So- tell me about power converter... - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 10-09-2013, 09:43 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Name: Tom
Trailer: scamp
Michigan
Posts: 110
So- tell me about power converter...

My '76 Scamp has no power converter, and I'm not sure which way to go...

I could just do without, and camp in sites with electricity...
Or I could try to refit this camper more like it was. But- then do I keep looking for an original-style tall power converter, or do I go with the new one shown on Scamp's web site, that is smaller and more of a cube?
Anybody out there been working on this issue? If you have the newer type, did you mount it back under the sink? How does that work out?

TK
__________________

__________________
ThomKat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2013, 10:24 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Name: asdf
Trailer: asdf
Alabama
Posts: 346
I think you need to figure out what you want first. Dry camping requires a battery. Very long dry camping requires solar and a solar charger. Ac from the battery requires an inverter. Plugging into AC will require a charger for the battery.

I decided to go with dual golf cart batteries because they are extremely hardy, and specifically designed for providing DC as opposed to designed for starting a vehicle.

I am looking at the morningstar suresine pure solar inverter. Expensive but industrial strength and real sine wave.

Morningstar Corporation Ľ Home

Do not make the mistake of starting off with a monster 1000 watt (or more) inverter. Every 100W requires 8.4 amps from the batteries and even with golf cart batteries you will only get 110 ah. as you can see, a 1000 watt inverter (used to capacity) would suck 84 amp hours in a single hour. You can't realistically run an AC, radiant heat or a 1000 watt pancake griddle etc from batteries.

I intend to go solar, probably dual 100w panels and the morningstar TRISTAR charger.

My scamp came with the PD 9100 series which as a basic unit really is pretty basic and will not properly maintain my batteries. They apparently have an add-on "charge wizard" which brings it up to "nothing to be ashamed of" though still nothing to write home about. At least with that system it will no longer kill your batteries.

You need a high quality charger of some sort and if starting from scratch I wouldn't recommend the Progressive Dynamics simply because they just didn't get it right. However because I have one, I haven't researched what would replace that and which does get it right.

But you have the opportunity to do a little homework and build as much or as little system as you desire. Take a little time to study what's out there. Let us know what you find.
__________________

__________________
jwcolby54 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2013, 10:38 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Byron Kinnaman's Avatar
 
Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
Oregon
Posts: 6,307
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThomKat View Post
My '76 Scamp has no power converter, and I'm not sure which way to go...

I could just do without, and camp in sites with electricity...
Or I could try to refit this camper more like it was. But- then do I keep looking for an original-style tall power converter, or do I go with the new one shown on Scamp's web site, that is smaller and more of a cube?
Anybody out there been working on this issue? If you have the newer type, did you mount it back under the sink? How does that work out?

TK
A converter only does you good while connected to electricity. Some of us do without a converter, mine is turned off, wouldn't matter since I don't camp with electricity. The keep the battery charged while the trailer is at home I use a Battery Maintainer, there's several brands. The tow charges the battery while going from place to place. Then there's the solar panel when needed to charge when sitting in one place for a week or more.

The biggest and most effective investment was to change all the inside lights and the porch light to LED, this allows me go that week without recharging.
When the rare occasion that I camp with electricity I use it to power the refrigerator rather than propane. Still rely on the battery for lights and furnace fan. If was to stay long enough with electricity to need a battery charge it would be with solar.

This is just my way and how I do things.
__________________
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
Byron Kinnaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2013, 10:45 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Bob Miller's Avatar
 
Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
California
Posts: 7,912
In a few words... Check out the Progressive Dynamics website and look over the PD-4045. It will give you everything you need in one package, AC distribution, DC converter and distribution and a 4 stage battery charger.

For best price try:

RV Teardrop Trailer Parts, Kits, Custom Built Trailers
E-mail: frankbear007@gmail.com
Contact us at (269) 665-9060
teardroptrailerparts.com

BTW: If you try to camp only where there is power, you will be SOL at about 95% of the National Park campsites, many, many state sites and often without a place to camp tonight... period.
__________________
Bob Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2013, 07:07 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
Ed Harris's Avatar
 
Name: Ed
Trailer: 1982 Fiber Stream and 2002 Casita Freedom Deluxe,The driveway is a Dark & Lonely Place now!
Missouri
Posts: 1,776
Tom

You can make this as simple or complicated as you want and think you need.

You can just get a battery and charger and leave it at that. No need for special dedicated RV stuff at all if that is what you want?
If you get a 10 amp charger of almost any type it will likely run simple lights in the trailer just fine and charge the battery safely as well.

You can also go further and get an RV converter,it does not really matter which one unless you decide you need certain features and are willing to pay for them.

You could get Solar and/or an Inverter if you think you need them but there is no need to start there nor did you ask for info about these so I would start off by keeping it simple for a lot of reasons.

Like Byron suggests,changing the lights out for LED lights or just bulbs will go a long way toward helping make your DC needs lower but if you really do intend to camp where there is power then there is no requirement that you get an entire DC system with battery and converter.

You do get additional freedom I think by setting up for battery power on some level but you can add this stuff in stages too depending on your trips and what you feel is right for you.

In my first 2 Eggs I used a simple 10 amp battery charger that would also supply its full output continuously for the lights and fans I needed.
It was a high quality Marine model that I found on clearance for under $50.00 and was a full multi-stage smart charger that worked perfectly for my needs. Add to that a cheap but effective WalMart deep cycle battery and battery box and I was in business and for years this was just fine for my needs.

There are a lot of ways to do a lot of different things in an RV and if you want to just get your feet wet but not spend a lot then there are a lot of ways to do that too.
__________________
Ed Harris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2013, 10:16 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThomKat View Post
do I go with the new one shown on Scamp's web site, that is smaller and more of a cube?
TK
Something to keep in mind is in addition to the "smaller and more of a cube" convertor Scamp uses in their newer stock trailers they also have a separate 110V breaker panel thats connected into the converter. The Progressive Dynamic PD-4045 that Bob mention takes care of both functions. As Byron pointed out many get by without the converter function or 110 panel and just go with a battery maintainer at home and a solar system & vehicle charge system on the road

A great place to start reading up on your options is The 12 Volt side of Life.

As you will see in reading through the above that what you really need or want to use will make a big difference to what you need to install. When dry camping I dont use anything that requires 110 power - no ac, tv , coffee maker (use a French Press coffee tastes better anyways) that sort of thing. Only 12 v LED lights and water pump, 12v roof fan and the propane heater sparingly (as the fan on it is a power hog). I will also charge up cellphones and camera batteries as well. Run the fridge on propane only. Can get by for a number of days of dry camping with only a group 27 battery before putting out a small solar panel (30 w) to charge it all back up by the end of the day.

As Ed says you can make your system simple or elaborate...
Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2013, 10:25 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
BTW: If you try to camp only where there is power, you will be SOL at about 95% of the National Park campsites, many, many state sites and often without a place to camp tonight... period.
Also true if you plan on camping at all in Canada. Unlike in the US where most of the State parks have power - power in a Provincial parks in BC is not common. Although they are starting to add power to some of the parks but in a limited number of sites.
Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2013, 10:46 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Bob Miller's Avatar
 
Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
California
Posts: 7,912
Good Points Carole (Especially since you gave me a plug, LOL)\

Also keep in mind that, unlike certain things, ownership may not be forever and someday you may want something different

If and when you want to sell, a bare bones camper buyer will still be interested in a well equipped camper, whereas others, who are looking for more modern conveniences, will turn away from a bare bones unit.

Soooo. not only can you demand a higher price & recoop your investment, you will also have a much wider audience to appeal to when selling.

BTW: Fear not.... apparently it's only one person who's batteries aren't being charged adequately by the Progressive Dynamics Charge Wizard System, 1000,s of others are doing just fine.
__________________
Bob Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2013, 12:19 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Name: asdf
Trailer: asdf
Alabama
Posts: 346
ROTFL. Moi? I don't yet have the charge wizard, though I am going over to the dark side if it fits my unit!
__________________
jwcolby54 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2013, 01:28 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
BTW: Fear not.... apparently it's only one person who's batteries aren't being charged adequately by the Progressive Dynamics Charge Wizard System, 1000,s of others are doing just fine.
Cant say for sure but if I am reading correctly the party with concerns over the Charge Wizard system ability to adequately maintain a battery wasn't actually used one yet. Possibly they may join the others and find it works just fine once they try it.

I have been reading with interest the various options different parties use on their trailers as I'm pretty sure I need to replace my current system shortly. Its the original 21 year old converter - no smart charge or smart wizard. Noticed the other day when plugged in my LED lights flicker, unplug it and run straight off the battery the lights stop flickering. Plugged in the solar and still no flicker. Plugged back into power - flicker! Dont know for a fact its the converter as electrical know how/understanding is limited but due to its age its at the top of my list of suspects.

The way I look at the discussion over whats good or bad about the various options for replacing my system is that replacing a standard group 27 deep cell battery or even 2 6 volts every 5 years is less than a decent bottle of wine a year in operating costs. IMO it seems to me that 5 years is about the average length of time those I camp with and who do a fair bit of dry camping seem to get out of a cared for deep cell battery even without a smart charger or charge wizard - although some have gotten longer. Those who frequently camp at power sites have been known to get way more years than that out of a battery.

To me it starts getting pretty tough to start justifying installing a system that will give you longer life on the battery as it charges fuller if its going to have a *much* higher start up cost than the $250 or less the average converter &/or inverter system costs (even with the Charge Wizard or smart charger system built into it) including the cost of a group 27 deep cell battery many of us currently use costs. Add another $100 to the start up costs if you are going to go with the two 6 volt battery system.

Yes some have gone to using a higher prices AGM style battery but again its a bit like a car - some of use get by just fine driving a Honda while someone else may feel the BMW with all the latest bells and whistles is the only way to go. Appears to me it all comes down to what can you afford in the way of up front costs and what are you ok with in regards to yearly depreciation costs.

Are my assumptions wrong on that? I am I missing an important part of this discussion on the need for a much better system than what the Charge Wizard or other smart charger converters provides?
Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2013, 01:30 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
Posts: 1,416
When I bought my Scamp it had 2 electrical systems. 120 volt with a breaker and 3 outlets, one used for the refrigerator and the kitchen light and the 12 volt system with 1 fuse at the battery, the 2 systems were not connected by a converter. There was no charge function; you had to do it manually with a charger or charge through the tow if hooked up that way.
I upgraded my Battery to a group 27 lead acid Wal-Mart battery, big and cheap in its world. Trailers are for connivance and having to deal with maintaining and charging a battery and being ready when I want it I decided to go with the progressive Dynamics PD 4045 control panel. Once installed it just works, keeps my battery up, is plugged in all the time and doesn't cook or boil the water out in my battery. I installed it last winter and has been a dream. My battery is always fully charged at 13.2 volts and hasn't needed any water in 10 months. I have taken 5 - 5 day trips this year so the trailer sits allot. I think if your starting from scratch it is a good way to go especially if you not using dual battery banks with fancy finicky batteries. I like allot of circuits and fuses in my system and this panel provides plenty to go around. The panel is the same price as a fancy smart charger but you will still have quite the investment in additional materials and installation. I added a lot of branch circuits for the additions I have made to the electrical system. It all started when I wanted to add the heater and snowballed from there. I am lucky I donít have to pay someone to do the installations and modifications.
__________________
stevebaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2013, 01:43 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
Steve my Scamp was set up with the 120 volt breakers and the 12 volt as well but with a convertor connecting them. When you switched over to the Dynamics PD 4045 what did you do with the 120 volt breaker system Scamp had in it - if I am reading correctly the 4045 comes with all that built in - correct? Was there an upside to using the PD4045 with the built in 120 volt breakers vs just putting in a converter with a smart charge system in between the 12 volt and 120 volt system you already had? Asking as I would like to keep the replacement of the current converter as simple as possible - would like to do myself but not big on playing with/making bit changes regarding the power supply on the trailer.
Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2013, 02:26 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Name: asdf
Trailer: asdf
Alabama
Posts: 346
Carol,

I started from knowing nothing about batteries and charging. I read, studied, researched and learned what the battery manufacturers want you to do to maintain their batteries. Yes, there is "how long the battery lasts" but there is also how much charge you get on any given day when you go off the grid. As the battery dies, that time gets shorter and shorter. What is really getting shorter and shorter is the amp hours before you hit the 50% mark where you are supposed to stop using the battery, or charge it back up. If the battery is dying, then even a good solar system and good charger can only do so much because the battery itself is physically damaged.

So I am not looking at "a good bottle of wine", I am looking at buying and maintaining a system such that when I do get off the grid, it gives me the power I need.

When a battery is not fully charged, again according to the battery manufacturers, it begins to damage the battery. So if the system routinely charges to 80% then before long you permanently lose 20% of the battery's ability to store power. As you no doubt know and agree, if you use more than 50% OF THE ORIGINAL charge storage, then you begin to damage the entire battery, effectively killing the entire thing.

So... charger X only charges the battery to 80% of the "full" level. What is available for you to use when off the grid? 30% of the original "full charge". So you go buy a 120 amp hour deep cell. When you first start using the battery you get about 60 amp hours before you need to recharge. Or looked at from the flip side, you NEED TO recharge when the battery has 60 AH left.

Your charger X only ever charges it to the 80% point so it permanently kills 20% of the capability. So after a year or so, the battery only holds 120 * .8 amp hours or about 96 amp hours. You can still only draw it down to 60 amp hours so you now have 36 amp hours available before you need to recharge.

You have gone from 60 AH available to 36 AH available. Except YOU don't know this. You continue to pull 60 AH out because that is the magic number right? NOPE, not right, you need to RECHARGE when the battery still has 60 AH, the 1/2 way point of the ORIGINAL FULL CHARGE.

So now you are drawing out 60 AH because you mistakenly believe that is what you have available and you are now drawing the battery down below the magic 1/2 way point and you are doing more damage to the battery.

In the end, in YOUR case, YOU may not ever know you are doing this. The battery dies eventually and you go get a new one. You think your battery lived a full and productive life and after all, it's really just a bottle of wine a year right? Yep, right. You kill your battery and replace it.

I have news though, the battery would last a LONG time if it is treated right, and you could get 60 AH for that entire time without damaging the battery.

Carol, I am not saying that you shouldn't just view it your way, replace the battery every once in a while and not worry about the cost. It works for you, you get the current you need and when you don't you go buy a new battery. Great solution for you. But I want to get 120 AH year after year. NOT 120 AH this year, 90 next year, 60 the year after, 30 the year after, replace the battery. That works for you because you never needed more than 30 anyway.

The PD charger, WITHOUT the charge wizard, is a bad solution. It does NOT correctly charge the batteries. THEY TELL YOU THAT, but most people don't read or understand what they are being told. They say they guarantee 13.5 V "nominal" to charge your battery. That's GREAT right?

The battery manufacturer of flooded cell batteries say it takes 14.8 volts to correctly charge a battery to the FULL state. So... PD figures out that their own systems are damaging their clients batteries, and with much fanfare they create a new wonderful "Charge wizard" which they trademark the name, and they trumpet how with the charge wizard, damage to your batteries is eliminated.

RIGHT? Remember that? Except that they are still selling the original unit without the charge wizard to THOUSANDS of people, every year. The original unit guarantees 13.5V 'nominal' charge voltage! The original unit is GUARANTEED to damage your batteries!!! And they KNOW THAT!!!

Pardon me if I am not impressed that, if you happen to discover that their charger is killing your batteries, and if you happen to discover that you can buy a wizard from them to stop it from killing your batteries, and you actually pay to buy it and get it installed, THEN the charger that you paid for will not (overtly) kill your battery.

Yes, I am irritated. I am irritated that PD knows that their original charger without the wizard is killing batteries and continues to sell it to the unsuspecting public. I am irritated that they then tell us poor suckers that if we will just buy an additional "charge wizard" from them, then they will no longer kill our batteries. And I am irritated that we, the poor suckers buying this stuff think that whole situation is OK.

I don't think it is OK. I think they should just wrap the damned charge wizard in a new model, STOP SELLING the old model, and trumpet how their charger is so much better than the competition (or something).

Understand that even WITH the charge wizard, they only charge the battery to 14.4 volts, NOT 14.8 volts but hey, nobody out here gives a rat's patuty (to quote Bob) about any of this.

Furthermore, charging a battery requires HOLDING the bulk charge voltage until the CURRENT pushed into the battery starts to drop. But guess what the "Charge Wizard" does. TIMES it. Yep, after X minutes it drops to the second level. WRONG ANSWER!!! So if my battery is LARGER than yours, them MY battery is REALLY badly charged, even with the "Charge Wizard".

So they still aren't getting it right, but in the end, who cares. The batteries are lasting longer anyway. That really is a good thing.

Have you been to Sears for any automotive work? They show the "Good", "Better" and "Best". PD has moved from "Abysmal" to "Better" in one fell swoop. Bravo for them. EXCEPT that we have to somehow stumble on the fact that without the wizard they are ACTIVELY KILLING our batteries and then we have to do something about it.

I am NOT impressed.

And yes, since I already have the PD unit that apparently accepts the "Charge Wizard" I may go get one, because, after all, "Abysmal" to "Better" is a giant leap. Except that I have a larger battery so their TIMED method doesn't work well for my batteries even with the "Wizard"

Or maybe I'll just go research and find an after market widget that actually CORRECTLY charges the battery, multi-stage, to 14.EIGHT volts, watching the CURRENT consumption to decide when to change stages, and install that. Disconnect the crappy thing that PD sold me and be done with it.

Carol, I actually studied the issues. My educated opinion is that PD is not something that I would go buy if I had a choice. I said that pretty much in my original reply. I absolutely mean it.
__________________
jwcolby54 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2013, 02:40 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
Posts: 1,416
My 120 volt system incoming wiring ran right through my new location for the heater and I had to modify it anyway to get it out of the way so what was left was used as a junction box. Running the new system gives me 30 amps AC instead of 20 or less depending on what the campground supplies. This means you can split into 2 separate breakers, which for me was the kitchen side of the trailer and the other side which now has an outside outlet too. My biggest change was on the 12 volt side where I went from 1 fuse to populating almost the whole panel. If your happy with your 120 volt system and your 12 volt system then just bypassing your old charger and adding the a new smart charger is very cost effective. For me it was more cost effective to start over to get what I want. Basically I had only 1- 120 volt breaker. I had no confidence in the original scamp wiring with scotch loc connectors and wire nuts. So in the process I got to upgrade most of those issues. The PD4045 is a nice package and takes little space. In your case, is your charge system incorporated in your panel and a new charger going to have to reside in a new space created for it? One of my biggest decision maker was do I feel confident in the manufacturer and every thing I read about Progressive Dynamics left me feeling warm and comfortable I canít say that about a lot of the other suppliers. My trailer had only the barest electrical and upgrading the electrical gave me new heater, 12 volts lights, a fantastic fan, 120 volt lights 2- 12 volt sockets, a porch light and 6- 120 volt duplex outlets and I can still add stuff. Some form of air conditioning is in my future. If a 12 volt item doesn't work it is on its own circuit with its own fuse and wires are all labeled at all access points. Easy to fix, easy to maintain. Wires are tied down and oversize so they don't mechanically fail. I can plug in most anything and not run into or trip over cords.
Right now I can do this work, when I am too old, absent minded or have to pay someone to fix stuff, this will all be a piece of cake. I like light and donít like to sit in a dingy tomb and now I donít have to.
__________________

__________________
stevebaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Power Converter GaryG Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 2 05-20-2012 03:41 PM
Anyone try this power converter DannyH Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 13 12-04-2009 12:56 PM
Power Converter Chester Taje Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 14 08-10-2007 11:24 AM
Power Converter gerry gregory Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 7 09-01-2006 12:18 AM
Power Converter Legacy Posts Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 3 05-25-2003 08:02 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:33 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.