Converter thoughts - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-20-2013, 09:44 AM   #1
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Converter thoughts

Hey folks. My Scamp is without a converter at the moment, and this guy is for sale for $60. Any thoughts?

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Old 09-20-2013, 09:50 AM   #2
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I wouldn't buy it. I'd spend the money on a Battery Minder, Battery Tender, etc. instead.
Your 12 Volt system runs off the battery and all you need is a way to keep the battery charged or recharged after a bit of use. A converter is an expensive way to accomplish the goal.
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Old 09-20-2013, 10:06 AM   #3
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I think that converter/chargers and power distribution centres have their places, but this unit has so little capacity (5 amps?) and so little capability (two AC circuits? it may not even charge?) that it is of no value. I can see leaving it in a basic trailer, but if it were not already installed (which is this case) I wouldn't pay anything for it, and wouldn't install it even if it were free.

If it is a matter of what to add for $60, I agree with Byron that a battery charger with a maintenance mode would be a better choice. If a distribution panel is not needed, a modern converter/charger with ten times the capacity (such as a Progressive Dynamics PD9245) can be purchased for only twice this price.
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Old 09-20-2013, 10:39 AM   #4
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Thanks, guys!
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Old 09-20-2013, 10:42 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
I think that converter/chargers and power distribution centres have their places, but this unit has so little capacity (5 amps?) and so little capability (two AC circuits? it may not even charge?) that it is of no value. I can see leaving it in a basic trailer, but if it were not already installed (which is this case) I wouldn't pay anything for it, and wouldn't install it even if it were free.

If it is a matter of what to add for $60, I agree with Byron that a battery charger with a maintenance mode would be a better choice. If a distribution panel is not needed, a modern converter/charger with ten times the capacity (such as a Progressive Dynamics PD9245) can be purchased for only twice this price.

Hey Brian, Tell me why anybody would need a 45 amp converter in a small trailer? The maximum charge current is less than 10 amps at the most and generally around 1 to 2 amps.
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Old 09-20-2013, 11:00 AM   #6
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That converter is no good for charging a battery. It has no smarts, and will boil the battery. I would invest in solar instead. If you have LED lights, then a 40W panel will at least provide enough power to run your lights, and maybe a bit more.

I recently purchased a 40W Coleman solar kit for $100. Actually, I bought two, one for my son.
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Old 09-20-2013, 11:19 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
That converter is no good for charging a battery. It has no smarts, and will boil the battery. I would invest in solar instead. If you have LED lights, then a 40W panel will at least provide enough power to run your lights, and maybe a bit more.

I recently purchased a 40W Coleman solar kit for $100. Actually, I bought two, one for my son.

I agree with the solar works great idea.
My battery charging methods are:
1. The tow vehicle charges when going from place to place.
2. When in camp I have a 65 Watt solar panel that does the job. Depending on how much the furnace runs I can almost always charge the battery every other day and not get into a low battery situation.
3. When the trailer is in it's nest at home a battery tender, maintainer does the job of keeping the battery charged.

I have changed all lights to LEDs and the only other thing that draws current from the battery is the furnace fan. The 65 Watt panel also charges a 50 amp hour battery I use for ham radio activities.

I turned the Scamp factory installed converter off about 3 years ago. That's over 400 nights ago of camping.
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Old 09-20-2013, 08:34 PM   #8
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Hey Brian, Tell me why anybody would need a 45 amp converter in a small trailer? The maximum charge current is less than 10 amps at the most and generally around 1 to 2 amps.
I agree - 45 amps is more than anyone should need. It's just the common size (because most RVs are larger); if a good smaller unit (20 amps?) is available and cheaper, great.

The maximum for what - the size of battery in the trailer? Sure, 10 amps is a good charge current, and if I were buying a converter I would want to do that at the same time as running the furnace, lights, water pump, chargers for electronic stuff... whatever's in the trailer.
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Old 09-20-2013, 09:30 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
I agree - 45 amps is more than anyone should need. It's just the common size (because most RVs are larger); if a good smaller unit (20 amps?) is available and cheaper, great.

The maximum for what - the size of battery in the trailer? Sure, 10 amps is a good charge current, and if I were buying a converter I would want to do that at the same time as running the furnace, lights, water pump, chargers for electronic stuff... whatever's in the trailer.
Why?? If you're camped connected to electricity that's what night time is for, the battery charges while you sleep.
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:01 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
I agree - 45 amps is more than anyone should need. It's just the common size (because most RVs are larger); if a good smaller unit (20 amps?) is available and cheaper, great. .............
This is where I ended up, as well. A 45 amp capacity seems to be a "small" in the converter world these days. In any case, I replaced a 15 pound original dumb converter with a 5 pound smart converter that I could tuck into an unused space for a little over a hundred bucks.
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Old 09-21-2013, 07:17 AM   #11
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I would also be suggesting converters smaller than 45 amps, but that just happens to be the smallest one available that has as many features as the PD-4045. Unlike other converters installed by mfgs, the extra capacity will just assure that it never gets overloaded.

And, while going all solar may be the end all for some, the majority of RV'ers still prefer to have coverters. One man campaigns to the contrary indicate the all solar may work well for some, but the converter still seems to be the answer for the masses.



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Old 09-21-2013, 07:53 AM   #12
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I want it all

It would be nice if there was just one unit for everything. A small unit for our trailers.
  • 120V distrubution with protection
  • 12V converter with distribution panel
  • smart battery charger
  • solar controller
Does this even exist?
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Old 09-21-2013, 08:44 AM   #13
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It would be nice if there was just one unit for everything. A small unit for our trailers.
  • 120V distribution with protection
  • 12V converter with distribution panel
  • smart battery charger
  • solar controller
Does this even exist?
You can readily get the first three in one unit and add a solar controller for anywhere from 10 to 40 bucks. Just screw it to the side of the controller box.

http://www.progressivedyn.com/all_in_one_pd4000.html
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Industry's smallest all-in-one 45 or 60 Amp
distribution panel/converter system. Available with our exclusive built-in Inteli-Power Converter...
"The most reliable converter in the RV industry."
The converter section is easily accessible from the front.
The AC Distribution Panel is rated for 120 VAC @ 30 Amps
with up to 7 branch circuits.
The DC section has 12 branch fuse holders, two wired to
accommodate 30 Amp fuses, ten more with a maximum rating
up to 20 Amps each. All wire tail connections.
Exclusive hot buss and DC disconnect tie in.
Reverse battery blown fuse indicator.
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:56 AM   #14
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Does this need to be an all or nothing decision? For the cost, I'd get it. No one says you have to use it all the time. I bet even Byron plugs into the electric bush when it's available, even if he doesn't purposely seek it out.

Whatever you do, don't base your final decision on anything anyone in particular says. It's ALL about YOU and a whole lot less about US.
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Old 09-21-2013, 03:29 PM   #15
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Roy, I prefer to have each of those things -- converter, AC distribution & breakers, DC distribution & fuses, solar charge controller -- in different units, because that way I can pick and choose the best unit for my needs and can replace a failed battery charger or solar controller more easily if the need arises or a new technology comes out that I just gotta have. (Unlikely.)

In our Scamp, our 100w of solar panels do the job for us. Don't need a converter . . . we have one, but don't even bother to turn it on, even when it's parked. We'd rather float-charge our battery with a BatteryMinder.

For our Surfside project trailer, I'm buying the parts separately, purchasing a BatteryMinder float charger (instead of a converter), MPPT solar charge controller, 9-circuit 12v fuse board, and a 2 circuit, 30A load center and breakers. I'm figuring the lot will run me around $200, with most of that going to the MPPT charge controller and BatteryMinder.
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:52 PM   #16
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Hey folks. My Scamp is without a converter at the moment, and this guy is for sale for $60. Any thoughts?

You have your own choice, Buddy. Hopefully you have good knowledge ab electrical, then utilizing it(converter) into your needs then everything will be OK. I think I have an identical one with yours and paid 30bucks. Make the story short, how about look into some photos of my modified Trillium with more electrical outputs than the trailer actually needs after modification????? It has total of 4x120VAC outlets, 4x12VDC outlets, rear floodlight, 4x120v interior bulbs, 6x12v interior bulbs, water pump, fan,electric heater/air conditioner. All the bulbs are on at the same time with....NO PROBLEMMO. Main cct breaker is rated at 30Amps....Share with you...No mention ab a POWERFULL SUCKING ceiling fan I recently added and a 5000BTU A/C on the process of modified housing for snap on without photos yet...
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Old 09-22-2013, 12:21 AM   #17
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Does this need to be an all or nothing decision? For the cost, I'd get it. No one says you have to use it all the time. I bet even Byron plugs into the electric bush when it's available, even if he doesn't purposely seek it out.
------------------------------------------

Can't say that I agree. Buying that particular converter is like buying a tire that's already 6 years old. It might work for a couple of years or for a couple of weeks. It's old school and plain old as well.

And a 6 amp capacity isn't going to do much for a battery if anything else is on and, with no control, could fry a battery if left ON for to long with no other loads.

I'd sooner put my $60 on Lottery tickets, at least that way you know what your odds might be.



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Old 09-22-2013, 06:50 AM   #18
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Bob, I didn't necessary mean that particular converter, just one that works as needed/wanted. In the grand scheme of things, they're pretty cheap. Other posters were saying it was an all or nothing decision and for that I disagree. Some want everything built in, others don't mind hauling totes full of parts and stuff to accomplish the same thing.
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Old 09-22-2013, 07:12 AM   #19
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Roy, I prefer to have each of those things -- converter, AC distribution & breakers, DC distribution & fuses, solar charge controller -- in different units, because that way I can pick and choose the best unit for my needs and can replace a failed battery charger or solar controller more easily
That makes a lot of sense peter.
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Old 09-22-2013, 07:16 AM   #20
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Costco's are selling 4 stage battery tenders for $39.95. in the Va. stores. They come with an extra lead that attaches to your battery with a plug on it that makes attachment easy.
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