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Old 12-14-2013, 03:36 PM   #1
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1994 Fleetwood Pace Arrow

It has been 6 years since i have been connected to shore power. I have been running off solar and using the generator off and on for the past 6 years.
I recently plugged into shore power 30 Amp service.
My converter is buzzing quite loudly... it has been doing so for some time. Is the converter actually going bad? It seems to be louder than I remember 6 years ago, though that may just be in my head. Regardless, it doesn't sound "normal" Any suggestions would be great. thanks!

Additional Details

1. The Power 50 Transformer is behind the bottom kitchen drawer and I can hear it buzzing.
2. The Converter Charger 50 Amp is behind the circuit breakers under the Refrigerator and i can also hear it buzzing.
Not sure if they are both buzzing or one in vibrating through the floor to the other.

Is there a way to UNPLUG a fuse or flip a switch in order to keep the Bay batteries from Charging from the Converter Box, I read that this old Converter Box were set up to provide 14.4 VDC. That is real good for the lights and stuff, but it will destroy batteries in relatively short order if you leave it on. I have Solar with controller that will keep them topped off!
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2. 1994 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37' 460 Engine, 2 Solar panels (220 Watts), 15" n 20" TV Flat Screens, LED strips added.
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Old 12-15-2013, 10:16 PM   #2
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Re: 1994 Fleetwood Pace Arrow

Are you saying there is a converter and a different charge controller that are mounted in different areas?
Some older converters are fairly basic in design. My guess is the transformer is loose. Sometimes in that situation different loads makes it buzz less or more loudly. It doesn't mean it's necessarily failing, but...
If you don't use the converter much, why not replace it with a modern unit or an inverter? Old converter/chargers are generally poor chargers. Newer model have multi-stage chargers built in. Inverters are even better.

Also you might want to plug into a different shore power spot. Some places have bad or dirty shore power.

As far as unhooking it, more info would be needed. Converters only supply 12vDC and charging so I would think there would be an on/off switch on the unit or at a remote. Perhaps there is a dedicated AC breaker to the unit that can be turned off?

I'm sure that an RV dealership could pull it out and bypass it.
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Old 12-15-2013, 10:32 PM   #3
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Re: 1994 Fleetwood Pace Arrow

I agree with Dave, great advice. From the older campers I've had, my understanding is that loudly buzzing older converters are generally on the way out. I would also advise going with a modern inverter with multi-stage charger, or at least just replacing your converter with a modern Intellipower unit. IIRC they are pretty affordable, or at least much cheaper than a well made large inverter.

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Old 12-15-2013, 10:44 PM   #4
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Re: 1994 Fleetwood Pace Arrow

Humming that gets louder is not good. To me it says something is not right. It could be the load on the transformer has increased either by your adding a new device or something is drawing more current than it use to. It could also be running hotter sir some reason.

My converter died shortly after I got my rig. The new converter was about 1/4 the size of the old one. It allowed me to gain back storage a significant amount of space.
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:02 PM   #5
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Re: 1994 Fleetwood Pace Arrow

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
Are you saying there is a converter and a different charge controller that are mounted in different areas?
Some older converters are fairly basic in design. My guess is the transformer is loose. Sometimes in that situation different loads makes it buzz less or more loudly. It doesn't mean it's necessarily failing, but...
If you don't use the converter much, why not replace it with a modern unit or an inverter? Old converter/chargers are generally poor chargers. Newer model have multi-stage chargers built in. Inverters are even better.
No, The Charge Controller is only for my Solar connected directly to my battery bank that stops charging them from the solar panels when they are full. The other box says "POWER TRANSFER 50. I am not sure what that does...
The one Below the Refrigerator behind the Breaker Switches is a:
MagneTek
Converter Charger 50 AMP
Series: 900
Model: 950
Chassis Bonding Termial
I believe this is the noisy one! It does feel warm from the top vents. The Electric was brought in from the city to a lot. I have a 30 Amp box set up with 30 Amp wiring to a separate breaker switch just for the RV.
I also feel that it is sucking more power than it should be. I will look into a newer Converter if this will solve the sucking of power being so old and protect the bay batteries from any damage. A fan noise from a newer one is fine with me. Kind of getting used to the noise now.
I experimented trying to find out what was using lots of electricity and feel it is the Converter.
At night I turn off the power to the RV and noticed that instead of 8 kilowatts on 24 hour day, it is 3-4 kilowatts.
I turned off the refrigerator and left the power to the RV plugged in and saved about 1-2 kilowatts. Around 6-7 KW on 24 hour day.
So for not running anything but my laptop till 8 or 9 PM that is a big difference.
What brand Converter and what type do you recommend?
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2. 1994 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37' 460 Engine, 2 Solar panels (220 Watts), 15" n 20" TV Flat Screens, LED strips added.
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:34 PM   #6
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Re: 1994 Fleetwood Pace Arrow

Converters just change AC to DC to run the DC devices in the RV and also some apply a basic charge. They are more common on large RV’s that tend to stay at spots where AC power is offered such as RV parks and full hookup campgrounds. Converters supply DC power instead of having to use your RV batteries. Larger RV's have larger DC loads and many owners would rather not deal with big battery banks when they rarely Boon Dock where power is unavailable. The transfer 50 most likely is either a AC transfer switch where a generator is installed for backup power or it's a DC transfer switch that cuts in or cuts out the converter. Hard to tell by the picture what converter you have.

Nevertheless some converters are substandard to inverters but there are few better units out there which might be the best way to go if price is a concern. I've heard Progressive Dynamics thrown around but really I have no experiance with any of them. Many companies have gone out of business due to how well inverter-chargers have advanced over the years.

My suggestion is to find a good trustworthy RV shop and ask how much it would cost to replace it or upgrade to an inverter-charger. If you have larger DC loads, a small house battery system and always stay at places where AC power is supplied, you'd probably be better off with a converter.

Hopefully somebody on the site has more info for you.
I wish you luck.
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Old 12-18-2013, 09:03 AM   #7
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Re: 1994 Fleetwood Pace Arrow

Either one of these could be causing the hum, the Esco Power Transfer Switch is the generator to shore power transfer switch. One quick and dirty thing that you could try there is to blow out the dust bunnies. With power off you can remover the cover to the coils and use a air hose to blow out any unwanted crude. It would be best to cover the output of the air hose with a rag to stop moisture.

The transformer in the magnetek series power converter is also inherently noisy. You could also blow out any crude inside that.

First question I have is did you hear the hum when running the generator? (maybe the generator masks the noise). Your generator would be putting out AC going through the transfer switch and into the power converter. So if this stated happening when you plugged into your new shore power outlet you may want to have that checked out, as any issues with the incoming AC could make the potential to HUM even worse.

It is probably time to go to a new converter/charger or inverter/charger anyway, but I would not rule out your AC. The best thing to do would be take it to a RV shop, unless you are real comfortable working on any of these kind of things. Of course if you do choose to open up any of the boxes, please make sure your are disconnected from power.

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Old 12-18-2013, 01:17 PM   #8
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Re: 1994 Fleetwood Pace Arrow

Quote:
First question I have is did you hear the hum when running the generator?
I don't think I ever heard a buzzing when the generator was on. But then it's so loud that it would be difficult to hear. The generator stopped working recently do to some electric box type going out on it from trying to start it too much. Saw some smoke. Now it starts up but doesn't stay running. I think it went bad. So I need to have this replaced. It's about $200. Since I don't use it and have an external propane generator that I plug into I haven't replaced the bad part, if it is that. Since having shore power it will be put on hold again.
I am comfortable working on the RV.
? What would cause the high electric usage on the RV. The refrigerator is the only thing running.
I will also do some research on some converters/invertors etc. and call the RV shop.
Thanks, I'll keep you updated!
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2. 1994 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37' 460 Engine, 2 Solar panels (220 Watts), 15" n 20" TV Flat Screens, LED strips added.
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Old 12-18-2013, 11:04 PM   #9
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Re: 1994 Fleetwood Pace Arrow

Quote:
Originally Posted by aztecaa
I don't think I ever heard a buzzing when the generator was on. But then it's so loud that it would be difficult to hear. The generator stopped working recently do to some electric box type going out on it from trying to start it too much. Saw some smoke. Now it starts up but doesn't stay running. I think it went bad. So I need to have this replaced. It's about $200. Since I don't use it and have an external propane generator that I plug into I haven't replaced the bad part, if it is that. Since having shore power it will be put on hold again.
I am comfortable working on the RV.
? What would cause the high electric usage on the RV. The refrigerator is the only thing running.
I will also do some research on some converters/invertors etc. and call the RV shop.
Thanks, I'll keep you updated!
Maybe the problem with the generator has something to do with the converter. I deal with converters (not RV types) often and have had them burn up on me. Seeing smoke, the converter buzzing and you having load issues throws up a red flag to me. But it might also be more than one problem or one thing could of led to another.
I think taking to the shop is a good move on your part.
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:15 PM   #10
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Re: 1994 Fleetwood Pace Arrow

This is the part that a friend said probably burned up but said to have it checked. I just plugged it back in in case it needs to be connected. Not sure if the shore power runs through it.
2. Regarding the Generator: When I saw the smoke and burnt smell it was from starting the generator from the outside over and over. Only from the battery banks. NO Shore Power.
3. My battery banks are about 5-6 years old and don't stay up. At night they drop down into the red. So i need to find the best batteries and use only them.
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