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Main Forum => General Discussion => Topic started by: Jerry brown on November 26, 2021, 07:52:15 am

Title: Converter
Post by: Jerry brown on November 26, 2021, 07:52:15 am
Lots of good information on the forum as this has been a popular topic.

Apparently my converter is shot as I can charge my batteries when underway but when connected to shore power the batteries are draining and not charging. I discovered this just as I am leaving to take my grandkids to the Texas historical train - polar express ride this weekend.
Circuit breakers are good - 12v fuses are fine so with a charged battery everything is operational.

I figure I will upgrade to the progressive 45a converter for my 2015 PC 2910d but in the mean time I am bringing my vehicle charger along to keep the batteries charged if we drop too low after the drive and we set up.

Any other advice?  Seems like you always discover this stuff at the least opportune time. BTW neither shore power or generator is charging - only when driving (separate circuit)

My inverter is seldom used but working, but also shows low battery unless I use my external charger.

Thanks JB
Title: Re: Converter
Post by: Ron Dittmer on November 26, 2021, 08:28:38 am
Hi Jerry,

Before replacing the converter, I would get a voltage meter and probe the ~110V input and ~13.8V output of the converter, right there at the converter itself.  Doing so would rule out an external disconnect or failure.  For example, there are two fuses and another electrical item, I believe a diode in the wiring at the batteries.  Maybe something there failed, became loose, or corroded.

This is the wiring in our battery compartment.  There are two red wires, I believe one from the chassis alternator, the other from the converter.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/3570/3841152473_62640fcdf9_z.jpg)
Title: Re: Converter
Post by: fandj on November 26, 2021, 09:16:17 am
When I ordered my 2016 I had Phoenix install a Progressive Dynamics 9270 with charge wizard instead of their standard converter.   When used with the original golf cart lead acid batteries the converter performed well.  I installed Lithium batteries last year and contacted both the battery manufacturer (Battleborn) and Progressive Dynamics to determine what if any changes would be required.  Both said the converter I had (PD9270) would work.  I have had no issues with the Lithium conversion.  I would suggest going with 60 or 70 amp model should you ever decide to go Lithium.  The Lithiums can accept a higher charge rate thus charging times are significantly reduced.
Title: Re: Converter
Post by: Jerry brown on November 26, 2021, 09:29:14 am
Thank you both - I suspect battery box is ok as it will charge from both from MH chassis and my external charger across the two 6v batteries. Like I said headed with grandkids - so I am bringing my vehicle charger along in case I loose charge. When I get home I will have some more time to trouble shoot:)

I suspect batteries will hold up for a couple of days - as I have them close to fully charged and have a 3 hour drive to top them off.

I donít believe the Existing converter is smart and had been thinking of replacing. I have the parallax (sp) unit which appears to have the 12v fuses mounted to front of converter below the ac distribution and breakers
Title: Re: Converter
Post by: mikeh on November 26, 2021, 09:38:12 am
Jerry,

Ron's advice is solid.  By confirming all breakers and fuses in the power panel are good, you've ruled out perhaps the most common failure points, since the converter receives it's 120-volt input through one of the breakers, and the "reverse-battery protection fuses" for the converter output are in the regular DC fuse line-up in some Parallax units, and separate in others, (I assume you have the Parallax in your 2015 model).  Given all breakers/fuses good, and the functioning battery charge from the engine alternator, sounds likely that you've properly diagnosed a bad converter.

Even so, it's always best to eliminate all outside possibilities.  If you can verify a good 120-volts right at the converter input connection, and then no DC output voltage right at the converter output connections, you have isolated your problem to the converter itself at just about a 100% level.  Note that you will need to pull the two DC fuses providing "reverse battery protection" when checking for DC output voltage at the converter output connection.
Mike 


Title: Re: Converter
Post by: Jerry brown on November 26, 2021, 10:00:56 am
Really appreciate the quick replies- I have been thinking about going with the progressive smart converter charger. I assume I can replace the bottom half of the Parrallax unit (converter portion) and reuse the dc board and fuses?   I will break out my meter and check connections and voltage as suggested when I return home. The external vehicle charger is not an elegant solution but will get me by in a pinch just to keep the batteries topped off

Title: Re: Converter
Post by: mikeh on November 26, 2021, 10:41:28 am
Your external charger should work fine to get you through this trip.

Regarding replacing your converter---the Progressive Dynamics 4600 Series is a "Replacement/Upgrade" converter-charger for several  Parallax converter-chargers sections.  It's available in 35, 45, and 55-amp outputs.  I'm not sure which Parallax power center models Phoenix was using for the 2015 model year 30 and 50-amp coaches--you would likely need to get your power center and converter section model information and give Progressive Dynamics a call to verify compatibility.

Parallax also has converter replacement sections available--some can be upgraded to their TempAssure technology, which provides temperature-compensated charging voltage that adjusts the charge voltage based on battery temperature.  If it's compatible with your model unit, that system does a pretty good job of bringing those earlier Parallax chargers up to what you expect from a "smart charger".  Again, it might take a phone call with your model information to Parallax to confirm compatibility if you want to go that route.

Prices vary pretty widely on these things, so once you nail down exactly what you want to buy it's probably worthwhile to do a general search to see who has the best deal on it.
Mike
Title: Re: Converter
Post by: Engineerlt on November 26, 2021, 12:45:25 pm
Hello Jerry
I changed my converter to a WFCO WF-9855-LIS converter. I just removed the converter and installed the WFCO. Pretty simple and it works great, plus now I am ready for Lithium batteries I still have the converter from my Parallax 5300, if you are interested you pay for shipping and its yours. It still works, just don't need it and figure if someone could use that would be great.

Very Respectfully
Lance
Title: Re: Converter
Post by: fandj on November 26, 2021, 03:50:32 pm
I had a Parallax converter in an earlier pull type camper.  While it worked it was inferior to a smart converter.  It output 13.7 volts continuously which meant it was slow to charge and if left connected long term it caused excessive electrolyte loss with potential damage to the batteries.


I agree it would be advisable to consult with Progressive Dynamics to get their recommendations.  The PD9270 that Phoenix installed during the initial build bulk charges at 14.4 volt, absorption charges at 13.6, and float or trickle charges at 13.2 volts. 


I can see why you would want to install the converter in the Phoenix supplied power distribution enclosure.  My Phoenix installed PD unit is a separate enclosure located beside and wired into the regular power distribution enclosure.


You can see the PD unit beneath the silver furnace ducts and the power distribution enclosure beside it.
Title: Re: Converter
Post by: 2 Frazzled on November 27, 2021, 04:31:24 am
We've had the same problem for months. Doug checked out the converter at the Travel Club Reunion and said everything was working... At least the converter and other components are. The battery still doesn't get a charge from shore power or genny. John has been hooking up our plug-in charger every time we're in camp with electricity. We have to run the truck to recharge when dry camping  (or rainy conditions - we bring the charger inside).

The Onan shop did a quick test directly at the batteries using a voltage meter. Truck running-power in. Generator running-no power. John checked the fuses in the battery compartment and said they looked good but maybe we'll swap them just for good measure. Where is the diode type thing and do you test it the same way?


Title: Re: Converter
Post by: Ron Dittmer on November 27, 2021, 09:14:32 am
Speaking of charging.

Our 2007 has the original PC installed 2000 watt Tripp-Lite converter/inverter combo unit which works with lead acid and AGM batteries, but does NOT handle lithium.  It offers 20amps of charging.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/8109/8462448651_8763d54657_z.jpg)

We boondock most often which can be 9-10 days at a time between long drives for battery recharging.  My drives are measured in feet to the dump station, surly useless for battery maintenance.  So we rely exclusively on the generator for battery charging.  But.........

To utilize the generator run times better, I use an external smart charger that can be set as high as 40amps.  It's no big deal to pull out the charger, hook it up as shown, and monitor the progress.  This picture was taken in 2009 when we had 12V lead acid batteries.  Today we have 6V AGM and no battery tray which is easier yet to setup.  I installed the AGMs in the spring of 2015 and they still performed extremely well during our month long trip out west last September.

If your on-board charger is not working, consider what I practice all the time.  Selecting the right charger will reduce generator run times.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/2674/3966282501_688f2315b3_z.jpg)
Title: Re: Converter
Post by: mikeh on November 27, 2021, 11:18:50 am
We've had the same problem for months. Doug checked out the converter at the Travel Club Reunion and said everything was working... At least the converter and other components are. The battery still doesn't get a charge from shore power or genny. John has been hooking up our plug-in charger every time we're in camp with electricity. We have to run the truck to recharge when dry camping  (or rainy conditions - we bring the charger inside).

The Onan shop did a quick test directly at the batteries using a voltage meter. Truck running-power in. Generator running-no power. John checked the fuses in the battery compartment and said they looked good but maybe we'll swap them just for good measure. Where is the diode type thing and do you test it the same way?
Holly,
It's not likely that the two large fuses in your house battery area are at fault.  They primarily protect the output of the house batteries that go to your inverter and house 12-volt circuits.  They are in parallel, so if either fuse is good, the converter charge current (which is much lower than the current rating of each fuse), can flow through the good fuse to charge your house batteries.  If both fuses are bad, your inverter wouldn't power on, your generator wouldn't start, and you would have no 12-volt power at all to your house 12-volt circuits.
I am not aware of a "diode-type thing" in this area.  I believe the other "electrical item" that Ron was referring to in his post may be the item mounted to the back wall on the left side of his photo, opposite the fuses.  That item is a self-resetting circuit breaker that protects the circuit going to the generator starter.  Mine is a 120-amp unit.  That is not in the converter charge circuit at all so can't affect it; if that circuit breaker is faulty, your generator won't start.

I haven't had occasion to try to trace wiring in my unit, but I imagine that the converter output that charges your house batteries is a wire that connects to the battery cable--likely at the inverter if you have separate converter and inverter units in your model.  In the earlier models, like Ron's, that have a combined converter/inverter, the connection is probably internal in the unit.  I suspect that you are going to have to access the wiring hook-up area behind your converter and inverter units to do some testing there to see just where the circuit is being interrupted.
Mike
Title: Re: Converter
Post by: Jerry brown on November 27, 2021, 11:37:52 am
Lance - thanks for the offer, but if I am gonna swap I think I will upgrade. I will look at the WFCO unit as well as Progressive. I like the idea of future battery comparability. Best JB
Title: Re: Converter
Post by: 2 Frazzled on November 28, 2021, 05:01:31 am
Mike, we do have the separate inverter+ converter on our 2013 2552. They are under the passenger side twin bed. On a previous factory visit we had Doug cut and hinge the bed board so we have easy access to the components below. It doesn't have lifters as there is no framing to support them but one of us holds it up while the other roots around in there. That output cabling is what Doug tested for us in Spearfish and said it's good.

We may wind up swapping out the converter at some point. We plan to add solar and lithium and were holding out to get it all done at once to make sure everything works as efficiently as possible BUT we may have to bite the bullet and buy a converter now... Or keep plugging in our smart charger as part of our site set up.

Title: Re: Converter
Post by: Engineerlt on November 28, 2021, 07:02:53 am
Hello 2 Frazzled
I am sorry to but in, did you check the 2 fuses on the converter. The converter fuses are located on the converter upper right when you are looking at your 12volt fuse panel (assuming you have the Parallax 5300).  There are 2 fuses and they are for reverse polarity. Also just a shot in the dark did you happen to check the wire leading into the breaker to ensure its was tight from the converter? I have had the lugs of breakers loosen in the past creating electrical issues. Here is a picture of the converter section removed you can see the 2 reverse polarity fuses.

Very Respectfully
Lance
Title: Re: Converter
Post by: mikeh on November 28, 2021, 12:45:07 pm
Mike, we do have the separate inverter+ converter on our 2013 2552. They are under the passenger side twin bed. On a previous factory visit we had Doug cut and hinge the bed board so we have easy access to the components below. It doesn't have lifters as there is no framing to support them but one of us holds it up while the other roots around in there. That output cabling is what Doug tested for us in Spearfish and said it's good.

We may wind up swapping out the converter at some point. We plan to add solar and lithium and were holding out to get it all done at once to make sure everything works as efficiently as possible BUT we may have to bite the bullet and buy a converter now... Or keep plugging in our smart charger as part of our site set up.
Wow!  That hinged bed-board is a good idea!  There's a LOT of stuff under there in the 2552s.  I haven't had to access that area yet on mine except to drain the water tank (and there's a cutout for that), but it just a matter of time before various components of the water system, electrical system, or heating system will need attention.  Of course you would probably pull the bed board for a bigger job (such as replacing the power panel/converter), but that hinge would work great for quick checks and troubleshooting.

Since I don't know exactly what Doug checked for you at Spearfish, I don't know what else to say about your converter.  Lance's comments immediately above are both good ones.  I assume those reverse polarity fuses have already been checked, but they are an easy fail point that will prevent output from your converter charger.  I, too, have experienced the occasional breaker lug loosening (in home electrical applications) but that is a very low-percentage possibility.  Beyond that, it would require testing inputs/outputs with a voltmeter to see where the failure point is.  In Lance's 5300 converter photo, that black and white wire is the 120-volt input to the converter and the blue and white wire is the DC output.  Since I don't have a Parallax unit, I don't know how easy it is to trace the connections for those wires in your setup, but if you can find them and check at that point you should be able to isolate the converter.  If you measure 120-volts between the black/white connections (which probably just hook to the circuit breaker and power panel neutral), the converter has good input.  To confirm DC output at the blue/white wire connections, you will need to briefly unhook your ground cable at the house batteries (to prevent reading the house battery voltage), then check between the blue/white wire connections.  There should be 13-14 volts there if the converter is working (and the two reverse polarity fuses are good).  No voltage with good fuses confirms a bad converter.  Should you happen to have the correct voltage there, re-hook your ground cable and make sure it remains at the same potential (above battery voltage).  If so, the problem is in the cabling between that point and your batteries.

Sounds like a great move to the solar/lithium setup!  I understand the plan to do everything at one time, but as long as you get a converter that is lithium capable it shouldn't present any problem.  That WFCO unit that Lance mentioned earlier in this message string is a good one, and Progressive Dynamics makes a lithium converter though I don't think it is a dual lead-acid/lithium unit.  Their new power centers are, though.  If you choose to replace your entire power center instead of just the converter, the new Progressive Dynamics units just have a switch that lets you choose the lead-acid or lithium charge profile.

Mike
 
Title: Re: Converter
Post by: donc13 on November 29, 2021, 08:21:38 am
The white blocks (fuses) in the battery compartment go to the inverter, the black box (resettable circuit breaker) goes to the generator starter.
Title: Re: Converter
Post by: Jerry brown on November 30, 2021, 05:16:59 pm
So  progressive tech support told me that donít make a replacement and I would need a new panel.

That makes zero sense - ii have a 55 amp converter - I just need to make sure I have enough clearance. I may upgrade to AGM batteries next time but donít go off grid enough to justify lithium.  Made through the weekend ok - just kept my 12 volt demand down and we were fine for 3 days
Title: Re: Converter
Post by: mikeh on November 30, 2021, 06:07:13 pm
Jerry--

My take is that  the Progressive answer means that they don't have a replacement converter that is a direct fit in your power panel.  The converters themselves are simply 120-volt in/DC voltage out units.  Most individual converters from various manufacturers will "replace" yours--they're just not a "bolt-in" replacement.  FANDJ mentioned in an earlier posting about having Phoenix install a PD 9270 unit in his 2016 RV with the Parallax power panel--his photo showed it mounted adjacent (but separate) to his power panel.  The limitation is that it's pretty tight quarters in there already, and mounting a converter separate can be tough.  I have also seen on other forums PD converters mounted in Parallax power panels by making some modifications to the power panel as needed.  That is almost certainly doable, but it's impossible to know exactly WHAT would have to be done unless you find someone's report that has already completed that swap with the same unit you own.

I'll mention again also that replacing your original converter with a new Parallax bolt-in unit modified to include their TempAssure module provides a variable battery charging profile managed by battery temperature.  JATRAX, for one, used this approach successfully on his 2017 2552 equipped with an AGM/solar setup.  He was very aware of the Parallax/Progressive Dynamic differences, and after experience with the TempAssure setup reported that he was quite satisfied with the Parallax charging performance.  Adding the TempAssure was the route I was going to take before Phoenix switched to PD units as their standard install in 2018.

Keep us advised,         Mike


Title: Re: Converter
Post by: DKCruzser on November 30, 2021, 10:58:07 pm
I changed out the converter in my Parallax power panel last year when I switched from AGM to Lithium batteries.  I modified the existing tray replacing the Parallax converter to a Progressive Dynamic Lithium converter.   Rather than hardwiring into the Parallax power panel I used the same 20 amp breaker and added a 20 amp outlet.  (The Progressive Dynamic has a plug).   One of our fellow PC colleagues did the same conversion but he cut the power cord from the Progressive Dynamic Lithium converter and than directly hardwired into the existing circuit.  I had limited space since my power panel is just below my refrigerator in my 2910D but I was able to make the modifications.

Dave
2017-2910D
Title: Re: Converter
Post by: CalCruiser on November 30, 2021, 11:33:10 pm
My Parallax converter made a faint hum or buzzing noise when the dc output failed. A Progressive Dynamics replacement  tray with Charge Wizard seemed like the obvious choice.
Title: Re: Converter
Post by: Jerry brown on November 30, 2021, 11:34:55 pm
Mike - I agree the only issue is space. I have  a 2910d same as Dave so I suspect I can accommodate the swap if I go with progressive. Will call parallax tomorrow and check out that option.

I do appreciate all the input. Itís very helpful

Best
Jerry
Title: Re: Converter
Post by: Engineerlt on December 01, 2021, 10:03:36 am
Hello Jerry
Not sure where the 2910 has the converter mounted, but on the 2552 its on the passenger side under the twin bed just above floor level. If yours is mounted at floor level you can get a converter that is floor mount. If you take the 2 brackets off of the parallax converter when you remove it, you can simply use those to mount the 12 volt fuse panel that is installed in the parallax converter, as it is mounted to the converter section. Here is a picture of mine showing how I mounted the 12Volt fuse panel, (converter section is removed in the picture). I then installed the WFCO converter in the location of the old parallax but it is mounted to the floor. I did however add a couple of 1/2 spacer blocks under the mounts. I figured if the floor got wet I didn't want the converter siting in water. You can see the brackets holding up the 12 Volt panel, I just had to bend them in a vice 90 degrees. Then I pop-riveted the brackets to the 12 Volt panel.  Just added a couple more photos of the WFCO installed that way you can get an idea what its like behind the parallax panel. Also there is a picture of the cover of the panel.  You will notice that it is mounted differently at the hinge section. This is because originally the hinge mounted to the converter section. Just want to ensure you know how I got around the obstacles. 

Bottom line is, I didn't want to install a new panel, as there was nothing wrong physically with the parallax panel. So I found a solution to be able to upgrade and get what I wanted at a 3rd of the cost.

If you decide it is something you don't want to tackle you can still have my old but good (UBG) converter which should be a direct swap for you.

Very Respectfully
Lance