Installing an INTELIPOWER Converter for Better Battery Charging

What is Wrong with the OEM Converter?

I’ve always suspected that the manufacturer installed power converter in our Keystone Cougar fifth wheel did a poor job when it came to charging our batteries. They never seemed to pack the punch I felt they were capable of. This suspicion was confirmed when I installed a Trimetric battery system monitor and could get an exact reading of the voltage and current supplied. The maximum charging voltage I ever see from the stock WFCO converter is 13.6 VDC but my large 6-volt golf cart style lead acid batteries need voltages as high as 14.4 – 14.8 to properly charge.

IMHO the original converter was never giving the batteries a complete charge and is terrible for boondocking, especially with a larger battery bank like I have. Now that I’ve installed 400 watts solar system with its own charge controller capable of reaching the proper charging voltages my battery bank is performing much better and I’m a happier dry camper.

The only problem is when the sun isn’t shining or we are being power pigs I rely on our Champion generator to recharge the battery bank. Then we are back to using the lame OEM charging system. It may be fine for folks who use full hookup RV Parks and only occasionally head off the grid. But for serious dry campers, I find it woefully inadequate.

Inteli-Power PD9260CV Converter Charger

By upgrading to a Progressive Dynamics INTELI-POWER 9200 series power converter, I hope to get a much-improved charge from my generator. Not only will it save on fuel, wear and tear on the generator it will also extend the life of the batteries since they will be getting a complete charge more often.

Why I Picked the INTELI-POWER 9200 Series?

Other than just being a very well built unit the Progressive Dynamics 9200 series has a few great features that are a big help to boondockers needing to quickly charge up their battery banks. The idea is if the battery bank charge state is really low in the morning to use the generator converter combination to quickly bring it back to around 85 -90 % capacity. Then let the solar charge controller take over to finish charging slowly over the course of the day.

Inteli-Power PD9260 Charge Wizard Pendant

Charge Wizard Pendant

With the aid of the Charge Wizard remote pendant, you can manually place the PD9260CV into 14.4-volt boost mode to decrease the charge time. Of course, some caution is needed with its use as you may overcharge the batteries. Make sure to check, not all models come with the pendant.

The 9200 series comes in several output amperages. I chose the 60 amp model so it would have enough current capacity for my 464 AH battery bank.

Features:

  • Advanced 4 Stage Charging System
  • 14.4-volt boost mode for rapid battery charging
  • Manual override ability with the Charge Wizard pendant
  • Quality built with heavy duty connectors, fan, heatsink, and case
  • Brand name USA product with excellent reputation among RVers
  • High Voltage, Low Voltage, and Thermal Protection
  • Can charge multiple battery banks at same time
Progressive Dynamics (PD9260C) 60 Amp Power Converter with Charge Wizard
Price: --
22 new from $215.000 used

How I Installed the INTELI-POWER Converter

I decided to install the new converter in our fifth wheels front storage compartment as close to the battery bank as possible. This accomplished 2 important things for me. One it reduces the power losses due to wiring, my old converter is under the stove and about 20 feet of wire away. Two, we don’t have to hear the cooling fan noise. The OEM converters fan is most annoying since it is located in our living area. When using the new converter, I’ll plug it into my generator using an extension cord run out of the front compartment. Down the road, I plan to add an outside receptacle for convenience.

Disclaimer: Working with electricity can be dangerous. Performing the modifications detailed in this blog posting may void your warranty. The following is for educational and entertainment purposes only and should not be taken as instructional. If you decide to do the same modifications I’ve done then research and beware of the risks involved. I accept no liability. You have been warned! – Ray

Inteli-Power PD9260 converter charger installed

I screwed the converter to my compartment’s rear wall only about a foot away from my battery box. Next was to add ground wires for the negative 12-volt output and converter case ground, plug in the data line for the pendant and hook up the positive 12-volt output. Finally, I used the 3M tape backing to mount the remote pendant onto the converters case.

Luckily for me, I was boondocking with my good friend Eddie owner of Mobile Homestead Solar Services. He assisted me with the install and even rewired my battery bank and installed a catastrophic fuse into my growing 12-volt power system. Now the wiring is properly sized (even bigger than I actually need) with professional connections and looks awesome!

Inteli-Power PD9260 converter charger output wires

Testing Out the New Battery Charger

I was able to test out my new converter charger pretty quickly. Soon after installing it our desert boondocking skies became cloudy and a rain storm moved in. The next morning it was still socked in and our battery bank was pretty depleted. I tried charging the batteries with the old converter versus the new INTELI-POWER on both auto and manual boost mode. The old converter was charging at 13.4 volts and 10.8 amps. The new PD9260CV converter charged at 13.6 volts and 27.6 amps, and then when manual boost was activated I saw 14.4 volts at over 40 amps! I was impressed. This will mean much-reduced generator run time when charging.

I ran the new INTELI-POWER charger for several hours and it work flawlessly while only getting barely warm to the touch. A big two thumbs up on this product from Love Your RV!

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Video Detailing the PD9260CV Installation

See more Love Your RV! boondocking related articles and videos

How to Upgrade an RV power converter for better charging when boondocking by the Love Your RV! blog - http://www.loveyourrv.com/ #boondocking #RV

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  • Mike Vigrass

    Hi Ray, Just starting my upgrades on my 5th wheel, so your posts and videos are great! Thanks! I was curious though, on this install, did you run a 120V cable from where your old charger was under the stove up to the front compartment so that your batteries charge with the new charger when you occasionally get to a spot with an electric hook-up?

    • No, I actually installed a 120VAC receptacle up front. Shown in this video – https://youtu.be/uRbGmxun1LI?t=12m47s
      When I’m on shore power I can use the old converter just the way it used to work or I could plug into the front receptacle and use the new charger if I wanted too. Mostly though the new Inteli-power is meant for boondocking and use with the generator and getting a quick charge to around 90% and then the solar can finish. Because I have the solar power even on hookups, when on extended shore power I’ve decided to use the OEM converter, wear it out and save my Inteli-Power.

  • chrgrsfan

    Hi Ray, Thanks for the quick reply on my last? I forgot to ask..When you have your generator running and connected to the Inteli-power to charge the batteries…can you at the same time have your rv plugged in to the generator? I’m concerned that having a charge from 2 sources at the same time might cause an issue. Should I be concerned..I sometimes(always) overthink things when it comes to electric..but I’d rather be safe than spending $$’s on repairs…Thanks in advance..
    Larry

    • Shouldn’t cause an issue that I can think of, just like having the converter and the solar controller charging at the same time. You could always switch off the circuit breaker for the OEM converter first though.

  • Gordon Cindy

    Hi Ray, thanks for sharing your experience with the charger. I too just installed a TriMetric and am discovering all sorts of interesting things about my 12V system. As you did, I now have proof the OEM charger is not very good!
    Does the Inteli-Power have an equalize setting? Can you set the charge voltage and current like you can on the TM-2030 ??

    Thanks agian,
    Gord

    • Here is he manual that explains it’s charge modes -. http://www.progressivedyn.com/pdfs/109821F%20english.pdf
      It’s pretty well automatic, except for the manual override to 14.4 volts using the pendant button
      There isn’t an equalization setting per say but in storage mode –
      “When the converter senses that there has been no significant battery usage for 30 hours the
      output voltage is reduced to 13.2 volts DC for minimal water usage. When in storage mode the microprocessor
      automatically increases the output voltage to 14.4 volts DC for 15 minutes every 21 hours to help reduce sulfation of
      the battery plates.”

      • Gordon Cindy

        Thanks again… I have two Interstate GC2-RD-UTL 208AH batteries and from what I can gather from Interstate the charging current should be 20.8 Amps, the bulk and absorption charge voltage should be 14.7 Volts and the float voltage should be 13.02. All voltages temperature adjusted, of course. They also recommend an equalization at 15.30V for 2 hours every 4 to 8 weeks. I can’t seem to find any battery charger that could meet these requirements, with the exception of using the SC2030 (perhaps). I’ll keep looking. If you see any, let me know. 🙂