Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Tech Issues: Converter charger upgrade
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 > Converter charger upgrade

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skills4lou

Dillon, MT

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Posted: 10/10/20 06:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi all,
We recently purchased a '92 Wilderness TT, and I'm slowly going through and refurbishing systems. I have the furnace and refrigerator working well, and a good start on the plumbing. It's been quite a while since I did much research on electrical items though.
I'm hoping to get some advice/personal experience on converter/chargers. I installed 2 group 24 batteries on the tongue (12V - parallel) and that works quite well for us. I had it out a couple weekends ago and we went all weekend without needing to fire up the generator. I upgraded all the lights to LED, so that helps a lot. (I should mention that we boondock 95% of the time or more). Anyhow, while it's parked at home I'd like to leave it plugged in and NOT boil the batteries. The existing converter/charger is a basic Todd Engineering Power Source PC-40. From my measurements of the state of charge, it appears to be constant 14.2V output. Fine for bulk charging, but not long term.
So, what is the thinking these days for smart chargers? A basic internet search shows that Progressive Dynamics is still around, but I never really liked the idea of needing to buy a separate module to enable 'smart' charging. I am looking to spend up to $200 or so, and stick with ~40A output to not overload the generator (2000W).
I have no need for an inverter/charger. I would like to have solar eventually, but that will probably not be for another year or so.
Thanks in advance!
GH

* This post was edited 10/10/20 06:24pm by skills4lou *


I'm not an expert, but I play one on the internet ">
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doughere

Mooresville NC

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Posted: 10/10/20 06:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've used Progressiv Dynamics in 3 units. They've been around a long time and have a great rep. The converters will all "smart charge" automaticaly, I like the pendant to know what mode they are in, and override if I want. I have 480 watts of solar and the PD converter plays with the solar controller just fine.

Doug

time2roll

Southern California

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Posted: 10/10/20 07:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Either of these will work great. Stay away from WFCO
Note the PD wizard is built into the 9200 series.


Boondocker

Progressive dynamics

There might be a slide in replacement board for the Todd power center. Ask Randy. If either of these brands have it they will work great also. Don't get any WFCO based kit.


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DrewE

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Posted: 10/10/20 07:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Many of the PD converters come with the charge wizard built-in: the 9200 series (deck mount) and the 4600 (chassis mount for power centers with built-in converters). For these, the additional remote pendant is only needed to manually control and monitor what mode it's in--and I think the 4600 series you can do that less conveniently without the remote on the converter itself.

The older 9100 series does need an additional upgrade circuit board for the charge wizard, with which they're essentially identical to the 9200 series.

The 9245 or 9260 would be excellent choices for your needs, and within your budget. A 2000W generator should be readily able to power either one.





wa8yxm

Wherever I happen to park

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Posted: 10/11/20 04:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would recommend a Progressive Dynamics 8200 Series for that battery set up the max charge rate is about 40 to 50 amps so 9245 is the model I'd suggest
Optionally get the pendant but 1: You can add it later if you wish and 2: read up on it before spending the money (If you don't know how to use the pendant then don't waste the bucks)
This is a 3-stage PLUS converter the Charge Wizard software is optimized for Flooded wet cell and Most common maintenance free. It had BULK, Absortion and float and if it sits in float for an extended period (I **THINK** 20 hours) it kicks into an auto equalization/desulfate mode (over charge) for like 15 minutes. My original house batteries lasted 9 years using a wizard controlled converter.

In 15 years I've not found a better converter. OH I'm on my 2nd. 1st one died of old age Went to factory and got a refurb. (Yes I actually went to the factory. It's in Michigan).

Now: when your batteies die (in say 5-10 years) I'd recommend upgrading to a pair of GC-2 in series.. you get over twice the usable amp hours.. Same converter will baby them.


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mbopp

Henrietta, NY, USA

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Posted: 10/11/20 08:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I know PD is the big favorite but I have an IOTA-55 deck mount converter to suppliment the factory WFCO. It's mounted in the pass through and feeds dual 6V batteries. The WFCO is turned off at its breaker and is only used as an AC - DC distribution center.


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ajriding

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Posted: 10/11/20 09:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Forget the converter upgrade.

For a bit over $200 you can go solar and never have to plug in. Since you BD 95% of the time you really, really need solar anyway. If you have any basic electrical skills you can do the install yourself.

Skills needed: know positive from negative battery side, be able to strip and crimp wires, be able to run wires through a hole, be able to attach brackets to a roof and attach a panel to the bracket.

Two 100 watt panels - $145 shipped from ebay. (or one 200 watt)
one MPPT controller $30-40 shipped.
additional wire and bracket and Lap sealant = $40-50

The MPPT controller should not overcharge the batts, but you still need to check water a few times per year.
You never have to plug in, just keep the panels in the sun (remove snow).
Your batts recharge every day while camping.

Since u live so far north maybe you want to have panels on a hinge so you can tilt them south. This is more complicated but doable.

Keep your existing charger for times you might camp next to an outlet and want more DC power, though you might never need this option unless it is raining, snowing or you park in heavy shade (though panels will still do some charging even under trees).

Lots n lots of topics on solar, you can find everything you need to know just browsing all the threads

skills4lou

Dillon, MT

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Posted: 10/11/20 12:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

time2roll wrote:

Either of these will work great. Stay away from WFCO
Note the PD wizard is built into the 9200 series.


Boondocker

Progressive dynamics

There might be a slide in replacement board for the Todd power center. Ask Randy. If either of these brands have it they will work great also. Don't get any WFCO based kit.


Thanks for the links!

My convertor is deck mount, so very easy to swap out without needing to match existing power center (actually they are mounted in completely separate compartments). And, I couldn't agree more on the WFCO comments! A previous RV had one, and I ended up replacing the entire panel just to stop having troubles with it.

* This post was edited 10/11/20 01:05pm by skills4lou *

skills4lou

Dillon, MT

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Posted: 10/11/20 01:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ajriding wrote:

Forget the converter upgrade....
Lots n lots of topics on solar, you can find everything you need to know just browsing all the threads


Solar is on the list for down the road. I've done a couple installs on previous RVs, and have the tools and know-how to do it. Next time though it's going to be portable so I can adjust the angle throughout the day.

This is more for storage than anything else. I live in a forest, ~47°N latitude and we get a lot of snow through the winter. Solar panels just aren't going to get enough sunlight to keep up.

wopachop

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Posted: 10/11/20 01:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I looked up the ones listed. Do any of them allow you to run a temp probe? Didnt see it listed in the general specs.

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