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Old 05-30-2012, 10:21 AM   #1
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1976 Argosy 26
Lake Wales , Florida
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Power Converter / Battery Charger / Fuse Panel

I need to replace the univolt system on my 1976 Argosy 26'. I would like to get some feedback on which system is the best value. I would like to add some solar panels in the future as I am a Florida Resident and I live in my argosy full time. Can anyone give me some advice from their experience? I don't know how many amps to get. The incoming a/c line is 120v/30 amp. My A/c fuse box houses 4 circuit breakers, 1 30amp, 2 20amp and one 15amp. I understand I need a seperate fuse panel for my 12volt. Which is fuse type is the best value. I want a good system but I am an artist with limited income. I would like to have some sort of visual monitering system if possible. Everyone has just been wonderful on this site about helping me. I sure do appriciate it.

P.S. I have a brand new NAPA 27 Series Dual Purpose Battery.
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Old 05-30-2012, 10:54 AM   #2
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The converter (120 volt to 12 volt) and solar controller are separate systems. Both hook to the 12 volt system, but they don't interfere with each other.

I use a Progressive Dynamics 9260 converter, and a Xantrex C-30 solar controller. Both offer 3 stage charging modes. There are other brands of both that are also good. Check out bestconverter.com, and the owner is very helpful if you call him I'm told (I've never needed to, but I've seen him post on here from time to time).

You can probably get away with a smaller converter, like the 45 amp version. I probably don't need the full 60 amp capacity of mine, but the original in my camper was 50 amp so I didn't want to go smaller than that.
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:57 PM   #3
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My trailer is very similar to yours. I installed the 45 amp version (Progressive Dynamics 9245) in my trailer and it has performed for several years without any problems. If you had two batteries the 60 amp would be better, but with a single battery the 45 is fine.
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Old 05-30-2012, 01:13 PM   #4
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I installed a 9245 converter in our '74 Argosy 26' a couple of years ago and am happy with the results. It has no problem keeping two batteries.
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Old 05-30-2012, 01:36 PM   #5
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I am going with the 60amp converter, we are planning on running things like our LCD television and laptops on the 12 volt side, which will require a tad more power than your average Airstream. Ditto dual batteries.

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Old 05-30-2012, 02:01 PM   #6
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Susan', solar can cost and you can have lots of panels as the panels get smaller. For solar you would need one or more panels, a solar controller, a converter that works well with the solar and maybe some upgraded wiring. If you want to run 120 v. things while boondocking, you'll need an inverter. You'll probably need a new fuse and circuit breaker panel too.

We have two 100 w. panels from AM Solar plus their controller, an Iota converter and Lifeline AGM series 27 batteries. Our panels and controller were installed by Lew Farber ("lewster" on the Forum) and I installed the converter and batteries. Lew splits his time between Fla. and Oregon, but you can PM him for help, ideas and to see if you want him to do some work.

But the real question is why? Solar is not particularly cost efficient, but if you do a far amount of boondocking it is a convenience. You can also significantly reduce power usage by switching bulbs to LED's (not cheap either; we got ours from Superbright.com). If you are not off grid often, a small (1,000 w.) generator can serve you to charge the batteries or run some appliances. A big battery draw for camping in colder areas is the furnace—if you stay in Fla., you may have little use for the furnace.

To give advice, it would help if you'd tell us just what you plan to do and what appliances you want to run. You can spend many, many thousands on an electrical systems upgrade, but said cost is a factor.

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Old 05-30-2012, 04:14 PM   #7
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If you are parked more or less permanently and have a place to set up panels. Not mounted on the trailer. There are some pretty good deals on the larger panels. Sun electronics has panels for $1.35 per watt. They are in the 150 watt and up range. Which would be a little over $200.00 plus a controller at about $50.00. A panel in this size range will prudence about 9 amps of current under load. I have an 85 watt panel that produces just under 5 amps under load. Of course these values are with full sun.
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Old 06-02-2012, 05:54 PM   #8
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Has anyone tried the Powermax 3M-PB60? It comes with a 3 year warrenty rather than the Progressive Dynamics 2 year warranty for the same price? And to clarify I need the fuse box also?
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Old 06-02-2012, 07:25 PM   #9
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I also like the PD 9245. They are in the $130 to $160 range, last I looked. Yes, you will need a new fuse box for the 12 volt side. Good to use the newer blade type fuses. $40 to $50 probably. West Marine has some you might find locally.

On solar, I am very high on the Xantrex C 35 charge controller for about $90 to $120. Then you can use that with any nominal 12 volt panel you find a good deal on. I would recommend somewhere in the 100 watt range, more if you have space and can afford it.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:59 AM   #10
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How did you get a 12 volt tv and computer?
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Old 06-05-2012, 04:53 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by susans69 View Post
How did you get a 12 volt tv and computer?
You have to look for them. My "computer" is a Dell Mini 10 netbook, and the output on the wall charger is 12 volt. My television is a cheap LCD that has a similar type of charger. I am just going to build my own charge lines. You could use a standard laptop and use a car charger, or an inverter. Ditto the for the television. The trick is find the lowest draw ones you can.

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Old 06-06-2012, 08:46 PM   #12
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This topic is timely for me. I am replacing my inverter in my 1976 Argosy 28'. After poking around a bit, I decided to buy the Iota DLS-30 IQ4, which appeared to be a direct replacement for the 30 amp system that's in there currently. Did I get too low an amp rating? I don't plan on changing any of the standard systems, so I thought I would not need to get a higher amp system. All of the posts here are using 45 amps and up. Am I missing something? Will I be sad later?
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Old 06-07-2012, 05:42 AM   #13
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This topic is timely for me. I am replacing my inverter in my 1976 Argosy 28'. After poking around a bit, I decided to buy the Iota DLS-30 IQ4, which appeared to be a direct replacement for the 30 amp system that's in there currently. Did I get too low an amp rating? I don't plan on changing any of the standard systems, so I thought I would not need to get a higher amp system. All of the posts here are using 45 amps and up. Am I missing something? Will I be sad later?
Shouldn't be an issue, the 30/45/60 amp is the output. If you haven't changed anything and the original was 30 amp you should be fine. My choice in upgrading was to provide extra power for added 12 volt items as well as dual/triple batteries for dry camping. Apparently the larger and later trailers came with 45 amp units.

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Old 06-07-2012, 11:29 AM   #14
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Don't worry 30amp is way more then most need, you just need more then the average amps you are using if you have a good battery. The biggest advantages of have more then 10amp are faster battery charging (during or after boondocking) and running without a battery, unless you always leave lots of things on. When my converter died I very successfully used a 10amp charger for over a year (main reason to replace it was the humming).
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