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Old 04-11-2017, 08:05 PM   #1
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Converter replacement

I'm trying to buy a new converter for my 2004 Scamp 16. I have a few questions that I hope ya'll can help me with so I get the buying right without a bunch of returns or waiting for supplemental ordering.

Can I replace the 30 Amp converter with a 45 Amp or do I need to stay with the original because of wiring requirements or panel match up?

The reason I ask is, I'm replacing the American with Progressive Dynamics and I've read (somewhere in this forum) that the PD is not going to fit neatly into the existing space where the original was.

Am I also going to need a new breaker panel and cover? Or does anyone recommend replacing these while I have the thing all apart anyway?

The PD9130 doesn't come with a charge controller 'wizard' but the 45+ converters do.

Thanks for your input!!

Lorie
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Old 04-12-2017, 11:25 AM   #2
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My convertor does not charge the battery when hooked up to a 120 outlet. It charges only from connection to the tow. I have seen such convertors on the web. (Amazon) Mine now is charged with solar all the time when it can. I was going to buy a battery charging unit, in the past.
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Old 04-12-2017, 11:31 AM   #3
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PD9130

Hi Lorie,

I have a PD9130 in my egg and although it does not have a built in charge wizard, you can add the remote charge wizard pendant for another $25 or so. It just plugs right in to the back. I agree tho it's crazy that you have to do that to the 9130 when it should just be built in!

I'm not sure on the upgrade or fitment tho. I did have to replace a converter on a Casita a few years back and I did go bigger and it bolted right in.
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Old 04-12-2017, 11:56 AM   #4
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I upgraded my Scamp to a Progressive Dynamics PD-4045. It works very well and my trailer is plugged in 24 -7 and I need to less than a table spoon of water to the battery in a years time.

Whether or not you can use a 45 amp rated controller is based on your power pole supply at the camp site and if the power cord on your trailer will need to upgraded. Your cord has a specific connector and its rating and the cord itself has a specific wire size inside. The wire should be stamped on the outside with the wire size inside. Markings will be like 10-2, 10-3, 12-2, 12-3, or any other combination. these numbers mean allot to an electrician and they can tell how good the cord would be in your application. What you cant do is draw more power than the cord and plug and power pole can supply and your main breaker must be low enough to protect the supply line from over draw.

You really need some one with proper knowledge to do the conversion so you and your trailer are safely protected.

30 amp cord and plug will usually be a 10-3 cord.
50 amp cord and plug will usually be a 6-3 cord
20 amp cord and plug will usually be a 12-3 cord
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Old 04-12-2017, 01:11 PM   #5
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The 45 refers to the ampacity the converter can produce at
12V DC to run your 12 V DC loads . 45 amps at 12 V = 540 watts or the converter will draw approx 4.5 amps at 120 VAC.

The main breaker in the converter's load center is sized based on the ampacity of the service cord and the ampacity of the load centers bus
A 10/3 cord has an ampacity of 30 amps so you could protect the cord with a 15 or 20 or 30 amp single pole breaker.
I would buy the PD converter with the built in battery charger , 12 volt DC power supply , DC distribution center and 120 VAC load center.
The service cord to your trailer is required to be 3 wire , with #14 AWG being the minimum conduct size.
Black = Line / hot conductor
White = Grounded / neutral conductor
Green = Equipment grounding conductor.

The neutral conductor is NOT bonded at the load center.
It must be electrically isolated or floating.
The neutral IS a current carrying conductor.

The equipment grounding conductor is bonded at the load center and bonded to the trailer frame
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Old 04-12-2017, 01:29 PM   #6
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The American CS2000XL converter bit the dust on me this winter*, and I had the same dilemma. Upgrade or replace with equivalent?

Considering the cost and the fact that our power consumption is anything but down from what the previous owners used, I looked for the same. No need to upgrade here. Also, the direct replacement has the advantage that it fits, the wires connect the same, etc.

Keith at keithsrvsurplus.com in Plymouth, IN sold me one for $65 plus $14 shipping. That sure beats $150 or $250 or so for an upgrade.

*) At one point I thought it simply was overheating when the airflow may have been restricted. The 12V was pulsing and the fan was not turning but it turned out that the fan is good, the circuitry was dead.
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Old 04-13-2017, 06:11 AM   #7
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or you could just....

get rid of the converter altogether....

instead of having a converter convert AC to DC when plugged in (through a relay to most of your DC circuits).....have ALL DC circuits fed from the battery all the time...all you need is a "smart" charger...one rated to deliver/charge at more amps that what you think your maximum demand/use will be

just one more option to consider...a bit more "involved" than just buying/installing another converter however...if one is not comfortable working on/understanding things electrical then a new converter is simpler/quicker
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Old 04-13-2017, 06:57 AM   #8
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I first started researching the switch to a 100W solar panel. I think my energy needs are low. I might need a laptop or small tv, but not for hours and days. The one thing I do love is that fan over the bed and that could be running on DC for 8 hours straight.

I resolved to simply replace the converter based on the logic that my kids are only 11, 15 and our camping excursions will be simple & straightforward for the next few years. (At a campground on weekends, with shore power available almost all the time)

My Scamp is my retirement house, though, and I will eventually want to be as close to zero $ cost as possible. So the solar is definitely going to be in my future.

The original American converter that I thought was dead - I never considered the idea that the only charge for my Scamp battery be the tow connection. I have a Sienna van with a 4 pin, not a 7 pin. So I've only been trying to recharge from shore power to my house.

Adding a new question- do I have to upgrade to a 7 pin tow?? That's another couple hundred bucks I hoped not to add to my leased vehicle.

Thanks all!!!!
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Old 04-13-2017, 07:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franswa View Post
get rid of the converter altogether....

instead of having a converter convert AC to DC when plugged in (through a relay to most of your DC circuits).....have ALL DC circuits fed from the battery all the time...all you need is a "smart" charger...one rated to deliver/charge at more amps that what you think your maximum demand/use will be

just one more option to consider...a bit more "involved" than just buying/installing another converter however...if one is not comfortable working on/understanding things electrical then a new converter is simpler/quicker


Franswa- Thanks for the photo of the smart charger. I do want the smart charger. Is that not what the "charge controller" does? That wasn't clear when I was researching the different replacement converters.
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Old 04-13-2017, 07:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorie Q View Post
I first started researching the switch to a 100W solar panel. I think my energy needs are low. I might need a laptop or small tv, but not for hours and days. The one thing I do love is that fan over the bed and that could be running on DC for 8 hours straight.

I resolved to simply replace the converter based on the logic that my kids are only 11, 15 and our camping excursions will be simple & straightforward for the next few years. (At a campground on weekends, with shore power available almost all the time)

My Scamp is my retirement house, though, and I will eventually want to be as close to zero $ cost as possible. So the solar is definitely going to be in my future.

The original American converter that I thought was dead - I never considered the idea that the only charge for my Scamp battery be the tow connection. I have a Sienna van with a 4 pin, not a 7 pin. So I've only been trying to recharge from shore power to my house.

Adding a new question- do I have to upgrade to a 7 pin tow?? That's another couple hundred bucks I hoped not to add to my leased vehicle.

Thanks all!!!!
We have a functioning converter , solar panel and a 7 pin trailer plug for the reasons that we don't always camp with hookups and the sun doesn't always shine.

If you have , need or want trailer brakes and want to charge your trailer battery from your tow vehicle then the 7 pin is a necessity .

Whether you want to spend the money on a rental car is another question only you can answer.

We have 5 children , ages 45 to 32 , so a word of warning !!
If your children are only 11 and 15 don't count on them being gone in a "FEW " years.
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Old 04-13-2017, 11:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
We have 5 children , ages 45 to 32 , so a word of warning !!
If your children are only 11 and 15 don't count on them being gone in a "FEW " years.
Steve, do your children use the camper? Our oldest has started occasionally using ours.
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Old 04-13-2017, 11:36 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by John in Michigan View Post
Steve, do your children use the camper? Our oldest has started occasionally using ours.
Our 2 youngest children still live at our home so we moved to our lake house.
Our older children have their own trailers and go camping with us in the summer.
When I was younger you were shown the door when you turned 18.
I got married when I was 20. It seems now days kids stay at home with their parents forever.
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Old 04-13-2017, 12:13 PM   #13
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PD power converters vs. PD power centers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorie Q View Post
The PD9130 doesn't come with a charge controller 'wizard' but the 45+ converters do.
Lorie
Lorie Q, looking at the PD website, it appears that even the 45+ converters require purchasing the charge wizard as an add-on.

Instead consider whether a PD power center such as the PD4045 would fit. As others mentioned, a PD power center such as the PD4045 includes a charge wizard AND its a total package including the AC circuit breaker panel (so AC circuits can be added), DC power supply, DC fuse panel, and charge wizard (a smart charge controller).
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Old 04-13-2017, 01:30 PM   #14
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quote from Trojan's website

Most deep-cycle applications have some sort of charging system already installed for battery charging (e.g. solar panels, inverter, golf car charger, alternator, etc.). However, there are still systems with deep-cycle batteries where an individual charger must be selected. The following will help in making a proper selection.

There are many types of chargers available today. They are usually rated by their start rate, the rate in amperes that the charger will supply at the beginning of the charge cycle. When selecting a charger, the charge rate should be between 10% and 13% of the battery’s 20-hour AH capacity. For example, a battery with a 20-hour capacity rating of 225 AH will use a charger rated between approximately 23 and 30 amps (for multiple battery charging use the AH rating of the entire bank). Chargers with lower ratings can be used but the charging time will be increased.

Trojan recommends using a 3-stage charger. Also called “automatic”, “smart” or “IEI” chargers, which prolong battery life with their programmed charging profile. These chargers usually have three distinct charging stages: bulk, acceptance, and float.


If this is true - wouldn't one opt for no bigger than a 30A replacement for any battery setup under 225AH?
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Old 04-13-2017, 02:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWScarab View Post
If this is true - wouldn't one opt for no bigger than a 30A replacement for any battery setup under 225AH?
Yes. What JWScarab quoted is Trojan's maximum recommended charging rate for their batteries, i.e., 13% of the 20-hour amp hour rating for the battery. In selecting your charger, just make sure it doesn't exceed this amperage.

PS: Different batteries such as Optima Yellowtops have different charging guidelines, so if you have a high amperage charger check them before charging.
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Old 04-14-2017, 06:11 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
We have a functioning converter , solar panel and a 7 pin trailer plug for the reasons that we don't always camp with hookups and the sun doesn't always shine.



If you have , need or want trailer brakes and want to charge your trailer battery from your tow vehicle then the 7 pin is a necessity .



Whether you want to spend the money on a rental car is another question only you can answer.



We have 5 children , ages 45 to 32 , so a word of warning !!

If your children are only 11 and 15 don't count on them being gone in a "FEW " years.


Haha - yes Steve, how well I do know! I have older kids as well who have launched. I can't get them to go camping with me though, since they are now working and have 'things' to do.

So far, the trailer tows ok with only the van brakes. But I wouldn't take it out on long trips this way. It's sufficient for the < 30 mile trips. We have many choices in the South Central WI area for outdoor activities. The battery charging is essential though since that's our water pumps and my beloved fan.

I might go ahead with the 7pin.
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Old 04-14-2017, 06:18 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Michigan View Post
Lorie Q, looking at the PD website, it appears that even the 45+ converters require purchasing the charge wizard as an add-on.



Instead consider whether a PD power center such as the PD4045 would fit. As others mentioned, a PD power center such as the PD4045 includes a charge wizard AND its a total package including the AC circuit breaker panel (so AC circuits can be added), DC power supply, DC fuse panel, and charge wizard (a smart charge controller).


John, the PD4045 is exactly what I was looking at. Thanks for mentioning !!
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Old 04-14-2017, 07:47 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorie Q View Post
Haha - yes Steve, how well I do know! I have older kids as well who have launched. I can't get them to go camping with me though, since they are now working and have 'things' to do.

So far, the trailer tows ok with only the van brakes. But I wouldn't take it out on long trips this way. It's sufficient for the < 30 mile trips. We have many choices in the South Central WI area for outdoor activities. The battery charging is essential though since that's our water pumps and my beloved fan.

I might go ahead with the 7pin.
We camp quite often in what we would call South Central Wisconsin but we are native Minnesota's . What Wisconsinite's call South Central seems to be anything due South of Milwaukee and Madison.
Clark and Jackson County Wi have campgrounds on Lake Arbutus
( Black River) with electricity , water , dump station , new showers , swimming beach and a $5 bundle of firewood that takes 2 to carry..
Nice park and was around $20 / night plus no park sticker required if camping.
The county park is about half the cost of the local State Park so calling for reservations is not a bad idea.
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Old 04-14-2017, 12:20 PM   #19
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Lorie...

Franswa- Thanks for the photo of the smart charger. I do want the smart charger. Is that not what the "charge controller" does? That wasn't clear when I was researching the different replacement converters.

a "charge controller" is a term normally used in conjunction with a solar system....a converter/charger is a unit inside a power center, it converts some 110V to 12V and charges the batteries when plugged in...see pic below of an opened up power center... the bottom half is the converter/charger unit

from one of your previous post: Solar has nothing to do with the topic you started with this thread. If you want to talk solar I would start another thread...otherwise this will get REALLY confusing.

(I have no knowledge about "charge wizards" used in conjunction with a converter/charger inside a power center ...that many here speak highly of)

some people replace their power centers (AC panel + DC panel + converter/charger) when they fail at recharging the battery bank. New ones are smaller and deliver good service as you're read here in other posts.

some people replace just the converter/chager part as some manufacturers make specific replacement units that fit right into most popular older power centers...that works too

IMO a 30 amp electrical service or our little trailers is HUGE...even if you have an air conditioner...it's plenty enough...and BTW having a 30A service will NOT charge your batteries at 30A....that value is determined by the amperage of the charger

all new power centers and replacement converter/chargers will be "smart" or three stage chargers as they are sometimes referred to. These will do an adequate job of keeping up with your power needs. The higher the rated amps of the charger, the faster it will recharge your batteries.

"smart" is a relative term however...when I first ditched my converter in favour of just a good "three stage" charger I found that it would never go over 13.3 Volts. From everything I've read charge voltage has to get well over 14V in order to get the last 20% of battery capacity filled. 20% battery capacity is 40% of possible available/usable power so getting your batteries 100% topped up is desirable.

Most voltage tables I've seen read that 100% battery charge will show a 12.65V reading on a voltmeter and anything below 12.2V is 50% (the level you should not let your batteries get below)When on battery power if you get below 12.2V (batteries at rest, no load on) you are damaging your batteries and they won't last long...if you can keep them above 12.4V you are maximizing the number of charge/discharge cycles your batteries will deliver before their projected end of life (max. number cycles)....



the charger I pictured earlier will sometimes charge my batteries at 14.4V (I have a four digit voltmeter permanently wired into my system)....at rest after a full charge my batteries can read 12.9V

Lastly, understand that 12V numbers are very "squishy"....the whole 12V business is half science, half art....have fun...sounds like you've found a new hobby
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Old 04-14-2017, 05:32 PM   #20
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I'm surprised more people aren't (apparently) installing inverter/chargers. Then you get a smart charger, an inverter that doesn't require a switching relay, both functions in one box and automatic switchover to 120 volts at all the normal house outlets, microwave, etc. You can turn it off anytime to save power when disconnected from shore power.

I lived with one on my boat for years and it was great. Now, with only a converter in my Ollie, I think it's time to upgrade. But I don't think I want to add another unit and figure out how to interface them when I can just ad an inverter/charger and get it all in one. Thoughts?
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