For those you that have an RV, this will not come as a surprise to you. I have an intermittent electrical problem with my Retro-Winnie.
One of my Furnace Fans has decided to become a cognizant entity on its own. It turns on when it sees fit.
The Perils of owning an RV
We RV owners are used to having intermittent problems with their Rigs, at times. As I explain to many people, picture taking your home, putting wheels under it, and then driving it up and down the roads of America.
No matter what you do, or how aggressive you might be with your preventive maintenance, things are going to come loose or just stop working.
Plumbing will leak, wiring connectors will come loose, your Dash AC will stop running in the heat of the day; these and other strange things will happen to your RV at the most inopportune times.
Eventually, as we grow our RVer experience scars, we just do our best and accept the possibilities of problems as a part of the Camping adventure. In fact, I have written a HubPage article called; RV Electrical Problems that includes a lot of useful information for the novice RVer.
A Strange Electrical problem
Well, if you have been keeping up with my RETRO-WINNIE stories, I just had to replace my Fridge.
To make a long story short, the Cooling unit died, and the cost of repairing the old Fridge was going to be very close to the cost of installing a new one. So, luckily for me, Camping World had a new fridge available on sale and I did save a significant amount of money by taking advantage.
Now, my RETRO-WINNIE has a basement AC/Heat Pump/Gas Furnace unit that has worked well for us so far.
So, after a few days, we pulled our Rig up to our house to get a few little things done to it. Nothing special really, so we had it plugged up for a couple of days and we checked out some electrical items. And, we also loaded a few things like; linen, toilet paper, some canned kitchen foods, etcetera; to be prepared for a little camping run in a few weeks.
Once done, we unhooked our RV form AC-power and I pulled it down to our little retirement community’s Camper storage area.
Thats when it happened. As soon as I started the engine, I could hear an electrical motor running; that I had never heard before. I went ahead and parked the RV and after a few minutes investigation, we found that the noise was from the forward Furnace fan. It was running whenever we had the RV engine on.
If I turned the engine off, the fan stopped. If I turned it on, the fan ran.
I just shrugged, shut down the RV and hauled my owners manuals to our house for a little studying, before I did anything else.
Why a Front Furnace Fan?
Let me explain for you that are non-Winnie owners. Our basement furnace is in the very rear of the basement and has its own fans to force heated air flow through the ducts.
But with a 35-footer, the designers must have decided that there was a need for more air flow at the front of the RV. So, they put a small fan in the heating ductwork, at the front of the RV just to help “pull” some extra heated air to the front of the RV.
And, by the way, we had used the furnace extensively in late November and early December while camping at our daughters house in Virginia. And, everything had run great, including this forward fan, when the furnace itself was running.
The Trouble Shooting process
I used the web and downloaded the schematics of the controller box and the furnace itself, as I studied this strange problem of a fan with a mind of its own.
Of course, I went back to my RV and checked that the furnace and AC worked properly, in all modes. And ….. it does.
The problem is that I don’t need or want this fan to be running while I am driving down the road on a normal day. So, what can be wrong?
That’s the question. Well, everything works, heating and cooling, and thats good. The errant fan, though is coming on only when the engine is running, and this fan is controlled by a relay in the control box for the Heating/Cooling system.
So, my next step is to pull the control box and check that all of its switch contacts are working properly and that all of the relays inside are operating properly.
I have suspicions that I will find a relay that is sticking.
I really will not know until I go inside the control box.
UPDATE: OK, this is a little embarrassing but I found the problem, or rather the cause. You see a motorhome is a pretty complex machine and it has a lot of options and accessories built into it.
Well, I was just sitting there, in the driver’s seat wondering what was going on and I looked at my dash with it’s dozens of switches for controlling a myriad of things.
And guess what, there it was. One of the dash toggle switches was turned ON. I turned it OFF and the problem disappeared.
Duly embarrassed, I shut things down and feeling about 2-feet tall, I left my Winnie, and nevr mentioned this situation to anyone.
by Don Bobbitt, 2015
Copyright Don Bobbitt, 2015, All Rights Reserved. The reader has the right to use and share the information in this article with friends and others. But, commercial use of this article is not allowed without written permission from the author.
Quick Note: That was it! It seems that if your thermostat is set to a high temperature, as mine was. On cold day, the logic will allow the forward furnace fan in the ductwork to run. How does it get its power, well, I not only have the standard charger for my batteries, but I have a Solar Charger wired in. This wiring situation gives the thermostat switch power even if the furnace is OFF, like when I turn on the engine. But If I set the thermostat lower than the actual measured temperature by a few degrees, the thermostat will turn off the fan. Hmmmmmmmm?