Centurion Converter

July 30, 2006 by
Filed under: Service Issues 

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.


55 Comments on Centurion Converter

  1. Steve (YoDude) on Sat, 12th Aug 2006 1:15 pm
  2. This practice is commonly called, “troubleshooting to the component level”. Being a qualified Electronics Technician and Engineering Technician with over 20 years of paid work and training experience and another 10 years of DIY experience, this is something I’m quite qualified to do. I have given an amount of thought into the idea of providing repair services to those with such problems. However, with the cost of shipping and the delay in time and considering the prices at which newer replacements are available, I can’t see any benifet in doing so from the the standpoint of a “remote repair shop”. With shipping prices at around a dollar a pound, shipping a thirty pound converter across the states and back, just doesn’t make it realistic.

    In your instance, you knew enough to make the repair yourself and for a little time and a couple spare parts you fixed a problem that would have cost a hundred or more dollars to have the converter sent somewhere for repair and returned. If the converter was an item that cost five hundred dollars, it would be a viable operation, but when you consider the cost of shipping, for only another hundred dollars, the unit can be replaced with a newer and better unit than was repaired.

    It would seem we are truly in the age of “throw away” merchandise and sadly, the Maytag Repairman is, well, no longer needed.

  3. Chris on Sat, 12th Aug 2006 2:37 pm
  4. Hi Steve-
    That is indeed a problem. At the factory level, the converter probably cost around $20-30. By the time shipping and markup through the distribution channels is added in, the circuit board was still only around $130- though it isn’t available any more.
    It is a double edged sword- on the one hand, we do have DVD players, VCRs and other electronic items that are unbelievably cheap, on the other hand, we are filling our landfills with this stuff when it breaks, as the skill to repair them costs more than simply discarding them.

  5. Murray on Wed, 21st Mar 2007 3:31 am
  6. G’Day Chris, Reads like we have a similar limited knowledge of circuits like these.
    I share yours, and I’m sure many other peoples annoyance that manuals & circuits are not
    included at the time of purchase. This is another way manufacturers have turned
    obsolescence into higher factory outputs.
    I have the same converter(we call them rectifers) but my fans run all the time the
    mains(240voltsV.A.C here) are connected. I can’t find a circuit diagram anywhere let
    alone a service manual. One repair shop told me that the fans should run all the time,
    but I think the cct board looks as though it would be smart enough to switch them on/off
    as required.
    Chris, could you tell me if your unit does this? Also does anyone have a circuit diagram
    for a Centurion 3000 converter?

  7. Chris on Mon, 9th Apr 2007 3:11 pm
  8. Hi Murray,
    You might know that I have disposed of the last CS3000 circuit board I had, but IIRC, the fan speed should vary with the current draw on the converter- the transistors that I replaced would likely be the same ones you need to replace.

    — Chris

  9. Murray on Fri, 27th Apr 2007 3:46 am
  10. G’Day Chris,
    Thanks for that snippet of info confirms what I thought should happen.
    You never know someone may have a circuit diagram, which would be nice.

  11. Gaetan Brown on Sat, 19th May 2007 8:33 pm
  12. Hi you all!

    For Murray, i have one of them in my pop-up, it’s an cs-1200 made by centurion.
    Whem it was working correctly, if you turn on a 12v lamp, the fan turn slowly, if you put a second lamp on, it accelerate a little so it varying with the load. Now mine doesn’t turn at all and i checked the fan to see if it’s the culprit. The fan is ok so i have the same problem than Chris so i’m on my way to disassemble it and check to see if i find the busted resistor. If chris can tell us if it was surface mounted resistors or the normal one?? Because at the back of the circuit bord , there is many surface mounted resistors and i think it’s one of them.

  13. Murray on Tue, 22nd May 2007 3:22 am
  14. G’Day Gaetan and others,
    Yes, and thanks, that’s what I expected and when I can
    I’ll see if I can work out the circuit to determine which components
    are sensing the current drawn to vary the fan speed. (Van doesn’t reside with us at home).
    I’m sure that tracing back from the fan I’ll find the transister driving it and work out whats
    Karput -but a circuit would sure help. That way I can have the spare components on hand.
    Anyway thanks again and maybe we’ll get a circuit posted here yet.

  15. Denny Shimko on Wed, 13th Jun 2007 6:52 pm
  16. Raymond Whitaker on Tue, 3rd Jul 2007 9:12 am
  17. I have a Centurion CS4500 and was investagating into why my battery dischargers prematurely. At lease in my opinion. Maybe someone can help. I can unplug all of my 12 volt output fuses for my applainces and the converter still draws .05 amps. This board has Two 30 amps input fuses one was intened for the 12 battery and one for the 120 volt/12 volt converter. Both fuses are solidered in parallel on the back side of the board. I must pull both fuses to stop the flow of current. It would take 60 amps to blow this circuit and the wire is sized for 30 amp. I found this link trying to get a contact for Centurion. Is Centurion still in business? Can anyone help [email protected]

  18. Chris on Wed, 4th Jul 2007 3:53 pm
  19. Hi Raymond,
    Those fuses are there to protect the converter against hooking up a battery backwards, and are both paralleled in the output.
    But… a .05 amp draw is pretty insignificant. I would bet that most converters have a phantom draw of that much, so I would look alsewhere for the problem.


  20. greg bennett on Fri, 13th Jul 2007 2:03 am
  21. I have as cs 1200. how do you switch between 12v DC and 120v AC. i just bought the trailer second hand.

  22. Chris on Fri, 13th Jul 2007 8:12 am
  23. Hi Greg- you shouldn’t have to do anything. The battery should always be in the circuit, and when you are on 120 volt power, any 12 volt power that you are not using is used to recharge the battery.

    — Chris

  24. Andy on Sat, 14th Jul 2007 12:49 am
  25. I have as cs 2000. How do you switch between 120v AC and 12v DC. I just bought my pop-up trailer-tent second hand. Everything works well when I plug into a 120v AC outlet but when I unplug… nothing works… no lights, no heating (the gaz heating system needs batery power for the ventilator air flow).

    Is there some button to switch the battery on ? My trailer-tent is a Rockwood 1620, 2003

  26. Chris on Sat, 14th Jul 2007 7:45 am
  27. Hi Andy,
    I would look for a blown fuse or circuit breaker in between the battery and converter. Like Greg’s problem, the battery should always be in the circuit.

    — Chris

  28. Kevin on Mon, 16th Jul 2007 6:44 pm
  29. I have a Centurion 3000 CS4500, 45amp. converter. Just this weekend some water from the shower was sprayed on the floor and it got under the converter.. Well shortly after, there was fireworks coming out of the panel.. Upon inspection, the bottom circut board is toast.. The top 110 is fine..
    I called a bunch of local rv’s parts stores over the weekend, and I think its too late to find “just the board” for replacement..
    Looking on the web I see that some people are using the WFCO 8900 series..
    Any help or comments appreciated


  30. Jeff on Thu, 19th Jul 2007 3:41 pm
  31. I have a centurion 3000 model cs4500. Went to use camper for the first time this summer and the battery was dead, replaced it and in one day it went dead again, had it checked and it was no good, installed another and it went dead and is no good. Help! is my whole panel bad or can I replace only a part or what? If I need to replace the whole thing what is a good replacement?

  32. Robert Dan on Mon, 23rd Jul 2007 8:17 am
  33. Hi, I have CS 2000 20Amps and I am not getting any 12V dc out of it. I have take it out and messure it. I am not getting 12V DC out to the brakers. I am an electrican so i only need the digram, but it seem to bee hard to get. Dose any one got it for me….a new one cost a lot here in iceland.

  34. Rick Routh on Sat, 18th Aug 2007 2:25 pm
  35. We have a Centurion CS 2000 converter in ALiner.
    The left fuse holder of the fuse board
    has melted a bit so we want to replace the fuse
    board and other connected part. We don’t want to
    replace the whole converter.
    Part # Model 52E0-2 and -Fuse-1.
    Anyone know who to contact for parts like this?
    Anyone know the website of Centurion, I could not
    locate it searching.

  36. Glen on Thu, 27th Sep 2007 9:15 pm
  37. I have a Centurion 3000 model 6000 and it is not charging
    my battery. In turn, nothing else will work that uses the
    12 volt. All the 120 outlets are working but not lights,
    air, etc… Any help would be appreciated. I have checked
    all the fuses and everything looks fine.

  38. Andy on Sun, 30th Sep 2007 11:56 pm
  39. To all of you who have questions about their CENTURION POWER CONVERTERS CS2000XL, CS3000XL
    Click on the image to view product features
    and wiring diagrams for these units.

    CLICK on this WEB address…




  40. Murray on Tue, 2nd Oct 2007 3:39 am
  41. Hi Glen,
    There will be a mains fuse on the circuit board itself as well as the fuses in the
    distribution panel. That will requir gettindg acces to the board. Don’t be afraid,
    just be careful and turn off the main power before you start. If thats Ok you’ll need a 12volt
    test lamp or voltmeter to read the voltage at the output. If mains fuse not blown have a good
    look for BBQ’d components. If you find one cooked them welcome to the “I can’t replace it ‘cos
    there’s no circuit diagram available to identify it” club!
    Hi Andy,
    Thanks for your contribution to our dilema. Unfortunately there is no circuit diagram in these
    Manuals etc. But we live in hope that someone will post one here.

  42. dave on Fri, 26th Oct 2007 6:00 pm
  43. hi, i have a question & i don’t know where to ask so hopefully you can help. i am looking for a converter that will run my malibu 12v lites. i have 21 lites and the bulbs are 4 watts each. i used 14 gauge house wire from lite to lite. there is about 2000 feet of that wire. my question is what can i get to run these lites & how do i know how many watts the converter puts out? i don’t need a converter that has a charger with it. the converter that i bought at lowes for these type of lites didn’t last & probably cause of the amount of bulbs & wire i used. so any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks for your time

  44. Chris on Mon, 29th Oct 2007 2:36 pm
  45. Hi Dave,
    To be honest- you really do not need an RV type converter. They spend a lot of money on making clean, well regulated power, which you really don’t need.
    The big issue with your use is the length of the wire, but 21 lights times 4 watts each is under 100 watts, so I would probably just go with a larger low voltage transformer (step it up a size), and you might check a “real” electrical supply house, which should have a higher quality transformer.

    The 2000 feet of wire is a lot, though- especially at todays copper prices ;).

  46. gleeka on Fri, 23rd Nov 2007 2:23 pm
  47. dave..just do the math.
    21x4w=84w total
    #14 wire handles 15amps so you are ok there.
    Is it a single 2000ft run? or several runs paralleled?
    even if a single run, any added resistance would only reduce the current flow and thereby lessen the load on the power supply..so that is not an issue.

    All you need is power supply capable of outputting a continuous 7 amp minimum.

  48. Alan Burns on Sat, 29th Dec 2007 4:48 pm
  49. We have a 5 year old cs1200 that doesn’t seem to be charging the battery. The AC is OK but the DC side has only the white wire connected. All the blues and blue striped and red have all been cut. I am searching for a manual or some advice. Thanks

  50. Murray on Thu, 3rd Jan 2008 5:46 am
  51. 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 http://www.americandirect.ibuilder.com and find you way to features etc.
    Good Luck.

  52. Nell on Tue, 24th Jun 2008 11:15 pm
  53. 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?


  54. mike hall on Sun, 13th Jul 2008 7:58 pm
  55. 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.

  56. Jack on Sat, 19th Jul 2008 1:00 pm
  57. I have a CS2000 which has a short from +12 to ground. Does anyone know where I could get a schematic?

  58. Jack on Sat, 19th Jul 2008 1:10 pm
  59. 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?

  60. Anonymous on Thu, 7th Aug 2008 1:57 am
  61. 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.

  62. Ross on Wed, 13th Aug 2008 9:01 pm
  63. 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?

  64. Murray on Thu, 18th Sep 2008 10:58 pm
  65. 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.

  66. Scot on Sat, 29th Nov 2008 8:24 pm
  67. I have a CS 1200 DC converter where do I hook up the Dc neg wires on hte conveter

  68. Jaci on Mon, 2nd Feb 2009 4:58 pm
  69. 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.

  70. Jim Holbert on Tue, 17th Feb 2009 9:23 am
  71. 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.

  72. Chris on Tue, 17th Feb 2009 4:38 pm
  73. @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.

  74. Anonymous on Fri, 20th Feb 2009 11:03 am
  75. @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…

  76. Jon on Sat, 28th Mar 2009 12:52 am
  77. 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.

  78. bobby on Sun, 17th May 2009 3:21 pm
  79. 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

  80. Matt on Sat, 13th Jun 2009 5:51 pm
  81. 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.


  82. Chris on Sun, 14th Jun 2009 4:04 pm
  83. 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.

  84. Matt on Sun, 14th Jun 2009 5:24 pm
  85. 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?

  86. Chris on Tue, 16th Jun 2009 7:02 am
  87. 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).

  88. Bob on Sun, 21st Jun 2009 7:44 am
  89. 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?

  90. Edward West on Thu, 10th Sep 2009 3:12 pm
  91. 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.


  92. Greg Whittaker - Australia on Sun, 18th Oct 2009 5:02 pm
  93. Hi,
    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.


  94. Fred Hurst on Tue, 20th Oct 2009 11:32 am
  95. 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? http://www.bestconverter.com/Centurion-CS-3000-Replacement-_c_63.html

    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?


  96. charles on Mon, 26th Oct 2009 9:56 am
  97. 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/

  98. Eric on Sat, 28th Nov 2009 11:37 am
  99. 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

  100. Steini on Fri, 11th Jun 2010 9:49 am
  101. 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.

  102. Tom Riederer on Sun, 20th Jun 2010 2:40 am
  103. 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.

  104. Craig Blumhagen on Mon, 2nd Aug 2010 4:00 am
  105. 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.

  106. Richard on Wed, 15th Sep 2010 2:28 am
  107. 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?

  108. Jason Right on Mon, 1st Nov 2010 5:34 am
  109. 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 😉

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