Electrical issues - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-15-2011, 11:24 AM   #15
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Byron, can you tell me more about your solar panels?
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Old 04-16-2011, 03:24 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
If my Scamp didn't already have a converter I wouldn't pay for one. A battery minder and a smart charger will keep the battery charged better than a converter. The one that Scamp put in my Scamp under charges the battery to keep from overcharging. That's not good for batteries either way.
I use a battery minder type of device when at home to keep the battery fully charged and it has a way of reducing sulfate from building up. If I was to be plugged in more than a few days I would connect the battery minder.
Most of the time when traveling the battery is charged from the tow. If I'm more that 3 or 4 days in one spot without power the solar panel comes out.
From my experience and a couple others on Yahoo Groups it's felt that a converter probably isn't worth the cost.
You can't run 12v fixtures off shorepower without a converter.

Francesca
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Old 04-16-2011, 09:21 PM   #17
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Clint if not hooked up the fridge should work just fine on propane - as far as running the heater off the battery goes it tends to be pretty hard on battery power.
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Old 04-17-2011, 06:45 PM   #18
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Byron, can you tell me more about your solar panels?
The Panel is a Kyocera model KC65T with a Morningstart SunSaver-6 charge controller. I built a stand out of stock aluminum 1" angle stock and 1" flat stock and a couple card table type locking arms. It's set to be at 60 from horizontal, which I understand is about optimal.
The charge controller will NOT allow the battery to be overcharged. They system charges with 4 amp maximum charging current.
I fastened a piece of 1/2 plywood the size of the panel + 4" to two 2x4 on the 2" side. I also a short stop block down from one open end and left the other end open. When I this in the back of my truck the panel with controller will slide under the plywood and stop before it can go out the other side. The tail gate of the truck holds in place. I did cover the plywood with some Rat Fur I had laying around.
Also of not my truck bed has a Bed-Rug in it.
For the battery connection off the controller I put about 15' of #12 AWG dual wire with Anderson Power Pole connectors on the end. I attached a short piece of the same wire to the battery and the same connector on the end. At the moment that wire is coiled on top of the battery with battery box lid in place. When I want to charge the battery I simply open the battery box and plug in. Then put the panel is full sun and move it as needed.

If you have any other questions please ask.

Byron
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Old 04-17-2011, 06:46 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
You can't run 12v fixtures off shorepower without a converter.

Francesca

Why not?
You run them off the battery.
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Old 04-17-2011, 07:45 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
You can't run 12v fixtures off shorepower without a converter.

Francesca
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
Why not?
You run them off the battery.
Byron,

Is it OR ???

I can't tell if you really don't know or if you're just being a Mr. Smarty Pants.

I'll explain it as simply and thoroughly as possible, thereby addressing both possibilities:
The battery is a 12v power supply, happily exactly the voltage needed by a 12v fixture.
Shorepower ("hookups") is 120v, which is 10 times more voltage than a 12v fixture needs unless one is trying to set it afire.
Barring that intention, it's necessary to reduce 120v power to 12v, which is ordinarily accomplished by running it through a converter.
What happens to all the leftover voltage after this process (120 minus 12 = 108) I cannot say...
Perhaps it just lies around waiting to be vacuumed up by an inverter, which accomplishes exactly the opposite function: the transformation of 12v power to 120v.

Hope this helps!

Francesca
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Old 04-17-2011, 10:22 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
Byron,

Is it OR ???

I can't tell if you really don't know or if you're just being a Mr. Smarty Pants.

I'll explain it as simply and thoroughly as possible, thereby addressing both possibilities:
The battery is a 12v power supply, happily exactly the voltage needed by a 12v fixture.
Shorepower ("hookups") is 120v, which is 10 times more voltage than a 12v fixture needs unless one is trying to set it afire.
Barring that intention, it's necessary to reduce 120v power to 12v, which is ordinarily accomplished by running it through a converter.
What happens to all the leftover voltage after this process (120 minus 12 = 108) I cannot say...
Perhaps it just lies around waiting to be vacuumed up by an inverter, which accomplishes exactly the opposite function: the transformation of 12v power to 120v.

Hope this helps!

Francesca

I guess you really don't understand. That's OK, I'll try to help a bit. Your 12 volt system runs primarily off the battery. Therefore if you keep your battery charged by other means you don't need a converter. Most converters are not very good battery chargers, therefore a few of us prefer to charge our batteries using other methods.

As for how a converter works and what happens to the approx. 108 volts. The simple answer is it gets converted to heat and dissipated. How much heat depends on the efficiency of the converter and amount of current being drawn by the 12 system. It changes with every light you turn on or off.

I can go into detail if anybody would like.

Byron
Electronic Engineer, retired
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Old 04-17-2011, 10:26 PM   #22
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Byron,
Thanks for the input on the solar panels. I appreciate it!

Clint
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Old 04-17-2011, 10:39 PM   #23
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Byron,
Thanks for the input on the solar panels. I appreciate it!

Clint
If need any more information, let me know.
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Old 04-17-2011, 11:08 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
OK, I'll try to help a bit. Your 12 volt system runs primarily off the battery.
Byron
Electronic Engineer, retired
YES!

Operative word being "primarily"-EXCEPT when hooked up to shorepower, in which case the converter "switches" from battery power to "converting" the 120v power to 12v power. Try to think of it as like the "adapter" on your home answering machine- it works the same way. While that's going on, the power that's stored in the battery STAYS THERE, all ready to be used when hookups aren't available.
PLUS- if the converter has a charging function like the millions of those in use in RV's, it'll very efficiently charge the trailer battery while you're hooked up!

Is that any clearer?

Francesca
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Old 04-18-2011, 12:00 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
YES!

Operative word being "primarily"-EXCEPT when hooked up to shorepower, in which case the converter "switches" from battery power to "converting" the 120v power to 12v power. Try to think of it as like the "adapter" on your home answering machine- it works the same way. While that's going on, the power that's stored in the battery STAYS THERE, all ready to be used when hookups aren't available.
PLUS- if the converter has a charging function like the millions of those in use in RV's, it'll very efficiently charge the trailer battery while you're hooked up!

Is that any clearer?

Francesca
It works the opposite of what you're thinking. It draws off the battery until the battery voltage drops below some voltage then the converter kicks in to keep the battery charged at that point. The cut off on my converter is 12.2 volts. Fully charged after settling is 12.7 to 12.9.
That's the same way your "Wall Wart" works on your electronic devices with a few exception. I have an hand held Ham Radio that works like described, but that the first item I've seen that works that way.

That's part of the reason converters are not generally good battery chargers. The battery is never fully charged always undercharged. When my trailer is sitting a long period of time (2 week or more) I connect and external charger to the battery even though the trailer is connected to "shore power". I understand some of the more expensive converters have a better charging circuit, but for the difference I can buy a device designed just for battery charging and the battery gets fully charged without overcharging.

I hope this is clear, if you have question I'll be happy to answer them.

Byron
Electronic Engineer, retired
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Old 04-18-2011, 10:42 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
YES!

Operative word being "primarily"-EXCEPT when hooked up to shorepower, in which case the converter "switches" from battery power to "converting" the 120v power to 12v power. Try to think of it as like the "adapter" on your home answering machine- it works the same way. While that's going on, the power that's stored in the battery STAYS THERE, all ready to be used when hookups aren't available.
PLUS- if the converter has a charging function like the millions of those in use in RV's, it'll very efficiently charge the trailer battery while you're hooked up!

Is that any clearer?

Francesca
Francesca on my Scamp there are only a few things that run straight off the 120V system and thats the fluorescent light and 2 120V electrical receptacles (if I had an AC that would be probable be off the 120V as well), everything else (furnace, interior lights, fan, water pump etc) is running straight off the 12V battery - even when plugged into 120V. The fridge will run straight off the 12V as well but has the option of running off the 120V system - but it needs to be manually switched over to 120V. When plugged into shore power all the items that run off the 12V keep running off the 12V - even when plugged into 120V and the converter is only keeping the battery charged up.

If you download a Scamp owners manual for the full wiring diagram it will become a lot clearer as to how it all works. When camping without a 120V hook up the only thing I can not use is the fluorescent light and 120V receptacles as they are not connected back to the battery so therefore are not running off the battery at any time. When camping without shore power I can use pretty well everything I own such as my phone charger, computer etc. by using an automotive plug in converter to the 12V receptacle. When dry camping for more than a day I use a solar panel to recharge the battery. So as has been suggested there is no big loss if one decides to go without a converter as long as you have another option for charging the battery.
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Old 04-18-2011, 03:36 PM   #27
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Francesca on my Scamp there are only a few things that run straight off the 120V system and thats the fluorescent light and 2 120V electrical receptacles (if I had an AC that would be probable be off the 120V as well), everything else (furnace, interior lights, fan, water pump etc) is running straight off the 12V battery - even when plugged into 120V. The fridge will run straight off the 12V as well but has the option of running off the 120V system - but it needs to be manually switched over to 120V. When plugged into shore power all the items that run off the 12V keep running off the 12V - even when plugged into 120V and the converter is only keeping the battery charged up.

If you download a Scamp owners manual for the full wiring diagram it will become a lot clearer as to how it all works. When camping without a 120V hook up the only thing I can not use is the fluorescent light and 120V receptacles as they are not connected back to the battery so therefore are not running off the battery at any time. When camping without shore power I can use pretty well everything I own such as my phone charger, computer etc. by using an automotive plug in converter to the 12V receptacle. When dry camping for more than a day I use a solar panel to recharge the battery. So as has been suggested there is no big loss if one decides to go without a converter as long as you have another option for charging the battery.

I think stated earlier that I too use a solar panel. It depends on the weather on how long I can go without recharging. If I have to run the furnace a lot then daily, it goes down from there. Most of the time the tow charges the battery between stops.
We just got back from 97 day and were plugged less that a week total. I had to use the solar panel 5 or 6 times.
When sitting at home the battery charge is maintained with one of trickle chargers/battery maintainers. There's several brands.
The converter doesn't do much for me.

Byron
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Old 04-18-2011, 04:21 PM   #28
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As for how a converter works and what happens to the approx. 108 volts. The simple answer is it gets converted to heat and dissipated. How much heat depends on the efficiency of the converter and amount of current being drawn by the 12 system. It changes with every light you turn on or off.
Byron
Electronic Engineer, retired
This statement is misleading. With most converters the entire 120 volts AC gets converted to 12 volts AC (alternating current) with a transformer and then changed to DC (direct current) to charge the battery. The first 12 volts does not charge the battery with 108 volts left over that is turned into heat. There is an efficiency loss for the conversion that will vary with the converter design and load and most of that loss ends up as heat, but that loss comes equally from every one of those volts and is relatively small, certainly not 108/120 or 90% as was implied.
I am sure you know that Byron, and you did offer to explain in more detail, but some people do not have a very good understanding of electricity and might take it the wrong way.
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