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Old 06-07-2015, 11:59 PM   #1
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Smoking converter can I get rid of it?

I have a 2013 Cherokee Grey Wolf 28BH which is parked and on shore power 24/7. Last night and tonight, after having a number of the lights on, we smelled a hot electrical smell from the electrical panel. Last night I took the cover off and felt the converter and it was really hot. I turned off all the DC and put a fan on it to cool it down. I had removed the two screws in front and slid the converter out to inspect it thoroughly. I did not see any evidence of a short or discoloration. The converter fan was on and working fine but the added fan got it cooled down so I put everything back together and we went to bed.

Everything went fine all day but late tonight the same thing happened again. This time when I slid it out to inspect it the large coil behind the fan is discolored as well as the circuit board where it is soldered. I no longer trust it so I'm looking for options.

Now for my questions. I'm plugged in 24/7 and do not plan on being off shore power at all. Do I even need a converter (I know I still need a way to charge my battery)? Should I replace with an inverter? Do I even need that instead of a regular battery charger to top my battery off and run my DC side (lights and fans)?

Any ideas would be much appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 06-08-2015, 04:11 AM   #2
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Converter converts 120 volts AC to 12 volts DC. Inverter goes from 12VDC to 120VAC. So to run your 12 volt stuff from shore power, you need a converter.
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Old 06-08-2015, 05:27 AM   #3
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Do I even need a converter (I know I still need a way to charge my battery)? Should I replace with an inverter? Do I even need that instead of a regular battery charger to top my battery off and run my DC side (lights and fans)?
Short answer, yes. A converter is needed to power your 12v systems when on shore power... and also acts as a charger for your battery.

You stated above that you will always be on shore power, so an inverter really wouldn't do you any good and wouldn't make economical sense to wire your rig to run off battery (sans converter) and a stand alone charger.

There are long answers for that question too, with different results, but it sounds like you are just trying to find easiest/quickest/most economical way to get your 12v up and running. To that end.. simply replacing your defunct converter/charger is the way to go. It wouldn't be a bad idea to do some shopping around and get your converter upgraded.. if need be.

I would recommend a Progressive Dynamics. If you do a quick forum search you'll find ton of threads discussing converters.

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Old 06-08-2015, 05:34 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by jtrader View Post
I have a 2013 Cherokee Grey Wolf 28BH which is parked and on shore power 24/7. Last night and tonight, after having a number of the lights on, we smelled a hot electrical smell from the electrical panel. Last night I took the cover off and felt the converter and it was really hot. I turned off all the DC and put a fan on it to cool it down. I had removed the two screws in front and slid the converter out to inspect it thoroughly. I did not see any evidence of a short or discoloration. The converter fan was on and working fine but the added fan got it cooled down so I put everything back together and we went to bed.

Everything went fine all day but late tonight the same thing happened again. This time when I slid it out to inspect it the large coil behind the fan is discolored as well as the circuit board where it is soldered. I no longer trust it so I'm looking for options.

Now for my questions. I'm plugged in 24/7 and do not plan on being off shore power at all. Do I even need a converter (I know I still need a way to charge my battery)? Should I replace with an inverter? Do I even need that instead of a regular battery charger to top my battery off and run my DC side (lights and fans)?

Any ideas would be much appreciated. Thanks.
More then likely you have a WFCO converter. If you have only one fan then it is. The fan is variable speed. So when you are using alot of 12 volt lighting it is getting hotter. Your fan is most likely the problem, but since you have mentioned the signs of heat that you saw, It will be only a matter of time before it will go out or worst might catch fire. I would look into a replacement now. Progressive has the best out there now. They are a true 4 stage charger also. You can get a direct replacement for your model that will just slide in and replace the wire's to the same place on the new, very easy to do. If your in warranty yet, they will replace it with a WFCO. Do yourself a favor and put a progressive in. It will also come with a charging wizard. So you can control what it will do. You can drop it down to 13.2 when in storage so you are only getting a trickle charge, or put it in bulk mode 14.4 anytime you want or need it. The problem with WFCO is that if it reads any loads at all it will never drop to 13.2 and that is for 48 hrs. That could just be the clock or your propane detector. Progressive will not do that, so it will also save your batteries from boiling out the water. Hope that helps you...
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Old 06-08-2015, 05:39 AM   #5
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You should check your battery to make sure water is at proper level and that it is good. A defective battery and additional load at night (lights) might cause the converter to overheat.
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:14 AM   #6
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I understand not needing an inverter. Stupid question on my part. I guess what I'm really wanting to know is can I get rid of the converter so I'm running my 12v on the battery then straight charge the battery from shore power. Is the wiring to take out the converter too extensive? Have some experience with electrical work but don't want to kick a hornet's nest.
I'm the type of guy that keeps things as simple as possible and it seems to me replacing the converter when I don't truly need it (have shore power and battery) is adding one more place where things can go wrong. I have half a mind to get rid of the 12v side alltogether. The lights get way too hot anyway. Problem is the rf booster, propane side of the hot water heater, etc. would have to be dealt with.

fonzie- I'll be checking the water levels on my battery this afternoon. It's a "maintenance free" one so gotta tread carefully. If it's still good I don't want to mess it up. If it's low on water I'd have to replace it anyway if I still need a new converter.
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:17 AM   #7
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You cannot charge batteries from shore power alone.
You "need" a converter.
Get a progressive dynamics converter with pendant and be done with it.

hot water heater require 12v on propane
Furnace is Strictly 12v
Fridge requires 12v on propane
A/c requires 12v

If you are so animate on keeping it simple then replace the converter as its the most "simple".
Changing 12v items to 110v is very extensive and "NOT" SIMPLE.

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Old 06-08-2015, 08:33 AM   #8
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Simple in my mind is trashing the $150 plus converter and replacing it with a battery charger to keep the DC side running.
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:35 AM   #9
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Simple in my mind is trashing the $150 plus converter and replacing it with a battery charger to keep the DC side running.
Takes 45 minutes to replace the converter or less.
Good luck.

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Old 06-08-2015, 08:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
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You should check your battery to make sure water is at proper level and that it is good. A defective battery and additional load at night (lights) might cause the converter to overheat.
WHAT HE SAID!!! If you have a dry or shorted cell in a battery it could
cause the converter to overheat!!!
Have you checked your battery(s)?????
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:58 AM   #11
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If you have the WFCO convertor and you leave the RV plugged in 24/7 then you may have one or more battery cells with little or no water as the WFCO convertor does not have an intelligent trickle charger. You can check the water in the battery to see if that was the problem, but if that is it, you should replace the battery as it will have incurred some damage.
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:02 AM   #12
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The answer is Yes, you could do that; i.e. remove/disconnect the converter, and use a battery charger to recharge the coach battery.

You will need to make sure you do not over charge (boil the battery) or under charge (run the battery low ) These will both kill your battery in a short time.

The converter not only keep the battery charged, but it actually supplies the 12 volts to your systems when your plugged into shore power or running on a generator.

Without the converter, your battery supplies power to the furnace, water heater, frig, lights, fans, etc.

I don't like large power fluctuation getting into electronic equipment, connecting disconnecting a battery charger will give these fluctuation. Also hydrogen gas will be developed when you deep cycle the battery, so use caution when connecting/disconnecting the battery charger (

Keep an eye on the fluid level in the battery (you should be doing this anyway, but more so if your deep cycling the battery.

My recommendation would be to replace the converter with a three or four stage unit. This solves all the problems.

I've delt with these folks, they stand behind their products:

http://www.bestconverter.com/WFCO-Converters-_c_82.html
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:05 AM   #13
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The short answer is yes, you technically can delete the converter and use an external charger to keep re-charging the batteries. I would just upgrade the converter and be done with it.
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:10 AM   #14
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As others have stated, you could do what you discussed.. Many members do the exact same thing when their converter dies while out on a camping trip.

However, I don't know if I have heard of anyone doing it for except in the very short term, until they could get a replacement converter. I also don't know of what the long term implications would do to the battery (or anything else) depending on what kind of charger you had.

If it were mine, I would replace the converter with one that others have pointed out and be done with it......but that's just my opinion.
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:11 AM   #15
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I think you have to remember, I guess you can do what you want, but a person should only draw down there battery to 50% so how long would that take? The convertor takes out your battery for most part being it is giving out 12v power all the time. So if you turn on all your 12 volt items they all can run. As far as getting hot the fixtures. Well that is true but you can always go to LED bulbs. (less amp draw) I really don't see a savings by your way, you can get a 70 amp charger/converter for about 185.00. To buy a 4 stage automatic charger would cost alot more then that. Also by your way of wanting to do it your going to need to add a amp meter so you can monitor the state of the batteries. Those are not cheap either. I have never heard of a battery being low on water to smoke a convertor, but I surly do not know everything. I good place to start is to read living on 12 volts, that might help you...Good Luck no matter what you decide.
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:13 AM   #16
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If you are never going to move, then using a "smart" charger on the batteries will work to keep your 12V power going and your battery(s) from overcharging. I would also change out all the incandescent hi-current (hot) lighting in your trailer to cool and efficient LED lighting. I purchased some replacement LED's off amazon, but also bought some from http://m4led.com
They have a real helpful website.
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:20 AM   #17
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can I get rid of the converter so I'm running my 12v on the battery then straight charge the battery from shore power.
Yes. You "can" physically disconnect it with ease, but if you're on shore power all the time what would be the advantage in doing that? There would be a little more wiring that would need to be done ($), you would still need to purchase a stand alone 4 stage "smart" charger ($), increase your battery bank capacity ($)...

You're basically just trading out a converter/charger with a straight charger.

It's entirely up to you of course. Heck.. my converter is physically disconnected. However.. I had a specific need to disconnect it... while normal CG type camping and 24/7 shore power available I can't imagine going to all that trouble and additional expense if I didn't have to.

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Old 06-08-2015, 09:21 AM   #18
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Simple in my mind is trashing the $150 plus converter and replacing it with a battery charger to keep the DC side running.
Not sure that is simple, so humor me .
Everytime you go camping you must get charger out and an extention cord and plug it in and turn it on and every time you are done camping you must unplug charger and store it, wrap up cord and store it as well.
Please explain how that is simpler then just plugging in your camper and moving on to fun stuff?

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Old 06-08-2015, 09:30 AM   #19
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However, I don't know if I have heard of anyone doing it for except in the very short term
Hallo . Mine is permanently disconnected. But you're right... under normal circumstances I wouldn't complicate matters without a good reason to do so.
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:52 AM   #20
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If you decide to go that route you would also need to take into account the cost of increasing the capacity of your battery bank. That alone will put you over the cost of a new converter. A single 12v automotive battery would not be sufficient in type of setup.
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