replacing chargr/converter with smart charger - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-23-2012, 06:18 PM   #1
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replacing chargr/converter with smart charger

I've just bought a '08 Casita SD and I gather the factory charger is not smart. I want to use a smart three-stage charger and I really do not want to remove the battery from the camper (maybe I will in the extreme part of winter).

Is there any problem connecting an external smart charger to the battery without disconnecting the factory charger ? The factory charger would not be turned on and I would not be using the 30 amp cable at all, but would just plug in the external smart charger. That would place the charging voltage across the factory charger, but when on the road the factory charger has 12 volts from the battery on the terminals anyway. I can't see any problems, but thought I'd see if anyone has been doing this.

I've been looking at the Xtreme Charger XC-100. Does anyone have a better charger to recommend? Many thanks! David
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Old 10-23-2012, 06:46 PM   #2
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Purchase a battery maintainer like the one at Harbor Freight then pull the fuse at the battery or just disconnect the positive cable from the battery and connect and plug in the maintainer. (Be sure the battery is fully charged B 4 you do that.)
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:01 PM   #3
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........
I've been looking at the Xtreme Charger XC-100. Does anyone have a better charger to recommend? Many thanks! David
This charger is $88. Why not just put the money toward a smart converter / charger like this to replace what you have?

Progressive Dynamics PD9245CV Inteli-Power 9200 Series 45 Amp Converter/Charger with Built-in Charge Wizard : Amazon.com : Automotive
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Old 12-02-2012, 04:50 PM   #4
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Just saw this- about two months too late, but I'll mention it for others who may be considering the PD converters; the Wizard is not compatible with AGM batteries. Luckily, it is a plug in attachment to the converter, so you can pull its plug and use an AGM friendly trickle charger.
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:06 PM   #5
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I've just bought a '08 Casita SD and I gather the factory charger is not smart. I want to use a smart three-stage charger and I really do not want to remove the battery from the camper (maybe I will in the extreme part of winter).

Is there any problem connecting an external smart charger to the battery without disconnecting the factory charger ? The factory charger would not be turned on and I would not be using the 30 amp cable at all, but would just plug in the external smart charger. That would place the charging voltage across the factory charger, but when on the road the factory charger has 12 volts from the battery on the terminals anyway. I can't see any problems, but thought I'd see if anyone has been doing this.

I've been looking at the Xtreme Charger XC-100. Does anyone have a better charger to recommend? Many thanks! David


Hi David. Welcome to the forum. I would not put a second charger across the battery with the first one connected, even if it is not energized. While it is unlikely they would interact, without a schematic there is no way to know. My suggestion would be to add an inline fuse at the battery, if you don't already have one, and pull the fuse when you wish to use the external charger. Raz
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:58 PM   #6
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I've pretty much done what is suggested, well close. I use a "Battery Tender" when the trailer is in it's nest (sitting in it's place at home). I have turned off the converter, but not disconnected it. The Battery Tender keeps the battery charge and desulfated while at home. When traveling I rely on the tow to keep it charged while on the road, and when camped a solar panel does the trick, electric hookups or none.

As to worry about connecting with converter still connected, what's the difference between using a battery charger/battery tender and the charge wire from your tow? The converter is obviously designed to allow more than one charge source connected, active or not.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:18 AM   #7
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As to worry about connecting with converter still connected, what's the difference between using a battery charger/battery tender and the charge wire from your tow? The converter is obviously designed to allow more than one charge source connected, active or not.
The charge wire from your tow vehicle is connected to another battery. A battery can be a source or a sink. A converter/tender/dc power supply can only be a source. In my experience putting two DC power supplies in parallel is not good practice. While in all likelihood nothing will happen, it's easier to disconnect the converter than having to explain and repair the unexpected. Raz
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:10 AM   #8
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Being a minimalist by nature, and reinforced from my multi- day backpacking days and more than twenty years of minimalist sailboat cruising with no refrigeration, kerosene and candle lighting, an AGM battery for modest house demands and supported by a little 80 watt solar panel, I brought this philosophy to trailering. For us, small is good and big is bad, hence the little Trillium. Our electricity demands are small- an AGM house battery to supply seven LED lights and charge my Macbook Air and my wife's iPhone. It could also power our Fantastic fan for a foolishly short time, and it could, if I wired it accordingly, attempt to do the impossible and maintain the three way frig switched to 12V. There will NEVER be a TV screen in our Trillium, nor a music centre. Our Tacoma has a huge alternator and I can switch the frig to receive 12V from the truck when travelling. The AGM is totally separate from any charging except the intelligent charger energized from 110 V in the state parks and RV parks. We've done our days of going bush, and we are done with that, but enjoy the peace and quiet of the State parks and day-hiking to our south, and have to laugh at the funny little old wizened bald headed half- blind guys (I too am one of these at seventy-three) and their equally old, usually overweight wives and three poodles that come in, park with varying degrees of accuracy, Hook up to the output of a Hydro dam, turn on the air conditioner and TV and Heaven knows what else and vanish into their seemingly eighty foot long cocoons. And so I think there are for us very simple solutions to Trillium energy problems.I laud those of you who are trying to KISS their Trillium travel, and I read with keen interest of those attempting to simplify their needs with solar cells, intelligent chargers, manually disconnecting, fuse pulling plug pulling, and going without some of the imagined comforts of home. Raz's final sentence is the perfect solution.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:31 AM   #9
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The charge wire from your tow vehicle is connected to another battery. A battery can be a source or a sink. A converter/tender/dc power supply can only be a source. In my experience putting two DC power supplies in parallel is not good practice. While in all likelihood nothing will happen, it's easier to disconnect the converter than having to explain and repair the unexpected. Raz
You missed a few points I think.
1. I indicated that the converter was turned off.
2. The converter turned off has to withstand a over voltage at it's output or you couldn't connect it to the tow vehicle's alternator/battery.
3. The alternator in the tow produces over 14 volts that would be applied to the converter output.
4. A battery tender only puts out enough voltage to get about 1.5 charging amps.
5. Some solar panel with chargers will charge in excess of 6 amps and the voltage is high enough to produce that kind of charging current.

In the case of solar and tow you're NOT required to remove the connection to the converter output.
A bit of logic will tell you that's it ok to connect a battery tender type charger to the battery without disconnecting the converter.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:44 PM   #10
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Hi David. Welcome to the forum. I would not put a second charger across the battery with the first one connected, even if it is not energized. While it is unlikely they would interact, without a schematic there is no way to know. My suggestion would be to add an inline fuse at the battery, if you don't already have one, and pull the fuse when you wish to use the external charger. Raz
So do you charge your battery in transit from the tow vehicle?
(that's a second charger across the battery, with the first one connected).
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:21 PM   #11
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Does the distincton between hooked to and powered (getting juice) matter? As a matter of course, I think, people either hit their internal breakers or pull their shore power cord BEFORE plugging in the trailer plug. The converter is connected but not doing anything. Wouldn't the same apply to a battery charger. What part of this would apply to a combination of solar panel feed and converter feed to battery at the same time? Downsides? If "inputs" are offline, does it matter how many ring lugs are under the wing nuts?

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Old 12-03-2012, 07:54 PM   #12
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Our electricity demands are small- an AGM house battery to supply seven LED lights and charge my Macbook Air and my wife's iPhone. It could also power our Fantastic fan for a foolishly short time, and it could, if I wired it accordingly, attempt to do the impossible and maintain the three way frig switched to 12V.
Do tell...

What "special wiring" would be necessary, and how much longer than a regular battery do you reckon that your AGM will run a 3-way fridge on 12v in addition to all your other energy needs?

Thanks!

Francesca
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:16 PM   #13
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Francesca, I can't tell you how long the House battery would try to run the frig, but it would not be long, it wouldn't do it very well, and it would dramatically shorten battery life. I'd have to run a switched output to the 12V terminals of the frig, which would disconnect the truck supply, in favour of the house battery, just in case I were silly enough to leave the truck connected to the trailer after parking the trailer. This house battery isn't connected to any charger except a small, intelligent float charger, so it probably could not be recharged when it ran out of voltage. The only time we'd not be using the converter to supply 12V would be if we stopped in a truck stop, or free camped for the remainder of the night, or if the state park could not provide us with a serviced site. (We have never used the house battery for anything yet, because we are always plugged into 110 V supply. I think I gave the impression we actually use the AGM regularly, when we actually use converted 12V from the converter/shore power supply. Sorry about that.) Adding an AGM circuit to the frig isn't going to happen. The iPhone , Macbook Air and the seven LED lights would consume very little current- almost none- I think 150 LED Christmas lights on a home use about 25 cents per month- maybe that is an indication of how negligible our 12V battery power demands would be. I have no doubt that many Trillium owners would be most unhappy were they pushed into our choices, and that is the way it should be- for them.
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:52 PM   #14
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Francesca, I can't tell you how long the House battery would try to run the frig, but it would not be long, it wouldn't do it very well, and it would dramatically shorten battery life. I'd have to run a switched output to the 12V terminals of the frig, which would disconnect the truck supply, in favour of the house battery, just in case I were silly enough to leave the truck connected to the trailer after parking the trailer. This house battery isn't connected to any charger except a small, intelligent float charger, so it probably could not be recharged when it ran out of voltage. The only time we'd not be using the converter to supply 12V would be if we stopped in a truck stop, or free camped for the remainder of the night, or if the state park could not provide us with a serviced site. (We have never used the house battery for anything yet, because we are always plugged into 110 V supply. I think I gave the impression we actually use the AGM regularly, when we actually use converted 12V from the converter/shore power supply. Sorry about that.) Adding an AGM circuit to the frig isn't going to happen. The iPhone , Macbook Air and the seven LED lights would consume very little current- almost none- I think 150 LED Christmas lights on a home use about 25 cents per month- maybe that is an indication of how negligible our 12V battery power demands would be. I have no doubt that many Trillium owners would be most unhappy were they pushed into our choices, and that is the way it should be- for them.


I'm not exactly sure what you mean by that last, since you yourself always camp with shorepower! I'm one of those stone-age drycampers whose only electric use is lights in the trailer, and when/if the battery goes dry I just go to bed early. I don't even have a cell phone- let alone a portable computer- so your setup is on the high-use side compared to mine.

But I AM interested in potential future uses/storage of 12v power...

I don't understand what you mean by "adding an AGM circuit to the fridge"- isn't the AGM a 12volt battery? Does the fridge care that it's an "AGM"???

Thanks!

Francesca
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