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Old 02-28-2010, 12:49 PM   #11
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Wandering of topic but worth it...

This is partly my fault but we are getting away form LEDs and onto batteries and converters. However, I, for one, need to try to understand this stuff and it seems harder than it should be. Here is what I think I know:

I have a WFCO WF-9865 converter (this is what Palomino tells me) with a WF 8930/50 distribution panel (this is what I read from the door on the unit) in my Sabre 31REDS trailer. I understand from the WFCO user manual that this converter operates in its "normal" absorption mode by putting out current at 13.6 volts to the 12 volt system in the RV. This would be the condition when stable after plugged into shore power or after a period of running from a generator that supplies AC to the whole system.

When the converter senses a 12 volt system voltage of 13.2 volts or less, it switches to a 14.4 volt level and, in my case will deliver up to 65 amps to the 12 volt system. This would be primarily the battery since there is nothing in the way of load in the RV that should draw that much. This is called the "bulk" mode in the manual and is also indicated as a condition that represents a charge condition of about 50% according to WFCO.

Now, both the Trojan battery people and "The 12 Volts Side of Life" indicate that a 50% charge condition reflects an open circuit battery voltage of about 12.0 to 12.2 volts (sources seem to vary on this). With everything hooked up, the converter cannot measure an open circuit voltage. With load, I am assuming that WFCO has determined that 13.2 volts measured at their converter is close enough to a 12+ volt level at the battery to justify switching to the bulk charging mode.

The current put out to the 12 volt system drops rapidly between 13.2 and 13.6 volts as measured at the converter and reflects the fact that the battery is charging and its equivalent open circuit voltage is rising as well.

Once at the 13.6 volt level, the converter switches back to the absorption mode and delivers a 13.6 volt output again and the normal mode.

There is also a float mode which seems to be sensed by the amount of current drawn, and not by voltage, and in this case the converter provides a 13.2 volt trickle charge. This mode is terminated when current draw is sensed. I am not sure that the smoke, LP gas and CO2 sensors, the standby mode of the stereo, and the refrigerator alone will not draw mode than the necessary current to prevent this mode from ever starting but it does provide that maintenance charge recommended for batteries in any case.

The only thing I find disturbing about all of this is that possibly high charge current that would occur when you first "plug in" the AC (shore or generator) after a period of battery only use. This seems to be more than appropriate for batteries (based on the C/10 numbers mentioned in previous posts and in the Trojan user manual). I can't get WFCO to comment on this and Trojan seems to be vague as well.

I have just shared probably more than I know and would appreciate any other input, especially on that "over charging" issue. Thanks.
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:41 PM   #12
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I highly recoment the 36 LED panels NWJeeper mentioned. I redid all of my dome lights with these and they are super bright and an amazing bang for your buck. Out of the 18 panels I ordered, not 1 was defective beyond repair. I had 1 with a wire connector issue, but thats it.
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:58 PM   #13
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Poodlepeople,

The WFCO charger is one of the best from what I am hearing from other RVrs and you are fortunate that your rig came with one. Since it is capable of putting out 14.4 volts then it is capable of applying an "equalization" charge to the bank which is in effect an "overcharging" of the batteries which is required from time to time to properly condition the bank and provide for it's longevity. Most converters like this have an internal timer built in so that when you plug in after a weekend of dry camping or you start your generator they will charge automatically at a higher voltage. The amount of amps available depends on how many other sources are drawing on the load at the time. Therefore if you are drawing 10 amps because you have lights on in the rig then the charger is free to put out 55 amps to the batteries (if you have a 65amp charger for instance) This is in excess of the recomended standard of C/10 and I don't know the effects this will have. Surely if it isn't on this setting for a long time then it probably isn't a big problem. The PDI converter/chargers are set for 4 hours at this voltage for rapid charge and or equalization then dropping back to 13.6. A "boost" switch is available if you want it do run high for another 4 hours. Likewise I have a 3 stage dual bank charger on my boat and it's timer is set for 13 hours at the high rate at which point it steps down.

I got off the phone with Randy at Bestconverter.com a little while ago and he confirmed and agreed with me that the Parallax that I have is not sufficient for charging batteries correctly because of a lack of an equalization charge (2 stage charging). Althogh both WFCO and PDI are good chargers he highly recommended the PDI for my application. I currently have the 9270 on order from him and it should fit well with my battery bank which is 720 amp hours.

You are one of the lucky ones in that they provided you with a good conveter/charger from what it sounds like.
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Old 03-02-2010, 12:13 PM   #14
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Thanks to all!

I think I have lots of ideas on replacing incandescent lights with LEDs now and have to start getting some. I also think I should add some instrumentation so I can see just what is happening as far as my electrical power use is concerned (voltage and current measurement). This should be fun but a bit more work than changing a light bulb or fixture.

I find it interesting that my local Camping World does not carry any LED bulb replacements (they do have some light "strips" like those mentioned here) - I would have thought that would be an attractive product even at the high price.

A final word on my WFCO converter: It does have a 4 hour limit on the bulk mode charging level (up to 65 amps in my case). According to the manual, it will cycle between the bulk and absorption modes if the first bulk mode period does not raise the sensed voltage above 13.2 volts. The manual suggests this would only happen if there was a problem of some sort (e. g. shorted battery cell) and implies that the battery would recharge adequately on one cycle in the bulk mode if it was not discharged below 50%.

I will share what I learn (when I learn it!) in another thread after bit. Thanks to everyone for your input.
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Old 03-13-2010, 08:44 PM   #15
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LEDs and other amp hr savings

It seems I dry camp quite a bit. State Forest campgrounds and it seems many national Park campgrounds frequently don't have electricity.

I'm also looking for new ways of decreasing my amp hour use. I already have a 275 W solar panel. When camping in the desert this has always been sufficient. Even in the mountains of Colorado this was generally fine. But this past fall I spent a month in the Smoky Mountains while it was quite chilly. The lights, the heater, and playing the radio at night would severely drain my battery. Unfortunately because of clouds and shade my solar panel could not completely recharge most days. I broke down and bought a Honda 2000 generator which does allow for me to use the microwave or watch a little TV but in general I would prefer not to run the generator, of course it also serves as a backup to recharge my batteries.

I just ordered four pairs of the LEDs that NWJeeper recommended from eBay. I would like to find out an alternative for the bayonet style CEC1076 bulbs used at the head of the bed and over the dinette, but I'm betting my only option is to put in the standard dome style fixture with these LED lights.
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Old 03-13-2010, 09:32 PM   #16
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It seems I dry camp quite a bit. State Forest campgrounds and it seems many national Park campgrounds frequently don't have electricity.

I'm also looking for new ways of decreasing my amp hour use. I already have a 275 W solar panel. When camping in the desert this has always been sufficient. Even in the mountains of Colorado this was generally fine. But this past fall I spent a month in the Smoky Mountains while it was quite chilly. The lights, the heater, and playing the radio at night would severely drain my battery. Unfortunately because of clouds and shade my solar panel could not completely recharge most days. I broke down and bought a Honda 2000 generator which does allow for me to use the microwave or watch a little TV but in general I would prefer not to run the generator, of course it also serves as a backup to recharge my batteries.

I just ordered four pairs of the LEDs that NWJeeper recommended from eBay. I would like to find out an alternative for the bayonet style CEC1076 bulbs used at the head of the bed and over the dinette, but I'm betting my only option is to put in the standard dome style fixture with these LED lights.
Buck. There are alternatives to the 194 bulbs used over the bed and in other areas where the square panels will not work well. I had ordered several of them about 3 weeks ago from another seller on Ebay from whom I had bought other bulbs before but alas I got stiffed. I had planned to do a writeup of the different types of LEDs that I have ordered and used after I got these but now I have filed a claim with Ebay to get my money back.

I am currently considering these lights. The wife doesn't want overly bright lights for the reading lights over the bed. I also have a fancy round fixture over out dinning table that uses 4 of the 198 bulbs and I am looking for an alternative for those.
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Old 03-13-2010, 10:07 PM   #17
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Buck. There are alternatives to the 194 bulbs used over the bed and in other areas where the square panels will not work well. I had ordered several of them about 3 weeks ago from another seller on Ebay from whom I had bought other bulbs before but alas I got stiffed. I had planned to do a writeup of the different types of LEDs that I have ordered and used after I got these but now I have filed a claim with Ebay to get my money back.

I am currently considering these lights. The wife doesn't want overly bright lights for the reading lights over the bed. I also have a fancy round fixture over out dinning table that uses 4 of the 198 bulbs and I am looking for an alternative for those.
I would like to switch to LED's, but in the bedroom area, I would like to tone down the brightness. We usually sit around the fire before bed, and turning on the lights in the bedroom is so bright. I also find I am laying in bed ready to sleep, and the wife is still getting ready. That light directly above my head is bright!
The LED's you supplied a link to are 6v. Does that mean have as bright as 12v?
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Old 03-13-2010, 10:23 PM   #18
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I would like to switch to LED's, but in the bedroom area, I would like to tone down the brightness. We usually sit around the fire before bed, and turning on the lights in the bedroom is so bright. I also find I am laying in bed ready to sleep, and the wife is still getting ready. That light directly above my head is bright!
The LED's you supplied a link to are 6v. Does that mean have as bright as 12v?
LEDs work on a voltage range, which is to say they will light at a minimum voltage and just burn up at too much voltage. Within this voltage range the output is the same regardless of the voltage supplied. This is the reason that LEDs will not work with dimmers, they can't be dimmed. It is also for this reason that some LEDs may need a resistor inline with them to keep them from being destroyed by too much voltage.

I am finding it hard to find a comparison chart that will show the difference between the MCD (luminosity) rating of an LED and the output of a standard incandescent bulb.

All you can do is order some and try. The LEDs I gave a link to above look like they would be less output than some. I am also looking at these bulbs for over our dinette table. I have bought all my panel LEDs to replace the 194 bulbs in the overhead bubble lights and he has been very dependable.
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:34 PM   #19
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LEDs work on a voltage range, which is to say they will light at a minimum voltage and just burn up at too much voltage. Within this voltage range the output is the same regardless of the voltage supplied. This is the reason that LEDs will not work with dimmers, they can't be dimmed. It is also for this reason that some LEDs may need a resistor inline with them to keep them from being destroyed by too much voltage.

I am finding it hard to find a comparison chart that will show the difference between the MCD (luminosity) rating of an LED and the output of a standard incandescent bulb.

All you can do is order some and try. The LEDs I gave a link to above look like they would be less output than some. I am also looking at these bulbs for over our dinette table. I have bought all my panel LEDs to replace the 194 bulbs in the overhead bubble lights and he has been very dependable.
The LED bulbs I have on order only have lighting (9 LED) on the bottom. None on the sides or top. I'm interested to see how they do. company claims 200 lumens.
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Old 03-20-2010, 12:08 AM   #20
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The LED bulbs I have on order only have lighting (9 LED) on the bottom. None on the sides or top. I'm interested to see how they do. company claims 200 lumens.
Which ones did you order Puma?
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