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View Full Version : Converter - Charger Trouble? help/advice



MTPockets
05-29-2014, 11:54 AM
I found some older posts with same problem, but mine is a little different than others: My Converter is a Progressive Dynamics Intellipower. All of a sudden last night we heard what sounds exactly like firecrackers or popcorn popping. At first we thought it was fireworks outside, but it was the Converter. I quickly turned off the 50 amp power at the post and the popping stopped. A visual inspection was negative, all looked normal. I plugged into 30 amp using my adapter and everything works fine - no popping. We went to bed and this A.M. the Camp owner checked the post and everything reads normal. Plugged into 50 amp and popping started... plugged into 30 amp, no popping; but - the 30 amp connection was loose due to a cracked 30 amp plug. He replaced the 30 amp plug and it works fine... Being the curious type, I plug back into the 50 amp and no popping. Been plugged back into 50 amp for an hour and all seems normal.... My questions: 1) What exactly is popping? arcing inside the converter? 2) why would it work on 30amp and popping on 50amp? 3) Does the 30 amp plug affect the 50amp operation and cause the popping? 4) Do I need to get a new converter? ................................ P.S. edit ..... I normally use a Surge Protector, but it went bad a couple weeks ago. I ordered a new Progressive unit, but won't be here until next week.

evolvingpowercat
05-29-2014, 12:18 PM
Don't know about the popping but with 50 Amp there are two separate 50 Amp 120 circuits feeding the 50 amp receptacle, part of your RV breakers are on one of the 50 Amp feeds and part are on the other one.

30 Amp receptacle is a single 30 amp feed.

The 30 amp plug to 50 amp receptacle adapter takes the single 30 Amp feed and connects to both of the 50 amp circuits in the adapter receptacle.

Hope this helps.

danemayer
05-29-2014, 12:18 PM
Terry, are you sure it's the power converter? If you have generator prep, a failing transfer switch might sound like that if the contactor was having trouble latching. Could be a bad contactor, but since it worked when plugged into 30amp, I'm going to hazard a guess that voltage on L1 of the 50 amp pedestal might have been a bit low. The contactor looks for 120V on L1. Perhaps the 30 amp receptacle was using L2 of the pedestal.

Or the contactor might be starting to fail.

If you're not sure which component is popping, next time it starts, turn off the circuit breaker for the power converter and see if the noise stops.

jbeletti
05-29-2014, 12:20 PM
Are you sure the popping is coming from the converter? Popping could be capacitors blowing up. Bill Knight might see this and give his opinion.

Do you have a generator or gen-prep? If yes, could that popping actually be clunking? Reason I ask is that under certain conditions, the contactors (huge relays) can chatter rapidly, sounding like fast clunking.

jbeletti
05-29-2014, 12:22 PM
Okay - jinx! I see Dan beat me to the keyboard by one minute with the same thought. Maybe we're twins separated at birth :)

MTPockets
05-29-2014, 12:36 PM
Are you sure the popping is coming from the converter? Popping could be capacitors blowing up. Bill Knight might see this and give his opinion.

Do you have a generator or gen-prep? If yes, could that popping actually be clunking? Reason I ask is that under certain conditions, the contactors (huge relays) can chatter rapidly, sounding like fast clunking.. The noise does sound exactly like a package of firecrackers - erratic and various sound levels and fast.
We do have the generator so it could be the popping was not the converter. The 30 amp plug was replaced on the pole, but I'm plugged back into the 50 amp and no more popping. Was it the pole or in my rig? How to determine? Tomorrow we're moving up by Salt Lake City, so new stuff could be had if needed.

porthole
05-29-2014, 12:46 PM
Low voltage coming in or excessive load in the coach for the current available can cause those transfer switches to start chattering away, just like firecrackers popping. Sounds like there was a pedestal problem.

jbeletti
05-29-2014, 01:06 PM
When I last had Transfer Switch Issues, the park voltage checked good on both legs of AC. When we ran an air conditioner, the park voltage really dropped. The high current / low voltage scenario really got the contactors to chattering.

Did I have a bad transfer switch? Low available current from the campground power system? I won't know. But changing parks and the transfer switch has made the chattering go away.

Incidentally, TRC (maker of my transfer switch) told me that contactor chattering is really hard on them and is a good reason to replace them switch after a chattering incident.

danemayer
05-29-2014, 01:14 PM
Was it the pole or in my rig? How to determine?
If the voltage on L1 at the pedestal drops to around 105, the contactor will fail and perhaps chatter. If it's currently 108V, I'd suspect the pedestal. If it's currently 124V, maybe it's your transfer switch. Also check for loose wires/connections that might cause a voltage drop.

You might want to find an electrical supply store and pick up 4 butt splices for #6 awg copper wire (L1, L2, Neutral, Ground) and a roll or 2 of good electrical tape. If the transfer switch fails, you'll be able to remove the wires and use the butt splices to make a temporary connection while you wait for a transfer switch to arrive. Don't count on being able to use the generator if the switch fails - it may fail in a way that totally disables it.

MTPockets
05-29-2014, 01:23 PM
This has Been informative. Thanks. Decision whether to go ahead and get new transfer switch? Could keep old for emergency since right now it's working. Or go with Dan's suggestion and wait for failure? Or both? Or neither? .......... Or just buy new Landmark?

danemayer
05-29-2014, 01:49 PM
If it helps with the decision, a new switch is about $150 (http://www.amazon.com/Progressive-Dynamics-PD52V-Automatic-Transfer/dp/B003VAWNVK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401389227&sr=8-1&keywords=progressive+dynamics+pd52) from Amazon. The installation is a pain because it's hard to work with the #6 wire and you'll be lying on your side in the basement trying to make everything go together.

porthole
05-29-2014, 02:13 PM
Incidentally, TRC (maker of my transfer switch) told me that contactor chattering is really hard on them and is a good reason to replace them switch after a chattering incident.

In that case - I am at least a dozen transfer switches in the hole :cool:

jbeletti
05-29-2014, 02:56 PM
This has Been informative. Thanks. Decision whether to go ahead and get new transfer switch? Could keep old for emergency since right now it's working. Or go with Dan's suggestion and wait for failure? Or both? Or neither? .......... Or just buy new Landmark?

Terry,

Of course, the new Landmark is the right answer :) :)

Short of that, maybe wait until you get to the next CG to see if the trouble persists. If it does, maybe replacing it and keeping the old as a backup may be the way to go.