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Old 02-03-2015, 08:04 PM   #1
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Question Boondocker VS Magnum VS Intelli-Power

I'm going bonkers trying to figure out why I would pick one inverter/charger over another. Many of the features look the same, although high end seems to feature temperature compensators.

To be honest, I'm not even sure what the temperature compensator is compensating for. The batteries heat from voltage or the ambient temperature.

So clearly from the low to high price point, I'm looking at these 3, based on what I've read, and several people whom I know who have purchased each.

PowerMax PM4B-60 (60 Amp 4-Stage Converter/Charger)

Progressive Dynamics Inteli-Power Converter Charger 55 Amp PD4655

Magnum Inverter/Charger 1000W/50A MMS1012

Generally higher price is suppose to be associated with quality. Outside of customer service, what is the reason I would choose the Magnum unit over the Progressive Dynamics unit?

Am I missing something when comparing specs on these.

Any help is appreciated, I currently have the Parallex 7335 that according to receipts was replaced in 2009 by the PO. And I'm pretty sure it murdered the cheapo Walmart batteries he had in the trailer. And I don't want to ruin the new batteries I just bought.

If this matters, I know that for the first wish months we'll probably be staying at places with full or at least partial hookups. But I know when we get out West we are going to want to boondock a lot more. And I plan on adding upwards of 400watts of solar, not sure if that will be before we get on the road, or when we are on the road. But I am planning for it, and setting money aside. But I'd like to get the converter issue sorted before we get on the road.

Thanks guys.
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Old 02-03-2015, 08:53 PM   #2
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First of all, a converter/charger and an inverter/charger are two different things. A converter/charger converts 120v AC to 12v DC for charging your batteries. An inverter/charger will both charge your batteries and convert the battery power from 12v DC to 120 AC. The inverter/charger is what you want if you plan to install solar. When not connected to shore power the inverter can use stored battery power to power items that require 120v AC (excepting AC and possibly microwave, electric coffee pot, etc. depending upon the size of your solar system and inverter).

I've just scratched the surface here and a lot will depend upon how much you want to spend. A 400 watt system with a quality solar controller and inverter will run you $2-3K. The Magnum inverter/charger is excellent, but higher priced than a converter only.
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Old 02-03-2015, 09:07 PM   #3
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Boondocker VS Magnum VS Inteli-Power

If you don't already have an inverter in the TT and the price is OK with you I'd suggest the Magnum. Per Lewster, it's a wicked smart programmable unit that also includes support for temp compensation (e.g. changing how it charges the batteries depending on their temperature). Since it has an inverter built-in, that can pretty handy if you don't already have one.

We already had a 1K inverter on board, so when we replaced the Parallax we went with the Progressive Dynamics 4655 because it's just so easy to swap-in as a replacement for the PLax with no additional wiring - it just works. The PD unit is not temperature compensated, but it's a smart multi-stage charger, so it's way better than the PLax.

Key difference for the Magnum is the inverter and temp compensation, which can help further extend the life of your batteries because it will treat them even better than the PD 4655 by charging them exactly right at every possible temperature.
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Old 02-03-2015, 09:27 PM   #4
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Either is better than 'stock'...
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Old 02-03-2015, 09:28 PM   #5
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Doah!

I cannot believe I missed that, inverter/charger & converter/charger staring me in the face. Problem with waiting till after the kiddo has gone to sleep to attempt to research. Should do my reading in the AM.

That makes things quite a bit clearer, I need to check my paper work and have a look because I think we do have an onboard inverter. One of the times I wish the Airstream wasn't an hour away in storage so I could run out and take a look rather than guess/flip thru the PO's paperwork.

I swear though, I feel like I'm going wrapping my head around some of this.
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Old 02-03-2015, 09:34 PM   #6
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Re: temperature compensation: It's the temperature of the battery that matters, and the sensor belongs on or very near the battery. The recommended charge voltage for a battery varies by temperature (and type of battery and manufacturer).
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Old 02-04-2015, 02:19 AM   #7
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And it's not only the temp. compensation that makes a Magnum better. It is also fully programmable for type of battery (different charging voltage profiles for different batteries) and size of the battery bank ( duration of the absorption phase) that makes the magnum far superior to any converter/charger.

Plus, you get the 1000 watt pure sine wave inverter as a bonus, and the unit can be easily repaired in the off-chance that it malfunctions. Also.....MADE IN USA!

And BTW, the battery temperature sensor has a ring terminal on it to be attached to a minor negative battery terminal (one where the major current from an output cable is not located).
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Old 02-04-2015, 07:18 AM   #8
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Alright, that makes things much clearer. Thanks Lew.

I guess I need to make my decision now. I know we have crappy Costco lead acid batteries because I needed an interim hold over to replace the Walmart batteries originally in the Airstream. Just gotta decide if I want to go all in now, or hold off till I go full blast on the solar.

But this info helps me a lot. I really think the Magnum is going to be best suited in the long run, as both myself and my wife are web workers. So charged Laptop's and Wifi are a must.

Thanks again.
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:01 AM   #9
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The place to start is to decide what you want to power and size your inverter and solar accordingly. If you can forgo microwave, hair dryer, and other high current appliances, you can get by with a 300-600 watt inverter. If you can't, you'll want a 1500-2000 watt one. This decision will then drive what size (amp hour) battery bank you'll need, how many watts of solar panels you'll need, and what size solar controller you'll need. This will all drive what size wire and fuses you need. It all starts with the decision regarding how much "stuff" you want to power while boondocking.

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Old 02-04-2015, 08:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
microwave, hair dryer, and other high current appliances
Doesn't apply to us. Don't own a microwave, thru the one in the Airstream out, wife doesn't blow dry, and we don't really watch TV. Only own 1 without cable or sat or even an HD antenna in our home.

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Old 02-04-2015, 08:33 AM   #11
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That's going to save you a lot. A 300-600 watt inverter and comparable battery bank and solar equipment should meet your needs.

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Old 02-04-2015, 09:16 AM   #12
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When we go out Boondocking we have 200watts of solar. And have never needed an inverter for 110v. We dry our hairs in the wind and make coffee on the stovetop. No television, what else would one need 110 for.?
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Old 02-04-2015, 09:54 AM   #13
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To power Laptop's and our entire communications array. Without the internet, we're without income.
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Old 02-04-2015, 09:57 AM   #14
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We have factory solar 106 watts I think and they charge the two Group 24 AGM batteries before noon each (sunny) day. It is the battery size where we come up short if/when we do. Really like solar power over generators. You soon learn to balance what you use with what you have, like all things travel and camping.
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