converter / inverter??? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-14-2014, 02:35 PM   #1
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converter / inverter???

All right gang got a question on the original converter that came with my 76 Amerigo. I have attached a pick that might help. I am a bit confused this converter has a terminal for battery hookup. A converter is usrd to go from 110 volt to 12 volt so why would you connect a battery to it. Is it possible that this unit is a converter/inverter??? I am doughtful that is the caes but am wondering why have battery conection.
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Old 09-14-2014, 03:02 PM   #2
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It's not an inverter because it only outputs 12.6VDC. Perhaps it can charge a battery also.
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Old 09-14-2014, 03:13 PM   #3
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That terminal is for attaching a 12 volt battery to it, (the ground wire attaches to the frame.) The converter should also be grounded to the frame as well. Assuming that it is functioning properly you should be able to charge your house battery from that converter. I would recommend monitoring your battery often if you do decide to hook it up to it because those "vintage" converters don't have the circuitry to regulate the output charging current like the newer ones do, (i.e.it is what they call a "dumb charger".) If left to charge the battery unattended it will fry your battery. Also, check your battery water level often if you use it to charge with, as these older units were well known for boiling the water out of a battery pretty quickly.
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Old 09-14-2014, 03:42 PM   #4
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If there is a switch on the front that sez "Battery - Converter", that terminal is how your battery connects to the 12 loads like the lights and water pump that the converter can power when you are connected to shore power.

The Good News & The Bad News. The Good: If the output of the converter is only 12.6 volts it may not fry your battery. The Bad: If the output of the converter is only 12.6 volts it will NEVER fully charge the battery, that takes at least 13.2+ volts.

As I always preach, if you want a reliable, modern trailer, toss that boat anchor of a converter and install a newer one with more circuits and a smart charger. Just the savings in charging your battery fully will make up for the cost. As always I recommend the Progressive-Dynamics PD-4045 power center, Less than about $175 on line and it will do everyuthing except make the coffee for you.
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Old 09-14-2014, 04:25 PM   #5
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now I understand smart vs dumb convert. Sounds like I better reconsider using this converter. Is there such a thing as a converter/inverter all in one unit??
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Old 09-14-2014, 04:32 PM   #6
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Inverters are separate because they are entirely different animals, may require bulky cables, and are usually selected by size. Decent 1000 watt inverters are usually available for well under $100. What do you want to power with the inverter?
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Old 09-14-2014, 06:34 PM   #7
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If it's original to a '76 Amerigo, it's not all that smart in the sense of employing a charging protocol that provides desulfation, prevents overcharging, etc. Most rv converters are intended to charge the house batt. I think that "smart" chargers are a relatively recent development. Jack
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Old 09-14-2014, 07:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by hotrodaj31 View Post
now I understand smart vs dumb convert. Sounds like I better reconsider using this converter. Is there such a thing as a converter/inverter all in one unit??
Yes, although they are usually only found in large RVs, high wattage, and are quite expensive. Here is an example.
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Old 09-15-2014, 08:18 AM   #9
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Well after reading all the advise on this subject I have concluded that the original converter is heading to the scrap pile. I am planning a complete new power system in my complete remodel FB project so a "dumb" converter will not fit the bill. I have seen a few other post on the Progressive-Dynamics PD-4045 that sound like the way to go, so I will add the to the list. As for the inverter I planning to run a dorm frig and guessing I will need a 2000 watt inverter. Is that a make and model that any one would suggest??
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Old 09-15-2014, 09:41 AM   #10
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A fridge will use about 100 to 200 Watts. If it was 120W the fridge will draw about 10Amps.

A 2000 W inverter would be big enough to run an air conditioner. Unless you have a really big battery, it would not run the AC for long. Assuming that the inverter is loss-less, which it is not, then a 2000w load will draw 166.7 A. This will draw down a 240 Ahr battery to the point that it should be recharged, (50% of capacity) in less then an hour, (43 min). A dorm fridge, with an inverter is not very efficient.

While they cost more, a 12 VDC compressor fridge works much better. They advertise 2-3 A draw.
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Old 09-15-2014, 09:42 AM   #11
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You will need LOTS of battery capability to run a fridge off 110 VAC. I don't think it's feasible in this case. Why not just use a LP fridge?
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Old 09-15-2014, 10:13 AM   #12
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While new 2 & 3 way RV refrigerators are a tad on the expensive side, used ones often run between $50 and $200. And if you scout the surplus places in the Elkhart area you might be able to scope out deal on a factory damaged unit for a similar price.

While some like the dorm fridge answer, there is no comparison when you are going to be off-line for more than a few days, short of an expensive 12DC refrigerator and a big solar syteem (again more $$$) than the option of using LP power.
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:26 PM   #13
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+1 on Elkhart. Many RV's are manufactured there so discontinued, blemished RV parts stores abound, and many insurance company totaled RV's are sent to Elkhart for salvage actions. Lot of RV scrap yards.

Unless you only plan to camp with electric hookups or run a generator a 110 volt dorm style fridge is not a very useful option. Draws too much power to run on batteries. Even while driving down the road keeping the battery charged would take some figuring and possibly alternator and wiring upgrades to keep the battery charged while the fridge was drawing power.

If you do only camp with 110 volt power so you can run the fridge you can pack the freezer full of those plastic blue ice packs used in lunch boxes. They freeze when you are plugged in and should keep things cool through a days travel if you don't open the fridge and dump the cold air.
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotrodaj31 View Post
As for the inverter I planning to run a dorm frig and guessing I will need a 2000 watt inverter. Is that a make and model that any one would suggest??
I agree with the others - a dome fridge on an inverter probable is not going to run for more than half a day at best unless you camp in full sun 24 hours a day and have a super sized solar system & I do not thing your trailers roof has enough roof space for the solar system you would need.

But the money you would have spent on the 2000 watt inverter & super sized solar system towards buying a fridge that will run on propane. Even the new 12v fridges will only run for a couple of days without a decent sized solar system to keep the battery charged up enough to power them.
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