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Old 09-14-2009, 09:34 PM   #1
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1972 25' Tradewind
Gualala , California
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Should I ground my converter?

I just replaced a Magnatek charger/converter with a new Iota charger/converter. The replaced Magnatek was not grounded to the frame with the lug provided for that. So I didn't ground the iota to the frame either. Now I am wondering if I need to do that. I asked the dealer about it and he said that he had to tell me to do it. He also said that most people don't do it.

What are the reasons for grounding the charger/converter?
What are the reasons for not grounding it to the frame?

I am living/fulltiming on a coastal mountain top in Northern California that gets plenty of rain and wind and thunder and lightening. Do I need to consider this and ground the Airstream to a lightening rod? Or do anything else to be prepared for the coming winter storms?

Thanks for the help and advice.

Tim K

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Old 09-14-2009, 09:56 PM   #2
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San Angelo , Texas
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I also have an Iota converter and, yes, you absolutely should ground the fact, it tells you in the installation manual, "Connect
'Chassis Bonding Lug' on the IOTA unit to vehicle chassis or other grounding source."

I have the DLS-45...if you go to Iota's website, they should have the manual you need, if you don't have it already.

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Old 09-14-2009, 11:06 PM   #3
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This issue really confuses me also. The converter instructions (mine is a Progressive Dynamics model) clearly say to ground the chassis. NEC Art. 551.20 (C) requires bonding the converter chassis to the frame of the trailer using minimum #8 AWG copper wire.

Why is it such a big deal? Why do so many people (like your dealer) tend to pooh-pooh the need for a ground? Is it that expensive to put a short piece of wire between the converter and the frame?

If someone can tell me it causes a ground loop or makes the radio hum I might consider that a reason, but I haven't seen any reason not to do it.
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Old 09-15-2009, 06:13 AM   #4
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I found this on Axiomatic's website. Different converter, but I believe the principle is still the same:

"All chassis grounding should go to a single ground point designated for the machine and all related equipment. The ground strap that provides a low impedance path for EMI should be a ˝ inch wide, flat, hollow braid, no more than 12 inches long with a suitable sized ring lug for the module’s grounding lug. It may be used in place of the PE grounding conductor and would then perform both PE and EMI grounding functions."

So, I think you're right, Mark, grounding the converter to the chassis helps eliminate EMI, which would cause buzzing in the radio.
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Old 09-15-2009, 08:05 AM   #5

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , WNY
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During a recent attempted converter change I was diagnosing a no charge condition in a new Xantrex. It was tripping both the coach's breaker and the
and the house breaker on the 30a dedicated line. When I plugged it in on the workbench I got zapped GOOD. I was lucky that all the breakers were working properly, BUT breakers also fail.

Point being, there is no way to predict how a converter might fail, why take the chance....use the supplied ground lug, it's there for a reason.
AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 09-15-2009, 08:56 AM   #6
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Broken Arrow , Oklahoma
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Good question;

The 12V system is grounded to the frame and grounding the converter lets any stray voltage (low voltage noise) from the converter go to ground.

Stray voltage is very low voltage (noise) and comes from all kinds of sources such as turning on lights and other 12V items that have a poor (not tight) or corroded connection .

Normally the battery will filter out the noise and grounding the case of the converter is just a little extra protection from the noise being heard on your stereo system.


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