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Old 08-25-2016, 11:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 68 Overlander View Post
There's quite a bit more than that extra year warranty
It would certainly be nice to have some idea of what the "more" is since PowerMax don't even acknowledge the existence of a BoonDocker model on their website, and the description of the BoonDocker model on your website seems to match the description of the regular PM4 on their site in every detail except for the warranty.

I can see that you've got a good rep here, and these are questions that I'd have asked before buying the one on Amazon, but I have been under an extreme time pressure, and the free 2-day shipping on Amazon swung the deal in the absence of further published information.

Perhaps I've been bitten in the ass with a less-capable or poorer-quality unit, or perhaps I just got a bad one, or perhaps I messed up the wiring.

Unfortunately I'm leaving on my trip in the morning, so I'm out of time.

It looks like I'll have to resort to using a screwdriver to switch from generator power to battery power until I get back from Burning Man.

Annoying, but still better than the blown converter that I had last week.
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Old 08-26-2016, 10:16 AM   #16
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There are several companies that use the PM products but those that purchase the generic versions are often disappointed. I think GoPower is using the original stock version for example in their line. The Boondocker has the adjusted boost voltages for better charging, enhanced cooling algorithm (Which actually led to the extended warranty) and a few other things that sets it apart not least however is the support that comes with it. We even have models with a voltage display meter that many people enjoy but certainly not necessary.
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Old 09-10-2016, 08:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elmer View Post
Unfortunately I'm leaving on my trip in the morning, so I'm out of time.

It looks like I'll have to resort to using a screwdriver to switch from generator power to battery power until I get back from Burning Man.
I'm back from Burning Man now and things are cleaned-up enough to get back to the important business of trying to figure out what's going wrong with the new PM4.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 68 Overlander View Post
There are several companies that use the PM products but those that purchase the generic versions are often disappointed.
Thanks for the warning.

However, I've got to say that the reviews of the generic PM3 converters on Amazon don't seem to show that customers are "often disappointed".

Perhaps I'm just missing something.

The regular PM4 claims to have the same boost voltages as the PM4 Boondocker, and my tests today seem to confirm that (at least when the PM4 is without load). I can see the converter without load producing 14.6V, then 13.4V, then 12.9V (the last one seems a little low).

I can't test or verify the other differences in the Boondocker, but your support here and the range of different variations that you offer certainly does speak well of your commitment to providing a good product and excellent service.

The circuit diagram that you have on your website for the FB9 fuse block is very helpful, even though it doesn't exactly match the circuit that I'm seeing in my old Argosy (particularly with the Argosy's 50A fuse on battery-negative instead of battery-positive).

For reference, that's on your page ...

http://www.bestconverter.com/assets/.../FB9wiring.jpg

I'm still confused as to whether I should be connecting the PM4's front ground lug to the ground terminal bus (i.e. Argosy negative) in the FB9, or not.

Since things still aren't working properly, then I guess that I'll have to try that tomorrow.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
Do you know how to use a multimeter? If so, do the following.
With the meter set to DC volts.
Yep, I somehow still remember a few of the simpler things from my childhood physics and electronics training.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
Then hook up the converter to the respective + and - terminals on the fuse panel. Connect the battery.
Let us know what happens.

Have you checked the 2 large fuses on the converter? They are reverse polarity protection devices. If your converter works they will be good.
Thanks for your suggestions!

I've run some more tests today after a cleanup of the trailer and the power compartment.

First of all, both fuses in the PM4 are fine.

With no load (i.e. the PM4 is disconnected from both the PB9 fuse panel and battery), I get ...

PM4 just connected ...
14.6V DC output, with 0.18V AC ripple on the DC output terminal.
17W steady AC draw as measured by a Kill-A-Watt, and the PM4 is very warm, but not enough to trigger its cooling fan.

PM4 tested after 20min ...
13.4V DC output, with 0.12V AC ripple on the DC output terminal.
15W steady AC draw as measured by a Kill-A-Watt, and the PM4 is very warm, but not enough to trigger its cooling fan.

PM4 connected overnight ...
12.9V DC output, with 0.12V AC ripple on the DC output terminal.
I didn't test to see if the unit was warm this morning, but will check tomorrow morning.


I'm definitely still confused ... and rather surprised by both the large (to me) current draw of the PM4 even when it's not actually powering anything, and the AC ripple on the DC output.

From what I can see, the connections that I've got should be "working", even if potentially not compliant with modern standards (i.e. the fuse on the battery negative instead of positive).

I should have more to report tomorrow when I try attaching the PM4's front ground lug.

If that doesn't fix things, then I'll probably have to get an RMA from Amazon on Monday.

If anyone has any other ideas or suggestions, then I'd appreciate hearing them.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:41 PM   #18
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Out on a limb here, check the polarity of the 120v outlet that the converter is plugged into.
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Old 09-11-2016, 09:15 AM   #19
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50 amp circuit breaker

Not sure about the PM4, but I used a very similar set up on my '71 Overlander, converting from the original Univolt to a IOTA DLS55 with a separate fuse panel, and it shows that the 50 amp circuit breaker should be located on the +ve battery line. That's how I installed mine and everything is running smoothly. I've attached the diagram for reference.
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Old 09-11-2016, 09:18 AM   #20
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ground lug

I also ran the ground lug from the IOTA to the frame of my access door with a simple terminal cap and screw.
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Old 09-11-2016, 11:31 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elmer View Post
PM4 connected overnight ...
12.9V DC output, with 0.12V AC ripple on the DC output terminal.
I didn't test to see if the unit was warm this morning, but will check tomorrow morning.
Here are this morning's readings.

PM4 connected overnight ...
12.9V DC output, with 0.06V AC ripple on the DC output terminal.
15W steady AC draw as measured by a Kill-A-Watt, and the PM4 is warm, but not enough to trigger its cooling fan.

The PM4 seems cooler than last night, but that's almost-certainly just because of the cooler morning air.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HiJoeSilver View Post
Out on a limb here, check the polarity of the 120v outlet that the converter is plugged into.
Thanks for going out on a limb, I don't think that there are any "bad" ideas at this point.

I just checked the AC socket in the wall, and it's wired correctly, so that's not the problem.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AHam View Post
Not sure about the PM4, but I used a very similar set up on my '71 Overlander, converting from the original Univolt to a IOTA DLS55 with a separate fuse panel, and it shows that the 50 amp circuit breaker should be located on the +ve battery line. That's how I installed mine and everything is running smoothly. I've attached the diagram for reference.
That's the same circuit diagram that's on Randy's bestconverter.com website.

I can switch the circuit around so that the 50A fuse is on the battery +ve instead of the battery -ve and see if it makes a difference.

I took a photo of the old TW331-W Univolt's connection on its box, and it certainly looks like the old TW331-W was using a fuse in the battery +ve line.




I'm not sure why the old Univolt circuit had a 50A fuse in both the battery +ve in the Univolt, and a 50A fuse in the battery -ve on the Argosy wall.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AHam View Post
I also ran the ground lug from the IOTA to the frame of my access door with a simple terminal cap and screw.
Unless I'm missing something, that should be the same electrical connection as the Argosy -ve (the white wire).

I really need to connect that ground lug on the PM4 and see what happens!
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Old 09-11-2016, 09:36 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elmer View Post
I'm still confused as to whether I should be connecting the PM4's front ground lug to the ground terminal bus (i.e. Argosy negative) in the FB9, or not.

Since things still aren't working properly, then I guess that I'll have to try that tomorrow.
Amazingly (to me), this is the one, very simple thing, that actually seems to solve the problem with my Amazon-purchased PM4 (so far).

It's been charging and working fine for a few hours now.

Currently, the shore power is connected, and the battery has had its top-up charge.

Once I connected the PM4's front ground lug to the FB9 fuse-panel's -ve power bus I got ...

Fuse-panel DC reading on battery (AC shore-connection unplugged) ...
12.5V all house lights off.
12.0V all house hights on.

Fuse-panel DC reading with PM4 just connected to shore power ...
14.5V all house lights off, started with 90W AC draw as registered by the Kill-A-Watt, and rapidly fell to 46W which seemed steady for a long time as it topped-off the battery.

Fuse-panel DC reading with PM4 connected to shore power for a few hours charging the battery ...
13.4V all house lights off, 19W AC draw as registered by the Kill-A-Watt.


That's with this wiring layout (please forgive the blurriness) ...




Quote:
Originally Posted by bbdo View Post
DC ground has nothing to do with AC ground. Not sure if this is the problem but you definitely want everything properly grounded.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AHam View Post
I also ran the ground lug from the IOTA to the frame of my access door with a simple terminal cap and screw.
It looks like you guys were both correct, thanks for your suggestions, which gave my the courage to try connecting the ground lug, even though I didn't think that it was necessary!


Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
The earth ground connection has nothing to do with the converter output.
I see the wire which is connected to the fuse on the wall. Where does each end of it connect? Typically the fuse is inline with the negative battery lead. I see it loops up but can't see if it is connected to anything other than the fuse on the wall.
And thank you for you input! I've really enjoyed reading your posts about your Argosy restoration over the passed few years.

Even though you were wrong in *this* specific instance, with *this* very specific model of power converter, what you are saying actually matches the advice that I got from PowerMax themselves ...


Quote:
From: Graham - PowerMax Converters <graham@powermaxconverters.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2016 10:50:28 -0400
Subject: Re: PM4 Wiring Question ... not currently working.

John,

It's best to connection the + and - outputs on the PM4 to the + and -
battery posts and then onto the fuse block. This way when the AC power is
off you will still get DC power from your battery.

If you have grounding in the AC side which the PowerMax is plugged into you
don't need to ground it. If not there is a small grounding post on the back
if unit in middle.

Hope this helps

Graham
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Old 09-12-2016, 02:16 PM   #23
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One final reading from today, and then I think that this tread is probably done.

Fuse-panel DC reading with PM4 connected to shore power overnight ... 12.9V all house lights off, 15W AC draw as registered by the Kill-A-Watt.
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Old 09-12-2016, 07:26 PM   #24
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TG Twinkie is mostly correct and Graham is definitely incorrect as far as most OEM's wire their DC (Including Airstream) Its best to connect the + and - to the fuse board first, then on to the batteries. That way if your battery dies, or needs removed for any reason, you still have a 12 volt power supply from the converter. If shore power is off, your battery will still feed the fuse board. Your wiring is not as Graham said and that's okay, actually better from the glance I saw. You/he are describing the way an inverter/charger is wired in that the batteries must be part of the system. Without them (battery) you break the 12 volt connection. BTW, I know Graham well and he has good intentions as do we all
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Old 09-12-2016, 08:40 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 68 Overlander View Post
TG Twinkie is mostly correct and Graham is definitely incorrect as far as most OEM's wire their DC (Including Airstream) Its best to connect the + and - to the fuse board first, then on to the batteries. That way if your battery dies, or needs removed for any reason, you still have a 12 volt power supply from the converter. If shore power is off, your battery will still feed the fuse board. Your wiring is not as Graham said and that's okay, actually better from the glance I saw.
What you're saying is what made the most sense to me when I hooked things up, and so that's what I did, and it's what you're seeing in the photos.

It just made sense that that's *why* there are all those connection lugs on -ve and +ve buses on the FB9 fuse panel.

If things still hadn't worked after I tried the ground wire, then I'd have been forced to try to *exactly* match the circuit layout that's on your web page, and that Graham described.

My confusion was with both TG Twinkie and Graham both *seeming* to suggest that I should not need to connect the PM4's front ground lug to anything (since the PM4 is grounded through the AC connection when it is plugged in).

For whatever electrical reason, that doesn't actually seem to be the correct advice with this particular converter in my particular Argosy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 68 Overlander View Post
BTW, I know Graham well and he has good intentions as do we all
I really appreciate everyone's help and advice here, and your responses to someone that didn't buy their converter from you, and Graham's attempt to help when he could (and perhaps should) have just told me to get in touch with the Amazon reseller.

I've already sent my thanks to Graham.
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Old 09-12-2016, 09:11 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elmer View Post




I really appreciate everyone's help and advice here, and your responses to someone that didn't buy their converter from you, and Graham's attempt to help when he could (and perhaps should) have just told me to get in touch with the Amazon reseller.

I've already sent my thanks to Graham.
You'd be surprised how deep we'll get with people who are nice..You weren't so much at first and kinda had things figured out on your own until you didn't and had to reach out.
And that green wire should actually go to chassis but you'd be surprised now many don't connect it to anything and it still works. Nothing to do with Argosy.
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