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Old 09-06-2009, 01:28 PM   #1
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Timer on Converter

In discussing many threads about battery burnout with an AS mechanic, he suggested installing a simple timer between the 110v outlet and the converter. The timer could be set to limit the hours-on for the converter to 2-3 hours per day. This is such a simple solution to the over-charging problem I'm guessing there are a few negatives. Some come to mind:
  1. If shore power is removed the clock in the timer will quit working (unless it has an internal battery). This might not be such a big deal if one didn't care what 2-3 hours each day the converter is on.
  2. The converter outlet is behind our gaucho and below a trim board, and would be difficult to access without removing the gaucho (reason enough not to do this I'm thinking).
  3. If I understand the AS wiring correctly, turning off the converter with shore power connected will only affect charging to the battery. Battery-operated equipment would continue to draw down the battery.
If there are other drawbacks to the timer idea I'd like to hear them. If not, does anyone know of a timer that can be installed at the outlet but controlled remotely (even if only through a device installed in the trim board)?

Thanks for any feedback,
John
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Old 09-06-2009, 02:00 PM   #2
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John,

Nothing else that works on 120 v. will work—a TV plugged into 120 unless you have a 12 v. TV, refrigerator, dual fuel water heater (propane or 120 v.), anything plugged into 120 v. receptacles.

To keep the batteries charged if you're not using the trailer, I doubt you'd need even 30 minutes/day, but that's a simple minded guess.

There's a nice simplicity to using a timer and there's also a more elaborate solution. Have a switch that feeds the converter directly in one position (when you need shore power for other things) and you can switch to the timer for more limited use of shore power. This will take some wiring and placement of the switch where you can easily get to it. This doesn't solve the problem of keep the timer powered or changing the timing. It might be better to get an add on 3 stage charger and wire that in between the battery and the converter.

Gene
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Old 09-06-2009, 03:10 PM   #3
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All of your 120v AC appliances & tv's will work if the timer is just before the converter. The only way the timer would stop everything is to put it at the main power input. (Before breakers) This would require the timer to have 30amp or 50amp contacts to work safely.

Ricky
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Old 09-06-2009, 03:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3 Dog Nite View Post
All of your 120v AC appliances & tv's will work if the timer is just before the converter. The only way the timer would stop everything is to put it at the main power input. (Before breakers) This would require the timer to have 30amp or 50amp contacts to work safely.

Ricky
Right.

Are you thinking of using one of those timers for Xmas trees and a lamp so your neighbors think you're home and don't steal your new TV? Or, a heavy duty one for higher amps? The second will cost a lot more.

Gene
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Old 09-06-2009, 08:00 PM   #5
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Timer at Converter

Gene and Ricky, thanks for the feedback.

I'm not enough of an electrician to understand the schematics (can't even find the converter on them), but the logical design to me would be for the converter to feed the 12v panel and for the batteries to "float" on the system. If that's the way it's done, turning the converter off would simply leave the batteries to feed the 12v devices (and discharge until shore power or TV power is restored).

Gene, my take on the service manager's comment was to use a simple timer that would otherwise control a living room lamp or similar, reasonably low amp fixture, in the home. The 120v schematics show 8a allowed for the converter, so I assume any timer rated at 15-20a would work.

How the "kill switch" fits into all this is another question. I think the intent there is to disconnect the batteries from the system completely to prevent battery drain. If this is the case, using the kill switch would not have the same effect as a timer on the converter and would not allow me to use shore power without charging the batteries.

John
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Old 09-06-2009, 10:40 PM   #6
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you'd need an appliance times with a 3 prong connection.

some excellas had an option of a switch to turn off the univolt. (so you could sleep without the hum) it is located at the front curbside corner about mid window height and looks like a light switch.

one member put an extension cord in the univolt outlet and fet it and the univolt cord out of the corner of the wood shelf so that the timer would be located on top of the shelf.

if you use the cutoff to isolate the batteries your 12v things will work straight off the converter without a load to stabilise voltage. that's not a good thing to do. in fact my owner's manual advises not to do that.
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