Upgrading to a PD 9270 in 2016 FC 30FB
I wanted to start my build thread so that I could bounce some feedback off the more experienced out there and hopefully this helps others too. I did this on on my 2016 FC 30FB.
This has been quite a project for me...I am really learning and happy that I made this decision.
I've considered the Powermax Boondocker but after reading several posts here and my personal research, decided to go with the PD 9270 install. The PD 9260 install should be just the same I believe.
First, like others have said, I made sure to test that all electrical is off. No shore power, batteries disconnected. I brought in an extension cord with work lamp, really helps along with a headlamp. Also, it really helped me to just take photos every once in awhile, to remember and analyze when I had questions for myself...and even on here.
Removing the old Parallax system was actually easy, just followed the bolts, screws (sometimes with allen wrench) and wires. Even the spliced black wire that has a twist on connector, the blue wire, the two white wires (one small and one thicker), just took everything off. I also took off the bottom-most fuse panel that's attached to the Parallax.
Since I wanted everything to look the same after the upgrade, I wanted to really work with the box the Parallax came in. The reason for this is that it has pre-drilled holes that work with the existing fuse panel and panel door underneath the fridge.
Taking apart and fashioning the old Parallax box took me a while and required bi-metal drill bits. I used 1/8" drill bit to first take off the rivets. I drilled down just slightly on the rivet heads and they come off fairly easy. After the top came off, I discarded it as I saw no purpose in putting it back on (the PD 9270 is already enclosed and would be additional hassle with wiring). Next, I took a T-15 screwdriver and took off the final screws that held the Parallax circuit board. I used a regular screwdriver for the fan and other areas. After just a few minutes, the entire guts of the Parallax was out.
I then needed a Dremel with cutting saw to cut down all the remaining screw mounts used for the parallax, so that the bottom of the stock box was as smooth as possible. After a little effort and grinding, I was left with a clean stock box to place the PD 9270. I lined up the PD 9270's fan with the hole in the clean box (formerly for the fan for the Parallax) and tried my best to give clearance all around, especially for the positive and negative terminals. Once oriented, it was time to mark, measure and drill some holes.
I placed the box inside the original space in the Airstream, and noticed that the sides of the box are met against another metal plate about 3.5 inches in from the front. That means that whatever holes I drilled, they needed to be at least 4 to 4.5 inches away from the front to clear. I used a 1 1/2 drill hole saw (a bi-metal bit) and purchased rubber grommets to fit from Lowe's specialty nuts/bolts drawer so no wires would catch on those shoddy holes. This seemed to work on both sides, one for the power cord, the other for the positive and negative wires. Hopefully the pictures show the work.
My last job today was to fashion a plug. One of the selling points of a PM Boondocker is that it is offered in a hard-wired configuration without voiding warranty (unlike the PD 9270, where if I cut the power cord to hard wire in it may void the warranty). Well it was fairly easy to make a plug thanks to others on the forum for a solution here.
I took a 14-gauge extension cord (the one where you can see 3 wires/channels making the cord, not the round 14 gauge). I cut the male end off (sorry there), and I was left with almost 6 feet of a female socket with wires that I intend to hard wire into the panel. The wires consist of green (ground), and (after researching and looking really carefully) one side is ribbed which is the neutral side and the other channel is smooth (the hot).
This is where I stopped because I now have questions. I'll go ahead and post pictures first of the work so far and ask again on a separate post....