Our Batteries Were Wired Wrong!

You read the title right, they were wired wrong. I suppose you’re asking why they were wired wrong, and that’s a fair question. It’s because Cedar Creek used the wrong wiring diagram in the battery bay. Now the diagram they used would work on most RV’s with four 6v batteries. However, because of our residential refrigerator and it’s power inverter, our system is different than most. 

The problem was with the inverter Cedar Creek installed. One pos and one neg cable going to the batteries (on the old diagram) ran straight into the inverter. So they weren’t actually connecting anything. That’s why the new diagram adds two additional cables.

 

 

They’re are two positive and two negative cables running into the battery bay. One of each come directly from the inverter. The problem there is that the four batteries weren’t wired in series and parallel they way they should have been. Because of this they weren’t able to produce the 12v needed for the inverter.

Without the proper 12 volts the power inverter was constantly shutting off due to low voltage. The highest voltage it ever showed was 11.4, which is far below what is needed to power a residential fridge.

Another problem with the batteries being wired wrong was that the converter couldn’t charge them correctly, so they were dying. Actually seven total were sacrificed to the wrong diagram. The four that originally came with our unit were pronounced dead by a mobile tech our second day on the road. He was testing them with a multimeter, which would normally be fine. Except that the way they were wired meant that if you tested the two outside batteries they wouldn’t show 12-13v, they showed 2-3. (That REALLY stumped everyone last night)

We bought a pair of 12v marine batteries from the mobile tech and he installed them. I don’t know what he did wrong, but the inverter still only read 11.4v.  They weren’t charging correctly either and were replaced within a year. The seventh battery was the accessory battery from the truck. What we can figure is that the RV was pulling too much from it trying to make up for not having enough power to run things while towing. The other truck battery is just fine, and they were installed at the same time.

So how were the batteries actually wired? If you number the batteries 1-4 left to right, 1-2 were combined and 3-4 were combined. But the two pair weren’t connected. I was talking to Tom Morton from Mortons on the Move and Kevin one of our viewers last night. It was last night because when we started driving yesterday morning the inverter wouldn’t run for more than 5 seconds. It only does that when the batteries don’t have enough charge. So when we stopped I contacted them to try and finally fix the problem.

I just installed four brand new 6v golf cart batteries from Costco two weeks ago, they should have been working. Anyway, I contacted Tom and Kevin because they both know what they’re doing electrically. But because of the wrong diagram it was stumping everyone for a few hours. Finally I asked if I could just use my extra pair of cables I bought to install a battery monitor to hook the two pairs together. Voila! The problem was finally solved. The inverter read 12.5v. And I was testing 1 and 4 to get 12.5v.

I thanked them both profusely then went on Facebook to tell others of the problem and the fix, in case they were also having the same issue. I won’t get into all the commenters, but one guy posted a picture of a new battery wiring diagram that was released by Cedar Creek TWO YEARS AGO!!! We’ve only had this for 1.5 years. So why didn’t we have the new diagram? (Cedar Creek admitted to us today that we have the wrong diagram, and they don’t know why WHAT?!?!?!) What we’d figured out was pretty close to the new one. But I switched over to the new one today.

 

 

Diagram in our rig.png

 

With the help of Brain Boone from Got Solar we made sure that the new diagram was correct. Thank God it’s all working and charging the way it’s supposed to. Last night when we wired the two pair together I heard the converter turn on under the stairs. It’s the first time I’d ever heard it running. It’s still working today with the new diagram.

Camping World who installed the original batteries didn’t test the system or catch the problem. The mobile tech didn’t catch it. And our rig spent two months at the factory this summer getting fixed and no one there caught it. That’s after about 15 emails complaining about batteries, the inverter, the converter, the fridge not running, etc. So in the end it was other RVers and YouTubers that helped me fix the problem. It wasn’t a tech, a dealer or even the manufacturer, it was simply people helping each other.

Which leads to my last point. When you see RVers posting about problems online please don’t troll them with comments about how your rig is perfect and you haven’t had any problems. That’s the exact opposite of being helpful, that’s in fact very mean. When someone is having a terrible day offer some encouragement and support, don’t tell them how yours is working just fine. Because for RVers all we have is each other. Be kind to each other and try to help them. You never know when it’s going to be your turn to need help.

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13 thoughts on “Our Batteries Were Wired Wrong!

  1. Karen says:

    Thank you for posting this video. The information you supplied was invaluable for us. We picked up a brand new 5th wheel last Saturday. My husband wanted the 4 x 6 deep cycle batteries. Nothing in the camper worked off 12 volt except the lights and they would often flash, we had no heat no hot water. The dealer couldn’t understand what the problem was . When we saw your video we went straight to Alstate who supplied the batteries they were horrified as our batteries had been hooked up to produce 24volt. Everyone was amazed it hadn’t fried everything, we think the fact that the new batteries were low on charge. So thank you again for the time you took to help us… Karen and Roger Cartwright from Australia.
    We are in the US touring for a year.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Karen says:

    Thank you for posting this video. The information you supplied was invaluable for us. We picked up a brand new 5th wheel last Saturday. My husband wanted the 4 x 6 deep cycle batteries. Nothing in the camper worked off 12 volt except the lights and they would often flash, we had no heat no hot water. The dealer couldn’t understand what the problem was . When we saw your video we went straight to Alstate who supplied the batteries they were horrified as our batteries had been hooked up to produce 24volt. Everyone was amazed it hadn’t fried everything, we think the fact that the new batteries were low on charge. So thank you again for the time you took to help us… Karen and Roger Cartwright from Australia.
    We are in the US touring for a year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hebard's Travels says:

      Thank God you got it figured out before there was major damage. I’m so happy that we were able to help you. I hope the rest of your year goes better. If you’re in South Texas anytime soon let us know, we’d love to meet you.

      Like

  3. CBK says:

    Yes would be nice to see pictures showing the entire battery cabinet before and after. You’ve proved nothing since both diagrams show the same thing using 6 volt batteries to provide 12 volts. Both take 2 /6 volt batteries, tie negative to positive to produce 12 volts.

    Like

    • Hebard's Travels says:

      The diagrams don’t show the same thing. There are two added cables in the new diagram taking them from two sets of series, to parallel/series joining the battery banks together. In fact we did prove it we have helped over 20 people that we know of by talking about this. Their rig also had the incorrect diagrams, they too we’re losing their batteries and the fridge was running improperly. We’ve tested the batteries every day since just to be sure and they are indeed workinging together now.

      I’m sorry we don’t have a picture of before, we honestly didn’t think to take one. That’s why John described it in the video. Also why we posted the diagrams, and explained it.

      Like

  4. Kim Bryan says:

    Ok. I am happy that you were able to get the problem solved. It seems that the rv manufacturers are concentrating on getting the product out the door and not concerning themselves with quality or customer satisfaction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hebard's Travels says:

      They actually are not. Because of the way our unit is wired, the inverter and converter, they had to add the two cables to charge the entire battery bank, not just the two batteries. They released this updated schematic 2 years ago, approximately 6 months before our rig was built. Further, we have proven it doesn’t work the same by going through 7 batteries with only traveling about twice a month for a couple days. All of the other days the unit was plugged in and should have been charging. Even further proof they are not the same, the converter kicked on for the first time charging the batteries, after we rewired it according to the new diagram. If you trace the wires from top to bottom you can see that the two wires are connected totally differently in each diagram.

      Like

    • Hebard's Travels says:

      The problem was with the inverter Cedar Creek installed. One pos and one neg cable going to the batteries (on the old diagram) ran straight into the inverter. So they weren’t actually connecting anything. That’s why the new diagram adds two additional cables.

      Like

  5. Kim Bryan says:

    The diagrams are similar with the exception of the inverter cables being connected to the positive terminals. The connections on the first diagram are 2-1 and 4-3 which will still yield 12 volts and the connection on the second diagram are 1-2 and 3-4 which yield 12 volts. Can you post the way it was actually connected with the inverter cables?
    Thanks, Kim

    Like

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