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Jerry brown

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Converter
« 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

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Converter
« Reply #1 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.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2021, 10:02:25 am by Ron Dittmer »
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fandj

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Re: Converter
« Reply #2 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.

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Jerry brown

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Re: Converter
« Reply #3 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

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mikeh

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Re: Converter
« Reply #4 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 



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Jerry brown

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Re: Converter
« Reply #5 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


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mikeh

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Re: Converter
« Reply #6 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

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Engineerlt

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Re: Converter
« Reply #7 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
« Last Edit: November 26, 2021, 01:01:54 pm by Engineerlt »

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fandj

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Re: Converter
« Reply #8 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.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2021, 04:22:07 pm by fandj »

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2 Frazzled

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Re: Converter
« Reply #9 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?


John, Holly, and sometimes Chloe.
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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Converter
« Reply #10 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.


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.
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mikeh

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Re: Converter
« Reply #11 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

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Jerry brown

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Re: Converter
« Reply #12 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

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Re: Converter
« Reply #13 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.

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Re: Converter
« Reply #14 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