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Old 10-24-2012, 03:06 PM   #21
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For less than the cost of a good converter you can install a solar system to keep your battery or batteries charged and eliminate the converter.
Now thats easy for a guy in California to suggest! The OP lives in BC on Vancouver Island - the land of big trees and liquid sunshine. Sadly the amount of panels he would require on any given day even in the middle of summer would be greater than the roof surface on the trailer. Most of the camping spots as well as most Provincial park campgrounds have heavy tree coverage. I have done a fair bit of off grid camping on the Island and counting on Solar to get by for more than 4 days doesnt work out so well on many trips. Generators are an option but due to the dislike of them by fellow campers and ever increasing restrictions and in some spots outright outlawed they really are not a great option either.
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Old 10-24-2012, 03:27 PM   #22
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Jim, after you get a quote locally for the rewiring etc and if you have any other big ticket items you need work done on that you dont feel comfortable doing it may turn out its worth the cost of the ferry trip to take the trailer to Escape Trailer Ind to have the work done.

I am not sure if your aware but Escape Trailer Ind. does do repairs on all makes of fiberglass trailers. Was at a trailer meet last month down south and there was a awesome little lime green Trillium that got more than a little help from Escape in its transformation & the owner was *more* than pleased with the level of help he got from Escape in the transformation of that trailer. Pretty clear they have a new #1 fan of their services. There are a number of people here who have also used their services and are more than happy with the results and cost. I personally am thankful I so far havent had an issues with my trailer yet that I havent been able to fix myself as I know that I cant trust my self to take my trailer to them for repair and not bring home a new trailer instead.
Thanks, Carol for the message. Never occured to me that Escape worked on other trailers. Will keep that in mind.
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Old 10-24-2012, 03:44 PM   #23
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"For less than the cost of a good converter you can install a solar system to keep your battery or batteries charged and eliminate the converter.
You don't need a converter to operate you 110 system, just an inexpensive 15 Amp breaker and box to house it.
John"
-------------------------------------------------------------------

FWIW: A good converter, i.e. a Progressive Dynamics PD-4045, is less than $200. I don't know that you can get all that much in quality solar power for that amount.

I see solar as an augment to a modern RVpower distribution system. The daze of 1 a/c breaker and a couple of inline fuses are long gone.

As an example, when I rebuilt my Hunter Compact-II's electrical system using a PD-4045, I wound up with 4 ac breakers (Main, inside outlets, outside outlet & converter. On the DC side I have 8 active circuits for inside lighting, outside lighting, Entertainment system power, inverter power, 3 utility outlets, furnace, water heater & water pump.

And, someday, I may add solar to that to extend my boondocking durations.



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Old 10-24-2012, 04:20 PM   #24
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Wow, so much information from all your great people. If it helps anyone, the converter is a Systems Monitors MSM2000. Cannot even locate it on line, as it is so very old.
I just called a local dealer and he suggests a PD9200 45 amp which would fit in the space. Price was $342 Canadian for the unit itself, but of course I probably could get a better price on line.
I cannot remove the converter as all the wires are so tight, but could possibly snip them all off by removing the drawer directly below the converter, but how the heck would I know where the connections go on the new converter? Duh
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:48 PM   #25
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Wow, so much information from all your great people. If it helps anyone, the converter is a Systems Monitors MSM2000. Cannot even locate it on line, as it is so very old.
I just called a local dealer and he suggests a PD9200 45 amp which would fit in the space. Price was $342 Canadian for the unit itself, but of course I probably could get a better price on line.
I cannot remove the converter as all the wires are so tight, but could possibly snip them all off by removing the drawer directly below the converter, but how the heck would I know where the connections go on the new converter? Duh
As I suggested earlier, I suspect your converter was designed to work with the battery always connected. As such you might want to reconnect your battery to the converter you have and see if it works. And before folks start talking about 4 stage chargers ect. remember one can buy a lot of batteries for $342, even in Canada. Good luck, Raz
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:48 PM   #26
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I would not snip them. There must be some way to get inside the converter and disconnect the wires. Either from the front, or the back. Typically on the front. Cutting will make the wires too short to reach your new converter.

Try to identify the 120VAC in. Typically it will be a rubber coated cable, maybe even the same cable that your trailer plugs in with. There will also be a green ground wire. After that, most of the remaining wires will be for the 12VDC circuits. Even if you don't know what they are for, label them as you disconnect them. Numbers will be fine. Label both the negative and positive. 1+, and 1-, .... That way you can get the correct pairs together. There is no real standard, but DC is commonly Red for positive, and Black for negative. This may be White, positive and Black negative. But it depends on the manufacture more then anything. See if you can locate a wiring diagram in the Doc Centre. That would be best.
Each branch circuit should have it's own fuse.

Pictures would be good.
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:54 PM   #27
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As I suggested earlier, I suspect your converter was designed to work with the battery always connected. As such you might want to reconnect your battery to the converter you have and see if it works. And before folks start talking about 4 stage chargers ect. remember one can buy a lot of batteries for $342, even in Canada. Good luck, Raz
Raz, When I connect shower power and the battery and try to hook up, say the propane detector, all the lights on the propane detector flash, meaning that there is something wrong and it will not operate properly, BUT when I disconnect the shore power and only have the battery hooked up, the propane detector works fine. Jim
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:57 PM   #28
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Per removal if that's what you decide to do:

If the converter in your '81 Bigfoot is anything like the one in my '78 Trillium, it's mounted inside a box. On mine, removal of the screws on the faceplate allow the face/works to be pulled out. Connections are then accessible

The box itself would have to be removed by drilling out the rivets it's secured by...

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Old 10-24-2012, 04:58 PM   #29
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I would not snip them. There must be some way to get inside the converter and disconnect the wires. Either from the front, or the back. Typically on the front. Cutting will make the wires too short to reach your new converter.

Try to identify the 120VAC in. Typically it will be a rubber coated cable, maybe even the same cable that your trailer plugs in with. There will also be a green ground wire. After that, most of the remaining wires will be for the 12VDC circuits. Even if you don't know what they are for, label them as you disconnect them. Numbers will be fine. Label both the negative and positive. 1+, and 1-, .... That way you can get the correct pairs together. There is no real standard, but DC is commonly Red for positive, and Black for negative. This may be White, positive and Black negative. But it depends on the manufacture more then anything. See if you can locate a wiring diagram in the Doc Centre. That would be best.
Each branch circuit should have it's own fuse.

Pictures would be good.
David, Thanks for the advice. How do I get to the Doc center?
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Old 10-24-2012, 05:05 PM   #30
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Raz, When I connect shower power and the battery and try to hook up, say the propane detector, all the lights on the propane detector flash, meaning that there is something wrong and it will not operate properly, BUT when I disconnect the shore power and only have the battery hooked up, the propane detector works fine. Jim
With the battery in place that is connected to the converter and all fuses checked you should read less than 14 volts across the battery and at your pump switch. If not then the converter needs replacing. Raz
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Old 10-24-2012, 06:00 PM   #31
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Raz, That is what I thought, thank you. So now, the converter has to come out. I can see the white 12 gauge AC wire along with all the other small (assuming DC) wires, so if I unhooked everything and marked them, then would I only have to buy, say a PD9245 and not have to buy a distribution centre. With only 2 AC outlets, and about 6 12 volt lights, I would not think that it would be a big deal, but convince me. There would be a lot of extra spare space on the converter, where I could add more AC or DC outlets. Correct? Thanks, Jim
I am currently working on taking the windows out and replacing some of the dry rot panels, so will not be doing the electrical untilnext week, at the earliest. I will keep everyone informed on the progress. Thanks to everyone who has contributed on this thread. You are awesome. Jim
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Old 10-24-2012, 06:04 PM   #32
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David, Thanks for the advice. How do I get to the Doc center?
Home page, (tab at the top), left side.
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Old 10-24-2012, 06:16 PM   #33
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Raz, That is what I thought, thank you. So now, the converter has to come out. I can see the white 12 gauge AC wire along with all the other small (assuming DC) wires, so if I unhooked everything and marked them, then would I only have to buy, say a PD9245 and not have to buy a distribution centre. With only 2 AC outlets, and about 6 12 volt lights, I would not think that it would be a big deal, but convince me. There would be a lot of extra spare space on the converter, where I could add more AC or DC outlets. Correct? Thanks, Jim
I am currently working on taking the windows out and replacing some of the dry rot panels, so will not be doing the electrical untilnext week, at the earliest. I will keep everyone informed on the progress. Thanks to everyone who has contributed on this thread. You are awesome. Jim
Jim, I can not advise you on whether you should do the wiring or whether you even need a converter. The first depends on your wiring skills. I recommend an electrician if you have any doubts. The only time I use my converter is when the trailer is in the door yard. Otherwise I use solar or rely on my tow vehicle to charge my battery. That said, if you camp where there is power and have lots of things that needing power, a converter is the way to go. Good luck and enjoy, Raz
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:57 PM   #34
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"I just called a local dealer and he suggests a PD9200 45 amp which would fit in the space. Price was $342 Canadian for the unit itself, but of course I probably could get a better price on line."
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The PD 9200 is a power converter/charger only & I have installed several, including in my own Sunrader Adventure.

However, you have to keep your existing ac and dc distribution system, all of which iarehow many years old???

Look up the PD 4045, it has the same output & charger and includes an all new chassis and there are 12" long pigtails for connecting up all the DC loads. The only thing the 4045 doesn't have is the little pendant that tells what the charger is doing, not a real big deal..... You can buy them on-line for under $200.



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Old 10-24-2012, 10:14 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
If the 110v is powering 12v appliances like lights, furnace fans, etc, some means of converting it to 12v must be supplied, whether by converter or by passing it through one's on-board battery by means of a charger being hooked up to it. (How's that, B.K.? )
I think an onboard converter to be the easier of those options.

I guess we still don't know for sure if the O.P.'s converter is shot or not, but if it proves to be o.K.:
I will say that I added a charging module to my forty-year-old converter and it's worked very well for over five years. On the same battery, I might add...
What's the difference between the battery directly operating the 12V appliances and lights rarther than running it through a converter?

My last three eggs have all had solar arrays that keep my battery charged and run all 12v items with ease.

I'm even in the process of installing a solar panel on my overhead truck camper.

When I do have hook ups I usually don't even use the 110v.

You don't need an expensive convertor with a solar array.

John
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:38 AM   #36
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"I just called a local dealer and he suggests a PD9200 45 amp which would fit in the space. Price was $342 Canadian for the unit itself, but of course I probably could get a better price on line."
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The PD 9200 is a power converter/charger only & I have installed several, including in my own Sunrader Adventure.

However, you have to keep your existing ac and dc distribution system, all of which iarehow many years old???

Look up the PD 4045, it has the same output & charger and includes an all new chassis and there are 12" long pigtails for connecting up all the DC loads. The only thing the 4045 doesn't have is the little pendant that tells what the charger is doing, not a real big deal..... You can buy them on-line for under $200.
Bob, Do I have a separate distribution center as well, as I cannot locate it, although I have not pulled out the existing converter, yet. As I stated, there are only two AC receptacles and only several 12 DC lights, so really do not know if I have a distribution center as well. The PD9200 seems simple enough to install myself if that is all I need, as there are very few wires to connect. Thanks, Jim

Perry: I used to have solar in my previous 27 foot trailer, with 3 panels and 6 golf cart batteries as well as a 2500 watt inverter, and used this for travelling in the warm, sunny southern climates, but our travel plans have changed, and will not be travelling south any more, and on Vancouver Island, it is very wet during the winter months and in the summer we have a lot of trees in our provincial parks which block out the sun, so, like a previous posted commented, solar here, is not the best option, at lest for us, but thanks for the input. Jim
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:59 AM   #37
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Bob, Do I have a separate distribution center as well, as I cannot locate it, ........
The distribution panel is where the fuses are located.
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:13 AM   #38
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The distribution panel is where the fuses are located.
Tom, the two fuses for the DC are located on the front panel of the converter in eye view, and the AC has only a reset button on front of the converter as well, so it seems that there is no other distribution panel. Correct? In that case, it would be so simple to install the PD9200.
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:45 AM   #39
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Darwin . The older converters transform 120 VAC to approx 14 VAC (secondary transformer voltage) The 14 VAC is then fed to a bridge rectifier to get DC voltage , Multiplying the 14 VAC x 1.41 to get P to P voltage you get about 19.5 VAC imput to the bridge rectifier and subtracting for the drop across the bridge diodes you get about a 17 VDC unregulated output . That is why the 27 VDC output had me puzzled its 10 VDC higher than the output voltage of 17VDC .What am I missing?
I forgot to mention one other reason for the 27 VDC reading, your meter. Many inexpensive meters don't handle Pulsing DC very well. A converter without filtering the output would be pulsing DC, inexpensive meters and batteries don't really like that.
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:21 AM   #40
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With the PD 9200 you have to use a seperate dist center and breaker box. The 4045 includes both. By using the 4045 you have lots of ability for future growth and there is also value added if you sell in the future.
Sorry... last post... off to the Lake Casitas meet.



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