View Full Version : Converter guts

09-07-2012, 09:25 AM
My motor home came with a Magnetek 6345 "converter". This provides 12 vdc and charges the house battery when there's 120 vac available from shore power or the generator. When AC comes on, there's a big relay that clunks most of the motor home's DC circuits off the house battery and onto the converter's DC supply, which isn't filtered. It's just rectified AC, no filtering at all.

I never liked it because:

(1) When on shore power, most DC circuits in the motor home had unfiltered rectified AC, OK for lights and some motors but utterly unusable for anything electronic.

(2) When stopping the generator or unplugging from shore power, the lights would die momentarily while the big relay switched them back to the battery.

(3) It could supply 45 amperes of really bad DC for lights, but its battery charger was (apparently) capable of much less than that, and took long to recharge a dead house battery.

(4) Its battery charger was rather primitive; no "smart charger" there -- it constantly cooked the house batteries after they were fully charged. I'd have to check the water, and usually add some, monthly.

(5) Its cooling fan got noisy about monthly, and had to be lubricated to quiet it down.

So I did some research, and eventually ordered a Progressive Dynamics PD4655 replacement for the converter's guts. This replaces the whole internal works of the Magnetek, excepting only the AC circuit breaker panel which it leaves alone.

I ordered it from Amazon, $225 with free shipping, and had it in several days. It's now installed. I like it a lot, because:

(1) All DC circuits in the motor home are always on the house battery. Nice pure DC! I can put 12v radios wherever I want, and I just installed an APRS tracker (radio+TNC+GPS) on a DC lighting circuit in the bedroom, where nothing electronic would work before.

(2) Because the 12 vdc circuits in the MH are always on battery, there's no momentary outage while a relay is clunking. There is no relay. When I start/stop the generator or connect/disconnect shore power, the DC in the motor home continues serenely.

(3) Its 55 amperes of available 12 vdc, minus whatever the motor home is using, are fully available for charging the house battery. It brings it up fully in a couple hours instead of a day or more.

(4) It's a smart 55 ampere three-stage battery charger/maintainer. I'm no longer cooking my house batteries dry.

(5) The new DC distribution panel has little LEDs that light up when a fuse is out. No more pulling fuse after fuse to find the blown one.

(6) Its two cooling fans are modern, permanently-lubricated "muffin" fans. They run at variable speed and are very quiet.

(7) The old DC panel had nine separately-fused circuits. The new one has twelve. I can easily add new, separately fused, DC circuits for any purpose.

Installation took a couple hours, and everything fit perfectly; no prying on anything to get the screw holes to line up. I recommend taking photos of the old DC panel before starting, to make it easier to know which wire goes where. In my motor home, the #6 house-battery lead to the converter was white, and the ground wire was green; not standard at all. Confusion would have been easy. They were also too short for the new connections, and I had to splice about four additional inches on each. Splicing #6 wires in close quarters was no fun and added about 1/2 hour to the installation. In most motor homes this problem would not occur, but Damon saved 50 cents by making the wires as short as they possibly could when they built the motor home.

In sum, it wasn't very expensive at all, was an easy install, and (in my opinion) is incomparably superior to the old Magnetek.

Highly recommended!

09-07-2012, 01:19 PM
Let me put it this way Carl.. For all the reasons you cited and more. If you have a Magnetek 6300 Series converter my advice is to UPGRADE.

And based on much research it appears we both did, If you have a Progressive Dynamics converter with charge wizard either built in or plugged in (Depending on the model) there is no upgrade (Save for size), that's as good as it gets.

Congrats on an excellent choice. I have a 9180 with wizard myself, as well as a Xantrex Prosine 2.0 inverter/converter, I prefer the PDI over the Xantrex for charging. (VERY VERY close race however, Both are in the "Best there is plus a feature" group just different feature)

Of course the prosine can do the INverse job too (120ac from 12vdc) I do use it as a back up.. Every once in a while I accidentally unpulg the PDI. and usually when I figure it out it's like 3am and I really do not feel like going out to plug it back in, CLICK and the prosine does the job.

09-11-2012, 09:15 PM
I had a PD converter in my silver Avion and it was one noisy sucker. To use the radio in the trailer, I had to turn off the converter and use straight battery power. I contacted PD and told them about the problem and there suggestion was to build a Faraday cage around the converter. I sold the trailer.


09-11-2012, 09:41 PM
I hope I won't run into that. It is, more or less, in a Faraday cage anyway. I won't really know until I get an HF antenna up, though. It would be a lot of work to choke & bypass the many AC and DC leads that enter that box.

09-12-2012, 11:23 AM
I think you'll find it noisy on the lower bands I put mine is on it's own breaker so I just turn it off when I'm hamming it up.

09-12-2012, 12:59 PM
I had a PD converter in my silver Avion and it was one noisy sucker. To use the radio in the trailer, I had to turn off the converter and use straight battery power. I contacted PD and told them about the problem and there suggestion was to build a Faraday cage around the converter. I sold the trailer.


I have heard that complaint but with my Kenwood TS-2000 on occasions when I have been the only RV for some distance I have done testing

Converter on, Converter off

Prosine 2.0 on, and generating power,, Prosine off or in standby.

The S-meter never budges, only the volt meter (If I have one) moves. No change in the noise from the radio. Both the prosine and the PDI 9190 are very quiet.

Eventually the radio will notice the absence of the PDI 9180.....as the batteries die.

Radio runs on house 12 volt system.. Being asw the main distribution panel is less than 5 feet from the radio.

09-12-2012, 01:56 PM
Being asw ...
Anti-submarine warfare?

09-13-2012, 11:17 AM
Opps. Typo.. ASW is AS and I hit the w key by mistake. Should read "Being as the...."

09-13-2012, 11:46 AM
Ah so desu.

09-13-2012, 02:41 PM
Ya'll do know what the "Edit" button is for, right?

09-13-2012, 04:44 PM
Ya'll do know what the "Edit" button is for, right?

Yes; it's for correcting ya'll by changing it to y'all. ;)

09-14-2012, 12:39 PM
I just erected a 10m dipole (a Hy-Gain tape dipole) tuned for 28.3. The analyzer says it's centered about 28.4, actually. It's strung between two trees and is very near the motor home. My IT-100 will tune it on several bands, on all of which I can hear stuff.

But I can't hear the converter anywhere. No noise at all. I turned the converter on and off many times and heard no change. I'm reassured.

Now let's see whether I can work anyone on 10m. The dipole is only about 20 feet in the air, so my take-off angle is probably a bit high. We'll see.

03-11-2013, 03:55 PM
It has now been six months since I replaced the insides of my converter.

With the original Magnetek converter, the house batteries were continually overcharged (cooked!) and I had to add water at least once a month. Despite this, the batteries were seldom in a fully charged state when I needed them, and when dry-camping I seldom had the longevity I thought the batteries ought to provide. The Magnetek had a really primitive charger.

The Progressive Dynamics converter, on the other hand, has always kept the house batteries fully charged, but never overcharged. I've never really run out of house-battery power when dry-camping. Though I check the batteries regularly, today is the first time I've ever added water since I replaced the Magnetek with the Progressive Dynamics. Even so, the batteries weren't in desperate need; they were just a little low.

Really glad I installed the PD! That's one smart battery maintainer. I think it'll pay for itself many times over with greatly increased battery life. One set of replacement batteries would cost much more* than the PD converter did.

* Well, more, anyway.