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Dodge: category - not sure how to remove that post..electrical…

I accidentally posted this question...
I accidentally posted this question in "Dodge" category - not sure how to remove that post. Here it is again - but in the correct category.

1999 Damon Challenger 335 - electrical question/problem.

I co-own a Damon Challenger with a friend and we recently upgraded the converter unit to a Progressive Dynamics 4655 Intellipower unit. The unit has been working wonderfully.

This weekend, my co-owner partner has the RV at his mother's house on vaction up north (drove from Florida). His mother did not have a 30 amp hook-up, so he and an in-law put in a 30 amp breaker and receptacle in her garage. In the course of this process (my partner is not an electrician), the in-law insisted that both the white (neutral) and black (positive) lines in the panel connet to the breaker (making both positive and neutral "hot" lines). Of course, when my friend hooked up the shore power, smoke quickly began billowing out of the converter inside the RV - to which (with much commotion, he promptly disconnected the shore power).

Here's the overt damage we know of:
1. The black cylindrical components on the lower unit of the converter (I believe "capacitors"?) melted.
2. The microwave is shot - not working at all (it was previously).
3. The "beep" that we hear when the generator has reached production - no longer beeps.

My co-owner friend reports that after correcting the hook-up, he tested both shore power and generator power (which I'm afraid may have caused further damage). He said that everything "appears" to be working - with the exception of the microwave and the "beep" associated with the generator. I cautioned that the converter probably no longer has "surge" protection or ability to regulate power fluctuations - and that running the generator may be dangerous to other sensitive electronics (i.e. TV, DVD player, air conditioner, etc). Here are my quesitons:

1. What is the first thing we should do to truly assess the damage?
2. I assume the converter is shot and will have to be replaced. Is there any danger of wiring throughout the RV losing insulation from overload (creating an ongoing risk of electrical fire)?
3. IN part with #2, he has to drive the RV with family onboard back to FLorida - is it safe to run the generator and electrical system (A/C, etc.) to drive back to Florida?
4. What can you tell me about the "beep" that indicates the generator is up to producing capacity no longer "beeping" - i.e. where is that located and what does it tell us that it's no longer "beeping"?


Long story I know - but thanks in advance for help - we're very concerned about the collateral damage and how to accurately assess and safely use the RV. Would appreciate a candid response - we're not made of glass and simply want to know how bad it is.

Thanks,

XXXXX XXXXX
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Answered in 19 minutes by:
7/20/2011
RV Mechanic: Michael Reush, RV Technician replied 11 years ago
Michael Reush
Michael Reush, RV Technician
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 3,309
Experience: Serving the rv industry since 1977
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Thank you for using Just Answer, I will quickly, and methodicly work through your repair needs.......Thank you.........Michael, can you please give me the model of the generator ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and plese look at the start switch of the gen, and tell me if the light on the switch is flashing, these are fault codes.............and count the flashes,,,,,,,,,,,,,would be ex: 3 flashes then a pause,,,,,,,,,,,2flashes then a pause,,,,,,this would be error code 32
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago

Hi Michael - it is an Onan Emeral Plus 5.0 generator - no lights on the start switch. Do you mean the light on the converter?

 

Thanks,

 

XXXXX XXXXX

RV Mechanic: Michael Reush, RV Technician replied 11 years ago
thank you for responding, on the generator itself there is a light on the start switch, we will deal with one issue at a time , then we will move on to the converter,,,,,is this acceptable to you?
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago

Understood - no problem. However, I'm positive there is no light on the generator - I've done extensive work on that puppy tuning it up and basic overhaul, never seen any lights on the actual generator itself. Is it possible the light is behind (inside of) the electrical panel cover on the generator)?

 

Mark

RV Mechanic: Michael Reush, RV Technician replied 11 years ago
with out that feature on the generator, I cannot effectively troubleshoot the unit for you..................and I will opt out so our generator man........Hank can assist you.....I will send him a email to make sure he contacts you when he gets in........thanks
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago

Thanks - to be clear (I'm a little confused)...the main issue is the damage done by the improper wiring of the shore power hook-up...I'm not understanding why we're focusing on the generator (which is working fine)? Sorry for the confusion on my end.

 

Mark

RV Mechanic: Michael Reush, RV Technician replied 11 years ago
4. What can you tell me about the "beep" that indicates the generator is up to producing capacity no longer "beeping" - i.e. where is that located and what does it tell us that it's no longer "beeping"?
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago

Ah...Bach! I'm too focused on the overall power damage and forgot that peice...despite that I just asked the question. I'll await further input...and have my co-owner friend look more closely for a light in the meantime.

 

Mark

RV Mechanic: Michael Reush, RV Technician replied 11 years ago
very well, wishing you well,,,,,,,,,,Michael
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RV Mechanic: Hank F., RV tech - emphasis on gensets replied 11 years ago
Hank F.
Hank F., RV tech - emphasis on gensets
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 18,099
Experience: RV tech since the beginning of the millenium.
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Hello!
Thank you for choosing Just Answer for the solution to your problem.
My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am going to assist you with this.

 

Connecting 240 is an all too common thing to happen.

Sometimes it does massive damage, sometimes all it does is trip a few breakers.

It can melt wiring, but does not usually do so. If it does, you typically will end up with a short and tripped breakers.

 

Please give me some more time to continue - I am working on it.

 

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RV Mechanic: Hank F., RV tech - emphasis on gensets replied 11 years ago

Let's start with the basics here.

If you do not smell burning wires, you most likely do not have any.

 

Unplug the coach.

Shut off all circuit breakers.

Unplug all appliances. Don't forget the refrigerator, which plugs in from outside the coach.

Use a voltmeter and check the voltage at the batteries - if they are good, it should read about 12.6 volts.

 

Now plug the coach back in.

One at a time, turn on all breakers.

Check each and every outlet to make sure you have power to all of them. If you do - so far, so good.

Now test the voltage at the batteries again. If your converter is working, the voltage should now be reading about 13.6 volts. If it is over 14.2, we need to unplug the converter (if it is a stand alone), or shut off the breaker feeding it (if it is hard wired).

With blown capacitors, the chances are that it is not working at all.

A converter offers no surge protection for the AC system - it is a stand alone component that does nothing but convert 120VAC to 12VDC.

 

Now plug in your appliances one at a time. Any that are not properly functioning, unplug them until you can get them repaired/replaced.

 

As far as the generator, there is nothing on this generator that will make a beep, so if there was a beep, it was something else. If you have a Load Management System installed, it may have been beeping.

 

As long as you have no direct shorts in the AC system, it will be fine to run the genset.

 

If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

 

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Customer reply replied 11 years ago

Thank you so much - my co-owner is going through the tests you've outlined...even before he tests the voltage on the converter, I'm almost positive it will need to be replaced - i.e. the capacitors in the lower unit are melted into puddles and there is a syrupy looking ooze that came out of them...the lights on the converter are acting normal, but it would be a hard sell to convince me to trust the unit.

 

in the meantime, you're descriptions raised a couple more puzzling issues/questions.

 

1. The Loan Management System comment seems logical - I know all RV's are different, but do you have any idea where to look for such a system or what it should look like?

2.The "beep" we always heard beeped immediately when shore power was connected and would beep 30 seconds after the genset was started...and we always heard this beep in the coach - not outside (although I have no earthly idea where the beep sound was originating from)???

 

 

RV Mechanic: Hank F., RV tech - emphasis on gensets replied 11 years ago

A load management system is usually only found on bigger coaches, but if you have it, there will be a power monitor panel inside the coach.

 

If you heard the beep when shore power was connected, it has nothing to do with the generator.

 

My guess as to what it is would be the LP detector.

When it powers on, it will beep. If you have the batteries shut off when you plug in the unit, it will get power from the converter and turn on.

 

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Customer reply replied 11 years ago

It appears we do not have a load management system - so that's solved. We also solved the "beep" issue - and feel like idiots for not realizing this earlier...when the power comes on, either through Shore or Genset, the "beep" was the microwave - which of course did not survive the "electric chair." So that's solved.

 

In other news, my co-owner partner ran the tests you prescribed. Batteries checked out at 12.75 volts - post tests with shore plugged and converter on tested at 13.48 volts. All outlets and other appliances (minus the microwave) are working - no signs of melted insulation on any wiring (and he pulled a few random outlets to look at the connection points). So far - so good.

 

Here's the rub - as he was running the A/C with shore power plugged in and converter on - the meter we keep plugged into an unused outlet began showing barly 120v on the meter - normally stays solid on the high end of the "green" zone - now was bordering on low end almost in red. Shortly after, he noticed the aux batteries were being drained pretty quick. So, I'm guessing that damage done to the converter verifies it needs to be replaced?!? Also of note, the converter makes a new noise when it's on - a rattly-humming sound we never heard before (not related to the fan as the fan was not on at the time he heard it).

 

In summary - seems we need to replace the converter and the microwave - but all other systems appear unaffected and in good working order. Sound right to you? Any other suggestions?

 

Thanks,

 

Mark

RV Mechanic: Hank F., RV tech - emphasis on gensets replied 11 years ago

Sorry for the delay, sir.

I had to go to I - I - I - I almost can't say it, I - I - Indiana.

 

 

I am up here for a Generac update course for the next few days, and just now got checked into my hotel.

 

 

At this point, I would suspect the converter and the microwave are looking like they may be your only issues. If they are, you got mighty lucky.

Don't forget to also check all you DC appliances - they do share a common ground with the AC stuff.

 

Hank F.
Hank F., RV tech - emphasis on gensets
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