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Old 04-23-2016, 10:10 PM   #1
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Battery Replacement- 12V vs 6V, WFCO replacement

Our 2006 Sunseeker 3100SS seems to have weak batteries. The unit has two 12-volt batteries of indeterminate age, connected in parallel. Whoever installed them did not remove the little month/year indicators, but the thick layer of dirt shows them to be a bit old.

The batteries are nominally at 11.9 volts but dropped down to 10.9 when we started the television, a Jensen 28-inch 12V model.

We're contemplating replacing them, but are undecided on using 12V batteries in parallel, or 6V batteries in series. I've read on the forums until my eyes went bleary, but cannot see a clear benefit one way or another.

We're also thinking of replacing the WFCO 8955 with a Progressive Dynamics unit. The WFCO only generates 13.1 volts; the truck engine generates 13.6V. After looking at a YouTube movie of someone replacing his WFCO with a PD4655 the job looks less intimidating than I originally thought.

Any thoughts, on either 12V vs 6V, or WFCO replacement?

K-R.
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Old 04-23-2016, 10:30 PM   #2
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Battery Replacement- 12V vs 6V, WFCO replacement

11.9 on the batteries is about 40% charged-not good. You may have a dead cell in one of them.

So...big question is do you dry camp more or usually hook up?

If you mostly dry camp, go with the 6v's as they will give you more ampre hours capacity then go with progressive dynamics 4655- I have done the switch from WFCO and a dramatic difference in power output for charging batteries when we are dry camping.

If you mostly hook up, save your money and keep the WFCO but get 2 new 12v's like group 31's.




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Old 04-23-2016, 10:47 PM   #3
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Old 04-23-2016, 10:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HONDAMAN174 View Post
11.9 on the batteries is about 40% charged-not good. You may have a dead cell in one of them.

So...big question is do you dry camp more or usually hook up?

If you mostly dry camp, go with the 6v's as they will give you more ampre hours capacity then go with progressive dynamics 4655- I have done the switch from WFCO and a dramatic difference in power output for charging batteries when we are dry camping.

If you mostly hook up, save your money and keep the WFCO but get 2 new 12v's like group 31's.
Don't know, just yet. This is our first RV, and we've owned it for five months. I'd like to keep my options open, either way. So it looks like 6V batteries and the 4655 charger.

On a recent trip to a county park for three days/two nights we had to run the generator on the second morning. I like the 4655's fast-charging capability.

K-R.
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Old 04-23-2016, 11:04 PM   #5
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Battery Replacement- 12V vs 6V, WFCO replacement

The 6v would be a good choice if you have the room. Just have to decide if you want 2 or 4. A lot of people here like the trojen brand.

The progressive upgrade would be a smart choice regardless. It will put out high amps when needed and actually saves the batteries by desulfate ing them automatically when plugged in. I am glad I made the switch


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Old 04-23-2016, 11:29 PM   #6
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Mount your new Progressive converter within 2-3 feet of the battery.

Most campers, including mine, have the power converter 25 feet away from the batteries running via 6 gauge wire. Too thin of wire and too long of distance often means that the batteries will NEVER charge to 100% due to voltage drop form wire length and gauge.
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Old 04-24-2016, 12:14 AM   #7
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On our Sunseeker the converter is under the bed on the left side of the unit and the batteries are directly across on the right side, for a cable length of about 7 or 8 feet.

In the battery compartment is a fat red cable heading toward the converter. I'm sure it's bigger than 6-gauge, it looks like a small garden hose. Haven't seen the other (converter) end of it but I assume it goes all the way.

The replacement I'm thinking of is a board that replaces the WFCO board, so it would be the same 7-8 feet distance.

Thanks for all the advice.

K-R.
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Old 04-24-2016, 07:10 AM   #8
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If you are positive that the WFCO only generates 13.1 volts then you should definitely replace it. 13.1 will never give you enough charge current to get the batteries to full charge. I agree with the other posters, get it as close to the batteries as you can and make sure that you have at least #4, even for the 7 foot run. You will probably never see the full 55 amps from the new converter but you need every last volt to keep your batteries up to charge. My converter is 22 feet from the battery bank and is #6. Most I have ever seen from my 70 amp PD is maybe 35 amps and 14.1 volts. Not happy with either of these numbers.

All things being equal I would use two 6 volt batteries in series. Trojan's are the best but there are others that are equivalent.
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Old 04-24-2016, 07:30 AM   #9
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Down side to 6V systems is if you drop a cell, you're not putting out 12V. Desulfators are unproven read Answer To The Question: Battery Desulfators - Do They Work? - Blog | Impact Battery Blog (from a forum member). Double check your WAFCO's output, at initial output, not connected to your current spent battery set-up, if it is putting out 14+ V. If thats the case, why replace something that works, just dsayin'
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Old 04-24-2016, 08:47 AM   #10
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Down side to 6V systems is...
While that is certainly true, if you have 2 12 volt units in parallel and you drop a cell, the good battery will discharge into the damaged battery. There is really no simple win here.
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Old 04-24-2016, 09:07 AM   #11
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How many people have had a battery cell drop, seriously?

Although I don't think it is a big or common issue, I kept my 12 volt batteries when I added four 6 volt Sam's Club Premium GC2 batteries (132 amp-hours each, $112). They are separately switched and kept as a backup just in case but more so for low solar output not charging up the 6v batts.
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Old 04-24-2016, 01:24 PM   #12
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Get 2 new 12V batteries and a volt meter check batteries fluid level every month also your volt meter should read 12.55 or better do this also rotate your batteries every 6 mos. and batteries should last you for 3yrs. &#128512))))))
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Old 04-24-2016, 01:40 PM   #13
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UMM...the WFCO generating 13.1 could simply be it in float mode on fully charged batteries since it is DESIGNED to provide 14.4V in bulk mode. My suggestion would be to deplete your batteries to 12V or so....then plug in the charger and take a voltage reading at the charger TERMInALS rather than at the battery after waiting 5 minutes.
Take a similar reading at the battery terminals and you will see what loss the wiring is giving you.
If your batteries are in the condition you describe...they need replacement. If you only have room for two...I prefer a good TRUE deep cycle pair of 12Volts (the largest that will fit) since if one fails...you can still operate on the other one. Others here prefer a pair of 6V's because you get more bang for your buck. Your choice. Trojan is an excellent brand for both types. I also like the EAST PENN/DEKA made "DC" series of 12Volts if you need more of a bargain. Sams Club 6V are an excellent value but won't last as many cycles as the Trojans.

If you do need a new Charger, the Progressive Dynamics ones witht the Charge Wizard are excellent as are the IOTA engineering ones with IQ4 smart charging. For a pair of 6V's or large 12V's...something in the 40-50 amp range would be ideal. (PD9245C or DLS45 respectively)

Good luck!
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Old 04-24-2016, 06:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Still Kickin View Post
Down side to 6V systems is if you drop a cell, you're not putting out 12V. Desulfators are unproven read Answer To The Question: Battery Desulfators - Do They Work? - Blog | Impact Battery Blog (from a forum member). Double check your WAFCO's output, at initial output, not connected to your current spent battery set-up, if it is putting out 14+ V. If thats the case, why replace something that works, just dsayin'
I just read your link: "Answer To The Question: Battery Desulfators - Do They Work?" and the answer in the article was - YES - they do indeed. I've been using BatterMinders for 3 years now. I just used their cheapest unit to revive a trailer brake-away battery that would not hold a charge. I believe Desulfators are proven.
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Old 04-24-2016, 08:17 PM   #15
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There is actually solid evidence that NONE of the desulfators actually desulphate. Now most are combined with trickle charges which can revive some deeply discharged batteries that regular charges don't work on. Here's the link to the desulfator de-bunking. http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ml#post1164917
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Old 04-26-2016, 12:06 AM   #16
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First, thanks to everyone for all your advice. We're going to replace the converter first, to see if it will charge the existing batteries. If the batteries still won't hold a charge we'll replace them as well, probably with two 6-volt units wired in series.

We're looking at ordering the PD4655 upgrade board from BestConverter - Converters, Inverters, Electrical Supplies, Electronics. They said we might not have to get the whole package, depending on what the model number of the WFCO is. I think they said if we have "AN" in the model number. Have to check the actual number before ordering.

I'll post a follow-up after testing the setup.

K-R.
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Old 04-26-2016, 12:10 AM   #17
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The Web-address is www-bestconverter-com. Substitute dots for the dashes, because "something" second-guessed me when I submitted my last message and turned it into an ad!

I hate things (mostly computers) that try to second-guess me! <censored> Google is the worst!

K-R.
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Old 04-26-2016, 06:20 AM   #18
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Ive got both a PD 9280 and a Boondocker PM4 60 amp.

The PD is located about 4' from the batteries and I see full output from the charger to the batteries using 4 gauge wire. The most I have seen the charger output is 40 amps but I haven't let my batteries get low enough to see anymore or to let it actually run at 40 amps for an extended period of time. I also do not have this hardwired into the TT 120 system. I will use an extension cord from post or generator to power this if I need to throw alot of charge in the batteries quickly.

The boondocker is mounted in the power center, approx 20' from the batteries. Using the stock 8 gauge wiring I see, at the batteries, 14.5 in bulk, 13.6 in absorption and 13.2 in float. Thats darn near full output only losing .1 volts in the bulk stage.

The boondocker will step down into float sooner than the PD, at least Ive noticed. The PD unit goes into float based on time. I have not sat and watched when the boondocker goes into float but it was about 12 hours of being on when my batteries started at 93%. The PD needs around 36 hours of seeing no load/draw before it will go into float.

These are all my personal observations on my set-up. Scott and camaraderie were very helpful in pointing me in the right direction answering my questions.

I would recommend 6v batteries no matter if you plug in consistently or not. We don't need a CCA battery so you are paying for capacity you cant actually use. How often you plug in should dictate 2 or 4 batteries. They are less expensive as well so dollars versus capacity you are way ahead of the game with 6volt. You can pick up a couple from Sams or Costco for $160+ tax for the pair. Those will double, if not triple your usable capacity assuming a safe 50% discharge.

EDIT: You can get 12volt deep cycle batteries as well. But they are a fair bit more expensive to get the same capacity.
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Old 04-29-2016, 09:31 PM   #19
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The Duracell's at Battery Plus are made by East Penn/ Deka also. 232 amp/hrs for $99 each. Real happy with these so far. Still using the WFCO 55 amp. Seems to be ok but haven't put it thru a long boondocking yet. That's coming up in 3 weeks.
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Old 05-01-2016, 04:15 PM   #20
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Well, the unit arrived on Thursday, and I installed it on Friday. Installation was a bit tight, both for me and for the wires, but went without any major problems. Wish the wires had been just a little bit longer.

We started the generator for the "smoke test". Nothing burned but the pilot light was solid green and the charging voltage was at 14.3, vs 13.1 for the WFCO unit.

As of today (Sunday) I've not heard of any fires at the storage yard, so I'd call the installation a success.

We'll have to take a trip to see if the batteries will give us more time. At some point we'll make the decision to replace the batteries with a couple of six-volts.

Thanks, everyone.

K-R.
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