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Old 12-02-2012, 11:01 AM   #1
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How to test converter charging voltage?

1992 25' Excella:



I installed my new PD 9245 converter today. Something isn't quite right according to the information supplied by Progressive Dynamics. Using the pendant, I am supposed to be able to cycle through the charging modes by holding down the button. I should see the light go from constantly on, to rapid flash, to slow flash. I can get it to display the constantly on, or rapid flash, but not the slow flash. When I leave the trailer connected to shore power, the pendant light stays on which is supposed to indicate boost mode. The batteries were fully charged a couple of weeks ago and the trailer hasn't been used since then so I think they are probably more than 50% charged. I don't know if the pendant just isn't working right, or if the converter is staying on boost too long, or what?


Before leaving it connected to shore power all day long, I want to test the charging voltage that the converter is putting out. I want to make sure I do this right. Beginner question: What's the best way to test charging output of the converter? Do I test at the batteries or at the converter itself? When talking electrical, basic "dumbed down" answers are best for me. I have a multi-meter that I use on cars once in a while, but this is my first RV and first time dealing with a converter. I don't want to fry anything.


Thanks for any help you can offer,
Doug
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:31 PM   #2
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I'm no expert but I would test at the batteries. My guess is if you checked at the converter and at the batteries you would see a voltage drop.
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:52 PM   #3
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You didn't mention what type of batteries you have. AGM should be bulk charged at 14.4 volts, which is what your PD9245 puts out. Flooded batteries should be charged at 14.8 volts according to Trojan batteries.

Here's a link to some good battery info.

Trojan Battery Company
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:07 PM   #4
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The converter will stay at or return to boost mode until the batteries are at 90% charged.
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:36 PM   #5
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Doug, I put a digital volt meter across my batteries and got the following readings rounded to the nearest 1/10th of a volt. Meters and batteries vary a bit, but these should be ball park:

Pendant on: 14.3
Pendant fast blink: 13.6
Pendant slow blink: 13.2

As you probably figured out, you press and hold the button until you reach the desired mode. The slow blink is very slow, maybe once every 30 seconds.

Try turning the converter off and turn some lights on for 10 minutes then turn off and measure the batteries. 12.7 should indicate a fully charged standard lead acid battery. If you have more than one, isolate them and measure separately.

I'm suspicious that the PD unit may not be working as it's supposed to. Give their customer support a chance to help you if all else seems okay.
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:44 PM   #6
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Batteries

[QUOTE=daveswenson;1233537]You didn't mention what type of batteries you have. AGM should be bulk charged at 14.4 volts, which is what your PD9245 puts out. Flooded batteries should be charged at 14.8 volts according to Trojan batteries.

Thanks. The trailer has two traditional deep-cycle batteries.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:34 PM   #7
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Test results and question

[QUOTE=Silver Goose;1233551]Doug, I put a digital volt meter across my batteries and got the following readings rounded to the nearest 1/10th of a volt. Meters and batteries vary a bit, but these should be ball park:

Pendant on: 14.3
Pendant fast blink: 13.6
Pendant slow blink: 13.2

Thanks for the info. I tested my new unit:

Pendant light on: 14.2
Pendant fast blink: 13.4
Pendant very slow blink (storage mode): 13.2

These numbers are pretty close to yours and to what the converter instructions say. The first two are .2 volt lower that the data says. The tech guy at Progressive Dynamics said the numbers I'm getting are fine. When I first installed the converter, it took at least 8 hours for it kick down from boost mode to normal mode which surprised me since the batteries had been fully charged three or four weeks ago.?.? The PD converter sure is quiet and compact. I'm glad to be rid of the noisy old Magnetek.

When storing a trailer that has a modern converter/charger, is it best to leave the 110 cable plugged in full time, or periodically plug into 110 for a couple of days during the winter?
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug C View Post
... When storing a trailer that has a modern converter/charger, is it best to leave the 110 cable plugged in full time, or periodically plug into 110 for a couple of days during the winter? ...
Mine is parked behind the house so it is easy to check on things. I leave mine plugged in with the PD converter. I periodically check the voltmeter and it stays at 13.2v except the rare coincidence when I catch it in desulphation mode where it bumps up to about 14.4v for 15 minutes. I also check the electrolyte levels. At first I started checking every month, but as time and confidence grew, I've reduced it to every couple of months. So far I've only added a small amount of distilled water a couple times a year. Any battery or even the new converter could fail so I only feel comfortable leaving it plugged in 24/7 since I can check on it easily. The original equipment converter that came with my AS would have boiled the batteries dry in short order if left unattended.

Some have had satisfactory results by plugging in for a day or two each month during the winter months. Just be sure all the loads such as the radio and any lights are turned off.
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug C View Post
When storing a trailer that has a modern converter/charger, is it best to leave the 110 cable plugged in full time, or periodically plug into 110 for a couple of days during the winter?
We keep ours plugged in around the clock. Never know when a storm is going to knock out our power. The converter will eventually go into storage mode and keep the batteries topped off for you.

For the 8 hours of charging comment, it may have been trying to equalize the batteries or something. I've learned not to worry too much about it - I've had good luck with them by just letting it go and letting it do its thing. In the B190 I used to watch the pendant LED a lot to confirm which mode it was in, but in the trailer, I mounted the pendant under the couch so I have to work to see what mode it's in.

Of course, the trailer has a separately mounted voltmeter, which indirectly shows me what mode it's in by the voltage shown.
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:47 PM   #10
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Looking Good

I decided to leave mine plugged in for now. The PD 9245 switched over to storage mode with the very slow blinking. Everything seems to be working fine now. The only funny part was the extra long time it took to switch from boost to normal mode. Must have just been getting used to my trailer. We'll see how it goes as time goes by. I love being rid of that constant humming of the old one! And having a charger that won't cook the batteries is a great feeling. These units really aren't that expensive either. Happy camper!
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