Trying to figure of Inverter/Converter, etc. - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-25-2010, 06:45 PM   #15
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Rick,
Your post is interesting. Do your concerns about poor and inconsistent power to modern 12V-powered electronics apply only to "older" converters?

Conversely, can you say that a new, quality converter with properly fused circuits will work just fine?

BTW, got pix of your set-up?
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:58 PM   #16
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To solve this problem on my trailer, this past weekend I took out the old converter and am in the process of installing a desktop computer power supply ($5 at a computer repair shop), using the original converter case so that it looks the same from the outside. It works great, giving a very clean DC voltage at a rock solid 12V and 17 amp maximum current, far more than the 12 volt, 10 amp circuit breaker on the converter output (which I will use). I am just finalizing the installation this week, and have ordered cheap digital panel meters from China that will allow me to monitor both the AC and DC voltage as well.
That's a great idea! I know it won't fully charge a battery to the 13+ Volts you get with a battery charger, but it will definately allow one to install a USB port to charge all those little 5V things when hooked up to the Grid.

Does anybody make something that functions as a converter putting out 12V DC for the system, more as a smart battery charger, a solar charge controller and something that automatically switches over between the various combination of input / output. If so, what might it be called?
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:26 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Vickie B. View Post
Oh, thank you---those explanations help ALOT!!!!

PBRAUNTON--To answer you question (what am I wanting to do) ---familiarize myself with things to decide if I do, indeed, need to add/change wiring.

Byron---you mentioned something that brings up another question---the charge line from the car to the camper battery. Would you believe for the past year I've been trying to see if I have one/need one, whatever, and I can't get 2 answers that are the same! When I first heard of it, the person called it a Trickle Charge. I was later told that's not what it's called. When I asked my husband's mechanic if they could put one in---they looked perplexed. When I mentioned it to someone else---they said I should already be set up since I have the 7-pin.

So which is it? I have the 7 pin connector. I have a battery and an alternator in the truck (duh)---I HAVE NOT put in any extra wiring. Is my camper battery charging when hooked up to the tow vehicle, or not?

AND, what it this thing I've heard mentioned about having something special so the camper battery doesn't drain the car battery????

Can you, or anyone shed light on this?

Thanks!
If your tow vehicle, I think you said it was a Ridge Line, has the tow package factory installed it's a pretty safe bet that the charge line is installed. One way to check is to unplug the trailer from 120. Wait a half an hour or more then measure the battery voltage. It should be a little over 12 volts. Now connect the tow vehicle and measure again with tow vehicle running. The voltage should measure between 13.8 and 14.2 Volts DC. If it measures the same or lower than when nothing was connected there's no charge line.

If you don't have a voltmeter it would be a good idea to get one. They're very cheap, some as low as $10.00.

Hope this helps a bit.
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:29 PM   #18
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Another point you should keep in mind is that the older converters do not put out perfect DC voltage. Instead, it looks a lot like AC voltage (you can see the waveform on an oscilloscope), but at 12V average instead of 110V. 12V incandescent light bulbs do not care, but your modern electronics sure do. My original converter from 1980 is set up to power only lights, as the fridge has a direct line to the battery for 12V operation. My first clue was the horrible buzzing sound coming from the car stereo the previous owner had installed (which will be coming out over the winter).

I would like to run our laptop, DVD player and new TV, kidís Ipod or computer games, etc. off the 12V at times, and the converter I have would blow some of those circuits for sure. If you are going to run 12V for electronics, I suggest that you run only off the battery, and then charge up the battery as necessary.

To solve this problem on my trailer, this past weekend I took out the old converter and am in the process of installing a desktop computer power supply ($5 at a computer repair shop), using the original converter case so that it looks the same from the outside. It works great, giving a very clean DC voltage at a rock solid 12V and 17 amp maximum current, far more than the 12 volt, 10 amp circuit breaker on the converter output (which I will use). I am just finalizing the installation this week, and have ordered cheap digital panel meters from China that will allow me to monitor both the AC and DC voltage as well.

This is an advanced project not for the inexperienced, but it shows that you can get good 12V power in a trailer. I expect that a modern converter would be a good investment if you are planning to run electronics in 12V mode.

Rick G
I hope you're not charging your house battery from that computer power supply. Charging circuits require a bit more to control the charge current and shut off when fully charged. No control usually means over charging, meaning boiling dry. Not good for batteries.
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Old 10-26-2010, 01:14 AM   #19
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I hope you're not charging your house battery from that computer power supply. Charging circuits require a bit more to control the charge current and shut off when fully charged. No control usually means over charging, meaning boiling dry. Not good for batteries.
That 12.0 volts is a problem, too. Nominal open circuit battery voltage is 12.6 volts at room temp. At 12.0v the charge is about 45 percent of capacity - about the level we'd typically want to start charging, not stop.

I think the battery will actually never completely charge with 12v.

Regards,

Matt
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:33 AM   #20
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Vickie B,
You can buy a tester that plugs into the seven pin connector on your car. It looks like the plug that is on your trailer but has no wire coming out of it.

There are seven lights that will light whenever one of circuit's is turned on.

I bought mine at a store that had trailer hitch's and other parts for towing.

I hope this helped a little and did not confuse you more.

Bill K
QUOTE=Vickie B.;227607]Thank you, Raya So maybe I should find out if the Ridgeline might have that set up, since it has most of the brake controller stuff in place.[/QUOTE]
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Old 10-26-2010, 09:34 AM   #21
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Hey Frederick!
Did your Odyssey come equipped with a FACTORY tow package? It's my understanding that modern cars/trucks with the package do not require the blocking diodes. What's the skinny?
No, it's aftermarket. When I negotiated a below MSRP "Out-the-door" deal both the salesman and I were exhausted from the ordeal. He wanted to really make back the lost profit on any options, which I decided were WAY too expensive to get from Honda. Camping World installed the Prodigy Brake Controller and the charge line. The blocking diodes are supposed to allow me to leave the trailer plugged in with the engine off without draining the car's battery.
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Old 10-26-2010, 01:00 PM   #22
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Yep, that's what I thought. I believe factory-installed tow packages accommodate for the possible drain on the TV's battery by a trailer so ancillary blocking diodes are not necessary...
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Old 10-26-2010, 01:27 PM   #23
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One minor point when using blocking diodes to protect the tow vehicle's battery - a diode drops close to 3/4 of a volt. This, combined with the size of your power cable may reduce the voltage from the alternator to the point where little or no charging takes place in your trailer. Another solution is to use a solenoid. Be sure is is one designed for constant duty - starter solenoids won't hold up. Check RV Battery Isolation Relays for more information.
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