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Old 03-23-2009, 01:04 PM   #1
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Hi All - haven't been on for a while, but really need help with converter. We have a 13' Uhaul CT with the Magnatek Series 3200 (3230) converter 30 amp that came in it (I assume). The AC runs through a a breaker/outlet, then on to the converter that charges the battery.
For the last 3 or 4 times we've gone camping, when we plug into regular electrical (at home or campsite), the converter makes a loud buzzing noise. The main electrical plug over the sink (breaker) can be turned off and on (resetting it) a time or two and it will stop the buzzing from the converter. Everything seems to still be working on 12V - lights and battery charger - and 120VAC during both times when its buzzing and when its not. I've checked the fuses on the converter with a meter and they all seem to be ok, I've made sure my power cord is sized correctly for RV. We only have lights and a furnace hooked up on the DC side and the furnace is inoperable. Any ideas what could be causing this would be appreciated. Could this be the plug/breaker, or something in the converter? I've looked at it while it is buzzing, and not, and can't tell anything... but I know VERY little about this stuff -
Thanks for any help!! Sharon
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Old 03-23-2009, 01:34 PM   #2
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Try this link for a manual and trouble shooting guide.

http://www.parallaxpower.com/LINEAR%20tech.htm

Bill K

Quote:
Hi All - haven't been on for a while, but really need help with converter. We have a 13' Uhaul CT with the Magnatek Series 3200 (3230) converter 30 amp that came in it (I assume). The AC runs through a a breaker/outlet, then on to the converter that charges the battery.
For the last 3 or 4 times we've gone camping, when we plug into regular electrical (at home or campsite), the converter makes a loud buzzing noise. The main electrical plug over the sink (breaker) can be turned off and on (resetting it) a time or two and it will stop the buzzing from the converter. Everything seems to still be working on 12V - lights and battery charger - and 120VAC during both times when its buzzing and when its not. I've checked the fuses on the converter with a meter and they all seem to be ok, I've made sure my power cord is sized correctly for RV. We only have lights and a furnace hooked up on the DC side and the furnace is inoperable. Any ideas what could be causing this would be appreciated. Could this be the plug/breaker, or something in the converter? I've looked at it while it is buzzing, and not, and can't tell anything... but I know VERY little about this stuff -
Thanks for any help!! Sharon
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Old 03-23-2009, 02:02 PM   #3
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Dear Sharon,

Welcome back.

My bet is you have the Magnetek converter that had its transformer held in by the large pop rivets, over time when installed and going bouncy bouncy down the road they work loose, the transformer then will buzz when powered up. (with no power connected and the battery disconnected) I open the housing and remove the pop rivets at the transformer base, I then re-install and fasten with 4 ea. #8 24 thread self locking screws and nuts, I use self locking ones because they will not loosen over time.

Of coarse that's the guess from me here, powering it up with the enclosure just open might reveal another issue completely random...but 99% of the time its the rivets...In 50% of them I find out that the transformer has actually broke loose and swung down hanging by one rivet or if in its life someone has already fixed that issue with Magneteks they used non self locking nuts in the repair and its worked itself loose again...Its worth the looksy...post back your results so the rest of us can learn and I might collect my 5 dollar bet I made with my tech partner.

Post another thread on the furnace? Why is it inoperable? (Techs we are a curious lot)

If you have reservations and do not want to mess with it that's fine, I just bought a 20 amp American converter/battery charger on EBay for 30 dollars new at Tri State Surplus. Or... find some crazy fool with a chocolate chip cookie fetish and some skills like me and hand him of a print out of this...I need the 5.00!!

Cheers

Harry
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Old 03-23-2009, 02:48 PM   #4
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Harry & Bill - Thanks to both of you for valuable info - Bill - I found some documentation on the converter that will probably help, esp. if I decide to replace it at some point.

Harry - I am the type that likes to follow a problem to the end and fix it myself if possible, so yes, I will be checking to see if the transformer is loose. I HOPE its as simple as that!! (Dumb question - but is this a grounding issue??)
I've been reading lots of posts on electrical, AC, DC etc on this site and have gained much information about my little CT.
The furnace, well, I really don't know why its not working - but have several things wrong that may be affecting it - the camper still has the original propane tank and valve on the bottle (which is now locked in place) can't shut it off, and I'm not sure if its fully open. The tank still has propane in it, but I've bought a new tank and valve, etc. and will replace it very soon. I'll retest the furnace after I do that. I also think the furnace has a bad gasket on the front where the viewing hole is and don't know whether its worth trying to fix or not given its age (1986). I haven't even attempted to get it out to work on it as it appears to be a major undertaking. Any info on replacement gaskets, etc. if available would be greatly appreciated just in case I get a wild hair to fix it!!

We usually just use a small space heater plugged into AC which works fine when we have AC, but I would like to have something for those few cold nights when we're not around AC!!

I'll be checking those pop rivets as soon as I get home, so wish me luck!!

I've done a ton of upgrades to this little camper, but I would really like to get some of the basics working (like the furnace). So far I've installed a new (electric) fridge, air conditioner, new hand pump (water) re-sealed the windows, new vinyl on the floor, another electric plug, new curtains, and new cushion covers. I'll post pics soon!!
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:09 PM   #5
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Good luck!!! By the way on the paperwork?...Can you shoot what you got to the document center on this site? I do not have that paperwork on that Magnetek or I would, and Donna D. would see that it gets in there so others might have a look at it too? Not a Magnetek nothin in there right now...

On the heater, if your so inclined open a thread on it (new subject) I will be glad to give it a shot along with a bunch more people too.

Group mind thing going on here.

Some people like Sodoku puzzles while Harry likes fixing stuff...So many things to fix.

I do want to avoid the thread police so new subject new thread is my rule.
I look forward to your results.

Please follow the safety stuff...No A/C power or D/C power connected to it when you first look to see if the XFR is loose?

Later...the bench test!

Happy Camping
Harry
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:12 PM   #6
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If you are using Summer-mix LP in Winter, it might not be warm enough to become gas, but will still be liquid in the tank -- Does your range top work? If not, that implies problem with LP or regulator.
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:19 PM   #7
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Pete - yes cooktop works and always has...
I'll post a new thread on this item (as soon as I check out the converter) - don't want to get too many irons in the fire at once!! Thanks!
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:22 PM   #8
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10-4!! I'll let you know results!!

Quote:
Good luck!!! By the way on the paperwork?...Can you shoot what you got to the document center on this site? I do not have that paperwork on that Magnetek or I would, and Donna D. would see that it gets in there so others might have a look at it too? Not a Magnetek nothin in there right now...

On the heater, if your so inclined open a thread on it (new subject) I will be glad to give it a shot along with a bunch more people too.

Group mind thing going on here.

Some people like Sodoku puzzles while Harry likes fixing stuff...So many things to fix.

I do want to avoid the thread police so new subject new thread is my rule.
I look forward to your results.

Please follow the safety stuff...No A/C power or D/C power connected to it when you first look to see if the XFR is loose?

Later...the bench test!

Happy Camping
Harry
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Old 03-24-2009, 11:38 AM   #9
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OK - I've checked the pop rivets on the transformer base and they look to be in good shape and tight. I tried to joggle it around and it didn't move. I also checked wiring, etc. and the only thing I found was the ground wire connector (held on by pop rivet) was a little loose - I will re-fasten that this evening.
Could that be it..? Additionally, after hooking AC back up to it again, it didn't start "buzzing" immediately, but did start again after a few minutes Also, joggling the box a little while it was plugged up (I was careful) did seem to make the buzzing start, stop, worse, better.

The other thing I did was to open up the plug/breaker and check it for loose wires, etc. and it seems to be tight as a drum. (It also works when the converter is on and buzzing.)

I'm looking at maybe getting another converter, but don't want to spend a fortune - but I'd like to get more intelligent charging... I'm a little confused as some of the manufacturers say that you have to buy the buss board separately. Do most of these not come with a fusing system, etc?
If I replace it, I'd like to perhaps get something a little bigger, but I have no idea where to begin...

This is the Magnetek 3230 30 amp deck mount. It goes inside the bench seat next to the battery box.

Thanks for any help!!

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Old 03-24-2009, 03:52 PM   #10
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Dear Sharon W.

The answer to the questions in order asked is Yes and Yes, The buzz could be any loose connections in the converter box especially involving a transformer compartment.

Bill K. ahead of this post gave you the correct link to parallax power
, these guys bought Magnetek, they will talk to you about the Magnetek product or their name product too. They are good people to deal with. I purchased my new converter new from EBay for a good price. Since the good news today is the converter has not got the issues I was guessing on I would play detective with it powered up with the cover off. If there is no buzz, I would suspect the cover. If it does buzz with the cover off I would try to trace the noise thru the chassis by listening with a wood 3/8 dowel rod about 14 inches long, its non conductive and you can trance a buzz well, put your thumb over it and place it and your thumb to your ear, touch the chassis in different areas, not the components themselves, just the different areas and listen thru the dowel to where the noise is loudest. It's a detective game now. I have done this before and still came up empty to a solution, electrically everything was normal but the sound...Some Magneteks just do this. The old transformer power designs were prone to the buzz because they were transformers basically with a controlled rectified circuit. They have a magnetic field, windings and a core in the main component to the converter. Built with just the right variance it will buzz in the transformer itself. The advantage to solid state is they rarely buzz that way, but you do have a mini box fan running on most designs now so trade a buzz noise for a fan noise. Some are constant fans others are variable speed fans controlled by the power supply. The advantage to your buzz technology is it handles power surges and voltage spikes gracefully; The solid state units have had issue with less than stellar incoming power to their circuits. I went solid state myself, however I bought an in line power surge protector to plug it into. Now when in a pay site and everyone is running their A/C compressors I have some protection from the surges that situation brings on.

It sounds like (to use a pun) the issue is not threatening, just noisy, to bad it doesn not sound like crickets, you could have a concert going while camping in some places, the Cicadas might be romanticly musical in some other camp spots? lol

Please let this thread know how this turns out or if you get stumped? I am as of today 5 dollars poorer on my bet here at the shop, so I am buying lunch today. But then the others are staying quiet until they get that lunch.

There are some electrical engineering gurus on this forum, maybe they will weigh in here.

Happy Camping

Harry

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Old 03-24-2009, 06:05 PM   #11
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I bought Xantrex 80A from Best Inverter store; http://www.bestconverter.com/

They are very friendly and knowledgeable. I picked Xantrex due to my past experience with the company; some modification for Parralax box was required. I have my own experience with two dead Parralax units.

Your noise could be coming from loose transformer’s plates simply due to age. All modern converters have much smaller transformers operating on much higher frequencies and they don’t buzz.

George.
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:07 PM   #12
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Sharon W;
Please do a search in this usegroup for posts about the Magnetek 6332 Converter that I had in my 1993 Bigfoot 17.
Use my name, or the Converter Number or Magnetek and you'll see a LOT of info on that Converter.
That series is OLD and obsolete and, in my mind, NOT worth attempting to repair, or even replacing the innards with the Magnetek Upgrade!
Google searches in the web will also point, usually, in the direction of replacing the Magnetek innards with other supplier converters.
I used an Intelpower PD9260 from Progressive Dynamics with Charge Wizard and am very satisfied.
It's not hard, using info from the web, to replace that whole lower unit, reusing the cabinet and fuse panel as it sits!
Good luck.
Mike
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:11 PM   #13
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OK Harry (and guys) - I've found out what the buzzing issue was.
Last night, I checked the ground wire that was (somewhat loose) and after tightening it, no better results. I was in the process of un-wiring the converter to take it out (trying to do a diagram so I could hook it back up later), and when I got to the neutral wires - 3 wires were pigtailed into one, with the one going into a connection - HOWEVER, this single wire was not attached to anything, simply touching the screw connection where it should have been attached (it just LOOKED like it was connected). I had also discovered that the converter itself was totally unattached from the deck of the camper, and therefore probably has been bouncing about joyfully under the bench every time the camper was pulled anywhere. Needless to say, once I bolted the converter down to the floor (with locking nuts , re-stripped and attached the wire back where it belonged, the converter works now without narry a peep!! I feel quite proud of myself given my total lack of expertise but could not possibly have figured this out without Harry's help!! I have learned SO much about the electrial system in general just from reading this post, along with others I've found on this site. We are all so very lucky to have people such as you guys to help us newbys decipher how these things work (or supposed to work)!! Sorry, Harry that you lost your bet on the pop rivets, but it WAS something loose...just not what you thought... :0)
I'm still gonna investigate getting a newer converter/charger, or inverter (may want to go with some solar) but glad that its not a rush situation anymore...

I do have another minor question that came up from tinkering with the converter - there are 6 fused connections for DC power (furnace, lights, and stove fan) and 3 that say ACC with nothing hooked up to these - are these for DC power, AC power or what? I was wondering if they are AC power converted from the battery, can I use one for an AC plug to run off the battery if I'm boondocking? (This may be a really stupid question, so don't laugh) - Maybe I can help you guys out someday with a plumbing question!!!

Michael - the "dowsing" with the wooden rod interests me (as I was a plumber in an earlier life)
and I will probably get another opportunity to use this technology another time. (It really does work!) Thanks to you.

Now, on to the furnace...


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Old 03-25-2009, 12:40 PM   #14
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Sharon:

We added a new heater to our UHaul, but we don't use it much. It is uncomfortably close to the bedcovers. We mainly use it when we are awake and rely on electric and our air conditioner heater when we sleep. I am not sure where the heater is located in the 13' UHaul though.
If interested, I can find out the kind we got.

CindyL
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