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Old 07-02-2020, 09:34 AM   #1
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2016 Rockwood Hardside Charging System

Any way to tell if my 2016 Rockwood Hardside has a single stage or multistage charging system? I am trying to figure out the best charging routine (as is a typical question). I can just charge before trips or once a month if not used... would prefer to leave it plugged in if it has a multistage charging system which will not overcharge the batteries.

BTW - I've got 2 6V batteries wired in series.

Thanks for any advice!
Rich
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Old 07-02-2020, 10:07 AM   #2
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My 2016 has a multi-stage WFCO. Manual attached:
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Camper WFCO Converter Manual.pdf (625.1 KB, 22 views)
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Old 07-02-2020, 12:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OYO View Post
My 2016 has a multi-stage WFCO. Manual attached:
This was exactly the guidance I needed. Thank you very much!
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Old 07-02-2020, 01:26 PM   #4
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However, the WFCO power converter will not provide automatic battery maintenance charging. It will only provide a long-term float charge. Unless you regularly (such as monthly at a minimum) discharge the batteries enough to kick the WFCO into bulk charging (14.4 vdc) mode, the electrolyte in the battery could stratify. In addition, sulfation could also occur. Both of these conditions reduce battery capacity and shorten it's life.

If you are not going to regularly discharge the batteries so the WFCO kicks into bulk charging mode then you should look at upgrading or supplementing the WFCO with a true battery maintaining charger.

One option is to upgrade the WFCO power panel/converter to something like a Progressive Dynamics unit. The PD charger kicks into equalization mode (14.4 vdc) for 15 minutes every 21 hours. This stirs the electrolyte internally in the batteries and reduces sulfation, thus increasing battery capacity and life.

Another option would be to use the battery disconnect switch to disconnect the battery from the trailer, and then connect an external charger such as a Battery Tender charger directly to the batteries. That would also provide the periodic equalization charging.
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Old 07-02-2020, 05:29 PM   #5
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The WFCO converter, if meeting its specs, will do just fine as a battery maintainer.

Battery electrolyte stratification is rarely a problem with A-frames - the slightest jostle every month or two from wind (if stored outside) or opening an access door is enough to take of stratification. Plenty of battery jostle while towing or camping.

Sulfation occurs when the battery is left in a discharged state for months on end, and is easy to prevent. Don't store your A-frame without recharging the batteries.

There are 2 methods of storage after recharging - both work well. 1) Disconnect the batteries with either a disconnect switch that disconnects ALL loads or removing ALL wires from one battery terminal. The batteries will take months to self-discharge significantly, especially during winter. 2) Leave a trickle charger attached (WFCO converter in trickle mode is an example). Some people have deep prejudices against one method of the other - both work well for me and many others.

Do test your WFCO converter - both of mine failed to go into trickle mode. After 44 hours in normal mode (13.7V), and no change in battery load, the WFCO converter is supposed to drop into trickle mode (13.2V). If the WFCO doesn't go into trickle mode, the extra voltage will "boil" the batteries over time (we're talking weeks and months), causing them to run low on water. If not caught, low water levels will kill a battery quickly. Don't ask me how I know.

If the WFCO is working correctly, the only real reason to change converters is to get faster charge times when charging with a generator.

My battery maintenance practice is: upon return home, plug in the A-frame for a few days to fully charge the batteries. Then disconnect the batteries until a day or 2 prior to the next trip (or doing something inside the A-frame at home). I normally plug in the A-frame at least the night before to pre-cool the fridge and top off the batteries. I do check the battery water levels when I plug in before the trip, and top off as necessary with distilled water.

hope this helps
Fred W
2019 Flagstaff T21TBHW A-frame with 2 Costco/Interstate GC-2 batteries
prev 2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
camping Colorado and adjacent states one weekend at a time
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Old 07-02-2020, 05:38 PM   #6
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Old 07-02-2020, 05:52 PM   #7
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I expected and hoped Fred (pgandw) would chime in. He's the book on A-frame charging.

Our WFCO works to specs. It does go to trickle mode, but it takes a long time to get there.
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