Thursday, January 2, 2014

Replacing the Power Converter

For awhile now, our power converter, the device that is responsible for taking 120 volt AC and converting it to 12 volt DC, has been dying. It's been a slow, painful, agonizing death, complete with buzzing, humming, irregular output, and periods of not functioning at all. So I ordered a replacement for it, and it finally got to us.

As a side note, do not have any imperative equipment fail or need replacement around the holiday times. It will take twice as long for the replacement to get to you than it normally would, and you will be anxious and frustrated beyond belief.

The shiny new converter!
I replaced a WFCO 65 amp converter with a Progressive Dynamics (PD9270V) 70 Amp Power Converter . I originally looked at a direct replacement, but the WFCO had some bad reviews, and I didn't want to have to deal with the same issues in a year or two. The Progressive Dynamics model comes with the company's Charge Wizard circuiting, which is a multi mode operation allowing for normal operation/charging, a quick charge mode, a storage mode, and a desulfation mode. The unit is designed to automatically select the mode needed, but also comes with a remote pendant to allow manual selection.

Installation was pretty easy. I had already done the leg work of locating the old converter, which was pretty easy with the noise that it was making. Access was behind a panel in my basement, which gave ample work space.

The panel is easily removed with four screws to reveal...

...the power converter (and some plumbing. Not well thought out if you ask me).
Always remember to shut off all electricity before working on any appliance. In this case it meant shutting off the breaker in the 120 volt panel as well as disconnecting the battery. Safety first.

Removal and installation was a breeze. Remove two screws holding down the existing converter, unhook the positive and negative wires from the DC output side, and remove the grounding/bonding wire from the housing. The converter is connected to the 120 volt paned via a standard Edison plug. This was the hardest part of the process, since I had to reach my hand into the dark hole to feel where it went. Reverse the process for installation.
The new converter in place.
As I mentioned, the converter came with a remote pendant. We have a closet directly above the power center, providing a convenient place for installation.
Glad I can close the door, that green light is bright!

I'm very excited to have a consistent 13.5 volts, even with all of the 12 volt lighting and systems in use. All in all, the whole job took about 20 minutes.