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Old 10-03-2013, 03:25 PM   #1
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How do you install converter on a camp trailer that NEVER HAD ONE before

My daughter has an old (1971) Red Dale camp trailer. It contains a 110v system for 2 lights and the refrigerator. The 12v system is for operating 4 lights and the stove vent fan. There was NO COVERTER ever installed in this unit. She wants one so the battery will charge when the 110v AC (20 amp) is plugged in.
I have a Progressive Dynamics 9245 converter I would like to install into the trailer, but have reservations when "grounding" this converter. Are we talking 110v, 12v grounding or both?
I'm pretty good with wiring diagrams, but this one confuses me.
Any help, please.
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Old 10-03-2013, 04:55 PM   #2
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Good choice, the PD will be grounded by the three prong plug/wring the DC has two poles and some "ground" the negative to the frame. Our trailer has nothing grounded to the frame, all DC is two wire.
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Old 10-03-2013, 05:18 PM   #3
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Since you got the converter already you might as well use it. But, I once had this problem in the past and just bought a battery charger/float charger plugged it into a wall outlet and ran the charging wires to where the battery was and changed the ends on them to hook permanently to the battery. It was easy to do on the TT I had because of where there was a outlet and where the battery was located.
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:21 PM   #4
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Most modern trailers have the 110 AC ground buss bar connected to trailer frame to prevent shocks through the metal of the coach should they become energized by a hot 110 wire. 12 volt DC negative leads are also connected to the frame to provide a return path to the batteries. All you do is connect the 12 volt outputs positive and negative from the converter directly to the batteries and the AC 110 ground should already be grounded to the frame. You can confirm this by having the ac unplugged and check for continuity between the ground buss in the 110 fuse panel and the frame.
-Paul R. Haller-
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:50 PM   #5
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The 9245 can be installed one of two ways.

Easiest may be to simply hook it to the batteries.. If done this way it will charge the batteries EVEN if the disconnect switch is in the OFF position

Normal install you'd hook it to the HOUSE side of the disconnect switch. That way it will power the house if the Disconnect is off.

And may I say this: Congrats on an excellent converter. There is none better than the 9200 line (Some are as good though) .
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:14 PM   #6
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I have been checking the wiring almost all day. The camper 12v wiring comes off of the house battery. Those wires are all a combination of one blue and one green (can't tell if they are 14ga or 16ga) to each fixture. Those two wires and the black and white wires from the water pump go directly to the house battery pos/neg posts. This battery is NOT grounded to the frame.
The exterior clearance/stop/tail lights are a different story. They ARE grounded to the frame and power is provided (as we all know) by the towing vehicle. They are not being discussed at this time.
The 110v system is provided by plugging in (extension-cord-type) 20 amp cable into a standard outlet. The other ends of the wires are wired to a simple breaker box. Now I assume this box is only grounded by the green wire from the cord; the white to common and the black is attached to the circuit breaker. The rest of the circuit uses Romex-type house wiring. I have searched under, over and through the trailer and canNOT find where the 110v ground is used on the frame.
Hence, the PD 9245 says to attach the "grounding lug" on the converter to the "chassis ground". Why? It is not grounding anywhere on this trailer.
Hence you see my issue with 12v systems.
Shadowcatche. Thanks for what appears to be the easy way to do this.
Paul R. Haller. Thanks for your assistance. The key word here being "modern", which this trailer is not.
Caveman CBB. Thanks for your input. Laziness prevents us from taking the inexpensive, sane way of doing things.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:41 PM   #7
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The ground line on the left side is a *SAFETY* ground, and must be a separate wire, and should connect to your frame.
The connection from the negative post on the right side to ground is a current return path.
They are different, and if they share a wire (as mentioned in the box in the bottom of the diagram), it will raise the voltage of the safety ground from the voltage of the frame rail and potentially cause safety problems.

For safety, the green wire from your 110 inlet should also be attached to the frame somewhere, just like at your house, the ground bus in your breaker box is tied to a stake driven into the ground..

It is quite ok to keep the negative side of the converter and battery isolated from frame ground if you have 2-wire wiring to every power use - newer rigs usually are cheaper and skip the second wire, using the frame to carry the return current back.
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Old 10-04-2013, 09:25 AM   #8
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Thought I aswered this.. There are two ways you can hook up a PDI 9200 to your current 12 volt no-converter system

Easiest: Just hook the thing to the battery.. This way it will charge and maintain the batteries no matter if they are connected or not.

Alternate: Hook to the HOUSE side of the battery disconnect switch.. This way it will power the house if disconnected and both power the house and charge the batteries when they are connected

The 9200 is designed to be parallelled with the battery when connected.. No special hook up needed, Not like the old Magnatek 6300 which had to be hooked up special. No need to change so much as one wire within the trailer.

Just parallel it with the battery. Either side of the disconnect switch..

NOTE: I would connect at the disconnect switch no matter which side I hooked to (neater install is all).
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Old 10-05-2013, 01:53 PM   #9
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It sounds like the main concern is the grounding of the 120v line. The 120v line should be grounded to the frame, the green wire that is. When you plug in to the 120v you need to make sure the ground in the plug is attached properly. A simple circuit tester will do this. If the frame is not grounded in this manner, a short in the 120v circuit could lead to some very dangerous situations. The key to the whole thing is that the trailer is an older unit and is not wired the same as the newer ones.
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Old 10-05-2013, 08:51 PM   #10
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I would like to add, for your daughters sake, that you should make sure she has a 30 amp to 20 amp adaptor. I had a TT like that once and was stuck when I got to a park that had no 20 amp receptacles. When I asked why they gave me a funny look and said that they had never seen a TT with a 20 amp plug before. Thankfully there was a RV dealer near by that had an adaptor he could sell me. Now I carry all sorts of adaptors just to be safe.
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