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Old 11-19-2023, 04:40 AM   #21
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Dave-

Before I cut a hole in the bed platform I'd try removing the 120/12V load center. It's usually not difficult to remove. The converter appears to be right behind it. Of course, the wiring to the load center may not be long enough to allow access with it out of the hole. Worth a try, though.

A second tack would be to figure out how Winnebago attached the platform to the frame.

Just a couple of suggestions.
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Old 11-19-2023, 07:33 AM   #22
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Dave-

Before I cut a hole in the bed platform I'd try removing the 120/12V load center. It's usually not difficult to remove. The converter appears to be right behind it. Of course, the wiring to the load center may not be long enough to allow access with it out of the hole. Worth a try, though.

A second tack would be to figure out how Winnebago attached the platform to the frame.

Just a couple of suggestions.
I had thought of that but didn't mention it because it was very tight on mine, could not pull the panel out more than a couple inches without de-wiring it. (The Romexes are all secured within several inches of the panel which they should be) Also I have trap doors in my plywood and assumed they all did.

Maybe his s different though since the converter is separate, you would hope they left a way to access it. My trap doors are obviously factory and held in with the same aluminum angle that the framework is made of. My plywood is 5/8". Two trap doors, it's the only way to access the water pump and much of the plumbing. It's disappointing they didn't continue to provide this.

Dave, before you cut be aware there is an aluminum support grid under the plywood.
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Old 11-19-2023, 03:33 PM   #23
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I had thought of that but didn't mention it because it was very tight on mine, could not pull the panel out more than a couple inches without de-wiring it. (The Romexes are all secured within several inches of the panel which they should be) Also I have trap doors in my plywood and assumed they all did.

Maybe his s different though since the converter is separate, you would hope they left a way to access it. My trap doors are obviously factory and held in with the same aluminum angle that the framework is made of. My plywood is 5/8". Two trap doors, it's the only way to access the water pump and much of the plumbing. It's disappointing they didn't continue to provide this.

Dave, before you cut be aware there is an aluminum support grid under the plywood.
I have attached three photos of the front fuse panel, the inside of the bed compartment showing the converter and the underside of the ports. The last one shows the ports under the the mattress.
Although the left port appears to be over the converter, it is seems to actually be quite a bit farther back toward the head of the bed. I took the suggestion of ordering a device to hold the mattress up and it was delivered today. I'm going to try it out ASAP and see if it will hold the mattress up enough so I can remove the left port cover and actually determine if the converter is reachable to check out.
Thanks again for all your help.
Dave
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Old 11-19-2023, 04:09 PM   #24
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Dave, if you bring the slide in will it put the access closer to the converter?
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Old 11-19-2023, 06:04 PM   #25
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I never thought of that, but I’ll give it a try. By the way that “3rd Hand” device works really well to hold the mattress up so I can access the ports.
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Old 11-19-2023, 06:17 PM   #26
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Batteries not charging

I forgot to mention in my last post that I put a portable chargers on the batteries all last night and they came up to 13.9 volts this morning. Unfortunately they began discharging after I removed the charger. They were down to 12.7 volts this afternoon so I turned on all the lights and the furnace and the voltage dropped to 12.6. When I turned off the furnace and the lights, it jumped back up to 12.9 volts! Does that make any sense?
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Old 11-19-2023, 06:25 PM   #27
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Frequent problem due to the way lead acid works. Called "surface charge when we see anything higher than 12.7-12.8 we know it is not the true charge that the battery will hold but a reading taken too soon after the charge voltage is removed.

Techie chemical stuff but lead and acid will only hold the 12.8 voltage if given time to become stable after charging!

The problem is that we read voltage at the posts and can't get down inside to see what all is happening down all through the batteries.
Putting it in or taking it out, the posts are effected first, so we don't get a true reading if we don't let the battery get stable for at least several hours after using or charging!

One of the reasons I am so slow to recommend a lot of work to get to the converter as it is SO common and so easy to misread what batteries are doing!
The converter is very very much solid state item that works for a long time. To see reports of it doing good and then doing bad, only to go good again, really leads me to feel it is not the problem.
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Old 11-19-2023, 06:59 PM   #28
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Frequent problem due to the way lead acid works. Called "surface charge when we see anything higher than 12.7-12.8 we know it is not the true charge that the battery will hold but a reading taken too soon after the charge voltage is removed.

Techie chemical stuff but lead and acid will only hold the 12.8 voltage if given time to become stable after charging!

The problem is that we read voltage at the posts and can't get down inside to see what all is happening down all through the batteries.
Putting it in or taking it out, the posts are effected first, so we don't get a true reading if we don't let the battery get stable for at least several hours after using or charging!

One of the reasons I am so slow to recommend a lot of work to get to the converter as it is SO common and so easy to misread what batteries are doing!
The converter is very very much solid state item that works for a long time. To see reports of it doing good and then doing bad, only to go good again, really leads me to feel it is not the problem.
I think you are correct about the voltage and moving the slide out in allowed me access to the converter through the port in the bed base. By the way, the converter is a Progressive Dynamics model PDS245C. It seems like a pretty simple device with a cooling fan on one end and two leads coming from the shore power (I assume) in the other end. I guess I’ll start pricing a replacement if I can’t find an alternate solution.
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Old 11-19-2023, 07:08 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by dave_denn8 View Post
I forgot to mention in my last post that I put a portable chargers on the batteries all last night and they came up to 13.9 volts this morning. Unfortunately they began discharging after I removed the charger. They were down to 12.7 volts this afternoon so I turned on all the lights and the furnace and the voltage dropped to 12.6. When I turned off the furnace and the lights, it jumped back up to 12.9 volts! Does that make any sense?
Yes that is usual, voltage drops slightly while there is a draw, then rebounds when the draw is removed.. A fully-charged 12V battery measures 12.6VDC.
Reference: The 12V Side of Life.




Creativepart, yes this is the cheap way to accomplish what a more expensive inverter/charger combo does.
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Old 11-19-2023, 07:44 PM   #30
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Yes that is usual, voltage drops slightly while there is a draw, then rebounds when the draw is removed.. A fully-charged 12V battery measures 12.6VDC.
Reference: The 12V Side of Life.




Creativepart, yes this is the cheap way to accomplish what a more expensive inverter/charger combo does.
Thanks for that info. It’s been a learning experience to say the least! I’ve gotten so much good advice that I’m on overload and my brain is fried!
Thanks to all of you who have offered your input to help out. My next question is, should I replace the converter and hope for the best or try and figure out what else may be causing the problem?
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Old 11-19-2023, 08:38 PM   #31
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Thanks for that info. Itís been a learning experience to say the least! Iíve gotten so much good advice that Iím on overload and my brain is fried!
Thanks to all of you who have offered your input to help out. My next question is, should I replace the converter and hope for the best or try and figure out what else may be causing the problem?
Here is the link to the troubleshooting manuals. I would at least go through the process and see if it is the issue. On the last two WFCOs that I had crapped out, the boards were toasted. In one case a capacitor was blown open, in another there was a burned-through connection.

https://www.progressivedyn.com/suppo...ooting-guides/

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Old 11-20-2023, 08:24 AM   #32
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Not trying to overwork the brain as it can happen pretty quick when we move into new stuff, but there are a number of things that might go wrong besides the converter and make the batteries not charge as they should.
The converter is built of things that don't move (solid state?) , so when they go bad it is something like mentioned and some part actually stops. That means it often just goes flat dead, not lower voltage.
I'm just talking general and it can certainly do whatever it feels on any given day. It COULD totally be the problem but it is one of the most expensive and hardest to replace, making me want to really check all the little confusing things before jumping into the big stuff.

Where the power comes from the converter to the 12VDC buss bar for all the coach stuff likely has fuses. If that fuses is not seated and making good contact all the time, the power is not going to be reliable, so looking at things like that to make sure the power can actually get past any connections or fuses on the load center is worth a check.

I made this little drawing to show some of the other things that could also make low voltage at times and then change at other times.
Click this snip to see better.
Click image for larger version

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Shore power has to come in to the main breaker and we assume that power is near enough to specs to work. But one question is that breaker. Does it pass the power on to the converter or does it have burned contacts, etc. that makes it feed power at times and not at others?
Since the battery voltage is so odd to read at the right time when it has had time to become stable after charging, it is a point that is hard to pin down if we are not careful!

What can happen is that we get a loose wire or a breaker that is not in good shape and we can get good charge to the batteries, so we see 13+
But then we rattle things around and at some point a loose wire moves and the charge voltage is no longer getting to the battery and we come back to find it 11 volts again.
All those points to the left of where I drew in power going to the RV are prone to keeping the batteries from charging!
So you have lots of small points that can be going open or the big expensive converter?

A big point on power of any sort is that it has to have a come circuit (circle?) to work. The batteries won't charge if something as simple as the ground cable is bad!
With lots of room for confusion on battery readings, it is just really easy to miss the really small points if we don't keep our minds clear and check on point at a time.
If you are able to put a charger on the batteries and leave it for 6-8 to make really sure they are getting a chance to be fully charged, then take the cables off connecting them together as well as to the RV, let them set like overnight, to let the settle after fully charging and taking the charge off, THEN you can
look and should have 12.6 on a good fully charged battery.

With no charge and no power used out, that voltage should stay there for at least several days. It would be really odd to have two used batteries and both read exactly the same. One may be totally good but the other can be totally bad or anywhere in between!
The problem with reading the voltage when they are connected is that we get the combined reading from both. A good horse and a sick horse hitched together still don't pull worth a hoot!

Once you know you have two batteries that can take a charge and hold it, you need to go into checking other parts.
One way is to take thing like the breakers out and look for any arcing or loose wires but that can get into problems of where and how to get to things.
A second way to test the converter and all The parts is to put the batteries back in, check both ends of all the cables to make sure they are clean and connected tight. Down on the buss bars hidden behind the batteries is often a good spot for corrosion and us not check down there! See if it all works for a day or so?

We can get caught real easy if we put a pair of clamps on the battery posts and fully charge them but don't make sure the ground cable is good!
the batteries may be great but they don't work if the circuit is open and there is no ground!
You've got a tough one if it keeps changing but one of the reason it may be changing is that we move some wire and we may ot even know we did it!
the breaker seems like we could not possibly mess it up when we flip it? But what if the contacts are burned and they land in a different spot each time? Sometimes the converter may get good power and maybe not, so before I go for the tough stuff, I like to be certain the easy stuff is good.

Sorry, not meant to be a rant or say you are doing anything wrong, just wanting to try to point out some of the really simple things we can all miss if we are not working carefully.
It could be the $200 converter or it could be just a loose screw letting a wire go open when we bang the cover shut!
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Old 11-20-2023, 11:10 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Morich View Post
Not trying to overwork the brain as it can happen pretty quick when we move into new stuff, but there are a number of things that might go wrong besides the converter and make the batteries not charge as they should.
The converter is built of things that don't move (solid state?) , so when they go bad it is something like mentioned and some part actually stops. That means it often just goes flat dead, not lower voltage.
I'm just talking general and it can certainly do whatever it feels on any given day. It COULD totally be the problem but it is one of the most expensive and hardest to replace, making me want to really check all the little confusing things before jumping into the big stuff.

Where the power comes from the converter to the 12VDC buss bar for all the coach stuff likely has fuses. If that fuses is not seated and making good contact all the time, the power is not going to be reliable, so looking at things like that to make sure the power can actually get past any connections or fuses on the load center is worth a check.

I made this little drawing to show some of the other things that could also make low voltage at times and then change at other times.
Click this snip to see better.
Attachment 187919

Shore power has to come in to the main breaker and we assume that power is near enough to specs to work. But one question is that breaker. Does it pass the power on to the converter or does it have burned contacts, etc. that makes it feed power at times and not at others?
Since the battery voltage is so odd to read at the right time when it has had time to become stable after charging, it is a point that is hard to pin down if we are not careful!

What can happen is that we get a loose wire or a breaker that is not in good shape and we can get good charge to the batteries, so we see 13+
But then we rattle things around and at some point a loose wire moves and the charge voltage is no longer getting to the battery and we come back to find it 11 volts again.
All those points to the left of where I drew in power going to the RV are prone to keeping the batteries from charging!
So you have lots of small points that can be going open or the big expensive converter?

A big point on power of any sort is that it has to have a come circuit (circle?) to work. The batteries won't charge if something as simple as the ground cable is bad!
With lots of room for confusion on battery readings, it is just really easy to miss the really small points if we don't keep our minds clear and check on point at a time.
If you are able to put a charger on the batteries and leave it for 6-8 to make really sure they are getting a chance to be fully charged, then take the cables off connecting them together as well as to the RV, let them set like overnight, to let the settle after fully charging and taking the charge off, THEN you can
look and should have 12.6 on a good fully charged battery.

With no charge and no power used out, that voltage should stay there for at least several days. It would be really odd to have two used batteries and both read exactly the same. One may be totally good but the other can be totally bad or anywhere in between!
The problem with reading the voltage when they are connected is that we get the combined reading from both. A good horse and a sick horse hitched together still don't pull worth a hoot!

Once you know you have two batteries that can take a charge and hold it, you need to go into checking other parts.
One way is to take thing like the breakers out and look for any arcing or loose wires but that can get into problems of where and how to get to things.
A second way to test the converter and all The parts is to put the batteries back in, check both ends of all the cables to make sure they are clean and connected tight. Down on the buss bars hidden behind the batteries is often a good spot for corrosion and us not check down there! See if it all works for a day or so?

We can get caught real easy if we put a pair of clamps on the battery posts and fully charge them but don't make sure the ground cable is good!
the batteries may be great but they don't work if the circuit is open and there is no ground!
You've got a tough one if it keeps changing but one of the reason it may be changing is that we move some wire and we may ot even know we did it!
the breaker seems like we could not possibly mess it up when we flip it? But what if the contacts are burned and they land in a different spot each time? Sometimes the converter may get good power and maybe not, so before I go for the tough stuff, I like to be certain the easy stuff is good.

Sorry, not meant to be a rant or say you are doing anything wrong, just wanting to try to point out some of the really simple things we can all miss if we are not working carefully.
It could be the $200 converter or it could be just a loose screw letting a wire go open when we bang the cover shut!
If I understand your drawing, the shore power goes directly into the breaker and then out to the converter. It then is converted to 12 bolts dc to return to the breaker/fuse board where it powers the 12 volt system including the battery charger to keep the coach batteries charged. Is that correct, or am I off base somewhere?
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Old 11-20-2023, 12:38 PM   #34
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Pretty close but not having a charger as the converter works as the charger! AC into the main breaker which then feeds a bar usually that has the other smaller breakers attached.
I'm seeing different breaker setups on different RV, but some will have the main taking in the whole load for the RV. that breaker has contacts but then it pass power to a second breaker with contacts to go out to the converter.
Much the same as for the outlets or microwave?
But once we get the AC power to the converter, it makes the 12VDC and comes back to the load center where it has fuses for each of the DC items. it doesn't need a charger to make DC as it is DC coming out of the converter!
That power has two functions. one is to run all the DC stuff but at the same time, any extra power from the big old converter can go into storage in the batteries!
We often think of the breakers and fuses as protecting some equipment but they are often more to protect the wire from overheating.
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Old 11-20-2023, 09:39 PM   #35
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Pretty close but not having a charger as the converter works as the charger! AC into the main breaker which then feeds a bar usually that has the other smaller breakers attached.
I'm seeing different breaker setups on different RV, but some will have the main taking in the whole load for the RV. that breaker has contacts but then it pass power to a second breaker with contacts to go out to the converter.
Much the same as for the outlets or microwave?
But once we get the AC power to the converter, it makes the 12VDC and comes back to the load center where it has fuses for each of the DC items. it doesn't need a charger to make DC as it is DC coming out of the converter!
That power has two functions. one is to run all the DC stuff but at the same time, any extra power from the big old converter can go into storage in the batteries!
We often think of the breakers and fuses as protecting some equipment but they are often more to protect the wire from overheating.
Thanks Morich,
Iím want to check the converter breaker (15 amp) but the bus is behind a panel and it seems to be held by a screw/bolt (see the previously posted photos). It apparently needs a special square tool to remove it, but Iíve not seen one like it so Iím reluctant to try and remove it, because Iím not sure it will expose the bus.
I have a variety of one quarter square bits that will fit in a drill motor that will probably work. But again, the fastener looks like aluminum and is probably pretty soft and easy to strip out.
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Old 11-21-2023, 07:43 AM   #36
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Thanks Morich,
I’m want to check the converter breaker (15 amp) but the bus is behind a panel and it seems to be held by a screw/bolt (see the previously posted photos). It apparently needs a special square tool to remove it, but I’ve not seen one like it so I’m reluctant to try and remove it, because I’m not sure it will expose the bus.
I have a variety of one quarter square bits that will fit in a drill motor that will probably work. But again, the fastener looks like aluminum and is probably pretty soft and easy to strip out.
Just unplug the converter and plug a big shop vac, or any vac if you don't have a shop vac, into the converter outlet and run it. A shop vac is one of the best ways to test the integrity of a circuit. It was a valuable troubleshooting tool on my service truck when trying to identify a bad main neutral, would expose it every time. Run it, use it and switch it off and on a few times, it will stress the circuit more when under load and when starting.

Just testing for voltage on a un-loaded circuit is not enough if you suspect there is a problem, voltage can look fine until a load is present when it can then drop out.
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Old 11-21-2023, 09:39 AM   #37
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I agree with Brian on testing with some item plugged into the AC. There can be weird thing if the neutral is going open or some other thing but just putting a load of some sort is a good quick way. Motors are much bigger loads in lots of cases.
A hair drier can also be good as it takes a motor and the heating element and you can put a pretty heavy load on in quick fashion. A lamp with a big bulb can run 100 watts but the vac or hair drier can get up around 1500 watts.
what this can do is may any suspect connections or anything that is borderline show up much faster.

What is often missed is that connections can come in all levels of bad! They are not always open and good but different levels of "difficulty" for the power to get through.
A good clean connection can be good. A little bit of corrosion is less good but if the corrosion is lots worse, very little power gets through.
So putting a heavy load where lots of that power has to get through , we are more likely to get something we can spot!

No, I would not go so far as taking things apart too much, especially i9f it is prone to causing a different problem.
What I would suggest is looking at the points you can get to and doing some testing, starting at one end of the chain and working toward the other.
I don't know how this converter will react if there are no batteries so this may/may not work but I might first try getting the batteries to a known good point where you know they can be trusted to hold a charge for at least a day.
If you charge and let settle for 6 hours (for instance?) and get 12.6 on them, you can then plug the RV in and turn the converter all on. that converter is likely to come on in charge mode where the voltage is higher than 12.6.
When you have meter on the batteries and then turn the converter on, the voltage reading should jump immediately to the voltage from the converter! you know it is working and getting that far! Different converter work better or worse but the newer as you have may set there at 13 for anywhere from a few minutes to several hours but then the better will begin to reduce the voltage to avoid overheating and boiling the batteries.
Voltage readings on batteries can be like filling a barrel with water. If we have a hose running into the hole on the barrel we see the hole full of water and might say the barrel is full! But if we turn the water off and come back to look, we may find the barrel is stil almost empty!
Semi-goofy way to describe "surface charge" on batteries because the water and barrel move so much quicker but we can SEE it better! Measuring at the battery posts is not telling us what is going on all down through it! And it is a slow process that can takes 6-8 hours to get settled and stable for a better answer.

I admit to being almost paranoid on checking for small points like loose or corroded wires before changing the big expensive stuff. Especially if it is near impossible to get to the big stuff.

The problem is that we need to be sure of things when we test something to say it is not that! One big problem with loose or corroded cables is that they can change as we are testing and move to another point.

Like on the fuses in the load center? If there is a fuse that is kind of corroded or loose, we may test power going though okay but when we slam the lid shut it changes!
So we need to look carefully at those simple things before we go to the big things being bad.

I may be totally wrong but I think of the converter as having lots of things that do the conversion from AC to DC but they are often solid things like capacitors or diodes that do not start working again once they blow out!
That leaves me to question, first if the voltages are actually good and charging right or if it is the way batteries trick us so often?
Hammering the issue with you because I've been tricked so often!!
If you can find a loose wire, bad breaker, or some small easy thing with some close looking, you can save hours of hard work getting in and lots of money changing something and STILL have to find the small thing!
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Old 11-21-2023, 10:16 AM   #38
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Not knowing exactly which model Progressive Dynamics is involved we can't go directly to their info, but looking/ poking around, I do see signs that they have good info online.
https://www.progressivedyn.com/servi...er-converters/

What caught my attention was not that this is the right info for this converter, but that they show a link to get other info when we might have the correct model number.
Click for better view!
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This is likely NOT the right manual but for this one, a quick read of the testing indicates they expect to have full output voltage if we remove the battery lead!
If we got the right manual for this converter and the troubleshooting says the same, it might mean we could take the wire from the converter to the load center off and expect to see the full voltage there is converter is good!
That would be a good way to find if you actually need to dig to get to the converter!

But, again, this is likely NOT the best info when we don't know which model we have!!

This might be a far better place to test the converter but I would want to verify with their troubleshooting manual for the correct converter?
This is the picture Brian posted of his load center but likely to find the same connection on yours?
Click image for larger version

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Why no RV year, make and floorplan on MY signature as we suggest for others?
I currently DO NOT have one!
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Old 11-21-2023, 02:18 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Morich View Post
Not knowing exactly which model Progressive Dynamics is involved we can't go directly to their info, but looking/ poking around, I do see signs that they have good info online.
https://www.progressivedyn.com/servi...er-converters/

What caught my attention was not that this is the right info for this converter, but that they show a link to get other info when we might have the correct model number.
Click for better view!
Attachment 187930

This is likely NOT the right manual but for this one, a quick read of the testing indicates they expect to have full output voltage if we remove the battery lead!
If we got the right manual for this converter and the troubleshooting says the same, it might mean we could take the wire from the converter to the load center off and expect to see the full voltage there is converter is good!
That would be a good way to find if you actually need to dig to get to the converter!

But, again, this is likely NOT the best info when we don't know which model we have!!

This might be a far better place to test the converter but I would want to verify with their troubleshooting manual for the correct converter?
This is the picture Brian posted of his load center but likely to find the same connection on yours?
Attachment 187931
My converter is a Progressive Dynamics model PD5245C. I pulled the converter plug out of the load center, plugged in a hair dryer and ran it. It seemed to run normally, so I turned the dryer off and on several times and let it run in high speed with no obvious problems. When I opened the motorhome, the batteries were showing 13.0 volts, but went down to 12.8 when I turned on some lights and the steps retracted. So, short of exposing the connections on the load center I can’t test any of the connections. I assume that the single one screw holds the cover on so I think I’ll try and remove it. We shall see how it goes. Again, thanks to all of you for spending your time and efforts trying to help me out.
Dave
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Old 11-21-2023, 08:31 PM   #40
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Join Date: Jul 2022
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_denn8 View Post
My converter is a Progressive Dynamics model PD5245C. I pulled the converter plug out of the load center, plugged in a hair dryer and ran it. It seemed to run normally, so I turned the dryer off and on several times and let it run in high speed with no obvious problems. When I opened the motorhome, the batteries were showing 13.0 volts, but went down to 12.8 when I turned on some lights and the steps retracted. So, short of exposing the connections on the load center I can’t test any of the connections. I assume that the single one screw holds the cover on so I think I’ll try and remove it. We shall see how it goes. Again, thanks to all of you for spending your time and efforts trying to help me out.
Dave
Take a look at my load center, at least from the front. Again, I assume the actual wire corrections are hidden behind the plastic piece that may be held on by the single screw/bolt in the center. Does anyone have any experience with this particular load center? If so, does removing the screw expose the wire and breaker connections? I’d appreciate any ideas anyone has about how to access the connections.
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