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Old 12-24-2011, 08:45 AM   #1
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New power center (converter)?

I've had issues with our furnace igniting, among other things ( Duo-Therm Issues )

We had the blower motor replaced, as that was going bad, and had hoped that it might have been the sail switch from not getting enough air flow from the bad motor. No dice. Still having issues.

After checking things out, I have come to find:

The dc voltage at the thermostat is around 12.7
The dc voltage at the power center (converter) is 11.5
Recently, we've had some issues with our lights dimming/buzzing on and off.

From what I can see, everything would be pointing to the converter, would it not? The fact that the voltage is higher at the thermostat than at the converter itself confused me though.

If the power center needs replacing, what would be a good one to replace it with, that will fit at least somewhat decently into the current opening, and won't break the bank? The one we have now is a Progressive Dynamics PD 733.

If anyone isn't sure, I can contact them after the holidays directly for advice on this, but wanted to see if anyone here had any knowledge of this first.
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:43 AM   #2
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I doubt that the converter is causing your problems
Could be but I doubt it
What shape are the batteries in?
What about the connections on the betteries?
Older rigs tend to have loads of chassis ground issues
They all need to be clean and tight?

Looks as if Boseman is way colder than we have been in the NW corner of Montana

Ken
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:46 AM   #3
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Was the furnace running when you made the 11.5VDC Panel measurement?
Was the furnace not running when you made the 12.7VDC Thermostat measurement.

Given that the voltage for the thermostat is routed through the furnace and the furnace gets it's voltage from the PD distribution panel, those readings simply do not make sense unless they were made under the conditions I just said. It is possible the converter electronics in the PD 733 are breaking down under load (the 11.5VDC reading). Unfortunantly, PD panels of that era are combined power centers that the converter section typically is not easily seperated from the AC/DC distribution section. You normally have to replace both converter and Power Distribution Center.

PD733 Operators Manual: http://www.progressivedyn.com/servic...6%20manual.pdf

PD Multi-Series Service Manual: http://www.progressivedyn.com/servic...l%20710778.pdf Includes Troubleshooting and wiring diagrams.

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Old 12-24-2011, 10:54 PM   #4
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The 11.5 reading at the converter was both with the furnace running and not running. The thermostat reading was while it was not running.

I looked through both of those files earlier before I posted this thread, and found no help in it. I am going to do a reading on the thermostat wires when it is running later.

And I do understand that the whole thing would have to be replaced (hence the title of the post).

@KJ There are no batteries at all hooked up. Have not purchased any for this rig, as we are on shore power all the time, and our generator needs work anyway, so spending money on batteries would have been a waste of precious money for when we weren't this past fall. Everywhere I have ever read, I don't need them if I am on shore power. And, why would you say you doubt it is the converter? It makes perfect sense. It is not pumping out the needed voltage for the furnace to ignite some of the time (remember, it is direct spark ignition, not pilot), and a few weeks ago the lights started having issues receiving full power. They are often dimmer, and the ones that are fluorescent tend to hum and not put out the light they should. It would only lend to the converter starting to die on us.

And the incoming shore power has always read over 120 whenever I checked.

Merry Christmas all!
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Old 12-24-2011, 11:05 PM   #5
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I would question PD on the issue of running with no battery connected. Most DC charging systems rely on a battery to stabilize them.
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Old 12-25-2011, 03:30 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluepill View Post
I would question PD on the issue of running with no battery connected. Most DC charging systems rely on a battery to stabilize them.
I will keep that in mind. Thanks :]
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Old 12-25-2011, 06:52 AM   #7
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Ok, here are all the readings:

Thermostat wiring:
off: 12.8v roughly
When turned on: less than .05v
After flame ignition: .15-.20v

All other wiring in furnace:
off: 12.8v roughly
running: around 11.8v, sharp drop under 11v for a moment upon startup

I may have been reading the wrong area on the converter. I was going off of where the furnace technician checked when he was here. Looking at the manuals, the red positive wire he tested to the white negative wire was in reality for the charger to the batteries. Testing the white negative wire to the fuse panel however produced the same results as I received from the furnace. Around 12.8v when off, around 11.8 when on, with a sharp drop under 11v for a moment upon startup.

Is the fact that I am reading a constant 11.5v reading from the charger, even though there is no battery hooked up something I should be looking into?
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Old 12-25-2011, 07:03 AM   #8
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My 12v lights dimmed and brightened at about 5 second intervals. I could hear my fan on my converter start and stop when the lights brightened and dimmed. Replaced the converter and problem solved.
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Old 12-25-2011, 07:16 AM   #9
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Another good question. Should I be hearing a fan on these by any chance? All there ever is is a slight humming coming from it. Have never heard a fan on the converter. I am seeing heat sinks in the schematics, but nothing showing it has a fan. Anyone with knowledge of the PD's know if they have a fan?
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Old 12-25-2011, 08:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluepill View Post
I would question PD on the issue of running with no battery connected. Most DC charging systems rely on a battery to stabilize them.
This is spot-on! Many (most) converters use a lead acid battery as a filter. You may indeed have a converter problem, perhaps one leg of the rectifier failing, who knows. But regardless you should have at least one battery connected. This will serve as a filter for the rectified and not so clean DC, provide extra current when demanded and will extend the life of this or your new converter if needed.
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Old 12-25-2011, 09:54 AM   #11
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Can an older battery work, or would I need a new, healthy one. The one we have now, even though it hasn't been hooked up in years, amazingly still registers over 12v, I think it was around 12.2v last time we checked.

Next step would be to figure out what wires to use...There are 3 wires in the main battery area, and one in the battery compartment in the inside stairwell. Don't understand why there would only be one wire in there though, and not 2
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Old 12-25-2011, 11:54 AM   #12
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From your readings, I can tell you made the thermostat measurements across the terminals on the Thermostat rather than from either post to ground. The Furnace ON (0.05v) and Furnace Run (0.15 - 0.20v) values only represent the voltage drop across the Thermostat switch itself and only say that the Thermostat is turning ON and OFF.

As far as voltage is concerned, unloaded (Furnace OFF) it is normal for voltage to read higher than under load (Furnace ON). It is the amount of drop (12.8 vs 11.8) that one would look when analyzing a potential problem. For you situation, I do not feel the 1 volt drop is the source of your problem. The motor is powered by the RV’s 12v system and can be affected by low voltage. When the battery charging system is operational (shore power or generator on) the DC voltage usually remains sufficient (12.0 – 13.8VDC), but when relying on battery power alone the voltage drops and may get quite low overnight. The motor will continue to run at lower voltages (down to around 10.5 VDC) but fan speeds may be insufficient to activate the sail switch or provide adequate combustion air to the burner. Corrosion on the wiring or furnace power terminals may also cause reduced voltage at the blower motor. Check the voltage at the furnace itself as well as at the batteries or your RV’s monitoring panel.

In your previous problem posting (prior to motor replacement) you said you had the motor replaced:

Quote:
Well, I brought in the furnace to be checked out, they cleaned it all up, and ended up replacing the motor. It was getting pretty tight, and I guess buried down deep inside was a wasps nest as well. It blows much better now, much more force.
So unless you received a defective motor, we can rule that out. You also said:

Quote:
By listening to the furnace every time it came on, I discovered that on occasion it will not spark. Within 10 seconds of turning on, there is that distinctive "click" most times, but if it doesn't do it, I know it didn't fire.
I take it that you are still having that problem. With the motor ruled out, here are the only things this can be:

1) Furnace Air Ducts: If you have hoses that route the air through the coach, then if they are kinked, collapsed, or obstructed, they can “reduce” the blower air flow such that the sail switch does not make contact. Because the blower motor drives both the combustion fan and interior air distribution fan, this can have the same effect as a wasp nest on the combustion side.
2) Loose or corroded connector (connection) inside furnace. Don’t guess, just clean them.
3) Mis-adjusted electrodes. I would have hoped the tech would have checked that.
4) High voltage lead between control board and electrode. Typically these are dual purpose. Not only do they provide high voltage to the electrode for starting, they also are used to provide the millivolt flame sense signal back to the control board. Even if there is a separate “flame sense” wire, these leads have to be clean and in good repair.
5) Control Board: Do they have intermittent problems? Yes, most defiantly. There are 2 switches that have to be in order for voltage to be supplied to the control board. The thermostat and the sail switch (temp cutoff is ON unless temp is too high). For your Duo- Therm furnace the thermostat simply completes a path to ground for the control board. When the sail switch closes (blower motor air pushes it closed), it supplies power to the control board. With power applied, the control board turns on the gas valve and tries to light the burner. If it does sense the burner is not lit, then it shuts the valve off. Most try that 3 times then go into lockout.

Trying to find a intermittent problem like you have is simply no fun. If as you originally said
I discovered that on occasion it will not spark” is still true, then it’s either the Control Board, electrode wiring, or the sail switch not closing. Make sure any air ducts are clear. I have a hunch that in the end you will have to replace the control board.


Your PD 733 Unit:
It does not require a battery to function properly. Diagram for it is on pdf page 26 of the service manual. There are 2 possible configurations for the 733 model. Either with an automatic transfer relay or a manual SPDT switch which are used to transfer 12VDC power supply from the battery or the converter. I do not know which version you have, but neither version “requires” a battery to be installed to work of the converter. Please note that in the switch version shown in the drawing, the battery output is disconnected when the converter output is selected (no battery required). The 733 could also be ordered with a 5 amp battery charging function. If installed, there will be a circuit board located in the power distribution section. There is no fan installed in the PD unit. If the converter section is not maintaining the load resulting in the voltage drop, then one of the components (transformer, diodes, capacitors) in the converter section is failing. Please note that the furnace should be still operating if the voltage drops to 11.8VDC when blower motor is running.

Dave

Here is some pictures of the PD Power Control Center I used to have in my 78 Chieftain (different model from yours)



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Old 12-25-2011, 03:15 PM   #13
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The voltage at the STAT is HIGHER than at the power center? Should not be possible less there is a "Foreign Battery" on the system.

The power center (Breakers and/or fuses) is nearly NEVER the problelm unless you can see visible evidence of charing or melting.

HOWEVER the Converter, which may or may not be intergrated can generate low voltage.

STILL,, how it would be nearly a full volt higher at the stat is beyond me.
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Old 12-25-2011, 03:29 PM   #14
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wa8yxm,
Loaded (Furnace ON) vs unloaded (Furnace OFF) is your answer even though she made the measurements at 2 different points in the system. In electronics, the full voltage potential is seen throughout the circuit when switch is OFF. The voltage drop is when the converter is under a load (Furnace ON).

These older PD units are known for developing corrosion problems with the connector pins. I had repaired a couple of issues in the past until I finally replaced my setup with newer converter (PD9260) and seperate AC/DC Distribution APnel due to these types of issues.

Dave

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