New installation of a converter - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 07-18-2017, 06:34 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Name: Isaac
Trailer: 1995 Scamp 13' + 2008 Subaru Outback
Minnesota
Posts: 6
New installation of a converter

Our family was finally able to purchase a '95 Scamp about a month ago, and I'm working on some updates to make it work better for us. One thing I want to do is install a converter.

This camper did not come with one, and I have an older one from a friend that I'll probably use, at least at first, until I can get the scratch for a better one. All of that is background to the question, which is:

Do I need to run new wires from the batteries to the converter's charge circuit, or do I just connect it to existing hot and ground wires? Most of the videos I've been able to find have been converter replacements, where they just had to disconnect an old converter and install the new one, so it's kind of unclear to me.

Thanks!
__________________

isaac_n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2017, 07:14 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Byron Kinnaman's Avatar
 
Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
Oregon
Posts: 7,041
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by isaac_n View Post
Our family was finally able to purchase a '95 Scamp about a month ago, and I'm working on some updates to make it work better for us. One thing I want to do is install a converter.

This camper did not come with one, and I have an older one from a friend that I'll probably use, at least at first, until I can get the scratch for a better one. All of that is background to the question, which is:

Do I need to run new wires from the batteries to the converter's charge circuit, or do I just connect it to existing hot and ground wires? Most of the videos I've been able to find have been converter replacements, where they just had to disconnect an old converter and install the new one, so it's kind of unclear to me.

Thanks!
The question I need to ask is Why do you think you need a converter?
__________________

__________________
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
Byron Kinnaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2017, 07:15 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Name: Isaac
Trailer: 1995 Scamp 13' + 2008 Subaru Outback
Minnesota
Posts: 6
Because I don't want to have to plug my charger in, pull the battery covers off, hook it up, charge the battery, disconnect it, put the battery covers back on, and unplug the charger every time the battery needs charging.
isaac_n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2017, 07:19 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Byron Kinnaman's Avatar
 
Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
Oregon
Posts: 7,041
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by isaac_n View Post
Because I don't want to have to plug my charger in, pull the battery covers off, hook it up, charge the battery, disconnect it, put the battery covers back on, and unplug the charger every time the battery needs charging.
You make a simple task difficult. I put a small pigtail on my battery that I can plug into a battery charger, or my solar panel. You it's NOT necessary to disconnect the battery while charging.

I turned off my converter about 5 years ago and haven't missed a bit. We camp for over 100 night a year most of it in long winter trip (60 to 90+ days). Never have hookups. I wouldn't even need the solar if I was only camping a few week-ends a year.
__________________
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
Byron Kinnaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2017, 07:22 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Name: Isaac
Trailer: 1995 Scamp 13' + 2008 Subaru Outback
Minnesota
Posts: 6
Can you shoot a picture of what that looks like? I don't love the idea of wires connected to the battery but not to anything else just floating around for when I'm _not_ charging. I'm betting I'm just missing something though.
isaac_n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2017, 07:25 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Byron Kinnaman's Avatar
 
Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
Oregon
Posts: 7,041
Registry
better than a converter make sure you have a charge line from your tow vehicle which charge the battery when moving down the road.
__________________
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
Byron Kinnaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2017, 07:27 PM   #7
Junior Member
 
Name: Isaac
Trailer: 1995 Scamp 13' + 2008 Subaru Outback
Minnesota
Posts: 6
I don't really want my car charging the camper, plus most of the time it's in my driveway (and it gets _some_ use there), not on the car.

Plus my car doesn't have a 7-pin connector, and I'd have to run a line from the battery to the back of the car, which I also don't really want to do.
isaac_n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2017, 09:19 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Name: Francois
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 1,157
Registry
fogettaboutit....

don't have one? so what...gonna put an "old" one in there???? yeah sure, next you'll be looking for wooden spoke rims !!! (old converter/chargers are notorious for frying batteries)

we've been discussing this for a while...

permanent wired-in charger....double insulated (no fan)....when you plug in it charges....all you need...spend the money on a good one....at least 6 amps (will keep up with any demand and charge your depleted battery/ies in a reasonable amount of time

it works
Attached Thumbnails
eproject2a.jpg  
Franswa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2017, 06:17 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 4,091
Someone should get a hold of all the R/V manufactures and tell them that on-board or off-board chargers and charge lines from tow vehicles are superior to using a converter. Apparently they still think converters are best, since about 99.9% of R/Vs come with one. Converters work great to power all your low voltage stuff when on shore power even with no house battery at all. Maybe we should have a law to require a converter only in rigs without batteries and not have them installed in rigs that do have house batteries.
.
.
gordon2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2017, 06:25 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
Name: Steve
Trailer: Currently Shopping
NW Wisconsin
Posts: 4,039
I have a trailer battery and factory converter .
Mine work just fine as do others in millions of trailers
Why are we trying to reinvent the wheel ?
steve dunham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2017, 06:54 AM   #11
Senior Member
 
Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 4,091
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
...
Why are we trying to reinvent the wheel ?
And why are we not answering the question that was asked (how to wire the old one)?

I know that I am not answering the question because there are too many unknowns with such an old camper. This is something best done in person.

First step is to ID the converter you want to use and see if you can find the manual online. You need to properly wire the 120 VAC supply. The output might go straight to the battery, but I would want to see the camper and the converter in person before suggesting anything.
gordon2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2017, 08:05 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
Joe MacDonald's Avatar
 
Trailer: Trillium
Ontario
Posts: 900
Isaac, if you have some model numbers and pictures it would be much easier to help you, it might also be a better way to decide if the old converter is worthwhile, or you need a new one,

Joe
Joe MacDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2017, 08:14 AM   #13
Junior Member
 
Name: Isaac
Trailer: 1995 Scamp 13' + 2008 Subaru Outback
Minnesota
Posts: 6
@Joe - Here's the converter. It's older, but.. It's what I have, and I really need to stop spending money on the camper for a little bit



@Gordon - Thanks -- yeah, I know there are lots of differences, and I totally understand your reasoning.

@Francois - That's not a terrible idea, but I'm a little strapped for cash and would like to do it with what I have if possible. I've added the NOCO charger you have in your picture to my "camper" wishlist on Amazon... How do you like it?
isaac_n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2017, 08:53 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
Name: Francois
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 1,157
Registry
good call Gord....

And why are we not answering the question that was asked (how to wire the old one)?

I know that I am not answering the question because there are too many unknowns with such an old camper. This is something best done in person.

I agree with all that 100%....basically a Power Center in an RV is where AC and DC meet and it IS complicated....with the relay and some DC circuits powered by the converter when plugged in and some others powered from the battery all the time regardless....I would not attempt to coach (if I had the knowledge to do so even) somebody to go "tinkering" with a dusty one that's been sitting on a shelf somewhere....wondering why somebody put it there in the first place...

So the OP should take his problem to an RV shop or an electrician. AC can kill and DC can cause fires. I have enough knowledge to wire AC...and I've built DC systems in boats....the interface ?? that I don't fully understand (and frankly don't trust, especially old ones)....so I just got rid of it.

Myself and a few others that have gone the "charger only" route have severed the AC to DC interface They now only meet inside the charger. That's something that everybody does everyday at home when they plug their phones or laptops into an AC outlet...

I'm not trying to preach, convince or disagree with anybodys course of action/system....just "shooting the breeze" about what I did and how it has performed for me so far. We are all adults and free to make our own decisions.

I've always wanted to be part of the 0.1% club.... Cheers, F
Attached Thumbnails
elecp.jpg   elecp3.jpg  

elecp4.jpg  
Franswa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2017, 09:56 AM   #15
Senior Member
 
ZachO's Avatar
 
Name: Zach
Trailer: 91 Bigfoot 17
Montana
Posts: 2,266
Registry
Still a bit off topic but a question for Francois...I know you've posted your setup a lot and I like that your posts are detailed but sometimes that means I don't fully read and understand them.

So..you got rid of the converter? So when you plug in, the battery is being charged, the AC outlets have AC power, but DC stuff is still running off the battery? I have to say...I agree that I'm not sure why it should be any other way. That makes a lot of sense.

To the OP...I re-wired an old Toyota Chinook motorhome a few years back and put a new power center in it.

One thing I can tell you is that if you plan to do any or all of the wiring and connections, you need to take a couple weeks and fully learn how the electrical system works in your RV. This is serious stuff can be completely safe...or deadly.

What I chose to do was to run all the strictly DC/12V wires and fuse myself, but I paid an auto electrical shop to install the power center, connect the AC fuses and wires, and connect the AC to DC interface/converter.

Do what you're comfortable with but definitely get an understanding of how it all works before cutting and crimping wires. Obviously many of us here are all for "do it yourself", but you do need to research. Messing up the black or grey water system because you didn't fully understand what you were doing is just kind of an "oops". But electrical or LP...takes it to another level.
ZachO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2017, 10:43 AM   #16
Senior Member
 
Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 4,091
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franswa View Post
And why are we not answering the question that was asked (how to wire the old one)?

I know that I am not answering the question because there are too many unknowns with such an old camper. This is something best done in person.

I agree with all that 100%....basically a Power Center in an RV is where AC and DC meet and it IS complicated....
While I am glad to see you agree with me, I am not sure I agree with you
I think you might have made it sound more complicated than it really is, at least if we assume a trailer that is properly wired for 12 volts already. On the other hand, if you are starting from scratch then it does get quite a bit more involved.

So while just using a (good) battery charger as you suggested might not be for everyone, it is a simple and effective way to go for an older trailer with lots of unknowns. You will lose the ability to run your 12 volt stuff in the absence of a house battery but except for that possible scenario, it might suit the OP just fine. I would strongly consider going the charger-only route before doing a lot of wiring, adding panels, etc. to an older camper.

But the OP has a free converter (assuming it works) and a decent charger will cost him some "scratch." So part of the decision might be based on what model and year the converter is.
gordon2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2017, 11:04 AM   #17
Senior Member
 
Name: Francois
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 1,157
Registry
yeah Zacho....

you got it right...I still have the original breaker panel (AC) and the fuse panel (DC) but the two are no longer connected

I installed a new recepticle on its own breaker...the charger is plugged into that so if I want to turn charger off for some reason I turn that breaker off. Otherwise it just sits there...when I plug the trailer in it starts up (in the same "mode" that it was in last time)
Attached Thumbnails
elecr6.jpg   elecr2d.jpg  

eproject2a.jpg   battcharger.jpg  

Franswa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2017, 02:07 PM   #18
Raz
Senior Member
 
Raz's Avatar
 
Name: Raz
Trailer: Trillium 2010
Vermont
Posts: 4,688
A converter is a combination battery charger/DC power supply and is only usefull if you camp where there is electricity. The availability depends where you are. In the south, summer camping without AC would be no fun at all. Electricity is common. In the east, north of Pennsylvania, public camp grounds have no hook ups making a converter useless. I've also found that in many NFS and NPS campgrounds out west.

The Magnatek converters typically use a SCR over voltage crowbar circuit that basically will charge a battery to a pre adjusted voltage and then shut off. If properly calibrated this will work ok but over the years they get out of calibration, thus the reputation as battery killers. As a power supply, they are rather primative, little if any filtering and no voltage regulation. I would suggest unless you know how to calibrate it and perhaps upgrade it, you might not want to use it. The battery gurus are going to tell you you need this and need that to maintain a battery. I prefer Fraswas' approach.

Finally, without a 7 pin plug not only do you not have a charge line but you don't have brakes. I would suggest you need both. That's where I would spend my money. Good luck on your new adventure.. Raz
Raz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2017, 07:57 PM   #19
Senior Member
 
Name: Francois
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 1,157
Registry
Magnateks.....

yeah they have a reputation alright...so much so that aftermarket guys designed and exactly sized a replacement for the "bottom part" of those PCs....they work great apparently and are super smart..... but the cost of them turned me off (I was shopping at a local RV dealer).... so that is a real good/feasible solution for older trailers.....cut five wires, new unit fits right in and full instructions for the install are supplied....sorry I forgot the brand name
Attached Thumbnails
elecp5.jpg   elecp6.jpg  

elecr1.jpg  
Franswa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2017, 08:03 PM   #20
Senior Member
 
rbryan's Avatar
 
Name: Robert
Trailer: 2015 Escape 19 "Past Tents" 2018 F150 Lariat 2.7L EB SuperCrew
Arkansas
Posts: 1,300
Registry
Why not just contact Randy at bestconverter.com? He will fix you up with the right stuff at a reasonable price, and there isn't a converter out there he hasn't seen. Just my two cents.
__________________

__________________
"You can't buy happiness, but you can buy an RV. And that is pretty close."
rbryan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
New Propane installation kev_ev Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 7 09-25-2010 10:01 PM
Inteli-Power Converter installation efawcett Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 10 10-17-2007 08:15 AM
Fantastic Fan new installation... MikeAg Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 1 04-18-2006 06:10 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:44 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
×