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Old 04-16-2014, 11:28 PM   #15
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What agreat explanation, Idroba. Thanks.
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Old 04-17-2014, 06:47 AM   #16
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Actually, there are several other manufacturers of integrated 3-stage converter/AC breaker box/DC distribution combinations that I have seen. IOTA Engineering makes a nice combination unit and so does WFCO. While I would not give you 2 for anything from WFCO (read Chinese), the IOTA unit has a very good converter with it.

Parallax actually does make a fairly good converter…..the Paramode with TempAssure. This is actually a 3-stage charger with temperature compensation…….the ONLY converter that has temp/comp. This is a very important feature, as any standard converter's output is pegged at a standard of 77F and does not vary with battery temperature. (I don't use this product as I have heard of reliability problems with them…….YMMV!)

This puts you in the position of undercharging your batteries in low temperatures (even with 3-stage charging) and over-charging them in hot conditions, as charge voltages are dependent on battery temperature.

Also, there is no converter made that has adjustments for battery bank size and type. This is also necessary as different types of batteries (liquid lead acid, sealed and AGM) have different voltage requirements for proper charging. Another factor is the length of the charging stages. Bulk and absorb charges should be regulated by battery bank size and should not be one size fits all.

There is a solution though……….. INVERTER/CHARGERS! These products (like the Magnum Energy selections) have great 4 stage chargers, are fully adjustable for size of battery bank, duration of the absorption charge, type of battery (charge voltage profile) AND are fully temperature compensated. Plus, you get the added benefit of having a fully integrated inverter to produce 120VAC from your batteries when off-grid. And BTW, They are made in the USA and are all fully field serviceable.

It would seem to me that a premium (or so often described as such) item like an Airstream trailer would include inverter/chargers as standard equipment (like many other high end RVs do), along with a quality battery (NOT Interstate batteries). It is amazing how many new owners opt for these upgrades soon after taking ownership and never look back.

I hope Airstream is listening!
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:27 AM   #17
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Thanks idroba, great explanation. It is all clear to me now.
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Old 04-17-2014, 11:38 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by lewster View Post
Actually, there are several other manufacturers of integrated 3-stage converter/AC breaker box/DC distribution combinations that I have seen. IOTA Engineering makes a nice combination unit and so does WFCO. While I would not give you 2 for anything from WFCO (read Chinese), the IOTA unit has a very good converter with it.

Lewster, could you point me to Iota's combination unit? I did a web search and search of their site and could not find any combination 120 volt AC distribution panel and 12 volt DC distribution panel listed. But then it could be hiding somewhere.

We need to have something to beat Airstream over the head with so a good system might be included in future production.
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:01 PM   #19
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Progressive Dynamics has combination units in 30A 120VAC and 50A 240VAC with their 3 stage charge wizard.
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:21 PM   #20
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Progressive Dynamics has combination units in 30A 120VAC and 50A 240VAC with their 3 stage charge wizard.
These is some of the units I have been seeing on newer RVs. IOTA also made a similar unit, but it seems that they have trimmed their offerings and have discontinued their power center line, which looked a lot like the PD units. I see more WFCO power centers, especially with deck mounted converters, but the PD units seem to do the job nicely and have the better quality converters with integrated Charge Wizard. Still not perfect, but way ahead of the Parallax battery burners!
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:35 PM   #21
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Bingo. I am totally FINE with wiring of all kinds. My concern was getting into a lot of mechanical crawling around or going underneath, or heavy work. Wiring is my thang. Thank you so much for the info.
It isn't bad. mostly huddling on the floor. The hardest part to me was as mentioned, after feeding the original wiring harness through the holes in the converter housing, getting it to reach far enough to have some play to work with. everything else was just transferring wires and labeling the new wiring Legend (what's what). What is really nice is that they now have the wizard built into the unit so you can manually override a charge cycle.
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:57 PM   #22
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Kyle401: thanks for locating the PD all in one power center. Now we have something to beat on Airstream to use rather than the Parallax stuff they have been using. No excuses now for Airstream, there is an alternative to the Parallax and made in this country too.

Good find.
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