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Old 06-08-2015, 03:26 PM   #31
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Don't forget your slide, awning, water pump, LP/CO detectors, radio, stabilizers (if you have them), electric jack (if you have one), any powered meters, hood fan, breakaway switch, etc. Some of that you can use your TV to run, but was just trying to illustrate the mirad of little things that are easy to forget, but can add up.

Most rigs will have around a 1-2amp "phantom" draw, which you will get no return from. So with your automotive battery (without knowing the exact specs) I'm pretty confident you only have 50-85 amp hours of capacity. Most certainly not much over 105ah tops. So with a parasitic draw... in a 24hr period.. that will leave you, conservatively, 0-25ah "available" (50% SOC) without having turned on a single DC device.

With your automotive battery charger... that's fine for the auto battery you have, however, you will more than likely be in a near constant discharge/charge situation. Not a great place to be for a healthy battery and a hassle free trip.

I think I get what you're trying to do.. you have a battery and charger already, so out of pocket at the moment would be minimal if you nixed the converter. Is that about right?

Just to illustrate. Your 12v power resources at the moment... A battery, an auto charger, no converter, and shore power. You saved the $150 by nixing the converter.

A little down the road... No converter, battery is shot, an auto charger that's not really usable if you go with a deep cycle battery next time, and shore power. In other words.. no means to run the 12v side of your rig unless you fork up for new batteries ($170) and a compatible converter or another charger ($150).

I think what everyone has been suggesting (without the "long story") is that you are better off to pony up the $150 for the big beautiful converter, have unlimited 12v available now and onward, and a charger that will be compatible with true deep cycles when your forced to replace your battery (which you don't have to worry about for awhile since you already have unlimited 12v).

It puts you ahead of the game now and later with the least amount of hassle.

That being said, and if money's a little tight right now, a fella's gotta do what a fella's gotta do to go camping. I think most of us have run on a jerry rig more than once. It's entirely up to you and hope you didn't feel too pressured. Just for those that have been around the block had in the back of their minds, I'm sure, that you would be getting "more" for "less" going the converter route now.

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Old 06-08-2015, 04:07 PM   #32
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Yarome I appreciate you spelling it out for me and you're pretty close to guessing my thoughts on it but it isn't really about the money.

Thing is I am looking for a long term solution. I don't "go camping". I live in this thing 24/7. Haven't even moved the powered tongue jack since July 25th 2012 and pulled the slide in twice a year to lube the seals. Point is I don't plan on this trailer being out of this spot for a very long time. Even when we move out of it this will become our "second" home and still never leave this spot. That changes the long term view.

If this trailer sits here for the next 5 years or more I will most likely be doing this all over again even with a really good converter. Truth is they are not built for the constant use I put this TT through. Every single night these lights and everything else DC powered gets used. That puts a draw on the battery and converter that they are not meant for day in and day out. Using it here and there for trips and fun is one thing but every day takes it's toll. I'm trying to think how to avoid that for the long haul. I could walk into any of many RV parts stores here and replace this converter for $135 identical or spring for a $185 Progressive Dynamics (only a two year warranty) and be just fine for the next couple years. My question is what about after that. Would that money and effort be better spent elsewhere?

From all of the replies I've gotten it doesn't seem like there is a solution that will stand the test of time. Your point is well taken about constantly being charging/discharging. Only solution for that problem is a bigger battery bank. I've considered that in addition to a solar array and charge controller. This would also help save on the electric bill which would end up paying for itself. Perhaps this converter issue will be what I need to get that idea out of my head and hooked up to the TT. Seems like that will solve more problems even if at a bigger up front cost.

For now things seem to be going ok. I've put a more than usual DC load on it for over an hour and a half now after topping off the battery. The converter is warm (as it should be) but not overheating. I'll be taking action very soon for the simple fact I don't trust this converter and battery anymore.

Thanks everyone for all of your replies.
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Old 06-08-2015, 04:39 PM   #33
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Can this be done:

Turn off or disconnect the battery charging function of the converter.

Replace the battery with a 12 volt power supply of sufficient capacity plugged in to shore power.

This would require that the converter is working correctly, except for the disconnect charge function.

I have no idea how to disconnect the charge function of any converter. I don't even know if it can be done.
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Old 06-08-2015, 04:47 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by jtrader View Post
Yarome I appreciate you spelling it out for me and you're pretty close to guessing my thoughts on it but it isn't really about the money.

Thing is I am looking for a long term solution. I don't "go camping". I live in this thing 24/7. Haven't even moved the powered tongue jack since July 25th 2012 and pulled the slide in twice a year to lube the seals. Point is I don't plan on this trailer being out of this spot for a very long time. Even when we move out of it this will become our "second" home and still never leave this spot. That changes the long term view.

If this trailer sits here for the next 5 years or more I will most likely be doing this all over again even with a really good converter. Truth is they are not built for the constant use I put this TT through. Every single night these lights and everything else DC powered gets used. That puts a draw on the battery and converter that they are not meant for day in and day out. Using it here and there for trips and fun is one thing but every day takes it's toll. I'm trying to think how to avoid that for the long haul. I could walk into any of many RV parts stores here and replace this converter for $135 identical or spring for a $185 Progressive Dynamics (only a two year warranty) and be just fine for the next couple years. My question is what about after that. Would that money and effort be better spent elsewhere?

From all of the replies I've gotten it doesn't seem like there is a solution that will stand the test of time. Your point is well taken about constantly being charging/discharging. Only solution for that problem is a bigger battery bank. I've considered that in addition to a solar array and charge controller. This would also help save on the electric bill which would end up paying for itself. Perhaps this converter issue will be what I need to get that idea out of my head and hooked up to the TT. Seems like that will solve more problems even if at a bigger up front cost.

For now things seem to be going ok. I've put a more than usual DC load on it for over an hour and a half now after topping off the battery. The converter is warm (as it should be) but not overheating. I'll be taking action very soon for the simple fact I don't trust this converter and battery anymore.

Thanks everyone for all of your replies.
My 5th wheel has been plugged in with various items running since Aug of 2011 as I leave it plugged in 24/7 365, so with that being said I don't believe constant use is of issue.
Good battery maintenance is probably the best solution.
Wfco converters are junk which is why we recommend a progressive dynamics.
I'd venture a guess that you'll not have an issue in 5 years as long as the battery is maintained properly.


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Old 06-08-2015, 04:53 PM   #35
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Wfco converters are junk which is why we recommend a progressive dynamics.
WFCO converters may not be the favorite but they are NOT junk!!!
My last rig had one and we had that trailer over 6 years and our twin 12v
batteries lasted 5 years.
We don't leave it plugged in 24/7 but only plugged in when we are camping.
AT home I use a battery tender charger.
For folks who don't leave their rigs plugged in all the time WFCO chargers
will get the job done just fine.
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Old 06-08-2015, 04:54 PM   #36
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WFCO converters may not be the favorite but they are NOT junk!!!
My last rig had one and we had that trailer over 6 years and our twin 12v
batteries lasted 5 years.
We don't leave it plugged in 24/7 but only plugged in when we are camping.
AT home I use a battery tender charger.
For folks who don't leave their rigs plugged in all the time WFCO chargers
will get the job done just fine.
You and oc have had the only 4 good ones ever made.
IMO they are junk.
Overseas made crap.
If you've ever had a pd and wfco side by side you'd understand.

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Old 06-08-2015, 05:11 PM   #37
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My 5th wheel has been plugged in with various items running since Aug of 2011 as I leave it plugged in 24/7 365
There's a difference between being plugged in and lived in. That's why it's anyone's guess how long pretty much any converter is going to last with 24/7 actual usage. That's why I'm looking at all the options. I never head into things like this without asking questions.

Battery maintenance in any RV is always pivotal. If I would have known my "maintenance free" battery could fry my converter I would have checked it every month since day one. Instead I took the label's word for it and looked no further. That's nobody's fault but my own.
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Old 06-08-2015, 05:15 PM   #38
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You and oc have had the only 4 good ones ever made.
IMO they are junk.
Overseas made crap.
If you've ever had a pd and wfco side by side you'd understand.

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I guess I have #5 good WFCO so far.....battery mtce is key and everything has a working life, after it will fail.....
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:12 PM   #39
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That changes things. I'm in a similar boat. I'm 365 but I travel and only plug into my genset every once in a great while.

I understand your concerns about lifespan. I know quite a number of fulltimers that have been running PD converters and other products with great success spanning many years. Then again, I know folks that can kill one in 2. IMHO, it generally comes down to how well you know your equipment, how you use/integrate and maintain it, and in general, you get what you pay for.

In your situation, being stationary, getting 5-7+ years out of a PD converter shouldn't be that difficult. But even calculating for 4 years you're only into it for about $3 a month. Not too shabby for something you'll use daily.

You really should look into solar though. It's getting so inexpensive it doesn't take but a couple 2-3 years to break even on the cost of a fairly decent system. Then it's just gravy.

My system is of the "Cadillac" variety... meaning... if people knew how much I have sunk into some of the components they would think I was crazy. But I rely on it daily, often in remote locations, was designed to be "bulletproof" and fully integrated.

Last years total power consumption was 93% solar. I calculated on a 10 year life (but actual should be 15). 4.8 years to break even.. so in 11 months I'm out from under it... controller, inverter, charger, battery bank, panels, and every wire, fuse, tie.. and everything in between added to my power systems. I'll really enjoy those 5-10 years of free juice.. I just have to live that long right?

Didn't mean to ramble, but like getting fellow full timers onboard with solar.

last years total power consumption.. 93% solar.
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:26 PM   #40
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I guess I have #5 good WFCO so far
Oh ye misinformed youth of today

Those "5 good WFCO's"?? THOSE are the WORST!! They failed in their programming to self destruct at the 11th hour. If they ignore their programming who know WHAT in the heck they might be capable of!!

I would be afraid... be very afraid.


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