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Old 04-09-2015, 11:52 PM   #1
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Parallax 8355 - Keeper, Junk, or Something Else?

I'm hoping someone here has info on subject converter/charger.

Our new Airstream, a 25 Rear Twin Flying Cloud, came standard with the Parallax 8355, and the included literature reveals virtually nothing about its performance characteristics. The Parallax website is equally void of detailed information.

Do you know if this is another single-stage unit, or is there more to this one? My new batteries are already acting flaky, so I think I already know the answer to my question, but then again there's always operator error to be considered.

Thanks for any insight you might provide.

Cheers!

Rod
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Old 04-10-2015, 12:37 AM   #2
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It is a single stage converter/charger. It will work but probably should be on your list of things to change out to a better 3 stage charge unit as time goes on. If you leave it on and in USE mode keep track of the water level in the batteries. The single stage units have a tendency to cause the water level to drop. I would check battery water level weekly or bi weekly if the Paralax is left on. We all used single stage units in Airstreams for many years prior to three stage units becoming available. Yes, more batteries were replaced than necessary, but with some management I had a lot of good hours in my Airstreams without unnecessary battery replacement. I just never left the things on 24/7.

If your rig sat on a sales lot with the batteries left connected, there is a possibility that the batteries have been run down, or left at a low state of charge causing damage prior to your purchase. What kind of "acting flaky" are you experiencing?
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Old 04-10-2015, 07:19 AM   #3
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I sold mine on eBay when I replaced it with a PD. Almost covered the cost of the new PD.
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Old 04-10-2015, 07:25 AM   #4
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I always thought I'd replace it in my '07 if it ever failed, but it never did. My original batteries lasted 7 years. I also only had to top off the water in the batteries a few times in those 7 years. So it's not clear cut that they are bad converters, you just can't leave them plugged in 24/7/365. In the off-season, I keep at 3 stage charger on the batteries.

I'd also be hesitant to replace it while your Airstream is still on warranty.

But that's just me, YMMV.
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Old 04-10-2015, 07:28 AM   #5
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I use mine for a 12v work bench power source.
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Old 04-10-2015, 07:49 AM   #6
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My 2006 Safari still has the original converter. I keep my trailer plugged in most the time when I am home and camping at full service parks. It puts out a constant 13.74 Volts DC. So far no noticeable issues boiling the batteries. I have not had to add water in the 6 months I have had the current batteries. It is on my to do list to swap it out for a better model and upgrade the batteries to a pair of 6 Volts. That is going to take some major mods of the battery box.
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Old 04-10-2015, 07:52 AM   #7
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Chief,

I'm starting a solar/battery upgrade today and will take some shots of the battery box upgrade.

It's not as difficult or invasive as one might think.


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Old 04-10-2015, 09:13 AM   #8
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Great! I'll be watching for those details / pics also!
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:44 AM   #9
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We use the factory solar system to charge our batteries, never the original converter, by placing the Battery Disconnect Switch in the "STORE" position when plugged into external power, and "USE" position when not plugged into external power.

The original systems and AGM batteries are working perfectly going on 4 years, 30 months of actual camping and travel. So the original converter is certainly usable to provide 12 vdc power for the Airstream when combined with a solar or other charging system for the batteries. It's just not a good battery charger.

cheryl
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckottum View Post
We use the factory solar system to charge our batteries, never the original converter, by placing the Battery Disconnect Switch in the "STORE" position when plugged into external power, and "USE" position when not plugged into external power.

The original systems and AGM batteries are working perfectly going on 4 years, 30 months of actual camping and travel. So the original converter is certainly usable to provide 12 vdc power for the Airstream when combined with a solar or other charging system for the batteries. It's just not a good battery charger.

cheryl
Can't you just unplug the converter from the wall outlet and keep you store switch on...to use all the 12V system?
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:56 AM   #11
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Lee, I got a good look at a modified box this past week. Owner took one inch or so C channel and riveted it to the original box and replaced the top. Very clean and original looking job.
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Old 04-10-2015, 01:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Can't you just unplug the converter from the wall outlet and keep you store switch on...to use all the 12V system?
The Parallax converter/charger cannot be unplugged. The Battery Disconnect in "STORE" position just isolates it from the batteries; all of the 12v system is in use and powered by the Parallax converter/charger when on external power. The batteries are then kept charged by the factory solar system.

The idea is to protect the batteries from being damaged by the single stage charger of the Parallax cover/charger, saving the expense of replacing it while it is working fine as a 12vdc power supply.

cheryl
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Old 04-10-2015, 01:26 PM   #13
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Flaky batteries

I say flaky because, in comparison to our 2012 19 footer, the battery use curve turns south dramatically faster. Whereas we consistently went three nights boondocking, we are lucky to get through two nights in the 25 with seemingly similar usage of lights, water pump, fans, etc.

It makes me wonder about greater ambient loads from the charger fan, the thermistor controlled reefer fan, and the inverter on the one hand and about the charger's workings on the other.

The batteries themselves were brand new as the trailer had been built only three weeks before we took delivery. Maybe we cooked them, which I accept as possible, but I hope not. Our intent is to keep this trailer a good while, and upgrade where appropriate...perhaps starting with the Parallax?
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Old 04-10-2015, 02:00 PM   #14
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If you didn't have an inverter on your 19' and have one now and are using it, you will find a real difference. The power consumption of the inverter, even with no load on it at all, is in the 1.7 to 1.9 amp range, which is considerable. Of course any 120 volt load makes it higher.

The refrigerator fan is another significant load and the amp hours used add up fast.
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