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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Friends!

It had been my girlfriend's dream for a campervan and unfortunately I have no skills as a woodworker or electrician so we had it built by a company out of state(chosen because of great reviews), but we're from Northern California. Our problem in a few words is that our inverter is not outputing power to any outlets, even the ones directly attached to the inverter itself. Everything worked upon receiving the van, and our frist trip went without a hitch--able to grill on a 1000W hotplate for ~20 minutes without issue and 1000W electric kettle too--the inverter "whined" twice but resolved after some rest and reset as suggested by builder. But right before our second trip, no AC power at all. Everything DC works (fridge, fans, waterpump, lights). Inverter turns on, single Beep, no error lights or sounds, green light only, but no AC power. After contacting the builders over phone, they walked me through some sequences of turning on/off breakers/switches and ensured me that the inverter was at fault and not the build. An inverter was promised to be sent and I would do a simple swap and all would be well. It's been over a month and communication can be summed up with "we'll look into that." Needless to say I have little faith they will follow through with helping us remotely and seeing as how we're 12 hours away, we can't easily go directly for help.

So I've taken the matter into my own hands and purchased a brand new inverter and switched it myself. But the exact same problem persisted--no AC power. All cables/wires were replaced in previous locations. All DC power works (fridge, lights, water pump, fans). The odd thing is that if I simply used ONE battery separated from the whole system and connected it to the inverter directly, I got AC on all outlets, even the ones inside the van after connecting the NGL wires. I tried this on all 3 batteries separately and both old/new inverters and got AC power successfully in all scenerios. Would this suggest it is NOT the inverter or batteries at fault?? (please correct me if I'm wrong)

I've also purchased a cheap multimeter and learned to take some basic measurments and this one finding I cannot explain: All batteries showed around 13-14.xx V when I measured terminals when batteries are connected to solar charger (I assumed this is normal because the batteries are 100% and actively charging). However when I place the multimeter prongs at the +/- terminals on the inverter while connected to the batteries, it only showed 3.5V. Shouldn't it read exactly the same as the other batteries? Does it mean the inverter is not recieving enough "power"? What would cause the difference in voltages? Or am I simply not using the multimeter correctly?

An added difficulty is that the components are mounted in a tight space and some wiring is hidden behind a walls for aesthetics and cable management--so I am uncertain of some of the wiring and it's conditions as it would require me to disassemble quite a bit of wood and I'm hesitant to do so in fears of voiding any waranty I may have. If it helps, I've attached a simple diagram of what I can see/feel to help me visualize everything. Anything with a [?] means I can't determine the end of the wire. The pictured components are identical/near identical as well. I am learning all of this as I go with zero experience so any guidance on how to trouble shoot is appreciated!!!!!!!


Thank you

Sam



Font Parallel Technology Diagram Circuit component
 

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2019 159 EXT HR (3500) in WA
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The technical term is "swaptronics" LOLs.

Please measure the voltage between the negative (black) side of the battery and each of the terminals of the "200 amp" breaker.

Please let us know two readings: One from one terminal of the breaker to battery negative and then a second reading from the other side of the breaker to the battery negative.

That'll give us a start.
 

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2019 Promaster 3500 Silver high top 159"
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The two (+) from the batteries go to the breakers. The 250a breaker goes to the inverter, the other one goes to the 12v distribution.

Your 250a breaker is bad, or one of your connections are loose (bad lug crimp?), Something in the inverters loop is not working properly.

If there is no significant voltage across the breaker, next thing to do is disconnect the (-) return from the batteries, then loosen and re-torque all connections.
 

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2018 136" HR
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If the breaker turns out to be the issue, I will highly recommend getting a better one from blue sea or other well known brands. I seen a few posts about the cheaper breaker cause issue with high amperage item.
 
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My first impression was that there is a breaker or fuse between the battery and inverter which has blown. Upon further reading, you said there is a small voltage between the lugs on the inverter, so to me that says either a) dodgy connection, or b) dodgy fuse/breaker.

Basically you need to trace the positive (Red) wire from the inverter back to the battery. Start with what's visible (are the lugs good at the inverter? At the battery?) and then get into whatever is hidden away that you have to dig deeper for.

Also, with this in mind I'd press your building company harder. Dodgy connections can set fire to your van, if you convey the issue properly to the builder then they will take you seriously. They don't want to be held liable for killing your family... or for $60k+ of camper going up in flames. (It's safe for now as long as the main breaker is off).

As an aside... I'm not sure what type of power bank you have but I'd be reluctant to use anything with an electric element (kettle, hotplate, etc.) on van electronics just because of the huge power draw. There's a reason most people stick to propane or induction.
 

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Hi @Keytronics

1st, here is my assumption of your wiring diagram with the “?”

Product Font Parallel Technology Slope


I took a guess on the red wires coming off the battery post (50/50 chance of getting that correct). You should be able to tell which wire goes to the 200A breaker & inverter as it should be larger diameter (gauge) than the wire that goes to the 30A breaker

The unknown black wire most likely is to ground (possibly chassis ground)
 

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Can you post some photos so we can take a look?

Inverters draw big loads (Amps) 3000W inverter will draw about 250A or more. I suspect you have a wire/connection/breaker/fuse issue between your red or black circuit to your inverter.

Note, if you have a bad connection on the black (neg) wire that also affects the circuit

I also note an unusual wiring of the batteries in regards to red & black “multiple battery terminals being used” & in your diagram “unfused”.

I am not familiar with those battery specs, & question if they can supply 250A or 300A to the inverter.
 

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Van #2 2021 EXT
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Hello Friends!

It had been my girlfriend's dream for a campervan and unfortunately I have no skills as a woodworker or electrician so we had it built by a company

I am learning all of this as I go with zero experience so any guidance on how to trouble shoot is appreciated!!!!!!!


Thank you

Sam
Hi Sam @Keytronics

Some words of encouragement.

No skills Yet ,,, But this is a great opportunity to start learning. There is lots of knowledge & experience on The Forum. We had an old saying back when I was a kid when we started buying vehicles in our teens “If you can’t fix it ya don’t own it”.

I believe you will quickly learn your electrical system (in fact it seems like you already know a lot about it). Did you get a wiring diagram from the company that built it (if not will they send that to you)?

You will get this fixed, just have to narrow down the possible fault areas.[/QUOTE]
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The technical term is "swaptronics" LOLs.

Please measure the voltage between the negative (black) side of the battery and each of the terminals of the "200 amp" breaker.

Please let us know two readings: One from one terminal of the breaker to battery negative and then a second reading from the other side of the breaker to the battery negative.

That'll give us a start.

I'll try to help. Measure the voltages between the black dot and each of the red dots and let us know what you find. Measure with the inverter off and then on. If that reads ok then plug in an appliance and take reading again.

View attachment 80194

Wow I was not expecting so many people responding so quickly and willing to help. Thank you all!

Following advice of @83Grumman, @Baxsie and @Will_promaster measuring at the indicated red [?] points showed a discrepency at each end of the 200A breaker (13.xx volts at one end and 3.xx volts on another). Further poking and proding with the multimeter has also helped me deduce which mystery wires were connected to which ends (I think...haha) and @larry barello and @RV8R are correct. Very impressive you all can figure out the issue based on my ramblings and fingerpaintings!

Sounds like the next step would be to replace the 200A breaker? I've ordered a replacement one and will update you folks on the progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If the breaker turns out to be the issue, I will highly recommend getting a better one from blue sea or other well known brands. I seen a few posts about the cheaper breaker cause issue with high amperage item.
Thank you for the suggestion on reputable brands. Amazon is flooded with different ones and I can't tell which reviews are legit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Can you post some photos so we can take a look?

I also note an unusual wiring of the batteries in regards to red & black “multiple battery terminals being used” & in your diagram “unfused”.

I am not familiar with those battery specs, & question if they can supply 250A or 300A to the inverter.
Yes, the batteries should be wired more like this so charges and loads are distributed more equally.


Thank you for the kind words @RV8R! Love to learn and everyone's making it so easy here on the forum and hopefully in time I can contribute as well.

As for photos these are the best I can produce in the tight space. In order to make the diagram I had to remove all the batteries to visualize the wires. Im sure some essential components are behind that wall that I can't access (they sure made it look pretty though).
Automotive design Flooring Machine Gadget Font
Motor vehicle Automotive tire Automotive design Electrical wiring Gas
Gadget Bicycle handlebar Electrical wiring Cable Audio equipment
 
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