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Magnetek 6300 
Power Converter & Distribution

by
Dale Maggio

 
 
The Aero Cruisers came with a Magnetek 6300 power distribution center and power converter. This is the same unit used by virtually all RVs up until the turn of the century. It provides a steady stream 12VDC to 9 distribution loads (unregulated) and a steady charge to the batteries. It also provides 4 circuits for 120VAC accessories plus a "Main" breaker. It is powered the moment you plug in shore power or your Genny comes up to speed.
What does "unregulated" mean? The 12DC output of the Magnetek is dependant on the 120VAC input voltage from the shore or genny. It will fluctuate as the input voltage varies. That is why it is recommended to always have a battery hooked up when running any 12VDC electronics. The battery will act as a "cushion" to buffer 120VAC spikes.

What does "Steady Charge" mean? Old style battery chargers put out a constant voltage. If you store your A-C with a shore power cord, the batteries will be under a constant full charge. This will eventually boil
away the electrolite (acid) and destroy the cells. Also full charging will never bring the batteries up to full charge. 80% is the best you'll get and eventually the cells will sulphate. A modern charger uses 3 stages. A full charge to get the batts back up to 80%, then they back off about .5VDC and ease the batts up to about 90%. Finally they drop another .5 volt and "pulse charge". This tops off the batteries and will hold them there without damaging them.

The old Magnetek has 3 sections. The upper left has the 120VAC supply and breakers for distributing to 4 loads. The upper right has 12VDC distribution to 9 loads, unregulated. The entire lower section is the full time battery charger.

Since the Magnetek has such a large user base, various companies have made modern upgrades for it. Most require some modding or chassis alterations to set up, The PDi does not and that is why I chose it.
Actually there are two minor mods to make and I will cover those.

I chose the Progressive Dynamics, Inc (PDI) Inteli-Power 4600 series.
http://www.progress ivedyn.com/ pd4600_converter _replacement. html
I got my best price/service from Best Converter.
http://www.bestconv erter.com/ index.html

Camping World had them about $10 cheaper, but they are 50 mi away and Best was free FedEx shipping. Besides, Best had some other things I wanted which I will report on later. Check their website: it's pretty
extensive.

The PDI IP-4600 unit is pretty much a 'drop-in' replacement. There are 3 units in the 4600 series. The PD4635 is a 35amp direct replacement for the Magnetek 6300 and will handle 1 battery well. However I believe in overkill and went with the 45amp unit (PD4645) which will service 2 coach batteries very well.

The PDI unit provides 12ea 12 volt circuits (3 more than the Magnetek), a modern 4 stage battery charger (that 4th stage is supposed to work better with deep cycle batteries), and all 12 of those 12V circuits are regulated. They are perfect for modern electronics, even without a battery.

The instructions will ask you to disconnect your 12VDC load wires. They are all different colors. Write down their sequence on a tablet. You will need it to hook up again later. If one of your circuits has a small
fuse, say 5amp or less, make note of that. The first two circuits on the PDI are for low amperage. You may want to move them there.

Follow the instructions on removing your old distribution board and the battery charger. Before installing the PDI units, you might want to make 3 mods.

1. The new 12 position circuit board distribution center is wider than the original Magnetek board. Getting a screw driver into position 1 is very difficult. You may want to notch the frame there and the circuit breaker
cover plate that covers it. Hold the new board up in place and you will see what I mean.

2. The original full cover plate was screwed into the battery charger chassis. It was held on by 4ea of #6-32 pan head screws. The PDI battery chassis has the screws in the same place but they are metric. PDI supplies 4 new screws but they have small heads and slip through the Magnetek cover plate. Since the screws are brown painted, putting washers behind them looks wonky. The metric screws are close enough to #6 that you can drill them out with a #29 bit or an 1/8in bit and re-tap them for 6-32. This will allow you to use your original pan head screws. Or maybe you have brown washers available.

3. The screw terminals in the new PDI board do not lift up high enough to allow bare wire to be inserted. You will have to use blue fork connectors in your re-wire. I think this will be easiest to do before you remount any boards.

Following the instructions that come with the unit, be sure to disconnect ALL power sources to the A-C. This means shore power, batteries, solar cells, etc. Your A-C should be dead dead dead. That means this is a daylight job. Other than that, it's all plug & play. I guess about a 2 or 3 hour job.

Update:  There's no reason not to go to the 55A unit, it's just overkill for what we need.  The Aero Cruiser's are wired with #6awg to the batts which is good for a little over 40A.  Actually at 12VDC is probably good for 47-48 amps.  (I'd have to look it up).  So a 55A unit would do not good unless you also upgrade your wiring to 4AWG.
 
The the converter side, you'd have to run the furnace, your 12VDC coffee pot, electric blanket, socks, and hair dryer and every light in the coach to get much above 40A.  So again, 55 would be overkill.
 
However all units today are internally protected so you can't hurt it.  But why put a table saw motor on your wheelchair?  It's just for show and of no real practical use.

-=Dale=-

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