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Old 07-27-2008, 03:36 PM   #1
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Converter testing

Is there a way to test the converter in our 2002 Airstream? Our battery recently was "boiled" so we replaced it. We don't know the reason for the "boil" but suspect that low water was the cause.

We now have a new battery but hestitate to connect to shore power until we have ruled out that the converter caused the "boil". Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-27-2008, 04:25 PM   #2
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you'll need to explain 'testing' if the following doesn't cover it, but here is potentially useful info.

the charger/converter in question puts out dc voltage somewhere above a fully charged battery.

13+ volts.

the parallax unit in your trailer is supposed to include a 'trickle/float charge stage' that engages as the battery reaches FULL charge.

BUT that stage may not be working OR the bulk charge stage may be set too HIGH...

so as the battery charges OR remains on shore power the water is cooked off.

this is beyond normal battery water loss (whatever that is) & all of these open water/lead/acid batteries need a periodic drink...

SO one can use a multimeter to check the charger OUTPUT at the charger OR at the pre-battery/terminal wiring...

there are several threads on the process of evaluating univolt, 2 stage or 3 stage charge controllers...

agm batteriers OR more sophisticated charge controllers will improve the water loss issue.

IF ya wanna keep the trailer connect to ac power 24/7/365 when not in use,

but don't wanna cook the batteries, consider using a simple 15-20 amp household timer...

u can set the timer for however much time u'd like charging to happen each day...

this is a simple solution to the cooked battery issue, but u will still need to add water as needed,

unless the new batteries are agms.

cheers
2air'
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Old 07-27-2008, 09:37 PM   #3
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The chicken or the egg

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Originally Posted by yukionna View Post
Is there a way to test the converter .
If your old battery was bad it could send a false signal to the converter and tell it to keep charging at the 13.5 plus volts for a fast charge. Now that you have a new battery, the only thing you can do is hook it up when you can keep an eye on it. If it continues to boil after it reaches 13.5 volts, then you need a new converter. In other words, if your converter is good and your battery is good, your converter is suppose to bump down to a slow charge once you reach the proper voltage.

If this is what happens your converter is what ruined your old battery. The chicken or the egg thing.

When you hook up the new battery, keep an eye on it! If the water boils out, your new battery will also be bad.

Dan
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Old 07-27-2008, 11:25 PM   #4
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Actually the thing is that over charging makes a battery boil and the explode and u know its like batteries generate hydrogen when they're charging.
Hydrogen is kinda flammable.
Converters are not concerned with bateery when your car is runnig in oil..


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Old 07-28-2008, 06:26 AM   #5
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This is true

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Actually the thing is that over charging makes a battery boil and the explode and u know its like batteries generate hydrogen when they're charging.
Hydrogen is kinda flammable.
Converters are not concerned with bateery when your car is runnig in oil..


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This is true.

Keep a covered eye on it.
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Old 07-28-2008, 06:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman View Post
...

SO one can use a multimeter to check the charger OUTPUT at the charger OR at the pre-battery/terminal wiring...
Note, I don't want to be hooked up to shore power 24/7...I just want to hook up when I am at a campground with electric hookups for a weekend or a week or two at the most.

I don't understand how using the multimeter to check the output at the converter will work. Doesn't the converter work based on the battery's needs (i.e., if the battery needs charging, the converter will "turn on" and charge it up)? Logically speaking, I would think the multi meter would need to simulate being a "low" battery so it could accurately test the converter's output.
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Old 07-28-2008, 08:38 AM   #7
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multimeter

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Originally Posted by yukionna View Post
I don't understand how using the multimeter to check the output at the converter will work.
When you have a good Battery and converter, and the Battery is low it will read 13.5 volts or a little over. Once the battery is fully charged, the charger is suppose to bump back to a little less than 12 volts.

If everything is working like it is suppose to there is no reson you could not leave the shore cord hooked up all the time.
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:02 AM   #8
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If everything is working like it is suppose to there is no reson you could not leave the shore cord hooked up all the time.
Dan
yeah...given, a properly functioning, newer "smart charger". I'm not sure that's what came from the factory in 2002.

my old, dumb univolt puts out 13.5 volts, constantly...which will boil the battery, eventually. but not "overnight".
On this type of setup, you just test the output of the charger by testing voltage at the battery terminals; not sure how you would go about that on a "smart charger", if part of its "smartness" is to drop its output voltage below that of a fully charged battery (12.7v ?)...testing at the terminals would always show at least that much.
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yukionna View Post
...I don't understand how using the multimeter to check the output at the converter will work...
what dan 4 outdoormart said!

there are also small inline sensor/display panels that can be installed,

these doodads will display continuously what charger output voltage is provided.

what parallax model does your trailer have?

cheers
2air'
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Old 07-28-2008, 12:54 PM   #10
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A Progressive Dynamics 9100 with Charge Guard, will put out 14.4 volts in the boost mode, until the battery is 90% charged then go to "Normal" which is 13.6 volts. After 30 hours of inactivity, it will go to float or storage, which is 13.2 volts.
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Old 07-29-2008, 08:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman View Post
...what parallax model does your trailer have?...
Thanks everyone for the advice.

The converter we have is:
Magnatek brand
Model 7455
Series 7400
55 Amp

Using a digital voltmeter on the converter, we got a reading of 13.6. It is a brand new battery so I'm assuming it may need a little charge? We have plugged into shore power now and are keeping an eye on it for the next 24 hours or so. Can the new battery boil in a day or two? Are there any warning signs of an impending boil or do I have to keep checking the voltmeter and the water level. Not sure how I would know positively if my charger is good or not.

It would be nice to figure this all out in the next day or two because the Inteli-Power converters are on sale until 7/31 this week.

I have another question...the existing converter is 55 amp...is it ok to replace it with a 60 amp or am I better off dropping down to a 45 amp. Just asking because the Inteli-Power doesn't have a 55 amp model.
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:13 PM   #12
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so that looks about right, 13.6v...

and once the battery is fully juiced this should drop to 12v+...

parallax has a useful page with LOTs of product info..

including a FAQ that answers some of your questions, and model specific owner manuals...

http://www.parallaxpower.com/ESM.htm

this time of year IF it's in full use, check the water level every 2-4 weeks...

IF it's working there's no need to replace it,

BUT when a replacement is needed opt for the 60amp over the 45...

should u ever want to add solar panels or another battery or 2.

does the trailer have only ONE battery?

if that's the case with no expectation of every adding more the 45 amp would see ok too...

but someone who actually KNOWS should chime in...

this thread hasn't been updated in a while but has a LOT of exchange about the 3 stage chargers...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f206...yet-17326.html

i suspect the 'sale' is to move inventory.

there is a new "hot/cool" replacement option bc now suggests,

but it's not on sale.

cheers
2air'
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