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PostPosted: February 22nd, 2017, 11:20 am 
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I have a new Progressive Dynamics (PD4655V) 55 amp converter/charger. It is possible/advisable to use this instead of the 45 amp unit? Should I run a heavier gauge line under the sofa to the LVD? If so what gauge wire should I use?

Thanks,

Bill

'97 Concourse


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PostPosted: February 22nd, 2017, 12:09 pm 
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Billmiller wrote:
I have a new Progressive Dynamics (PD4655V) 55 amp converter/charger. It is possible/advisable to use this instead of the 45 amp unit? Should I run a heavier gauge line under the sofa to the LVD? If so what gauge wire should I use?

Thanks,

Bill

'97 Concourse


Other people have installed the PD4655 without any problems, with the existing wiring. In real life the maximum output probably doesn't happen very often, and not long enough to hurt anything. Even without new wiring, the PD charger is worlds better than the original, because it will not fry your batteries with overcharging.

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PostPosted: February 22nd, 2017, 3:02 pm 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
I would say, it depends on the rest of your charging system/design, of which the design depends on how you want to use the Chinook.

The stock system (and this pertains to many RV's) is basically a decent crutch to get you from power post to power post. Chinook built and marketed them with the aging Class A owner in mind, who still basically wanted a Class A, but in a smaller package. So this usage guess made sense. Nowadays that may or may not represent how you use (or want to use) the Chinook. That, combined with the fact that 1997 was a while ago, in terms of batteries/solar/charging/monitoring, and it may not be the best system depending on your expectations and how you plan to use the rig. So maybe you can say a little bit about your planned usage?

And by the way, nothing against '90's vintage Chinooks: I have a '99 that I love! I also knew going in that I'd have to re-do much of the charging system because I don't travel power post to power post (I boondock), and because it's 2017 now and things have changed (for example, a 50 watt solar panel was quite the luxury back then; now they're fairly cheap and people power whole rigs with them vs. just "maintaining" the batteries when parked, which is basically what the stock panel will do.

One issue, that you touched on, is that the wire leading from the charger to the batteries is too long/too thin (8AWG) and therefore there is a lot of voltage drop. That means that even a "smart" charger's output isn't smart by the time it gets to the batteries (the long thin wire is like a leaky hose and so by the time you get to the batteries lots of the voltage is gone). Also be aware that there are basic three- or four-stage chargers, and then "smart" three- or four-stage chargers, and then "smart and adjustable" three- or four-stage chargers, and then "smart and adjustable and temperature compensated" three- or four-stage chargers. In other words, there's not just one level of smartness. Which one you want or need again depends on the rest of the system. (As you've probably gathered by now, it's good to think about the charging system as a whole, so it's all on the same "level" with no particularly weak or strong links.)

All of this can be fixed and changed (or not changed if it suits your purpose), and best of all (at least to me) it can be understood. So no worries there! Just... it's like us giving you advice on footwear but not knowing if you are going to a ballroom dance, a marathon, or a mountain climb. Different footwear for each (or a compromise shoe for all three - although that would be some shoe! :lol: )

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PostPosted: February 22nd, 2017, 8:48 pm 
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So, I can hook it up with the existing long run to the LVD. I still think that I should do the shorter run under the couch. If so, should I use 8 AWG or go with 6? Also, do I just run a positive wire to the LVD, since the neg. is already grounded? Or run a a neg. wire to the chassis, and if so where on the chassis? Or just run a wire the neg. battery post.

Thanks,

Bill


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PostPosted: February 22nd, 2017, 9:30 pm 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
Sounds like you know for sure the PD 55 amp is what you want. It would (somewhat) be a better setup with the larger wire running behind the couch. The reason I only say "somewhat" is that you'll be reducing voltage drop, but the voltage on the PD charger isn't adjustable (AFAIK), nor temperature compensated. So, while you will be getting closer to matching the charger's output voltage with what the batteries see (i.e. less voltage drop), the voltage output of the charger isn't necessarily going to be what your batteries want. That depends on which batteries you have (their charging specs) and how close you keep the batteries to 77ºF. 77ºF is what chargers "assume" your batteries are at all the time if they don't have a temperature probe.

So what I'm getting at is that yes, larger wire and a shorter run are improvements. But like an anchoring setup on a boat, it's not just the anchor, but also the line, chain, shackles, attachment to the boat, etc. Similarly a charging system isn't just the charger/wire. But anyway.

The charging "loop" (which is also the load loop on the Chinook as they made it do double duty) consists of the following:

1) The positive wire from the charger to the LVD.
2) The positive wire from the LVD to the house batteries (goes out under base of pillar behind LVD).
3) The positive jumper wire between the two house batteries.
4) The negative jumper wire between the two batteries
5) The "chassis ground" wire from the battery negative post to the frame.
6) The "chassis ground" wire from the frame to the charger (this goes from under the shower-ish to the brown box).

To completely upgrade the wire to 6AWG, each of those legs would want to be at least 6 AWG. Then you can up the fusing to 60 amps (presuming all components of that circuit are up to that ampacity). Fusing coming off the battery should have an AIC (ampere interrupt) rating sufficient for the short circuit rating of the battery bank (I don't know what you have for batteries so can't advise). If the AIC rating is too low the fuse body can just self destruct regardless of the fuse size. Today's larger banks can really pack a wallop. For example two Group 27 Lifeline AGMs have a potential short circuit current of 6,748 amps :shock: A lot of typical fuse types are only rated to 5,000 amps.

The original wire that did this function (carry charging current to the batteries, plus carry battery power to the loads) was 8AWG, and ran from the "brown box" over to the corner by the shower, up to the area above the long window, OVER the long window to the overcab, then down the pillar to the LVD. Geez, could they have made it any longer?! 6AWG running along the couch wall will be heavier and shorter; but just do all the legs and not only the one - it's not great practice to have varying gauges of wire in one wire run. Also of course protect and secure the wire under the couch.

I don't know much about the rest of your system or use case based on this thread, so it's possible some of this will not apply to you.

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PostPosted: February 23rd, 2017, 9:11 pm 
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Wow, more complicated than I thought. I have a new PD4655 which is why I started this thread. I just replaced my batteries with 2 group 31 from NAPA (b/c of the 30 month warranty). Perhaps my simplest solution is to just run an 8 AWG from the PD to the LVD.


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PostPosted: March 17th, 2017, 8:42 pm 
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Location: Bend, OR
I recently upgraded the converter/charger to the PD4645 and ran two 6 gauge wires from both the positive and negative terminals on the charger straight to the positive and negative terminal (actually bus bars) of the battery. I bypassed the LVD altogether. I removed the LVD altogether.

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PostPosted: May 21st, 2017, 8:32 am 
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Joined: May 21st, 2015, 7:00 pm
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Location: Indiana
Billmiller wrote:
Wow, more complicated than I thought. I have a new PD4655 which is why I started this thread. I just replaced my batteries with 2 group 31 from NAPA (b/c of the 30 month warranty). Perhaps my simplest solution is to just run an 8 AWG from the PD to the LVD.


Billmiller, did you ever install the PD4655? What gauge wire and route did you end up using? Any installation tips/advice?

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PostPosted: May 21st, 2017, 7:31 pm 
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I've been working on other stuff including a couple of rearview cameras. I'll post when the charger is in. I do plan to run 8 AWG to the LVD.

Bill


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PostPosted: May 22nd, 2017, 8:06 am 
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Unless you've started a new post, I'm interested in what you're getting and installing on the rear view cameras. In another thread, of course...

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