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post #1 of 8 Old 07-17-2012, 02:32 AM Thread Starter
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Electronics issue

Hope this is the right forum for this issue. I ran into this problem recently and solved it by mere accident and want some electronic/electrician techs to chime in as to what happened. Here's the deal; bought the Shorai battery and charger about a month ago and everything is well for a while. Went to put the battery and charger on 'store' for about a week and when I plugged in the charger....nothing. I'm using a 20amp outlet in my garage and have been for some time with nary a burp. Here's where it gets interesting. To troubleshoot, I plugged in a worklight into this same outlet and it works fine...as does another battery charger. I take the Shorai charger into my house and it works just fine at the microwave outlet but will not work at the garage outlet as a re-test. SAY WHAT??? As a last resort, I filpped the garage outlet breaker on/off 3 times and tested the charger again. Now, it works! What could this charger have detected that caused it to not work until I flipped the breaker 3 times? The house is 19 years old and that breaker has not been touched since the house was built. I'm wondering if the breaker contacts have oxidized over the years from never being moved causing a poor connection...sorta like a lead acid battery's terminals that have that yellow/green buildup that means....OOOPS! No engine turn over. After this incident, I methodically went thru the entire breaker panel flipping all breakers 5 times. Electricity is not my forte' but I'm trying to learn as much as I can. Any input? (edited); just remembered. The outlet has a GFI which I also did the 'test' 'reset' thing twice before stumbling upon the breaker fix. The GFI works fine.

'92 Honda Z50R
'94 Kawasaki KLX250 modded to 340cc's
'00 Yamaha YZ426F
'94 Yamaha 125 scooter
'05 Vespa E4 scooter
'68 Vespa VBB scooter (restored)
'06 Wee
'03 Honda S2000 roadster

Last edited by Boit4852; 07-17-2012 at 02:35 AM.
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post #2 of 8 Old 07-17-2012, 01:30 PM
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The problem is probably in the new charger. If other devices worked fine in the plug then the plug is OK.
Could possibly be the outlet contacts were not tight enough. You could replace the outlet for a couple bucks just for good measure.
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post #3 of 8 Old 07-18-2012, 02:23 AM Thread Starter
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I don't see how it could be a problem with the charger as it now works fine after flipping the breaker on and off a few times. This charger is for Shorai li-ion batteries only and has a 5-prong connector at the battery. It appears to me that the charger detected a line input issue such as low voltage or low amperage that was corrected when I flipped the breaker a few times. I admit that I am grasping at straws here....or possibly some type of line noise or interference. I'm thinking that perhaps there is a design within this charger to provide clean power to the battery much like a power conditioner that I use on my home theater system. Maybe I could contact Shorai directly and get an answer.

'92 Honda Z50R
'94 Kawasaki KLX250 modded to 340cc's
'00 Yamaha YZ426F
'94 Yamaha 125 scooter
'05 Vespa E4 scooter
'68 Vespa VBB scooter (restored)
'06 Wee
'03 Honda S2000 roadster
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-18-2012, 03:22 PM
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If the breaker breaks the hot wire I would believe the problem to be with the charger or socket.
If the breaker breaks the neutral wire (there were several of those potential death traps in my house when I moved in) it might be a case of the breaker not making enough contact and the charger not working. For the work light to work it would have to have a path from the neutral to ground within itself. The ground and neutral wires should go to basically the same place in your breaker box so either could carry current. BUT if that was the case the GFI should have tripped. Possibly incorrect wiring could render the GFI not able to protect in a real ground fault but the self test would still work ok.
Either is was a simple thing or many unusual things all lined up. I would guess the simple thing and probably check out the plug, power cord and internals of the charger for loose connections or breaks.
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post #5 of 8 Old 07-18-2012, 04:03 PM
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test the outlet

test the outlet with a 3-rponged test with the three neon indicator lights

see what you find and report back
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-18-2012, 04:39 PM
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I've been an electronic tech since the 60s, but you have too many variables for anybody to say for sure what is going on, however, it almost certainly is not your fancy schmancy charger.

Start with the outlet checker as kiwi suggests and go from there. Miswired receptacles are common as all getout. And while you're at it, tighten up everything in the breaker box, starting with the feed wires, and especially grounds and the neutral bus bar connections.

There are plenty of crappy receptacles out there too, ones that don't grab, and ones with loose feed wires.

Was your house wired with AL or CU? If AL, all connections should get a smear of Noalox.

-Tom (DL650AL2) (KA1TOX) (E-I-E-I-O)

This message and images are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. http://creativecommons.org
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-18-2012, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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The 3-prong tester is a good suggestion and might come in handy for other issues in the future. It seems that the breaker switch contacts mostly likely had oxidized over the years since the breaker has not been moved in nearly 20 years. Flipping the breaker on and off a few times probably cleaned the connection and allowed the charger to work normally. Only a theory. At any rate, everything is working fine now. And the wiring is copper.

'92 Honda Z50R
'94 Kawasaki KLX250 modded to 340cc's
'00 Yamaha YZ426F
'94 Yamaha 125 scooter
'05 Vespa E4 scooter
'68 Vespa VBB scooter (restored)
'06 Wee
'03 Honda S2000 roadster

Last edited by Boit4852; 07-23-2012 at 07:24 AM.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-06-2012, 10:38 PM
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Either a loose wire\weak connection in the outlet itself or the fancy schmancy charger is sick. The "oxidized contacts" is a no-go. If the contacts had been apart for some time, maybe, but not when they are together. Also, oxidized contacts would not have allowed a second battery charger to work.
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