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Old 05-23-2014, 12:26 AM   #1
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Battery charging - new converter or NOT!

Do I buy a new converter? It seems to me that my batteries should charge up when I plug my trailer into shore power 110/120 Volt 30 amp power. I have not found this to be the case. So I end up pulling out the battery charger and hooking them up to the batteries to get them charged. It is frustrating because I am not an electrical engineer and all I want is a simple way to charge my batteries.

Let me get into some specific. My trailer is a Forest River Wildcat 26ft. My converter is a Parallax 7355. I have read in the "Woodalls RV Handbook" about four different types of converters. (1. Dual Output, 2. Single-output ferro-resonant, 3. Single output switching, 4. Single-output multistage). It goes on to say that "the single-output multi stage converter is by far most advantageous. ... It is a must for the active RVer.". Would you all agree? How do I find our what type mine is? More importantly if I decide I want to upgrade - what are the challenges and costs involved? What solutions are others aware of besides upgrading my converter?
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Old 05-23-2014, 10:46 AM   #2
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Check the DC voltage at the battery when plugged in - you should see about 13.5 volts if the charger is working. Here is a link for troubleshooting the Paralex 7300. http://www.parallaxpower.com/7300/Flowchart7300.pdf

Here is a link from Paralex - they are available for about $300.

http://www.parallaxpower.com/7300/7300pwrcntr.pdf
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Old 05-23-2014, 10:57 AM   #3
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Do I buy a new converter?

More importantly if I decide I want to upgrade - what are the challenges and costs involved?
Should you need to replace your converter, consider something from a different manufacturer. A rather nice upgrade is a Progressive Dynamics converter. Its what I intend to do if and when my WFCO 8955 fail (or even if it doesn't).

A good resource to call are the guys over at BestConverter - Converters, Inverters, Electrical Supplies, Electronics. They can help you with the challenges involved.
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Old 05-23-2014, 12:56 PM   #4
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Thanks for the help. I am really liking this forum.
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Old 05-23-2014, 11:18 PM   #5
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I would add that your charger provides 55 amps of charging which (if working) should be sufficient to charge a battery bank of up to around 225 amp hours efficiently. (The equivilent of a pair of golf cart batteries or a couple of group 31 deep cycle 12V batteries. )
It is an older type with a start up voltage of 14.0V for batteries that are depleted significantly and then dropping down to 13.2 Volts for float charge. This means that if you've used your batteries without being plugged in and you then plug in...you should see 14.2 volts at your battery terminals with a voltmeter. After charging up for 4-5 hours ...you should be seeing 13.2 V while plugged in.

This is not a smart charger but is fine for a couple of wet cells if you mostly plug in somewhere and don't do a lot of boondocking. Just check your water levels a bit frequently until you know how much you are using...and use only distilled water to refill...never letting the water leave the plates exposed.

If you DO do a lot of boondocking, it's probably a good idea to get a good smart charging system...4 stage... bulk, absorption, float AND an EQ cycle. IOTA makes a DLS55IQ model which puts out the same amps as your current set up and does all 4 stages and is priced well.
Before investing in a new charger, I'd take a look at my actual amp hour usage when not plugged in to determine if my battery bank is sufficiently large and then size my charger to my battery bank size. (20-25% of my amp hour capacity for wet cells.)
Your battery bank should be sized at TWICE the amp hours minimum that you use in a 24 hour period since you never want to go below 50% capacity before recharging.
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Old 05-23-2014, 11:34 PM   #6
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Battery charging - new converter or NOT!

I followed the flow chart until I got to the end where it said my converter is working. However the one thing missing from the flow chart is to check the voltage at the battery. Sure enough at the battery I am only getting 12.7 volt which is the same with or without being plugged into 110 power. So I have some theories but have not found the answer. I think there might be a fuse or somekind of break that is preventing what is leaving the converter from making it to the batteries. Anyone seen this condition before. I looked around for a another place there could be a fuse but have not found it yet. I may have to follow the wires from the converter to the battery and check it along the way. But I do get 13.5 going out of the converter when I am plugged into 110 power.
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Old 05-24-2014, 02:50 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by dlongmore View Post
I followed the flow chart until I got to the end where it said my converter is working. However the one thing missing from the flow chart is to check the voltage at the battery. Sure enough at the battery I am only getting 12.7 volt which is the same with or without being plugged into 110 power. So I have some theories but have not found the answer. I think there might be a fuse or somekind of break that is preventing what is leaving the converter from making it to the batteries. Anyone seen this condition before. I looked around for a another place there could be a fuse but have not found it yet. I may have to follow the wires from the converter to the battery and check it along the way. But I do get 13.5 going out of the converter when I am plugged into 110 power.
Yes.
Look for one of these that are resetable.
Normally within eye sight of the battery.
See the black button?

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Old 05-24-2014, 06:59 AM   #8
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Newbie? Not to jump on this thread, but I have found so much info here, and I just purchased a used 04 FR that was previously exclusively as a seasonal set up. It was always on shore power, with NO battery at all. I seem to remember a post a while back that stated "no battery while shore power will fry the converter". Is this true? And how do I check? I'm in process of waiting for Trojan grp 27 T1275 to come into my local (60 miles) dealer currently out of stock.
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Old 05-24-2014, 07:24 AM   #9
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Newbie? Not to jump on this thread, but I have found so much info here, and I just purchased a used 04 FR that was previously exclusively as a seasonal set up. It was always on shore power, with NO battery at all. I seem to remember a post a while back that stated "no battery while shore power will fry the converter". Is this true? And how do I check? I'm in process of waiting for Trojan grp 27 T1275 to come into my local (60 miles) dealer currently out of stock.
For the original poster, look under the frame near where the umbilical to the truck goes into a metal box for that open current limiter. Might be under a red rubber cover.
Press the tiny button on one of the short sides to reset an open limiter.

They can get corroded too so clean the wires if they look bad.

For the "claim jumper," The operative word is "can damage," not will damage. It all depends on how much draw you continually placed on the converter without the buffer of a battery "sink" to even out the wild amperage swings of daily use.
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Old 05-24-2014, 08:22 AM   #10
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Thanks, sorry for the "claim jumper" but I've not figured out how to post a new ques/thread? Still learning it all. Mostly the FR TT just starting to climb around & under it.
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