3 wires to battery (Black/white/red). Confused.

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3 wires to battery (Black/white/red). Confused.

Postby Camp4Life » Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:07 pm

Got a TT and I think the previous owner hooked up the battery wrong (it also has a converter/charger). The battery is dead and won't charge.

Here's how it WAS hooked up (which I disconnected)

POSITIVE TERMINAL : Black and Red wires
NEGATIVE TERMINAL : White wire

Now, the issue is that when I disconnect the battery from everything and use an Ohmmeter, the white and red wires have zero resistance to each other and to ground. So I believe the battery was just discharging itself because one was hooked up to each terminal :shock:

I tried plugging in the TT to shore power which makes everything work fine, but I get no voltage to any of those wires. I'm thinking maybe because there's no battery connected, the charger isn't "sensing" anything, so it doesn't try charging.

Am I correct in assuming the red and white wires should both be on the negative terminal and only have the black wire on the positive terminal?
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Re: 3 wires to battery (Black/white/red). Confused.

Postby edgeau » Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:43 pm

Convention is red to positive and black to negative. White could be anything. Sounds like you need to trace them back to your charger / fuse box

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Re: 3 wires to battery (Black/white/red). Confused.

Postby H.A. » Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:13 pm

Colors have convention meaning, But thats worthless if it was connected without regard.One needs to see the documents on the specific powersupply.
For example and surprise to many, If its a Listed DC powersupply intended for one of its conductors to be grounded, Grounded conductor is supposed to be white. Observe the TnTTT famous PD4045...
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Re: 3 wires to battery (Black/white/red). Confused.

Postby Camp4Life » Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:29 pm

The white is definitely ground as it bolts to the frame and to several other white grounds.
The red and black wires are mysteries and I'm unable to trace where they go since they go INTO the flooring space and there's no access between the bottom of the trailer and the floor.
Like I said though, there's no resistance between the red and the white wires, which makes me question having the white on the negative and the red on the positive, because it's essentially connecting the negative terminal on the battery straight to the positive one!

The converter/charger is a mystery box from the late 80's. All the wires go into it from a hole in the wall. It just says BW 3200 Series on it with some power ratings. So no clue with that.

If I end up stuck I might just replace the entire converter/charger with a new system. But, my main concern right now is to just figure out the red wire, but don't know how to go about it since I can't trace it.
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Re: 3 wires to battery (Black/white/red). Confused.

Postby MtnDon » Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:58 pm

it's essentially connecting the negative terminal on the battery straight to the positive one!


If that was really true there should have been some exciting fireworks.

A long wire connected to one of the ohmeter terminals would permit connecting that end to a red or black... whatever, at the battery position and allow you to probe wires at the other end to find continuity or discontinuity. Take time to build a drawing, wire by wire.

Are there fuses?
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Re: 3 wires to battery (Black/white/red). Confused.

Postby Padilen » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:03 pm

My mom's TT has 3 wires. I'm not sure what post but there is a white a black and a red. If I remember correctly it's 2 wires on the positive.
This is my deep cycle method.If the battery is a deep cycle a trickle charge won't be affective if battery is "dead". Test battery acid, don't add water until you charge it. Use a "start" charge for 1-2 hours. Then see if it took a charge.

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Re: 3 wires to battery (Black/white/red). Confused.

Postby H.A. » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:06 pm

BW3200 series powersupplies covered several models. It might be handy to know what specific.
One can find original technical documents in Googleland.
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Re: 3 wires to battery (Black/white/red). Confused.

Postby Camp4Life » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:41 pm

MtnDon wrote:
it's essentially connecting the negative terminal on the battery straight to the positive one!


If that was really true there should have been some exciting fireworks.

A long wire connected to one of the ohmeter terminals would permit connecting that end to a red or black... whatever, at the battery position and allow you to probe wires at the other end to find continuity or discontinuity. Take time to build a drawing, wire by wire.

Are there fuses?


The battery voltage read 4.3 volts with wires connected. When I disconnected them all, the battery read 8.5 volts. All I know is that the red and white seem to be connected to eachother somewhere in the camper...

Padilen wrote:My mom's TT has 3 wires. I'm not sure what post but there is a white a black and a red. If I remember correctly it's 2 wires on the positive.
This is my deep cycle method.If the battery is a deep cycle a trickle charge won't be affective if battery is "dead". Test battery acid, don't add water until you charge it. Use a "start" charge for 1-2 hours. Then see if it took a charge.

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Battery's been on my smart charger for a few hours now. Started on 2 amps, then 6,7 etc, it's at 15 amps now. Water levels were fine. It is a deep cycle battery.

H.A. wrote:BW3200 series powersupplies covered several models. It might be handy to know what specific.
One can find original technical documents in Googleland.


It's a 3243. That's all I can find on it.
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Re: 3 wires to battery (Black/white/red). Confused.

Postby Padilen » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:52 pm

The battery is at 15 ?

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Re: 3 wires to battery (Black/white/red). Confused.

Postby Camp4Life » Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:12 pm

No the charger went up to 15 amps. It's a standalone smart charger. Took the battery out to charge it up. It's now starting to drop to a trickle as the battery is at 90%.
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Re: 3 wires to battery (Black/white/red). Confused.

Postby Dale M. » Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:43 am

Wire colors are for humans, electrons are colorblind, they just follow easiest path..Normal convention in my mind would be red on positive black on negative of battery and possible white on negative as "ground bond" to chassis...

DC Circuits: Red is positive, black is negative.
AC Circuits: Black is load, white is neutral.

Sound like PO did mix and match and maybe have got it wrong...

To really solve the mystery you are are going to have to explore, maybe open up a few DC fixtures and see where red and black wire connect... OR maybe red and black go directly to converter/charger the might be wiring diagram inside cover....

Found this, not sure if its same converter brand or series you have also says theis series converter has been discontinued.....

https://d163axztg8am2h.cloudfront.net/s ... 664063.pdf

Seriously doubt your battery will live if it was taken down as low as you say, it usually means death to them...

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Any statement made by me are strictly my own opinion.
You are free to ignore anything I say if you do not agree.

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Re: 3 wires to battery (Black/white/red). Confused.

Postby Camp4Life » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:17 pm

So I charged my battery full over a week ago and it's still holding the charge well. I bought a new multimeter and found that the white and red wires DO have quite a bit of resistance between them. My old meter would register even the largest amount of resistance as having zero resistance, so it was obviously faulty...

Went on a short camping trip (2 nights) and used a bit of battery. Plugged in the camper when I got home and the juice at the battery slowly rose to 13.8 volts over the course of several hours while plugged in. After a few hours I unplugged the camper and the battery is fully charged again. I never saw over 14 volts while charging, but maybe that's because the battery wasn't discharged very much. So it seems to be all good for now. Only time will tell. Not sure I'll ever drain the battery more than half since we rarely use lights or the water pump...
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Re: 3 wires to battery (Black/white/red). Confused.

Postby Camp4Life » Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:26 pm

Little update.

Everything seems good. I turned on all my lights and let the battery drain down to 12.1 volts and then plugged it in. After a few hours it was at 14 volts and supplying 5 amps. I left it plugged in all day and at the end of the day it was 13.75 volts and just under 3 amps going into the battery. So it did change to a trickle charge :thumbsup:

Also spent a few hours setting up wiring for my solar setup. I had a small waterproof pelican case sitting around. I mounted it on the outside sealed with silicone behind a blank 110v-type panel on the inside which happened to have terminated + and - wires in it along with the coax that goes to the roof. This made for nice water-tight access to the inside where I placed the charge controller. Haven't decided yet where I'll place the rest of my power monitoring systems or my USB ports. The panel itself will hopefully get mounted on the roof in the next day or two if it stops raining. All-in-all a good day

150224

150225

150223

150226

:beer:
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