12v system - got to redo the Suehaul input please - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-04-2009, 08:08 PM   #1
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Name: Pat
Trailer: U-Haul CT13 ('Pearl')
SW Ohio
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I bought Sue knowing that I have to work on the electrical system. Reading the manual and checking the systems, I think the old inverter is toast. So, keep everything 12v as much as possible? If I eventually want to work in a solar panel, what inverters do you recommend or use. I want to keep the wire to a minimum.

This summer I will camp with or without power.
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Old 04-04-2009, 08:21 PM   #2
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Better change that RV type in your profile....
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Old 04-04-2009, 08:24 PM   #3
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use the search button on the top of the page, and you should find a wealth of info about wiring and re-wiring trailers.
I assume (dangerous,dangerous), that you are talking about the "converter" which changes 110V AC. to 12V DC.
Some of these units will not operate without a battery in place, do you have one?
Most older trailers do not have an an inverter to change 12V DC back to 120V AC.

If you check the documents library you should be able to find any info there is on the factory installed equipment, If it has been submitted of course.
A little more background on the trailer and what you're trying to do would help as well.
Hope you find the info you need.

Joe
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Old 04-04-2009, 09:47 PM   #4
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I need to learn more about all this too, but it seems like the choices are as follows

1) Use 110 volt source and all 110 volt items (precludes dry camping with those things).

2) Use 110 volt source and to run 110 items, and a converter to run 12 volt items from 110 (which you can then run off "native" 12 volts when you need to).

3) Use 110 to charge a battery and then have all your items be 12-volt and run them off your battery (which you can also charge with solar, etc.). Now all your stuff can be run when you don't have 110, as long as you have enough battery power/charging.

3.5) You can then run the occasional 110 item with an inverter from 12v to 110

4) Then you can add propane to the mix for some items.

Raya
(open to correction)
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Old 04-04-2009, 11:11 PM   #5
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If your converter is toast and you plan to not be running on shore power (120VAC at RV park) much, I would skip getting a converter. As Raya says, you just run your egg on 12VDC from the battery, recharged by the solar or by good battery charger when you have shore power or by the TV when moving on down the road.

A good converter, with smart battery charging, is not cheap and is really not needed (I've fulltimed just fine for nine years without one) -- A good battery charger, with the engine starting capability, costs less and is more useful because it isn't wired into the egg. You will need a 12VDC fuse block, which may or may not be part of your existing converter, depending on its age.

An inverter can be very handy for running the occasional 120VAC power that you might need for computer, recharge tool batteries, etc. I have several 350-400W units in egg and truck, plus a 70W unit in glove compartment for cell phone and computer.
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Old 04-04-2009, 11:41 PM   #6
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On the boat, 110 hookups weren't really an option (not much time in marinas), so we had a full 12-volt system.

But like you say, Pete, we did have a small inverter for those little things or occasional use where it was silly to get 12 volt items: Charging up drill batteries, running power tools, blender, backup for the 12volt power supply on our laptops. But fairly minimal use.

In a camper, some people might "always" be at a 110 (...120) hookup so I can see where it depends.

I like the idea of 12-volt setup for boondocking ability, then charge batteries with charger, but that's just me.

Raya
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Old 04-05-2009, 04:02 PM   #7
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If your converter is toast and you plan to not be running on shore power (120VAC at RV park) much, I would skip getting a converter. As Raya says, you just run your egg on 12VDC from the battery, recharged by the solar or by good battery charger when you have shore power or by the TV when moving on down the road.
That sounds right to me. What is a "good battery charger"? Any brands suggested?
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Old 04-05-2009, 04:23 PM   #8
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My theory is make what ever you can 12v, in case that's all you have ,and have the 120 converter make 12V when plugged in to shore power. That way almost everything works on 12v.
Not all at once of course.
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Old 04-05-2009, 04:26 PM   #9
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My current thought is to keep most of the trailer on 12v with a simple plug/light for the RV park hook up. After all, I just want to camp and be outdoors. I'm hoping to do the solar this fall maybe. When I go to the Dayton Hamvention this year, I'll have to be on the lookout for the solar panels. I'll have to rummage through the stuff I got off the old trailer.

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Old 04-05-2009, 04:43 PM   #10
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I haven't been camping beyond the back yard (yet), but with 110 available I'm just using a heavy duty cord run into the trailer and a power strip (for 110 items).

For more permanent, long-term outfitting, I plan to make all "installed" items 12v and then have a charger for when 110 is available (and maybe keep the power strip for very occasional use).

I don't know much about converters, but they strike me as less useful as a battery bank and charger. I guess that's because you can have solar, etc. going directly into your batteries AND use them as part of a charger/110 set up; whereas the inverter is solely for 110 use.

Or is there something I'm missing that's in favor of an inverter instead

Raya
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
That sounds right to me. What is a "good battery charger"? Any brands suggested?
I'm quite happy with my Vector (Now acquired by Black and Decker, so the label might read either), which I got at Wally for best price.

The only problem I found was if a battery is totally dead, the charger gives an error code and won't charge, however, I found that if I keep pressing the charge button, a small charge goes in while the unit is evaluating the battery and enough of those cycles will put enough charge on the battery that the charger will accept it and start charging. This may be true of all the smart electronic chargers, but I suspect that if one has a heavy-duty engine-start model it might accept a dead battery.

My Vector also has a desulphation mode to be used on a fully charged battery, called Recondition mode.

I have an earlier version of the VEC1087C model, but next time around I will likely get the VEC1095A or similar for the Engine Start mode.

For long-term storage, I would get something like the VEC080, but perhaps a different brand with all the wiring for permanent connection to the battery and the egg's 120VAC system, so whenever the egg is connected to shore power, it would be float-charging.

http://www.battery-rechargeable-charger.co...r-products.html

Considering that a converter with charge wizard for multi-stage charging starts at $250 at $CW$, I could buy the *two* chargers I mentioned for about $125 and have money left over to put towards a Trojan AGM, or buy a Wally trolling deep cycle and have enough money left over to buy an inverter....
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:32 PM   #12
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Pat

My suggestion would be to wire everything you can to run directly from a 12V battery (properly fused of course) then float a regulated SMPS power supply across the battery.

I use a Samlex SEC-1223 with an isolation diode on the output. When you are connected to shore power your circuits run directly from the output of the Samlex and the battery gets charged. When you disconnect from shore power you automatically switch to battery power. The SEC-1223 has an internal adjustment for output voltage that you can set for 13.5 to 13.8 V (measured after the isolation diode) so you don't have to worry about cooking your battery. I've found that, in my system, the charge current drops to about 250mA when the battery is fully charged. There is no outgassing or electrolyte loss. Bulk current limiting is automatic at 23A.

I've used this system for over 15 years on several campers including a Bronco camper conversion, a Rockwood pop-up and my current rig, an EggCamper. Never had a problem and batteries last 6 years or more using a deep cycle flooded lead acid battery.

The SEC-1223 is only $100 at Ham Radio Outlet and, if you want a higher current capability, the SEC-1235 is available for only $30 more. You might even find a better deal at Dayton. That's a lot better than the prices I've seen for RV converters and the quality of construction is much better.

While you're at Dayton pick up some automotive type fuse holders and you can build up a much better system than an RV converter while saving a lot of cash.

BTW - Hope you enjoy the Hamvention. I've never had the chance to attend. I'm sure you'll find a lot of solar panels and all the goodies to interface them to your system. West Mountain, Powerwerx and all the other heavy hitters will be there with their goodies.

73
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Old 04-07-2009, 04:23 PM   #13
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Just to be different... We have a working converter for operating our 12v water pump, but we don't currently have an on-board water tank connected. I'll do that eventually this summer (I hope!). Everything else on our UHaul VT had been converted to 110v by the previous owner and we really like it that way. We don't boondock and always try to have E/W at the campsites we visit. We do have a 2000W generator for instances where electricity is not available, but haven't had to use it yet. It won't run our Coleman Polar Cub AC, but everything else works fine with it (when tested in the driveway).
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Old 04-07-2009, 05:41 PM   #14
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Hi Pat,

We camp off the grid but I chose to replace my original power matic converter with a 3 stage converter from BestConverter.com.

For me it was partially about ease of use - it allows me to get back from camping and just plug in the trailer without the hassle of hooking up a separate 3 stage charger. If I am away for a longer time then I would need to pack that charger around too. It also works well if my kids have a bunch of friends over and they can plug in whatever gadgets to 110v when they are camping in the yard.

However, replacing the built in converter is FAR more expensive then using a separate charger, especially if you are paying an RV place to install it (as I did). As I didn't have a 12v system in place I had them install both the charger and 12v system and test everything out.
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