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What does an electrical converter do?

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Sent: 4/12/2003
When plugged into shore power, the converter's job is to supply 12 volt power and charge the batteries if I understand correctly.  The question is - does the converter "disconnect" the batteries from the scheme of things and supply the power independently, or do the batteries stay connected to the whole works while they're being charged?  I need to know because my house and coach batteries are linked somewhere (and no it's not the momentary solenoid - it's been replaced) and I'm trying to eliminate things one by one, but I need to make sure I understand the system completely in order to do this.
Now for the warning - to some it may be a given, but needs stressing anyway.  Make sure you can visually inspect every single nook & cranny in your motor home without too much trouble, especially where the electrical is involved.  I say this because my inverter is located below the refrigerator, and there's no easy access to the "box" it's in.  The inverter can't be pulled through the hole because of ac wiring coming out both sides.  I ended up making an unscheduled repair today when I attempted to pull the converter thru the hole and got a few pieces of paper that smelled like mouse.  I immediately pulled the fridge and pulled out the "floor" of that compartment, which needed replacing anyway.  Some of what I found was discolored from heat - the last guy who owned this rig is lucky he didn't burn it to the ground.
OK - I'm off my soapbox now

Sent: 4/12/2003
On my 72 D22T when the converter comes on -with the shore power - it has a relay inside that disconnects the coach battery. It then supplies the 12volts itself, but only to the coach things - nothing to the engine system. If the shore power/converter goes off - the relay switches back to the coach battery.
And although it seldom comes up, accessible nooks and crannies are also a good idea when crossing the U.S./Mexican border - in either direction. Anything non-standard might require explanation/examination.

Sent: 6/9/2006
when converter is connected to shore power it provides 12vdc to everything it's hooked up's main function is to power your lights & 12v appliances. it even sends some to your batteries to charge them. there is 1 problem though. it is NOT automatic shut off when batteries are fully charged.  it will eventually overcharge your batteries if left on after they're full... i recommend either replacing the converter with a good automatic battery charger or installing a charge controller between converter and batteries for their protection

Sent: 6/26/2006
It depends on your converter, Fred.  My 71 Phillips converter doesn't charge the batteries at all.  I added an automatic marine battery charger to my system to charge the batteries, and it shuts itself off to a trickle when they are charged.

My converter had a constant buzz while I'm plugged in. Does that mean it is possibly on its way out?


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