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Old 04-16-2014, 07:23 PM   #1
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1971 27' Overlander
Pumpkintown , South Carolina
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 60
What fails in a Parallax 4400?

Hi y'all -- long time. In 2007 I replaced the perfectly good but noisy original Univolt in my '71 Overlander 27' with a Parallax 4400. It crapped out after a couple of months, and the company sent a replacement. That worked, but soon after the install I had to leave for a few years. The trailer was unplugged, and had no battery. On return, everything worked fine for about a month, and then the converter went out again -- 110 in, nothing out, fuses good. All up, I got 3 or 4 months use out of two brand new converters! Since I won't be getting a warranty replacement this time, and since I can't afford another converter right now, I'd like to see whether I can take this one apart and find the defective bit. I'm no electrician, but I know where to find one who will work for beer (famous last words). Thanks.
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Old 04-16-2014, 08:00 PM   #2
'06 75th Winick Prototype
 
2006 19' International CCD
1968 22' Safari
The Swamps of Hell , Lousy-Anna
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 205
I can't believe you actually bought a Parallax on purpose with all the information on the internet and this forum alone regarding how big pieces of **** they are. But, you live and learn I guess.

I don't know what fails on them either, but every one I have ever had has failed except the last replacement Airstream provided for my trailer mainly because I didn't give it a chance to; I yanked that POS out almost immediately and installed an Intellipower. I never used the Parallax...it was the third replacement on a basically new trailer.

My parents had a Parallax in their Chinook which literally caught fire; the replacement failed (but didn't catch fire). They traded the coach in on a Georgetown, then a Surfside. The Parallax in the Surfside failed, and I bought them an Intellipower.

My Scamp had an older Parallax-then called Magnetek or something-and it too failed quickly. It would make this horrible loud hum, then it quit, of course after boiling the original battery subsequently ruining it. I replaced that with an Intellipower and it has been plugged in continuously since 2005, charging the same battery purchased in 2005, and that battery is STILL good.

My 75th Bambi had the converter replaced before it went to Bates. While it was on the lot at Bates, I went to see it for the first time, and when I went back to purchase the trailer, the service department had to replace the converter before I could even tow it away. They also had to replace both batteries since the Parallax boiled them as well. When I brought my trailer to the factory in 2012 for warranty work, I was told that yet AGAIN they replaced the converter but didn't say why...it was there a couple months, and they gave me the old broken converter in the new one's box. When I got the trailer home I modified the Parallax box under the oven and installed the Intellipower. No problems since!!!

I don't see how they sell the things as aftermarket equipment; I realize the manufacturers use them because they are CHEAP. But as far as actually BUYING one on PURPOSE, well...


...they just suck.
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Old 04-17-2014, 07:33 AM   #3
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1971 27' Overlander
Pumpkintown , South Carolina
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Posts: 60
Thanks for your input. I do now realize that these devices are essentially junk. At the time of purchase I was relying on reviews and advice, some of it from this forum, that turned out to be inaccurate -- live and learn.


I believe that everything is repairable -- heck you can make even a Jeep reasonably reliable with enough time, money and ingenuity. I hope to figure out how to repair and possibly modify this goofy thing. I suspect that there is an especially vulnerable component that was used to hit a price point, but it may well be that the thing is riddled with such compromises and so not worth fooling with. If that turns out to be the case, I suppose I'll just buy a cheap battery and use my automotive charger to keep it topped up until I can afford a decent converter.
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Old 04-23-2014, 01:58 AM   #4
'06 75th Winick Prototype
 
2006 19' International CCD
1968 22' Safari
The Swamps of Hell , Lousy-Anna
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 205
I'm sure it's fixable...but who knows what causes whatever it is that fails to actually fail?

Most Parallax units aren't real A/C to D/C converters anyway...they just seem to quasi step down A/C voltage; that's one of the reasons they hum so loudly with electronics and use chintzy filters on some of the taps. Not even pure D/C voltage on the outputs. They really are just a glorified battery charger. Just pure crap.

Intelipowers are super cheap on eBay; that's where I've bought all of mine. Half price of a ripoff place like Camping World. I've only bought the biggest, the 9280. Here's a link to a good price on a new one on eBay:

Progressive Dynamics Inteli Power RV Converter PD9280 | eBay

And, if you don't need all those amps, you can save a lot by buying a smaller capacity one...eBay is full of them. Can't go wrong.

Jeff
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Old 04-23-2014, 07:13 AM   #5
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1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 5,649
I still have my old Univolt and use the newer one as a backup instead of the other way around. Actually, I have had more essential stuff to deal with rather than replace something that is working. I find that with cars that many times the OEM stuff is better after decades of use than the Chinese made stuff is when new.

Perry
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Old 04-23-2014, 12:46 PM   #6
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2010 30' Classic
Vintage Kin Owner
South of the river , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,119
Same thing that fails in any power supply.

Transformer primary - open or shorted windings
Diode failure due to heat
Voltage regulator failure due to heat

That's 90% of the failures

Some of the newer ones are switchers which will tend to have fewer transformer problems and more failures of whatever solid state component they chose to use to do the switching
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Old 04-27-2014, 01:50 AM   #7
'06 75th Winick Prototype
 
2006 19' International CCD
1968 22' Safari
The Swamps of Hell , Lousy-Anna
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 205
Here's a picture of my install...I went with the biggest Intelipower, the PD9280. It was a pain getting it mounted; it fit in the original Parallax metal casing/chassis (which I gutted), but I had to remove metal from that original chassis for the fan on the Intelipower to get air as well as for the 12volt connections. It took several Dremel bits to cut through the metal (surprisingly stout for such a crappy converter). There was next to no additional room to get the chassis mounted in the wall frame once the thick gauge 12volt and ground connections were made; I had to remove more material from the wall-mounted frame part of the chassis so that I could slide the actual chassis back in. I like the extra capacity of the 80 amp unit, but I would go with the direct replacement next time. It wasn't a fun job to do all the modifications.

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