Battery charging questions - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-09-2013, 08:53 AM   #15
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Russ, most of the physical footprint of the 4000 series is the distribution panel and housing. The 9000 series is converter only, possibly a desirable option for those with space limitations. I have the PD9245 bolted to the back side of a Magnatek minus the original converter.

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Old 11-09-2013, 10:02 AM   #16
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You can buy a new PD-4045 From Frank Bear at Vintage Technologies, a Teardrop Supply House: Teardrop Trailer Parts for about $160 including shipping. I have bought a lot of parts and PD stuff from him and he is excellent for prices, service and delivery.

That American (Brand) converter only has about a 85% chance of smoking at some point. It's better to be proactive and replace it on your terms rather than wait for the inevitable to happen.
Where in the world did you get that number? 85%????
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Old 11-09-2013, 10:17 AM   #17
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Actually sorta/kinda from the guy that answered the phone at the "American" distributor 2 years ago, after mine smoked the second time it was plugged in (1st time was at the sellers place, 2nd time was that same day after we towed it home)

His approximate statement was something like "That board was a high failure item and we have replaced it with a newer design board with a better charger as well."

As it was only $120.00 for the new board, and a PD-4045 was only about $20 more at the time, out it went. Added to that is the high incidence of failures reported hereabouts as well.

BTW: It really smoked, and the s.o. just about wanted to sell the whole trailer at that point

An 85% failure rate might be a little high, maybe only 80% (LOL)
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Old 11-09-2013, 10:28 AM   #18
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Actually sorta/kinda from the guy that answered the phone at the "American" distributor 2 years ago, after mine smoked the second time it was plugged in (1st time was at the sellers place, 2nd time was that same day after we towed it home)

His approximate statement was something like "That board was a high failure item and we have replaced it with a newer design board with a better charger as well."

As it was only $120.00 for the new board, and a PD-4045 was only about $20 more at the time, out it went. Added to that is the high incidence of failures reported hereabouts as well.

BTW: It really smoked, and the s.o. just about wanted to sell the whole trailer at that point

An 85% failure rate might be a little high, maybe only 80% (LOL)

In other words you pulled that 85% number out of ........


Having been in electronic manufacturing all my life "high rate of failure" equals somewhere between 1% and 5% return rate. Maximum assuming that only 50% of failures are returned would between 2% and 10%. A long way from your 85%.
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Old 11-09-2013, 10:44 AM   #19
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The American brand converter in my trailer takes forever to charge a partially depleted battery. It may not be defective, but doesn't work to my satisfaction. I will probably upgrade it even if I go solar. I like to have the best reliability I can afford when out relaxing and having fun. When camping with hook-ups we have had no problem with the converter running the lighting and water pump. I think the charging is the weak point.
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Old 11-09-2013, 10:45 AM   #20
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One more thing. Many failures are "customer" caused. Converter failures can happen when the fan is blocked causing the converter over heat, sometimes smoke.
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Old 11-09-2013, 10:57 AM   #21
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Russ, most of the physical footprint of the 4000 series is the distribution panel and housing. The 9000 series is converter only, possibly a desirable option for those with space limitations. I have the PD9245 bolted to the back side of a Magnatek minus the original converter.

jack
Jack,
I looked at some of the converter only devices, and watched a Youtube video of a guy doing a conversion of his distribution device. PD doesn't make one for my American unit that I know of. I suppose it is not too difficult to trace out the wiring and swap the converter out of any unit, but hard to know if it is worth the gamble and trouble just for better cosmetic result. At least you wouldn't have to rewire all the circuits that way. The Iota unit that Denny mentioned appears to be a stand alone converter also. The American panel I have may not be large enough to house the new converter, so may have to mount it remotely under the rear dinette seat.
Russ
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:17 AM   #22
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The battery minder is only for when the trailer is at home. My solar panel charges with 4 amps with direct sunlight. In your case a bigger solar panel is probably a good idea. The solar charge controller is a MorningStar PWM. The panel is 65 Watts 4.1 amp. With my solar system if you sleep 8 hours you'd need 4 hours of sun the recharge.
I've got mine set up for portable use, meaning I move panel around to keep it in the sun.
I think I would be tempted to go with more battery and a larger solar panel than I have so that could go an extra day if needed. Also some days are cloudy you don't get as much from the sun.

If you're always plugged in then all this doesn't matter.
Byron,
The portable setup is nice for positioning where the sun is unblocked and can be easily re-aimed as needed. Not having to deal with proper roof mounting and space to place them is also good. The only issue that bothers me about portability is theft. I would need to leave the campsite un-attended while hiking etc. I guess you just have to take your chances. I thought about mounting the panels on the Jeep, but there again we sometimes are out and about with the tug, so no charging.
Russ
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:41 AM   #23
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If you are only charging at just over 13 volts it is going to take a long time. The Progressive Dynamics converter with "Charge Wizard" uses about 13.2 volts as the "float" or maintenance voltage and as high as around 14.2 volts when charging. It doesn't sound like much of a difference, but if their data is to be believed it can reduce charging time from something like 10-12 hours to more like 2-3 hours. So if someone has an older converter they may fire up a generator for a few hours and expect it to really do something, but it just isn't enough time for it to get the job done at that voltage. Even worse is if they are using a tradition generator rather than the inverter style, which is not only loud but burns much more gas.

I wouldn't charge the battery at 86% if using a generator--it is fine to let it get as low as 50%.
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:53 AM   #24
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Russ,

Our approach is to have numerous methods of charging our battery. We have a solar panel which is generally plenty when in the sunny parts of the North America. As well we can charge from our tow vehicle as we drive, enough to keep us charged during our typical 3-4 hour drive. As well on occasion we have carried a 1000 watt generator when traveling across Labrador in the spring when the sun is relative low and the sky can be gray.

We have a smart charger as well. When camped with services we will often leave that on and let the smart charger do it's thing.

Like Byron, the best thing we've done is to replace every lamp and fixture with an LED equivalent. For most people Lamps are the largest 12 volt draw. As to the reliability of Smart Converters our last one lasted for 14 years and was still good when we sold the rig. Our present one is 6 years old. Like most parts of our RVs, we leave them powered virtually all the time.
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Old 11-09-2013, 01:12 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
In other words you pulled that 85% number out of ........


Having been in electronic manufacturing all my life "high rate of failure" equals somewhere between 1% and 5% return rate. Maximum assuming that only 50% of failures are returned would between 2% and 10%. A long way from your 85%.
------------------------------------------------------------

I was only repeating the comment made by the rep I talked to, who I am sure wasn't a failure rate guru for the manufacturer. .

In as much as these were/are all made in CHINA some 10 years ago I am sure that very few customers even bother looking for parts, so the ones he knew about may not even represent a true sample. And, if asked, I doubt if many dealers would suggest a repair considering the high price of the one board vs a whole new box. Unless you went to Camping World that is... LOL. But again, their poor performance and failures are fodder hereabouts.
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Old 11-09-2013, 02:52 PM   #26
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Byron,
The portable setup is nice for positioning where the sun is unblocked and can be easily re-aimed as needed. Not having to deal with proper roof mounting and space to place them is also good. The only issue that bothers me about portability is theft. I would need to leave the campsite un-attended while hiking etc. I guess you just have to take your chances. I thought about mounting the panels on the Jeep, but there again we sometimes are out and about with the tug, so no charging.
Russ

When I need to leave the panel out and want to leave the trailer I use a bicycle cable lock understanding that if somebody really wants it they'll get it. So far it's worked for me.
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Old 11-09-2013, 05:14 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
Russ,

Our approach is to have numerous methods of charging our battery. We have a solar panel which is generally plenty when in the sunny parts of the North America. As well we can charge from our tow vehicle as we drive, enough to keep us charged during our typical 3-4 hour drive. As well on occasion we have carried a 1000 watt generator when traveling across Labrador in the spring when the sun is relative low and the sky can be gray.

We have a smart charger as well. When camped with services we will often leave that on and let the smart charger do it's thing.

Like Byron, the best thing we've done is to replace every lamp and fixture with an LED equivalent. For most people Lamps are the largest 12 volt draw. As to the reliability of Smart Converters our last one lasted for 14 years and was still good when we sold the rig. Our present one is 6 years old. Like most parts of our RVs, we leave them powered virtually all the time.
Norm and Ginny,
Having those different options allows for most any camping scenario. I will probably get a solar system as well. I am more limited in panel placement due to the roof airco unit. The rear roof is covered with hatch and Fantastic Fan. I suppose a portable like Byron's should not be ruled out.
Do you have a switch to shut off the solar system to keep it from fooling your smart charger? I wonder how these various systems play together.
Russ
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Old 11-09-2013, 05:32 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Derek Johnson View Post
If you are only charging at just over 13 volts it is going to take a long time. The Progressive Dynamics converter with "Charge Wizard" uses about 13.2 volts as the "float" or maintenance voltage and as high as around 14.2 volts when charging. It doesn't sound like much of a difference, but if their data is to be believed it can reduce charging time from something like 10-12 hours to more like 2-3 hours. So if someone has an older converter they may fire up a generator for a few hours and expect it to really do something, but it just isn't enough time for it to get the job done at that voltage. Even worse is if they are using a tradition generator rather than the inverter style, which is not only loud but burns much more gas.

I wouldn't charge the battery at 86% if using a generator--it is fine to let it get as low as 50%.
Derek,
I'll try that technique next boondocking trip. It will be interesting to see if the charger will throw more current into the 50% battery.
Russ
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