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Author Topic: Fortron Converter  (Read 2127 times)

Boydrkb

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Fortron Converter
« on: October 28, 2011, 07:07:36 PM »
I have a Fortron TP3 model 55 and would like to know if it is a 3 stage converter and/or qualifies as a "Smart Charger." 

  URL is  fortronpower.com/Pdf_Sheets%5CTP3_Datasheet.pdf

Thanks for any help.


Just Lou

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Re: Fortron Converter
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2011, 07:23:24 PM »
That sheet makes no claim to be a multi-stage charger.  My assumption is that it is not.
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

Boydrkb

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Re: Fortron Converter
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2011, 07:39:24 PM »
Just what does a "Three Stage Charger" imply? 

Does this mean that not having a three stage charger that it's just a bulk charger and will pump 13.55 volts into the battery anytime I'm plugged into shore power....without reguard to the batteries needs?

I'm concerned that I may be "boiling" overcharging the batteries with this converter.  Thanks again for your help.

Ned

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Re: Fortron Converter
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2011, 08:12:36 PM »
A 3 stage charger means it has bulk, absorption, and float charge modes.  In bulk charge mode the charger puts out its maximum amps until the voltage rises to a specified value, then it goes to absorption mode where the voltage is held constant (typically about 14.4V) until the charging current drops to a specified value (typical would be 2% of the battery AH capacity).  At that point, it goes to float mode where the voltage is held constant at about 13.4V to maintain the battery at full charge.  The float voltage can vary with battery type (flooded cell vs. AGM vs. gel) and ambient temperature.

A single stage charger, like some converters, will overcharge the batteries and boil off the water in the cells.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

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Just Lou

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Re: Fortron Converter
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2011, 08:38:06 PM »
A 3 stage charger will have
  • A BULK charge stage (about 14.5 volts) to about 90% full charge
  • An ABSORPTION charge stage (13.6-8 volts) to near 100% charge
  • A FLOAT stage (13.2-6 volts) to maintain a constant charge.
The Fortron is a single stage charger, or "BULK" charger, as you stated.  However, the output voltage of 13.75 is not terribly high, and will not "BOIL" you batteries unless you are connected to shore power for an extended period of time with no loads on the batteries.  Normal battery usage while plugged into shore power will not allow any battery damage due to overcharge. 

I just recently replaced my single stage PD-9050 (13.6 volts), in a 14 year old coach, with a PD 9260C.

Monitor your battery water levels regularly and maybe run the charger only one or two days a week during storage.

I see that Ned types faster than I do, but I'll post this anyway.  Maybe one of us said something that will help you make the best decision to replace your unit, or not......
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

Boydrkb

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Re: Fortron Converter
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2011, 09:08:31 PM »
A thousand "thanks" to both Ned and Lou you've given me exactly what had me scratching my noggin. 

I've had my rig, a 2010 Freelander Dreamer, for two years and on the road for two, 6 month stretches, never paying much attention to the batteries and the charging system.  I do a fair amount of dry camping and would just fire up the engine motor or generator to recharge when the batteries got low...which was often.  I knew nothing about battery maintence or what all was involved with the charging system. 

Just this past week I installed a couple of 135 Watt solar panels, a Blue Sky 2512i(X) controler, Battery Thermo sensor and Remote Blue Sky IPN Network and four new 140 Amp flooded cell batteries.  Believe me, this has been a crash course in all things battery and charging.  One question answered seems to lead to another yet to be resolved. 

Again, thank you guys for your quick, accururate and unburdening help.

Ned

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Re: Fortron Converter
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2011, 06:32:08 AM »
Lou is almost right.  Bulk mode is a constant current mode with a rising voltage and absorption (or acceptance) mode is constant voltage of about 14.4V with a falling current.  This is taken from the manual for our Link 1000/Heart 20D monitor and inverter/charger.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Want to know what we're doing? http://blog.usabyrv.us

Boydrkb

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Re: Fortron Converter
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2011, 06:42:38 AM »
Lou is almost right.  Bulk mode is a constant current mode with a rising voltage and absorption (or acceptance) mode is constant voltage of about 14.4V with a falling current.  This is taken from the manual for our Link 1000/Heart 20D monitor and inverter/charger.

Then would you say that in a way, my converter is a somewhat "smart" charger knowing when to lower the current as less demand is asked from the batteries?  This is the case with the solar controller.  As the battery nears full charge in absorption mode the current lessons and drops to 0.01Amp/0.03Amp  in float mode. 

Ned

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Re: Fortron Converter
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2011, 07:15:29 AM »
If it goes to a constant voltage of 13.2-13.5V in float mode, then it's got some "smarts" and should be safe to leave connected.  But even a dump charger that puts out a higher constant voltage will show decreasing current as the batteries charge, but if the voltage is high enough to charge a discharged battery, it will over charge eventually.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Want to know what we're doing? http://blog.usabyrv.us

Just Lou

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Re: Fortron Converter
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2011, 10:09:19 AM »
Lou is almost right.  Bulk mode is a constant current mode with a rising voltage and absorption (or acceptance) mode is constant voltage of about 14.4V with a falling current.  This is taken from the manual for our Link 1000/Heart 20D monitor and inverter/charger.

Ned is almost right. (couldn't resist that one :D )  In Bulk mode most smart chargers will attempt to hold a constant current by forcing the output voltage to as high as reasonably necessary.  The actual current flow is determined by the SOC of the battery being charged.  That current will remain high (and constant) as long as the battery will accept/demand it.  The voltage rises as the current decreases.  Some chargers simply use a timer for bulk mode and some (the real smart ones) actually sense the charge on the battery by monitoring the current flow and/or battery voltage.

What ever the criteria, the second stage (absorption or acceptance) is, as Ned said, a period of constant voltage (13.8 to 14) and will continue until the current drops to a predetermined low level.

My point is that during the first two stages, it's really the battery that is in charge (pun intended).  When all is said and done, if the charger will not lower it's output voltage to near 13.2-5 for a constant "float", then all is for naught, as the battery will eventually over charge and begin to dry up.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2011, 11:22:26 AM by Just Lou »
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

Ned

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Re: Fortron Converter
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2011, 10:21:45 AM »
Our Link 1000/Heart 20D holds the bulk mode at 98A until the voltage rises to 14.4V, then goes to Acceptance mode, so I guess it's not one of the "most" :)  With our AGM batteries, it doesn't take long at 98A.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Want to know what we're doing? http://blog.usabyrv.us

Boydrkb

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Re: Fortron Converter
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2011, 10:39:21 AM »
Our Link 1000/Heart 20D holds the bulk mode at 98A until the voltage rises to 14.4V, then goes to Acceptance mode, so I guess it's not one of the "most" :)  With our AGM batteries, it doesn't take long at 98A.

What, about 800 watts worth of panels?  Are you selling your overage back to the grid or your neighbors?? 

Thanks for your help guys.  I did a voltage output check on my Fortron SS 55 and it's producing 13.55 during absorption (a fact derived from solar controler.)  What the Fortron produces during float I'll find out as soon as the controller signals a float condition.  I'll then know how, how much and when the converter is charging the batteries.  It would have been a whole lot easier if I could have located a manual on-line...but not near as much fun.

Thanks for taking the time to hold 101 battery/converter classes.   

Ned

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Re: Fortron Converter
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2011, 10:49:52 AM »
We don't use solar, I was referring to our Heart 20D inverter/charger running on shore power.

13.55V is too low for absorption mode, it should be around 14.4V or charging will take a long time.  13.5V is float voltage for flooded cell batteries.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Want to know what we're doing? http://blog.usabyrv.us

Just Lou

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Re: Fortron Converter
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2011, 11:20:53 AM »
Our Link 1000/Heart 20D holds the bulk mode at 98A until the voltage rises to 14.4V, then goes to Acceptance mode, so I guess it's not one of the "most" :)  With our AGM batteries, it doesn't take long at 98A.

I'll remove the word attempt and I think we will both have said the same thing. 

My point, again, was that the battery ultimately controls what happens during a bulk charge cycle.  Some most many SMART chargers can't even be forced into BULK mode if the battery being connected isn't significantly discharged.

Just like you, Ned, your 20D is very smart, but it still listens to the batteries needs. ;) ;D
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

Ned

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Re: Fortron Converter
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2011, 11:56:12 AM »
Again, not all similar devices work alike, as we've seen many times.  When our batteries are fully charged, and our charger comes on, it goes to bulk mode for a few seconds, then immediately to acceptance mode.  And, yes, we are basically saying the same thing :)
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Want to know what we're doing? http://blog.usabyrv.us

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Fortron Converter
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2011, 02:32:36 PM »
The documentation says that the Fortron converter is a basic switch-mode converter/charger with a current-limiting design and therefore would not have separate absorption and float modes, so I don't think the nuances of bulk &  absorption charging are helpful here. "Current-limiting" is not a very precise description, however, and I would not expect anything I would call "smart" in this converter.

http://www.fortronpower.com/PDF_Sheets/SRV_Install%20Guide.pdf
Gary
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Gary Brinck
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2007 GMC Acadia
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Just Lou

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Re: Fortron Converter
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2011, 03:17:26 PM »
The documentation says that the Fortron converter is a basic switch-mode converter/charger with a current-limiting design and therefore would not have separate absorption and float modes, so I don't think the nuances of bulk &  absorption charging are helpful here.

Ned and I were responding to the OPs question of "Just what does a Three Stage Charger imply? "

I'm afraid it was I who instigated the unhelpful discussion of smart charger nuances while engaging Ned in what I hoped was light hearted banter.

I'm sorry if I've again broken the rules.  I've slapped my own hands in punishment.
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

Ned

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Re: Fortron Converter
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2011, 03:35:19 PM »
Most of my postings were with the view of education and answering the question that Lou mentioned.  When I did reply specifically to the Fortron question, I did note the voltage it was producing was too low to be a true charger but was just a float charger.

No rules broken, Lou, your hands are safe :)
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Want to know what we're doing? http://blog.usabyrv.us

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Fortron Converter
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2011, 07:36:37 PM »
The discussion was educational.   8) And humorous.   ;D It just wasn't germane to the original Fortron question. Yeah, I know. I'm just being a curmudgeon.  >:(
« Last Edit: October 29, 2011, 07:38:12 PM by Gary RV Roamer »
Gary
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Ned

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Re: Fortron Converter
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2011, 07:46:38 PM »
Gary, you can never be considered a curmudgeon :)
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Want to know what we're doing? http://blog.usabyrv.us

Just Lou

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Re: Fortron Converter
« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2011, 08:26:21 PM »
Quote from: Ned
Gary, you can never be considered a curmudgeon :)

Ned is right.  Curmudgeon never came to mind ;) :D
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX