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Old 08-05-2016, 09:37 PM   #1
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Newbie ? Converter chores

1994 Winnebago Adventurer 32 ft. I know my new to me motorhome has a converter and I just want to clarify my understanding of the converters duties.

When plug into AC at the campground, I know my converter is charging my deep cycle batteries, but is it also charging the vehicle battery as well?

If I leave 12 volt lights on a long time does that dent the deep cycle batteries or does the converter make up for their electrical draw?
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Old 08-05-2016, 09:44 PM   #2
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I'm a little confused.

Normally your converter just converts to 12 volt, and a separate charger then charges the battery, but they might be housed in the same box. Unless I'm wrong, which I could be.

I'm confused on the vehicle battery though? Not sure what you mean...

As to the lights, if you are hooked up to outside power, the lights will draw their power from the outside source, not the batteries.
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Old 08-05-2016, 10:11 PM   #3
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Converters charge as well.
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Old 08-06-2016, 05:39 AM   #4
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rsn48-

Your coach is old enough that in all likelihood it would not have come from the factory with a charging connection between the house and chassis batteries. If such a connection was added by a prior owner, you'll have to discover. It is a popular modification.

As to how much current goes to loads versus battery charging, again it depends on how your converter is wired, and its output capacity. This Web site shows a "typical" wiring diagram with all loads coming off the battery. As batteries have just two posts, the reality is that in that diagram the batteries and fuse panel are in parallel, and the converter feeds both simultaneously.

Our former coach was about the same age as yours. With its original converter, some fuse panel locations (that is, loads) were "buffered" through the batteries. The manual said as much. When I changed out the converter for a new model, the new fuse panel was wired as the Web site cited- no more "buffering."

Converter output capacity also affects how much charging current gets directed to the batteries. Older converters, with 30-35 amp capacities, could put less into the batteries if house 12V demand was high. New converters typically run 45 to 60 amps. Remember, though, the maximum charging current should not exceed the current-carrying capacity of the wiring between the converter and batteries.
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Old 08-06-2016, 06:47 AM   #5
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Welcome to the Forum. You are definitely in the right place.

Mark is very accurate in his description. These things are snowflakes so their are hundreds of different setups.

I highly suggest that you buy a voltmeter. You can get them anywhere just about. A decent meter can be had for 20-30$. Or you can even get one free at Harbor freight but they are not worth packing home.

Find some Youtube videos on how to use them and experiment until you are confident.

Once confident, test your batteries under different conditions and write those measurements down,. You will forget them often in minutes. Take some photos of your battery compartment and print them out. Make notes on those pictures and save them in plastic sheet protectors. Be sure to run the generator as well as the engine and shoreline., This will remove all guesses.

To learn many more helpful things the Search function shown in the picture will have you reading for hours. Not that we mind answering any questions, but as you search you will find things that you might be curious about.,

Enjoy your toy and learn as much as possible about it to save stress when things go wrong. These houses are built on eartquake faults and if you don't find something loose or broken you just missed something,

Be handy with tools and a voltmeter or a checkbook.

Again, welcome aboard. :welcome:
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Old 08-06-2016, 11:19 AM   #6
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YC1 mentioned the need for a multimeter, but didn't mention what to do with it.

With shore cord unplugged, engine off, measure the voltages at your house and chassis batteries. Then start the engine, and after a minute or so measure voltages again. If both show an increase, you have both groups charging when on engine alternator. Then shut off engine and plug in shore cord. Again, if both batteries show voltage increase over resting voltages, both groups are charging on converter/charger.
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Old 08-06-2016, 06:47 PM   #7
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Life has been crazy for me. My wife and I sold our home and moved and all my voltmeters (used in model railroading) went into a box, into a 10 by 20 foot container which is now sitting in greater Vancouver. Next moved over to Vancouver Island, Qualicum Beach area, and am in the process of having my house over here heavily reno'd, taken back to studs, new electrical, new plumbing etc. The long and the short of it was my voltmeter for my Qualicum Beach home got packed up and is now in a storage unit awaiting the construction of our new home.

Bought this older motorhome to ensure RVing in our older age would be something we would enjoying doing - did own three RV trailers in my past life - and to shake down my knowledge of motorhoming.

Long and the short of it is I am living alone in this motorhome for two to three months while the house is built and my wife continuing to work in Vancouver for 6 more months before retiring.

If one of those cheap $12 analog voltmeters will do (and I actually understand better than the much more expensive ones) I will purchase yet another one and experiment. I bought a Xantrex 45 amp charger for my boat which never was installed, so brand new in the box though 9 years old, which I am going to have installed in the motorhome - I believe that is classified as a cheque book solution to the problem...lol.
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Old 08-06-2016, 06:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsn48 View Post
Converters charge as well.
Not always. With one TT I had to buy a new converter that had a charger built in. Until that the only way to charge the battery was to hook up a charger or run the TV' engine.
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Old 08-06-2016, 07:17 PM   #9
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Having a Winnebago, you have an advantage to most all information about your RV is still available online. For 1994:

Winnebago Owner's manuals

Wiring Diagrams

Parts Catalog

From these you should be able to tell what the original wiring and converter/charger could do.
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Old 08-07-2016, 07:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
YC1 mentioned the need for a multimeter, but didn't mention what to do with it.

Might want to read my post again. I did suggest taking measurements on the batteries and writing it down. Buying an inexpesnive analog meter is a great idea.

With shore cord unplugged, engine off, measure the voltages at your house and chassis batteries. Then start the engine, and after a minute or so measure voltages again. If both show an increase, you have both groups charging when on engine alternator. Then shut off engine and plug in shore cord. Again, if both batteries show voltage increase over resting voltages, both groups are charging on converter/charger.
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