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Old 05-16-2012, 11:08 AM   #15
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I'm still looking for a decent replacement. Found the Waeco PerfectCharge IU452A. Any Europeans experience with this?
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:38 AM   #16
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Hi Mike,

I would recommend the Sterling 30amp Pro Digital charger - UK manufacturer. We've had one fitted for about four years with no issues. A really good quality charger.

We also have a Victron inverter fitted which was made in Holland - possibly they may make chargers.

John in the UK
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Old 05-17-2012, 05:20 AM   #17
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Great John, thanks a lot! Looking for Sterling and Victron opened up a whole lot of possibilities in the Netherlands. Even though in Dutch here's whole bunch of alternatives:
Acculader merken: Victron , Mastervolt , Sterling , CTEK - Advitek Mobile Home Systems A.M.S.
Victron, Sterling, CTek, Mastervolt

Mike in the Netherlands
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:28 AM   #18
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Hi Mike,

You have some choice there.

We have experience of Mastervolt - had one of their chargers which lasted 10 years of full time use before it fizzled out. Could have been repaired, but with the advances in technology decided to replace with a more up to date model, so chose Sterling.

John in the UK
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:46 AM   #19
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Hi John,

Can the Sterling also be connected directly to the 12V system (reusing the Univolt's fusepanel)? And what batteries do you use? I've got two simple ones now, one for general use (55Ah) and one for the electronic brakes (65Ah). And have you any experience with adding Solar Panels?

regards,
Mike
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:20 AM   #20
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Hi again Mike,

Our Sterling charger is hard wired direct to the twin "Lifeline" original equipment AGM batteries via a large amperage gold plated fuse. Capacity of our 5.1/2 old batteries is 100aH each. The batteries are very expensive but we will replace with the same make and size when the time comes.

Yes, you can use the Univolt fuse panel - just remove the original charger and swap over the leads to your new charger.

We have fitted solar systems to various RV's over the years and had two factory fitted to our Airstream. Not sure what you want to know about solar systems but please ask. I would avoid cheap panels and go for a decent solar charge controller, for example Morningstar, which we have fitted. We managed for 6 weeks on solar power in Axel's back yard last summer in Holland.

I attach a link to the UK forum which shows pictures of our system :

UKAirstreamers.org - View topic - Living without Hook-ups

John
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:14 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WK57ABF View Post
Yes, you can use the Univolt fuse panel - just remove the original charger and swap over the leads to your new charger.
I would caution to take this point with a grain of salt. We had continuous problems with our TT from when we bought it until we replaced the Univolt AND fusebox with new, and better equipment.

The metal clips holding the fuses in place in the fusebox on our Univolt had gone to an overheated condition for many years and generally decayed to the point where the metal had lost its temper. Evidently, the weaker grip on the fuse allowed a much higher temperature to build up ion the fuse block, to the point where some circuits wer not passing the DC voltage.

Here's a photo of how bad it got:


Note the obvious deterioration on the purple and (what used to be) yellow wire below it.

In an extreme case, this could have caused a fire.

So my advice is to carefully inspect the fuseblock, and if you have any signs of overheating, I would most certainly replace it.
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:40 PM   #22
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Interesting stuff, John. This year I'll be connected to shore 220V al the time, but next year we're planning to go to remote parts of Sweden, and by that time I'll be considering adding solar and taking a Honda 20i. Until that time I'll upgrade using pretty much your setup. I'm considering 2 victor on 100Ah agm batteries and the 30A sterling. Replacing the fuse box seems a good idea, as well as replacing the 110v fuse box with a new 220v one.

Any suggestions for the fuse panels, and location to out sterling and batteries? Currently one battery is in the back (rear bath '71 Overlander) and one inside (not good). And how long are you lasting with the 2 agm batteries off grid? How about airco?
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Old 05-18-2012, 02:01 PM   #23
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Hi Mike,

Cannot help you with fuse panels or 12 volt distribution units as I have never fitted them - sorry.

The Sterling or any other charger needs to be as close as possible to the batteries and both batteries connected by similar lengths of cable. By that I mean don't have one battery at the front of the trailer and one at the back - voltage drop in the long cables will give the charger false information.

We spent a quarter of last year off grid and could have lasted for the summer given sunny weather, but we needed the generator if we had 2 or 3 days of very dull conditions.

Would not have a clue how long our 2 x 100aH batteries would last on their own - ours are always charged by either solar panels, generator, the tow vehicle or mains charger.

Hope this help.

John in the UK
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Old 05-18-2012, 02:37 PM   #24
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This is the fusepanel we used. It uses the newer automobile-type fuses which are much easier to find here. Those fuses are also available in a "glows when blown" version.

The glass "barrel" style fuses seem to be on their way out in our market.

Of course, there are much fancier ones, such as those produced by Blue Sea for marine use, doubtful if they are needed in the "dry" conditions typically found in a trailer.
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:36 AM   #25
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Finally fixed it. Tried to order the sterling 30A, but it was never delivered.

Meanwhile I removed the Univolt and bought and installed the Blue Sea 12V fuse panel. I cut out the part that measures the amperage, the shunt. Then just monitored use for a few days. It never actually went over 10A. Not even that: most of the time round 5A. And the occasional peaks (waterpomp, heater fan, iPhone charging thru radio/CD) can easily be dealt with the capacity of the revived battery. And we're never using 10A the whole day, at night we sleep, at least most of the times.

So why buy 30A? And why a bigger battery? I just decided to stick to my 55Ah battery and bought a small C-Tek 7A smart charger, only 0.8kg, and works like a charm. Has 8 different stages for reviving, charging, and 12V supply. Love it.

Found out my other battery is for brakes only, and is charged by the car while driving. So I'm pretty much done.

Only thing left now is to replace to 110V fuse panel with a modern 220V. Bought one, just needs to install giving really lousy manual.

One thing I really discovered is that almost anything I need for my Airstream in Europe, can be bought at yacht stores!
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