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Old 09-20-2020, 08:56 PM   #1
sam
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Default How do you know if you need to replace the converter?

Had a cold campout in the 40's. Everytime the furnice would kick in the lights would dim and then come back to full lighting. Dh informs me that the furnice start up has quite an electrical draw. This is probably the original converter from 1996. Thought I would ask before I do some internet search on this.
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Old 09-20-2020, 10:05 PM   #2
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sam, I don't think your converter supplies any power to the furnace, it just charges the battery(s). The furnace fan is a DC device and it draws its power from the battery. Any AC powered device such as the Air Conditioner, Microwave, Refrigerator (if you're powering it that way), and water heater (again, if it's being powered electrically) are taking their power directly from the campground hookup, through a "bypass" around the converter.

I would not think your converter is bad from the symptoms you described, but your trailer batteries may be weak and, the converter may not be charging them if you're on a campground hookup. It is possible the 30A fuses in the converter battery charging output have blown. They are somewhat "hidden" in mine and I had to take the front cover off the converter to get at them. Check out my troubleshooting and repair in this thread: https://www.hilotrailerforum.com/f28...g-repair-6454/

- Jack
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Old 09-21-2020, 10:18 AM   #3
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sam, I don't think your converter supplies any power to the furnace, it just charges the battery(s). The furnace fan is a DC device and it draws its power from the battery. Any AC powered device such as the Air Conditioner, Microwave, Refrigerator (if you're powering it that way), and water heater (again, if it's being powered electrically) are taking their power directly from the campground hookup, through a "bypass" around the converter.

I would not think your converter is bad from the symptoms you described, but your trailer batteries may be weak and, the converter may not be charging them if you're on a campground hookup. It is possible the 30A fuses in the converter battery charging output have blown. They are somewhat "hidden" in mine and I had to take the front cover off the converter to get at them. Check out my troubleshooting and repair in this thread: https://www.hilotrailerforum.com/f28...g-repair-6454/

- Jack
The charger/converter is always connected to the power panel whether plugged in to shore power or not. The battery or the charger don't what know they're connected to, they both supply 12 volts to whatever needs it. So they both work in tandem all the time. I think I would be checking conections at the battery for needing cleaned or tightened. Poor grounding would also play a part in the problem. Check the ground connections to the trailer chassis and the furnace. I believe there is a grounding rod the extends length of trailer that could be suspect to corrosion. I'm just throwing those things out there to be checked. I always start at the power source and work my way back.
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Old 09-21-2020, 11:00 AM   #4
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Rich - you're right, but I'm going to offer this as a further idea to take into account.

The converter charger sends its output directly to the battery. it does not, on it's own supply DC power to the rest of the vehicle. Effectively, it is wired in "parallel" to the battery and if the converter is receiving power, both the voltage at the battery terminals and at the converter output will be identical. Should the battery become very weak, possibly due to an internal short (which is the common failure in an old battery), the voltage across it's terminals will drop, pulling the converter's voltage down also. This is what could be happening to sam's trailer. Of course, if the converter charger is NOT working, possibly due to the blown fuse condition that I had, then the battery is supplying ALL the power and is being discharged anytime any DC appliance is on. This could also be happening in sam's trailer.

Yes, by all means DO check all the connections and especially ground connections since they are all shared as a current return path to the battery.

I was just trying to tell sam not to assume the converter was junk and needed to be replaced. Check the fuses and the battery too!

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Old 09-21-2020, 02:00 PM   #5
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Default Thanks for the advice.

Dh read the posts and will start to trouble shoot when he gets some time. Amazing how much laundry is generated from a weekend of camping. Going out one more time and then will have to winterize and put the sunbrella cover on. Again thank you for taking the time to respond.
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Old 09-25-2020, 07:54 PM   #6
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Default UP date on needing converter.

Spoke with the service manager at our HiLo dealer. "It is not normal for the lights to dim when the furnice kicks in. You need to replace your converter".Called Best converter and ordered a 35 amp boondocker. Should be in sometime next week.
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Old 09-26-2020, 08:02 AM   #7
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Spoke with the service manager at our HiLo dealer. "It is not normal for the lights to dim when the furnice kicks in. You need to replace your converter".Called Best converter and ordered a 35 amp boondocker. Should be in sometime next week.
You will be happy with the Boondocker converter. It does a much better job of charging and maintaining the battery than the stock converter.
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Old 09-26-2020, 09:41 PM   #8
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Default Thanks for the information.

I knew that several had installed the boondocker converter and were happy with it. DH will have to remove the couch for instalation. An upgrade from 30amps to 35amps. We had to replace the one in our 1990 HiLo..same symptoms. When the original wears out the replacement is usualy better/upgraded.
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Old 10-04-2020, 03:52 AM   #9
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Default You Tube is your friend most times.

DH looked on you tube for a tutorial on how to install the converter. No instructions were given with the new boondocker 35amp. unit.Dh replaced the one in our 1990 HiLo The tutorial was on replacing the converter in an Airstream. Could have been a motor home? The last step of the instructions were wrong as Dh took electrical/electronics in vocational school. The old converter is fat and big. The new model is much slimmer. Note to self put a piece of tape on the top of couch so you can reinstall correctly. Put in one bigger speaker for the radio. Another session will be the other speaker. I'm calling it the week of the HiLo. Then winterizing,remove toothpaste ect. lowering the HiLo,removing the battery and putting the winter cover on. Sad!!
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