My old motorhome project had the original power converter (battery charger/converter) – circa 1994. Technology has come a long ways in twenty years.
Old power converters simply applied a constant charging voltage as long as they were powered on. That simplistic approach is not good for the batteries.
Modern power converters are intelligent about caring for the battery bank. They constantly monitor the battery and automatically adjust the power output based on the battery’s charge status. This prevents over & under charging of the battery which can lead to much longer battery life.
After a fair amount of research, I selected the 60 Amp Progressive Dynamics PD9260C.
Depending on battery voltage this unit selects one of the four operating modes to charge and maintain the battery. Boost Mode 14.4 Volts: Rapidly brings the RV battery up to 90% of full charge. Normal Mode 13.6 Volts: Safely completes the charge. Storage Mode 13.2 Volts: Maintains charge with minimal gassing or water loss. Equalization Mode 14.4 Volts: Every 21 hours for a period of 15 minutes prevents battery stratification & sulfation. There is a lot of additional information and interesting graphs on the Smart Wizard page of the website.
I ordered the power converter over the Internet and had it in hand in very short order. Swapping it with the old one would be easy…
Ok, not so easy. Apparently, my old power converter was suspended in mid air and the motorhome was build around it. It would NOT come out. No way would it fit thru any of the existing openings. On my Pace Arrow, it is located under the refrigerator and behind the power distribution panel. I loosened all the wires leading to the panel and the panel itself and it would not fit. I tried removing all the cabinet drawer slides and pulling it out that way. Nope. Not possible.
After messing with this problem for far too long. I started disassembling the old converter while it was in place. Reaching thru the various holes to get the thing apart was hard enough. Making it worse is that it was riveted together so I had to drill out a bunch of rivets and it is heavy. Finally, I had to break the plastic cover into pieces to get it out. Quiet a little project.
Happily, the new power converter is much smaller than the old one so it slipped right into place. Probably five minutes of work after the old converter was removed.
It worked beautifully as soon as I plugged in the shore power with the Smart Wizard pendant showing the operating mode that is in use.
I view this upgrade as being very important and worthwhile. Many people have dramatically shortened the life of their batteries by not charging them properly. This smart power converters handles all of that work automatically allowing me to enjoy my time doing something else!!
UPDATATE FROM JD: I’ve been using this charger for eight months and am very happy. My batteries seem to be in very good condition and I am particularly happy that they are not being cooked to death while plugged in for extended periods of time.