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Old 03-11-2021, 02:44 PM   #1
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THOR #18547
Emergency help please

Good Morning,
Sitting in the campsite this morning (plugged into shore power) and suddenly I heard the refrigerator propane kick on. No power to coach.
I checked and cycled the outside power pedestal breaker and the surge protector shows that there is power.
Checked all inside breakers and cycled the Main breaker on the panel.

Results: No power.

Unplugged from shore power, started generator and still no power.

We have been in the RV since December with no issues.
I have never been able to find any other circuit breakers like the "master breaker" that is often referenced.
What are my next steps and what should I be looking for?
Everything that is supposed to run off the batteries is working fine.
Thank you for your help.
James

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Old 03-11-2021, 02:48 PM   #2
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THOR #6903
Transfer switch has failed
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Old 03-11-2021, 03:06 PM   #3
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Yep - go find your Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) - it is normally near the power panel. Looks like yours will be under the rear dinette seat. Check the twisted wire connections to the ATS (with coach unplugged) - a common point of failure. Beyond that you need to be able to use a multimeter to determine what actually failed.
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Old 03-11-2021, 03:10 PM   #4
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I would unplug your shore power and make sure the generator is off. Then if you can gain access to the transfer switch, check to make sure all connections are tight. There have been many instances of loose wiring causing issues like loss of power, overheating and melting of wiring, etc.

A transfer switch is not difficult to replace if yours has failed.
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Old 03-11-2021, 03:23 PM   #5
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I have found the transfer switch under the dinette and opened it up.
Yes, power unplugged and generator off.
It is a Progressive Dynamics 5100 series.

I'll double check, but all connections appear to be tight with no obvious signs of any melting or charring.
There is a small circuit board attached.

One question and a comment.

Will the house batteries still charge when running the engine? If yes, then it is way less of an emergency. If not, I will need to fix today!

What would I check with the multimeter? And, how would that change things?

Thanks for everyone's help so far. That's why I love this forum!

Off to youtube for more info...
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Old 03-11-2021, 03:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGallagher View Post
I have found the transfer switch under the dinette and opened it up.
Yes, power unplugged and generator off.
It is a Progressive Dynamics 5100 series.

I'll double check, but all connections appear to be tight with no obvious signs of any melting or charring.
There is a small circuit board attached.

One question and a comment.

Will the house batteries still charge when running the engine? If yes, then it is way less of an emergency. If not, I will need to fix today!

What would I check with the multimeter? And, how would that change things?

Thanks for everyone's help so far. That's why I love this forum!

Off to youtube for more info...

Looks like you have a Chateau. Most Class C's do not have a BIM (Battery Isolation Manager) that allows the alternator to charge the house batteries when the engine is running. The only way to be sure is to measure the voltage of the house batteries with the engine running. If the alternator is charging them, the voltage should be close to 13.7 volts.

And as mentioned..... a multimeter is something everyone with a coach should carry as part of their "tool" kit.
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Old 03-11-2021, 03:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGallagher View Post
I have found the transfer switch under the dinette and opened it up.
Yes, power unplugged and generator off.
It is a Progressive Dynamics 5100 series.

I'll double check, but all connections appear to be tight with no obvious signs of any melting or charring.
There is a small circuit board attached.

One question and a comment.

Will the house batteries still charge when running the engine? If yes, then it is way less of an emergency. If not, I will need to fix today!
That is a firm MAYBE!

What would I check with the multimeter? And, how would that change things?

Thanks for everyone's help so far. That's why I love this forum!

Off to youtube for more info...
Use the multimeter to answer your question. Start the engine and measure the voltage at the house battery bank - if the alternator is charging them it should be over 13.5 VDC. Some Class Cs are setup to do this, some are not.

Back to the ATS and troubleshooting.

Assuming you are competent is using the multimeter and are savvy about electrical safety and energized measurements:

Have you eliminated your surge protector as the possible cause by removing it from the circuit?

Measure the voltage at the Power Pole receptacle to verify you have 120 VAC

If so, plug the RV back in:
At the ATS check for 120 VAC at the terminals where SP comes in: No voltage? Problem is upstream of the ATS in your SP cord or plug.

Check for 120 VAC at the ATS output terminals: No voltage? The ATS is bad. Likely burnt contacts as the default position of the contactor is to pass SP through to the breaker panel.

If voltage is good at the output of the ATS then you need to look at your Breaker panel, maybe a bad master input breaker.
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Old 03-11-2021, 04:18 PM   #8
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Update:
Yes, as I knew, the house batteries do charge when engine running. I did verify 13.7 with the multimeter at the batteries.

Power pedestal showed 122.5 v so all ok there. Also tested the coach with surge protector removed. Still no power.

Now for the exciting part.

I plugged the coach back into shore power to measure AC input and output at the ATS.
While moving the twisted wires in the ATS to gain access, sparks started flying from the white wires and the end with the wire cap melted!

I'm ok, did not get shocked, just surprised.
I immediately switched the main breaker that did not trip and then went out to shut off pedestal.

If the wires were loose inside the wire nut, would they spark like that?

Pending your replies, its off to walmart/harbor freight for a set of wire cutters/strippers to repair.

Thanks again.
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Old 03-11-2021, 04:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGallagher View Post
Update:
Yes, as I knew, the house batteries do charge when engine running. I did verify 13.7 with the multimeter at the batteries.

Power pedestal showed 122.5 v so all ok there. Also tested the coach with surge protector removed. Still no power.

Now for the exciting part.

I plugged the coach back into shore power to measure AC input and output at the ATS.
While moving the twisted wires in the ATS to gain access, sparks started flying from the white wires and the end with the wire cap melted!

I'm ok, did not get shocked, just surprised.
I immediately switched the main breaker that did not trip and then went out to shut off pedestal.

If the wires were loose inside the wire nut, would they spark like that?

Pending your replies, its off to walmart/harbor freight for a set of wire cutters/strippers to repair.

Thanks again.
Yes, that's the common problem Judge and I told you about. I'm glad you found the problem without casualty and have a plan to fix it. I'm sure you'll do a better job than the OEM technicians did when they installed it.

There are better splice connectors than wire nuts available at the big box stores (Home Depot, Lowes, etc) so you may want to consider replacing all those splice connections while you're in there.
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Old 03-11-2021, 04:26 PM   #10
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Absolutely it can cause a spark like that plus melting and a potentially a fire. Glad you didn't get hurt and tracked down what sounds to be your problem.
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Old 03-11-2021, 04:32 PM   #11
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Ok, a big thank you to everyone, especially 16ACE27 and Judge for your input and insights.

Also, in my heightened state of stress over this issue I completely forgot about HD/Lowes and will go there for a better wire connection solution.

I'll report back with results either later today or tomorrow and post a couple of photos if possible.

James
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Old 03-11-2021, 05:51 PM   #12
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Good Job Guys!!
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Old 03-14-2021, 02:16 PM   #13
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SUCCESS!
I finally got to the repair last evening and all is well. Everything working fine.
I do not like the looks of the short stranded wires that attach to the Transfer Switch so I will have to replace at a later date. The wire is discolored and corroded looking. Possibly due to overheating?

Thank you everyone for your help.
It cost me under $20 for wire stripper, elec. tape, and some wire nuts.
How much money did I save by using this forum?
I have no idea what it would have run and how long it would have taken if I took the RV to a service center.
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Old 03-14-2021, 02:44 PM   #14
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Emergency help please

Glad we could help!

Being self-sufficient when it comes to an RV is priceless. It saves time.... money.... and can prevent the disruption of a trip.

This site had helped me a few times and many of us try to pay it forward as often as We can to help others.
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Old 03-14-2021, 04:46 PM   #15
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Glad to see that you beat back the gremlins!
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Old 03-17-2021, 08:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGallagher View Post
I do not like the looks of the short stranded wires that attach to the Transfer Switch so I will have to replace at a later date. The wire is discolored and corroded looking. Possibly due to overheating?
If any wire is in that shape, it is best to replace it sooner rather than later. Unless HO got in the box, then it would be due to overheating and the wire will not make a good connection any longer, making it prone to overheating again.
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Old 03-17-2021, 09:38 PM   #17
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Love to see good advice solving a problem! Well done guys!
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Old 03-18-2021, 05:46 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGallagher View Post
Good Morning,
Sitting in the campsite this morning (plugged into shore power) and suddenly I heard the refrigerator propane kick on. No power to coach.
I checked and cycled the outside power pedestal breaker and the surge protector shows that there is power.
Checked all inside breakers and cycled the Main breaker on the panel.

Results: No power.

Unplugged from shore power, started generator and still no power.

We have been in the RV since December with no issues.
I have never been able to find any other circuit breakers like the "master breaker" that is often referenced.
What are my next steps and what should I be looking for?
Everything that is supposed to run off the batteries is working fine.
Thank you for your help.
James
Had similar problem, followed incoming wiring to Automatic Transfer Switch, loose connection and it burned out. Had to replace transfer switch but it made me inspect the rest of the system and I found a few more loose connections.

Could've been a number of causes but the most likely is shoddy workmanship.
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Old 03-22-2021, 12:59 AM   #19
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Transfer switch failure seems likely.
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Old 03-22-2021, 02:57 PM   #20
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What does the ATS look like? I'd like to know for future troubleshooting. Perhaps a picture?
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