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Randall
Randall, RVIA Certification
Category: RV
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Experience:  RVDA/RVIA Master Certified Technician with many years experience.
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I have a 1988 Pace Arrow - 34ft. I believe I have a problem

Customer Question

I have a 1988 Pace Arrow - 34ft. I believe I have a problem with my converter. When plugged into shore power or running my generator, it seems as if all my 12 volt appliances and accessories are still drawing from the batteries. By day three or so camping, I start to lose the lights, pump, refrig…
My house batteries do not seem to be trickle charged or topped off at all. The batteries charge when running the RV but not when plugged into external power.
Does this sound like the converter has gone bad? How can I test it?
I have tried to locate it in the cabin and I believe it is located under the refrig behind the power panel.
I cannot confirm without removing more than I want to at this point. Would it be in this location or somewhere else?
If it is the converter, can I change this out myself?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: RV
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
Hi: Thank you for coming to Just Answer with your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX perhaps I can assist you with this issue.

It sounds like it may be a converter issue. What is the make and model of your power center in this coach? Many of this vintage are made by Magnetek and look like this one HERE which has the door open. If you have a few tools and some mechanical skills this usually isn't too hard. Get back to me with this and I can assist you further. R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for the quick reply. That looks like it but I will need to check in the RV. This will likely occur after work so my response will be delayed until then.
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
Bookmark this and you can come right back to it at any time. Once we know what you have I can give you some simple tests to see if it is working or not. R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The make and model is an Elixir Industries ELX-45 - I found the owners manual and verified it is the one in the coach.

Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
I don't think those are being made any longer............but, I believe the ATS is located on the rear as well. You don't have to plug the shore cord into a separate receptacle in the compartment where the cord is do you? This was about the time they changed this. That was before the ATS units came into regular use. R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

What is ATS? Sorry if that is a silly question. I am not sure what I am looking into.

If I remember correctly, the shore cord is wired in. You are referring to the external rear of the coach, correct? I can verify that as well.

Please let me know what information I need to provide you. Thanks for the patience.

Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
Not a problem.............."ATS" is the automatic transfer switch. Sometimes this problem is in that an not the converter. If you have a multimeter we can run some tests. I can't recall if this Elixir unit has a stand alone converter or is fully incorporated. I will have to find a manual on this. I think it is in the bottom of the unit. Let me get back to you. R.j.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I checked into it and the ATS is an IOTA Engineering model ITS-30R. It sits on the floor behind the ELX-45 panel.
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
That sounds about right...........we need to test the converter on this to see if it is putting out the correct voltage. Go HERE for a copy of the owners manual. See the two reverse polarity fuses shown on the diagam? Check those. If they are good then we need to use a multimeter to test the output. R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I checked the two reverse polarity fuses and they are good. Please let me know what and how to test when you get a chance. Thank you.
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
With the power cord plugged in take a DC volt reading on the battery feeds. See that manual link for those. See page 7 and you need a reading between Lug A and Lug D. That should read about 13.7 VDC. If it does, then the converter is putting out the correct voltage and you need to move towards the batteries to the disconnect soleniod and check voltage going in and coming out. Let me know what you find. R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Can I perform that same test with the generator running? I keep the RV at a storage facility. I can bring it home tomorrow after work as well to plug in. Either way I will not run this test until tomorrow afternoon or Sat AM.
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
Yes............either power source is fine. Just get back to me when you can. I don't work on Saturdays. R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I checked the reading between Lug A and D and did not get anything. I moved the negative lead down the Lug D connections and twice received a blip but that did not even measure.
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
If you have AC power to this and nothing there the converter section is dead. I don't think there are parts out there..........but, let me check some first. Elixir is still in business, but not making converters any longer. You might be able to find one on E-Bay or perhaps Go HERE for a place that has some HTF parts. You are looking for an ELX-45 converter section or even the whole thing is that is what you have to get. R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I called Walts and they do not have one. He recommended a 45 amp Paralox or a 35 amp World Friendship. I did find a ELX-45 on eBay. Would you recommend ordering the one on eBay as that matches what I have. How about installation tips? I want to accept your answer in a timely manner figuring this should not stay open while I order and wait to receive. Thanks.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I forgot to ask. Do I have to do anything with the ATS or is that not part of the problem?
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
Not part of the problem............so long as the converter section is getting AC power. Do you have AC in the rest of the coach? If so, then the ATS is fine. R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Did you see my post just before the ATS question? Unless you advise otherwise, I will order the same model number. Installation should then be putting everything in the same spot as it was on the old model. Agree? Please advise if you have other tips or think this is not the best course.
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
No, I missed that................I would stick to this one if you can find some parts. And yes, the ease of installation is going to be better. The converter section should come out and you can just leave the rest alone. How much is the one on E-Bay? R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I did not find just the converter section. The entire unit is $289. However on RV Surplus I found the entire unit for $139. I figure I can go that route and use the entire thing or just the parts from the section. Make sense?
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
Yes..............so long as it works and you get some warranty on this. The $289 sounds like a new one. R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The $139 has a 2 year warrranty. I will order it and give it a go. Thanks for all the advice and patience.
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
Not a problem..............get back to me if you need help on the installation. R.J.
Randall, RVIA Certification
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 8283
Experience: RVDA/RVIA Master Certified Technician with many years experience.
Randall and other RV Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for the nice bonus............much appreciated! Please tell your friends about our service here at Just Answer. Most of the time we can get you an immediate answer and save you a bunch of $$$ as well. Please come back again if you have another issue "down the road" and be safe! R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Randall. I received the new unit. I took the converter out of the new one and replaced the old converter only. After doing so, I had power between Lug A and Lug D reading 12.2, not 13.7. This is whether plugged into external power or not. The reading is the same either way. When plugged into external power I have power to all outlets so I assume the ATS is working. What I do not have is any power for lights or refrig or any 12 volt appliances. Is this a new issue or did I miss something in the switch? Should I replace the entire panel this time? I do have a battery disconnect and I made sure it was on. Please let me know if I need to open a new thread. Thank you.
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
No, on the new thread............same issue. I am wondering if the converter section is getting any AC voltage? Can you check that? Take an AC reading at the black wire to the main breaker which comes in from the ATS. Use the white neutral bar as the ground. What do you get with this plugged into shore power? R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
It reads 117.5.
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
Then you have good voltage into the unit...........so you need to find out why it isn't getting to the converter for power. See that wiring portion in the manual link. See page 9 where it shows the power coming off one of the other breakers. Check the wiring to be sure it is under the screw and tight and that you have the same voltage OUT of each breaker. R.j.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Alright I checked all connections and all are tight. I believe the output is the same per breaker. I re-checked all fuses and found that both 30 reverse polarity fuses were blown. Not sure why. I looked at some pictures I took before making any changes. Everything looked the same except there are two thick yellow wires that come into the top of the converter panel. Although they look exactly the same, I had them reveresed. I could only tell because one wire had a spot on it. I put them in the spots per the picture I took. I cannot do anything further tonight since I have to pick up some fuses.
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
Those are reverse polarity fuses...........and that would do it. Sounds like you are on the right track. R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I changed those two yellow wires to the correct position. I replaced the reverse polarity fuses and both blew immediately when I turned on the battery power (I reset the battery disconnect to connect). I am not plugged into external power at this point. Thoughts?
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
Check the wiring on the batteries...............that is where "reverse polarity" happens. R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I checked the battery wiring and all looks correct. Everything is tight and secure. I tried again with the same result. Thoughts?
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
If the reverse polarity fuses are blowing something is wired wrong.........either the batteries OR the leads in the converter section. If you have the leads to the Lug A and Lug D backward this is going to happen. Double check that. R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I inspected everything again and it all looks to be wired correctly. I took the converter board back out. I examined the old housing and the new one. There is a difference. The two Yellow wires I mentioned earlier are directly wired to the fuse board in the old housing. In the new one, I discovered a secondary board in the corner roughly 2 inch squared. The yellow wires (from the fans below) along with the negative white are soldered to it. There is a coiled copper tube as well. Then two more short pairs of wires come from it to the fuse board. If this needs to be there to support the newer board then I need to replace the entire unit. Does that make sense and sound like the issue? If so, so much for the easy path.

Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
It may be wired differently somehow...........I don't recall ever having to take one apart on that brand. Is your meter a digital model? Disconnect the batteries and take a voltage reading on the lugs A and D when you plug in as long as you have the positive probe on "A" and the negative on "D". If the polarity is reversed it will show on the meter with a "-" sign. If not............then that portion is fine and you need to check the batteries again. If they are not wired in parallel that can be it. What do you have in there? Let me know. R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I have three batteries. The standard 12 volt for starting and two 6 volts. All are wired in sequence with the negative on the 12 volt wired to the negative on one 6 volt. The two 6 volts have the positive on the one wired to the negative on the other. I will try the other tests you mentioned. I likely cannot do it tonight but will see. Thank you.
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
Where does the positive of the 12 Volt go? It should go to the open positive on the other 6 Volt battery........but this is usually accomplished by a solenoid for auxiallary starting. There should also be a negative lead off the 12 Volt battery to the chassis. Let me know if this isn't clear. R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I disconnected the batteries and took the voltage reading on the lugs A and D while plugged in. I had the positive probe on "A" and the negative on "D". The meter showed "- 0.002". So that tells us that the problem is right there, correct?
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
Yes............it should be showing 13.7 if you have the meter on DC voltage. Find out if you have the converter section hooked up to the power correctly or did you replace those reverse polarity fuses? If not, you won't get a reading. R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I forgot to replace the reverse polarity fuses. Repeated that test and am receiving "0.000". Everything is hooked up as the previous board was. Are you saying I should have a 13.7 reading for sure so this is still not hooked correctly? Aside from the yellow wire variable, there are no other options for hooking the board up.
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
Are you on the DC Volts scale on the meter? If you have a good 120 VAC source hooked up then this should read about 13.7 VDC. If it doesn't then it may have a problem. Where did you hook up the 120 VAC feeds from this? There should have been a black wire to a breaker and the white wire to the neutral bar with the others. And all the breakers should have 120 VAC at the screws where the wires go in. Check this and let me know what you have. See page 9 for that diagram. R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Checked the power source in. Main breaker and all others read 116.8 VAC. I am using a digital meter switching between the DC "- ..." and AC "~" setting.
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
Then that should be good..............now where is the AC power lead from the converter attached? There should be a white and a black lead for the AC power INTO the unit. The black should be hooked to one of these breakers..........not the 30 amp, but one of the others. R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The white and black leads feed from the bottom breaker into the circuit board on the bottom of the entire unit (below the two fans) and are soldered on. There is a cylinder like fuse about one inch long and 1/8 inch diameter directly in front. It seems OK as it has a cardboard like exterior. I checked the VAC there and it read 118.6 so I assume power is making it that far. From there, the only other wires that feed the converter are the two yellow wires. One comes from the circuit board on the right and the other comes from the back. I could not find a spot near the wires to get a reading. Though not shown on the diagram on page 7, they attach directly above the 30 amp reverse polarity screws. Thoughts?
Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
The white and black aren't connected to the same breaker are they? Am I just not reading that part correctly? I have never seen a "cardboard like cylinder" on any incoming lead to a converter as you describe. Any chance of attaching a photo of that to a post? I will be out for the evening and off until later tomorrow evening. Not having had to take one of these apart is a big hinderance. These weren't used that much and now are NLA so far as I know. Elixir is still in business, but makes other things. I don't know if a call to them would help..........maybe. R.J.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The white is not connected the the breaker at all. It is coming from the ground. See the attached link to some pictures. I included the battery just because I had it.

 

https://picasaweb.google.com/109185611860724174447/RV?authkey=Gv1sRgCPnqwP_qmKeeqAE

Expert:  Randall replied 3 years ago.
Great job on the photos! I had to take the "s" out of the link to get it to work after http. O.K..........Notice on page 7 of the manual on the right hand side where the AC wiring for the converter come up through that hole. There is a WHITE and a BLACK. White goes to the bar with all the other WHITEs and the BLACK goes to a breaker.

One thing I noticed in the photos: THEY DON"T MATCH THE MANUAL. Unless, there is a place for wiring to attach at that spot labled "30-30" and I just can't see it. There is a RED coming into the 30 amp main breaker which should be the BLACK lead off the shore cord. Is there a place where the shore cord changes to this RED someplace before the converter? That lead needs to read about 120 VAC when measured to the WHITE there.

Then see page 7 again of the manual. Lug "A" is for the positive feed out of the batteries. Lug "D" is for the negative to the converter and to the negative on the batteries OR you can go to the chassis. That is according to the manual. I don't see on this diagram how the positive feed (YELLOW) and the negative feed (WHITE) get to the fuse block. This isn't a good diagram in many respects or I just can't make it out.

Now, if you look at the photos you sent...........I believe the two leads OFF the converter section for the positive and negative are comming off the unit at the same place as YELLOW and WHITE. That would mean you need the YELLOW to go to Lug "A" and the WHITE to Lug "D" OR there is another place on that fuse block board for them to hook up. Where to those two yellow leads go that are hooked up to that Lug that isn't labeled in the diagram? I apologize if this is confusing...........try to write it out step by step.

Do the 120 VAC side first. Get that right. Then see which two leads coming off the converter section provide the 12 VDC feed to the fuse block. One of those yellows should be one, but I can't see behind the fuse block. Get back to me and tell me what you have here. I will be out all day and back this evening. R.J.

Now, my question is............where does that RED with the black tape go
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have happy to report that the problem is resolved. Since I had the time and purchased the entire unit, I decided to replace the entire panel. I took the old one out and installed the replacement converter. Once it was all back together, I plugged in the RV to external power, left the batteries disconnected and I immediately had house lights and power through the entire RV. I reconnected the batteries without any issues. Everything is functioning on batteries only as well as on power. I also noticed that the fans on the converter were operational and this was not the case on the old one.

Thank you for all the assistance.

Duane

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