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Old 04-16-2006, 10:02 AM   #1
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Question Electrical all over again

I have read and re-read all the electrical threads. "Wrapped around the axel" has a whole new meaning in this area of discussion.

Please simple suggestions here....by the way I really like the link:

http://www.ccis.com/home/mnemeth/12volt/12volt.htm

I am planning an upgrade to the simple (plan to keep it that way) electrical system in a 66 Caravel.

Question 1. The univolt is going! Recommendations on Intelipower with the Battery minder built in (new version just out.) Will need a separate fuse panel........or......... MagnaTech converter/charger with fuse panel incorporated.........or..?

Question 2. Dump the whole converter idea and go to a mediun priced inverter with a three stage charger?

Question 3. High AMP with deep charge battery. Only one, I am space limited in the Caravel. Which one?

Question 4. The Caravel has the present univolt side by side with the battery. Everything I read says NO, NO, NO! Hydrogen off gassing fire/explosion chances....especially with the overcharging on univolt chargers. Any Experience here or thoughts on equipment placement/separation?

Question 5. Battery and converter/inverter compartment air circulation? Thoughts here?

Please keep it simple.....not like the other threads on the subject which seemed to go way overboard.....this should be fun too.

Thanks,.....other questions to follow....polishing begins this week.
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Old 04-16-2006, 10:35 AM   #2
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MR,

If I was going to start from scratch, I would go with a WFCO converter and a couple of AGM batteries. The WFCO is less expensive than the other converters, smaller, and has the internal 3 stage smart charge, the Glass Mat deep cycle batteries do not give off any gas and they are maintenance free www.lifeline.com. You can locate them anywhere, they hold a charge much longer than liquid cells and you can draw thhem down to 20% once a while if you have to.

You don't really need an inverter unless you intend to boondock for extended periods and then you should get a couple of solar panels ($$$$$) or a small generator (propane powered preferrably). They are basically for a MoHo to provide 120VAC from the batteries while going down the road.

Hope this helps!
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Old 04-16-2006, 11:57 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melody Ranch
Question 1. The univolt is going! Recommendations on Intelipower with the Battery minder built in (new version just out.) Will need a separate fuse panel........or......... MagnaTech converter/charger with fuse panel incorporated.........or..?
Use a converter with 3-stage charging. We, and many others here, use the InteliPower with Charge Wizard. For me, it replaced a single stage Magna-Tek. You don't ask about converter size, but a 45A should do the job with only one battery and give you some DC power to use on top of that being used for charging.

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Originally Posted by Melody Ranch
Question 2. Dump the whole converter idea and go to a mediun priced inverter with a three stage charger?
If you want a "whole house" inverter that can send power to the entire 120VAC distribution in the trailer, the Xantrex 458 or Marine series (with 50A charging) are pretty popular. The 30A power cord goes to their transfer switch. When there is shorepower, the transfer switch connects it to the 120VAC distribution in the trailer, as well as uses it to charge the batteries, and turns off the inverter. When there isn't shorepower, the transfer switch disconnects the 30A power cord to keep linemen from being electrocuted by your inverter, and connects your trailer's 120VAC to the inverter output. It becomes your responsibility not to turn on anything connected to or plugged into the trailer 120VAC distribution that would exceed the inverter output. For example, an air-conditioner, microwave oven, electrical heating element in the water heater, etc.

I'm not a fan of inverters because of how quickly their huge current draw can deplete a battery charge, and I personally wouldn't run more than a 500W inverter, which can draw up to 50A, off a single 100 amp-hour battery. That being said, the smallest inverter/charger I know of is the 1000W version of Xantrex 458, which can draw up to 100A from the battery. You'd probably be okay if you were careful about what you used with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melody Ranch
Question 3. High AMP with deep charge battery. Only one, I am space limited in the Caravel. Which one?
I'd recommend the 100 amp-hour Lifeline AGM GPL-27T. If there's room, you might consider the slightly larger 105 amp-hour GPL-31T. Besides not gassing explosive hydrogen and corrosive acid mist when charging, there are many other advantages to AGM batteries, including an extremely low self-discharge rate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melody Ranch
Question 4. The Caravel has the present univolt side by side with the battery. Everything I read says NO, NO, NO! Hydrogen off gassing fire/explosion chances....especially with the overcharging on univolt chargers. Any Experience here or thoughts on equipment placement/separation?
It's not just explosive hydrogen that you have to worry about when charging flooded cell batteries, but corrosive acid mist as well. AGM batteries are sealed and don't outgas when charging. If you're installing the battery in the living area, they're definitely the choice.

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Originally Posted by Melody Ranch
Question 5. Battery and converter/inverter compartment air circulation? Thoughts here?
Airstream put our batteries in exterior compartments, where flooded cell batteries should be. They installed our converter under the couch, where most of the space is taken up by the big drawer, as well as by the battery compartents. I'd say there's maybe 2-3 cubic feet of air around the converter and we've not had any problem with overheating it.
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Old 04-16-2006, 12:56 PM   #4
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I think you got some good advice however I would not place any batteries in the living area and given the choice, space the converter or inverter some distance away from the batteries. Obviously keep the converter away from LPG compartments but that’s not usually a problem with Airstreams.
It’s true that Lifeline AGMs don’t normally gas like common wet cells but they do have a pressure relief valve that will open when the internal pressure reaches 2 PSI. This would normally only happen during a severe overcharging condition and not likely with a voltage regulated modern switch mode converter. For this reason, code still requires AGMs to be installed in a vented compartment.
Our favorite (and most popular lately) switch mode converter is the WFCO. It has the 3-stage charging built-in like the new Inteli-Power and is extremely reliable. I heard Fleetwood uses them exclusively now…not that there is anything special about Fleetwood but as the largest manufacture of RVs, that’s just a lot of units floating around out there and they rarely fail.
I see Lew is a Master RV Tech, I did not realize that but he too probably has a lot of experience swapping out old Univolts for newer switch converters.
We are testing the brand new 9200 series Inteli-Power and at this point have decided to hold off awhile but there is an abundance of remanufactured 9200 Series out there if someone wants to save some money.
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Old 04-16-2006, 10:17 PM   #5
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Hey Randy,

I'm with ya' on the WFCO converters. I pulled the new 55 amp from my new 19CCD and replaced it with the WFCO 55. Nothing wrong with the old one.....I'm just a perfectionist! Added Lifeline's too. Much better set-up IMHO!

I've had to replace about a dozen various types of converters in the last several months and only 1 WFCO....and that one fried due to charging a bad (dry and shorted) battery.
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Old 04-17-2006, 09:33 AM   #6
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Wfco

I have really appreciated the help here. I too am going to the WFCO and lifeline. In my search for a cleaned up system whats the opinion of the WFCO 8900 cabinet mount system? Id like to avoid the additional mess with fuse boards and wiring. This looks like a complete, one unit package.
Thanks again. (like to do this today...any good places to buy with pricing and good reputation?)
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Old 04-17-2006, 11:34 PM   #7
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MR,
The cabinet mount units are fine however if you already have 30 Amp main and the associated AC breakers, there is really no need to drag all that wire to a new power center unless you really want to. I appriciate "clean-up" as you said. One other thought though is that some of the 60s Airstreams have aluminum wiring so that might be one reason but again, not necessary. If all of your AC stuff is working, all you really need is a deck mount converter/charger and it will fit in less then the same real estate that your Univolt takes up...less property tax right? You can even add a battery with the weight savings! Well, almost, but I bet that Univolt weighs close to 30 lbs. or better.
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