Converter/charger - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-29-2012, 10:59 AM   #1
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Converter/charger

I noticed a couple of other threads on this subject this morning so rather than hijack their threads I'll ask this question on my own. The converter in my 19' Scamp is toast and needs to be replaced. I have all kinds of options out there and I'm having trouble determining what would be the ultimate choice. First of all I'd like to integrate all the electric into one box if possible. Currently on the 1984 the 110 comes in on the curbside into what looks like a house breaker box with I believe 4 circuits, one of which goes to the converter on the other side of the camper. Should I just leave the old breaker box and replace the converter or would it be best to just integrate everything?
Also what would be the "best" amperage? I can get an Elixir 30 amp with 3 110 circuits for $108. Would this be sufficient? Currently I have the old style 110 only hot water tank but I may convert to gas.
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:50 PM   #2
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The major reason usually cited for replacing the electrical distribution panel while replacing converter is getting a 12V fuse block which employs the modern plug in automotive fuses; not much advantage I can see on the 120VAC side. Seeing as stand alone converters and combo converter/distribution panels are both available, it's you choice based on budget and spacial and cosmetic considerations of your situation. I bolted a Progressive Dynamics 45 amp to the original electrical panel as I didn't see any safety issue with what I had.

jack
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Old 09-29-2012, 08:12 PM   #3
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Not worried so much about the safety issue. I'm probably more concerned with getting rid of the big old cumbersome 1984 electronics (breaker box and separate converter) while updating the whole electrical system as the converter needs to be changed out anyway. I've pretty much made up my mind to do it but not real sure what capacity would be "ideal" and if there was anything I should consider while looking .
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Old 09-29-2012, 08:22 PM   #4
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Steve, what do you run off 12 volts? Do you have any idea of the total amps at 12 volts you need to run everything?

You may be able to just go with a small simple smart charger / converter either with an integral fuse panel or an add on fuse panel. For me it would depend on the location / packaging issues.
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Old 09-29-2012, 09:20 PM   #5
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I just bought this thing last summer so I'm still working out what I am going to put in it. I will be installing solar sooner rather than later. Dual 6 volt batteries. At least one Fantastic fan, going with LED lights everywhere. I'm seriously considering a 12v compressor style fridge. I had one and LOVED it. No leveling necessary and got cold much quicker and stayed cold. Similar to what they put in semi's and boats. I had one in my Trillium and got 2 to 3 days off the grid with it with no solar or generator. They are roughly the same price as a 3 way so a tough call for resale.
Basically if it comes down to more amps won't hurt me other than my pocketbook I probably will go with a 50 amp, however if there are other issues where that would be overkill and harm the system I may have to go with the original 30 amp. Just trying to get some opinions on what would be the BEST.
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:04 PM   #6
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I don't think a converter is a necessary item. In my 13' Scamp it's has the breakers and fuse block attach. I've turned off the breaker to the converter. I'm rarely plugged in and the tow vehicle charges between camp sites. If I'm at a place for any length of time the solar panel comes out to charge the battery. If I was to be plugged in for any length of time I might use by battery charger.

When I look at my set up and thing multipurpose the converter doesn't make sense. Solar panel dual purpose.. Trailer battery charging, emergency tow vehicle charging, ham radio battery charging.
Battery charger - Trailer battery charging, emergency tow vehicle charging, ham radio battery charging.
Converter -- Trailer battery charging, not very good.

costs..
Solar panel -- expensive, but coming down.
Battery charger -- cheap
Converter -- somewhere between the other two.

FYI I carry both a battery charger and a solar panel. I had to use the battery charger once while in TX. Big Bend National Park had power in the restroom which I used. I had miscalculated on when I need to recharge using solar and used the charger to catch up.

Another point, most battery charging is done in 1.5 amp to 6 amp range. A 50 amp converter, in my opinion, is a wast of money. 20 amp is more than adequate. Also most trailer wiring is set for 20 amp, so anything over that is a waste.
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:37 PM   #7
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Byran what is the capacity of your solar?
I suppose I can't get it into my thick head that all the 12v will run off the batteries not the converter. It just bothers me that I have all this antiquated electronic equipment in my rig. Gotta make it new LOL!
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:34 AM   #8
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Steve,
My solar panel is a 65 Watt. Charging current in full sun is 4 amp.
Many converters actually power the trailer after they've got the battery fully charged. But, when you're off the grid, no AC power, your trailer runs off the battery. I see no point in NOT running trailer off the battery full time. But then my camping style is to be off the grid. Example.. The last two winters we've been our for over 3 months at a time, total time plugged in was 7 to 10 days combined. I think the longest in one place was 3 weeks in Death Valley, no electricity.

Lights are mostly LED. Two CCFL lights (Cold Cathode Florescent, same thing as the back light in lap top computer) The furnace fan uses some of the battery, if it's really hot I use a portable constant breeze 12 volt fan.
The fridge is propane, 120V, or 12V. We carry very little food that really needs refrigeration. When a spider made it's nest in the burner we used ice for a couple weeks until we could get it repaired. We do keep it pretty full by putting water and other drinkables in. The added volume helps keep things cool. Also, the only time my refrigerator isn't running is when it's under tow. Even now sitting here at home the refrigerator is running.

Also note, my battery size is a single standard deep cycle 74 amp hour battery.

I hope this helps you make your decisions.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Hammel View Post
I just bought this thing last summer so I'm still working out what I am going to put in it. I will be installing solar sooner rather than later. Dual 6 volt batteries. At least one Fantastic fan, going with LED lights everywhere. I'm seriously considering a 12v compressor style fridge. I had one and LOVED it. No leveling necessary and got cold much quicker and stayed cold. Similar to what they put in semi's and boats. I had one in my Trillium and got 2 to 3 days off the grid with it with no solar or generator. They are roughly the same price as a 3 way so a tough call for resale.
Basically if it comes down to more amps won't hurt me other than my pocketbook I probably will go with a 50 amp, however if there are other issues where that would be overkill and harm the system I may have to go with the original 30 amp. Just trying to get some opinions on what would be the BEST.

The short answer is that a converter / charger that is too big won't hurt anything. Just more money and weight.

I'd look at the space that it fits into, including the difficulty of installation and the convenience of access to the fuse panels once installed.
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Old 09-30-2012, 03:34 PM   #10
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That's what I'm thinking also. Sometimes you look on ebay or some of the discount RV places and they'll have a nice 55 amp converter meant for a full size motorhome for a very discounted price and in many cases less than a 25 or 30 amp. It's nice to know that too much is not all that harmfull especially when I get my dual 6 volts installed.
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Old 09-30-2012, 05:47 PM   #11
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ATWOOD APS5530 55-AMP CONVERTER / 12-VOLT CHARGER with DISTRIBUTION PANEL | eBay

From what I have seen, the price difference between 20 amps and 50 amps isn't much. 50 Amps might be slightly heavier, but in some respects this is a good thing. I would rather run a 50 amp unit at 50% capacity then a 20 amp unit running at full capacity. If you drive a Yaris like its a Formula 1 race car, it simply wont last as long.

There are a couple of Ebay sellers offering Atwood distribution panels/converter chargers in the $100 range. Its mostly discounters that are selling them, so they may be end of line or end of stock items. I have one on order, and will let you know what I think when it gets here.
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Old 09-30-2012, 07:05 PM   #12
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I was all set to order one for $99 when I noticed the $48 delivery fee, holy crud! What are they gonna wrap it in titanium? LOL! The unit itself is really nice though and is probably worth it even with the exhorbinant shipping cost.
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:52 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Hammel View Post
I was all set to order one for $99 when I noticed the $48 delivery fee, holy crud! What are they gonna wrap it in titanium? LOL! The unit itself is really nice though and is probably worth it even with the exhorbinant shipping cost.
I'm not sure what you were looking at but the higher current rated converters are also higher weight. Heat sinks and transformers weigh a lot, the higher the current rating the bigger the sinks and transformers. Over sizing is false economy. You can tow your trailer with a Frieghtliner, buy why would you?
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:31 AM   #14
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Let's look at some REAL weights for charger converters. Here is a table we can use as comparison. The bottom row of the following table shows weights for Iota brand charger. This is a higher quality product used in many applications including RVs and solar instalation. We are talking about using some in the 15 to 50 amp range for our fiberglass rig.

https://www.altestore.com/store/Char...r-75-Amp/p699/

If you need a freightleiner to tow your 50 amp converter, I suggest that its so old it contains vacuum tubes.
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