Centurion Converter

The industry has seen an influx of electronics not only built in China, but designed and marketed by apparently offshore companies. Many of these items are pretty difficult to obtain parts and/or service manuals for (a problem not limited to offshore manufacturers).

I recently had to deal with a Centurion CS3000 45 amp converter/load center which was working, except the cooling fans would not run. A quick check of the fans (typical computer type “muffin” fans) said they were good, they just were not getting any power. Normally this would require the replacement of the converter, but after a few minutes of research, it appears that this is no longer available (a part that’s only a few years old).

Even though I am not an electronics tech, I do have a small bit of experience, so I pulled the circuit board out of the converter and had a look. At first glance, it looked like the fan was controlled by a simply thermal switch- but… not so. The thermal switch which is attached to one of the heat sinks instead is an overheat switch to shut off the entire converter, and the fans are controlled by a special circuit- apparently tied to the current draw on the converter.

Tracing the circuit a small bit led me to a pair of transistors which had that “overheated” look to them- the circuit board was a bit discolored underneath.

Given that I had another identical board (which was destroyed by hooking a pair of 12 volt batteries up incorrectly- 24 volts- and had some catastrophic failures- parts splattered across the board)- I pulled the 2 transistors off of the second board, and installed them on the first one.

Result- a good, working converter.

It is hard to find qualified electronics people in the RV service industry- and I don’t claim to be one- but many of these converters (the thousands of Todd converters come to mind) can probably be repaired by spending pennies on parts. Now whether it makes sense to pay a technician to figure out the circuit (without schematics) and then do the repair is debatable, but it is possible.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Centurion Converter by Chris Bryant is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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55 comments for “Centurion Converter

  1. November 1, 2010 at 5:34 am

    Still while I am an electronics tech, I have 5 years knowledge of computer, mobile and laptop, so I draw the course board out of the converter and had a seem. Tracing the course a little bit leads me to a pair of transistors which had that “excited” appear to them- the course get on was a bit stained beneath. Thanks 😉

  2. Richard
    September 15, 2010 at 2:28 am

    i have a 1997 pop up with a cs1200 centurion converter. i cant seem to find a place that sells this model, anyone know a place that sells cs1200 model.last wek when camping and battery was hooked up and when i pluged it into the generator the converter started to smoke.i must of fried something but i thought you can hook it up to the generator when the battery is hooked up.wasnt it supose to convert the power?

  3. Craig Blumhagen
    August 2, 2010 at 4:00 am

    Tom, I had the exact thing happen with the same converter. I can’t get power any which way now. Everything was working fine but now I have nothing. Any chance you were able to fix your problem. I think my Converter is fried.

    Not sure if this matters but when I try to get power from the external plug in I can here a faint clicking in the converter.

  4. Tom Riederer
    June 20, 2010 at 2:40 am

    I think that I just blew up my 10 year old Centurion 3000 power converter installed in a small Starcraft pop-up.

    When connecting the battery (fully charged) for the first time this year, I inadvertently reversed the polarity. Afters seeing the sparks at the battery terminal, I checked inside and found the 20A fuse on the DC distribution panel blown. Now the fuse will blow again when I connect the battery (properly), and there is no 12 volt power with the trailer plugged in and the battery disconnected. It seems like there is a short somewhere in the 12v part of the converter. 120 volt distribution is fine.

    Any ideas on something less expensive than replacing the converter? I see someone selling a replacement board but it is not a lot less expensive than a new power center.

  5. Steini
    June 11, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I had a problem vith Centurion 3000 (CS 2000 Power converter) No 12V out.
    I lookt at the Power supply bord and notest some “overheated” components.
    And there was one transistor foot not conected with the bord the tin was gone.

  6. Fred Hurst
    October 20, 2009 at 11:32 am

    I have a Centurion 3000 (CS2000) power converter. While making wiring modifications, I somehow caused the converter to no longer work. Before I started, I could hear the faint high-pitched whine. Now I hear nothing nor do I have any output power.

    One possible problem and cause is the routing of the solid bare ground wires exiting the converter. They are very close to a ganged power connection for white wires. While disturbing the 120V wires that exit the converter, I may have shorted a ground wire to the corner of the ganged connection. I never heard the sickening spark and, though it is hard to see in there, I do not see indication of arcing.

    I have some electronics repair experience. Do you suppose I have blown an internal fuse (if there is one), a diode, or some other relatively easily to isolate and replace component? If not, am I destined for a new converter main board? If I need a new board, is this the right one?

    I tried to follow links to a wiring diagram and manual for this converter but could not find what I was looking for. Can someone help me with these too?


  7. Greg Whittaker - Australia
    October 18, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    I have just purchased a Jayco Westport Caravan that has a Centurion 3000 CS3500 Power Converter & Charger.
    I am looking for a manual and wiring diagram for the Australian model.

    Can you help or direct me as to where I can download one.


  8. Edward West
    September 10, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    I’ve just about given up on all this crap that they sell us from China. All we really need is a battery charger, a 12 volt line from our battery, and a 110 volt line to power the battery charger.

    SIMPLE RIGHT, If you have 110 power, charge the battery, 110 volts are not needed for any thing else unless you have a TV or something. The battery powers the 12 volt system no matter weather you have 110 or not. If you are not comfortable with this you can allways keep an extra battery. Battery chargers are a lot cheaper than converters.


  9. Bob
    June 21, 2009 at 7:44 am

    I bought a used travel trailer with a centurion cs 4500 power converter. I works except the dual fans run constantly. I don’t think this is normal. What should I do?

    • charles
      October 26, 2009 at 9:56 am

      I have same problem. have u heard any news on this issue? I also get a constant 13.5V output even with all fuses pulled to trailer/

  10. June 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks Chris. I forgot to say that it is already broken. No output at all when AC is plugged in. However, wiring to the lights and heater is fine because when I have my battery charged and hooked up, those items work great. Unhook the battery, plug into shore power, nada. No hum, no fan, zippo. Tested it and kapoot. Anyways, I saw a replacement model for $120 online and thought, should I replace with the same thing or is there potentially something cheaper and more reliable to put in. We only camp about 4 times a year and don’t need anything major. The converter is just part of our little tent trailer. Thoughts?

    • June 16, 2009 at 7:02 am

      Hi Matt,
      I would give Randy at Best Converter a call- he gives great service, and I believe he has replacement boards for those (which are not, of course, built by Centurion).

  11. June 13, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Howdy Folks,

    Read the whole list of comments and they are great. Anyone have an opinion about whether to replace/repair my existing CS 3000 or go with something else? Based on the research I’ve done and comments I’ve seen, seems there’s lots of problems with this brand.


    • June 14, 2009 at 4:04 pm

      Hi Matt,
      Most of the problems are simply reliability- and while some of the newer models (like the Progressive Dynamics models) will do a better job of battery maintaining, if it were mine, I wouldn’t replace it until it dies- which could be shortly, or it could work for years.

  12. Jon
    March 28, 2009 at 12:52 am

    If someone has a converter that needs repaired I will consider fixing it. I just repaired mine with the same problems as some of the previous individuals.

    • Eric
      November 28, 2009 at 11:37 am

      Are you still available for converter repair? I’ve got a Centurion cs2000 that seems to be very sick. Just bought the camper…it was working great when I bought it from the guy. Got it home…wouldnt charge the battery. When plugged into my shop, 110 works fine in the camper but charger not working. Fan doesnt run and battery runs down. Found a fuse behind one of the breakers that had blown. 10amp. Replaced, turned on the power and fireworks w blown fuse again. Ugh! Anyway, I’m sure I fried something. If you’re interested in repair service, let me know and I can give you more details. Thanks, Eric

  13. Jim Holbert
    February 17, 2009 at 9:23 am

    I have a 87 Coleman Sequoia pop-up camper.
    It has a B-W 6400 converter. It blows the fuse everytime I switch to the ‘conv’ mode. I don’t have a battery in the well….. is that a problem ?
    Do these converters go bad internally ?
    How could I check to see if the 120 is actually being converted to 12v.

    • February 17, 2009 at 4:38 pm

      @Jim Holbert,
      Hi Jim,
      Which fuse does it blow? The 120 volt or 12 volt ones?
      If it’s a 12 volt fuse, you might make sure the battery cables are not shorted out (touching the frame or any metal).
      You can find the manuals for that converter at the Parallax Power website here– BW became Magnetek, which became Parallax power.

    • Anonymous
      February 20, 2009 at 11:03 am

      @Jim Holbert,
      It blows the 12v fuse.
      The 120 has a breaker, but it
      works fine.
      Thanks for the tip.
      I’ll check it out.
      Does this mean the converter
      isn’t the problem ?
      Thanks for responding…

  14. Jaci
    February 2, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Question: Do we need a new converter or new batteries?Bought a used RV with a Centurion CS 4500. It was plugged into 110 in storage. While checking out the RV one day (but really in a hurry), we heard a noise from the converter so I turned the breakers off until it seemed that the converter stopped making the noise. So I left one breaker in the off position and the rest were left on. After about another 2 weeks, we checked it again and no noise but no battery life either. No lights, no refrigerator, only microwave and 2 direct 110 lights worked. I put the breaker on that had been turned off even though it still made noise. I thought this would charge the batteries but not one bit of charge after several days. We hooked a car battery charger directly up to the batteries on slow charge for a day. The batteries charged up to full as indicated on our system levels monitor. Unhooked the battery charger and left lights & fan on to see if converter would work. In the meantime, I took the cover off and cleaned out the fuzz and oiled the fans and the noise quit. Now the battery level will only get up to 65% with lights on and tickles 75% with them off for 24 hours, never full charge. Is that the fault of the 2 1/2 year old batteries that went clear flat or the converter? thanks for any input.

  15. Scot
    November 29, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    I have a CS 1200 DC converter where do I hook up the Dc neg wires on hte conveter

  16. Murray
    September 18, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    Jack, it seems that we all have learnt something here. That is, never buy equipment without schematic drawings. Idealy voltages printed at key points in the circuit diagram would also help. Also the fuse allocation and rating should be detailed so that Ross’s problem wouldn’t occur. Also Jack be aware that there could be a diode(i.e a one way component) that prevent your Camper battery voltage flowing back into your tow vehicles electrical circuits. You could be ‘reading’ this as a short circuit.
    Nell and others, a 12volt test lamp with an alligator clip on one end could be useful in tracing the supply voltages, through the fuse, or to the overhead light, of to the exhaust fan etc etc.
    Mike remove the fan and measure its ohmage, take it to a computer parts shop and they may have an equivalent size etc.

  17. Ross
    August 13, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    We have the same problem. Worked one day didn’t the next. I have all 15 amp fuses in place and it doesn’t make a difference. Did you find and answer?

    • bobby
      May 17, 2009 at 3:21 pm

      did you ever figure that problem out ive got the same problem.appreciate any help i think its the converter thats bad.thanks for any help

  18. Anonymous
    August 7, 2008 at 1:57 am

    Help, i have a pop-up camper that has a cs 1200 converter. How are the dome lights powered? The dome lights won’t come on and I realized that a fuse is missing (far right-red wire). Could the missing fuse be the problem and what would be the amperage rating for it. Also first 3 circuits have 15 amp fuses inserted which i hope they are the correct ones. I appreciate any help i can get.

  19. Jack
    July 19, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Sorry missed a digit in my e-mail address:

    I have a CS2000 which has a short from +12 to ground. Does anyone know where I could get a schematic?

  20. Jack
    July 19, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    I have a CS2000 which has a short from +12 to ground. Does anyone know where I could get a schematic?

  21. mike hall
    July 13, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    does anyone know where I can find a cooling fan for a centurion 3000. it is maade by yate loon electronics. d80sm-12. I would appreciate any help in locating one.

  22. Nell
    June 24, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    I have an Aliner camper with a Centurion 200 converter. The outlets work fine, but the lights and the vent fan won’t work. All of the breakers and fuses on the converter box are fine.

    What the heck is wrong? Anyone have any ideas?


  23. Murray
    January 3, 2008 at 5:46 am

    ALAN, This website that Andy supplied may help you. It shows wiring connections for larger power CS models but also refers to Amperage of CS1200. So you may be able to figure out how yours show be connected.
    Its easier to goto and find you way to features etc.
    Good Luck.

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