Do I really need a converter? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-06-2014, 11:19 AM   #15
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Bill, I never really thought much about it until I listened to others. I'm continuously amazed when I read about the AMG batteries when are Trojan 105s seemed to last forever.

We always carry distilled water for our batteries to top them off with the right stuff.
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Old 08-06-2014, 01:12 PM   #16
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Bill, I never really thought much about it until I listened to others. I'm continuously amazed when I read about the AMG batteries when are Trojan 105s seemed to last forever.

We always carry distilled water for our batteries to top them off with the right stuff.
I agree. Trojan SLA's are really hard to beat. When I moved into my house, there were 20 Trojan L16s (these have twice the capacity of T105s). This was a HUGE, poorly designed battery bank that was severely under charged for it's entire life. Despite that, they still lasted 8 year. I ended up replacing them with much smaller fork lift battery. It has about 1/4 the capacity of the previous bank, but is sized appropriately and therefore requires a lot less generator time. It works great and hopefully will continue to for the next 15 years.

I seriously considered getting AGMs for the scamp since I want to put them inside, but in the end I decided it was more economical to install SLAs in a sealed/ventilated compartment. I also like being able to monitor specific gravities. I ended up buying Costco batteries this time around. Even I only get a few years out of them, they will give me an opportunity to get the setup figured. Once I get everything dialed in, I won't have a problem spending the extra $$ on Trojans.
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Old 08-06-2014, 05:52 PM   #17
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If the converter has a good charger as well as the ability to run 12 volt appliances from shore power that is a benefit.

If you add in a cut off switch to take the converter off of the shore power circuit if your running the AC I think you would have the best of both worlds.

It was not uncommon for some of the early campers with microwave and AC to have a switch that only let you run one at a time since both at once would tend to trip the breaker. AC off for a few minutes while using microwave then flip the switch back to AC.

If nothing else built in ability to charge batteries while not drawing off of them seems like it would be an advantage to having a converter. E.G few days of cold and inclement weather where the furnace has drawn down the batteries. Fire up generator plug in and you can run furnace while charging batteries without drawing power from the batteries you are trying to charge.
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:08 PM   #18
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One thing is for sure. I am going to scrap the existing converter. I'm going to ponder whether or not buy a new converter/charger combo or a distribution panel and separate charger. I think if wire in a switch for the charging portion, I suspect it might be cheaper and tidier to go the combo route. I'm still not convinced I need the converter portion, but if it comes along with a distribution panel and a good charger, I'm not against it either.

Thanks for all your thoughts and recommendations.
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Old 08-07-2014, 12:58 AM   #19
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I would like to remove the charger in my converter. It is a four stage 35 amp charger. I'll let it go cheap. It is new and only used once to bring a battery up to full charge. I have used it since. It is appropriate for a flooded battery or one that needs to be or tolerates equalization charges.

It's a progressive dynamics and a typical mod to replace constant current chargers. I paid $210 for it. It's yours for $100. I can get more details next week if you are interested. Send me a PM.

I want to swap it for a small 3 stage charger. There is a 10 amp marine charger I was thinking of using. Slower charging reduces heat and helps prolong the battery life. I don't expect my charger to be used except on rare intervals when it is in covered storage. My solar meets all my needs.


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Old 08-07-2014, 02:51 AM   #20
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Bill,

The general rule of thumb in the off-grid solar community is to shoot for 5-13% of the batteries capacity... My battery manual 'recommends' 10% but my PWM solar controller puts out about 6 amps max, only about 2.5% The battery still gets to 100% each day as I don't use that many ah. I have a CC-CV power supply to equalize the batteries every once in awhile. Hoping for the best.

As far as converters go. They are not really the same thing as chargers. I think their main purpose is to convert 120v AC to 12v DC when shore power (or generator) is in use so the 12v appliance can run directly off the shore power instead of the battery... I guess I never understood why you would want a 12v power supply instead of a battery and charger. There are certainly times when you want at least light and aren't connected to shore power. If you've got a battery you have to have a charger anyway so why not have a decent one, say 20 or 30 amps, and make a converter redundant. The 12v loads can run off the charger output even if the battery is dead.

Are converters possibly a holdover from old times when travel trailers were much more simple and only had a few lights powered small battery recharged by the tow vehicle?

How so? My converter has a 4 stage charging cycle, none of my three chargers do. Oh, and it puts out 45 amps max., along with being a clean fuse and breaker panel.

If you don't want one, fine. To say they're not really a charger, though?


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Old 08-07-2014, 10:00 AM   #21
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How so? My converter has a 4 stage charging cycle, none of my three chargers do. Oh, and it puts out 45 amps max., along with being a clean fuse and breaker panel.

If you don't want one, fine. To say they're not really a charger, though?
Hi Jared,

I think we're all on the same page...it's largely just a question of semantics. A converter converts AC to DC, a charger charges batteries, and converter/charger combo unit do both. I think the large majority of modern converters have a built in charger. My old converter has a built-in charger as well, but it's small and inefficient to use with my generator. I assume the converter you have is a Progressive Dynamics PD4045. Sound about right? This is what I'm leaning toward getting as well.

BTW, thanks for the great thread on your 5er. It has given me lots of great ideas for updates to mine. I'll start a similar thread once my mods really get under way.
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:05 AM   #22
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I would like to remove the charger in my converter. It is a four stage 35 amp charger. I'll let it go cheap. It is new and only used once to bring a battery up to full charge. I have used it since. It is appropriate for a flooded battery or one that needs to be or tolerates equalization charges.

It's a progressive dynamics and a typical mod to replace constant current chargers. I paid $210 for it. It's yours for $100. I can get more details next week if you are interested. Send me a PM.

I want to swap it for a small 3 stage charger. There is a 10 amp marine charger I was thinking of using. Slower charging reduces heat and helps prolong the battery life. I don't expect my charger to be used except on rare intervals when it is in covered storage. My solar meets all my needs.
Thanks Conrad, but I think I'm going to go with a new all-in-one unit.
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