Electrical Problem - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-24-2012, 11:57 AM   #15
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My best guess, no loading. The schematics I have seen of old converters were pretty simple, transformers, rectifiers, no filter or regulation. When plugged in the rectifier output supplies pulsating DC to the trailer and charges the battery. They use an SCR crow bar circuit to prevent over charging the battery. Since there is either a large current charging the battery or flowing through the crowbar, the transformer output is chosen with that current in mind. Disconnect the battery and there is no longer a large current hence no loading and a higher output. The circuit was designed to always have a battery. Raz
Raz I agree , the battery acted as a regulator of sorts in the old converters
and removing the battery affects the output voltage . With that said 27 VDC open circuit output voltage still seems high . I checked my reference material and the transformer secondary output voltages vary between 13.8 VAC to 14 .4 VAC RMS on three different converters.
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Old 10-24-2012, 12:05 PM   #16
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Jim, after you get a quote locally for the rewiring etc and if you have any other big ticket items you need work done on that you dont feel comfortable doing it may turn out its worth the cost of the ferry trip to take the trailer to Escape Trailer Ind to have the work done.

I am not sure if your aware but Escape Trailer Ind. does do repairs on all makes of fiberglass trailers. Was at a trailer meet last month down south and there was a awesome little lime green Trillium that got more than a little help from Escape in its transformation & the owner was *more* than pleased with the level of help he got from Escape in the transformation of that trailer. Pretty clear they have a new #1 fan of their services. There are a number of people here who have also used their services and are more than happy with the results and cost. I personally am thankful I so far havent had an issues with my trailer yet that I havent been able to fix myself as I know that I cant trust my self to take my trailer to them for repair and not bring home a new trailer instead.
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Old 10-24-2012, 12:47 PM   #17
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Wild Voltages

I see this often with some, but not all, of my multimeters.

If the existing converter is unplugged, first turn a light ON to pull down any filters, then measure. If it is still high I would suspect that a bad ground is allowing what I call "Antenna effect" to give a false reading. Old meters required enough power just to run, so this wasn't common in the old daze.

Some of use will remember using a VTVM (Vacuum Tube Volt Meter) to read voltages in early electrinic circuits. Today, with super sensitive digital meters for less than $20, you can read "Potential" that isn't really there.

That high DC oltage isn't a voltage that wouldn't be causing other damage, such as blown out lights, if it was backed up with any current capabilities.

Best bet though... As mentioned, pull out the old converter and update to a modern converter/charger/dist & fuse panel. As mentioned xxxx times, I use and recommend the Progrssive Dynamics PD-4045 for our trailers. I have installed 7, two in my own rigs.
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Old 10-24-2012, 02:31 PM   #18
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For less than the cost of a good converter you can install a solar system to keep your battery or batteries charged and eliminate the converter.
You don't need a converter to operate you 110 system, just an inexpensive 15 Amp breaker and box to house it.
John
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Old 10-24-2012, 02:41 PM   #19
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For less than the cost of a good converter you can install a solar system to keep your battery or batteries charged and eliminate the converter.
You don't need a converter to operate you 110 system, just an inexpensive 15 Amp breaker and box to house it.
John
If the 110v is powering 12v appliances like lights, furnace fans, etc, some means of converting it to 12v must be supplied, whether by converter or by passing it through one's on-board battery by means of a charger being hooked up to it. (How's that, B.K.? )
I think an onboard converter to be the easier of those options.

I guess we still don't know for sure if the O.P.'s converter is shot or not, but if it proves to be o.K.:
I will say that I added a charging module to my forty-year-old converter and it's worked very well for over five years. On the same battery, I might add...
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Old 10-24-2012, 02:59 PM   #20
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Raz I agree , the battery acted as a regulator of sorts in the old converters
and removing the battery affects the output voltage . With that said 27 VDC open circuit output voltage still seems high .
I don't think so. Rint= (Voc-VL)/IL Assuming a charging current say 5 amps, the internal resistance calculates to Rint=(27-14)/5 = 2.6 ohms. The winding resistance and bulk resistance of the diodes could easily add to that. With out having the converter on my bench I can't say for sure but I bet it is fine, just keep the battery connected. Raz
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:06 PM   #21
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For less than the cost of a good converter you can install a solar system to keep your battery or batteries charged and eliminate the converter.
Now thats easy for a guy in California to suggest! The OP lives in BC on Vancouver Island - the land of big trees and liquid sunshine. Sadly the amount of panels he would require on any given day even in the middle of summer would be greater than the roof surface on the trailer. Most of the camping spots as well as most Provincial park campgrounds have heavy tree coverage. I have done a fair bit of off grid camping on the Island and counting on Solar to get by for more than 4 days doesnt work out so well on many trips. Generators are an option but due to the dislike of them by fellow campers and ever increasing restrictions and in some spots outright outlawed they really are not a great option either.
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:27 PM   #22
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Jim, after you get a quote locally for the rewiring etc and if you have any other big ticket items you need work done on that you dont feel comfortable doing it may turn out its worth the cost of the ferry trip to take the trailer to Escape Trailer Ind to have the work done.

I am not sure if your aware but Escape Trailer Ind. does do repairs on all makes of fiberglass trailers. Was at a trailer meet last month down south and there was a awesome little lime green Trillium that got more than a little help from Escape in its transformation & the owner was *more* than pleased with the level of help he got from Escape in the transformation of that trailer. Pretty clear they have a new #1 fan of their services. There are a number of people here who have also used their services and are more than happy with the results and cost. I personally am thankful I so far havent had an issues with my trailer yet that I havent been able to fix myself as I know that I cant trust my self to take my trailer to them for repair and not bring home a new trailer instead.
Thanks, Carol for the message. Never occured to me that Escape worked on other trailers. Will keep that in mind.
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:44 PM   #23
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"For less than the cost of a good converter you can install a solar system to keep your battery or batteries charged and eliminate the converter.
You don't need a converter to operate you 110 system, just an inexpensive 15 Amp breaker and box to house it.
John"
-------------------------------------------------------------------

FWIW: A good converter, i.e. a Progressive Dynamics PD-4045, is less than $200. I don't know that you can get all that much in quality solar power for that amount.

I see solar as an augment to a modern RVpower distribution system. The daze of 1 a/c breaker and a couple of inline fuses are long gone.

As an example, when I rebuilt my Hunter Compact-II's electrical system using a PD-4045, I wound up with 4 ac breakers (Main, inside outlets, outside outlet & converter. On the DC side I have 8 active circuits for inside lighting, outside lighting, Entertainment system power, inverter power, 3 utility outlets, furnace, water heater & water pump.

And, someday, I may add solar to that to extend my boondocking durations.
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Old 10-24-2012, 05:20 PM   #24
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Wow, so much information from all your great people. If it helps anyone, the converter is a Systems Monitors MSM2000. Cannot even locate it on line, as it is so very old.
I just called a local dealer and he suggests a PD9200 45 amp which would fit in the space. Price was $342 Canadian for the unit itself, but of course I probably could get a better price on line.
I cannot remove the converter as all the wires are so tight, but could possibly snip them all off by removing the drawer directly below the converter, but how the heck would I know where the connections go on the new converter? Duh
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Old 10-24-2012, 05:48 PM   #25
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Wow, so much information from all your great people. If it helps anyone, the converter is a Systems Monitors MSM2000. Cannot even locate it on line, as it is so very old.
I just called a local dealer and he suggests a PD9200 45 amp which would fit in the space. Price was $342 Canadian for the unit itself, but of course I probably could get a better price on line.
I cannot remove the converter as all the wires are so tight, but could possibly snip them all off by removing the drawer directly below the converter, but how the heck would I know where the connections go on the new converter? Duh
As I suggested earlier, I suspect your converter was designed to work with the battery always connected. As such you might want to reconnect your battery to the converter you have and see if it works. And before folks start talking about 4 stage chargers ect. remember one can buy a lot of batteries for $342, even in Canada. Good luck, Raz
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Old 10-24-2012, 05:48 PM   #26
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I would not snip them. There must be some way to get inside the converter and disconnect the wires. Either from the front, or the back. Typically on the front. Cutting will make the wires too short to reach your new converter.

Try to identify the 120VAC in. Typically it will be a rubber coated cable, maybe even the same cable that your trailer plugs in with. There will also be a green ground wire. After that, most of the remaining wires will be for the 12VDC circuits. Even if you don't know what they are for, label them as you disconnect them. Numbers will be fine. Label both the negative and positive. 1+, and 1-, .... That way you can get the correct pairs together. There is no real standard, but DC is commonly Red for positive, and Black for negative. This may be White, positive and Black negative. But it depends on the manufacture more then anything. See if you can locate a wiring diagram in the Doc Centre. That would be best.
Each branch circuit should have it's own fuse.

Pictures would be good.
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Old 10-24-2012, 05:54 PM   #27
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As I suggested earlier, I suspect your converter was designed to work with the battery always connected. As such you might want to reconnect your battery to the converter you have and see if it works. And before folks start talking about 4 stage chargers ect. remember one can buy a lot of batteries for $342, even in Canada. Good luck, Raz
Raz, When I connect shower power and the battery and try to hook up, say the propane detector, all the lights on the propane detector flash, meaning that there is something wrong and it will not operate properly, BUT when I disconnect the shore power and only have the battery hooked up, the propane detector works fine. Jim
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Old 10-24-2012, 05:57 PM   #28
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Per removal if that's what you decide to do:

If the converter in your '81 Bigfoot is anything like the one in my '78 Trillium, it's mounted inside a box. On mine, removal of the screws on the faceplate allow the face/works to be pulled out. Connections are then accessible

The box itself would have to be removed by drilling out the rivets it's secured by...

Francesca
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