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Why Doesn't The New Converter Work?


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#16 Junie

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 07:13 AM

Okay...I don't know what to do with this information! No resistance on the ohmmeter with the power off, so okay...right? With the power on, both leads connected on the breaker, red voltmeter lead on one terminal, black on ground: reading is 030; same with the other terminal. Not what I expected...I thought it would be 124. The battery is out and in the garage; is that why it reads so low? 

 

Interesting that with the battery out, we now have DC power (lights, etc) and even with the two 30A reverse protection fuses in, the green LED light on the converter is bright (but still blinking wildly.) This is leading me to believe it's a battery problem. I'll ask the strong one in the family haul it back out of the garage and hook it up to check results now that the battery is as fully charged as it will be.

 

Cheers!



#17 Robert & Merryn

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 12:46 PM

Junie, Let me back up. I didn't realize you were installing a SECOND new unit. I understood you were changing out the unit from a Parallax to the Progressive. 1st thing, read your operating instruction manual, the blinking light is indicating it is charging a battery not yet to a 90% charge. It will blink 4 times a second between 90% and 100%. After that it will blink 1 time a second to "maintain" the charge. If you sent the first unit back have them trouble shoot the problem. The chances of two units being bad (especially this company) would very remote. PM me a phone number, I'd like to talk to you more about thing snafu. I have changed these units out in my trailer and others. Something is being missed. Robert

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#18 Junie

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 02:20 PM

Robert: the Parallax was pulled last week and the first PD4645 was installed. Everything looked good: green LED was on a steady green, lights and fridge operating. We left it overnight plugged into shore power. When we went in the next morning, the green LED was dim, and there was a distinctive clicking sound...what I thought at the time was the unit trying to turn on, but now believe it was the auto reset breaker continually resetting...and the house circuit breaker for the supply cord had been tripped. I called Progressive Dynamics and Jamison walked me through testing. He determined the unit was bad and should be replaced. I did that and the one I am (was, hopefully) having trouble with is the replacement for the first bad PD4645 unit.

 

So, this thread starts with the installation of the second PD4645.

 

This is where we are right now. Thanks to Wally's advice, I discovered the auto reset breaker (which I had never heard of before) and tested it...it was fine. We had pulled out the battery last night and charged it up so it was out when I tested the auto reset breakers and lo and behold, we had AC to DC power. So we started to think it was the battery, even though it was performing beautifully on our recent 3 week bookdocking trip (with 2 nights of hookups.) We checked it and it seemed like we might have a dead cell, so we replaced it today.

 

We now have it installed, the converter running (yes, I should have reviewed the instructions on the meaning of the green light signals, but in my defense, I was too focused on what had happened to the first unit and afraid it was happening again...silly me!) the green LED is blinking at 3-4 times per second, the fridge is running, the lights and fans work. Dare I say Yay! or will the gods of smugness smite me (or our converter?) 

 

Interesting that in the process we discovered that the insulation on a pair of 14 gauge wires that had been wedged under the converter and locked in with zip ties was worn through from rubbing on the sharp converter edges. We cut the zip ties and taped up the wires. The wires are looser now so we're not concerned that there will a repeat. I'm not sure if the wires themselves were exposed...it's hard to determine since once you put an arm in, it blocks your sight. They were pretty gouged and given they were tight against the converter, I wonder if that might have started the whole problem with the first PD4645. Perhaps we'll never get to the bottom of it if everything stays as it is now.

 

We'll continue checking on it throughout the rest of the day and then leave it plugged in overnight to chill down the fridge. Hopefully tomorrow all will still be well and we can head up to the mountains to check on the color of the aspens.

 

If you think of anything we didn't check that may cause a problem, please let me know and we'll check it out.

 

I've learned a bunch with this latest episode, but I'd like to have everything keep working so I can stop learning for awhile!

 

Barbara



#19 KandJ

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 03:17 PM

Junie,

 

I am looking at your pictures and I see what could be two black wires going to the battery positive on the fuse circuit board. Is there two black wires attached?  There should only be one. That wire should go to the battery through the circuit breaker on the battery enclosure under the cabinet and no where else. One wire only!

 

Keith

 

 


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#20 Junie

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 03:38 PM

Keith: Uh, oh! I transfered the wires exactly as I found them from the old Parallax. There were two wires under the battery positive and negative terminals on the DC distribution board. Then there was a positive and negative wire with a "paddle" connector running from the AC side to the Parallax converter. The PD4645 dispensed with the paddle connector wires...instead the pos and neg (white and black) came from the converter up through the holes, behind the DC distribution board and into the respective converter terminals. 

 

I haven't investigated the two wires to and from the battery since I transferred them directly over. Now I'm concerned and will go out to find out why it is as it is.

 

Any ideas as to why there would be two wires?

 

Thanks for the catch!

 

BR



#21 Junie

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 03:47 PM

I went out and looked and realized I don't know which one I should keep and what to do with the other one. Both sets of wires have a larger (8? gauge, stranded) and a smaller (10? gauge, also stranded.)  

 

Can you, Keith, or someone else shed some light on this?

 

Thanks!

 

Barbara



#22 KandJ

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 04:52 PM

Barbara,

 

I don't know why there would be two sets of wires. I would take a very close look at what they are. To me this does not sound right. It is possible that someone ran an extra set in order reduce the voltage drop. Or somebody added a DC circuit somewhere and bypassed the fuses, very bad idea. The positive side on the battery terminal should only go to the battery.

 

The white wire is not a big concern if it in fact goes to the negative side of the battery. This could be done directly to the battery or to any other ground in the trailer. When I added two new 12 volt circuits I put the ground/negative/white wire on the negative lug of the circuit board because it was a very convient place to put them. The positive side I used a empty space with new fuses on the terminal board.

 

Do you have any add on solar where someone connected the solar controller on that positive battery lug?

 

When I replaced mine I found that the 120 volt AC had the main and one other circuit going into one circuit braker. I separated

them and put the plugs on the spare breaker.

 

I would hope that no one would have placed the AC line on the positive of the battery.

 

Keith

 

P.S. North on Colorado Blvd, west on C-7 through Lafayette to Boulder.


Edited by KandJ, 23 September 2014 - 04:59 PM.

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#23 Junie

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 05:42 PM

Keith: Ha! Stop on C-7 at Anthem (iron buffalo) and say Hi! sometime!d It's actually Broomfield, but no one knows that Broomfield goes that far North, so we just say Lafayette.

 

I'll do some investigation on the two wire thing. Right now everything is working. Our solar charger is portable directly into the battery. The two wires have traveled with us for a few thousand miles without issue (so far), so I'm going to take a break from being a contortionist for a few days.

 

Anyone else want to weigh in on this?  Any ideas on why there would be two wires in this configuration?

 

Thanks!

 

Barbara



#24 Wally Z

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 07:51 PM

I'm not sure if it needs replaced.  Seems like the specific gravity is a bit low on some cells.  Maybe take it to a place that can test it under a load.  As you know this may have nothing to do with your issue.  But I think you should eliminate it as a possibility.


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#25 jwpark

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 12:25 PM

This is the wiring diagram for my 2012 16' SD. The terminal with two black wires has an 8 gauge that connects the house battery and a 10 gauge that comes from the 7 pin connector that connects to  the tow vehicle.

 

jwpark

 

 

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  • Casita 16 dc fuse panel.jpg


#26 KandJ

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 01:40 PM

jwpark,

 

Your wire diagram is interesting. Barbara's extra wire may indeed be the charge line from the tow vehicle. If it a 10 guage wire from the tow it is a little weak on the size. When I had my brake controller installed I had the people use a 6 guage wire for the charge line. They said that i didn't need that big of waire. I told them that I could go somewhere else to have work done. I got the 6 gauge wire. I have never had any problems using the fridge on DC and charging the battery when driving.

 

I checked my 17' 2006 FD and there is only one black wire going to the converter and that is the battery cable. No other black wire near it. When I did my converter upgrage a few year ago I replaced the wires to the battery with 6 gauge marine wire,

 

The question is on mine, where is the charge wire from the tow vehicle attached in my Casita? It must be in that mess of wires in the front closet.

 

Keith


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#27 jwpark

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 03:26 PM

Keith,

 

I think it may be a case of different workers doing the wiring. Or maybe the 17's are wired different than the 16's. It could be they carried the charge wire all the way to the inline circuit breaker. The real choke point as far as the feeder wire from the TV is the 7 pin plug. Unless you keep the contacts nice and clean you will get a voltage drop across the plug. Each time I connect to the TV I insert and withdraw the plug several times to help clean any oxidation off the contact surfaces. I run my fridge on dc on the road and never have a problem with the Casita battery being drawn down. 

 

The first time I pulled my battery out to check the electrolyte level I discovered whoever was doing the wiring had use lugs that were too small to accept the #10 stranded wire so they just cut off several of the strands. I rewired it with the correct size lugs. A while later I wanted to flip the duplex receptacle for my AC so the AC plug did not cover both sockets. When I pulled the receptacle out I found the installer had placed the conductors under the screws heads but had not tightened the screws. It took me awhile to find and correct all the defects I found. I like my Casita and hope whoever built mine is doing a better job now.

 

jwpark 



#28 Junie

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Posted 27 September 2014 - 09:52 AM

jwpark: Thanks for the wiring diagram! Yep...that's the way ours is, too.

 

We just returned from a few days in the Flat Tops wilderness area in western Colorado...the colors are as billiant as we've ever seen them!  While there, I thought about the two wire matter and deduced that the 10 gauge wire must be from the TV since we can shut off all power from the battery (cut-off switch) and turn off the main circuit breaker ( when on shore power) and we still have 12vdc power when the 7-pin is plugged in. I was thrilled to not have to reach back into the recesses to find out what that wire was.

 

Keith...yes, I thought about your one-wire hook-up and wondered where the TV power comes in.

 

Now, let me wrap up this thread:

 

After testing the battery a few times, we took it to the Interstate battery store and had them test it. Their findings jibed with ours...time for a replacement (the battery is 4 years old.) We installed it into the Casita and hooked the trailer up to shore power. Voila!  Everything worked as intended...except the refrigerator wouldn't cool!

 

After a night of switching on/off; AC to propane to DC with no change, we said, "the heck with it!" We loaded up a cooler with old-fashioned ice and took off for some R and R. Lo and behold, after a day there, the fridge started cooling just fine.  Checking with the fridge guy, we think it was because the trailer had been less than level while it sat out front while we worked on the converter. Slap our wrists!  We know better.

 

All is good, thanks to all of you who helped...thanks ever so much. Special thanks to Robert who called me to offer advice and assurances. All greatly appreciated.

 

Incidentally, the with the new converter humming along, the battery charged to a 12.9VDC on our wimpy TV after-market 7-pin wiring. We have never, in three years (even with a new battery in the last Casita we owned), had the battery charge past 12.7 while towing. I don't mean to start a new discussion here...I know people hold strong views about such things...but for us, we're very happy we undertook the effort.

 

On to the next question about the water heater dripping outside...I'll post if I can't find the answer after doing a search.

 

Cheers to all!

 

Barbara