Magnetek 6345 Converter Upgrade?

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Bob Buchanan

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farmer dan said:
I can run both A/C on my gen. All day long, but as soon as I plug into shore I lose one. So, I would assume the generator is charging the battery instead of the inverter? Keeping my current below 30. When I plug into shore I am now relying on that inverter to do the charging. Now just a thought, if you have a bad cell in a battery it will have a hard time holding voltage thus requiring the charger to be on all the time with just a slight draw. Hmm.maybe I should test my batteries load capabilities. If I test the voltage and its low then we'll know where the issue lies.

You have the same RV unit as mine, Dan. Unless you've added it, I dont' think there is an inverter installed other than a small one to run your RV when boondocking. And your Genset is an Onan 5000 that will produce the 110 to both air's - whereas your shore hookup is only 30A - so will only run one air at a time. There is a fore and aft switch just above your stove inside that cabinet to decide which to run.

You converter/charger under the frig is just that. It is an older unit that "converts" part of the incoming power to DC and supplies the rest to the AC needs of your rig. The charger portion is archaic and not a three stage - so will soon boil your batteries down if you are not careful and watch them closely.

FWIW, I disconnected the charger portion of my converter/charger and added a 40A three stage charger instead. I also added a 1500W inverter to use when boondocking. The charger is connected directly to the batteries and is plugged into one of the house 110 outlets. The inverter in hard wired to receive DC from my battery bank and supply AC to the back of the converter/charger. Have installed a double pole double throw auto switch that switches between Inverter input and Shore/Genset input.

Note: This discussion was split from "Can run both A/C compressors on my gen set but not shore power" in Winnebago-specific issues.  - LS
 
Bob Buchanan said:
You converter/charger under the frig is just that. It is an older unit that "converts" part of the incoming power to DC and supplies the rest to the AC needs of your rig. The charger portion is archaic and not a three stage - so will soon boil your batteries down if you are not careful and watch them closely.

FWIW, I disconnected the charger portion of my converter/charger and added a 40A three stage charger instead. I also added a 1500W inverter to use when boondocking. The charger is connected directly to the batteries and is plugged into one of the house 110 outlets. The inverter in hard wired to receive DC from my battery bank and supply AC to the back of the converter/charger. Have installed a double pole double throw auto switch that switches between Inverter input and Shore/Genset input.
Bob - My current RV has the same archaic one stage battery charger. My batteries were boiled before I bought the unit. The two batteries are both bulging on the sides. I was told the batteries are no good so I am planning on replacing them. I don't do any boondocking anymore, I am always hooked to shore power except when I am driving down the road. So I am wondering if I replace the batteries if they are just going to go out again real soon?
 
Tom, there's two ways to approach your converter problem.

The right way is to disconnect the existing converter and replace it with one of the Progressive Dynamics 9100/9200 series with their Charge Wizard.  I like the 9100 series with the separate Charge Wizard myself because it leaves open the option of manually controlling the converter's output voltage.  The 9200 has the Charge Wizard built-in and is not easily modifiable.

Or, if that's too pricy, get an appliance timer and shut off your existing converter for about 8 hours a day, preferably when you're not using much 12 volt power.  My first 5th wheel had one of those crappy Magnetek converters, and I'd shut off the converter while I was at work and away from the rig during the day.  Or if you're not using the furnace, you can turn it off during the 8 hours you're sleeping.
 
SeilerBird said:
Bob - My current RV has the same archaic one stage battery charger. My batteries were boiled before I bought the unit. The two batteries are both bulging on the sides. I was told the batteries are no good so I am planning on replacing them. I don't do any boondocking anymore, I am always hooked to shore power except when I am driving down the road. So I am wondering if I replace the batteries if they are just going to go out again real soon?

Tom, I went thru about 2 sets of batteries with my magnetek converter/charger. And that was on my current rig. Over the years, magnetek has cost me a bundle.  I call it a converter/charger because they are two separate units. One converts a portion of the AC to DC, whereas the other one charges the batteries with it's part of the A/C coming in. So I never liked "just" calling it a converter.

With that in mind, they do make an upgrade kit to the magnetek that includes a 3 stage charger instead. HERE it is from PPL for about the price you would pay for the switch. I almost went that route shortly after buying my current coach, but finally went to the Stat Power 3 stage 40A charger. A better charger than most any on the market plus also in the $200 or so price range. That would be your other alternative. Disconnect the charger from the magnetek, do a simple install of a "good" charger, and leave the rest of the magnetek to just converting - which is does an OK job. Either way, you would never have to shut down the converter.

I replaced my 3 12V deep cycle batteries at Walmart a bit less than a year and a half ago and have not had to added water since.
 
Bob, yep, my converter/charger is also a Magnatek, model 6345. I have found the Progressive Dynamics 9245 for under $150 at Amazon.

So the basic installation would be to attach the 12 volt power input directly to the battery and then plug the 110 volt cord into a convenient outlet?
 
SeilerBird said:
Bob, yep, my converter/charger is also a Magnatek, model 6345. I have found the Progressive Dynamics 9245 for under $150 at Amazon.

So the basic installation would be to attach the 12 volt power input directly to the battery and then plug the 110 volt cord into a convenient outlet?

That's about it, Tom. Even I was able to install my Stat Power charger - and the Stat Power Inverter. That made the DC wires to battery a short run of only about 4 feet (from the charger and those to the inverter). I then plug the AC plug from the charger into a wall outlet 2 feet away. The AC from the inverter is more like 10-12 feet. I have them side by side on the bulkhead just inside my entry door. And the Trace Meter just above them. Have moved them 4 times from one rig to another.

The only other item would be to disconnect the charger portion of your Magnetek. On my current '96 Adventurer, the charge portion of the magnetek was on a breaker - so just disconnected it that way. On an earlier one, I had to cut a wire to disconnect it.
 
Looks like I will have to find a wire to cut. There are 5 breakers in the Magnatek, Main, Air, Micro, GFI and A/C. So it obviously sharing a circuit. I just pulled out the Instruction manual for my Magnatek and it says this:

"If RV battery has been drawn down quite low, it will be charged at a
relatively high amperage rate. If battery has not been severely drained, it will
be charged at lower amperage rate. The rate of charge will decline as the
battery reaches ?full charge?. After battery reaches ?full charge?, the
Charging Section will drop back to ?maintenance? level. It will not resume
active charging until battery again falls below ?full charge?. If your storage
battery cannot be charged as described above, it is possible the battery is
defective?see ?Battery Maintenance? below."

That sure sounds like it is a three stage charger to me.
 
SeilerBird said:
That sure sounds like it is a three stage charger to me.

Perhaps I should have written that it is supposed to be 3 stage, but acts like only one. Google Magnetek and Boils batteries to read all the horror stories.

HERE is one forum topic with reference to Magnetek boiling. The PO was asking how to disconnect the charging portion of a Magnetek. John from Detroit refers to them as MagneJunk converters.  :)

The solution was that it was part of the GFI as suggested by Gary through isolation of each breaker.

The one I cut was over 10 years ago - and actually, an electric guy from Holly Generators in Sacramento showed me which one to cut and I don't have a clue as to which one it was now.
 
Good discussion, guys.  I split it into it's own topic since it no longer pertains to running 2 A/Cs on 30 amp shore power.
 
Yes it is a good discussion. I was on the cusp of replacing my two house batteries that had been boiled. Now I realize that won't solve my problem unless I get a new battery charger. Thanks guys.
 
That sure sounds like it is a three stage charger to me.

Not really - the "high current" the 6300 manual mentions is in the range of 5-10 amps.  And it's voltage regulation on the battery output isn't that great, so as the battery charge tapers down to zero current the charger's output voltage rises and the battery boils out.

The 7300 upgrade Bob mentioned is only a 2 stage charger.  The two stages are bulk, where the battery is drawing lots of current, and float, where the battery SOC is high enough that the charging rate is down to a few amps or nothing.

The 7300 puts out a solid, well regulated 13.5 volts that doesn't change as the current decreases, so it can deliver a lot of current at the start of the charging cycle but won't boil the electrolyte after the battey is fully charged.  The drawback is the bulk charging rate only lasts for 15 or 20 minutes, then it tapers off so it takes a long time to fully charge the battery.

Three stage chargers add a third stage to the middle of the charge cycle.  As the charging current starts tapering off, they boost their voltage to somewhere around 14.1 volts, prolonging the high current part of the charge.  If the voltage stays that high after the battery is charged it'll boil the electrolyte, so the trick is sensing when the battery is fully charged (i.e. no longer drawing high amounts of charging current) and throttling back to the normal 13.5 volts.

The Progressive Industries 9100/9200 series with their Charge Wizard do this very well.

Thus you have three charging stages - bulk charging where the battery is drawing lots of current, acceptance charging where the charge rate is tapering off (three stage chargers boost the voltage at this point) and float, when the battery is fully charged and the charger reduces it's voltage back to normal.
 
Looks like I will have to find a wire to cut. There are 5 breakers in the Magnatek, Main, Air, Micro, GFI and A/C. So it obviously sharing a circuit.

When you open up your breaker panel, you'll see the converter is just double-punched to one of the breakers - probably the outlet circuit.
 
Lou Schneider said:
When you open up your breaker panel, you'll see the converter is just double-punched to one of the breakers - probably the outlet circuit.
My thoughts exactly. Thanks so much for taking the time to explain all this to me. It had been a total mystery to me since I have never had any charger/battery problems.
 
When I first bought my RV it had a Magna-drek 6332 This was a 30 Amp converter with a pitiful 3 AMP battery charging circuit. The bad news was it would boil my batteries dry if left alone, the good news was that I already knew that before it happened. I purchased the Progressive PD4645 That gave me 45 AMPS DC to play with for RV 12 Volt stuff AND a 3 stage (+ equalize function) all built into a box that I could replace the guts of the Magnatek directly. It also came with a new 12V distribution panel with new fuses and nice red LEDs that come on when a fuse is blown. I did have some trouble with no-load buzzing at first, but Progressive sent me some replacements until it was bearable.

I wrote about it here:

http://www.thewanderman.com/2012/08/converter-inverter-charger-whats-what.html

There's even some photos and some long winded explanations as to what's what and why.

I'd never go back. This ones a keeper!

Rich "The Wanderman"
 
Two things.. MOST converters are single output, They both charge the batteries and run lights, fans, furnace, control systems and such with the same output.

The magnetek has both a convrter module and a charger module, VERY SLOW CHARGER, if you ever boondock you really need to upgrade.

And for Lou.

With the 9100 to get the benefits of the charge wizard, including manual mode selection, you plug in the wizard dongle.

With the 9200 the wizard is built in,  they make a cheaper dongle that provides the manual operation nad indication functions.  Plugs in the same way.
 
Take a look at this link. Shows how to replace the converter portion of the 6300 series. I'm going to do this very soon. http://home.earthlink.net/~whemme/ . I'm going to use the 9200 series 60 amp version to replace my 45 amp model. The size is very close to the 9100 series.
 
If  you wish my opinion of your plan... Well,  It just don't get better than the 9200 less it's the 9200 with the remote dongle,  It's only a few dollars more, plugs right in, Kind of like plugging in a modular phone (only there is a screw involved).

The 6300 line is no longer made,, and thus anything you put in to replace it is an upgrade.. Which is why it's no longer made.. the 9200... From there it is kind of hard to upgrade,  As I said, none better.  (many the same level, none better).

Plus Progressive Dynamics is well.. MADE IN USA.
 
So what exactly does the Charge Wizard do? And why is it better to be separate? The 9200 with the wizard built in is $139 yet the 9100 without the wizard is $171 and then $28 for the wizard. Looks a lot cheaper to get it built in.

 
The remote pendant for the 9200 is only like $12.00. I'll  go with it when I do mine. Mine is still charging so I'll be waiting till it warms up a bit to do the change over. I just use the disconnect switch, except when I want to charge. My transfer switch works real slow when it's cold out so I maybe having trouble there too. It's mounted on the back of the panel so it'll have to be removed to service it.
 

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