Converter Buzz - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-31-2013, 03:31 PM   #1
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Name: Charles & Katy
Trailer: 2005 Bigfoot 25B21FB
Posts: 3
Question Converter Buzz

We just bought a 2005 21' Bigfoot last weekend. It is in immaculate shape. However, we have noticed when it is plugged in, the converter makes a rather loud buzzing/humming noise when only two lights are on. It doesn't do it with one light or more than two lights. Do you have any idea what could be causing the noise and any solutions we should try? Thanks for your help!

Charles & Katy
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Old 03-31-2013, 03:46 PM   #2
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Name: Terry
Trailer: 1996 Casita Freedom Deluxe 17 ft
Posts: 397
Charles, Generally speaking, a loud buzz from a electrical device like that means the metal plates in the transformer have de-laminated. This is really common with the transformers in fluorescent overhead lights. You don't usually hear the 60 Hz hum but the 2nd or 3rd harmonics--120 Hz & 180 Hz. It's not a danger or anything but quite annoying, as you probably know.

The fact that it only happens with two lights makes me wonder though. Can you get down next to it and try to determine where it's coming from? If you're going to poke around, make sure you wear a rubber kitchen glove. If it's the transformer, there's no cure except replacing it or the converter. Getting parts could be a problem. I guess if you bought a 2005 FT and the worse you have to do is replace that, then you've gotten off pretty well.

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Old 04-01-2013, 07:28 AM   #3
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Name: Raz
Trailer: Trillium 2010
Posts: 4,336
If the converter were 20 years old I'd like Terry's answer but I'm not sure you will find a 60 hz power transformer in a modern converter. I may be wrong but I think they are all switchers today. A wooden dowel is what I use to find these types of vibration. Raz
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:18 AM   #4
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Name: Greg
Trailer: 2008 Casita 17 SD
Posts: 1,114
The problem could be something as simple as "dust bunnies" or other debris interfering with the cooling fan, or loose wiring connections, loose mounting bolts, abrading against another component (vibration), or a soon-to-be-shot transformer or relay. From your description, it could be caused by any of these conditions, and probably several others as well. Worst case scenario is upgrading to a new "drop-in" converter chassis which will fit inside your existing converter housing. It's only about 150~160 bucks, and it has a true 4-stage charger. Most factory converters only have a single stage charger in their converters because they are cheaper, (if yours is the stock 2005 factory converter, then it is only a single stage charger). Your battery will love you for it too! Here's a link to some good information on converters and replacement components. The site page that it opens is just what you'll need to upgrade if you decide to. For your application, I would suggest the 45 Amp model. Hope this helps.

4600 series Upgrade Kits
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:41 AM   #5
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Name: gary
Trailer: 16' 1998 Scamp
Posts: 672
If you do have a transformer, and it is of a Certain Age (kind of like me!) there will be four bolts and screws holding the thing on each corner of the collection of laminations. Try tightening those up. You might also see if the bolts holding the transformer to the chassis are also tight. One caution: If there is a "can" capacitor in there, and there probably is one if your unit is old enough to have a transformer, it can hold one hell of a charge, as in "knock you on your butt", even AFTER you have disconnected all power.
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