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Old 11-10-2014, 12:13 AM   #1
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Converter / Charger Questions

I have returned again seeking the wisdom of veteran RVers

I have a 1984 Class C Shasta on a Chevy Chassis. The was been winterized and is currently in storage about 1 hour away from me. I am hoping with my description, someone can help identify my Converter/charger and offer any suggestions. I am making plans to upgrade the 12V system.

Currently there isn't a Batt Isolator but rather a cable running from the front batt to the rear batt. .. well, there was a cable but it had been cut just behind the rear axle. For this I would like to install a Batt isolator to charge the rear batt without draining the front batt.

I would also like to upgrade the charger/converter. The existing converter cover looks like a magnatek/Parralex however, the breakers on the converter are mounted is a horizontal position with a white indicator showing on/off and they are of a push ( push in - not left/right up/down) on/off configuration. The MH is 1 hour away, I could drive there but if someone has any idea to save me the 2 hours of driving, I would be grateful.

Any suggestions on a replacement ? I know that a multi-stage charger is best but is there anything else I should consider?

I have done some research and it seems that a pair of Trojan 6V deep cycles is a good choice... Would it be better to spend the close to the same amount and get 1 large Deep cycle Trojan ?

Is it common to have a Batt Isolator and a converter/charger ?

Would it be pointless to have a smart Batt charger when I would just be charging via alternator anyway ?

ALL thoughts, inputs and opinions are welcomed and I am grateful for those who take the time to reply.
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Old 11-10-2014, 04:16 AM   #2
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Larry,

Rather than fuss with trying to find/identify exactly which converter you have, I suggest complete replacement with something like the PD9260 Inteli-Power 9200, RV Converter/Chargers from Progressive Dynamics - PPL Motor Homes

I will assume that your converter lives behind the load center with all the house 120v wiring. You can easily disconnect the 12v lines running from the existing converter and install a new standalone converter, such as the Intellitec linked above. While your existing converter is most likely hardwired to the 120v lines, the new Intellitec will have a standard 15amp wall plug at the end. You can either install an outlet to plug it into OR you can remove the plug end and hardwire the 120v to the new converter just the same - it is completely up to your preferences. Then just connect the 12vdc output of the new converter to where the existing converter powered the fuse center in the existing load center. In most cases, there is no need to completely remove the old converter.

Regarding your batteries question, I suggest 2-6v GC2 type batteries in series IF you have the room available to mount them. 2 of these types of batteries will net you around 220ah of capacity - but it depends how much you dry camp and of course what your load requirements are. A single group 24 12v battery may also be satisfactory for your needs.

Regarding your isolator question, I suggest using the SurePower isolator: 1315-200 Sure Power Battery Separator, 200A Bi-Directional | Waytek, Inc.
This unit is bi-directional and will connect the house to the chassis battery in either direction if it sees voltage over 13.0 volts. In otherwords, when the engine is running and the alternator is charging it will automatically tie the two together. If you're plugged into shore or running the generator and it sees charge voltage from the converter on the house battery(ies) it will automatically tie the house and chassis together. It will disconnect the two if the voltage drops below 12.7 or so so that you cannot run down one or the other. This isolator is extremely simple and requires no other wiring other than hooking each set of batteries to it. Period. It has logic onboard that automatically ties or disconnects the batteries as needed. You can even add another wire to this isolator that will tie the two battery banks together using a push button - just like a boost switch during engine start.
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Old 11-10-2014, 04:56 AM   #3
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Those breakers sound like pushmatics, NOT my favorite breaker, but that said,, Nothing wrong with them, had 'em in my Sticks and Bricks till I upgraded (The upgrade involved a bigger Square D box and a Generator Transfer Panel and inlet).

I would NOT upgrade just because of the Push-matics.

However I suspect you are right on the conveter, a Unit that old most likely has an older single stage Heavy Iron core transformer based converter with may or may not be a Magnetek (progressive Dynamics was around then but I'd have to do some HEAVY research to find out what they were making that far back)

I would suggest you upgrade to a Progressive Dynamics Charge wizard controlled unit.. you have 3 choices here.

First: you can upgrade JUST the converter module, Keeping your existing breaker/fuse panels,

Second: Upgrade the entire assembly

Third: Upgrade the entire assembly to a 50 amp version.. (Has it's advantages if you feel you may want 50 amp service later.

NOTE: if you upgrade to 50 amp...

Put in at least two 15/20 amp outlets (Standard house type with the "T" shaped neutral slot) wire them to 20 amp breakers, One to a breaker, with 12ga wire.. Make them a contrasting color to what the other outlets are (IE: mine are black, other outlets white) these are for space heaters.
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Old 11-13-2014, 08:50 PM   #4
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Sorry I didn't have time earlier, But I wanted to say thanks for the info, advise and suggestions. I understand what you are all saying. As far as the converter is concerned, there aren't any issues there. I think that I will keep the converter and disable the charger. I will replace the charger with the one you have suggested and simply surface mount it to the floor within the Batt compartment. With the charger closer to the batt, I will be able to use shorter heavier cables and will eliminate any voltage drop.

I will also install the isolator that you suggested, I like the small size as it offers more mounting options.

Batteries.. Undecided. I often get carried away when battery power is concerned. I like the tojan brand. I like the 6v batts as they would be easier to install and remove for maintance, however where I have a ton of room... How can I help but to want more? More more more ! The problem would be moving 1 huge battery for storage ect... You know that you have gone overboard when you need a friend to help you lift the battery...

Winter is here and I have time to plan, purchase and install before next season.

Thanks again
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Old 11-14-2014, 06:51 PM   #5
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Well, I was close. The converter is a BW Industries 6332 options: C N I A


I have read the Magnatek purchased the design from BW and that the C option indicates that there is a charger that will go into float when battery is charged. I cant imagine that it would be a good as a new smart charger.


Also, I disconnected the battery while running on GenSet.. when I disconnected it, the GenSet died. To me that would indicate that the Gen is not capable to sustain itself and is drawing from the Batt which isn't helping the Batt charge. Is the GenSet designed to operate this way ?
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Old 11-16-2014, 12:46 PM   #6
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Also, I disconnected the battery while running on GenSet.. when I disconnected it, the GenSet died. To me that would indicate that the Gen is not capable to sustain itself and is drawing from the Batt which isn't helping the Batt charge. Is the GenSet designed to operate this way ?
Hi! I'm new here but not so much so to RV life. My recent practical experience is with the Onan Emerald Plus, and the Emerald Plus needs to see a load to operate and requires a 12VDC source. Does that help?

I love batteries and I have a chassis battery, a generator battery and (6) house batteries. The house batteries are maintained by a Progressive Dynamics 9260C with the Wizard. When boondocking, after starting the generator I "Push the Button" to set the 9260C to the bulk rate.

Too much information?
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Old 11-30-2014, 09:25 PM   #7
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As far as the Isolator is concerned I have a few questions on the operation of the specific model you suggested. I downloaded the manual and after reading I have a few questions that I hope you can help with..

1. As I understand, The rear V and the front V is constantly being compared. Would you suggest installing a switch on the ground of the wire of the unit? I ask this should the event arise where the batteries are linked and I would like to override the auto link.. cant interrupt the + supply as is seems to come from the rear batt.

2. When the optional indicator light is installed, Does it light during "Link mode " or only when "Start assist" is used ?

3. In your opinion, Why bother with the optional "Start Assist" switch when the same cable is connected to the starter input and will check to see if "Start Assist" is needed ?

4. In the instructions, it notes that if you use the optional Switch for start assist it is noted as "Momentary Boost". If Installed, can this switch be maintained (Not momentary) to provide an override function if the user would like to "Force" the unit into Link mode ?

5. How is yours wired and would you change anything ?

Thanks AGAIN !!!
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Old 11-30-2014, 09:33 PM   #8
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Sorry.. more..


It appears to me that as the MH sits unused that batteries would self drain. I now have 2 group 29 batts in the rear, As drainage is concerened would the relay link and unlink while sitting unused ? ( another reason for the switch on the - supply )


If I have the engine running and charging the front Batt and Generator/Plugged in charging the rear batts.. is this a conflict when in Link mode ?
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Old 12-03-2014, 05:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadLarry View Post
As far as the Isolator is concerned I have a few questions on the operation of the specific model you suggested. I downloaded the manual and after reading I have a few questions that I hope you can help with..

1. As I understand, The rear V and the front V is constantly being compared. Would you suggest installing a switch on the ground of the wire of the unit? I ask this should the event arise where the batteries are linked and I would like to override the auto link.. cant interrupt the + supply as is seems to come from the rear batt.
Sure.. it won't hurt anything to do this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BadLarry
2. When the optional indicator light is installed, Does it light during "Link mode " or only when "Start assist" is used ?
Only if you have it wired to a pushbutton to link them together and only when you are holding the button

Quote:
Originally Posted by BadLarry
3. In your opinion, Why bother with the optional "Start Assist" switch when the same cable is connected to the starter input and will check to see if "Start Assist" is needed ?
It never automatically ties them together for start assist. You must utilize a pushbutton to do so. The only thing automatic that it does is tie the two together provided it's seeing voltage on either side over 13volts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BadLarry
4. In the instructions, it notes that if you use the optional Switch for start assist it is noted as "Momentary Boost". If Installed, can this switch be maintained (Not momentary) to provide an override function if the user would like to "Force" the unit into Link mode ?
The coil is rated for continuous duty and would be just fine if you did this. I suggest not doing so because you may accidentally forget it's enabled and could potentially drain both batteries if not plugged into shore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BadLarry
5. How is yours wired and would you change anything ?
Mine is wired between the house and chassis batteries. I also wired the start assist button, but no light. I wouldn't change anything. I've installed dozens of these and have never had one return for any issues. It's simplistic and just works.
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Old 12-03-2014, 05:29 AM   #10
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Sorry.. more..


It appears to me that as the MH sits unused that batteries would self drain. I now have 2 group 29 batts in the rear, As drainage is concerened would the relay link and unlink while sitting unused ? ( another reason for the switch on the - supply )
It connects them if it sees more than 13 volts and disconnects them if either side drops below 12.7. A parasitic drain within the house side will not drain the chassis batteries..IF left in automatic mode and no charge source occuring on either side (i.e. dont use a toggle switch to tie them together- only a momentary type switch).

Quote:
Originally Posted by BadLarry
If I have the engine running and charging the front Batt and Generator/Plugged in charging the rear batts.. is this a conflict when in Link mode ?
Not at all. Once the unit sees over 13v it ties both battery banks together therefore your converter will be charging the chassis batteries as well.
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Old 12-03-2014, 07:43 PM   #11
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OK, I will prob just install as you did then. Maybe Ill add the light.

But, on the first page of the instructions it does say " When the starter is activated the battery separator compares the voltage of both battery banks. If the chassis' battery is lower then the auxiliary bank, the battery separator will engage allowing the auxiliary battery bank to aid in the vehicle starting. The start signal must be at least three volts for the operation to occur."

But you sound more of an expert with the product and I will just follow your recommendations.

I decided to replace the complete converter and charger, a complete unit with the charge wizard built into it. I went with the Progressive Dynamics PD4590 converter/charger 90A
Ultimate All-in-One 240V, 50 Amp AC/DC Power Distribution Panel

Thanks Again !!!
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Old 12-04-2014, 08:35 AM   #12
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OK, I will prob just install as you did then. Maybe Ill add the light.

But, on the first page of the instructions it does say " When the starter is activated the battery separator compares the voltage of both battery banks. If the chassis' battery is lower then the auxiliary bank, the battery separator will engage allowing the auxiliary battery bank to aid in the vehicle starting. The start signal must be at least three volts for the operation to occur."
Larry, I do apologize.. you are correct. I was responding without enough coffee in my system... yes, you can wire the automatic connect in place of or in addition to a pushbutton up front. That terminal simply needs to see more than 3 volts to "tie" the two banks together. You would find/use a 12v ignition or key-on hot to use to supply that terminal.

Here is a good wiring diagram for you to follow:
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Old 12-04-2014, 12:46 PM   #13
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Larry,


Regarding your isolator question, I suggest using the SurePower isolator: 1315-200 Sure Power Battery Separator, 200A Bi-Directional | Waytek, Inc.
Thank you very much for this link, 94-Newmar. It's a little thing but having to haul out my portable battery charger for the chassis battery when on extended shore leave, well this little device is a nice up-grade for my antique home.
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Old 12-04-2014, 07:03 PM   #14
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Don't apologize..

If you connect the +IGN to a constant source would it confuse the internal comparative ckt ? Do you wire your constant on the run position of the ign ? I thought it was only on the starting position only ?
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