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Progressive Dynamics RV Power Control Center Review

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Review of the Progressive Dynamics RV Power Control Center


Hey everybody, Ryan here at Etrailer. Today we're going to be taking a look at the line of Progressive Dynamics, RV converters. So today's day and age, when it comes to campers, RVs, motor homes, tiny homes, whatever the case may be, the electronics inside have really came a long way. We really don't have to sacrifice all those amenities that we're used to whenever we're at our normal house. And so whenever you're camping or over the road whatever you're doing, you want all those to work. Whether you're plugged into shore power or AC power or maybe you're off the grid and you're just relying on your batteries, you want everything to happen.

And this is going to help you be able to achieve that. What this is gonna do is not only allow you to hook up all of your DC components but it's also gonna allow you to hook up your AC components. And the great thing is whenever you're hooked up to AC this is also going to charge up your batteries. So I do understand something like this can be confusing or intimidating for a lot of people, actually understanding how it works and what exactly it does. So I'm gonna try to really kind of break it down and simplify it, that way it'll give you the confidence to know if this is something you need or can use or not.

So we'll just go ahead and start with our 12 volt power, our DC. That's just your typical battery power, okay. And imagine this whole unit as a distribution block. So this is where all the power comes in and goes out. So all of your fuses here, your typical automotive type fuses those are going to be for your DC power.

So you have your main power coming in and these are going to go off to your accessories, okay Whether it be your fan or your radio, pump, whatever the case may be. And what's nice is these are all going to be fuse-protected. So if a short or something like that does happen you're going to pop the fuse and not have to worry about burning up your expensive accessory. We're just going to have to figure this on out pop a fuse in and be good to go. Now, as far as the AC stuff goes, to alternating current, that's like what you would have in your house, okay So all the regular plugs, home type plugs that are in your camper, those are gonna be AC.

And I'm sure you guys have looked inside of your breaker box at home, and you've seen breakers like this. This is pretty much exactly the same thing. So you're going to have your power that comes in to your main breaker, and then your other accessories are running off other breakers. And of course you want to size your breakers appropriately according to the accessory you're using. And a lot of times you can find that information directly on the accessory, and that's really all there is to it. So again, if you have an issue it'll trip on your breakers and shut the power off, if everything's running smooth you don't even have to worry about it. So I've really hoped this kind of helps simplify things and makes it a little bit easier to understand. And really when you kind of look at it like that there's really not a whole lot to it. But what's really nice about this is it's not just more or less a power distribution center, if you will. It actually has a smart converter charger built into it. Okay So whenever you're plugged into your shore power or your AC power, what this is gonna do is utilize that power convert it into DC and charge your batteries. That way you can take advantage of actually being plugged in and get your batteries up to full juice. That way, if you do kind of go off the grid or to a spot where you don't have AC power, you know your batteries are going to be charged up completely. Not only that. And I mean, even just batteries at rest it's good to keep them charged, keep them topped off. You're going to extend the life of the battery and save you some headache down the road. So well, that's an awesome feature. You don't even really have to think about it. As long as you're plugged in, your batteries are always going to be charging and in good shape. So what's nice about the set up too, when it's charging those batteries, there is a right way to charge batteries, if you will. So if your battery is pretty much fully charged say maybe 95%, you don't need to throw a ton of amps at it and really just juice that thing completely up. You almost need to float it, or just more or less kind of trickle charge it to get it to 100%. Well, this has a built in, what's called the charge wizard and it's going to recognize the life of your battery and process that information. And then that will determine how many amps it sends it. Sends out to it. So you're going to have the confidence knowing that this is doing everything right to really help extend those batteries with not only life alone but the charge rate as well. And that's going to be true for all the batteries whether you have your good old classic lead acid, your AGM, your gel batteries, whatever the case may be that's going to be able to make it happen. But what kind of really separates this one from a lot of the others is the fact that this is also going to work with lithium batteries. So lithium batteries are a kind of up and coming, they're becoming more and more popular. They're a lot more light weight, get a lot of amp hours out of them. And so I can see why people are making that change. But the problem is there's not a ton of products that work with them, and this one will. So what's great, and that's actually why our customer wanted this installed in his camper today. It's got to be going to those lithium batteries in the future. And so this one can work with them. Behind the cover here, there's a tiny switch that you have to flip to make that happen, to make it compatible. So not a huge deal. If you have those lithium batteries already installed don't take any more time. If you plan on doing it in feature only take you a couple minutes. It is very small and really difficult to see but something I did want to mention. So that's really cool and really opens up your opportunities as far as what type of batteries that you can use on your camper or motor home. So, one thing I do want to mention, the model that we have here today is rated for 35 amps. This is relatively common. It seems like a lot of our customers have gone with this one and I could see why, kind of covers all your basic needs. Keep in mind though, there is different models available with higher amperage ratings, and that's just really gonna depend on your specific needs. Those ones that are rated for a higher amperage a lot of them have more slots here on your fuse bank. So you could run more accessories at the same time and things like that. And it's really just going to depend if you have maybe two air conditioners or multiple refrigerators, microwave, stuff like that and you plan on all kind of running it at one time, the higher amperage ones would definitely be worth looking into and figuring that out. So something I wanted to mention, so regardless of what you need, there's gotta be an option for you. Now with any type of electrical equipment, safety is always something to keep in mind. And this actually does give us a number of features to not only help keep the unit itself and your equipment protected, but also your livelihood too. Fires are no joke especially in a small camper, a motor home like that. And so if something we're to go wrong it's extremely important that it has the safety features to keep everything and everyone safe. One of them is a reverse polarity. So let's say, for example, if you replaced your batteries, something like that, and you accidentally hooked them up backwards. Okay, if you did that, all it's gonna do is pop a fuse. And if that fuse pops, you know what you did, go back out there and fix it. You're not going to damage the unit. It also has built in features that protect it from over current, overcharging, undercharging, and just about everything in between. That way, something does happen, not a huge deal. It's got to trip a breaker, pop a fuse, whatever the case may be. You're not going to have to worry about this catching fire, getting severely damaged or anything like that. So for me, knowing that most of the power as far as the electric things go, are going on right here, that would help me sleep a little bit better at night, knowing if something we're to go bad it's not gonna get out of control by any means. It also has a built-in fan in here. And so when the unit realizes, yeah, getting a little warm, that fan's gonna automatically take on, help keep everything nice and cool and running flawlessly. So that was something I figured I would throw out there. A lot of these units are, for the most part, direct replacement. So if your rig has an existing unit, that's similar to this and let's say maybe it's broken or you're wanting to upgrade it to this setup here so you can charge your batteries and everything else, chances are pretty good it's gotta to be really close to just fitting in that existing hole and everything going pretty smooth as far as hooking it up and installation and whatnot. If that is your case, check your existing one and you can see our webpage and cross-reference those numbers. And that'll tell you exactly if this will more or less just pop right in. Now, keep in mind every camper and every setup is a little bit different, kind of just depends on who put it together and what options it has. So just kind of keep in the back of your mind that it will probably be close but a little bit of modifications may be required. So that's kind of just some of my opinions on the unit itself. I do like the door easy to fit your fingernail under there and open up, easy to see kind of everything that's going on. And it closes nicely, kind of stays nice and tight. This is made from a heat resistant polymer. It's more or less to me, kind of just feels like plastic. One thing I would have liked to have seen is this be made for maybe a material like aluminum or something like that. Something maybe a little bit stronger. To me a lot of times these are down low, like it is here and a camper, something like that, you don't have a ton of space. So I feel like this could potentially maybe get kicked or something like that. And I don't think it would take a ton of effort. That's just kinda me being picky. With that being said, overall, at the end of the day, a great unit, it's really going to do the job well. We've had a lot of luck with it here today. Charging those batteries, regardless of what type of batteries you have, it's really gonna open your options up, keep them charged up and just give you a great spot to get everything distributed as far as the power goes, you're going to plug in, use your AC components or use your DC components whenever you're not plugged in or both. So something you really can't go wrong with and it's going to make a great upgrade or even a replacement. Interviewer Yeah, so I was going to try to start and ask kind of what the situation was like in the trailer before you guys did the install and kind of what Dan's goal was with it overall, I guess. Yeah, sure. So he wanted to upgrade eventually to a lithium battery. So we installed this earlier this week, and then after we installed it, then we got the lithium batteries in and today they put the lithium batteries in the battery compartment here and tied them together in parallel and ran them into this. So the reason was his original WFCO converter was not lithium compatible. And this one is, so all you gotta do is remove a plastic wire clip, and flip a switch. And then it goes to lithium mode. So it'll charge lithium batteries and it'll give enough amperage out to bring lithium batteries back to life if they get fully discharged. Right now we've got a couple of lithium batteries in here and the voltage rating on them are 13.1. And that's been there ever since we turned it on. And these batteries are fresh out of the box, so they're probably fully charged from the factory. Interviewer Right. We've got some lights on and stuff, they're all LED so they're not drawing much. But anyway the converter basically what it does is it brings in your 110 volt and your 12 volt to the trailer load so anything that's higher than 110 volts in the trailer, like the stove, air conditioner, that's probably about it. Interviewer CoolerOh, 110 volts for the cooler to run off of. That's probably runs off of both actually. You can run it either way off the plug or the 110 volts. And then it also has your 12 volt loads go out to all the lights and the radio and all the other options in this camper. to heat the things when he's out camping in the winter time, all that kind of runs through here. And these are the fuses for the 12 volt loads. And here's your breakers for your 110 volts. Interviewer And did you guys just have to go pick up the breakers at the hardware store againInstructor And you've got an green blink of. No, they we're in there original. Interviewer Okay. Instructor The original unit. So we just pulled them out of there and put them back in this one. Interviewer Cool. Exact same footprint, all square D breakers, very accessible at any hardware store. Same way with these, we just pulled them out of the old unit and put them in the new unit. It's really hard to see but your lithium switch is right down in here. I'ma hold my finger there. I don't know if you can see it or not. It's so small. Interviewer Yeah. Yeah, I know customers have had a little bit of trouble finding it. Instructor But you just blitz here to put it on to off. Yeah, and then this four-wire cord I've got it plugged in now. You just unplug here and then have lithium in there. And then this blinking light is standard, normal. So I asked him about that and he said yes, that's normal for that to blink. Interviewer Okay. And then there's another button in here that I don't think we have any information on on the side that I just learned about yesterday. right here, some momentary button and it's for when you're in lead acid mode. So if you have lead acid or AGM batteries and the batteries get deeply discharged when you're in that mode, when you're not running lots of batteries you can press this button and it will send out a stronger charge to get those batteries charged faster off of your shoulder. And then it will have no bearing on anything, it doesn't work. Interviewer I got you. I think maybe it kind of just like pushes that main bulk load, maybe. They have more amperage to charge the batteries faster so you can get it back up and running. Interviewer Okay. Yeah, that's a good point. That'd be good to add in the detail for sure. I guess quick question, if you might know, but did they run into any issues You kind of mentioned before we got started about having to install it a certain orientation but is there any other issueThat's the only issue we had. So as far as things working easy all the breakers switched right over, all the 12 of our wiring . Everything was pretty super simple. You just have to duplicate what was already there with the old converter in this particular case at the time we we're just switching it over. So it could be utilized with lithium-ion battery. Got your ground bus here and your neutral bus here, so that's all easy on the 110 volt. And then all your supply are 110 volt outs are right here, so all your black wires. So that's all super simple, just like a house basically. Just a lot more compact and smaller. And the only installation thing, I know instructions on these, it says to mount it this way. Of course, this trailer, you can't mount it that way, there's just no space. It's a super compact off grid type camping trailer. So what they did was mounted it this way, and I called Progressive just to make sure that it was okay. And they said, yes, it's okay to mount it sideways. As long as you have the heat sink here that's this big silver thing and all of this windings and everything, all the heavy parts are on the bottom. So that it can handle the weight of those a lot easier if it's on the bottom rather than hanging in the top and kind of pushing them down. So as long as it's this way it's fine and your door will always close like that if you're on the other side of the trailer facing here. And then you do not want to mount it like that. It's the wrong way. So yeah, that was the only thing we had to really figure out as far as installation, it's the mounting orientation and making sure it was okay to do that. Interviewer Okay. That's good to know. Cause I think this particular unit has kind of really picked up on sales quite a bit in the past four or five months. And there's kind of a 90 mini that I think it's similar to this but it's got like 10 more amps they can handle. And it seems like a lot of people are using these, kind of in a situation like this to replace something that's old or even adding something in to rebuild something completely too. So it seems like a good fit for a lot of different things. Yeah, definitely. And so I asked about the amperage because the work or WFTO that came out of here, I believe it was 40 amps and this one's 35. Interviewer Yes. So I asked about the amperage and so he explained it to me. The only difference is gonna be your charging your battery. So with the 40 amp, from a complete discharge you would charge about 30 minutes faster than this at 35 amps. So usually don't go fully discharged. So if you're going around 50%, you're only talking about 15 minutes difference in charging the battery. So really 35 amps is totally fine. Interviewer Yeah. It's not gonna cause you any problems If you want to charge faster, of course you're going to have find something with more amperage. So you can have 90/90 as the one. Interviewer Yeah, and I think we have stuff that goes all the way up to 90, but it's kind of those bigger. It's going to take up a bigger footprint. Does that amperage, does it have a little bit to do with the charging the batteries too, but also like I guess if you're running DC, your lights and water pump, like whatever you got, that amperage, does that have something to do a little bit with how much it can handle too, right But I don't think you're gonna be pushing that much amperage with stuff that is powered with DC. If you're pulling 40 amps or 35 amps, even in a trailer like this, you really got a lot of stuff going on. Interviewer Right. Yeah, that would be a lot. So in this situation, I think, no worries whatsoever you can probably go down to 30 or even 25 and not really having any problems but having a little extra amperage there for when you want to plug something in maybe at some point you want to plug a little 12 volt heater in or something. 'Cause there's a cigarette lighter plugs all over this thing for doing stuff like that. So then you'd be drawing a little more amps 'cause those things usually draw about 15 amps or something. Interviewer Yeah. And then on top of the other things too but. Power Sonic expressed some concern about the door, it was not a sideways like this but that stays open for you. So it's not really a worry it's not spring loaded or anything, but it hangs open pretty good for you. Interviewer Yeah. I mean, if you didn't tell me one way or the other, I'd say, hey, that looks nice. Looks like that was supposed to be almost the way it's installed. Yeah, it's just I wanted a piece that the directions there say that you mount it the other way, wrong way or whatever. Interviewer Yeah. Yeah, he said it's totally fine as long as you can make sure to put that one side down. So the weight's on the bottom. Interviewer Okay. I like the idea of this thing being kind of multifunctional where you can get it now, install it, even if you've got the lead acid batteries, but then you know down the road, you're gonna upgrade and you're not going to have to mess with anything else especially when it comes to a converter. And the price is really good especially if you're just looking at a converter by itself. Right So it just seems like a no brainer just to go ahead and get the whole shebang and make it new. Seems like a really good product to me. They've thought it through for sure. And that'll finish up our look at the line of Progressive Dynamics. RV converters..


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Info for these parts were:

Employee Joshua S
Video by:
Joshua S
Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Kathleen M
Installed by:
Kathleen M
Employee Cole B
Installed by:
Cole B
Employee Ryan G
Test Fit:
Ryan G
Employee Kevin C
Test Fit:
Kevin C

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