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Old 11-04-2010, 10:35 PM   #1
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Switch for Converter

I recently started living fulltime in my 1994 32H Bounder. I have full hookups. I will retire at 62 in 4yrs, 4mo, & 10 days.
Fulltime traveller I will become, yes !!

I am looking at ways to save $$ for that travelling.

Since there is a solar battery charger on the roof, and I am at work all day, I am concidering installing a switch to be able to turn off/on the power converter/charger at will.

I have already installed a digital battery volt meter so I can see when the batteries get low. I figured I could turn on the converter while I'm there in the evening if they get down to 12v, then switch it off when I go to bed.

I think this method will save me some electric bill $$, as the converter must be using power, even when not powering up anything.

Any thoughts about this would be appreciated.
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Old 11-04-2010, 10:45 PM   #2
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I have a 1999 Tradewinds with four house batteries and two chassis batteries. I leave it plugged in all the time and monitor the power usage with a KillAWatt meter. When the batteries are charged the power consumption is between 40 and 60 watts. I doubt that would affect the electric bill very much. Here is a link to a KillAWatt for about $17.00. It's a good tool and may show you it's not worth the effort and cost to manage the converter.
Amazon.com: P3 International P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor: Camera & Photo

Dick
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Old 11-04-2010, 11:12 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. I am ordering one right now.

Was that 40-60 watts per hour, or per day ?

Another question...what about saving some wear & tear on the converter by keeping it off when not needed ?
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Old 11-05-2010, 12:16 AM   #4
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That was constant 40 to 60 watts. Like having a light bulb on all the time.

I should think it's better to keep the batteries topped off as far as wear and tear goes. If they discharge too deep they loose life and need replaced. Since your coach is a 1994 the charger has proven it's self. It's not like they wear out. Parts will fail with use but after that many years it would probably take some kind of trauma to break it. Charging low batteries does put a higher demand for current, and that's closer to the design limit of the components.

Perhaps someone else here on the board has another opinion and will chime in.
Dick
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Old 11-05-2010, 10:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr300ce View Post
Since there is a solar battery charger on the roof, and I am at work all day, I am concidering installing a switch to be able to turn off/on the power converter/charger at will.
Not (usually) needed, for two reasons (See additional comments)

Reason 1: Already exists: Circuit breaker marked CONV or CONVERTER is just the switch you wish to install

Reason 2: Quality converters like the Progressive Dynamics 9200 series or a long list of others. Will "Shut themselves off" as it were when the battery is full.

Additional note:
Some older, single stage converters, such as the Magnetek 6300.. (THe 6300 is also the breaker/fuse box and you will find it's label on the breaker box door) does NOT shut itself off but continues to charge and charge and overcharge till it kills your batteries or boils them dry.. You do wish to shut that one off when it's not needed.
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Old 11-06-2010, 05:25 PM   #6
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My Info book says the converter/charger will NOT over charge the batteries, so that is a good thing. My concern is to save $$ by not running it while I'm not at home. Even when it is not charging the batts, it is still on, and consuming electricity.

I found just the solution. A Digital Timer. $10. Just plug it into the wall plug, then the converter into it. I can set it to supply power to the converter when ever I want. So, I will have it come ON when I'm home at night, and using lights, fans, etc., then auto shut OFF at bedtime.

I'll let you know how it all works out.
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Old 11-07-2010, 07:07 PM   #7
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The converter has some overhead, i.e power loss, in its operation, but I think you are worrying about pennies at most. It will be interesting to see your results. Results will vary with the quality and age of the inverter, and the condition of the battery, though. For example, if a battery has high internal resistance, the charger runs a lot trying to overcome that and bring the charge up. It never succeeds, so it 'wastes" electricity. But the fix is to install a new battery, not to turn the charger off.
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:40 PM   #8
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My 95 Bounder, one year newer than yours, came wih a genuine full power battery boiler. I had to add distilled water weekly. I basically did what you are suggesting - I shut off the converter (unless i was working on something) Mon thru Fri. Be not concerned about the 'Factory' solar panel, it's pretty much decorative. Save up ypur quarters and buy a Progressive Dynamics 9245 or 9260. That will end all battery concerns, flat out.
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