30 Amp to 50 Amp Conversion

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Jim Golden
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Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2016 12:39 pm

30 Amp to 50 Amp Conversion

Post by Jim Golden » Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:05 pm

Hi Gang,

Been meaning to put some good technical stuff on here but just have been swamped busy.....

I've swapped out nearly everything on my '87 34X. Here I'll show a few pics of my 30amp to 50amp conversion.

I got tired of the breaker popping all the time when I had the a/c on, wife was using the hair dryer, and I wanted to microwave something. Finally enough was enough. Did my homework, and settled on a Progressive Dynamics 4560 full power station. It's their 4500 series, set up for 60 amp (but dialed down to 50). Nice thing about a 50amp RV setup is that you get two bus bars, not just one. So you get two bus bars of 50 amp times 120v = 6000amps times two = 12,000 watts. Before I had one bus bar of 30amps times 120v = 3600 watts. So I went from 3600 watts to 12,000 watts...we don't run out of juice now and I can make toast while wifey runs her hair dryer and kids are nuking a Hot Pocket.

Here's my setup: http://www.progressivedyn.com/all_in_one_pd4500_1.html

I wanted it mounted so the breaker door swung side to side. It would have fit the factory hole (almost) if I'd laid it on its side, and I've seen some guys do that. I wanted it the other way. So I had to make the hole taller, and narrower. So I cut out the factory cabinetry across from the fridge and under the pantry to make it taller, then glued and screwed in some pieces to fill it in to make it narrower. The new Power Center was deeper than the old Univolt thing, so I had to shim it in toward the center of the coach. Made a spacer out of 3/4" plywood and painted it black to match the PD4560. I think it looks great. So now the power center fits in the hole.

I then had to upgrade the main wiring. For 50amp, if you check the codes, an 8 gauge wire will work under some circumstances. But not all. Depends on heat, length of run, etc. I decided to spend the money and go to a bigger wire. I put in a 6-gauge, and I'd recommend anyone else do the same. It's a beast of a wire, but you won't have to worry about over heating it. I strung the wire through the bottom cabinets, using pool floaties to protect the wire from chaffing as it passed through bulkheads, etc. Once I got directly across from the front half of the dinette, where the power plug goes to the outside, I dropped it under the floor, went across, then popped back up through the floor into that compartment. I then went out the factory hole, put a male end plug on it, and it's good to go.

It does get a little tricky with the wiring of the breakers and the fuses. You're doing both a 120v ac and a 12v dc system. But take your time and you'll be fine. I used GE breakers (I think....that or Square D....whichever, they were compatible with the PD panel and PD tells you which ones will work..). I got all my breakers and wires at Lowe's.

Have been very happy with it. I carry a 30amp to 50amp pig tail so that if we're at a place that only has 30amp, we're covered. I also have a 20amp to 30amp plug adapter. So if they have electric, we can plug in.

Anyway, hope this helps every one a little. I'll try to put some more stuff on here. I made new tail light housings, changed out the fridge, the a/c, the water heater, the toilet, the faucets, built a custom bunk bed for the front to replace the gaucho, converted the back to a rear king instead of twins, new shower curtain setup, new roof vents...not much left original but the shell. If I can do it, anyone can. I highly recommend Bob Livingston's book. It helped me a lot.

See ya on the road,
Jim

KYAvion
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Re: 30 Amp to 50 Amp Conversion

Post by KYAvion » Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:37 pm

Nice job, Jim. I've considered upgrading to 50 amp as well. I've already got a nice custom 12v panel with automotive style breakers (instead of fuses) from my previous trailer, and was just considering adding a standard 50 subpanel (after running the 6awg of course). Other than ease of installation, any benefit I might be missing by not going with a combined panel like the PD?
KYAvion
1984 Avion 30R

Jim Golden
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2016 12:39 pm

Re: 30 Amp to 50 Amp Conversion

Post by Jim Golden » Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:46 pm

I can't think of any disadvantages at all, other than you might have to run two separate panels. Other than that, though, I'd think that having 12V breakers would be better than fuses. You might call Progressive Dynamics and ask them about modifying one of their panels like I used here to put your 12v breaker panel in the other side.

I know you can just buy one of their converters and keep the OEM panel. But you'll still have the issue of where to put the 12v breaker panel. I'd probably just call them and see what they say.

I should note: I bought my PD4560 off ebay from an RV supply house and got it cheap. I don't remember the place, but it was new in the box and I think I got it for like $190 or $210 or something. It was quite a bit cheaper than most places.

Same with my Maxair roof vents....I found Panther RV had them way cheaper than anybody else so I ordered all three of them at the same time. I got the Deluxe models that do their intake from the bottom, so you can run them in the rain and don't have to worry about leaks.

These old trailers are fun :)

KYAvion
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Posts: 475
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 12:04 am

Re: 30 Amp to 50 Amp Conversion

Post by KYAvion » Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:32 pm

That's not a bad price on the combo unit. I was thinking a disadvantage of the combo might be that you may have to replace the entire thing if the converter goes bad, but at that price it'd be no big deal.

Another plus of MaxAir is their customer service. I have some vent covers that were showing some cracking after a couple years. A single phone call and they sent me 3 new ones right away.
KYAvion
1984 Avion 30R

Jim Golden
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2016 12:39 pm

Re: 30 Amp to 50 Amp Conversion

Post by Jim Golden » Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:11 am

That's good to know on the MaxAir fans. I've been really happy with them. We accidentally left the lid up on the original bathroom one in NC. Got back to WV and it was gone...so I guess it wound up along 95 somewhere. I like the way these deluxe models are made.

On the 4560 (and similar models), you can swap out just the converter. So if it goes bad, you don't have to throw out the whole station. Or, you can buy just the converter and install it in your OEM station if you prefer. I forget where I got mine from, but it was an RV wholesale type place that had a store on ebay. It's been great. I don't cook batteries anymore with their Charge Wizard setup. Always keeps them topped off. With the old one, I'd have to shut down the 12v and then turn it back on as the old converter charger would cook the batteries.

The 6 gauge wire is pretty spendy, but buy 3' more than you need. It's nice to have a little slack in there, and it's better to throw out 2' (or save it for a club) than to come up a foot short :) I just measured a big "L" and added 3' and it worked out fine. I leave slack in there for trailer flex, etc.


Man all this talk makes me want to go camping! :)

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