Scamp Wiring and Converter Questions - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-16-2015, 11:02 AM   #1
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Scamp Wiring and Converter Questions

This may seem like a bunch of stupid questions but several of you have said the only stupid questions are unasked ones, so here goes.

I'm studying the Scamp wiring diagram in the document center and have a question about the power converter detail. There are two connections shown between the 12V (black) line and the power converter. One is a continuation of the same black line and the other is a green line that appear to be connected to a row labeled filtered circuits. Not knowing what each side (black and green) is for, at first it seems redundant but I'm sure several of you out there will be able to explain this to me.

I'm not able to look at my actual controller right now to see if there are additional labels on the unit as my Scamp is stored for the winter. I'm thinking this detail indicates that the black line between the controller and 12V line is for both battery charging and for feeding 12V from the battery back through to the controllers filtered circuits. I'm wondering about the purpose of the green line coming off the filtered circuit side. It might be for feeding filtered power to the interior lights and porch light also shown in the diagram but then why aren't these lights attached straight to one of the vacant filtered circuits? Frankly I'm not sure I have the big picture on power converter features as I haven't really used mine much or studied this before.

I'm normally more of a boondocker and recharge my battery when necessary with solar so the controller doesn't come into play very often for me. This coming summer my wife and I are going to be working in Yellowstone. We'll have a full hookup including power for about 3 months and I'm concerned about boiling my battery while hooked up to shore power for that amount of time.

I have run across threads on the forum where people have recommended upgrading older converters to something like a PD-4045. Again, I don't know what model converter I have and can't look right now. My Scamp is a 1998 with mostly original stuff so you can assume my converter almost 17 years old. Would you folks recommend I upgrade?

Thanks
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Old 01-16-2015, 11:39 AM   #2
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Here are what the various coloured wires on the Scamp in yours age groups does:
Green (TM) - Tail Lights and Marker Lights

Red (LT)- Left Turn and Brake Light

Brown (RT) – Right turn and Brake Light
Black (S) – Interior 12 volt lights and Accessories

White (GD) – Ground

Yellow (A) – Brake Lights (Foreign Stop) or Backup Lights

Blue – Electric Brakes

The concerns with boiling a battery when the trailer is plugged in is normally more of a concern if the trailer is just sitting and nothing is being used on it daily. If your using the 12V lights and fans etc then its not as a big of a concern. Another concern would be if you do a lot off grid camping is whether or not the old converter is actually charging up the battery as well as it could when you are plugged in. Without a smart charger the odds are it is not but then again that little bit extra charge *may* not be all that noticeable or a big issue for you as you have solar to recharge while unplugged.

As far as your old converter goes - well it is old technology and as with all things there is always something better ;-) If you have a nice new expensive battery that you are wanting to keep for more than a few years or so then perhaps you may have a good reason to consider upgrading the converter to one with a smart chargers. Or if you are like myself and running on only a standard group 27 Deep cycle marine battery you may find you can get a few more years out of the converter without any serious $$ loss. I still have the original convertor in my 92 trailer and nope it does not have a smart charger either but like you I also use solar for about 50% or more of my camping time and I have gotten by just fine with it. The converter is showing signs that it may be on it last legs though - when plugged in to power for example the LEDS do a little flicker, which they don't do when running off the battery only. But even with the old technology converter I did get about 5 years of heavy use out a standard deep cycle battery before I start to notice any tangible degenerating and replaced it.

The danger of course of taking my approach of using the old converter until it starts to give you some more serious signs of having issues, is that the converter will fail completely at a place/time when it is least convenient to replace!
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Old 01-16-2015, 11:55 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdhanso View Post
One is a continuation of the same black line and the other is a green line that appear to be connected to a row labeled filtered circuits. Not knowing what each side (black and green) is for, at first it seems redundant but I'm sure several of you out there will be able to explain this to me.
Forgot to mention that I am not 100% sure about why the wiring diagram shows a short piece of Green wiring running from the converter back into the black power line or the yellow one used from the converter to the 12 volt pump for example but its my guess that is to distinguish the size of the fuse being used inside the converter. If you open the converter up you will find a row of fuses inside of it protecting each item connected to it. If I am not mistaken fuses are colour coded by rated current.

Not an electrician nor do I play one on TV so perhaps someone here who is may be able to confirm my assumption as correct or totally off the wall!
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Old 01-16-2015, 12:23 PM   #4
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First...You have a 17+ year old trailer and hard telling if the generic SCAMP wiring diagram ever matched your year trailer. Next, over that many years there are few trailers than haven't had "Improvements" made by previous owners. For that reason trying to make your wiring and the diagram match may be a fools parade.


Scamp wiring is fairly simple and a good look-see is you best tool for figuring things out.


And, as Carol mentioned, you may still have a "Old School" power chassis and it will, especially if it is one of the "American" brand that Scamp used in that time period, give up at the worst possible time, of this I speak from experience.


My weapon of choice for replacement converters remains the Progressive Dynamics PD-4045 and I have installed no less than 8 of them, 3 in Scamps, without any issues whatsoever. It also gives you the opportunity to upgrade your wiring from Old School to more modern needs, especially if you will be full-timing for the summer.
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Old 01-16-2015, 03:06 PM   #5
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Currently we are camping only in State Parks with hookups and I don't even have a battery in the Scamp. I taped over the battery wires and they just hang up there on the tongue. So, my two cents is disconnect the battery when you are hooked up to shore power for long periods. And, I am VERY jealous of your summer work plan. My Mother and Aunt spent a couple of summers during college in the mid 1950's as Cabin Maids in Yellowstone.
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Old 01-16-2015, 07:35 PM   #6
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Bob , I'm thinking of updating my converter in my '89' 19' scamp and I done some reading on the Dynamics PD-4045 . It looks like a good replacement but I'm not much of a wiring expert and don't know if I'm smart enough to do it ! Mine is old and bulky . How big of a job is it ? Wes
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Old 01-16-2015, 09:02 PM   #7
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If you haven't done electrical work before, by all means get someone that has to help you. Just making sure all the splices are right and the wires are tied back properly is enough to create problems if not done correctly.


You will also most likely need a pressure crimper, lots of splices and wire nuts, spot ties and a few lengths of new wire to get the job done. You may also need what's called a "Work Box" if any of your 120 VAC wires need extending.


Overall installing the PD-4045 is very straight forward, but you do need to have a little electrical savvy to be safe. Allow 3-4 hours tops.
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Old 01-17-2015, 02:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Forgot to mention that I am not 100% sure about why the wiring diagram shows a short piece of Green wiring running from the converter back into the black power line or the yellow one used from the converter to the 12 volt pump for example but its my guess that is to distinguish the size of the fuse being used inside the converter. If you open the converter up you will find a row of fuses inside of it protecting each item connected to it. If I am not mistaken fuses are colour coded by rated current.

Not an electrician nor do I play one on TV so perhaps someone here who is may be able to confirm my assumption as correct or totally off the wall!
Thanks Carol for your thoughts on the converter use and the green line in the diagram. The idea of color corresponding to fuse color makes sense. Like you say, maybe someone will come along with more information. I'm going to try to get into my trailer soon and see if I can figure out more about my own converter and wiring.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
And, as Carol mentioned, you may still have a "Old School" power chassis and it will, especially if it is one of the "American" brand that Scamp used in that time period, give up at the worst possible time, of this I speak from experience.


My weapon of choice for replacement converters remains the Progressive Dynamics PD-4045 and I have installed no less than 8 of them, 3 in Scamps, without any issues whatsoever. It also gives you the opportunity to upgrade your wiring from Old School to more modern needs, especially if you will be full-timing for the summer.
Thanks Bob for your thoughts as well. I understand your point on upgrading an old converter before it dies at an inconvenient time. But, can you expand on what you mean about wiring? What about the wiring is "Old School" compared to how it would be wired today?
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Old 01-17-2015, 02:21 PM   #9
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My reference was to older trailers being somewhat minimal for extra circuits to add things like extra 12VDC & 120VAC outlets, Inverters, entertainment systems, additional lights, USB charging stations, computer power, etc. As I recall, our 2002 Scamp came with two 12VDC lights, one 120VAC tube light and one ac outlet. It also came with a "American" brand converter that smoked big time the first time the power cord was plugged in.


They were also often wired so minimally, that if one breaker tripped or if one fuse blew everything stopped working, including all the lights.

Wiring is pretty much the same, it's just that there was so little in earlier FGRV's.
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Old 01-17-2015, 02:43 PM   #10
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Got it. Thanks Bob.
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Old 01-17-2015, 02:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timber Wolf View Post
Currently we are camping only in State Parks with hookups and I don't even have a battery in the Scamp. I taped over the battery wires and they just hang up there on the tongue. So, my two cents is disconnect the battery when you are hooked up to shore power for long periods. And, I am VERY jealous of your summer work plan. My Mother and Aunt spent a couple of summers during college in the mid 1950's as Cabin Maids in Yellowstone.
Tim,
Thanks for the tip on disconnecting the battery. I'll keep that one in mind. We are pretty excited to be spending a good part of our summer in YNP. We are doing a partial season (July through Sep 21) this summer to see if it's something we'd consider doing in the future for a full season. Every employee we've talked to said they never regretted working there.
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Old 07-01-2015, 07:37 PM   #12
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Trailer: Scamp 1997 16'
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Hello,

Found this thread while searching for answers for the same problem. My 1997 Scamp's old Magnetek converter bit the dust and so I am going with the Inteli-Power PD9130 converter, which I should have soon. Problem I am trying to resolve before converter gets here is what to do with these other 2 wires that were connected to a "filtered circuit" on the Magnetek.



I discovered that the wiring diagram isn't quite right and I am quite confident the previous owner did not modify this wiring.

My Scamp has a refrigerator and a water pump that need to be wired.
The Scamp diagram shows a yellow wire running from the filtered circuit to the pump and a red wire running to the fridge.

The only two wires I have are a red and green wire which were connected to where the yellow and green are (I put a highlighted circle around them in diagram). I have resolved that the green wire is feeding my pump and the lights while the red wire I have is feeding the fridge.

So, no big deal that they aren't wired as the diagram shows... but what I don't understand despite all my research on the web is what a "filtered circuit" is?

I have speculated that a filtered circuit is just a protective circuit to maintain a balance and prevent massive power surges from taking out my pump and fridge. There was a 15amp fuse on the pump side and 20amp fuse on the fridge. While I suspect a filtered circuit is a little more involved than just putting a fuse inline... I am wondering how I can safely connect my pump and fridge to the new inteli-sense converter?

Can anyone explain a little better what a filtered circuit is?
How should I go about connecting my pump and fridge?

Scamp actually sells the Inteli-Sense PD9130 to replace the Magnetek and I have sent this same inquiry to them but I have not heard back yet and I will have the Inteli-Sense converter tomorrow with plans to go camping this weekend. Worst case, I will be connecting the fridge and pump/lights (with a fuse) directly to the 12volt wire on the converter and hope for the best. I welcome and appreciate any advice.

Thanks
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