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Old 12-21-2017, 08:15 PM   #1
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inverter question

Hello all,

Does anyone have experience/knowledge about the higher end inverter option offered in the 21, the one with the automatic transfer switch?

The standard converter/charger uses voltages that are too low to charge AGM batteries correctly, and I am wondering if the higher end inverter is set up to do a better job. I am also wondering how the wiring deals with the conflicting battery charging voltages of inverters and the standard converter/charger.

Thanks,

Allan Edie
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:57 PM   #2
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Two different things Allan. The inverter won't charge your batteries, but runs off them. It has no charging capability, but simply inverts DC to AC.

The converter/charger that Escape uses with every trailer they sell is the WFCO 8955. And you're right that it won't provide the recomended charging voltage for the AGM batteries you mention. In fact, it won't provide adequate charging voltage for the stock Interstate flooded cell batteries either.

Bottom line is, the inverter option is just a means of "inverting" DC power from the batteries to AC power. The automatic transfer switch to all outlets just means that when the inverter is in use, all AC outlets in the trailer will work.

I know of no way to get adequate charging voltage for those batteries short of replacing the charger in the stock WFCO. If you want to do that, it's not that hard, and will cost less than $200. If you're talking about solar charging, the stock solar charge controller does have settings for AGM, but of course that is only happening when adequate power is being generated by the panel. It's also questionable whether or not the GoPower PWM solar controller (part of the solar option) can provide adequate charging voltage.

You could do what alot of us do, including myself: use the system as is, which will only charge the batteries to about 80% of their actual capacity, and pretend it's 100%.

One of these days I'll get around to installing a Progressive Dynamics charger in my WFCO. And then maybe relocate some things, and replace the runs from the batteries to the charger with thicker wires, and then.....
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Old 12-22-2017, 09:55 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
Two different things Allan. The inverter won't charge your batteries, but runs off them. It has no charging capability, but simply inverts DC to AC.

The converter/charger that Escape uses with every trailer they sell is the WFCO 8955. And you're right that it won't provide the recomended charging voltage for the AGM batteries you mention. In fact, it won't provide adequate charging voltage for the stock Interstate flooded cell batteries either.

Bottom line is, the inverter option is just a means of "inverting" DC power from the batteries to AC power. The automatic transfer switch to all outlets just means that when the inverter is in use, all AC outlets in the trailer will work.

I know of no way to get adequate charging voltage for those batteries short of replacing the charger in the stock WFCO. If you want to do that, it's not that hard, and will cost less than $200. If you're talking about solar charging, the stock solar charge controller does have settings for AGM, but of course that is only happening when adequate power is being generated by the panel. It's also questionable whether or not the GoPower PWM solar controller (part of the solar option) can provide adequate charging voltage.

You could do what alot of us do, including myself: use the system as is, which will only charge the batteries to about 80% of their actual capacity, and pretend it's 100%.

One of these days I'll get around to installing a Progressive Dynamics charger in my WFCO. And then maybe relocate some things, and replace the runs from the batteries to the charger with thicker wires, and then.....
We have camped for a week at a time and with our 50 TA and with reasonable sun light the batteries would usually show better than 90% before sun going down. Even in some moderately shaded sites we usually got around 85% charge. Is the solar monitor not accurate?
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Old 12-22-2017, 10:13 AM   #4
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I second rbryan's comments. The inverter "uses energy" and converter/charger puts energy back into the batteries. I also agree the factory charger is weak in that it does not drive the batteries up to full charge and its settings are not adjustable. I will likely change it out to the Progressive Dynamics at some point. Also any solar charger does a better job and usually has basic voltage settings.

I have the ETI 1500w inverter with automatic transfer switch (WFCO). I have the GoPower 1500w inverter. Of course, ETI could change this at any time. How it works, is when I turn the inverter "on", the transfer switch automatically switches and all the A/C outlets become live, powered by the inverter, drawing power from the batteries. The only exceptions are that the air conditioner (the other "A/C") and the electric water heater circuits are not powered by the inverter. If you choose not to get the automatic transfer switch, I believe the factory ETI inverter installation includes only a single A/C outlet that gets powered.

The installation and wiring done by ETI is very nice and tidy. The install is done with properly sized wires (big cables) and the proper high-amp fuse. The automatic transfer switch mounts on the top/backside of the breaker/power panel. The 1500w inverter location will depend on the model and if you get a U dinette or not. Plus, in reading the forums, it seems ETI varies the location from time to time. Different people report slightly different locations, even when the same floor plan layout.
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Old 12-22-2017, 10:19 AM   #5
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And yes, the solar controller is not accurate in reporting battery charge.

Neither is the ETI built in "system lights".

Both of these are merely using the battery voltage to give an indication of charge. And if you read anything about batteries, you will learn than using voltage is only an estimate, and that estimate is lying most of the time. You can only use simple voltage to determine battery charge IF the battery has no load and no charge AND has been in this resting state for at least an hour. Well, an RV battery is rarely at rest. If solar is connected, likely some level of charge is occuring. If plugged into shore power, also some charge may be occuring. If there is anything connected, a load is occuring.

The best method of really knowing your battery state of charge is installing a battery monitoring system such as the TriMetric or Victron BMV-700. These devices measure every electron going into or out of the battery, so it can indicate state of charge independent of the voltage reading.
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Old 12-22-2017, 10:44 AM   #6
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...these are merely using the battery voltage to give an indication of charge. And if you read anything about batteries, you will learn than using voltage is only an estimate, and that estimate is lying most of the time. You can only use simple voltage to determine battery charge IF the battery has no load and no charge AND has been in this resting state for at least an hour. Well, an RV battery is rarely at rest. If solar is connected, likely some level of charge is occuring. If plugged into shore power, also some charge may be occuring. If there is anything connected, a load is occuring.

The best method of really knowing your battery state of charge is installing a battery monitoring system such as the TriMetric or Victron BMV-700. These devices measure every electron going into or out of the battery, so it can indicate state of charge independent of the voltage reading.
Yep, I agree. A good battery monitor with a shunt as close to the batteries as possible will tell you the actual state of charge, as well as other useful info. Those who use one soon find that the "100" reading on the charger is not accurate.

As for cabling, I agree that the factory does make the wiring tidy, and it's routed well. The only thing I'd like to see is thicker cables. That's even more crucial when the batteries are a good distance away from the charger. The Solar controller should also be mounted closer to the batteries, with thicker cables. The amount of voltage lost between the panel and the charge controller is significant. Even more significant is the voltage lost between the charge controller and the batteries. If you had to choose between a long cable run from the panel to the charge controller, or a long run from the charge controller to the batteries, choose the long run between the panel and the charger. Adequate cable thickness and shorter runs is most important between any charging source and the batteries it charges.
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Old 12-22-2017, 11:21 AM   #7
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Hi RBryan4. Can you steer me in the right direction? I went to the Progressive Dynamics website and they offer 3 options for RVs -- PD9100, PD9200, and PD4600. This is not an area of strength for me, so I'll rely on your good advice. I'm interested in replacing or upgrading my converter so it operates most efficiently. I have two 6v batteries installed. Thanks.
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Old 12-22-2017, 12:29 PM   #8
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Hi RBryan4. Can you steer me in the right direction? I went to the Progressive Dynamics website and they offer 3 options for RVs -- PD9100, PD9200, and PD4600. This is not an area of strength for me, so I'll rely on your good advice. I'm interested in replacing or upgrading my converter so it operates most efficiently. I have two 6v batteries installed. Thanks.
Jeff, There's a guy named Randy who owns Bestconverter.com, very knowledgeable about these things and has good prices too. Might be worth a call.
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Old 12-22-2017, 01:38 PM   #9
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Thanks for the lead, Padlin.
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Old 12-22-2017, 01:50 PM   #10
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I second Bob's recommendation. Talk to Randy at bestconverter.com. Make sure to tell him what batteries you'll be charging, and the recommended charging voltage. PD makes some chargers that output 14.4V, and some that output 14.8. That .4V difference is significant for how fast you charge, and how fully charged your batteries can actually get.
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