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Two questions

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  • D. Hammond
    Recently acquired an 83 Southwind for less than a thousand dollars! Just got back from a 5,425 miles trip from Texas to Oregon and back, replacing one tire,
    Message 1 of 18 , Dec 23, 2013
      Recently acquired an 83 Southwind for less than a thousand dollars!  Just got back from a 5,425 miles trip from Texas to Oregon and back, replacing one tire, two fuel filters, a fuel pump, and an alternator.  (Did a complete brake overhaul before we left.)  Considering the Southwind had just been sitting for 6 years, that's pretty good.  It ran beautifully other than expected repairs.

      My two questions are:

      1) the converter makes a vibrating sound, a low hum, in the power supply area when I run my toaster oven.  My husband replaced the 20 amp breaker, but it still makes the sound.  We can run the microwave and a space heater with no problem (can't run two space heaters, we found out), but the toaster oven makes something vibrate back there.

      2) there's a small ridge all the way around the roof which makes the roof hold water when it rains which then backs up into the front AC and drips inside.

      I know the groups is slow around the holidays so I'll be patient for answers.  I'll have more questions later!

      Thanks,

      D. Hammond
    • mcolie
      Well, Ask away, there are people here and in other forums that may have good answers. Two things from me right now. About the roof, a Southwind is a model of
      Message 2 of 18 , Dec 23, 2013

        Well, 


        Ask away, there are people here and in other forums that may have good answers.  


        Two things from me right now.  

        About the roof, a Southwind is a model of Fleetwood, and you may get a better and faster answer from a Fleetwood group or forum.  Start your seach. 


        If this coach sat for six years and you did 5K+ miles and only blew one tire, you were extremely lucky.  

        A - Keep the coach, it must be good luck.

        B - Look for the tire date codes and plan to start a replacement schedule.  


        Safe Travel 


        Matt 

      • mcolie
        Sorry D, I forgot one. As old as your coach is, the converter is probably a Ferro-resonant type, often referred to as a Buzz-box. It can be counted on to
        Message 3 of 18 , Dec 23, 2013

          Sorry D, 


          I forgot one.  


          As old as your coach is, the converter is probably a Ferro-resonant type, often referred to as a Buzz-box.  

          It can be counted on to supply a stead voltage to the coach systems that will: 

          1 - Keep the lights nice and bright 

          2 - Boil the house bank dry - if you let it. 


          So, if you keep the coach attached to shore power, find out how to shut down the converter.  

          If you like your batteries and want to keep them, this will have to be replaced with a modern converter probably from Progressive Dynamics or Iota.


          This is what I did for cruising boats before the depression.


          Matt 

        • red2dog45
          Matt, know what you mean about the old converters buzzing. My remembrance is that was the transformer for the voltage stepdown, which should not be a factor in
          Message 4 of 18 , Dec 24, 2013
            Matt, know what you mean about the old converters buzzing. My remembrance is that was the transformer for the voltage stepdown, which should not be a factor in 120V operation. That is IF the 120V is not being provided by an inverter on the 12v system, but rather from a direct connection to shore power. Did motorhomes ever use inverters instead of direct shore power for 120V? I'm just a trailer guy who has only seen separate 120V and 12V systems.
          • red2dog45
            D, please see my comments to Matt s response about the converter. What is strange to me is why a toaster oven would cause a problem, but not a space heater
            Message 5 of 18 , Dec 24, 2013

              D, please see my comments to Matt's response about the converter.


              What is strange to me is why a toaster oven would cause a problem, but not a space heater which draws a similar amount of current. Were these appliances used on the same receptacle? Can you operate 120V appliances on these same receptacles when not connected to 120V shore power? This is a pass/fail test to see if you are running off a 12V-120V inverter.



              ---In classicrv@{{emailDomain}}, <dhammondtx@...> wrote:

              1) the converter makes a vibrating sound, a low hum, in the power supply area when I run my toaster oven.  My husband replaced the 20 amp breaker, but it still makes the sound.  We can run the microwave and a space heater with no problem (can't run two space heaters, we found out), but the toaster oven makes something vibrate back there.



            • Todd Barnard
              I agree with RedDog regarding one appliance over another. I worked on tons of those convertors..not inverters, and the only time I had any noise like that was
              Message 6 of 18 , Dec 25, 2013
                I agree with RedDog regarding one appliance over another.  I worked on tons of those convertors..not inverters, and the only time I had any noise like that was either a bad breaker( they already tried) or perhaps a scorching where it connects to the panel. 

                Things to try,

                1. Plug the toaster into a different circuit, if it makes that breaker hum as well, then possibly the appliance it sending some kind of feed back to the panel.

                Swap breaker placements, not just wires, but pop 2 breakers out and see if the same breaker still hums in its new location.  Are there any free spots you can move it to?

                I bought a house a few years ago that had a panel that lost approval...don't know if it was just in Colorado or country wide, but it had several breakers that hummed.  They were not forcing you to replace the panels, but you could no longer buy new breakers.

                I did have mine replaced and the problem went away.

                Most of those early '80s Fleetwoods had a wall-mounted convertors that did have considerable transformer hum.  We didnt often have problems with the 120vac side, but the 12vdc chassis mount(panel mount) fuse holders failed regularly.

                I can't recall any that used inverters to supply 120vac throughout the coach, but some Norcold refers had them to let their 110vac compressors run off the battery.

                Todd.


                On Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 5:36 PM, <red2dog45@...> wrote:
                 

                D, please see my comments to Matt's response about the converter.


                What is strange to me is why a toaster oven would cause a problem, but not a space heater which draws a similar amount of current. Were these appliances used on the same receptacle? Can you operate 120V appliances on these same receptacles when not connected to 120V shore power? This is a pass/fail test to see if you are running off a 12V-120V inverter.



                ---In classicrv@{{emailDomain}}, <dhammondtx@...> wrote:

                1) the converter makes a vibrating sound, a low hum, in the power supply area when I run my toaster oven.  My husband replaced the 20 amp breaker, but it still makes the sound.  We can run the microwave and a space heater with no problem (can't run two space heaters, we found out), but the toaster oven makes something vibrate back there.




              • Dave S.
                My 1986 Terry Taurus trailer also has a slight hum from the converter, not really that loud but at night I can hear faintly under the bed.... Deep Freeze Dave
                Message 7 of 18 , Dec 25, 2013
                  My 1986 Terry Taurus trailer also has a slight hum from the converter,
                  not really that loud but at night I can hear faintly under the bed....
                  Deep Freeze Dave

                  On 12/25/2013 8:53 AM, Todd Barnard wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > I agree with RedDog regarding one appliance over another. I worked on
                  > tons of those convertors..not inverters, and the only time I had any
                  > noise like that was either a bad breaker( they already tried) or
                  > perhaps a scorching where it connects to the panel.
                  >
                  > Things to try,
                  >
                  > 1. Plug the toaster into a different circuit, if it makes that breaker
                  > hum as well, then possibly the appliance it sending some kind of feed
                  > back to the panel.
                  >
                  > Swap breaker placements, not just wires, but pop 2 breakers out and
                  > see if the same breaker still hums in its new location. Are there any
                  > free spots you can move it to?
                  >
                  > I bought a house a few years ago that had a panel that lost
                  > approval...don't know if it was just in Colorado or country wide, but
                  > it had several breakers that hummed. They were not forcing you to
                  > replace the panels, but you could no longer buy new breakers.
                  >
                  > I did have mine replaced and the problem went away.
                  >
                  > Most of those early '80s Fleetwoods had a wall-mounted convertors that
                  > did have considerable transformer hum. We didnt often have problems
                  > with the 120vac side, but the 12vdc chassis mount(panel mount) fuse
                  > holders failed regularly.
                  >
                  > I can't recall any that used inverters to supply 120vac throughout the
                  > coach, but some Norcold refers had them to let their 110vac
                  > compressors run off the battery.
                  >
                  > Todd.
                  >
                  >
                  > On Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 5:36 PM, <red2dog45@...
                  > <mailto:red2dog45@...>> wrote:
                  >
                  > D, please see my comments to Matt's response about the converter.
                  >
                  >
                  > What is strange to me is why a toaster oven would cause a problem,
                  > but not a space heater which draws a similar amount of current.
                  > Were these appliances used on the same receptacle? Can you operate
                  > 120V appliances on these same receptacles when not connected to
                  > 120V shore power? This is a pass/fail test to see if you are
                  > running off a 12V-120V inverter.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > ---In classicrv@{{emailDomain}}, <dhammondtx@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > 1) the converter makes a vibrating sound, a low hum, in the power
                  > supply area when I run my toaster oven. My husband replaced the
                  > 20 amp breaker, but it still makes the sound. We can run the
                  > microwave and a space heater with no problem (can't run two space
                  > heaters, we found out), but the toaster oven makes something
                  > vibrate back there.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • red2dog45
                  That s interesting about humming breakers. My contention is that running a 120V appliance should not affect the converter, as it is not being used under big
                  Message 8 of 18 , Dec 25, 2013
                    That's interesting about humming breakers. My contention is that running a 120V appliance should not affect the converter, as it is not being used under big load. UNLESS an inverter was involved, which isn't likely. So maybe it is a breaker issue. Don't know about motorhomes, but older trailers (under 25') typically only have 2 inside and one outside 120V outlet on one breaker. That breaker box is usually separate from the 12V breakers/fuses, with the converter connected in between. 

                    ---In classicrv@{{emailDomain}}, <twbarnard@...> wrote:

                    I agree with RedDog regarding one appliance over another.  I worked on tons of those convertors..not inverters, and the only time I had any noise like that was either a bad breaker( they already tried) or perhaps a scorching where it connects to the panel. 

                    Things to try,

                    1. Plug the toaster into a different circuit, if it makes that breaker hum as well, then possibly the appliance it sending some kind of feed back to the panel.

                    Swap breaker placements, not just wires, but pop 2 breakers out and see if the same breaker still hums in its new location.  Are there any free spots you can move it to?

                    I bought a house a few years ago that had a panel that lost approval...don't know if it was just in Colorado or country wide, but it had several breakers that hummed.  They were not forcing you to replace the panels, but you could no longer buy new breakers.

                    I did have mine replaced and the problem went away.

                    Most of those early '80s Fleetwoods had a wall-mounted convertors that did have considerable transformer hum.  We didnt often have problems with the 120vac side, but the 12vdc chassis mount(panel mount) fuse holders failed regularly.

                    I can't recall any that used inverters to supply 120vac throughout the coach, but some Norcold refers had them to let their 110vac compressors run off the battery.

                    Todd.


                    On Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 5:36 PM, <red2dog45@...> wrote:
                     

                    D, please see my comments to Matt's response about the converter.


                    What is strange to me is why a toaster oven would cause a problem, but not a space heater which draws a similar amount of current. Were these appliances used on the same receptacle? Can you operate 120V appliances on these same receptacles when not connected to 120V shore power? This is a pass/fail test to see if you are running off a 12V-120V inverter.



                    ---In classicrv@{{emailDomain}}, <dhammondtx@...> wrote:

                    1) the converter makes a vibrating sound, a low hum, in the power supply area when I run my toaster oven.  My husband replaced the 20 amp breaker, but it still makes the sound.  We can run the microwave and a space heater with no problem (can't run two space heaters, we found out), but the toaster oven makes something vibrate back there.




                  • Todd Barnard
                    Thats right, no 120vac load should affect the converter noise. Some convertors are noisy as hell with no load! I had customers with convertors under the bed
                    Message 9 of 18 , Dec 25, 2013
                      Thats right, no 120vac load should affect the converter noise.  Some convertors are noisy as hell with no load!

                      I had customers with convertors under the bed and they would switch the breaker for the convertor off and run lights/ furnace etc off the battery overnight while they slept. Under the bed was a common and hated location for these units.

                      Some had cooling fans that kicked under heavy loads too. One RV manufacturer wall mounted them in the living area and they would drown out the TV!

                      Cheers, Todd.


                      On Wed, Dec 25, 2013 at 12:47 PM, <red2dog45@...> wrote:
                       

                      That's interesting about humming breakers. My contention is that running a 120V appliance should not affect the converter, as it is not being used under big load. UNLESS an inverter was involved, which isn't likely. So maybe it is a breaker issue. Don't know about motorhomes, but older trailers (under 25') typically only have 2 inside and one outside 120V outlet on one breaker. That breaker box is usually separate from the 12V breakers/fuses, with the converter connected in between. 


                      ---In classicrv@{{emailDomain}}, <twbarnard@...> wrote:

                      I agree with RedDog regarding one appliance over another.  I worked on tons of those convertors..not inverters, and the only time I had any noise like that was either a bad breaker( they already tried) or perhaps a scorching where it connects to the panel. 

                      Things to try,

                      1. Plug the toaster into a different circuit, if it makes that breaker hum as well, then possibly the appliance it sending some kind of feed back to the panel.

                      Swap breaker placements, not just wires, but pop 2 breakers out and see if the same breaker still hums in its new location.  Are there any free spots you can move it to?

                      I bought a house a few years ago that had a panel that lost approval...don't know if it was just in Colorado or country wide, but it had several breakers that hummed.  They were not forcing you to replace the panels, but you could no longer buy new breakers.

                      I did have mine replaced and the problem went away.

                      Most of those early '80s Fleetwoods had a wall-mounted convertors that did have considerable transformer hum.  We didnt often have problems with the 120vac side, but the 12vdc chassis mount(panel mount) fuse holders failed regularly.

                      I can't recall any that used inverters to supply 120vac throughout the coach, but some Norcold refers had them to let their 110vac compressors run off the battery.

                      Todd.


                      On Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 5:36 PM, <red2dog45@...> wrote:
                       

                      D, please see my comments to Matt's response about the converter.


                      What is strange to me is why a toaster oven would cause a problem, but not a space heater which draws a similar amount of current. Were these appliances used on the same receptacle? Can you operate 120V appliances on these same receptacles when not connected to 120V shore power? This is a pass/fail test to see if you are running off a 12V-120V inverter.



                      ---In classicrv@{{emailDomain}}, <dhammondtx@...> wrote:

                      1) the converter makes a vibrating sound, a low hum, in the power supply area when I run my toaster oven.  My husband replaced the 20 amp breaker, but it still makes the sound.  We can run the microwave and a space heater with no problem (can't run two space heaters, we found out), but the toaster oven makes something vibrate back there.





                    • mcolie
                      Todd and D, There is a lot of information missing here. If it is a Ferro-Resonant (buzz-box) converter, and it is on the same circuit or even the same side of
                      Message 10 of 18 , Dec 28, 2013

                        Todd and D, 


                        There is a  lot of information missing here.  

                        If it is a Ferro-Resonant (buzz-box) converter, and it is on the same circuit or even the same side of the phase as a high load appliance, then the line voltage drop caused by a high load appliance could easily make the buzz louder as the converter has to work harder to deliver the constant voltage.    


                        If his system is 50amp (2-120v circuits) and the converter is on one phase and the load is on the other, they will never see each other.  


                        In any case, if he has a ferro-resonant converter, he should really consider changing it out for something more modern and effective.  I would recommend looking at Progressive Dynamics or Iota - just for starters.


                        Matt     

                      • red2dog45
                        Mat, Fleetwood manuals are available online back to 1974. This Southwind is 30 amp service. It has an Electrical Center with the converter inside. No telling
                        Message 11 of 18 , Dec 28, 2013
                          Mat,

                          Fleetwood manuals are available online back to 1974. This Southwind is 30 amp service. It has an "Electrical Center" with the converter inside. No telling what the converter is, but likely a Ferro-Resonant type. There are two GFI outlets termed "general purpose", and one termed "portable appliance".

                          Other things we don't know is what kind of load was on the converter when the appliance was run. Something like the furnace could load it fairly high. The 13 amp load of the toaster oven is way below the 120V rating, but was there enough voltage available from the service panel they were plugged into?
                        • mcolie
                          red2, During that period, most of the RVs were equipped with ferro-resonant converters. So, unless someone changed it, that is what you have. Most 30 amp
                          Message 12 of 18 , Dec 29, 2013

                            red2, 


                            During that period, most of the RVs were equipped with ferro-resonant converters.  So, unless someone changed it, that is what you have.  Most 30 amp services have three or four breakers in the box to separate A/C, waterheater and outlets.  Why they have two specifically marked GFCIs I can't guess.  There is no indication of this in the schematic in the owner's manual.  (Neat that is available.)    


                            The load on the converter will make a difference as will the line voltage available at that moment.  Really, nothing matters until a breaker pops.    


                            Without being there with my instruments connected, I really can't give you any better answers than that.  


                            Matt 

                          • mrdwm1@sbcglobal.net
                            ... . The 13 amp load of the toaster oven is way below the 120V rating, but was there enough voltage available from the service panel they were plugged into?
                            Message 13 of 18 , Dec 29, 2013
                              >Hope you don't mind the extra 2 cents here but, to get 13 amps at 120v out of the inverter or converter, you would have to be getting 130amps+ out of the 12 V system that feeds the inverter (the 130amps will be on the 12v side). This toaster might not be the best device to be using an inverter for. Are all the wiring, switches, connectors, etc and the inverter itself rated for at least the actual currents you will be using? (if ratings are in Watts, multiply the volts x the current to arrive at approx. watts).
                              >
                              . The 13 amp load of the toaster oven is way below the 120V rating, but was there enough voltage available from the service panel they were plugged into?
                              >
                            • red2dog45
                              The assumption is the toaster oven was running on 120V. There are no toaster ovens in 12V, as the amperage would be humongous. That would be some inverter!
                              Message 14 of 18 , Dec 29, 2013
                                The assumption is the toaster oven was running on 120V. There are no toaster ovens in 12V, as the amperage would be humongous. That would be some inverter!
                              • red2dog45
                                Matt, I am not the original poster in this subject thread. It was D. Hammond on 12/23, and there has been no response from them since then. Maybe they will get
                                Message 15 of 18 , Dec 29, 2013
                                  Matt,

                                  I am not the original poster in this subject thread. It was D. Hammond on 12/23, and there has been no response from them since then. Maybe they will get around to it after the holidays - maybe not.


                                • D. Hammond
                                  Sorry, with the holidays we haven t had a chance to try the toaster oven on another plug. Thanks so much for all the ideas. One new development: Night before
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Dec 29, 2013
                                    Sorry, with the holidays we haven't had a chance to try the toaster oven on another plug.  Thanks so much for all the ideas. 

                                    One new development:  Night before last the lights that usually run on the battery when not plugged in blinked  for about 2 seconds a couple of times, but the TV and computer (only used when plugged in to shore power) did not blink.  We were plugged in to shore power at the time.  Weird unless the converter is going out.  Could that be another sign?

                                    D. Hammond


                                    On Sun, Dec 29, 2013 at 2:57 PM, <red2dog45@...> wrote:


                                    Matt,

                                    I am not the original poster in this subject thread. It was D. Hammond on 12/23, and there has been no response from them since then. Maybe they will get around to it after the holidays - maybe not.





                                  • Todd Barnard
                                    A few things to look for here. If its just one light acting up, check the bulb contacts. Assuming it doesn t have a proper socket the bulb goes into, the
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Dec 29, 2013
                                      A few things to look for here. If its just one light acting up, check the bulb contacts.  Assuming it doesn't have a proper socket the bulb goes into, the metal frame you slip the bulb thru can get bent from removing and replacing the blub, making the contact at the base of the bulb intermittent.   Turn the light off, remove the bulb and push the frame towards the flat brass contact just the slightest bit.  Put the bulb back in place.

                                      If one circuit of lights are blinking, check the fuse holder....if its a chassis mount holder as I described before, it may need to be replaced. Also try a new fuse...I've seen them fail inside the cap, usually do to heat.

                                      If all light and 12v curcuits flash, you may need to clean the relay contacts inside the convertor.  The actual cleaning is best done with a credit card, getting to it can be tricky. 

                                      Feel free to contact me off the group if you'd like me to walk you thru this.   twbarnard@....

                                      Take care, Todd.


                                      On Sun, Dec 29, 2013 at 3:17 PM, D. Hammond <dhammondtx@...> wrote:
                                       

                                      Sorry, with the holidays we haven't had a chance to try the toaster oven on another plug.  Thanks so much for all the ideas. 

                                      One new development:  Night before last the lights that usually run on the battery when not plugged in blinked  for about 2 seconds a couple of times, but the TV and computer (only used when plugged in to shore power) did not blink.  We were plugged in to shore power at the time.  Weird unless the converter is going out.  Could that be another sign?

                                      D. Hammond


                                      On Sun, Dec 29, 2013 at 2:57 PM, <red2dog45@...> wrote:


                                      Matt,

                                      I am not the original poster in this subject thread. It was D. Hammond on 12/23, and there has been no response from them since then. Maybe they will get around to it after the holidays - maybe not.






                                    • red2dog45
                                      Yes - blinking 12V lights are an important clue. Sounds like you are on the road and may not be able to dig in very deep with diagnostics. Some easy things
                                      Message 18 of 18 , Dec 29, 2013
                                        Yes - blinking 12V lights are an important clue. Sounds like you are "on the road" and may not be able to dig in very deep with diagnostics. Some easy things have already been suggested like trying the toaster oven on another outlet, measuring the shore power voltage under load, switching the breaker locations.

                                        The Electrical Center houses the converter along with the breakers and such. Is there any access to the back of that panel? The converter could be a stand alone commercial unit wired in, or might be be a built in propitiatory circuit. No way to tell without seeing it. Just thinking about how it could be replaced if defective. Would be nice to know where the loud hum is coming from as well.

                                        Those 120V-12V converter systems usually have a battery-transformer switch that is set whether plugged into shore power, or not and running off battery. Some are manual, and some automatically activate with a relay when plugged in. You might look at the Electrical Center panel to see which you have. The auto model will have no visible changeover switch. Possibility of a bad switch or relay.  I can't tell from the bad photocopies of the user manual online.  http://www.fleetwoodrv.com/partsandservice/manualsByYear.asp

                                        RogerD
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