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HELP!!! No electricity in the house!


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We store our RV in a storage facility. Recently had service at Lazy Days in Wildwood, FL. 

When I picked up the RV from Lazy Days I started the generator to run the roof A/C on the way back to the storage facility. The generator started and ran but there didn’t seem to be any electricity going to the A/C thermostat (nothing showed in the LCD panel). I was in a bit of a hurry so I drove back using only dash air & dash mounted fans. I thought maybe I just didn’t give it long enough for electricity to get through the system to power the A/C.

I went to the storage lot to prep for an upcoming trip at the end of this week and needed to pull forward to access the bay doors. I turned both battery cutoffs back to on position. The inverter panel shows 96.5% charge on the house batteries. None of the lights come on but the microwave clock and the refrigerator are running. The power step came out when I opened the entry door. The generator started when I tried it. 

The chassis battery show 10 volts. I tried using the auxiliary start, but the engine wouldn’t turn over…starter clicking only. There still seems no power to the A/C panel and the fantastic vents won’t run. The lights aren’t coming on either. 
 

I checked the fuse on the generator and it was in the on position. I also checked all of the fuses and breakers in the bedroom and all were in on position. I can’t get to the power switch in the electrical bay to check it because there isn’t room to open the door because of the trailer in the next space.

What am I missing? Any suggestions?

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So it would appear that you have AC 120V power but not DC 12V power. Is your salesman/battery cutoff turned on, if not bypassed? I would guess that your AUX power solenoid is powered from a house source past the salesman and therefore not connecting?

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It was so hot I just came home, but the salesman switch may have been activated by the repair people at Lazy Days but that wouldn’t let power get to the microwave, refrigerator and allow the generator to crank, at least I wouldn’t think it would? Would it keep the engine from starting even though I can hear the starter click?

28 minutes ago, Ivan K said:

So it would appear that you have AC 120V power but not DC 12V power.

Actually, I think it is the opposite.

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24 minutes ago, tomevansfl said:

It was so hot I just came home, but the salesman switch may have been activated by the repair people at Lazy Days but that wouldn’t let power get to the microwave, refrigerator and allow the generator to crank, at least I wouldn’t think it would? Would it keep the engine from starting even though I can hear the starter click?

Actually, I think it is the opposite.

Well, fantastic vents and most lights run on 12V DC. Just like thermostat displays and boost relay. This is why I said what I said. Your microwave and presumed domestic fridge run of 120V, whether gen,  shore or inverter. The starter solenoid clicking is because of low chassis voltage. The generator starting power does not go through salesman.

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I’m sorry. I didn’t understand on first read. I’m going back in the morning while it’s cooler and the salesman switch will be the first thing I’ll try. If that’s not it I may dig out my multimeter and check the chassis batteries. 

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28 minutes ago, Ivan K said:

Well, fantastic vents and most lights run on 12V DC. Just like thermostat displays and boost relay. This is why I said what I said. Your microwave and presumed domestic fridge run of 120V, whether gen,  shore or inverter. The starter solenoid clicking is because of low chassis voltage. The generator starting power does not go through salesman.

Agreeing with Ivan and also throwing out a little info.  

The Salesman Switch MAY be the culprit. It should be REMOVED or Jumpered or attach BOTH cables to one stud.  The NAPA number is 781144. It is 7"...do NOT use a longer one... 

Battery Cable - Solenoid To Starter

Part #: MPB 781144
The BEST way to get both banks to charge, assuming you have SHORE or GENNY.  Use a jumper cable from the positive on the Chassis to the Coach. The boost switch CAN be, like on mine, powered by the Coach and if it is dead or LOW....then it will NOT engage the BIG BOY (or Trombetta or whatever). Get the Genny Running....let it run, with the jumper hooked up for say 15 minutes to get a good surface charge. THEN crank the engine. Remove the jumper....if the batteries are TOTALLY DEAD....use TWO.  Move the MH out where you can get to things....then work on the idiotic Salesmans Switch.
The Genny will pass THROUGH the AC voltage through the Inverter. That is why, assuming the Genny was running, you see AC. The rest is DC.
One Little TIDBIT....IF your disconnect switches are getting worn....and they regularly FAIL, then the House set might not have had power applied. You can cycle them a time or two....but you need a VOM and an understanding as to how to test them. LOTS OF TIME.....it is something as simple as the nuts on the back getting loose. Hopefully you can see the back and the cables. PULL the POSITIVE Cables.....off BOTH batteries..because if your wrench or socket slips...instant arc welder.....  ALSO cover the Solar if you have it.  THEN, check the nuts....check any NUT with a large cable that you can find in or around where the Battery Busses and the Switches are located.,...LOOSE CABLES will confuse....and cause strange issues.
You did not say HOW your charging systems work...BUT, if you want the easy fix....then check out the Blue Seas ML-ACR.  That is a neat switch that will give you BiDirectional charging and you are trouble free. Van Williams has written about this and many folks are going to it. rated at 500 Amps. it is actually a better BOOST switch...
Good Luck...let us know...
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Tom Cherry or anyone,

I’m not good with electrical but am out at my RV now. The inverter panel shows 94% but there isn’t enough power from chassis batteries to turn engine over.  The ignition causes the starter to click on the engine. The dash volt meter shows <10 volts. The generator started but it was sluggish at start but is running smoothly now.

Salesman switch appears to have been off. I have flipped it in both directions and the residential refrigerator & microwave clock came on after a few seconds.

Generator went  through cycles that seem to be load related (?) even though I haven’t turned anything else on. Generator is now running steady.  Still no power getting to the A/C control panel.  Xantrex now shows 90% charge & absorption charging. 

Bought two cables you recommended but not 100% sure I follow your instructions on how to jump. Thought the aux start would connect the house batteries to the chassis batteries.

Letting generator run for now. What should I try next?

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29 minutes ago, tomevansfl said:

Tom Cherry or anyone,

I’m not good with electrical but am out at my RV now. The inverter panel shows 94% but there isn’t enough power from chassis batteries to turn engine over.  The ignition causes the starter to click on the engine. The dash volt meter shows <10 volts. The generator started but it was sluggish at start but is running smoothly now.

Salesman switch appears to have been off. I have flipped it in both directions and the residential refrigerator & microwave clock came on after a few seconds.

Generator went  through cycles that seem to be load related (?) even though I haven’t turned anything else on. Generator is now running steady.  Still no power getting to the A/C control panel.  Xantrex now shows 90% charge & absorption charging. 

Bought two cables you recommended but not 100% sure I follow your instructions on how to jump. Thought the aux start would connect the house batteries to the chassis batteries.

Letting generator run for now. What should I try next?

OK...for clarity...

Your Genny is running and charging...according to the Xantrex meter.  That means the House Batteries are being charged. I don't understand what the A/C Control Panel is....so that is a dilemma.  BUT.

Put on a Positive to Positive JUMPER CABLE - The Alligator Clip style that you would use to "Jump off a car",  between the TWO Banks. That will start to charge the Chassis. You need to do that for say 15 minutes or so.  THEN try to start the Engine. The Jumper actually acts like the battery boost....but is a temporary or SHADE TREE solution.

Once you get the engine running, then let it run, with the Jumper Cable still in place for another few minutes. Look at your Engine gages or wherever you see the Charging Voltage on the Engine. THEN pull the Jumper Cable OFF - BOTH ENDS.  The alternator should be charging the Chassis and the Genny is still charging the House.

The NAPA cable was for JUMPERING the Salesman Switch. NOW, I can NOT tell you which one that is as Monaco used different styles. My point was that IF the Salesman's Switch had been bumped....or if, HIGHLY LIKELY DUE TO AGE, your Salesman Switch Solenoid was bad or going bad...then Removing it or putting both cables on one post or jumpering it was the long range solution....and prevents you from getting stranded.

Past that.....see how things look. Sounds like your system really got "DRAINED". You need to find out HOW your Chassis Batteries are SUPPOSED to stay charged.  Lambert or whatever....

Some of the posters with more experience on the early 2000's like Larry Laursen will need to jump in here. 

All I have done is try to get you running again....

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Posted (edited)

Thanks. I finally got my salesman switch turned on, or maybe it’s off, anyway I have power going to the A/C (my use/misused term for house air conditioning) and I am able to use it. However, after letting  generator run for an hour or more with the switch off with still no power going to the air conditioning I was down to 74%. 
 

After letting it run with the salesman switch allowing power to the house air conditioning I am up to 100% charge on house batteries. But still can’t start engine with aux start button pressed. I think it is trying to turn over; it seems to turn the engine very slightly, but just not enough on the chassis batteries to spin the engine enough to start yet. I’ll let the generator run a little longer and try again. 

Edited by tomevansfl
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35 minutes ago, tomevansfl said:

Thanks. I finally got my salesman switch turned on, or maybe it’s off, anyway I have power going to the A/C (my use/misused term for house air conditioning) and I am able to use it. However, after letting  generator run for an hour or more with the switch off with still no power going to the air conditioning I was down to 74%. 
 

After letting it run with the salesman switch allowing power to the house air conditioning I am up to 100% charge on house batteries. But still can’t start engine with aux start button pressed. I think it is trying to turn over; it seems to turn the engine very slightly, but just not enough on the chassis batteries to spin the engine enough to start yet. I’ll let the generator run a little longer and try again. 

OK….FROM THE TOP…AGAIN.

The salesman switch has NOTHING to do with your AC or Air conditioning power or system.  The AC will NOT run off the Inverter.  They get power directly from the Genny or the Shore plug.  The salesman switch controls ALL DC circuits….lights and fans and such.  It ALSO controls the 12 VDC that goes to your AC Thermostat.  If you have no lights….you ain’t gonna have no AC or heat for that matter as the Thermostat is DEAD….even IF you have AC.

NEXT.  Do you KNOW if the Genny or Shore power charges your Chassis Batteries?  My GUESS….NO.  So, the Genny might run ALL DAY and not do you any good.  

THEREFORE, you need a pair of Automotive Jumper Cables.  If you hook the Positive on the House to the Positive on the Chassis…..let it run for a few minutes to stabilize the Genny and also put a surface charge on the Chassis (starting), you SHOULD be able to crank the Engine.  THAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO GET OUT OF YOUR PREDICAMENT.  ReRead my post again.  

FINALLY…the BOOST a switch is NOT to be used for Starting”, at least on most.  Your diesel pulls almost 1300 AMPS….the Boost Solenoid is rated at a max of 300, in the older MH.  Mine has an Intellitec Big BOY and is only 200.  You will burn up the contacts.  Your manual says to HOLD THE BOOST ON for X minutes…and then rinse and repeat….maybe 5 cycles.  The Jumper Cable is giving you full charging Amps of maybe 75 or so.  Getting a surface charge BACK on the Chassis and having the Cable in place will work.  Not THEORY…FACT.  I have had to do it.

Get your engine running….the alternator puts out, probably, 200 amp….or at least 160.  Driving it is the best way to recharge.  You need to get them topped off.  Sitting around Lazy Days, most likely without power, was the culprit

you ALSO need to make sure all batteries have the proper level of DISTILLED water afte being totally recharged 

Follow the above….and then let us know.

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Well here goes my two cents that with inflation is now only worth a penny. My coach has a small bank of 12v fuses in the rear closet ( Monaco put them in the worst possible place to check ). One of the 12v fuses is dedicated to my thermostat displays. Of course no thermostat display no A/C.  I can't speak to your dead chassis  batteries. Perhaps they are truly shot. 

There is the so called penny for my thoughts. 

Good luck,

Ken

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When we bought the Diplomat last summer the dealer said the batteries were about a year old. I haven’t been able to find a date on them yet. They are Duracell marine/rv batteries (at least the chassis batteries, the house batteries look the same brand). The chassis batteries are sealed but the house batteries are not. 

I was able to get the salesman switch to activate and the air conditioner came on a few minutes later. This was with the generator running. The Fantastic Fans came on, too  

The chassis batteries appeared to NOT be charging, or at least very slowly. I spent about 3 hours at the RV with no air conditioning. Orlando at 1:00 PM was 94’F with 70% humidity.  

I thought I had my jumper cables with me but I didn’t so I will go back when it starts to cool down. The only thing I know to do beyond that is to buy two new chassis batteries. They’re expensive so I was hoping I wouldn’t have to, though. If I have to, I will get new ones tomorrow so we can leave on Thursday. It’s a short trip from Orlando to Tampa area. 

I apologize for being so ignorant but our first, and only other RV, was an Airstream trailer and all of this type thing is new to me. 

Thanks for all of the input. I’ll post an update later today. 

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You can put an automotive charger on the chassis batteries, at least overnight.  Probably longer.  Like Tom said, put the jumper cables on and let it transfer charge from coach to chassis batteries for 15 min or more, with generator running to keep coach batts charged.

Somewhere should be a switch to measure chassis and coach battery voltage.  10V won't start squat.  11.5V might get a slow turning starter, might not.  12.5V should turn over enough to start the engine. 

My Salesman switch is very tempermental.  I don't touch it.  Someday someone else will touch it and I'll have to deal with it. 

- bob

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14 minutes ago, cbr046 said:

You can put an automotive charger on the chassis batteries, at least overnight.  Probably longer.  Like Tom said, put the jumper cables on and let it transfer charge from coach to chassis batteries for 15 min or more, with generator running to keep coach batts charged.

Somewhere should be a switch to measure chassis and coach battery voltage.  10V won't start squat.  11.5V might get a slow turning starter, might not.  12.5V should turn over enough to start the engine. 

My Salesman switch is very tempermental.  I don't touch it.  Someday someone else will touch it and I'll have to deal with it. 

- bob

Agreed.  Only thing is that a high performance auto charger does not, unless you spend mega bucks, have the regulated or 3 stage charging of our inverter/chargers.  Folks have cooked batteries with them.  You only need 2 or 3 amps from a $50 battery maintainer to keep a set of Chassis batteries properly charged….I use them on my cars that stay at home when we travel. Once properly charged, the tender or maintainer, plugged in all the time, will work great.

Case in point.  My 18HP Koehler John Deere “charger” is a joke.  The battery would last 2 years.  I bought a weatherproof maintainer….got 7 years out of the battery.

Bob, is correct….low voltage ain’t gonna crank that monster engine.  Typically, if the chassis was not repeatedly drained, then every once and a while is OK.  I have learned more about batteries that I ever though possible by reading here and doing some dumb things and also talking to Trojan.  
 

IF you have power at storage, then the recommendation to install or have installed the Blue Seas ML-ACR is the best deal and peace of mind.  It lets your Xantrex, which is a good unit with multistage charging, keep BOTH SETS HAPPY.  Now some folks will just leave the coach in storage….use a Jumper Cable or buy a battery maintainer and plug it in….assuming they have power at storage.  
 

great comment…

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Tom, I see you are in or around Orlando?

If you are nearby I would gladly give you a hand. I'm fairly decent at sorting things out.

You have been given spot on advice but I know the frustrations chasing problems. I suspect you have two issues. The salesmans switch circuit may or may not be reliable on your unit and the "big boy" solenoid that combines batteries could be in desperate need of repair.

Your yr coach may not have a system to charge the engine batteries concurrently with your house batteries. This is common. I won't get into the BIRD/IRD conversation now. I surely don't want to muddy the waters. 

There are lots of options for adding devices to charge the engine batteries. Some incredibly simple and some a bit elegant. 

 

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Tom, if at all possible I would take Myron up on his offer.    Myron is being modest saying he is fairly decent at sorting things out,  he is much better than decent.

I hope he will allow me to tell that he owned a business for yrs servicing all things electrical on emergency vehicles.

This may be your lucky day.

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1 hour ago, myrontruex said:

Tom, I see you are in or around Orlando?

If you are nearby I would gladly give you a hand. I'm fairly decent at sorting things out.

You have been given spot on advice but I know the frustrations chasing problems. I suspect you have two issues. The salesmans switch circuit may or may not be reliable on your unit and the "big boy" solenoid that combines batteries could be in desperate need of repair.

Your yr coach may not have a system to charge the engine batteries concurrently with your house batteries. This is common. I won't get into the BIRD/IRD conversation now. I surely don't want to muddy the waters. 

There are lots of options for adding devices to charge the engine batteries. Some incredibly simple and some a bit elegant. 

 

You are probably right about the salesman switch. We have a short trip to Ft. Desoto Park leaving tomorrow (hopefully) and will be back on Sunday. After we get back I would like to drive it down to Davenport and get you to help me by-pass that D@mn€d salesman switch. 

Maybe you can also help me get oriented to the Monaco way. 
 

Thanks again for your generous offer. I look forward to meeting you and your wife. We’ll take you guys out to dinner when we meet. 

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4 hours ago, tomevansfl said:

You are probably right about the salesman switch. We have a short trip to Ft. Desoto Park leaving tomorrow (hopefully) and will be back on Sunday. After we get back I would like to drive it down to Davenport and get you to help me by-pass that D@mn€d salesman switch. 

Maybe you can also help me get oriented to the Monaco way. 
 

Thanks again for your generous offer. I look forward to meeting you and your wife. We’ll take you guys out to dinner when we meet. 

Comment.  If would be NICE to know HOW the house and chassis charging systems are laid out.  Earlier coaches like yours had a weird array.  Lookup @Larry Laursen.  He be the MAN that knows and can describe them.  IF you have power at storage, then a nice desulfurization charger maintainer with 2 amps output hooked up to your chassis battery would solve the issue.  But if you have 120 VAC, the really best way is the Blue Seas ML-ARC.  That way BOTH banks charge and you won’t have this issue again.  Don’t forget the jumper cables.  My bet is after you do the Genny Charging and/or drive it. You will be back in business 

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6 hours ago, Ray Davis said:

Tom, if at all possible I would take Myron up on his offer.    Myron is being modest saying he is fairly decent at sorting things out,  he is much better than decent.

I hope he will allow me to tell that he owned a business for yrs servicing all things electrical on emergency vehicles.

This may be your lucky day.

Tattletale, and let it be known I like a good challenge. Just waking up is not enough. I can often walk folks through things over the phone while playing "20 questions". Asking lots of questions and and sometimes appearing to repeat those questions is intentional. Sometimes a tiny clue that someone left out sets me in the right direction. These little clues meant nothing to the customer but can make a huge difference in diagnosis. When a difficult or intermittent problem arose with some vehicle it was very helpful having the user/customer right there in the bay or lab while we chased the darn problems down. Often finding more than one, actually, it was rare when there was only one problem. The customers were allowed to stand right next to us while we unfolded long schematics and often queried our other techs if they had seen anything similar. It was not unusual to have a customer push buttons or hold a probe because a technician just does not have enough arms or length to do some things. I believe this inspired confidence in our service center showing the customers just how focused we were chasing their elusive problems. 

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On 7/4/2022 at 2:35 PM, tomevansfl said:

We store our RV in a storage facility. Recently had service at Lazy Days in Wildwood, FL. 

When I picked up the RV from Lazy Days I started the generator to run the roof A/C on the way back to the storage facility. The generator started and ran but there didn’t seem to be any electricity going to the A/C thermostat (nothing showed in the LCD panel). I was in a bit of a hurry so I drove back using only dash air & dash mounted fans. I thought maybe I just didn’t give it long enough for electricity to get through the system to power the A/C.

I went to the storage lot to prep for an upcoming trip at the end of this week and needed to pull forward to access the bay doors. I turned both battery cutoffs back to on position. The inverter panel shows 96.5% charge on the house batteries. None of the lights come on but the microwave clock and the refrigerator are running. The power step came out when I opened the entry door. The generator started when I tried it. 

The chassis battery show 10 volts. I tried using the auxiliary start, but the engine wouldn’t turn over…starter clicking only. There still seems no power to the A/C panel and the fantastic vents won’t run. The lights aren’t coming on either. 
 

I checked the fuse on the generator and it was in the on position. I also checked all of the fuses and breakers in the bedroom and all were in on position. I can’t get to the power switch in the electrical bay to check it because there isn’t room to open the door because of the trailer in the next space.

What am I missing? Any suggestions?

Comment for all.  The fact that his refrigerator, presumably a gas one, not a residential, was running but he had no lights has been churning around in my brain.  I was reading a manual today helping someone offline and came across something that I KNEW, but got filed away.  The Refrigerator and the Inverter are BOTH WIRED upstream of the Salesman switch.  When the Salesman switch is off it kills all the internal power, including the 12 VDC house fuse panel.  That includes the power to the Thermostat(s).  Typically, or at least on mine, the Thermostat circuit also powers the cable / Broadcast Antenna selector switch as the antenna has a built in signal amplifier….plus in some cases others items like the door awning.

Just one additional factoid to remember when trouble shooting

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8 minutes ago, Tom Cherry said:

Comment for all.  The fact that his refrigerator, presumably a gas one, not a residential, was running but he had no lights has been churning around in my brain.  I was reading a manual today helping someone offline and came across something that I KNEW, but got filed away.  The Refrigerator and the Inverter are BOTH WIRED upstream of the Salesman switch.  When the Salesman switch is off it kills all the internal power, including the 12 VDC house fuse panel.  That includes the power to the Thermostat(s).  Typically, or at least on mine, the Thermostat circuit also powers the cable / Broadcast Antenna selector switch as the antenna has a built in signal amplifier….plus in some cases others items like the door awning.

Just one additional factoid to remember when trouble shooting

Actually, Tom, our refrigerator is a residential refrigerator. I knew it was running because the light in side was the only light that would come on. The only LP appliances we have are the stove, furnace, and water heater. As it turned out the salesman switch had been turned off at Lazydays. 

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14 minutes ago, tomevansfl said:

Actually, Tom, our refrigerator is a residential refrigerator. I knew it was running because the light in side was the only light that would come on. The only LP appliances we have are the stove, furnace, and water heater. As it turned out the salesman switch had been turned off at Lazydays. 

Glad you cleared that up.  Of course running the Genny gave your inverter DC charging….BUT, the inverter has a built in Automatic Transfer Switch and just passes power through it.  Makes sense.

DO YOU HAVE 120VAC at your storage location?

The advise from you “electrician”, who graciously volunteered to help is good.  You do not, I’ll wager, have Chassis Charging capability.  OR, if you have one of the “Lambert” designed “battery thief”, then it is not working

BTW….how did you finally get the engine running….assuming you did…?

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2 hours ago, tomevansfl said:

Didn’t get the engine running. Let the generator run for about 8 hours. Was never able to get aux start enough power to start. I believe the batteries are toast. 

Finding the Big boy you can jumper across it or just put all wires on one side of the large terminals. I say this but there are lots of cautions to be aware of.

Using one single vehicle jumper cable across the 12 volt battery posts of each bank is easy as well and in some cases can be easiest. You do not want to simply run back and try to start the engine with this kind of setup. The massive current demand can cause arcing and sparks which is extremely dangerous in a battery compartment. 

Most cheap jump start cables cannot handle the current in any case and really is just a simple way to get the charging current from the house bank/converter. If you can put both of the cables on the positive you can charge even faster.

I would give your generator/shoreline at least an hour to bring those up. Even then an hour is not great but may get you started. 

Finding your Big Boy solenoid you can activate it manually or use the aux start button to activate it. Put a gold tee or anything under it to prop it on.

You need to measure the voltage on both banks to be sure the power is actually getting to the dead bank.

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