Do I Replace converter or Not? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-23-2007, 05:34 PM   #1
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Name: Chris
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I have a 13' CT U-HAUL 1984 that I am doing some remodeling work to. Adding a Fantastic Fan, trying to install an air conditioner, stuff like that. Any way my question is, the converter works, but it is 23 years old. Should I replace it with a newer one that has a battery overcharge protection and is more technologically advanced. As far as that goes, should I just start from scratch and rewire the whole camper. Over the years people have spliced in here and spliced in there to the point that I don't really know what it what. Anyone in the group have any ideas. Anyone in the group have a wiring diagram.

Thanks,
Chris
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Old 07-23-2007, 05:51 PM   #2
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it will do a poor job of charging a battery, if it even has a charging section, and weighs about what 3 new ones would. if it works, Id live with it for now until you know better what your power needs are.
Joe
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Old 07-23-2007, 05:59 PM   #3
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Joe's right -- Furthermore, over the years converters have been made and wired in at least three different configurations:

1. Converter alone; 12VDC and 120VAC separate
2. Converter with internal 12VDC; 120VAC separate
3. Converter with internal 12VDC and 120VAC

In my experience, #1 is oldest and #3 is current.

I suggest you find an on-line copy of the Scamp Wiring Diagram, which is more or less typical of small RVs, including many eggs.
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
I have a 13' CT U-HAUL 1984 that I am doing some remodeling work to. Adding a Fantastic Fan, trying to install an air conditioner, stuff like that. Any way my question is, the inverter works, but it is 23 years old. Should I replace it with a newer one that has a battery overcharge protection and is more technologically advanced. As far as that goes, should I just start from scratch and rewire the whole camper. Over the years people have spliced in here and spliced in there to the point that I don't really know what it what. Anyone in the group have any ideas. Anyone in the group have a wiring diagram.

Thanks,
Chris
Hi Chris,
I bought a 1985 13' Uhaul CT a few months ago and somewhere on the web -- either the document center here, or http://www.uhaulcamper.com/ -- I found a repair manual and a parts manual for these exact campers. They're pretty useful -- there's a wiring diagram in there, for sure. I'm happy to email them to you. I also have a user's manual that was intended for the renters that I got from the same place, but it's in individual page - pdf's. Again, happy to send it all on. I'm a complete newbie to owning a camper, let alone repairing it, and these have helped me a lot -- identifying the parts is the first step in ripping them out, I've learned!
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Old 07-23-2007, 10:29 PM   #5
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I am not real big on convertors, of any era..

get a good battery charger and run off your battery, even when plugged in.

I had my convertor on during trailer tours this weekend, and it fried another LED... I turned it on because I was running full tilt on the lights to show folks the LEDS, cold cathodes..

shoulda stayed on battery.
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Old 07-24-2007, 07:29 AM   #6
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I dunno. I've always said that one of the best upgrades I have done is replacing my converter with a new one with a charge wizard. It has done a great job charging whether plugged in with power or with my car (now that I attached the red wire under the hood of my vehicle). As far as weight goes, this replacement weighs less than my old one. The fan also seldom runs, unlike my old one did, so it is totally quiet most of the time -- also unlike my old one. Guess I just don't know enough to know any better.

I wouldn't trust my AGM with anything else.
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:04 AM   #7
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Thanks Gina and all those that have made comments. To pick up on what you are saying Gina, the people at RV Solar Electric would have you with a solar panel for charging your battery and an inverter for all your 110 needs, and not have a converter. What about a 110, land line system, for campground plugins: air conditioner, lighting, etc, and a separate 12 volt battery/charger system for off the grid camping, 12v lights, etc? Having two separate systems, if one is going to rewire anyway, do you think that would work?
Thanks,
Chris
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:49 AM   #8
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this is excatly as I do.

Solar for boondocking
Charger for battery (Obviously.. when I have 110 to do so)
110 is run through my converter distribution panel, but the converter function is switched off.
All my lights are 12v.. they run from the battery, even when hooked up.. because the battery is constantly being replenished by the charger.

Auto is set up to charge.. I have no electric crisis'.. unless my battery is faulty.. such as I had last week. New battery, all is well again.
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Old 07-24-2007, 12:10 PM   #9
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Suz took the words exactly out of my mouth, down to the brand name. My friend Gina and I seem to be on polar opposites on this one, and I respect that.
Even as I was waiting for my trailer to arrive I had plans for making a very robust electrical system, and after implementing it I have never regretted it. Only solar is yet to be installed. The components are;
1) 2 group 31 deep-cycle batteries, mounted in sealed, vented boxes just behind the axle (under the seats). 260amp-hour capacity.
2) 6-gauge charge wires all the way from the tow vehicle battery on back, heavy-duty wiring to the batteries.
3) IntelliPower 9245 converter/charger, with ChargeWizard built in and a monitor dongle conveniently placed.
4) Blue Sea System battery cutoff switches
5) Xantrex Link 10 battery monitor (want to know what's happening? This is the one).
6) Blue Sea 12v fuse panel (small, well-built modern fuse panel).
7) Adequate gauged wiring and fusing to handle the various loads.
8) 300w pure sine-wave converter (for those sensitive electronics loads).
9) Etc. Etc.

All in all I'm at peace with the electrical system, because I know it is capable and it tells me everything I want to know about it.
It really depends on what you want it to do.
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Old 07-24-2007, 12:29 PM   #10
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Suz took the words exactly out of my mouth, down to the brand name. My friend Gina and I seem to be on polar opposites on this one, and I respect that.
Even as I was waiting for my trailer to arrive I had plans for making a very robust electrical system, and after implementing it I have never regretted it. Only solar is yet to be installed. The components are;
1) 2 group 31 deep-cycle batteries, mounted in sealed, vented boxes just behind the axle (under the seats). 260amp-hour capacity.
2) 6-gauge charge wires all the way from the tow vehicle battery on back, heavy-duty wiring to the batteries.
3) IntelliPower 9245 converter/charger, with ChargeWizard built in and a monitor dongle conveniently placed.
4) Blue Sea System battery cutoff switches
5) Xantrex Link 10 battery monitor (want to know what's happening? This is the one).
6) Blue Sea 12v fuse panel (small, well-built modern fuse panel).
7) Adequate gauged wiring and fusing to handle the various loads.
8) 300w pure sine-wave converter (for those sensitive electronics loads).
9) Etc. Etc.

All in all I'm at peace with the electrical system, because I know it is capable and it tells me everything I want to know about it.
It really depends on what you want it to do.
Where did you purchase the Blue Sea items? Where did you purchase your converter?
Thanks
Dave
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Old 07-24-2007, 02:46 PM   #11
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Dave:
Converter from an Ebay dealer, don't remember which one. Blue Sea components from West Marine. For both check on line.
Through this forum I have gotten the impression that if marine equipment suppliers have equivalent items they are often better made than the RV stuff. The use environment makes that logical, and I have found it to be true so far. Usually costs more, but cheaper than doing things twice or more.
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Old 07-25-2007, 04:43 PM   #12
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Here's an interesting table I found on a battery site (I presume that by Marine battery, the author meant Marine Deep-Cycle, not Marine Starting or Marine Combination):



These are some general (minimum - maximum) typical expectations for batteries if used in deep cycle service:
Starting: 3-12 months
Marine: 1-6 years
Golf cart: 2-6 years
AGM deep cycle: 4-7 years
Gelled deep cycle: 2-5 years
Deep cycle (L-16 type etc): 4-8 years
Rolls-Surrette premium deep cycle: 7-15 years
Industrial deep cycle (Crown and Rolls 4KS series): 10-20+ years
Telephone (float): 1-20 years. These are usually special purpose "float service", but often appear on the surplus market as "deep cycle". They can vary considerably, depending on age, usage, care, and type.
NiFe (alkaline): 3-25 years
NiCad: 1-20 years


If I were putting in two batteries, I would put in two of the 6VDC golf cart batts; because they are the best retail design for the use and last a long time without much initial or replacement cost. I would not use two 12VDC batteries because if one develops a problem, it will rather quickly affect the other battery.

Regarding a sine-wave inverter for sensitive appliances, most now have wall-wart or brick power supplies that change the 120VAC (good or crappy) into DC for the appliance, so they are not as sensitive as they may have been in the past.
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Old 07-27-2007, 06:56 PM   #13
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Name: Chris
Trailer: 1984 U-Haul 13 ft CT
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Gina, you suggested getting a good battery charger. Is there one in particular that you have in mind or would suggest. The charger would be a 110 volt and charge the battery when the camper is at a campground location with 110 hookups? One that could be hooked up full time and charge from full and regulate itself down to a constant trickle charge?
Thanks,
Chris
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Old 07-27-2007, 08:52 PM   #14
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What I would recommend is two chargers, one larger one for recharging the battery (and if big enough, for jumpstarting cars, etc.) and one smaller one for battery maintenance.

The big ones will do battery maintenance, but some have to be manually started; that is, after they have done the float cycle and fully charged the battery, they take themselves out of charging mode and need to be manually restarted. However, the big ones can be 'spoofed' by leaving on a small 12VDC load, like a light, and as long as the light burns, the converter will cycle in and out of float. However2, if there is an interruption the in the 120VAC power, it will have to be manually restarted and conceivably the light would eventually draw down the battery...

The small maintenance chargers can be permanently wired to the battery and to the egg's 120VAC so it does its thing whenever connected to shore power. Some come with the right fittings to connect to the battery and will fit into the battery box if you have something like a Group 24 battery in a Group 27 box.

Vector Chargers

Note that these chargers can be found at places like Wally for less than the suggested retail in the link above. Vector has been acquired by Black and Decker, so you might see the B&D label instead.
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