Equalization Double-Dose Question - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 02-10-2018, 07:22 PM   #1
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Equalization Double-Dose Question

I am typically compulsive about doing a monthly equalization charge on my 2 6 volt batteries, but having had no sunny days last December, and being out recovering from surgery during January, I have - gasp - let it go for 2 months now. I finally got the trailer out of storage and got a good 3 hour equalization charge done today in the beautiful (if all too rare for Seattle) sunshine, and given the forecast for more sun on Monday, am wondering if I should do another 3 hours then. I am by no means an electronical expert, so am seeking knowledge from you smart forum folks. I am thinking that hitting the batteries with a second equalization charge dosage might help eliminate some of the accumulated sulfation buildup, and hopefully not do any harm. Any ideas?

I have always done equalization charges using solar, which shows 14.9 - 15.0 volts on the voltmeter, while the solar controller panel shows that equalization is calling for 15.1 volts (the maximum the controller can do). As I recall, Interstate specifies 15.3 volts. For whatever reason, I can never get the voltmeter to show more than 13.4 volts when doing an equalization charge using 120 VAC shore power rather than solar, but never worried about it since we tend to get at least a few sunny days every month so have always done solar-powered equalization charges.
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Old 02-10-2018, 08:05 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Great Eggstrications View Post
I have always done equalization charges using solar, which shows 14.9 - 15.0 volts on the voltmeter, while the solar controller panel shows that equalization is calling for 15.1 volts (the maximum the controller can do). As I recall, Interstate specifies 15.3 volts. For whatever reason, I can never get the voltmeter to show more than 13.4 volts when doing an equalization charge using 120 VAC shore power rather than solar...
The WFCO 8900-series doesn't do "equalization". This is the relevant section of the Operation Manual:
Quote:
Converter Operation Modes
All WFCO power converters are automatic three-stage switching power supplies. The converter senses which mode it needs to be in by checking the RV system voltage.

The three modes/stages of operation include:
Absorption mode/Normal operation
Nominal battery charge and supplies power to appliances
Bulk mode/Charge mode
Fast battery charge and supplies power to appliances
Float mode/Trickle charge
Trickle battery charge during storage

Absorption Mode: During this mode, the converter output is in the 13.6 Vdc range. This is the normal operation mode. This mode provides the 12 Vdc and current required by the 12 Vdc RV appliances, as well as slow charging the battery.

Bulk Mode: In this mode, the output voltage of the converter will switch to 14.4 Vdc range for a maximum of four hours. If the converter cycles between “Absorption and Bulk mode”, there could be a shorted battery cell or other issues.

Float Mode: In this mode, the converter is charging the battery with a trickle voltage of 13.2 Vdc. When the converter senses a demand (by turning on lights), the converter automatically returns to the
“Absorption mode”.
If you have the stock Power Center, it looks like your converter is staying in absorption mode, presumably because the battery voltage has not dropped enough to trigger a round of Bulk Mode charging. Dave, is there something you are doing which you expect to trigger something like equalization?
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Old 02-10-2018, 08:37 PM   #3
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I've never seen my WFCO go into bulk. Batteries were down to 60 percent last Sun am, hooked up to power that afternoon and didn't get above 13.6v. Took till Tues am for them to get back to 100 %.

I disconnected, burned off a few % and equalized with the solar.

The stock WFCO shouldn't even be called a 3 stage, I can only get 2 out of it.
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Old 02-11-2018, 08:45 AM   #4
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Bob,

I hate to disagree with you on the highest voltage achieved with the stock WFCO controller/charger in the Escape. Your claim of 13.6v is too low, I would like you to know that several years ago I used my Trimetric Battery monitor and achieved a rate of 13.7v. Quite a difference if you ask me.

Your point is well taken that the controller is only a two stage charger. Pretty well established fact on other forums and through my testing.

I have found it is even very hard to get to equalization with solar. There are several conditions that have to be met, based on my latitude. They are:
  1. a solar controller capable of achieving the equalization rate of 15.6v for two hours - these are rare with only four known brands. Note: the recommended absorption rate is 15.3v.
  2. a panel(s) that is larger than 120 watts
  3. a panel that can be tilted to follow the sun during the day
  4. a mid summer day with the most sum

Unless you are frequently letting you battery get below 50% the need for equalization is questionable. The cost to get your batteries to equalize may out weigh the cost to replace sooner.
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Old 02-11-2018, 09:47 AM   #5
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You must have the high output model. I managed to equalize only cause I'm in Tucson, can't get that much sun at home either.

I recall reading somewhere that equalizing every 6 months is sufficient. If the OP is managing it monthly then I would suspect there is no need to do it twice cause a month was missed. The only downside to doing it often the I can think of is you may need to add water more often.
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Old 02-11-2018, 08:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
The WFCO 8900-series doesn't do "equalization". This is the relevant section of the Operation Manual:

If you have the stock Power Center, it looks like your converter is staying in absorption mode, presumably because the battery voltage has not dropped enough to trigger a round of Bulk Mode charging. Dave, is there something you are doing which you expect to trigger something like equalization?
Well, that pretty well 'splains things, don't it. Thanks to everyone for the feedback.

Note to self: RTFM!

I guess that I just saw the "Equalization" button on the solar controller and figured that if I was plugged into 120 VAC that equalization would happen using the 120 rather than the solar, assuming that somehow the solar controller was interfaced into the WFCO. Live and learn...
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