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Old 02-09-2010, 11:58 AM   #1
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Two converters in less than two years?

Full-timers, please chime in here. We're replacing our second converter which is only 8 months old. We're full-timers hooked up to shore power 99% of the time (campgrounds or home base). Although the converter is under warranty, the question is, is there a larger electrical issue here?

A few of our RV friends say, the converter in our '07 Safari is notorious for failing. Try a different one.

Others say, it would happen with even a good converter because of the load we have on it 24/7. Since we're full-timers, it's not out of the question to have to replace one once a year.

My gut says, get it to an Airstream dealer and document before the general two-year warranty on the Airstream expires.

Any thoughts? Thanks in Advance!
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Old 02-09-2010, 12:10 PM   #2
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What brand? If it is a World Friendship, Chinese made, that is no surprise. I have replaced 2 on my daughters trailer in 4 years and she only uses the trailer many 5 weekends and a vacation each year.

They start to make excessive noise as the plates in the transformer start to separate.
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Old 02-09-2010, 12:35 PM   #3
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Unfortunately, the only thing I remember is Parallax. Does that help?
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Old 02-09-2010, 12:41 PM   #4
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...Any thoughts?...
yes,

are u using a VOLTAGE meter while plugged in and when USING much current?

one possibility is long exposures to LOW voltage via the shoreline, the p-lax won't like that.

full timing does place demands on the a/s oem bits,

that goes BEYOND their intended purpose and will quickly use UP the duty cycle...

and low voltage makes that happen FASTER with the electrical things.
_________

howieE...

the o.p. unit came with a p-lax 7300 series charger/converter.

yes made in china but so are almost ALL of them now.

the xantrex units for example now are stamped with "designed in canada"...

"made in china"

have u got an example of a make/model c/c manufactured domestically, that still will be next year?

cheers
2air'
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Old 02-09-2010, 12:49 PM   #5
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Do not hesitate to get to a dealer and fully consume your 2 year warranty. Too valuable a commodity to waste. While your at it invest in that voltage monitor. 2air is right on the money. I'm surprised more components haven't died in our trailer from some of the CG voltage I've seen.
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Old 02-09-2010, 12:54 PM   #6
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Progressive Dynamics claims their 9100 series converters are still made in Marshall Mi.

I have used one of these on my trailer ever since the original boiled 2 batteries while plugged in at home. The Inteli Wizard option controls the converter output and cuts back as the voltage reaches full charge rather than just keep going till the batteries are dry.
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Old 02-09-2010, 01:12 PM   #7
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Progressive Dynamics claims their 9100 series converters are still made in Marshall Mi...
just downloaded the catalog, they've got some nice products.

looks like a great choice for upgrading the 'streams...

cheers
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Old 02-09-2010, 01:20 PM   #8
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Rivet They should last longer than that

I will agree that you should get it replaced under warranty. You deserve it. That's what the warranty is for.

<rant>
I disagree with the idea that a product shouldn't last because you use it. I mean I really disagree with that! The idea that you can only expect anything to last for any length of time if you don't use it is absurd. Unfortunately, many RV products are built to exactly that standard.

The attitude seems to be, "We can make a greater profit selling products made to deliver the absolute minimum necessary to function for any amount of time at all because almost nobody will call us on it. Ever."
<rant/>

OK, got that off my chest.

The Progressive Dynamics converter in my old Trade Wind lasted more than eight years under full time use. It still works. I recently installed a PD in my Excella. The positive experience with the one in the Trade Wind was a factor in my decision.

I also agree with 2air, an AC voltage monitor is helpful. Low voltage can bring you a multitude of woes.
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Old 02-09-2010, 02:09 PM   #9
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2 air, vs, howie and silver, thanks for the feedback! 2 air interested in the idea of LOW voltage. Currently, we are tied into box that a commercial electrician attached to our "guest house". (Originally it was for a 50amp RV. We still use the 50amp surge guard, but with a 50 to 30 amp adapter, 20' extension and 30 amp electrical cord that came with Airstream. About 50' in total length.)

When you say Voltage meter ... are you referring to the 110 voltage meter? This is usually well within the safe range. Is there a 12 volt meter that is different? Where would one put this? What would explain the Low Voltage?

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Old 02-09-2010, 02:35 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by stowaways View Post
2 air, vs, howie and silver, thanks for the feedback! 2 air interested in the idea of LOW voltage. Currently, we are tied into box that a commercial electrician attached to our "guest house". (Originally it was for a 50amp RV. We still use the 50amp surge guard, but with a 50 to 30 amp adapter, 20' extension and 30 amp electrical cord that came with Airstream. About 50' in total length.)

When you say Voltage meter ... are you referring to the 110 voltage meter? This is usually well within the safe range. Is there a 12 volt meter that is different? Where would one put this? What would explain the Low Voltage?

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If I may be so bold as to start a reply for 2air, when he said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman View Post

...
one possibility is long exposures to LOW voltage via the shoreline, the p-lax won't like that.
...

cheers
2air'
by shoreline he meant the AC connection/voltage. Sometime back 2air put up a picture of a Good Governor GG101 AC voltage meter that he uses. After seeing it, I was able to locate one so I also use one of them. They just plug into an AC outlet. There is a photo of one on Camping World's website, but they are no longer available. Which is too bad, because they are a nice product. (On edit, I just noticed that the one in the photo is displaying 60. They will also display Hertz in addition to Voltage. Helps in evaluating genset performance.)

I have noticed lower voltage than usual here on the cold nights. It has been much colder here than is usual in Little Rock and while the voltage is still in the good range, it is lower than usual. You may be experiencing the same thing in FW due to higher demand in this weather. Right now my AC voltage is 122, but last night it was 116 to 117. Should be good, but you get the idea.

There is a 12 VDC meter, the Voltminder, also available. However that measures the voltage from the converter not to the system. I considered getting one, but I have a good digital multimeter so I use it to check periodically.
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Old 02-09-2010, 02:40 PM   #11
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good memory vaughan!

here's the thread with the pics of that model ( the good governor) which is still going strong...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...elp-33986.html

too bad they when out of biz...

camping world carries at least 2 similar units, per your links...

Quote:
Originally Posted by stowaways View Post
...We still use the 50amp surge guard, but with a 50 to 30 amp adapter, 20' extension and 30 amp electrical cord that came with Airstream. About 50' in total length.)

When you say Voltage meter ... are you referring to the 110 voltage meter? This is usually well within the safe range...

What would explain the Low Voltage?
in no was i suggesting ONLY low voltage as the cause, just 1 on the more common possibilities.

i have no idea what "usually well within the safe range" means...

voltage drop and the corresponding AMPERAGE/heat increases are progressive...

there may be distinct points when a breaker trips from heat/overload

but the effects of lower voltage are insidious.

and 50 feet of cord with several 'connectors' on the way could be an issue...

or a breaker for that line could be tired/failing...

ANYTHING under 110 volts and i start switching OFF stuff.

between 110 and 115 IF i see a voltage drop related to turning ON anything

(water heater, microwave, space heater, fridge) this gets my attention too...

during aircond' usage the voltage drop may only happen for short bits of time, like with start up...

so u may MISS some of the voltage drops that are none the less harmful...

a simple AFTER the fact check is to inspect the many CONNECTIONS along your 50 feet of cord...

any signs of MELT/burn/heat on the prongs is a clue to trouble.

yes the V reference is to the AC (which really is 120v not 110, i think).

the digi read out meters like this one,

Click image for larger version

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provide clearer feedback than analog meters like this one...

Click image for larger version

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and keep in mind the +/- accuracy of these things...
__________

again the voltage issue is but one of possibilities.

cheers
2air'
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Old 02-09-2010, 03:06 PM   #12
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2air...thanks for the explanation... I'm a girl without the electronics gene... but that was helpful! LOL

"a simple AFTER the fact check is to inspect the many CONNECTIONS along your 50 feet of cord..."

Don't laugh. We've replaced two extension cords (Camping World) because of burned (melted/heat marks) prongs.

So, a good first step might be to have the electrician 1) shorten the distance, change the box to be only 30 amp, 30 amp Surge Guard, etc.?
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Old 02-09-2010, 03:18 PM   #13
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...Don't laugh. We've replaced two extension cords (Camping World) because of burned (melted/heat marks) prongs...
yeah THAT's a sign o'trouble.

shorter cord, fewer 'connectors', LARGE gauge wire are all important in dealing with voltage drops...

then there is the wiring LEADING TO the 50/30 amp box, it may be under sized too...

basically everything from the 'big wire in the sky' needs to be UP to the requirements/needs down stream at the trailer.

one can check voltage at every junction along the way AND check that all the BITs used are sized correctly...

fat/short wire=good...and long/skinny wire=bad!

cheers
2air'
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Old 02-09-2010, 03:37 PM   #14
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Electrician on the way...we're moving the box within ten feet of the Airstream and buying a 30 AMP surge guard to eliminate the pig tail. Hopefully this will do the trick. Thanks as always 2air ... !
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