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Old 03-29-2010, 11:38 AM   #15
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2Air,

Thanks for your info, as usual.

Question: I know that the AC power should be dis-connected from source as well as battery when working on this thing. I know the safest thing would be to disconnect both the pos. (red) and the neg. (blk) cables from the battery. Can you just disconnect either the red or black? My thinking is that I might be able to just disconnect red only. I know, your wondering, why not just do both. Lazy me, I have to disconnect battery jumpers to get to battery clamp nuts. Not terrible, but....well...

Trying to reach Best Converter, in the meantime reading the MANY threads on this converter business.

Thanks all for your comments and help. I'll keep you posted.

C
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:44 AM   #16
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Lev... this is a common problem. When you let the smoke out of the wiring, it either needs to be sent to the factory to have the smoke put back in, or replace it with new wiring and gizmos that still have the smoke in them.

And yes, you ought to be able to just pull the hot (red) lead from the battery; BUT the problem with that is that IF it sways in the breeze while you're working on the gizmo that you let the smoke out of, AND it touches the positive pole on the battery, the circuit is back in business, and you'll undoubtedly let the smoke out of more stuff.

Just pull both wires of the battery and you won't have to worry about it...

Have fun getting the smoke put back into your trailer's electrical!

Rog
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:47 AM   #17
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yes it's best to disconnect EVERYTHING and place all the parts 100 paces away...

smart juice guys know the ONE wire that's magic...

that info isn't IN this post...
_________

what i did was disconnect the CONNECTIONing wires that are INSIDE the a/s (along the floor/wall) and near the C/C...

the layout is different for each model, but my unit has 2-4 ft connecting wires running along the wall hooked to copper POSTS and relays ...

disconnect these wires from the posts and the batteries are disconnected from the internals.

savy?

now about which wire to cut?

oh, never mind that's covered in the "how to diffuse a bomb" thread....

cheers
2air'
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:48 AM   #18
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Rog,

Both clamps it is. Who needs email when you have smoke signals.

Crazy
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Old 03-29-2010, 12:01 PM   #19
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There are two differences between the parallax and the newer units.

1) The newer units are switchers meaning that they convert the incoming AC into a high-frequency power source first, which allows a much smaller and lighter transformer to be used, with higher efficiency (less heat), at the expense of greater complexity. Switchers have been common since the 1980s.

2) There is multi-state charge control, variously referred to as "three stage," "charge wizard," etc. The upshot of this is faster battery charging, a more complete charge, less frequent addition of water to the batteries, and longer battery life.

In general you should size the converter to C/4, that is the amp-hour rating of your battery string divided by 4. So if you have 2 12 volt batteries rated at 105 amp-hours each (a fairly typical setup), 2 * 105 = 210 amp-hour battery capacity, and you probably want a converter that is rated at around 50 amps. A smaller converter would still work but would take longer to charge the batteries.
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Old 03-29-2010, 12:07 PM   #20
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Jammer,

Thanks for that. I've been real happy using two Interstate SRM-24 batteries. In fact, I just bought the two brand new ones just before all this happened!!! I hope they are OK.

So given that I'll probably stick with what I've had good luck with, would a 60amp device be sufficiant? I've read somewhere that charging batteries to quick, could generate more heat, reduce battery life!?!??!?

Either way, most of the camping we do, we have electrical. Occasionally we go off grid and then I use the Honda 2000.

CL
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Old 03-29-2010, 12:10 PM   #21
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A 60 amp converter should be fine for what you're doing.
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Old 03-29-2010, 03:19 PM   #22
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OK. so here is what I think I'm going to do. Ordering either a 45 or 55amp converter replacement kit. I think this is made by WFCO. Around 200.00. The install looks super easy. (Famous last words, followed by a loud bZZZZZ-zapppp)

The 45 amp version should install without any modifications, but when I asked about 55 amp, I might have to upgrade to some large wiring somewhere, a job that I don't relish.

Is 45 alright as my choice?

Thanks.
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Old 03-29-2010, 03:45 PM   #23
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Yep. It will work fine. Might take another half hour to charge the batteries, if they're discharged most of the way.
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Old 03-29-2010, 04:53 PM   #24
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My Univolt was a 60 amp version, I upgraded to an 80, but will admit it is probably overkill. You can read about it, including large wire (and where I got it) here: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...0-a-57567.html.

Pretty easy, really. Glad the Lev-Blaster is still safe!
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Old 03-29-2010, 05:14 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazylev View Post
Jammer,

Thanks for that. I've been real happy using two Interstate SRM-24 batteries. In fact, I just bought the two brand new ones just before all this happened!!! I hope they are OK..... Occasionally we go off grid and then I use the Honda 2000.

CL
Lev,
Why in the world did you buy size 24 batteries? Does your battery compartment limit you sizewise?

For your occasional forays off the grid, size 27s or 6v batteries would last you much longer.
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Old 03-29-2010, 06:11 PM   #26
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Whatever size you buy, the installation guides from Best Converter's site are great tutorials on safe and careful installation of your new converter/charger. We, like 2air, bought the PDI Intellipower. Our Parallax was 55, we bought a 60 (model 9260 means it has the Charge Wizard included at no extra $ (9160 doesn't) and is 60amp).

Only upshot of going to the 60 from 50amps is a small but important change to our 1000 watt generator -- we are at the generator's maximum rating (1,000) with the PDI now, whereas the Parallax has a rating of 975 watts input power.

More interesting is the PDI uses more muscle to bulk rate charge the batteries (happens when we first connect the trailer to the generator). The Parallax was pretty lazy, had a pretty low max charge rate to the batteries. So the generator didn't see much of the max power rating for the Parallax, but it does for the PDI.

I keep the generator off of economizer mode for the first little while (supposed to anyway, per Yamaha) and it keeps up with the high power demand with no problem so far (since last July).

Best of luck,
Jim
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Old 04-23-2010, 02:24 PM   #27
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UPDATE: the replacement

I bought from Best RV a 55 amp replacement converter, #WF8955 for $230 including shipping. I went with the 55 amp because that is what was in there, and I can't ever remember saying to myself over a fine Belgium beer "I wish I had a higher amp converter."

In the box was the converter, a new 12 volt circuit panel, and a neat little book on all things 12 volt. I tested the replacement with the multi-meter, and output was at 13.6 volts, apparently where it should be.

Make no mistake, I am not an electrician. I know enough just to make myself dangerous to self and others!!! I am real anal about being organized, so I keep screws together, tools handy, and so on.

After poring over the various links to installations, photos, and so on, the 'ol Lev was up to the task. It was very easy, and the trickiest parts were the least obvious!

Here is a run down on how I did the install:

At the trailer, I disconnected both positive and negative cables from the batteries as recommended earlier.

Inside the AS, I removed the cover to the converter, which BTW, needs a star (torks?) tool to remove the four fasteners.

At first I was going to write down the order and placement for the 12 volt wires and circuit numbers, but after seeing that each of the six wires going into my board were running on it's own 20 amp fuse, it made it easier to say to hell with it. (Beside, I've never blown a 12 volt fuse, just exploded a converter).

After wondering why I didn't take up boating, golf, or womanizing instead of RV'ing for a while, I unscrewed form the AC side the protective cover, under which is pretty much what I expected: white (neutral) wire to left side buss bar, and black (hot) to middle breaker.

Disconnected white, but my first challenge: the black wire from the converter was sharing the same breaker as some other hot wire, and the two wires at the end were crimped together and attached to a little connector thingie. I thought about uncrimping, and then trying to re-use the connector to re-attach new converter wire plus mystery wire, but I know how these things work, it's gonna break!

So genius me decided that I would cut the old hot converter "long", strip the end of that, and wire-nut the length of old hot converter wire to the new hot converter wire, maintaining the integrity of the connector thing that attached the wires at the point of connection to the breaker. BTW- the breaker just tilts and pulls out, just like a regular breaker in a house.

OK. So AC side disconnected. Really thinking about alcohol around this point, but, must concentrate.

It was now onto the 12 volt side to disconnect everything there. On the old existing board, there are four main wire connections. Two white and a blue (In my case anyway). The blue (positive) was dumbly secured to the old board with a nut. The fourth was a white on the BACK of the board. These wires are STIFF!

Disconnected those, and my six 12 volt wires going to the fuses on the board. The board itself is held in by two pan head screws.

Old board out! I was actually considering re-using the old board, but the new one that came with the converter did not have the dumb nut thing on top of the board.

Old converter just pulls right out after removing four screws holding in the unit.

After everything was removed, I had to evaluate just how everything was going to go back together, and in what order. I also vacuumed out the place where the old converter was, but it was pretty clean! I saw a giant loop of Romex wire which I'm sure goes to the air conditioner, and the usual Airstream bird's nest of wires, cables, and chaos. Along with some very buckled linoleum for good measure.

The new converter slid right in. I fed the wires for the AC side and the converter output side as I pushed the replacement converter in to it's spot.

One thing that I noticed the the cables that go to the batteries seemed a little short to reach the new board properly. These are the two heavy gauge wires that feed from the back of the top portion of the converter on the 12 volt side. Thankfully, Airstream left a good length to adjust this. This involved removing a connector, loosening connector clamps holding wires, re-adjusting the length, and reversing the last few steps. I increased the battery wires about four inches, which I think was a small mistake. More on this in a bit.

Did I mention that the cables to the battery are stiff!!! I decided the best action would be to connect the battery positive first, and then negative. On my wiring, the cables from the battery are red (positive) and white (negative). I then connected converter positive going in from the top of the board (wire to stiff to bend at such an angle) and the converter negative.

Now the hard part. Trying to stuff the board with the four connections back to where I could secure it with two screws. The wires from the battery are STIFF and I think I may have over-lenghthed them because I really had to work at pushing this thing into it's recess without breaking the board! This was made easier by temporarily removing the converter and battery negatives until I got the board in place. I then attached the two negatives. One thing I did that I'd recommend: the 12 volt side of the converter's two wires come pre-stripped, but I wanted a little more wire going into wire clamp on the 12 volt board. I stripped and additional 1/4-3/8 inch off those wires. This seemed to make for a better connection.

Once the board was screwed in place, I made sure to tighten all the wire connection screws. They do get loose with that much wrestling. Now onto the six 12 volt wires.

On my old circuit block, circuits F1-F6 had wires. I changed this. I started the first wire in F2, because the way the board is placed in the recess, F1 is sort of obscured by a flange in front. Moving it down one made that easy. I carefully twisted each end of wire and attached, 1, 2, 3, and so on. All done on DC side.

On the AC side, the new converter has an added green ground wire along with the white and black wire. The ground gets attached to the buss bar at the TOP. I found I had only one available space left, all the way to the right. I then did the white to the LEFT buss bar and finally the black back to the breaker. Pushed breaker in. All done!!!!! Now for the test.

I reconnected the cable clamps to the batteries, and ran inside to see if anything was going to blow up, catch on fire. Visions of an insurance settlement check danced through my head. All good so far. Tested lights, fans, fridge, furnace, everything. Everything seemed to be working just like normal. No to hook up to my Honda 2000 for the AC test. No explosions, fire or insurance check. Multimeter read good 110 AC. Air conditioner fan good. Could I have possibly have done it? I even had everything on all at once. The is a little fan sound every now and then form the new converter. Not as loud as the old, if you could call that loud.

So there you have it. The install took about two hours start to finish, but I took my time.

I replaced the circuit breaker cover on the AC side, made sure nothing felt warm or hot, and of course got zapped by 110 volts, forgetting that I was running off the generator. At least no blood on this project.

I had to bring the front decorative panel back home to the drill press to re-drill larger holes so the four screws that hold that on would line up with the converter holes. No big deal.

Ok. So who's buying the first round?
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Old 04-23-2010, 02:46 PM   #28
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Lev,

Sorry to hear your troubles....the OEM converter/charger is a certified POS! Mine had no real operational issues, but it did not do three stage charging. I went with this about 2 or 3 years ago:

55 Amp Converter Replacement Kit

Still no issues, but I have three stage charging now. There are a few others that are good models too. I forget the guys name, but the link is a forum member here and was very helpful in the selection. The linked upgrade took me less than 30 minutes. Want help doing it? Buy the converter, and I'll come over and help ya install it...better yet, bring it to the midwest rally in June and it can be done there as well.


**edit** seems that you just posted as I was typing this. Good for you. Good choice...
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