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Old 02-07-2012, 08:45 PM   #1
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New guy with a few questions...

Hello. First post, right here.
I am a newbie, and have already gained a lot of insight watching these forums.
This last spring, I bought my first camper, and shortly after learned that the furnace is hard on batteries. I had 2 group 24s on the A frame up front. One was new, the other was on its way out. Anyway, I got tired of my batteries dying, so I installed 3 AGMs under the bed. So far this seems to work pretty good for a few nights boondocking.
My question is about the converter... It has a Progressive Dynamics Intlli-power 9130, which is good for 30 amps. I am under the impression that I really need to upgrade the converter to a 60, or maybe even 80. Is this correct? I do have a generator that I usually run at least for a little bit during the day, and it can easily handle a larger draw (5500 watts). Generally, I am only out for a few days at a time, so the 30 amp converter has plenty of time to charge the batteries before we leave home.
Question #2
The converter that I have is capable of upgrading to a 4-stage charger, by adding a "charge wizard" pendant (about $30). So, I guess my question is about the same as the first: Is it a better idea to just upgrade the converter, or keep the one I have, and add the charge wizard? Also, is there any market for a used converter, if I do end up going to a bigger model?
Thanks for any advice in advance, Chris
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:03 PM   #2
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Chris,

Give Randy a call at Best Converter...he won't steer 'ya rong. Great customer service

He steered me into an IOTA DLS IQ4 55a when I installed the Lifeline AGM's.

Bob
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:20 PM   #3
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Higher amp converter/chargers, beyond a certain point, will not make the batteries accept current any faster. There is a limit to the rate of charge they will take usefully. I have PD 9245's in my rigs, with two golf cart batteries in series. They have more capacity than your setup, yet only take even 45 amps of charge for 15 minutes or so, before the charge starts to taper off. With a 9260, I had in another rig I could get a 55 amp charge for again, maybe 15 minutes, then the charge would taper off to under 40 amps.

So, although a 9230 is a lower capacity converter/charger, it may be ok for your use. If you can put an ammeter on the charge system, you will be able to tell how long it takes to see the tapering off start, and use that as your judge. But don't assume that a 9260 or 9280 is going to make some huge difference in your charging time.

In my opinion, the "4 stage" system is only a minor change from the "3 stage" one. My memory does not recall why I formed that statement, but when they came out with them, I did look and say to myself "why bother". Wish I could tell you my reasoning now, but I cannot. Three stage, bulk, absorption, and float works very well, and has for quite a while now.

More for you to ponder.
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Old 02-08-2012, 06:23 AM   #4
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The charge wizard is nice because it lets you know what mode it's in; I've never actually used the button on it (other than to test it).

I agree with idroba in general - the difference in converters will come down to a faster charge versus a slower one. With one exception, though: if you're using a lot of power in the camper, your converter may not have enough 'energy' (there's a vague term) to supply the lights, fans, etc., and charge the three batteries.

The question is "how much" energy would you have to be using for that to be a problem, and for that I'd call bestconverter like Robert Cross suggested. I think the way to figure it out would be to calculate the amount of current the three batteries would need to charge in a reasonable amount of time, and then look at how much is left over from the converter's output to see if it's sufficient to power the lights/furnace fan/etc. you want to have on simultaneously.
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Old 02-08-2012, 07:37 AM   #5
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Chris,

One other thing to consider. If you increase the converter from 30 amp to 45 or 60 amp, you need to make sure that the wiring going to the batteries can handle the increased amperage.

Chris
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:20 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the insight guys. I am going to give bestconverters a call today.
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:26 PM   #7
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Chris,

Good move.

Didn't notice, he's in your neck-of-the-woods.

Bob
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Old 02-09-2012, 12:59 PM   #8
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Have you put in a battery bank selector switch (popular in marine environments) ... that way you can use one bank / battery and keep the other as a spare ... requiring less current / charge time to recharge ... unless you have very high power needs.
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Old 02-10-2012, 11:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mefly2 View Post
Have you put in a battery bank selector switch (popular in marine environments) ... that way you can use one bank / battery and keep the other as a spare ... requiring less current / charge time to recharge ... unless you have very high power needs.

Haven't yet. Only made one trip out with all five batteries, but on that trip, I had no problems with batteries...I may get one installed before summer.
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