Our teardrop had a great feature that allowed us to plug her in when we got home from a trip and forget all about her (we never completely forgot about her, but didn’t worry that something would go wrong with the batteries). Her batteries would charge to full capacity and then the whole unit would go into a trickle charge situation and keep the batteries fully charged without blowing them out. That way, when we were ready to hit the road, we just unplugged and new our batteries were freshly loaded and ready for use!
When we got our Airstream we learned it did not have this feature and we would not be able to leave the unit plugged in like we did before. We would have to plug and unplug as we went, and if we forgot, we ran the risk of blowing our batteries and needing to replace them. To be honest, I didn’t want to babysit my trailer that much. Having a converter that took care of this for us seemed like a no brainer, so my husband got to work right away and updated the converter so we had this same functionality. We honestly don’t understand why this doesn’t come stock on these trailers, but figure other people must camp and maintain their trailers differently than we do.
My husband is our guest blogger again this week and in his own words, this is how he went about that conversion!
We purchased a used 2016 Flying Cloud 19′ and I’ve been doing some upgrades on the electrical system. I found loads of threads on PD4655 Converter upgrade installs, but not many pictures. I took pictures of my install and am explaining it here so I can hopefully help others with this relatively easy upgrade.
Before you get started– Did you remember to turn off the power to the trailer? Unplug shore power, disconnect the batteries, double check that everything is off? This is vital to your health so please double check that.
The unit I used is the Progressive Dynamics, Inc Inteli-Power 4655 (pictured on the right) for our install.
To start: remove the screws covering the converter and distribution center. I didn’t take pictures of the screws but there are 4 on the main faceplate and a couple securing the converter in place itself. I took a couple of pictures at this point to remind myself which wire went with this fuse. Of course if you look they are all 15 amp so it does not really matter.
You need to remove all the wires connecting the old converter – first the blue and white 12v wires. These require an allen wrench which you can see that poking out of the bottom of the picture here on the right.
On the left you can see the next step – disconnecting the 110v feed wires. On the 2016 Airstreams the black wire is connected via a wire nut. Disconnect the black wire leading to the converter.
Then you can to move on to the 110v white wire you can see in the picture on the right. This one is screwed into a distribution bus bar block.
Amazingly that’s it! With these wires disconnected and the screws holding the old converter in place removed, the old converter will slide out which you can see happening in the picture on the left.
Put the new converter in place and pull the wires through the holes like I did in the picture on the right. Notice that the PD4655 has a black and white 12v wires, not the blue and white that you removed. This is fine and doesn’t make any difference – the black wire on the new converter is the same as the blue wire on the old one.
Next I wired in the new 12v distribution board. Here you can see the old board still installed and the new board in front. Take note that the boards are not identical, the new board has a set of low current connections on the left of the board. You do not want to use these, use the main ones only. You can see that I have pulled the 15 amp fuses from the old board and put them into the new board.
As most other threads on this subject note, it’s a bit tight working on the 12v board. The wires have no slack at all but I was able to pull the old board out and to the side which makes working on it easier. You can see in the picture on the right I have removed the large red positive wire and the white negative wire.
When you put the new 12v distribution board in place, don’t forget to install the converter control cable as well. Pictured on the left is the wire with the plug on the end.
For the large red wire, I found that if I looped the top over as in the picture on the right it sat nicely in the connector. I then connected the 12v feed wires, bottom of the board and the black wire to the top.
Finally I connected up the white wires. You might have noticed in the picture above that I forgot to install the control wires, hence the tip above not to forget it. They are connected in the picture on the right.
Now it’s time to hook up the 110v to the new PD4655 converter.
The PD4655 has an earth, ground connection, the old converter did not. Hook the green ground connection from the converter to an available spot on the earth block. Look for the bare copper wires going into a block – this is the earth block. Ours is pictured on the left.
The white wire of the new converter goes into the white wire distribution block, same place as the one you removed earlier as pictured on the right.
The black wire connected to the other black wires using a wire nut – I reused the wire nut that was connecting the wires in the first place. Don’t forget to connect all the black wires back, there were three total for me.
Basically that’s it.
At this point I suggest checking everything you just did. Make sure that all wires are securely connected. Make sure that all wires are going to the correct connections (I always suggest you stop and check again – just in case!).
Turn back on the power, and make sure everything is working. The PD4655 worked perfectly for me. It powered up, charges as needed and more importantly, floats the batteries at the correct voltage. Now we can keep the Airstream plugged into shore power without fear that the batteries will be damaged.