Converter Breaker - Fiberglass RV
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Old 06-23-2024, 10:35 AM   #1
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Name: Philip
Trailer: In the Market
South Carolina
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Converter Breaker

Hello - When using shore power, my voltage reads 13 / 14 volts. Recently, it will drop to 12.3 or 12.4, even while connected. If I reset the breaker, turning it off, then back on, my voltage will go back to 13 / 14 volts. I assume the breaker is bad. PLs advise / TIA.


PD
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Old 06-23-2024, 11:03 AM   #2
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Not the breaker

Quote:
Originally Posted by PDDillon View Post
Hello - When using shore power, my voltage reads 13 / 14 volts. Recently, it will drop to 12.3 or 12.4, even while connected. If I reset the breaker, turning it off, then back on, my voltage will go back to 13 / 14 volts. I assume the breaker is bad. PLs advise / TIA.


PD
It may just be the stage that the converter is running although 12.3 sounds low. The 14 vdc may be the equalizing voltage that it is programmed for. I think mine hit 14.3 now and then when I had the lead acid batteries. What is the brand / model of the converter. I'm now running 2) 100Ah MINI LiFePO4 Lithium Batteries and count on the equalizing, dc to dc charger, and the solar to get them fully charged. After two trips it looks like it's working for me.
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Old 06-23-2024, 12:42 PM   #3
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Thank you
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Old 06-23-2024, 12:43 PM   #4
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My first guess would be that your battery seems to no longer be holding a charge. How old is your battery? I don't use LIFPO batteries, and have always had a good usage life from good old fashioned Lead-Acid batteries. I just plan on replacing them about every 5 years, which for $100 bucks out-the-door, amortizes out to about $20/yr. Less than the cost of one trip to McDonalds any more.

On the plus side, LIFPO batteries are lighter weight, don't "outgas," and can be dragged down lower voltage-wise before they quit, so there are some plusses, but I just can't justify spending the amount they get for them. Nor do I want the added expense to replace my converter with a LIFPO friendly charger, and/or solar augmentation. Just me.

Also, as an aside, your avatar says that you're "In the Market." If you now have a trailer, you may want to upgrade your avatar info.
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Old 06-29-2024, 10:26 AM   #5
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Name: Lanny
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What AC0GV says sounds right. The converter's owners manual may describe the different voltages when it is doing bulk charging (the higher voltage) versus then it is in float mode (would be lower). That's how my little maintainer says it works for keeping my car battery charged.
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Old 06-29-2024, 12:27 PM   #6
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Name: Ray
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Greg has a great point. There are some other good ones here. I will add one more. Check ALL of your connections. I had a problem and thought it was my converter or battery. But they seemed good. It was in the fuse holder for the fuse for the battery.



Most of the time a bad connection will get hot. Find a way to but a lot on the 12 volts like turn on all of the 12 volt loights and things. Then check the temp of the connections. In infrared thermometer will help a lot with this. But don't depend on it. Hand check all of the connections.


I have had several goes at the connections at the coverter going bad inside the converter and I had to disassemble one and resolder them. For any screws I generally use the 1/4-1/2 method. Don't just tighten a screw. Loosen it a quarter turn then tighten a 1/2.
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Old 06-29-2024, 02:48 PM   #7
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Name: JD
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Florida
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I have installed first one and then the second Chins LiFePO4 battery in my Scamp with 300 watts of solar panels on the roof.
I was concerned about the PD 4045 battery charger / distribution system and charging the lithium batteries. I set up the solar MPPT controller to be compatible with the Lithium batteries according to the chart in the Chins manual.
I figured that the solar will keep the batteries charged and it doe it well.
Later I thought about the charging modes for the Progressive Dynamics charger and determined that there was really no need to swap the charging unit for the lithium one.
The main difference is that the lithium module charges at a fixed voltage to rapidly charge the lithium at 14.6 volts.
The problem with this is that 14.6 volts continuously (call it floating) is higher that the LiFePO4 batteries want to see.
The regular charger will not recharge as rapidly (about 20 amps initially and tapering current to fully charged.
The batteries end up at 100% according the Victron current shunt and the charger works and charges well. As to the float it is not necessary for the lithium as the capacity loss over time is much less than lead acid.
A greater problem is the (not really a float voltage) 14.6 from the Lithium module.
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Old 06-29-2024, 02:59 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by redbarron55 View Post
The main difference is that the lithium module charges at a fixed voltage to rapidly charge the lithium at 14.6 volts.
The problem with this is that 14.6 volts continuously (call it floating) is higher that the LiFePO4 batteries want to see.
The regular charger will not recharge as rapidly (about 20 amps initially and tapering current to fully charged.
The batteries end up at 100% according the Victron current shunt and the charger works and charges well. As to the float it is not necessary for the lithium as the capacity loss over time is much less than lead acid.
A greater problem is the (not really a float voltage) 14.6 from the Lithium module.

That is in part why I got the converter I did. It actually has a seperate connnection for the battery. Most just assume and expect that the battery is part of the "12 volt" system. It puts out about 14volts to the system with shore power. But normally keeps track of the battery status with the battery on its own line. (both grounds are the same) If the battery has been discharged then it will put out like 14+ to quick charge it up to about 90% capacity and then drops to 13.8 for the rest of the charge and will maintain that level for about a week. Then about once a week it will drop the charge on the battery a little bit like running it down to 13 volts or so then charge it back up to 13.8. It seems to do well at maintaining the battery.



Then if shore power is disconnected it puts the system on the battery and uses the battery power for the 12 volt stuff.



When I bought it, it was hard wired for a lead acid battery only. But they said that they were coming up with a new one that would have the option of a number of types of batteries. But then they disappeared off of the internet. :-(
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Old 06-30-2024, 10:04 AM   #9
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When you shut off the breaker you start the converter charger over again perhaps. These converters , unless it’s a victron or other higher end converter chargers) are pretty dumb and use somewhat programmed fixed charge cycles. This would be an explanation for the voltage going up. The newer Progressive dynamics lithium capable chargers have a two stage cycle for balancing. The non lithium with the wizard has suitable charging programming for lead acids with desulfurization cycles. The standard will charge LIPO batteries, just not as effectively and you might have to intervene for proper balancing. The victron systems all communicate through the shunt measurements with the right config. Mine all coordinate. More money and design than most want to spend. Check the connections and the battery itself.
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Old 06-30-2024, 12:44 PM   #10
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Name: Ray
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Originally Posted by oldwave View Post
When you shut off the breaker you start the converter charger over again perhaps. These converters , unless itís a victron or other higher end converter chargers) are pretty dumb and use somewhat programmed fixed charge cycles. This would be an explanation for the voltage going up. The newer Progressive dynamics lithium capable chargers have a two stage cycle for balancing. The non lithium with the wizard has suitable charging programming for lead acids with desulfurization cycles. The standard will charge LIPO batteries, just not as effectively and you might have to intervene for proper balancing. The victron systems all communicate through the shunt measurements with the right config. Mine all coordinate. More money and design than most want to spend. Check the connections and the battery itself.

Not actuallythe issue with the original post that started the thread, which was the AC outlets in the camper not working
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Old 06-30-2024, 04:34 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by computerspook View Post
Not actuallythe issue with the original post that started the thread, which was the AC outlets in the camper not working
Not according to my read. He said his battery was low and wondered if his breaker was bad.
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Old 06-30-2024, 05:16 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by oldwave View Post
Not according to my read. He said his battery was low and wondered if his breaker was bad.

OK you are right, there is a separate thread going on the AC outlets not working that someone was saying that was because the 12 volt system had failed. Got them mixed up.
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Old 06-30-2024, 05:22 PM   #13
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Name: Ray
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Originally Posted by oldwave View Post
Not according to my read. He said his battery was low and wondered if his breaker was bad.

Actually on this thread I would check the voltage on the converter directly at the converter. Frankly none of the specified voltages would be a problem. So if the converter is what is putting out these voltages I would say that this is a case of let it be and find something else to worry about.


In this case it would be interesting to see what happens say about a half hour after resetting the breaker. If the voltage has then dropped again I thin your comment about the converter being in a float mode when the reset starts and then not knowing when it is reset to immediately be in float mode but having to figure it out.
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