Battery Chargers - Fiberglass RV

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Old 08-20-2003, 05:27 PM   #1
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Battery Chargers

I was in the Durango WallyMart recently and noticed a display of Vector battery chargers with outputs ranging from 1.5Amps to 100Amps. They are all "smart" three-stage chargers and some of them (12Amps and up) have the capability to check your alternator output and, more importantly, can desulfate a battery (repair the damage done by over-discharge). I was very impressed with the whole line and the prices.

This is the first time I have seen an inexpensive ($17) small smart charger that can be used for battery maintenance during long-term storage -- it even has three ways to connect to the battery (clamps, hardwire or cigar lighter plug). Were I to put the RatHaus in longterm storage (heaven forbid!), I would put one of these on it with the converter unplugged (presuming I had a converter, which I don't).

One of these smart chargers beats the heck out of replacing or upgrading a converter to properly charge the battery.

Amps -- Price($)
1.5 ----- 17
6 ------- 25
10 ------ 40
12 ------ 50
20 ------ 58
35 ------ 69
100 ----- 90

At the Durango WM, the chargers were located by the auto maintenance desk.

Vector also makes inverters and JumpIt-type battery sets and sells remanufactured stuf online.

Pete in the RatHaus

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Old 08-21-2003, 05:53 AM   #2
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Pretty impressive prices. I'm going to wander by Walmart on the way home to see if something grabs me.

To state what may be obvious to most of our members; Desulfating (sometimes called equalization) a battery is a 4th charging phase that's not often available in regular chargers. It involves a relatively high current (15.5 - 16.2 vDC). Some 12 volt equipment including bulbs can be damaged by this high a voltage so should be taken out of the loop while desulfating. Also, what I read suggests that this is for lead-acid batterys only. Gel batteries shouldn't be desulfated.

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Old 08-21-2003, 05:54 AM   #3
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If you do replace the onboard charger ...

Hello Pete, I also did not like the way the original converter did battery recharging. I also considered doing what you are considering, however, in the end, I went with the Parallex replacement. If you do just replace the charger, here is a picture of the back side of the fuse panel. The heavy red wire is the output from the battery charging ckt and distributes power to the three right hand fuses (the filtered output). Remove and tape & store this lead and then tie the stand alone +12VDC charger lead to this lug. That will still keep the battery and filtered devices on the same ckt and remove the "old" single stage power source from the fuse panel. I have included a picture of the old converter and the new one. By the way, you can pick up Parallex converters on e-Bay for around $150. - John -

<img src= Converter.jpg/>

<img src= Converter.jpg/>
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Old 08-21-2003, 02:31 PM   #4
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What I did was rip the 12VDC fuse distribution panel out of my early '90s Magnatek converter, strapped the two busses together and gave the rest to an RV repair shop for parts (that was all the heavy and bulky stuf), so my 91S13 runs totally on battery. If I have shore power, I hook a charger directly to the battery to keep the system up (in keeping with my campaign to lower my traveling weight, the charger weighs considerably less than the converter. Not having an a/c, I also replaced the original shore power cable with a lighter extension cord).

In the process, I lost the filtering that was part of the entire converter arrangement, but I haven't noticed any effects from the loss (power supply on my Dell laptop is fed by inverter, usually from truck battery), but I usually only run lights or my fantastical fan. I don't have a radio or TV, and the GPS is in the truck.

Pete in the RatHaus
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