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Old 04-20-2017, 01:57 PM   #1
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Multi Stage Converter/Charger

I'm sure this topic has been addressed in the past but my search turned up nothing. My batteries need to be replaced but before doing so I want to upgrade to a multi (3) stage converter. My AS is a 2016 25'FC RB & 30 AMP service. My question is what amp converter is compatible with the wiring in my trailer, 35, 45 or 55amp. Also where is the converter/charger located, is it near the breaker box?
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Old 04-20-2017, 02:01 PM   #2
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The convertor is usually located behind the 12 volt DC fuse panel in your breaker box--the bottom half of the unit.

The convertor output is rated in the maximum number of amps it puts out when charging batteries. It has little to do with the 30 amp AC power that the Airstream runs on when connected to shore power.

That said, a 50-55 amp convertor is usually what Airstream puts in, so a similar one is enough. Suggest getting ahold of Randy at BestConvertor and discussing the swap out with him. There are models that replace the guts of the old one easily.
.
Have the model number and nameplate data from your existing convertor and fuse panel handy when you get hold of him.
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Old 04-20-2017, 03:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrjkq View Post
I'm sure this topic has been addressed in the past but my search turned up nothing. My batteries need to be replaced but before doing so I want to upgrade to a multi (3) stage converter. My AS is a 2016 25'FC RB & 30 AMP service. My question is what amp converter is compatible with the wiring in my trailer, 35, 45 or 55amp. Also where is the converter/charger located, is it near the breaker box?
You want the PD4655. As stated earlier, the unit is the lower section of your power center. Changing mine out on my 23 FB today or tomorrow.

Here is an extensive thread with photos of the installation provided by Snowy, one of our members on here. Very helpful.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...es-162905.html

http://www.bestconverter.com/4600-se...its_c_133.html
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Old 04-20-2017, 04:44 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by pcskier View Post
You want the PD4655. As stated earlier, the unit is the lower section of your power center. Changing mine out on my 23 FB today or tomorrow.

Here is an extensive thread with photos of the installation provided by Snowy, one of our members on here. Very helpful.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...es-162905.html

http://www.bestconverter.com/4600-se...its_c_133.html
Thanks for the info & links. My electrical ability is quite limited, so I need to find a RV Tech in Southwest Florida to accomplish this. Ironically, earlier today I contacted JC as I have a service appointment in July and they don't do these upgrades. That surprised me.
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Old 04-20-2017, 06:42 PM   #5
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I changed mine out to the PD4655 last weekend. It took a little between 1-2 hours. If you order the remote pendant you can skip replacing the 12v circuit board and be done in under an hour. I followed the illustrated instruction thread and ordered it from Best Converter
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Old 04-20-2017, 07:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Wconley View Post
I changed mine out to the PD4655 last weekend. It took a little between 1-2 hours. If you order the remote pendant you can skip replacing the 12v circuit board and be done in under an hour. I followed the illustrated instruction thread and ordered it from Best Converter
+1 The batteries in my 2017 AS were dated May 2016 and were dead seven months after we took delivery thanks to the stock Parallax unit. Last week, I did the PD4655 swap following the threads referenced above. And definitely buy the pendant that simplifies the process and allows you to monitor the system with just a glance. GL, Dave
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Old 04-20-2017, 07:54 PM   #7
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Got my 2014 fall of 13 and batteries were gone in 3 months. Dealer replaced them free and I installed the PD4655 and batteries are still performing great after 3 years of always being chard one way or another. Actually waiting for them to die so I can replace with 2 6V, but since they are still going strong I can't justify it yet.🤔
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Old 04-21-2017, 12:27 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mrjkq View Post
Thanks for the info & links. My electrical ability is quite limited, so I need to find a RV Tech in Southwest Florida to accomplish this. Ironically, earlier today I contacted JC as I have a service appointment in July and they don't do these upgrades. That surprised me.
It will be quite straight forward for an RV tech to install. I'd recommend changing to the included new circuit board as well as getting the remote pendant, so that you always have the option for both, i.e. being able to see the charge status by opening the cover, or using the pendant that mounts outside the cover. But that's just me.
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Old 04-21-2017, 12:47 PM   #9
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Ordered it today from Best Converter, also have a RV Tech lined up for the install. Thanks again everyone for your imput!
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Old 07-25-2017, 03:55 PM   #10
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question multi-stage converter installs

hello, thanks to everyone posting their information. there are some gaps though. My family are recent owners of a 25' FB Flying Cloud. From what I can tell, a multi-stage converter if installed directly as a replacement for the existing converter is useless and would have no impact on the battery performance. This would agree with some of the experienced posters here, and with the original poster. My basis is the discussion from the Parallax website. Most of the discussion would suggest that deep discharging the batteries is more likely the culprit than the converter. Also it seems like maybe just installing some cabling to quickly isolate the batteries with some alligator clips to hook up a proper 12V battery charger directly to a 120V generator might be a more cost effective solution, and would allow one to easily maintain the batteries when the trailer is on shore power or not in use. Any comments?

Follow-up Question: is everyone who is installing the multi-stage converters, installing battery isolation cabling/switches? are there separate outputs on the multi-stage converters that isolate the batteries from the regular DC supply (eg. two separate outputs?)

see below:
http://www.parallaxpower.com/faqs
Q: My friend has a "smart charge controller" that plugs into his converter system. Why hasn't Parallax offered a "smart" charger option for my unit?
A: The issue we have with "smart charger technology" (when used in an RV) lies more with the application of the technology than the technology itself. In a typical RV 12 volt electrical system, the converter/charger and the battery or battery bank is connected in parallel with the rest of the 12 volt distribution system. In "parallel" means where the charging source (converter/charger) positive and negative output is electrically connected to both the battery bank positive and negative, and the 12-volt distribution system positive and negative, at the same time. The voltage output of the converter "smart charger" is based on a "detected" battery voltage. The converter "smart charger" claims to "monitor" and respond to battery condition while connected to the entire 12 volt system. Unless the charging source (converter) has a separate or isolated charging output, we do not agree that a converter or charger can effectively differentiate requirements of the batteries from other 12 volt loads while simultaneously connected to the rest of the 12 volt distribution system in the RV.

Detected use or voltage change on the RV 12-volt load system (i.e. lights, pumps, etc. being turnedon) generally keeps these devices at a 13.6 -13.8 "float" voltage. This raises the question whether any real additional benefit is being provided to the battery bank unless the coach remains in a "non-use" storage condition. If a converter "smart charger" is only connected to the battery bank and can therefore monitor only battery voltage or current, and is not also connected "in parallel" with the 12 volt distribution system, we have no problem with the application of "smart charger technology".
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Old 07-26-2017, 03:48 PM   #11
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Hello all, I originally meant to reply to a different thread, "Do we need a multi-stage converter?" but the discussion is still relevant.
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Old 07-26-2017, 06:33 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Michael_TW View Post
hello, thanks to everyone posting their information. there are some gaps though. My family are recent owners of a 25' FB Flying Cloud. From what I can tell, a multi-stage converter if installed directly as a replacement for the existing converter is useless and would have no impact on the battery performance. This would agree with some of the experienced posters here, and with the original poster. My basis is the discussion from the Parallax website. Most of the discussion would suggest that deep discharging the batteries is more likely the culprit than the converter. Also it seems like maybe just installing some cabling to quickly isolate the batteries with some alligator clips to hook up a proper 12V battery charger directly to a 120V generator might be a more cost effective solution, and would allow one to easily maintain the batteries when the trailer is on shore power or not in use. Any comments?

Follow-up Question: is everyone who is installing the multi-stage converters, installing battery isolation cabling/switches? are there separate outputs on the multi-stage converters that isolate the batteries from the regular DC supply (eg. two separate outputs?)

see below:
http://www.parallaxpower.com/faqs
Q: My friend has a "smart charge controller" that plugs into his converter system. Why hasn't Parallax offered a "smart" charger option for my unit?
A: The issue we have with "smart charger technology" (when used in an RV) lies more with the application of the technology than the technology itself. In a typical RV 12 volt electrical system, the converter/charger and the battery or battery bank is connected in parallel with the rest of the 12 volt distribution system. In "parallel" means where the charging source (converter/charger) positive and negative output is electrically connected to both the battery bank positive and negative, and the 12-volt distribution system positive and negative, at the same time. The voltage output of the converter "smart charger" is based on a "detected" battery voltage. The converter "smart charger" claims to "monitor" and respond to battery condition while connected to the entire 12 volt system. Unless the charging source (converter) has a separate or isolated charging output, we do not agree that a converter or charger can effectively differentiate requirements of the batteries from other 12 volt loads while simultaneously connected to the rest of the 12 volt distribution system in the RV.

Detected use or voltage change on the RV 12-volt load system (i.e. lights, pumps, etc. being turnedon) generally keeps these devices at a 13.6 -13.8 "float" voltage. This raises the question whether any real additional benefit is being provided to the battery bank unless the coach remains in a "non-use" storage condition. If a converter "smart charger" is only connected to the battery bank and can therefore monitor only battery voltage or current, and is not also connected "in parallel" with the 12 volt distribution system, we have no problem with the application of "smart charger technology".
I wouldn't look to Parallax for justification why a smart charger might make sense for you.

You can already isolate your batteries by selecting the "Store" position, so there's no need to isolate your batteries with cabling. If you want to charge your batteries for an extended period with an external charger, just connect the charger directly to the battery terminals with the use/store switch in the "store" position.

There are many reasons why a multi-stage battery charger makes sense. However, many folks get by without upgrading their converter. Some by paying careful attention to how they manage battery charging. Others are perhaps lucky. I haven't bothered with upgrading my converter because I have a three-stage battery charger built into my solar charger.
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Old 07-26-2017, 06:49 PM   #13
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Hi

If you want to extend the life of a new set of batteries, get a charger with a temperature sensor on it. That more than any 3, 4, 5, 687 stage charger will extend their life span.

Bob
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Old 07-26-2017, 06:51 PM   #14
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Hi

If you want to extend the life of a new set of batteries, get a charger with a temperature sensor on it. That more than any 3, 4, 5, 687 stage charger will extend their life span.

Bob
And like Bob says, my solar charger includes a battery temperature probe!
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