Converter vc charger - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-07-2018, 08:45 PM   #1
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Name: Sébastien
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Converter vc charger

What is the advantage to use converter if a charger do the same job for cheaper? Besides the charger do a better job with the batteries. My T4500 dont use a lot of current. Only some light for the moment.
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Old 11-07-2018, 11:38 PM   #2
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A battery charger is not built into your electric panel as an integrated part of it. But a modern battery charger manages batteries very well to keep them healthy and use the minimum of water. Be sure you get one that can carry the largest DC load you plan to have, with the exception of an inverter. Modern converters have a smart charger built in, instead of an old fashioned style DC power supply, and will manage batteries correctly. Older converters were just a constant voltage DC output. So, modern converters are smart battery chargers that are integrated into the electrical panel.
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Old 11-08-2018, 12:56 AM   #3
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First I must explain that I'm never connected to hook-ups while camping. Second I've done a few things to reduce my power demands.

My converter started acting up a number of years ago. Promptly turned it off and it hasn't been turned on since then

When camping (stays anywhere between 1 week to 3 months). I use a 65 watt solar panel to recharge the battery every 4 or 5 days. When the trailer is sitting at home I use a "Battery Minder" to keep the battery charged. Battery Minder cost about $50. This has worked quite well I actually started using the Battery Minder several years before I turned off the Converter.

To sum it up I can see no reason or need of the standard RV converter. You can keep 12 volt DC power working hooked-up to electricity or not with a lot less expense and trouble than using a Converter.
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Old 11-08-2018, 06:02 AM   #4
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I use 120v when it is available. The charger can produce 12v for light. I have a refrigerator 2 way 12v 120v. When 120v is not available, I put my refrigerator off. I think a converter is a lot of money for nothing.
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Old 11-08-2018, 06:37 AM   #5
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Most converters can power all you 12 volt stuff when connected to shore power even with no battery at all. Many chargers cant do that. If they can, they are basically the same thing.. a charger or a non-integrated converter. A rose by any other name.

I have a battery charger that sometimes I plug in and use. I have a 30 amp smart converter that I sometimes turn on and use. The only substantial differences between the two (and how I use them) is that the converter has more power and can happily run my 12 volts stuff and charge the battery at the same time. The charger can do the same but is limited to seven amps. And the charger has to be set up although it could be wired in permanently.

I like having the converter for convenience and the fact that it will run my lights, pump, fans etc even if someone steals my battery. But as long as my battery is OK I would be fine with the charger alone.

One important thing that I think is often overlooked is how well the device charges. This is a rather involved topic but look for a "smart charger" or intelligent converter that follows the charging recommendation from the battery manufacture(s). Also a device often called a trickle charger is not sufficient for anything other than maintaing an already charged battery.
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:17 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Most converters can power all you 12 volt stuff when connected to shore power even with no battery at all. Many chargers cant do that. If they can, they are basically the same thing.. a charger or a non-integrated converter. A rose by any other name.
This is an important point I forgot to mention. Thanks Gordon. A smart charger only works on batteries that still have some voltage in them, typically about 10 volts. This is used to turn on the charger. If the battery is not there, you get nothing out of a smart charger when hooked up to your electrical system, unlike a converter. If the battery is completely dead, it will not charge up with a smart charger. In that case an older, and heavier charger style called ferro-resonant chargers, must be used because they put out power regardless. This is similar to older converters that will run equipment without a battery in the system, if needed. They also charge the battery, but not as well as a smart charger.

Bottom line: A smart charger, or a modern smart style converter is the best way to manage your batteries. With the smart charger, you must have a battery in the system and it cannot be completely dead. Converters usually have 30 amp outputs to run all internal loads. Smart chargers can be smaller if the battery is large enough to handle short term loads itself. In that case the charger output just has to average out to be high enough to carry everything over a longer period. For instance, the gas heater may draw more power than the charger output, but it only runs part time. So the average output is high enough.
Converters are typically 30 amps. I've gotten by just fine with a 6 amp smart charger.
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:23 AM   #7
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tide....

the tide seems to have turned
only a few years ago, whenever this subject came up (getting rid of / deleting the converter) it was met with mostly negative reactions/opinions...


now it seems most people agree that replacing a failed converter/charger with another new one is an option, one that is certainly simple to execute and quick...but not the only one.


if I had a 40 foot MH, with loads that could be greater than your average "smart or super-smart" charger (6 to 8A) could deliver....I can see how a converter would be a must. For most of us that is not the case.


Getting rid of the converter creates a little more work...you still need breakers and fuses....I took that as an opportunity to make better use of the space the powercenter used to occupy....so that was a "win" that way (given our small trailers)




it's been a few years now....and it all works just fine...the first charger I used had a fan..that became annoying. I now have a double insulated charger that does not need/have one. It is on it's own breaker so can be turned on/off that way. It is installed "semi-permanently" so I could use it somewhere else if that need ever came up.
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:34 AM   #8
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One of my converters failed a while back. It turned out to be the style where there is a separate power supply mounted behind the fuse panel. It was very simple to get it out and set a new one in. They both had built in cords to plug in and then just two output wires to attach to the fuse panel and a ground/bonding wire. It took about 5 minutes.
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Old 11-08-2018, 06:12 PM   #9
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Some charger can give power without battery. NOCO genius 7200 for exemple. It have a supply mode 5A. Enough for my lamps. But maybe a converter is better if I need more power. Actually I have only fridge 12v and lamps. No pumps, no furnace nor water heater. The fridge is use only with 120v.
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Old 11-08-2018, 06:40 PM   #10
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I have (1) a power supply (pick the amperage you want), and (2) a smart charger. My setup is described here:

Restored Trillium Converter!
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Old 11-08-2018, 07:17 PM   #11
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A converter is simply more convenient than a battery charger, although either will work. The converter has breakers for the 110 volts and a battery charger (smart charger in newer converters) all in one box tucked out of the way.
If the converter part fails, you could always get by with just a dedicated portable charger to maintain your battery as needed (manual or smart charger).
As others have mentioned, a battery with some life would be needed if going the charger route.
I know Byron chose the 65 watt solar route to take the place of his converter, while Larry (Beetlefreak) has more power requirements and uses just 400 watts of roof mounted solar for his battery charging, he disconnected his converter.
I'm sort of in the middle; I use the converter when plugged in, and use the rooftop 90 watt when boondocking, supplemented by a movable 90 watt panel as needed (winter with little sun).
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Old 11-08-2018, 07:20 PM   #12
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John, I am not sure I can fix my converter like you. Maybe after more and more reading. I am a beginner with the 12v.
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Old 11-08-2018, 07:30 PM   #13
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... The converter has breakers for the 110 volts and a battery charger (smart charger in newer converters) all in one box tucked out of the way. ....
Except for the large number of installations where the fuse and breaker box (aka Power Distribution Panel) is separate and apart from the converter. My converter is about 2 feet from the fuse and circuit breaker panel.
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Old 11-08-2018, 07:55 PM   #14
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The difference in a charger and a converter is basically that the converter is filtered and has regulation to provide the power to a camper with or without the battery.
A charger is for charging the battery and is not suitable for powering the 12 volt equipment that is sensitive due to poor filtering without the battery.
The battery is the filter for the charger and there is relatively little built into the charger.
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