Converter Questions! - Page 4 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 08-05-2016, 10:50 PM   #31
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The discussion of shutoff switch wiring came out of this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerbelle View Post
Also am now confused about how converter works. If I'm on shore power but battery is disconnected, my frig doesn't work at all--not on propane, not on shore, and obviously not on battery. Why is that? Nor do lights or fan, which makes sense.
The shutoff switch separates the battery from the everything that uses power - the 12V circuits which come from the distribution panel with fuses. Everything 12-volt is on one side or the other of this switch. There are two possible ways to wire the shutoff switch, relative to the converter:
  1. Converter output on battery side of shutoff switch
    • When the switch is "off" (opened, no connection, for storage) the converter output is not connected to the fuse panel, so nothing 12V works.
    • Cathy (float5; 2011 19' & 2015 21') and Robert (rbryan4; 2015 19') have reported having this setup in their Escapes; Dale (War Eagle) also has this in his EggCamper
  2. Converter output on panel side of shutoff switch
    • When the switch is "off" (opened, no connection, for storage) the converter output is still connected to the fuse panel, so everything 12V still works if shore power is connected and the converter is on.
    • Tom (Kountrykamper; 2013 19'), Dave (rubicon327;2010 19') and Steve (St3v3;2015 15A) have reported having this setup in their Escapes.
    • Steve documented this wiring in a diagram posted in the EscapeForum document collection, and confirmed the behaviour in a private message.
Which of these wiring designs you have may depend on year of build, model, selected options, or some combination of these factors. When the switch is "on" (closed, connected, for normal use) the two designs behave identically.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerbelle View Post
What I don't understand is why, when the disconnect switch is in the "off" position, despite being hooked to shore power, I have no lights or fan, and the frig, despite being set to AC mode, doesn't work. Is that normal? Because I hadn't ever had cause to turn the disconnect switch to off before, I didn't realize that even with shore power I'd not have lights or fan or frig.
If you have no 12V DC power (and the lack of lights and fan suggests this is the case), then it is normal that the refrigerator doesn't work because - as baglo and Cathy explained - the controls for the refrigerator run on 12 volts DC, regardless of what power source is selected to do the work of cooling.

If you have the converter output on battery side of shutoff switch, then it is normal for everything 12V DC (including the refrigerator regardless of mode) to stop working when the shutoff switch is in the storage position. If you have the converter output on panel side of shutoff switch then this is not normal - everything should keep working on converter power, so either
  • the converter is off, or
  • it is defective, or
  • there is a wiring problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerbelle View Post
And, the fan/hum noise coming from the vents directly behind the frig on the outside of the trailer is still loud and I don't know if that's normal. I am perplexed!
As described, that's perplexing, because if the 12 volt load circuits are not getting power, no 12V fan should be getting power. If you are hearing a 12V refrigerator fan, I would wonder where that fan is getting its power; if what you are hearing is actually the converter's internal cooling fan, that makes more sense because it runs on 120V AC (shore) power.


If this were my trailer, I would next determine which of the two shutoff wiring schemes I have, or check if the converter is really working by testing its output directly; either one will help determine the other, and we can help with suggested methods for either.
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Old 08-06-2016, 07:05 AM   #32
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I think I would prefer any charging, whether solar or converter, to be on the battery side of the cut-off switch, and any potential load to be on the other side of the switch.

If for any reason you need power for any device or light, then you just need to have the switch on.

I can't see any reason to have it otherwise.
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Old 08-06-2016, 01:14 PM   #33
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I can see the argument for putting all power sources on the battery side of the cutoff switch. Putting aside which way is "right", or simply desirable, putting the converter output on the battery side means bringing the output out of the converter box, on a separate wire from the line from switch to fuse panel; I'm not surprised that this connection is sometimes simply made directly within the converter box.

The relevance to the original post is that any particular Escape could have either design, and you can't understand what your trailer is doing normally - or troubleshoot when it's not working correctly - unless you know which one you have.
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Old 08-06-2016, 02:09 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
I can see the argument for putting all power sources on the battery side of the cutoff switch. Putting aside which way is "right", or simply desirable, putting the converter output on the battery side means bringing the output out of the converter box, on a separate wire from the line from switch to fuse panel; I'm not surprised that this connection is sometimes simply made directly within the converter box.

The relevance to the original post is that any particular Escape could have either design, and you can't understand what your trailer is doing normally - or troubleshoot when it's not working correctly - unless you know which one you have.
Which is why a wiring diagram for the trailer you own is important. I have one for my Casita and documenting one for the new Escape will be a first priority. How can you troubleshoot an electrical problem if you don't know where the wires go?

It seems that sharing a wiring diagram from another Escape doesn't help as they are not all wired the same. The pull and trace to find wires is a tough way to go.
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Old 08-06-2016, 02:52 PM   #35
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I don't see how Brian's option 1. - Converter output on battery side of shutoff switch - is possible with the converter box I have, as the converter and 12V distribution fuses are integrated into the same box. This configuration would have the battery cutoff switch isolating the battery and converter output from the 12V fuses. The external wiring from the converter to the 12V loads is after the 12V fuse panel, you would need a cutoff for each 12v circuit.

I am thinking that the converter box turns off the converter function if it detects a zero battery voltage, which would be the case when the battery disconnect switch is off. The WFCO manual says that it determines converter mode (float/bulk/absorption) based on the RV voltage.

That could be why owners have suggested they have Brian's Option 1.

I will have to test this the next time I am on shore power.
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Old 08-06-2016, 04:57 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KirkB View Post
I don't see how Brian's option 1. - Converter output on battery side of shutoff switch - is possible with the converter box I have, as the converter and 12V distribution fuses are integrated into the same box. This configuration would have the battery cutoff switch isolating the battery and converter output from the 12V fuses. The external wiring from the converter to the 12V loads is after the 12V fuse panel, you would need a cutoff for each 12v circuit.
Although in integrated RV power centres - such as the WFCO 8900 Series - the converter (power supply) is in the same cabinet as the distribution (fuse) panel, there is a pair of wires taking the converter output to the fuse panel. To shutoff all circuits only that one wire needs to be routed out of the WFCO cabinet. Although this is not an obvious thing to do, it certainly can be done. I'll attach a diagram clipped from the WF-8955 installation manual and annotated to show these wires (positive and negative).

Quote:
Originally Posted by KirkB View Post
I am thinking that the converter box turns off the converter function if it detects a zero battery voltage, which would be the case when the battery disconnect switch is off. The WFCO manual says that it determines converter mode (float/bulk/absorption) based on the RV voltage.

That could be why owners have suggested they have Brian's Option 1.

I will have to test this the next time I am on shore power.
I understand the logic; however...
  • Steven tried this, and reported
    Quote:
    There is just a small flicker of the lights when I flip the switch ON or OFF with AC power connected.
  • In a separate thread, we were assured that with no battery connected the WFCO converter would just run as a regulated power supply. The operation manual list of modes suggests that it would stay in the absporption mode, or perhaps switch between float mode (when there is no load) and absorption mode (when anything draws current), depending on whether the battery was disconnected before or after the converter was powered on.
  • The WF-8955 operation manual includes this:
    Quote:
    Before checking the converter output voltage, it is necessary to disconnect the battery cables at the battery . Make sure the converter is plugged into AC source (105-132 Volts). Check the converter output voltage at the battery with a voltmeter. Place the probes on the disconnected battery cables; place the Positive (red) meter probe on the + positive red battery wire and place the Negative (black) meter probe on the -Negative black wire on the battery cable. Be sure you have good connections at the cables. If the voltage reads 13.6 Vdc (+/-.2) with no load, the converter is functioning properly.
    So, the method for testing the converter is to first disconnect it from the battery - it will run in this configuration (this says in absorption mode).
It could be that if you have the converter output on the panel side of the switch, and turn off the converter (by unplugging from shore power or turning off the 120V breaker supplying the converter), then open the shutoff switch (to disconnect the battery, then turn the converter on, the converter might not start up... but I think it will run just fine, as described in the test routine.

But yes.. please test!
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Old 08-06-2016, 05:34 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Although in integrated RV power centres - such as the WFCO 8900 Series - the converter (power supply) is in the same cabinet as the distribution (fuse) panel, there is a pair of wires taking the converter output to the fuse panel. To shutoff all circuits only that one wire needs to be routed out of the WFCO cabinet. Although this is not an obvious thing to do, it certainly can be done. I'll attach a diagram clipped from the WF-8955 installation manual and annotated to show these wires (positive and negative).


If only the output from the converter is going through the disconnect, then the battery is not disconnected. The battery is still connected to the 12V loads through the 40A polarity fuses. That would be pointless, as the disconnect is intended to be used when the trailer is in storage, not connected to shore power, so there is no real need to disconnect the converter output.

You do have a point that the battery should be disconnected to test the converter, so it should run without a battery connection.
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Old 08-06-2016, 05:49 PM   #38
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I have repaired several wiring circuits, replaced sub-gauge wiring, and the converter in the 19 escape manufactured in 2013. The WFCO unit is shipped directly from China with the power converter directly connected to the 12V fused power distribution panel. Considering the minimal electrical standards that is typical of ETI, it is hard to believe that they would take the WFCO unit apart to change the 12V circuits. The purpose of the WFCO unit is to provide 12V to the circuits that ETI attached to the fused distribution panel and to charge the battery. The battery cut off/disconnect simply opens the circuit between the battery and the 12V power distribution panel. If the WFCO unit is properly installed and not modified the trailer should have 12V output power to the circuits wired by ETI to the 12V distribution panel when the converter is connected to shore 120V power. The 12V from the converter is not controlled by the battery cut off switch.
It would be reasonable for ETI to provide a basic wiring diagram that does not include additional wiring for options. Surely they make up a basic wiring loom when installing the wiring during the trailer build. To run one wire at a time would be cost prohibitive.
Is buying an Escape trailer like buying a box of chocolates ?
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Old 08-06-2016, 06:49 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubal View Post
I have repaired several wiring circuits, replaced sub-gauge wiring, and the converter in the 19 escape manufactured in 2013. The WFCO unit is shipped directly from China with the power converter directly connected to the 12V fused power distribution panel. Considering the minimal electrical standards that is typical of ETI, it is hard to believe that they would take the WFCO unit apart to change the 12V circuits. The purpose of the WFCO unit is to provide 12V to the circuits that ETI attached to the fused distribution panel and to charge the battery. The battery cut off/disconnect simply opens the circuit between the battery and the 12V power distribution panel. If the WFCO unit is properly installed and not modified the trailer should have 12V output power to the circuits wired by ETI to the 12V distribution panel when the converter is connected to shore 120V power. The 12V from the converter is not controlled by the battery cut off switch.
It would be reasonable for ETI to provide a basic wiring diagram that does not include additional wiring for options. Surely they make up a basic wiring loom when installing the wiring during the trailer build. To run one wire at a time would be cost prohibitive.
Is buying an Escape trailer like buying a box of chocolates ?
Hi:Jubal... I don't for a minute believe ETI builds a trailer that doesn't meet code. If you have replaced sub gauge wiring and changed minimal electrical standards all ETI's current problems must be because of your complaints to the CSA/ASA.
Maybe its time you traded for a well built "Stickie" that will satisfy your craving for a well built box of chocolates!!! Alf
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Old 08-06-2016, 07:18 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KirkB View Post
If only the output from the converter is going through the disconnect, then the battery is not disconnected. The battery is still connected to the 12V loads through the 40A polarity fuses.
I agree, but why would anyone wire a trailer that way? The battery is always one side of the shutoff switch, and the fuse panel is always the other side, so the shutoff disconnects the battery. If the converter output is connected to the battery side of the switch then the switch disconnects the converter output; if the converter output is connected to the panel side of the switch (the normal wiring of the power centre) then the switch does not disconnect the converter output... but either way the battery gets disconnected from the loads.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KirkB View Post
That would be pointless, as the disconnect is intended to be used when the trailer is in storage, not connected to shore power, so there is no real need to disconnect the converter output.
I agree that for the purpose of storage (which is the point of the switch) the switch does not need to disconnect the converter output... which is why I don't know why anyone would bother wiring it that way, but some members have reported they have trailers which behave as if they have this configuration.

If you want to keep the battery charged from the converter while is storage (and connected to shore power), then you just leave the shutoff switch closed (on, in the "use" rather than "store" position).

By the way, to address the confusion about what "shutoff on" means, these switches are routinely called "battery disconnect" (rather than "shutoff") switches, and are labeled "Use" (closed, battery connected to loads) and "Store" (open, battery not connected to loads), especially when implemented with a relay.
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