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Old 11-24-2014, 03:29 PM   #1
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Location: Moss Beach, CA
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Electrical problem diagnosis

Happy Thanksgiving to all

Have some kind of house battery / charging system issue. Wonder if anyone can point me in the right direction.

The house batteries are not receiving a charge from shore power although they are being charged by solar. I know this because there is no indication of charging on the panel when plugged into shore / no sun. But in sun, battery comes up to full charge. (I don't think it's charging from the alternator either, but don't know for certain / see below)

Inverter is functioning normally / producing a/c. Also. Shore power is providing a/c without the inverter on.

TrippLite manual refers to three steps to trouble shot this, all of which I've checked, (unit has a resettable breaker but it had not tripped / switched unit off completely and back on / checked in line fuses on battery cables)

House battery needs replacement anyway / it's not holding it's full charge very long anymore, but that seems incidental to the issue. I initially stumbled on this when I noticed my scan gauge reading only 12.2 volts. Suspecting an alternator issue, I took rig to a shop. On hooking the battery up to a charger / tester, the van battery was all the way down to 17%. We charged it all the way up and then with the van running, read 13.4 volts to the van battery. Not great but ok, I think.

This guy didn't either know about dual battery set ups, or want to work one them / either way, so with my battery charged, off I went with my scan gauge reading 12.9-13.1v (Friday)

Over the weekend I noticed the problem with the shore power not charging. When the motor is running, I would think the house battery would be getting charged, but I,m not sure. The battery charge level does not seem to be coming up.

Any thoughts? I'm reluctant to head out this weekend with this condition. My rig's equipped in this area as follows:

-2006 RB50 / E-350. SMB 4x4 / 6.0 PSD
Original house battery (not sure if 2x27D or one 4D)
-2 Optima Red Top van batteries (about 2 yrs old)
-Original Solara solar panels (2 at what I believe are 60 watts ea) with a Specialty Concepts Mark PV monitor panel inside the van)
-Tripp Lite 2000W charger-inverter & contol panel inside van
-Single alternator / replaced last April with Ford factory unit
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SMB: 2006 RB-50 6.0 PSD SMB 4x4
1988 Porsche Carrera Cabriolet
2001 Harley Davidson Electra Glide (very not) Standard
2002 BMW R1150GS
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Old 11-24-2014, 04:01 PM   #2
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Re: Electrical problem diagnosis

A couple of quick question, when the van is running have you looked at the PV panel to see what the voltage is? It should read pretty close to what the scan gauge is reading, if the separator is working correctly.

Can you report our what the indicators lights are on the Tripp-lite. I suspect that your Battery is to low for the Tripp-lite to come on and charge. If you are not seeing your house battery come up to the same voltage as the van battery when the engine is running, I would suspect that, your Separator is not working and thus your not charging the van while running.

That would be a place to start.
-greg
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Old 11-24-2014, 05:55 PM   #3
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Re: Electrical problem diagnosis

Thanks Greg

Scan gauge is reading 12.9 - 13.1v while Mark PV panel reading 13.3 - 13.4 with van running

I think the house batteries ARE charging when I'm running the alternator, I think I may have been hyper-ventilating on that piece issue. I ran the house batteries down a bit withe the van parked in the shade and when I started the van they began to come up. Scan gauge read 12.8 and panel 13.0 until then eventually to my first reading above,

Before I started the van, I turned the TrippLite off and plugged into shore power. When I turned it back on, the Mark PV doesn't move, so it's definitely not chafing from shore power. That's the only issue / shore pore provides a/c to van but not charging house battery.

The TrippLite is in Auto-Remote mode. The LINE indicator green LED is blinking continuously when plugged into shore power when, I believe, it's supposed to be on continuously. I wish I were more observant / not sure what it "normally" did. If I put into Charge Only mode, same repetitive blinking green light.

Can't find anything helpful on TrippLite's site.
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SMB: 2006 RB-50 6.0 PSD SMB 4x4
1988 Porsche Carrera Cabriolet
2001 Harley Davidson Electra Glide (very not) Standard
2002 BMW R1150GS
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Old 11-24-2014, 06:29 PM   #4
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Re: Electrical problem diagnosis

Your are correct in Auto/Remote the Line LED's should have the green light on continuously. If in Charge only then the green light would be blinking. If you are on Auto/remote and have no lights on the battery Voltage/Charge LED's then then this would indicate the Battery is between 1% to 20%. I believe this is to low for the Tripp-lite to turn on. You may be able to start charging with the alternator and get the Tripp-lite to come on. At a high level it looks like your batteries are bad, it would not hurt to pull them off and see if you can put them on a charger and get any life in them, if running on the alternator does not get the Tripp-lite to work. If you get the charge LED's to red you are 21 to 40 %, Yellow-Red 41 to 60%, Yellow 61 to 80%, Yellow-Green 81 to 90% and Green 100%


Note if you are on Charge Only then the no lights is no charge rate.

-greg
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