Installing inverter, keep converter?

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Hatman52

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I'm looking into installing a Xantrex Freedom 458 inverter/charger in my 1995 Jayco 2950 Class C motorhome.  The coach is outfitted from the factory with a MagneTek converter/charger.  I've done a lot of research, and I'm comfortable with my choice of inverter, my available battery power, what I can and cannot use on the inverter, etc.  However, I'm still unclear (even after looking at the user's manual downloads from the Xantrex site and reading dozens of posts on various websites and BBS's) on how the inverter will intergrate with the converter.  Obviously, the inverter converts 12 VDC battery power to 120 VAC power.  And I would plan to use the more sophisticated charger on the Xantrex inverter.  However, unless I'm missing something, it would seem that I still need the converter for the 12 VDC water pump, lights, etc.  I've not seen any sort of wiring diagram that reflects keeping the converter in the system.

If someone could point me to something that addresses this specific issue (I've reviewed about 100 various websites on the general topic), or if someone has the expertise to explain this to me, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Thanks!

Mark


 

John From Detroit

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My coach came with a Progressive Dynamics Intella-Power with charger wizard,  I kept it when I had a Xantrex installed, and then I decided to run the xantrex off a 2nd set of batteries so it was a good thing, I now have two seperate 12 volt systems for this house, one just runs the inverter

As for your MagneTek.... From all I've heard of those converters.. The best place for them is a trash can.

Though in fairness you should keep it.  I mean you may need to quick charge your car some day and they will do that, but it's not something I'd want in a motor home
 

Hatman52

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Appreciate your opinion on the brand of converter and thoughts on running two separate systems, but again, what I'm specifically looking for is an answer to the question of how to do this off one bank of batteries.

Thanks.


Mark

 

Terry A. Brewer

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Mark

All you have to do is unplug the converter after installing the inverter/charger, if you don't every time the inverter is on the converter will think it is on AC or genset & will also try to charge the batteries...sort of like a perpetual motion power supply.<G>  We worked on a power problem like this at the QZ rally...once we unplugged the converter all was fine....she had the same inverter you are looking at.
 

Hatman52

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But if I disable the converter, what converts the 120VAC to 12VDC when I'm plugged in or running the generator?
 

Just Lou

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The charger in the inverter/charger assumes all duties of the converter.  Simple...
 

AlGriefer

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You don't need the converter/charger at all.  When running on battery power, the inverter will give you 120 VAC and the batteries will be supplying 12V.  when you're plugged in, the inverter/charger will be constantly providing the batteries with a charge while the batteries are supplying 12V and the AC power cord will be supplying 120 VAC.

Al
 

Hatman52

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OnaQwest said:
The charger in the inverter/charger assumes all duties of the converter.  Simple...

Well, I guess I'm a simpleton.

Sorry to keep having to go back to my first post, but what I'm *really* looking for is good wiring diagram or detailed explaination on this install.  The Xantrex users manuals a pretty generic, and only seem to address the AC side of the equation.  Obviously the positive and negative wires from the battery go to the inverter, but how will DC power get fused and properly routed if I don't use the distribution panel that's intergral with the converter?  The AC distribution/fusing is also handled by the conveter.  How have others addressed this?  I can't be the only one who's ever made this upgrade.

I'd appreciate any detailed information anyone is willing to share.

Thanks.


Mark
 

Terry A. Brewer

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Mark

>>But if I disable the converter, what converts the 120VAC to 12VDC when I'm plugged in or running the generator?<<

The charger section of the inverter charges the batteries while on AC/genset....You don't need a diagram, just unplug the converter leaving the wiring intact, this will be a good backup if the charger portion of your inverter fails.....If this doesn't suit you, remove the converter & run 12 volt wiring from the batteries to the 12v buss bar in your distribution panel.
 

Terry A. Brewer

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Mark

>>Remember, I'm a simpleton.  Could you elaborate on "just unplug"? <<

First locate your converter.....There will be an AC cord coming out of it connected to an AC outlet....UNPLUG it.....You're done.
 

Hatman52

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The only AC wires running in or out of the converter are regular Romex wires.  No cord, and no AC outlet anywhere nearby.  ???

 

lucyakers

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Believe Terry on this subject! Before he unplugged my converter, the inverter was drawing 75 amps. After unplugging, 10 or so - with just TV running.

He has about 12 assistants who can also vouch for this operation!
 

King

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Typically, the panel on the front of the magnetic converter/charger has an AC main circuit breaker, a converter/charger circuit breaker and ac circuit breakers for the AC outlets, along with fuses for the DC loads.  When there is no power coming into the converter, all the 12V loads run off the battery.  When AC comes into the converter, a relay switches the 12V from the battery over to the converter, and also provides a small charging current to the battery.  If you turn off the converter circuit breaker, you will have all 12V loads connected, and no load on the inverter.  If you intend to power the AC outlets from the inverter, you need a transfer relay so you wont connect the incoming AC to the output of the inverter.
Art
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Uh guys, he probably can't "unplug" his converter. I suspect it doesn't have a plug at all.  It sounds as though he has an integrated AC/DC distribution panel, a type which Magnetek supplied for many thousands of RVs built in that era.  All the circuitry, 120Vac and 12V, is in one box.  However, he may be able to cut/remove the 12V output wires from the Magnetek panel so it can no longer do any charging.

Mark:
The Xantrex will draw power from the batteries when in inverter mode and push power back into the batteries via the same wires when shore power is available. You don't need anything else. 

You will have to disconnect your Magnetek's 12V charging circuit somehow, but it is hard for us to say how without seeing the wiring. If there are two pairs of wires running to the batteries from the Magnetek box, then one of them is for charging and can be disconnected. If only one set, then the Magnetek may be similar to the Xantrex in that it pushes or pulls over the same wires. You probably can't completely isolate the Magnetek from battery power because it is also the 12V distribution panel for the trailer (the 12V fuses are there, right?). So you have to identify the portion that is the output of the charger component in the box and disconnect that only.
 

Hatman52

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Thanks Gary!  You're exactly right, and that's why the answers so far left me scratching my head.

Here's a link to a page that shows the 6300 series MagneTek, which is what I have.  The project detailed is replacing/upgrading the converter/charger portion of the unit, but it will give you a good idea of what the "guts" of the unit looks like.  My thinking is to remove the converter/charger portion of the MagneTeck and utilze the AC and DC distribution panels of the unit.

http://home.comcast.net/~rabarber/magnetek.htm

So, if I understand correctly, I'll take the AC output from the new inverter and run it to the AC distribution panel.  I'll disconnect the circuit for the old converter, as it won't be needed anymore.

I'm still a bit unsure of how to wire the DC side.  The Xantrex wiring diagrams show nothing of the DC wiring except the postive and negative battery leads connecting to the inverter.  How do I provide power to my DC distribution panel?  Do I simply run another pair of wires from the battery to the DC distribution panel?   

Mark
 

AlGriefer

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  • Remove the converter from the circuits.
  • Wire the AC directly from the main input breaker to the Inverter.
  • Take the wires that you removed from the above breaker and connect them to the inverter AC output.
  • Wire the DC terminals on the inverter/charger directly to the battery using the proper size and style DC fuse on the positive lead.  The size of the leads and type and size of the fuse should be specified in the inverter manual.
  • Set up the inverter/charger per the manual and everything should work fine.

Al
 

Terry A. Brewer

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Mark

>>So, if I understand correctly, I'll take the AC output from the new inverter and run it to the AC distribution panel.  I'll disconnect the circuit for the old converter, as it won't be needed anymore.<<

If you do it this way you will be powering everything in your coach, Air conditioner & refrigerator....NOT GOOD.
You need to add a sub panel & move the ckts you want powered to it.

If you can't figure out how to disable the converter & this part of the install being much more difficult maybe you should sub out the work.
 

Karl

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Terry and Mark,
If you do it this way you will be powering everything in your coach, Air conditioner & refrigerator....NOT GOOD.
You need to add a sub panel & move the ckts you want powered to it.
From the dimensions of the new Xantrex inverter, you'll probably have to mount it external to the existing distribution box anyway, so that will probably leave enough room for a small, separate breaker box for the fridge and a/c as Terry suggested. Or make sure the fridge and a/c are each on their own circuit breaker in the existing box, mark them as "a/c Shore power only" and Fridge Shore power only" and flip them to the "OFF" position unless you are hooked up to shore power.
 

Hatman52

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Terry A. Brewer said:
Mark

>>So, if I understand correctly, I'll take the AC output from the new inverter and run it to the AC distribution panel.  I'll disconnect the circuit for the old converter, as it won't be needed anymore.<<

If you do it this way you will be powering everything in your coach, Air conditioner & refrigerator....NOT GOOD.
You need to add a sub panel & move the ckts you want powered to it.

If you can't figure out how to disable the converter & this part of the install being much more difficult maybe you should sub out the work.


My questions were not about disabling the converter, but I was looking for advice and better yet, wiring diagrams, on how to integrate the distribution panels that are part of the MagnaTek unit.  My father is an electrician and I grew up doing this sort of work, so I have not doubts in my ability to do the job.  However, as I pointed out in my first post, the wiring diagrams in the Xantrex manual don't include any sort of DC wiring nor really detail the AC distribution, and the old MagnaTek converter manual is one page and nearly devoid of any useful information.

As for adding a subpanel, while that's certainly an option, it's not the requirement you make it out to be.  There seems to be about a 50/50 split of people who do and don't add a subpanel, with pros and cons for doing it either way.


Mark
 

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