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Old 02-27-2020, 02:08 PM   #1
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Converter Charger Upgrade Needed?

I have a 2019 Rockwood Signature 5th wheel and we never boondock (and I don't know if we ever will). Despite the fact that we always stay on a site with an electrical hookup, we've had a couple occasions where the campground power went out for several hours and a cheapo dealer battery isn't great in those situations. So I'm looking at upgrading it to either a couple 12V Trojan 27TMXs or a couple 6V Trojan T-105s for more amp-hours, "just in case".

In my situation, is there any benefit to upgrading the converter/charger? The factory installed a WFCO WF-9855 "3 stage charger". Would a Progressive Dynamics or Boondocker charger be better for those batteries? Unless the WFCO overcharges the batteries, I really don't see a need but I know there are many here with expertise on this subject. I also posed this question to BestConverter.com and I'll see what they say, too.
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Old 02-27-2020, 03:18 PM   #2
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For a couple of years I ran 3 group 31 FLA battires with the exact same converter. Never had a problem at all. The only reason to switch out converters would be for a faster charge rate or switching to lithium battery. Jay
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Old 02-27-2020, 03:34 PM   #3
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As Jay2504 says, no need to upgrade your converter unless you want a faster charge. Which you don't need if you never boondock and charge the batteries via generator.
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Old 02-27-2020, 04:19 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies so far.
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Old 02-28-2020, 04:33 PM   #5
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Randy from BestConverter will give you great advice. I upgraded my OEM last year and so far I am very happy. This is what I ordered it was a direct drop-in replacement:
PD 4655L Wildkat PD 4655L MBA WildKat 55 Amp Main Board Assembly for WFCO 8955 or Parallax 7155 (Includes 4600 Remote)
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Old 02-28-2020, 05:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boondocking View Post
no need to upgrade your converter unless you want a faster charge. Which you don't need if you never boondock and charge the batteries via generator.
hmm. never thought about that. We did some boondocking last year and will probably do some this year. How much faster "can" a better converter charge batteries? percentage faster?

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Old 02-28-2020, 06:27 PM   #7
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Tough to say how much ďfasterĒ a different converter would be. The biggest pickup in charge time would be with Lithium batteries. They charge at a much faster rate than lead type batteries. Talking just FLA or AGM type battery, the difference would be between charging at 14.4 volts vs 13.6 volts. I know that they will charge faster at 14.4 volts, but how much I canít say. Jay
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Old 02-28-2020, 06:47 PM   #8
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My experience with WFCO in two trailers (Also reported by many others on this forum) is that the WFCO does not go into "Bulk" charging mode (14.0 to 14.4 volts) unless the batteries are below 50% (12.0 volts) which is the limit of recommended depth of discharge for best battery life.

Above the 12.0 volt level, it only charges at the "Absorption" rate with 13.6 volts and that takes 2 to 3 times longer.

https://www.batterystuff.com/blog/3-...-chargers.html

FROM TROJAN BATTERY WEBSITE:

Discharging batteries is entirely a function of your particular application.

However, below is list of helpful items:

Shallow discharges will result in a longer battery life.
50% (or less) discharges are recommended.
80% discharge is the maximum safe discharge.
Do not fully discharge flooded batteries (80% or more). This will damage (or kill) the battery.
Many experts recommend operating batteries only between the 50% to 85% of full charge range. A periodic equalization charge is a must when using this practice.
Do not leave batteries deeply discharged for any length of time.
Lead acid batteries do not develop a memory and do not need to be fully discharged before recharging.
Batteries should be charged after each period of use.
Batteries that charge up but cannot support a load are most likely bad and should be tested.
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Old 02-28-2020, 07:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
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hmm. never thought about that. We did some boondocking last year and will probably do some this year. How much faster "can" a better converter charge batteries? percentage faster?

James
Depends on how long the converter stays in bulk charge. A bigger problem than the converter is the voltage drop in the small wire between the converter and the batteries. It's conceivable to reduce your charge/generator time by 50% if you can keep the converter in bulk to the 80% charge level.


If you discharge your battery to 50% and want to get it to 80% and can charge at a 0.2C charge current, you could get the batteries up to 80% in a couple hours. If it falls out of bulk, it could be over 4 hours.
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Old 02-28-2020, 08:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DustyRoads View Post
Randy from BestConverter will give you great advice. I upgraded my OEM last year and so far I am very happy. This is what I ordered it was a direct drop-in replacement:
PD 4655L Wildkat PD 4655L MBA WildKat 55 Amp Main Board Assembly for WFCO 8955 or Parallax 7155 (Includes 4600 Remote)
Thanks. If I were to go with an aftermarket converter/charger Iíd probably buy one with a 120 VAC plug like the Progressive Dynamics 9200 series and then install a 120V receptacle and the converter/charger next to the batteries to minimize the length of the DC wires.
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Old 02-28-2020, 10:58 PM   #11
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That's the best way to do it.
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Thanks. If I were to go with an aftermarket converter/charger Iíd probably buy one with a 120 VAC plug like the Progressive Dynamics 9200 series and then install a 120V receptacle and the converter/charger next to the batteries to minimize the length of the DC wires.
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Old 02-29-2020, 10:17 AM   #12
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Our original WFCO converter worked fine charging the battery. What it began doing was surging the 12 vikt popwe.

By that I mean when operating on the 12 volt battery lights they would alternately dim and get bright. I installed a new PD 9280 converter and no more dimming of lights.
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Old 03-04-2020, 08:14 PM   #13
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I upgraded to the PD 4655 Wildkat , and two Fullriver DC220 6v. ( from bestconverter ) There is a remote that you can put the charger in bulk mode manually and it works. But my batteries never saw more than 13.6v when in bulk. The reason is the OEM wiring is sub optimal with poor connections/ etc. Very disappointing to learn this but its par for the quality of the RV industry. Here are pics of voltage at panel and batteries... 14.4 at charger / 13.6 at batteries.
Either way you'll get more voltage by upgrading and maybe you cam optimize your wiring / battery placement on your rig .

Looking forward to your solution / progress !!
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Old 03-04-2020, 08:25 PM   #14
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I found a local golf cart dealer who has great prices on Trojan T-105 batteries so I’ve ordered a couple. I’m thinking about putting them in a NOCO HM426 battery box. Based on feedback here I doubt that I’ll need to upgrade the charger/converter.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:12 PM   #15
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Yep, if you only need a few hours of battery usage, no major boondocking, a new converter or upgraded wiring will be of little use to you, as well as a waste of $$$.
I replaced my OEM converter when it died with one recommended by Randy and it does charge faster, but only minutes, nothing drastic.
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I found a local golf cart dealer who has great prices on Trojan T-105 batteries so Iíve ordered a couple. Iím thinking about putting them in a NOCO HM426 battery box. Based on feedback here I doubt that Iíll need to upgrade the charger/converter.
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Old 03-06-2020, 10:13 PM   #16
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Unless you are recharging with a generator, whether getting your batteries from 50% to 100% takes 6 hours (absolute optimum recharging) or 12 hours (most likely with a WFCO converter/stock wiring) doesn't really matter.

The limit on recharging flooded lead acid batteries comes from the battery chemistry. If you push too much current too fast, the "wrong" chemical reactions start happening to a much greater degree. Water molecules get split into hydrogen and oxygen, water boils instead of remaining a liquid, and battery internal temps and pressures build. The Progressive Industry converter "fast charge" is about as aggressive as I want to be - I can be hands off without problems over a wide range of temperatures. Of course, having a converter smaller than the maximum size for my battery bank - 55 amp converter would be the maximum for 210AH - probably adds a whole 30 minutes to the recharge time from 50% to 90%.

just my thoughts
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Old 03-06-2020, 10:27 PM   #17
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BTW, in my original post just over a week ago, I mentioned that I asked BestConverter.com my question. I did that via their Contact Us page. So far they haven’t responded. Kinda disappointing considering I’ve heard great things about them. Maybe they are more responsive to a phone call. Doesn’t really matter though since its evident from the discussion here that I don’t need to upgrade my converter.
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Old 03-06-2020, 10:36 PM   #18
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Quote:
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BTW, in my original post just over a week ago, I mentioned that I asked BestConverter.com my question. I did that via their Contact Us page. So far they havenít responded. Kinda disappointing considering Iíve heard great things about them. Maybe they are more responsive to a phone call. Doesnít really matter though since its evident from the discussion here that I donít need to upgrade my converter.
They didn't respond to any of my attempts at email/contact page either. So I called and left a message. Randy called back in a few hours.
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Old 03-07-2020, 06:01 PM   #19
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Yep, if you only need a few hours of battery usage, no major boondocking, a new converter or upgraded wiring will be of little use to you, as well as a waste of $$$.
I replaced my OEM converter when it died with one recommended by Randy and it does charge faster, but only minutes, nothing drastic.

If faster charging is essential to the user then the only real way to achieve that is to change battery chemistry. Lead/Acid batteries will only charge so fast without damage.

The upgraded wire between converter and battery, even if just a second wire of the same size is run and connected in parallel, will at least help keep the converter in bulk mode due to less voltage drop.

Since most TT's have a #8 AWG wire from battery to converter, a second wire would only cost around $10-$15 for up to 25 feet.

Two #8 wires in parallel give the equivalent to a single #5 wire. The reduced voltage drop would be about 3% which could well make the difference between early switching to absorb mode from bulk.
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Old 03-07-2020, 07:00 PM   #20
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There are only a certain few that faster charging is essential. Those like myself, aren't concerned....
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If faster charging is essential to the user then the only real way to achieve that is to change battery chemistry. Lead/Acid batteries will only charge so fast without damage.

The upgraded wire between converter and battery, even if just a second wire of the same size is run and connected in parallel, will at least help keep the converter in bulk mode due to less voltage drop.

Since most TT's have a #8 AWG wire from battery to converter, a second wire would only cost around $10-$15 for up to 25 feet.

Two #8 wires in parallel give the equivalent to a single #5 wire. The reduced voltage drop would be about 3% which could well make the difference between early switching to absorb mode from bulk.
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