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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > PowerMax PM3B100 Test UPDATE vs Vectors

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BFL13

Victoria, BC

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Posted: 03/23/12 12:00pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Update at end 10 April--

I got my converter at last and here is how it works. It takes a different approach to charging from some others, as you can see here:



It ran at 103 amps steady for an hour and a few minutes and then changed out of boost the way it is designed to do on reaching converter voltage of 14.6

Note- I took voltages to one decimal place so they are a bit jumpy when plotted.

If you read the charging profile and their graph of that here,

http://www.bestconverter.com/assets/images/Powermax/PM3B%20Manual.pdf

now you can see what they mean. It is designed to run at max amps and the converter voltage stays ahead of battery voltage to 14.6 on the converter, with battery voltage a bit lower than that of course, and then it drops to 13.7 volts and hold there for the rest of the recharge.

I suppose the SOC you are at when it drops to 13.7 depends on the charging rate wrt the bank's capacity and the wiring, YMMV. Mine cannot be ASSumed as typical since everyone's wiring etc is different even if we all had the same four 6s.

It needs to see 12.2 system voltage or close to 50% SOC or below for it to do the boost stage as shown in my ugly graph.

I am not clear yet how you can tell for sure it got into boost until voltage rises past 13.7, but it may be that if it is doing 100 amps it must be--- don't know if it will do 100a at 13.7 at 50%. I will learn more with more testing.

Note-There is no boost button. PowerMax does not want people electrocuting themselves and does not approve of this--- but inside the box if you drill out the rivets and take the top off, there is a little blue voltage pot with some clear silicone on top, which can be sraped away. A small screwdriver will turn the pot. Anti-clockwise makes the voltage go higher, clockwise lower. You Did Not Hear That From Me so don't complain to me if you fry yourself playing where you shouldn't!

I will be running some more tests with my new toy and will post anything interesting.

I am happy with this converter since I can use it the way we camp, but you should note the charging approach it has wrt how you camp. I I can say this converter works as advertized, no complaints.

BTW I was supposed to test it on just two batteries at 50% for somebody thinking getting the 80 amper, for histwo batt bank, so I will get around to that.

Comments welcome. Questions of things to test and report on will be entertained.

* This post was edited 04/10/12 05:49pm by BFL13 *


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smkettner

Southern California

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Posted: 03/23/12 12:27pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

13.7 absorbtion seems low. 72% seems too early to switch down. Too bad it cannot hold that voltage for about 60 minutes.

I am sure it will work well for you but I still am going to recommend IOTA even if not PF corrected.

Nice to see 100a right to the peak voltage.

Will you still be using the portables to get closer to 90%?


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Salvo

California

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Posted: 03/23/12 12:42pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Looks similar to Iota. Except for PF correction, Iota has a number of advantages.

Turbo State charge to 14.8V vs. 14.6V for PM.
Absorption/Normal State at 14.2V vs. 13.6V for MP.
Iota will almost always start in turbo state.
Both converters need a big short charging cable for best performance.

13.6V is quite low. Charging the last 25% will be slow.

Sal

BFL13

Victoria, BC

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Posted: 03/23/12 12:45pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I will be experimenting with this converter trying out different voltages. eg after the part of the run shown above, I used the pot to move the 13.7 to 14.8. As soon as I did that, the Honda revved up and amps went to 88, battery voltage jumped to 14.6 and it held at 14.8 while amps tapered to 65 after another half hour. Tapering amps at that SOC with 14.8 for Vabs is what I like. So I will mess with it until it does the absorption stage at the high absorption voltage "my way."

I need to test whether the Honda3000 will run a 40 amp Vector at the same time as this 100amper so I can get maybe 140amps to kick off with if I am really in a hurry to recharge. As it is this single installed 100 thing saves me dragging out three 35 amp Vectors every time.

I do not know yet what changing that 13.7 to 14.8 has done to the other voltages for Boost and Float. I will be sure to disconnect the rig to save the fridge etc, if it means it will kick things up too high.

I do not have a killawatt so can't report on what happens with its PF'd input 120v required amps if voltage is jacked up like I did. It might mean it goes above the 15amp circuit. Just don't know anything yet.

BFL13

Victoria, BC

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Posted: 03/23/12 02:44pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I returned the voltage to original 13.63 (not connected to battery) to run the Two Battery Test.

Two 6s rated at 226ah (Exide GC135s) down to 50%

Started the 100amper and it went into boost ok
3 min- 103amps, conv 14.1v, batt 13.5
6 min- 103amps, 14.3, 14.0
10 min- 103, 14.4, 14.1
15 min- 102 14.5, 14.2
18 min- conv hit 14.6 and dropped to 14.1 (not 13.7, but don't know why, the 13.63 setting before starting was correct.)

Ah restored by then 28ah so bank was at 61%. That makes sense for that high charging rate for amps to begin tapering at that SOC. (at a lower charging rate at the same voltage, on the same bank, it would go to a higher SOC before tapering.)

20 min- 72 amps, 14.1, 13.9
25 min- 67 amps, 14.1, 13.9

Stopped that test.

So it looks ok for that guy to get an 80 amper for his two battery bank, and it will work. Subject always to the charging profile meeting his requirements as discussed above.

Not sure why get a high amp charger for two batteries unless you want it to act more like say an 80 amp VEC1093DBD which is in the form of two 40s, but every camper has his own style.

smkettner

Southern California

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Posted: 03/23/12 02:48pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BFL13 wrote:

Not sure why get a high amp charger for two batteries unless you want it to act more like say an 80 amp VEC1093DBD which is in the form of two 40s, but every camper has his own style.


I have often said 15 to 20 amps per battery is plenty.
25+ is a real speed charge. You're on your own for that.

Seems like most worry that they are short on amps when usually they are just short on voltage.

BFL13

Victoria, BC

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Posted: 03/23/12 05:17pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A test on the PF correction aspect. The Honda 3000 always popped its breaker with more than 130 amps of non-PF corrected Vectors running.

I figured with this PF corrected 100amper that I could now run some Vectors at the same time and get more than 130 amps. I did, and got about 165 amps before it popped.

This proves that the 100amper is indeed PF corrected. Somebody posted in another thread he wished all the amp sizes of converters were PF corrected so he could run a bigger amp converter on his gen than he can now. Excellent point. This test shows that would work out.

How many more amps you would be able to run with PF correction could be estimated for particular generators using a bit of math if you had some numbers to work with.

Salvo

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Posted: 03/23/12 06:59pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You tested two scenarios: 4 batteries and 2 batteries. Each were discharged to 50%. The 4 battery setup charged for over an hour at 100A. The 2 battery setup charged for only 18 min at 100A.

This isn't a linear relationship. If it were linear, the 2 batteries should charge for over 30 min. This shows the batteries are being overcharged. More current is pumped into the batteries than the battery can use to make the required chemical reaction.

Charging 2 batteries at 80A would be a bad choice; especially with this converter. Not only will you prematurely destroy the battery but it will also result in a slow charge. You will never get into boost if battery isn't close to 50% SOC. It will stay in boost for only 20 min and then drop down to 13.6V. It will take hours longer charging with this converter.

BFL13 wrote:


Two 6s rated at 226ah (Exide GC135s) down to 50%

Started the 100amper and it went into boost ok
3 min- 103amps, conv 14.1v, batt 13.5
6 min- 103amps, 14.3, 14.0
10 min- 103, 14.4, 14.1
15 min- 102 14.5, 14.2
18 min- conv hit 14.6 and dropped to 14.1 (not 13.7, but don't know why, the 13.63 setting before starting was correct.)



MEXICOWANDERER

las peƱas, michoacan, mexico

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Posted: 03/23/12 07:00pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I still like my Kubota diesel coupled to a 325 amp Leece Neville alternator. Ohmite power rheostat bypass, Ample Power VR.

BFL13

Victoria, BC

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Posted: 03/23/12 08:05pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Salvo wrote:

You tested two scenarios: 4 batteries and 2 batteries. Each were discharged to 50%. The 4 battery setup charged for over an hour at 100A. The 2 battery setup charged for only 18 min at 100A.

This isn't a linear relationship. If it were linear, the 2 batteries should charge for over 30 min. This shows the batteries are being overcharged. More current is pumped into the batteries than the battery can use to make the required chemical reaction.

Charging 2 batteries at 80A would be a bad choice; especially with this converter. Not only will you prematurely destroy the battery but it will also result in a slow charge. You will never get into boost if battery isn't close to 50% SOC. It will stay in boost for only 20 min and then drop down to 13.6V. It will take hours longer charging with this converter.



I agree this converter's charging profile would not do the job right for fast charging, but the 80 amps itself should not be harmful on two batteries as seen on my ugly graph, where 70 was 29 minutes of constant, the 80 at 18 minutes fits in the pattern and you would still go down the "natural (so not harmful) acceptance rate curve" at the mid -14s voltage.



However you get little time savings going to 80 from 60 as seen here with the diminishing returns of that curve going high on the left. If the 80amper cost much more than the 60 it would not be harmful but just silly. If they cost the same it wouldn't matter

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