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Old 02-10-2012, 08:15 AM   #1
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Does a converter need venting?

My husband is doing the electric in the Bambi II and insists that the converter needs venting (we got this converter) Inteli-Power 4045

It is being installed under the street side gaucho along with the water tank, AGM battery, and water pump. I don't want to make my cabinetry with a vent in the front of the gaucho, so we're not agreeing on this one. I would have to change up my plans from one continuous bench all the way to the front (I'm planning on a dinette) to splitting them up to vent the side of the gaucho. Is it really necessary? My '86 isn't vented at the univolt. Neither was my '76 I used to have. It's not like it's a refrigerator that it's inside or anything, right? Wrong?
Comments welcome!
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Old 02-10-2012, 08:27 AM   #2
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In my opinion, no vent will be needed for the converter/charger. Yes, they do produce a small amount of heat, but not enough so some separate vent is needed considering the space under the gaucho. They have a fan built in for cooling and I doubt that the heat they produce would be too much for the space you mention.
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Old 02-10-2012, 08:30 AM   #3
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When you take the cover off the inteli-power, there is a fan there. Additionally, as your battery is charged or discharged, it's going to produce heat. Normally you don't want to completely enclose the area. However, I would venture to say that the water tank itself might provide a large enough "heat sink" though in reverse, to keep that area cool - if there is water in it.

The other option I would suggest is instead of having one ugly louvered vent, you could add a slot near the top. This could be a 1/4" routed slot in the face, or 2 on the side. Just a 1/4 Router with a straight edge. Tape both sides of the ply before you cut to reduce splintering. This would allow hotter air to escape, and there may be enough area underneath for cooler air to be drawn in. My experience is the intellipower's fan moves a very small amount of air over a heat sink, so you probably don't need a large vented area. You could always wait to see if it overheats and shuts down on you? (but I wouldn't recommend that)
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Old 02-10-2012, 08:33 AM   #4
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Becky,

This about all thats needed.
When the access door is closed the cooling fan will bloe thru a screen in the enclosure.

Bob
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Old 02-10-2012, 08:36 AM   #5
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You need some degree of circulation for cooling. If the unit does not get enough cooling it won't work correctly. According to the instructions, it won't put out much current if there it not enough ventilation. You can try it with no ventilation and see what happens. Worst case if you will need to add a small computer fan to circulate air. Try not to make the compartment air tight. The original coucho has some ventilation back there. You should be able to hind the vents. The vents don't have to be on the front where they can be seen.

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Old 02-10-2012, 09:19 AM   #6
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They already have a small computer fan built onto the heat sink. As long as you have some space around it for circulation, you should be fine.

Just how tightly were you planning on sealing up the gaucho, anyway? On mine, there are plenty of small gaps around it that allow circulation.
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Old 02-10-2012, 09:33 AM   #7
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I put our in the rear dinette base in the Tin Pickle. This is basically sealed with no air circulation, but it has several cubic feet of space. Last year our batteries started giving up the ghost, and needed a lot of charging after boon docking (before solar), and this compartment would get very warm. I added a fan to circulate air with the rest of the trailer, and this won't reoccur.

The inverter is in the same area; both devices have cooling fans, so some air circulation is a good idea. Note that if air can enter the area low and leave high, the heat will automatically provide that circulation.

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Old 02-10-2012, 10:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vswingfield View Post
They already have a small computer fan built onto the heat sink. As long as you have some space around it for circulation, you should be fine.

Just how tightly were you planning on sealing up the gaucho, anyway? On mine, there are plenty of small gaps around it that allow circulation.
That was my point to my DH. The space will be pretty full of stuff, though. I'm planning on making doors on the front that drop down--air would absolutely be able to get in the sides of the doors. The top of the gaucho will have plywood & cushions on it, so not so much there. I guess I might just have to split the long ss gaucho into two (dinette seat separate) so I can put a vent on the side. I just don't want a vent on the front--I'd hate it every time I saw it! Or, if I kept it as one long bench, if you will, would a vent at the dinette be too far away? The distance away from the converter would only be about 3-4 ft (the entire length of the trailer inside is only 14')
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:33 AM   #9
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The model you ave (4045) is a wall mount unit according to the PD site. The only stipulation they state is that it should not be mounted in a zero clearance area. If there is room for the air to circulate, it should not be a problem.

Another issue is the battery being in the same area. AGM batteries are required by RV standards to be vented to the outside of the trailer. They are sealed units but can vent if overcharged or overheated.
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Old 02-10-2012, 12:22 PM   #10
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Question

MISSED that Richard

Very good point, battery definitely should be vented.

Bob
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Old 02-10-2012, 12:35 PM   #11
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Are you kidding me?! I swear I heard Colin Hyde on the VAP singing the praises of the AGM & how they don't need to be vented!! Now THAT throws a huge monkey wrench in everything!!!!!!! I eliminated the battery box to the outside & put my electrical input there, since I didn't need a battery box, since the battery could go under the gaucho. I'm fairly positive he said it could be put anywhere.
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Old 02-10-2012, 12:42 PM   #12
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Becky,
Straight from the source.

http://www.lifelinebatteries.com/manual.pdf

Bob
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Old 02-10-2012, 03:15 PM   #13
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I went back & listened to the VAP #13 regarding the battery. Colin Hyde, who has worked on AS trailers for many years, says the AGM's don't need to be vented to the outside. I'm going to give the battery enough room surrounding it, as the manual says, but will not be venting to the outside. The manual doesn't say they need to be vented to the outside. It says NOT to put them in a sealed box, and have adequate ventilation. I don't think my trailer will be that tightly sealed, but I will put a vent on the side of the gaucho (which I have come to terms with already). Thanks for the link to the manual, Robert.
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Old 02-10-2012, 03:37 PM   #14
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Hi Becky.

Quote:
My husband is doing the electric in the Bambi II and insists that the converter needs venting
You're both right. The converter gives off heat. They're typically just under 90% efficient at full load which means that the other 10% makes heat, so you'll have around 50 watts of unwanted heat coming off that thing when it's running at full output. The heat has to go somewhere. If you enclose it under the gaucho it will be conducted away through cabinetry and the gaucho and floor. The question is how much the temperature will rise in the enclosed area when this occurs.

There really isn't any way to find out except to try it and measure. If it's more than a 20 degree rise, you should probably add some ventilation.

Quote:
Colin Hyde, who has worked on AS trailers for many years, says the AGM's don't need to be vented to the outside.
There are two sides to this problem. One is heat. The AGMs give off heat while they're being charged, about as much as the converter will (typically around 1 to 2 watts per amp of charging current).

The other side is that in the event of overcharging the AGMs will vent hydrogen. The conservative recommendation is to provide enough venting to dissipate the hydrogen, which would mean that they have to be vented the same way as a flooded battery -- about 2 square inches per battery of ventilation to the exterior of the trailer and sealed off from the interior of the trailer.

But many people install AGMs without those precautions.
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