Converter Recommendations? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-11-2012, 10:39 PM   #1
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Converter Recommendations?

Santa has promised me a power converter for Christmas. Any recommendations for reasonably priced unit? I am switching all lights to LED units, fridge will be a 2-way 110/propane unit, and a fan-tastic. It will need to charge battery when on 110. I figure the five lights total less than 1 amp + the vent fan + maybe an aux. plug for 'puter or DVD. Help always much appreciated.

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Old 12-11-2012, 11:00 PM   #2
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Here's another option

But if your heart is set on a "converter" try this one
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:35 PM   #3
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For less than the price of a good convertor you could install a 50 or 60 W solar panel and not need a convertor.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:00 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
My current trailer - which I've been using for over three years now - is set up with a 40 amp residential 'mini' utility box, a deep cycle 12v battery, and a Battery Tender.

- The AC circuit powers an air conditioner, the Battery Tender, and a few plugs.
- The 12v DC circuit powers the lights, a Fantastic Fan, and a 12v receptacle.

My thought on the issue is this:
If I had no intention of ever boondocking - that is, no need to ever have a battery - I would certainly go with a convertor. If I plan to always keep a battery installed, then the charger starts to make more sense.
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:18 AM   #5
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I installed a Progressive Dynamics 4045 in our Uhaul. I got it from Vintage Trailer Supply in Vermont. I had a discount coupon that they gave out at a vintage camper rally at a KOA. It works good for me, has more 12 volt circuits than I need, but that's OK. It has a main 110 breaker and room for two other branch breakers. The breakers have to be bought separately, I got them at Lowes.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:06 AM   #6
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I have installed a number of Progressing Dynamics PD-4045 power centers and recommend them without reservation. Look for "Vintek" on eBay for the best prices I have seen.



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Old 12-12-2012, 05:21 PM   #7
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I installed a Progressive Dynamics 4045 in our Uhaul. I got it from Vintage Trailer Supply in Vermont. I had a discount coupon that they gave out at a vintage camper rally at a KOA. It works good for me, has more 12 volt circuits than I need, but that's OK. It has a main 110 breaker and room for two other branch breakers. The breakers have to be bought separately, I got them at Lowes.
I also installed a 4045 as it is an all in one unit. I had to do some slight modifications to get it to fit. A bit of electrical experience would be helpful to install this unit.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:28 PM   #8
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A note about using Battery Chargers vs. Converters.

Not all battery chargers are well filtered, meaning that they can put out a lot of noise on the DC line. If you have any 12 VDC electronics, like a flat screen TV or a sound system, or if you are using 12 VDC chargers for computers, tablets or phones, you may want to provide for a way to disconnect the battery charger when hooked up to shore power.



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Old 12-12-2012, 05:46 PM   #9
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A note about using Battery Chargers vs. Converters. Not all battery chargers are well filtered.
Good to know! Since I hope to do some more boon docking in the years ahead - and still have music - I'll keep this in mind.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:29 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
A note about using Battery Chargers vs. Converters.

Not all battery chargers are well filtered, meaning that they can put out a lot of noise on the DC line. If you have any 12 VDC electronics, like a flat screen TV or a sound system, or if you are using 12 VDC chargers for computers, tablets or phones, you may want to provide for a way to disconnect the battery charger when hooked up to shore power.

Good point, another point.... Installing a larger converter/charger, 45 amp or bigger without changing the wiring is asking for a trouble in form of fire.
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Old 12-13-2012, 04:40 AM   #11
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I have installed a number of Progressing Dynamics PD-4045 power centers and recommend them without reservation. Look for "Vintek" on eBay for the best prices I have seen.
My Trillium came with one of these. For what they charge the build quality seems lacking. But that seems to be the case for a lot of products sold for RV's. Raz
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:49 AM   #12
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Good point, another point.... Installing a larger converter/charger, 45 amp or bigger without changing the wiring is asking for a trouble in form of fire.
Good point. One could add a circuit breaker right at the converter, sized appropriately for the wire used.

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Old 12-13-2012, 09:24 AM   #13
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Good point. One could add a circuit breaker right at the converter, sized appropriately for the wire used.


That would be better than a fuse. I would think it wise to be sure that it would trip early enough. At one point we tested fuses for their effectiveness, actual open time vs current. At double the rated current they almost never opened. At three times the rated current I believe is was anywhere from miliseconds to 2 seconds.
The last time I looked at circuit breakers I believe there was specifications that with charts that showed current vs time for trip.
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:35 AM   #14
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Since I was planning to have a battery, the idea of just having a battery tender rather than a converter is a lot more economical. I'll have to do a little research on how to set up the wiring, fuses etc, but since I'm starting from scratch, this should be the best option. I can wire a house, but 12 volt is a new world to me.
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:36 AM   #15
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Thanks to you all for all the great information.

Joel
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:56 AM   #16
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Since I was planning to have a battery, the idea of just having a battery tender rather than a converter is a lot more economical. I'll have to do a little research on how to set up the wiring, fuses etc, but since I'm starting from scratch, this should be the best option. I can wire a house, but 12 volt is a new world to me.
The downside of the battery tender is that if you decide to plug in on a camping trip, it won't necessarily run your 12 volt accessories like a converter would. (I think I see on the Amazon site that it is rated at less than an amp output) The tender is designed to keep a full battery topped off during storage. Similarly, if you wanted to recharge your battery by camping with AC power for a day, the Tender would not quickly charge your battery.

If all you want is to maintain the battery in storage, the Tender is great.
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:52 AM   #17
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The downside of the battery tender is that if you decide to plug in on a camping trip, it won't necessarily run your 12 volt accessories like a converter would. (I think I see on the Amazon site that it is rated at less than an amp output) The tender is designed to keep a full battery topped off during storage. Similarly, if you wanted to recharge your battery by camping with AC power for a day, the Tender would not quickly charge your battery.

If all you want is to maintain the battery in storage, the Tender is great.
Doesn't your tow vehicle fully charge the battery while traveling to that camping spot? Mine does. Once there if you plug in and have a Battery Tender connected it will recharge the battery overnight in most cases or at least prolong the time you can camp in that spot without a full recharge.
I do have to admit that my thoughts are a bit different since I very seldom have a plug in. My tow charges my battery while moving from one place to another, or if I'm in one place for longer that 4 to 5 days the solar panel comes out to do the job. I don't have a permanent charging device in operation, I have my converter turned off.
I do carry a small 10 Amp battery charger that I've used once while traveling. The total cost of the battery charger and the battery tender was less than the cost of a converter. The battery charger and the battery tender can be used for other batteries, i.e. when we're going to be gone for a few months the battery tender is left behind and used to keep the second vehicle's battery charged.
I'm a big believer in multipurpose where possible.
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Old 12-13-2012, 11:45 AM   #18
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........
I do carry a small 10 Amp battery charger that I've used once while traveling. The total cost of the battery charger and the battery tender was less than the cost of a converter. The battery charger and the battery tender can be used for other batteries, i.e. when we're going to be gone for a few months the battery tender is left behind and used to keep the second vehicle's battery charged.
I'm a big believer in multipurpose where possible.
Actually, a larger battery charger with multistage charging capabilities might be a better choice for the OP. Cheaper than a dedicated converter, but able to run most accessories and to charge a battery relatively quickly.
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:05 PM   #19
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OK, maybe I'm misunderstanding something here. When I'm on 12V, I'll be running off the battery. If the Battery Tender doesn't have enough amps (1.25) the worse that will happen is my battery will go down slightly when the lights are on and then catch up over night. Is this correct? As for TV charging the battery while towing, none of this is set up yet. I have an empty egg.
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Old 12-14-2012, 06:08 AM   #20
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OK, maybe I'm misunderstanding something here. When I'm on 12V, I'll be running off the battery. If the Battery Tender doesn't have enough amps (1.25) the worse that will happen is my battery will go down slightly when the lights are on and then catch up over night. Is this correct? As for TV charging the battery while towing, none of this is set up yet. I have an empty egg.
Yes, you could do that with the Battery Tender Plus at $46 to get the 1.25 amps, but for the same money you could get a higher output charger to accomplish the same thing plus it would run all your accessories, like a fan, and charge the battery at the same time, much as a converter would.

Example: Amazon.com: Schumacher SC-1200A SpeedCharge 12/8/2 Amp Charger/Maintainer/Starter/Tester: Automotive

The Battery Tenders have had a great reputation, though they have been resourced to China, so quality is TBD.
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