CHECK! Another project complete

We attended a very cute and very small Methodist Church in Clearwater, MN, this morning. The Clearwater Methodist Church has met in this white clapboard Sanctuary building since 1879. The pew seating is New England style, with each pew divided by a 42″ high partition. We enjoyed the service, the Pastor Ken was very good, and afterward we joined in the cake and coffee celebration for new members and July birthdays.

Jim, as soon as we returned from church, disconnected the batteries, solar panels, and electrical power from our Airstream and removed the converter charger. This was an involved project and he enjoyed launching into it with a free afternoon.

We mentioned yesterday the box from Camping World, containing our new converter charger, was awaiting our arrival at Minnesota Airstream Park. And also yesterday, we visited the local hardware store for a few feet of heavy duty electrical wire (#8 AWG), some connectors, and a few small bolts. Jim is happy to have found excellent step-by-step directions for his first-time replacement of the converter charger unit.

Jim took a lot less time to remove the old converter charger than to prepare and install the new Progressive Dynamics Intellipower 9260. But he was both following the directions carefully and was checking his work thoroughly. We would really not want to awake to smoke pouring from our circuit breaker panel!

We had a few interesting observations in this project. The old converter charger has apparently been smoking a little — we found a pile of black soot surrounding the electrical cabinet’s old vent fan. The new converter charger, by Progressive Dynamics, has far larger heat sink cooling fins mounted on the unit and so may require less fan operation to cool it. Fully loaded (every light and appliance in the trailer running) the new converter charger’s fan is far quieter than the old converter charger’s fan.

And finally, it sure was nice to have very well-documented instructions for installation from another user. Many thanks to William Hemme who allowed Best Converter to provide on-line publication of his installation instructions.


9 responses to “CHECK! Another project complete

  1. This is a good article on dc power:

    This is a good place for dc equipment:


    • Hi George!
      Thanks for the two links on 12vdc and dc equipment source. It is who provided the excellent links to user install information, and where I found Bill Hemme’s superb step-by-step. I have read a lot of things by Mark Nemeth and will look fwd to reading this also.

      Let’s find a good time for both of us to connect on 40 or 20? I’m finally far enough away from Winston-Salem, I should be able to hit your radio great. I’ve been thinking about emailing you on this and would love to do it soon. I have been checking into the RV Service Net’s 40 meter nets (07:00 to 09:00 edt), usually in the second hour since we’re in Central time. I’m hearing just about everyone with no problem so I hope I can hit your radio. If any problem then I’ll try to raise a dipole.

      Hi to Margie and Boots, too. Thanks again for your input, let’s talk soon — n5rtg Jim

  2. Our 06 Safari finally made it back from International in Madison. It spent the last 4 months plugged into shore power at our Airstream Park. Since I could only check it monthly, the 2 batteries are dead…the Parallax kept them too well charged!

    Our Intellipower has been waiting for the Safari since July. Next weekend (after Falluminum in Hiawassee) I’ll tackle the job. Thanks for providing the step by step and the testimonial!

    • Matt,
      That’s so sad! A little solar panel would have kept the batteries trickled without any of that P-brand power. Darn. And since you are replacing batteries anyway, why not put in a pair of 6v ones, like T-145s? I have the Interstate 2200s, more or less equal to the 105s and the 145 would fit just as well — they both are taller than my battery box but I raised the lid a couple of inches and am good to go.

      Won’t it feel great to install the PDI 9260, especially now? Good luck, let us know how it turns out.


  3. The Intellipower is in. Beth and I finished it today, along with several other overdue improvements. One of those is window shades – sound familiar?

    It looks like one of the batteries will hold a charge, so we will probably go with it for the trip this weekend. Then, I think 6v batteries are a great idea. Did you rivet and caulk the C Channel?

    Thanks for all your great ideas.


    • Matt,
      The battery box isn’t waterproof and does need venting anyway, so no caulk. I think we have three rivets on each side plus two at each corner through a small bent piece (serving as corner clip).

      Great on the windows — you saw how great they look, and we love how the oceanAIR shades work. A couple of them fray a little where the person operating them might let the fabric chafe the housing on the way up — one must aim, even with these!

      We are scheming, ’bout half the time, on how to add two more batteries. Best plan is put them in the truck bed and make up a welding cable to connect However, we haven’t needed extra batteries yet. If we had bought 145s instead of 125s, though, we would have more kick for a little longer. And if I recall correctly the 145s are the same physical dimensions, just weightier (and far pricier).

      Okay, just a few more improvements and you can meet up with us everywhere — we’re looking fwd to it.


  4. We aren’t quite up to dry camping on the same scale, but we will plan on it. Maybe on the way to / from Gillette?


    • Matt, We would love nothing better than caravanning with y’all to Gillette. We, though, are departing from the end of the southwest caravan, so will be pretty far out of the way of each other. It was great fun doing a day in New Glarus with you two. We’ll all just have to make the most of our time together in Gillette, besides our jobs and required luncheons. Until then, practice dry camping and practice getting retired so you’ll have more time!


  5. Update 2010/03/11: we added a louvered vent high in the side of the under-sofa compartment (facing the back of the dinette bench) to complement the low vent for cooling air entering the converter.

    Louvered vent doesn’t show at all and probably doesn’t matter, but want to give the Intellipower anything it wants — it deserves it. Great converter/charger.

    One other aside, the Intellipower is rated a little higher than the former unit, a Parallax. We now are pushing 900 watts peak input just into the converter/charger. So our little 1kw generator has it’s work cut out for it. It’s handled it well so far — we can start the genset with the fridge on gas and the converter/charger off-line. Leave the genset on normal mode (not economy) to keep the throttle open. Then turn the converter/charger on and no problem so far.

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