 volts. I was blowing the converters. Put in another converter but it would not charge the battery on the camper. I had blown my battery also. Had the thirty amp breaker fixed to put out 120 volts replaced the camper battery with a new one now all is well.

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My 12 volt problem (solved)
by: TucsonJim

Hope this helps some of you with batteries that don't seem to be working. I had 120 volts at all recepticles, and 12VDC worked while plugged into shore power. However, when I unplugged from shore power, there was no 12 volts coming from the battery or, it was intermittant. Sometimes, the batteries would charge for a little while, then they stopped charging altogether from the converter. But they would charge with a stand alone battery charger.

I checked the battery voltage one day with a volt meter and the batteries were at 12.2VDC. I then plugged into shore power and the battery voltage remained at 12.2VDC. I thought my converter was bad. But I followed the wiring from the battery cables and found that the positive battery cable went to the wall on the side of the fifth wheel and bolted to an insulator device. There was another bolt on the insulator that the wiring from the converter bolted to. There was a metal lug that was supposed to connect the two bolts, and it was fractured. I believe that it was making contact from time to time which allowed for the intermittent connection.

I fabricated a new lug from some scrap metal I had laying around and installed it in place of the fractured lug. I reattached both of the wires to the insulator lugs, and viola, I had 13.8VDC at the battery terminals when I plugged back into shore power. I hope this helps someone down the line.

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Dim Lights
by: Anonymous

After several minutes of interior lights on they start to dim and dim and dim....this does not affect the televisions but does affect the fridge and the interior lights after awhile of being dim the lights and fridge "kick" back on to normal brightness and operation. any ideas, anything would help. i think the converter is good but maybe my battery is going out? HELP !!!

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Rockwood Freedom 1640 LTD Power Issues
by: Mistie

We purchased a 2009 Rockwood Freedom new off the lot and have used it maybe a half-dozen times so far. When camping the most recent 2 times, we have had power issues. Initially, we thought the battery was bad so we purchased a new battery. Here are the issues: We have no interior lighting or power, whether on 12V, 110, or hooked up to the tow vehicle. Of course, we're out of warranty now, but nobody can seem to give any advice. We have no GCFI outlets and we replaced ALL fuses, just in case, but still no luck. Please Help!

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Here's my take...
by: Steve

In my case, I believe it's the converter, here's why:

- with the camper plugged into shore power all 12 volt accessories work fine. It doesn't matter if the battery is charged or not, I can even disconnect the battery and all works fine. This tells me the converter is getting power (no blown fuses or tripped breakers) and the camper is receiving the 12+ volts it's producing.

- with the camper disconnected from shore power the battery will operate all the 12 volt systems so long as it's charged. This tells me I don't have any blown fuses between the battery and the fuse block.

- with the camper plugged into shore power the battery will not be charged. The converter is designed to charge the battery and did so until about 2 months ago.

- When an external charger is connected to the battery the battery will accept a charge and then run the camper for several days of normal use. This is a new battery this summer and seems to work great so long as it gets charged...

Based on the above information I believe the converter is putting out just enough power to run the 12 volt systems which are pretty minimal (fridge electronics, lights, water pump & furnace) but doesn't produce high enough voltage/current to charge the battery.

I think I can test this by bringing the converter to an auto repair facility and connecting it to their battery testing machine.

Ideas?

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Rv power
by: Anonymous

Well i bought my rv and it was working perfectly until today ... I went into my rv and i figure that nothing was working so i thought probably the batteries, breakers or plug wasnt working but they r working so really dont know was going on. I thought problably it was some of the fuses burnt or blown up but i hvnt check yet ... I really need help Pliz cus i jst bought it and i was going on a trip.... PLIZ HELP!!!!!

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Converter trouble-shooting
by: AZ Dave

If the converter is working, should the voltage reading across the battery terminals be approximately 13.5 volts? I am connected to 120v shore power. My terminal readings are around 8 Volts.

Note From RVing Al: Yes Dave you should have a reading of around 13.5 volts at the batterie. Before you take your RV in to a Certified RV Technician for repair you should check for any blown fuses including in-line fuses loose connections at the house batteries or tripped circuit breakers.

Happy RVing
RVing Al

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converter problem
by: Bill Hamm

I have a problem not charging the batteries there is no voltage out of the converter to the battery or the unit (12 volt) through the converter. It is a 2001 snow bird 29RL 2 slides would appreciate some help

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My new Gulf Stream 2010 RV converter NS?
by: Anonymous

I have same problem, it was like that on the lot before I took possession, but the Garage told me it was just that the staff left the light on in the trailer. Also they had no Operators manual for the 18ft Fire Fly trailer, only a general one. Now I am stuck with paying to find the problem, paying gas and labour to get to the problem. There should be a way to test the system before you take possession, like driving a vehicle, I spent my GIC retirement funds to buy this to use for a home when the military posted me, a final posting, then the military cancelled my posting because I had problems from operations in Afghanistan and then refused to help pay for me to go get this trailer I had bought for the new posting and now I have a tr avel trailer I dont really want and spent a lot of money picking it up in Alta and bringing it back to Ontario. Now the garage that sold it to me is in Alta, and I am in Ontario with the trailer, making life even more difficult with this problem. I cant find the converter nor in line fuzes but did find the breakers. Others may have similar problems. Hopefully resetting the breakers will help and I am still testing the system to see if the batter will recharge on shoreline.

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converter
by: GARY

I have somewhat the same issue. I have voltage coming from the converter but nothing going to battery. Is there any other device inline with the voltage that could be the problem? I notice a small unit in the same compartment that has wiring into and out of that has no voltage. Could this be a relay or ?? that is defective?

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