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Old 02-21-2018, 09:00 PM   #1
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Replacing a Schumacher OEM Converter for a Progressive Dynamics 4 stage converter

OK, now it’s my turn to ask for help.

I know this is a long post but please be patient with me. I've tried to give you all the back ground necessary to possibly help.

As some of you already know and have heard me express many times, I’m pretty darn good on fixing or modifying anything mechanical, but electrical…yeah not so much. I need help in that area. I’m just not confident there.

As you all know, we’re FTers, living and traveling in our MH and we’re heading to Maine this year starting in May. Our normal MO is usually staying 80% to 90% in CG’s. However, we’re warming up to the idea of boon docking a little more this year. Not a lot. Just some. Like maybe 7-10 days max at a time several times a year.

Sooooo, that means I have to upgrade our battery bay and our converter. I only have room & weight to toss out our 2 - 12V interstate house batt’s and replace them with 2 - 6V Trojan T-105’s wired in series. I do not want to rely solely on our generator to charge the batt’s when parked. So we’re also buying a 200watt Zamp portable suitcase solar panel to help charge up the batteries as a supplement.

I'm also adding a watering system and a TRI-METRIC 2030 BATTERY MONITOR:
https://www.rvupgradestore.com/RV-Ba...-p/55-8752.htm

https://www.amazon.com/AM-Solar-60-T...attery+monitor

Anyway, I don’t want to go into to much detail here about the solar panel supplement, because everyone will start commenting on solar…bla, bla, bla. Please don't do that.

And no, I’m not changing anything with our current Xantrex 1000watt inverter either. It's fine and will serve our needs. That’s all staying the same. Right now I just want to replace our batteries and install a 4 stage converter.

Our OEM Schumacher converter is single stage. It’s a 55amp converter but only charges at average 0.5amps and never gets the batt's to more than 13.9v. Totally inept for boon docking and especially for the Trojans. I want to replace it with a 4 stage Progressive Dynamics (PD) Converter - PD9260C with pendant. I’ve called PD and they said this model will work fine.
PROGRESSIVE DYNAMICS 60 AMP RV POWER CONVERTER CHARGER PD9260

In all fairness I did find this article/procedure that explains how a fella made this conversion with a Boondocks converter, but again it's really hard for me to follow and understand. I wish I was smarter with electrical but I'm not. BTW...our OEM converter already plugs into an electrical outlet like the fella in this article. So that part is already done.
http://www.bestconverter.com/assets/...stallation.pdf

I have spent about 2 weeks or more consumed with studying wiring diagrams, going online, talking to manufacturers etc. in hopes I could learn & do this install myself like I do everything else. But since it is electrical, I’m still a little unsure of myself to tackle it. I’ve called several mobile techs here in Houston, TX and can’t get anyone to call me back. I guess they just want to fix leaking roofs and replace AC units. There have been a couple of local S&B shops that said, “sure bring it by and we’ll look at it and then you can drop it off for an install". I don't mind and am more than willing to pay someone to install this for me but we live in our MH and I am NOT dropping off our HOME anywhere.

I wish I had a friend that knew what to do and could help me. I even called Winnebago for help, but they won't advise me installing a different system than OEM.

From everyone I’ve talked to this isn’t rocket science but in my mind—it is electrical—and I don’t want to burn down our home or mess up anything else.

I have learned though, that our MH with this Schumacher converter is wired a little bit different than most MH’s.

So, my question is:
Has anyone here changed out their Schumacher SARIC55 94-026-867 converter for a Progressive Dynamics 4 stage converter that could help me with how to do this?

I've attached a drawing of the OEM converter for reference and a PDF with links to all the wiring diagrams of our coach.

Thanks for reading—another long post of mine—and I hope this produces some results. I'm getting tired of stressing out over this.
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Old 02-21-2018, 10:11 PM   #2
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Marjoa, I wish I could help, but the job is beyond me. I had my RV mechanic do the work and was charged less than 2 hours, so at least you know it has been done successfully! Best of luck to you!
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:07 AM   #3
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Martin-

You can do this.

I replaced a Parallax single-stage converter with a PD9260 on the previous coach.

According to the wiring diagram for your coach (link here, sheet 4, detail CC), this should be an easy replacement.

There are four wires to disconnect and reconnect:

1) 120VAC input
2) Positive battery output
3) Negative battery output
4) Ground

It appears as if the converter is mounted below the kitchen sink. Hopefully you have reasonable access to it and its wires.

There are three questions to ask before you perform the replacement:

1) Are the dimensions of the old and new converter similar enough that you don't expect a clearance, mounting or post-installation access issue?
2) Are the wire wire attachment locations on the old and new units similar enough that you don't expect to need new wires?
2) Are the wire wire attachment types on the old and new units similar enough that you don't expect to need new ends on any wires?

Having answered those questions to your satisfaction, the replacement process goes like this:

1) Label the connections on the existing converter
2) Shut off converter breaker at 120VAC interior panel
3) Shut off AC power to the coach
4) Shut off DC house power to the coach (since you don't have solar now, this could be as simple as removing the ground cable from the house battery)
5) Disconnect the existing converter
6) Remove the existing converter
If more convenient, steps 5) and 6) may be reversed
7) Connect the new converter, 12V and ground
8) Mount the converter
If more convenient, steps 7) and 8) may be reversed
9) Connect the converter to 120VAC (plug it in)
10) Roughly dress (position) the wires
11) Activate DC power to the coach (reattach house battery ground cable)
No sparks? Probably OK
12) Activate AC power on the coach
No sparks? Probably OK
13) Activate converter circuit breaker on interior 12VAC panel
No sparks? Probably OK
What do your battery charging readouts say?
14) Finish dressing the wires into their final positions

That'll do it.

One suggestion: The Trojans are great batteries. But, if you can, go with Lifeline GPL-4CT 6V AGMs instead. They don't require watering. The extra $100 or so you'll spend on a watering system can go into paying the extra for the Lifelines. The Lifelines cost $288 each and the Trojans about $155 each. That makes a pair of Lifelines $166 more than a pair of Trojans with a watering system. The $ favor flooded batteries with a watering system when battery counts get to four, six or eight.
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:08 AM   #4
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Hey Mark,

Thanks for the vote of confidence. I feel like I can do this too, but I just need to really get my arms around this and understand it and think it through.

I have done some more looking around this morning and have come up with some additional info. and have taken some pictures. Please check back in a couple of hours and I'll have this post updated with the new stuff. Need to put it all together so it communicates well.

thx
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:58 AM   #5
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Ok, I've added 4 photos (here in this post) with lots of notes and a RetroFit Diagram that I found this morning.

The Retrofit Diagram is in the next post.

Please look at these carefully and either confirm I'm on the right track or please tell me where I go from here.

Once we iron this all out, I want to research a little and talk to you more about possibly using AGM's.

Thanks Mark and anyone else that wants to chime in.
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Old 02-22-2018, 07:00 AM   #6
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Here's the Retrofit Diagram.
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Old 02-22-2018, 07:42 AM   #7
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Martin-

I apologize. In my previous post I linked to an incorrect drawing (2014 Vista 35F). The correct drawing is this one.

The converter in your coach is not where the drawing says it should be. That's not all that important. What is important is where the two DC and the single ground leads go. Is there any way, without removing the converter, to determine that?

Also, what's in the cabinet above the vent but below the TV? Any removable panels there? Access to the AC electrical center from the aft side?
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l1v3fr33ord1 View Post
Martin-

I apologize. In my previous post I linked to an incorrect drawing (2014 Vista 35F). The correct drawing is this one.

Yeah I already have that drawing. Included that in my link in my original post.

The converter in your coach is not where the drawing says it should be.
Yes it's where the drawing says, it's supposed to be. It's under fridge, behind the AC panel.

That's not all that important. What is important is where the two DC and the single ground leads go. Is there any way, without removing the converter, to determine that?
No there's way I can determine that without removing the old converter. Did you look at that retrofit drawing I found? I was hoping that drawing would explain that?

However, when I talked to Winnebago they explained to me where these wires go so I made a drawing for my future reference. Maybe this is what you're wanting to know. See attached pic. I'm also including a PDF of this drawing so it can be enlarged and viewed better.

ALSO...
Here's a link to an article of a fella that made this retrofit change. He explains this 12V wiring in a little different way but appears to get to the same result. It appears his procedure is what the Retrofit drawing is saying but I need someone to confirm that. If that's the case, then your question here should be answered.
http://www.bestconverter.com/assets/...stallation.pdf

Also, what's in the cabinet above the vent but below the TV? Any removable panels there? Access to the AC electrical center from the aft side?
Not sure what you're looking at. I labeled those areas in my 4 photos. I just made a few more notes on Photo-1 to help explain these areas a little better. See below.
The TV is to the right of the AC panel and NO there is no access to the converter from that side.
ē AC panel below, fridge above. Removing the AC panel & electrical box under the fridge is where I'd gain access to the converter
ē To the left of that area is the vent on the bottom, then a drawer that I pulled out and built a shelf under the drawer for the new converter to sit, then above that the oven & cooktop. We don't use the oven. We store pots & pans int here only.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:28 AM   #9
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Martin, You are getting some good help here. My post is about using your PD converter/charger.

We were boondocking in Quartzite a couple of years ago with out TT that has a PD converter/charger, factory installed. On our unit, the 'pendant' is built-into the unit itself. It is a great unit so you made a good choice.

I was using our Honda 2000i generator an hour or so in the morning to top up the batts with the PD charger.

Anyway, I was noticing that the output of the charger never went very high, something like 13v was all I would see. So I called PD and the tech said you have to let the battery voltage drop to something like 12.3v in order for the PD charger to kick into 'bulk' mode and raise the charge voltage. I did and it did and so all is well.

So good luck with your installation and let us know how it goes.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:46 AM   #10
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Martin-

Yes, I may have read the drawings incorrectly (would not be the first time!). What matters is where things are in your coach, as you point out.

The conversion ("retrofit") drawings and pictures apply to installations where the converter output wiring terminates on a 12V panel that is near the converter. I don't think this is the case for your coach.

By the drawings for your coach, i.e.,

Sheet 4 Detail CC
Sheet 4 Detail CE
Sheet 8 View GB

the existing converter wiring terminates on a +12V stud and a -12V ground bar. These terminations are somewhere in the vicinity of the AC panel. If this is correct, then the conversion ("retrofit") info should not apply.

The idea of using the existing converter as a wiring junction may work, but it isn't (in my opinion) my first choice in how I'd do it. I'd remove the existing converter and run its leads to the new one, if long enough, and if not I'd run new leads to the stud and ground bar, as designed. If that didn't work, I might remove the old converter, terminate its leads on a pair of small busbars, and then run new leads from the new converter to the busbars. This has the disadvantage- as does the idea of using the existing converter as a wiring junction- of introducing new connection points into the leads, with their risk of future problems.

As far as wire gauge goes, I've seen values "in the literature" from 8 AWG to 4 AWG. The connectors on the new converter can take up to 2 AWG. It would be interesting to see what Winnebago used for the existing leads.

The new, removable shelf is a nice idea. Be aware that the fan is temperature-controlled. Installing the new converter in a warm or restricted-airflow area will increase the chances the converter fan will run more often. Although, it appears as if Winnebago wsn't too concerned about that when they installed the original converter. It is crammed in there.
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Old 02-22-2018, 11:31 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l1v3fr33ord1 View Post
Martin-

Yes, I may have read the drawings incorrectly (would not be the first time!). What matters is where things are in your coach, as you point out.

The conversion ("retrofit") drawings and pictures apply to installations where the converter output wiring terminates on a 12V panel that is near the converter. I don't think this is the case for your coach.

By the drawings for your coach, i.e.,

Sheet 4 Detail CC
It's sheet 3 not 4

Sheet 4 Detail CE
It's sheet 3 not 4

Sheet 8 View GB
It's sheet 7 not 8

I have already posted these drawings so yeah I know about these.

the existing converter wiring terminates on a +12V stud and a -12V ground bar. These terminations are somewhere in the vicinity of the AC panel. If this is correct, then the conversion ("retrofit") info should not apply.

The idea of using the existing converter as a wiring junction may work, but it isn't (in my opinion) my first choice in how I'd do it. I'd remove the existing converter and run its leads to the new one, if long enough, and if not I'd run new leads to the stud and ground bar, as designed. If that didn't work, I might remove the old converter, terminate its leads on a pair of small busbars, and then run new leads from the new converter to the busbars. This has the disadvantage- as does the idea of using the existing converter as a wiring junction- of introducing new connection points into the leads, with their risk of future problems.


As I have said, this is more difficult than your regular change out. If you look at the back of the PD converter there's no way to take the 2 wires from the old converter—wire "J" and wire "M"—see in the drawing I furnished and just attach them to the new converter. I'm tired. I'm going to con't looking for an electrician. My brain is mush. I was hoping to find someone here that has done this where I could cut through all the clutter. Thanks for trying to help anyway.


As far as wire gauge goes, I've seen values "in the literature" from 8 AWG to 4 AWG. The connectors on the new converter can take up to 2 AWG. It would be interesting to see what Winnebago used for the existing leads.

The new, removable shelf is a nice idea. Be aware that the fan is temperature-controlled. Installing the new converter in a warm or restricted-airflow area will increase the chances the converter fan will run more often. Although, it appears as if Winnebago wsn't too concerned about that when they installed the original converter. It is crammed in there.
See my above comments.
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Old 02-22-2018, 11:54 AM   #12
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Martin-

I apologize if I've exasperated you. That was not my intent.

You got me! In making references in my replies I usually point out the difference between the drawing sheet numbers and the PDF document page numbers. I didn't this time, and should remember better to do that next time, since you pointed out the discrepencies.

One last observation. If your coach is wired as per the drawing in your post #8 (the drawing you got from Winnebago), then your goal should be to connect the new converter to wires "K," "L" and "U." (Or, replace them with new wires that terminate in the same places.) Wires "J" and "M" remain just as they are.

Best wishes getting your converter switched out.
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Old 02-22-2018, 12:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l1v3fr33ord1 View Post
Martin-

I apologize if I've exasperated you. That was not my intent.

You got me! In making references in my replies I usually point out the difference between the drawing sheet numbers and the PDF document page numbers. I didn't this time, and should remember better to do that next time, since you pointed out the discrepencies.

One last observation. If your coach is wired as per the drawing in your post #8 (the drawing you got from Winnebago), then your goal should be to connect the new converter to wires "K," "L" and "U." (Or, replace them with new wires that terminate in the same places.) Wires "J" and "M" remain just as they are.

Best wishes getting your converter switched out.
Thanks Mark.

It wasn't you that exasperated me. If you knew how many times I've discussed this with others, made phone calls, sent emails, submitted drawings etc, etc over the past 2 weeks with the result of basically can't get a straight answer from anybody. And then on top of that can't seem to get a certified RV electrician to come out and do this. But I guess I'm going to try harder with this option.

Then I ran across that link a few days ago I posted earlier. The top link that's titled "Schumacher to Powermax 4 Stage Upgrade". It's using a different brand converter but wiring it up seems to be the same as a PD unit.
Schumacher Converter Upgrade

Then I ran across that RetroFit drawing drawing this morning and as I read it, I thought, "man this looks just like the fella's description I read on bestconverter.com the other day. So I put them side by side and compared what was said and what the drawing was depicting. It seems to be the same but I need someone smarter than me to verify this.

Now, I even talked to the guy at bestconverter.com. His name is Randy. He wasn't very patient with me and just rattled off something like, "Martin all you have to do is bla, bla, bla......bla, bla, bla....... Which of course I couldn't follow. He know's what he's saying, but I don't. But basically he said you just leave the OEM converter where it is, and disable the converter part. Then you tie in from the back of the board to your new converter and it now takes over.

Sounds simple enough to someone who understands the whole thing and is confident in their electronic skills. I'm actually going to email Randy this RetroFit drawing and ask him is this what you're describing?

Thanks again Mark.
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Old 02-24-2018, 04:46 AM   #14
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Well good news.

I finally got a hold of a RVIA/RVDA Certified Mobile Tech to come out to access the situation. He's going to install the 4 stage converter as soon as I get the parts in. YEAH!
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