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Old 07-28-2010, 01:16 PM   #1
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Converter/charger operation with separate Inverter

Sorry for the newbie question, I have been reading the posts and just want to know if I have it right.
So if I am understanding how an converter/charger works, it only operates when connected to shore power. It charges the batteries at 3 different levels, then a separate circuit converts 120 volt to 12 volt DC to run 12 volt electrical systems so the batteries do not have any work load on them. An inverter may or may not be an integral part of the convertor/charger and its only function is to convert battery voltage to 120.... Is this correct?
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Old 07-28-2010, 03:17 PM   #2
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Almost. Your understanding of a converter is correct. An inverter changes battery voltage(DC) to 120 volts(AC) so some AC appliances can be used when NOT connected to shore power or the generator. In addition, a battery charger is incorporated in the inverter so the batteries can be charged when connected to an AC source. So with an inverter, both AC and DC power can be used when not connected to an AC power source and the batteries charged when AC power source is available; and with the converter, the batteries are charged only when an AC source is available.



Although the converter changes AC to DC, your DC circuits are usually fed directly from your batteries and not from the converter. This is so when an AC power source isn't available you can still use DC power. This is also true when an inverter is used.
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Old 07-28-2010, 06:10 PM   #3
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Thanks for your reply Rjay,
I have made an offer on a 1997 Pace Arrow Vision and it seems it has a charger/converter and a separate inverter. I found what appears to be an 800w inverter mounted in one of the storage areas. The husband past away, and the wife doesn't know how to demo most things on the coach.
I am assuming this is wired into the TV and VCR but have not traced it down yet. I have been researching this on this forum and it seems most people have the combo charger/converter/inverter rated at 2000w minimum. I am wondering if I need to upgrade to a sinewave combo unit if I want to replace the TV with a Plasma unit. I am wondering if it would be easier to just upgrade the inverter only or should I upgrade to the combo unit.
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Old 07-28-2010, 06:54 PM   #4
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Wanabee,
Upgrading to a 2000 watt unit will give you so many more customizable features for your batteries, but you will have some wiring to do and it could get expensive. You should install the inverter as close to your batteries as possible in a well ventilated area. You will need to run at least 2/0 copper cable(depending on distance) from the batteries to the inverter and install a large fuse near the batteries. Comm cable will need to be run from the inverter to the batteries for the temperature sensor. Then you would have to decide what AC circuits at the main power panel you want the inverter to feed and transfer them to a sub panel and run cable from the inverter to the panel to feed them.

By the way, Plasma TV's don't take the jaring associated with RV travel very well and an LCD would be a better choice from that point of view.
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:38 PM   #5
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Glad I mentioned the plasma thing, I learned something new today.
I consider myself mechanically minded, but this charger/converter/inverter subject is a little intimidating.
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Old 07-29-2010, 02:46 PM   #6
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Wannabe,
It is fairly common to add an separate inverter to a RV that already has a good converter/charger. I did that with my 2002 Dolphin LX, that came without any inverter at all, but had an excellent converter/charger. Adding the inverter was the least expensive way to go.

The inverter in that Pace may power only some of the 120v outlets. Probably the tv and other entertainment stuff, but maybe the microwave and other things too. Ask before you buy, and find out how to switch to/from inverter vs shore power to. Sometimes the circuits always run off the inverter and it relies on the battery charger to continually replace the battery amps while on shore power. That works too.

There is no reason to think it would not power a LCD flat screen tv (or a plasma, if that's what you want) - they usually run fine on modified sine power. And an LCD uses less power than a tube type tv, so power is not an issue.
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Old 07-29-2010, 05:26 PM   #7
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There are basically 3 types of converters. I will give examples of all 3:

Magnatek 6300.. This is a single stage charger (Charges, SLOWLY at one level, then it goes on to OVERCHARGE and boil your batteries dry) It also has a separate converter that powers much of your "non-critical of power" 12 volt stuff. Lights, Water pump that kind of thing. critical stuff (Radio for example) hooks to the battery side.


Progressive Dynamics 9100, straight up: Single stage,, It hooks in parallel with the battery.. No seperate covnerter stage.. This is actually a much better unit but it's still single stage.

Progressive Dynamics 9100 WITH optional Charge Wizare, or PDI 9200 (Built in wizard)

One of the finest conveter/chargers made, 3 stages plus automatic equalization IT's what i have in this coach.

NOTE: The key phrase in that last description is "ONE OF THE" meaning, of course, there are many just as good.

Like the 9100 straight up.. It is connected in parallel with the battery, no seperate converter section. CLEAN DC to all loads.

(I run a 100 watt Ham Radio Transmitter off it. Sounds like it's running on batteries)
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