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Old 03-09-2013, 12:38 PM   #1
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Converter Swap (w/ Pics)

Based on feedback here, I decided it was time to replace the Parallax 7400 (55 watt) with the PowerMax Boondocker PM4B-60, before it felt the need to torch my batteries.

This isn't rocket science and I am not trying to "drop knowledge" on a forum whose participants are much more experienced than I am, but I do want to be an encouragement to the novice that they could take on a job like this when the need arises. However, everyone works on their own trailer at their own risk.

Let's get started. Following the instructions, ensure you are not plugged into shore power and disconnect the positive cables from both batteries.






Remove the lounge. On mine, it's five 3/8" self-tapping screws.



If you've got the vinyl flooring, gently move or slide the lounge out of the way without scratching the vinyl and giving yourself enough room to access the components.

Not pictured: Now vacuum all of the crumbs left over from the factory.

Uh oh. Houston, we have a problem. Never screw into the ends of soft plywood, especially without drilling pilot holes.



There you are. Loosen the four self-tapping screws, loosen each buss screw on the old converter, disconnect the wires, and remove the converter. (Then vacuum again.)



New solid wood bracing (with pilot holes drilled).




Ready to install.




Place the new converter in its new home. Connect the positive, negative and neutral wires in their respective buses, noting the polarity of each buss slot. Between the Parallax and PowerMax, the buses were reversed. It's not a direct "plug-n-play" in that respect. Then secure the converter to the floor. The self-tapping screws really come in handy as it is necessary to make new holes to secure the converter as the new doesn't match up with the old. Then plug the converter into the 120 VAC outlet.




Close-up of the connections.




Then vacuum again. Double check everything and reinstall the positive cables on the batteries. It's always a good idea to have a volt meter handy, but observing the proper connections, it's pretty hard to screw something up. Reinstall lounge.

Well that's about it. No major issues with the install except the shattered wooden brace, but that was quickly remedied with some scrap I had laying around.
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Old 03-09-2013, 12:48 PM   #2
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Nice! I've been using my Boondocker for about 6 weeks now and am very satisfied (so far). I was surprised at all the factory crumbs left behind as well, but there they were 14 years later.
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Old 03-09-2013, 01:16 PM   #3
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nice work, thanks for sharing.

John
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Old 03-09-2013, 01:53 PM   #4
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Thanks. And after an hour on shore power, I haven't burnt anything down...yet.
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:44 PM   #5
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what about the fuse panel???
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:25 PM   #6
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what about the fuse panel???
Didn't work near the fuse panel. I also returned your PM. Good luck.
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:26 AM   #7
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Thumbs up

Good job!!!

It was a little easier on our Classic as I was able to get enough room by just removing the storage drawer.


Bob
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:54 AM   #8
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So KRY226, why'd ya change out a three-year old converter? My six-year old original converter performs great. My batteries are lasting four camping seasons. What does the new PowerMax do that the old Parallax didn't?
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:54 PM   #9
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So KRY226, why'd ya change out a three-year old converter? My six-year old original converter performs great. My batteries are lasting four camping seasons. What does the new PowerMax do that the old Parallax didn't?
Well, in short, I did enough research here, and other places to be sure, to be comfortable with the decision that the best time to upgrade is before you need to upgrade.

If you believe what you read and hear (and I know forums like these attract folks with problems), the Parallax has an unusually high failure rate, and is infamous for destroying batteries by overcharging. Personally, during the Q&A session at Alumapalooza 2011, I remember the Airstream reps being chastised for their use of such a poorly performing, inefficient converter. I wish I could remember their reply, but I was too busy collecting my thoughts about asking them about their continued use of Marathon tires on their trailers.

I feel the Boondocker is probably one of the best converters on the market right now in terms of reliability, warranty, efficiency, and battery maintenance. It's designed to not boil the batteries through overcharging, and also has a "built-in desulfation cycle to prevent stratification that can lead to battery sulfation."

I don't boondock much, but I do camp out in the boonies a lot, and peace of mind has its own value, just like my time.

Did that answer your question?
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:56 PM   #10
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Good job!!!

It was a little easier on our Classic as I was able to get enough room by just removing the storage drawer.


Bob
Thanks, Bob. It would have been lots easier for me too, but I would have had a pretty tough time replacing that busted wooden cross-member without moving the lounge.
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:09 PM   #11
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Thanks, Bob. It would have been lots easier for me too, but I would have had a pretty tough time replacing that busted wooden cross-member without moving the lounge.
Ouch....I should have known better. I had at least a dozen loose and or stripped screws when I did my own PDI after delivery.

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