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Old 05-08-2012, 07:04 AM   #1
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What is it?

I have ordered a new inverter from Randy which should come in later this week.

I pulled the couch back last night to see what I was in for when I replaced it. I saw the battery boxes and the inverter but I can't figure out what the box to the right is. I do have solar to charge the batteries, could it be related to that?

-Alden
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:06 AM   #2
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Converter, just a guess? Jim
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:53 AM   #3
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you could have a solar set up

Here is a picture of the electrical system in my 21' Sovereign. The solar controller is separate and out of this photo. It does show the components, however.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:45 AM   #4
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Ok, thanks!

I was just curious because my other Airstream just had the inverter and not the second box on the right.

-Alden
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:20 PM   #5
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On the left is the converter (technically they're both inverters, but for clarity RVers usually refer to the device that does 120 AC->12 volt DC as the "converter", and the opposite direction device is the "inverter"). On the right in your picture is an inverter. The picture is blurry but it looks a lot like the one in mine - a Trace Engineering capable of running everything but the air conditioner.

The similarities between yours and mine makes me think the solar and inverter installation on mine was done by Jackson Center. Or perhaps it's just a coincidence.

Also, to add to the confusion: my inverter is also a converter/battery charger, and yours might be too. A good three stage one, in fact, and it even does temperature compensation (albeit manually - I have to adjust a dial). I installed a PD 9260 anyway.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:41 PM   #6
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Ok, that makes even more sense. Sorry about the blurry picture, I was holding the couch up and taking a one handed picture using my phone...

Well the part I ordered is the converter on the left. The one I have makes a buzzing sound that can be heard all through the trailer and outside. Seems to work ok but the noise is annoying. Since it happens day and night I am hoping I picked the correct part to replace.

Skater, being that you are so close maybe I'll bother you to come look at your setup if I run into any issues...

-Alden
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:22 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Alden Miller View Post
Ok, that makes even more sense. Sorry about the blurry picture, I was holding the couch up and taking a one handed picture using my phone...
Sorry, I didn't mean to pick on your picture. I know exactly how you felt taking that picture, don't worry.

Quote:
Well the part I ordered is the converter on the left. The one I have makes a buzzing sound that can be heard all through the trailer and outside. Seems to work ok but the noise is annoying. Since it happens day and night I am hoping I picked the correct part to replace.
Yeah, sounds like it's toast. The new one you ordered probably has three stage charging and all so it's better for your batteries too.

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Skater, being that you are so close maybe I'll bother you to come look at your setup if I run into any issues...
Sure, no problem, but I doubt you'll need to do that. Note - I just cut the two large wires coming out of the original converter to connect to the new one (the wires were permanently connected to my original converter, and yours looks like the same converter I replaced). There was also a ground wire to connect; make sure you do this since the converter is mounted on wood instead of grounded metal. I took a couple pictures, and if I can find them I'll post them for you, but they probably won't be that helpful anyway.

Obvious advice, but don't forget to disconnect anything that can produce 12 volt power - batteries, solar, etc.

The couch is removable by taking out the drawer, then removing four bolts holding it to the floor. Be careful not to overtighten those bolts when you put it back. Putting the drawer back in was the hardest part, because it's big and awkward.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:18 PM   #8
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Good things to know. I thought I was going to be able to remove the couch from the couple bolts at the back that it pivots on.

I have a main disconnect switch that supposedly cuts off the battery from the converter, I am hoping that will cut the solar off also. I think though that I have a solar cut off on the solar info station.

-Alden
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:07 PM   #9
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I have a main disconnect switch that supposedly cuts off the battery from the converter, I am hoping that will cut the solar off also. I think though that I have a solar cut off on the solar info station.
Keep in mind that just turning off the main disconnect means there's still some power floating around back there - the batteries and solar have to feed in somewhere. I'm not sure if the converter is wired "before" the switch or "after" it (electrically).

You might want to take a few minutes while you're back there and figure out how it's all wired - from the batteries and solar, to the master disconnect, to the fuse panel, etc. It may come in handy later when something goes kaput.
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Old 05-09-2012, 02:42 PM   #10
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A volt meter is definitely the first thing I am going to use to make sure there is no power coming in.

I was even thinking of doing the disconnect and hook up at night just to make sure there was no solar power coming in.

-Alden
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:21 AM   #11
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I was even thinking of doing the disconnect and hook up at night just to make sure there was no solar power coming in.
In mine, the solar charger was under the couch's right arm (if you're sitting on it), and there were crimp connectors near it that let me disconnect the solar system easily.
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:31 PM   #12
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The new converter is in and I learned more about my solar set up. I have a Trace Inverter model 2012. I did wait until dark to hook everything up, I didn't dig around for the kill switch. I have to pick up some wood screws tomorrow to attach the new converter to the floor but otherwise all the power and ground hookups are done.

I am guessing that the converter is what was causing the buzzing noise because I found it plugged into a power strip behind the couch, we couldn't figure what the power strip was for, now I believe they used it to turn the converter off when the noise bothered them.

Here's some pics of my solar inverter. I am still trying to figure out what the button next to the volt/amp meter is for. It didn't seem to make a difference if I turned it on or off. I can't find it in the new manual I downloaded either.

-Alden
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Old 05-12-2012, 01:08 PM   #13
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It looks like your is inverter only (mine is also a converter), so it may not do anything if you're hooked up to shore power. Try unplugging the camper and hitting the button on the panel to turn it on, and see if you get 120 volt power. If you don't, try plugging something into the outlets on the side of it to see if the inverter is working or not.

On mine that button turns it on/off - you can turn it on/off at the unit, too, but it's hard to reach.

That's a nice solar gauge - lets you know how many amps the solar system is charging at.
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Old 05-12-2012, 02:55 PM   #14
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These discussions get really confusing to me because of terminology.

This is my long time understanding:

A inverter is called that because it takes a direct current source and inverts the polarization at a particular frequency, thus producing a Alternating current. This can be done either electronically or mechanically. Modern devices are universally electronic conversion. It is done this way because electronic circuits can provide a much more stable AC power, both in magnitude and frequency. The modern AC generators are called inverters, because the motor is driving a DC generator an then the DC power is converted to AC with an electronic circuit.It was not until recently that manufacturers started calling their AC generators inverters. This has not helped with my confusion. An inverer in a RV takes 12 volt DC and converts it to 125v AC.

A converter could be anything that changes any characteristic of the source power. However for RV practice it is universally understood to be converting 125 volt AC to 12 volt DC. (with a few exceptions of different output voltages).

A battery charger is an converter with additional circuitry to adjust the output voltage for different states of battery charge. As far as I know, in RVs, converters are universally also battery chargers.

It is possible to place an inverter and an converter in the same box and call it a inverter/converter. I guess some manufacturers may be doing this now.


If I said something above that anyone doesn't agree with, please call me on it. I only posted this because I would like us all come to a common understanding on terminology. This thread is getting confusing for me to try to follow because it seems like different people are using different terminology for the same device type or maybe the same terminology for different devices.

If you feel that my post is just making things worse, feel free to ignore it. (as if I needed to say that)

Ken
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