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Old 12-25-2017, 11:28 PM   #1
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Progressive Dynamics 14.8v Charging Rate

Does anyone have experience with the Progressive Dynamics 14.8v converter sold by BestConverter.com? I haven’t been able to contact Randy to find out if the bump from the standard bulk/absorption rate of 14.4v to 14.8v is a Progressive Dynamics OEM option, or an after-market modification performed by Randy.

This has implications for the converter warranty.

I assume the standard Interstate batteries provided by Escape would appreciate the 14.8v charging rate, correct?
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Old 12-26-2017, 12:28 AM   #2
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It's based on a model variant, and not a modification made by Randy as far as I know. The PD9260C model for example (the one that's probably most suitable for an Escape) is offered in 14.4 and 14.8 volts. You'll get the full warranty with either one. And yes, since Interstate suggests a higher boost mode voltage than the normal 14.4V, the 14.8V during boost means you get alot closer to a full charge before the step down to 13.6V that completes the charge.

It's not ideal though that the PD4655V upgrade kit doesn't offer a boost charging voltage of 14.8V, since that kit is specifically designed to be a direct swap out for the charger/board in the stock WFCO. Retrofitting the 9200 series charger means a little trickier install since it's not a direct swap out into the same enclosure like the 4655.

Either one however is a true 4 stage charger with the charge wizard and the ability to change modes. This is a big step up from the WFCO which won't desulfate at all, and whose DC filter is inferior - as anyone who's had the 'multiple flickering lights' issue can attest.
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Old 12-26-2017, 01:59 AM   #3
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Very interesting, rbryan4. Thanks for the response. That’s good to know. Nothing on the PD website mentions the 14.8v option (as far as I can find), but it makes sense that Randy isn’t making the modification himself. That would presumably void the warranty. Perhaps 14.8v is an option provided only to BestConverter, as I haven’t seen it offered anywhere else.

And thanks also for the info regarding the flickering lights! I’ve been plagued with that problem, and even after speaking with Reace the flickering continued intermittently.
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Old 12-26-2017, 08:51 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jeff and Karen View Post
Nothing on the PD website mentions the 14.8v option (as far as I can find), but it makes sense that Randy isn’t making the modification himself. That would presumably void the warranty. Perhaps 14.8v is an option provided only to BestConverter, as I haven’t seen it offered anywhere else.
When I switched mine out, Randy told me that PD manufactures them to his specs so that is why you do not see them on PD’s site or other websites. The 14.8v also works well with my Lifeline AGM batteries. Randy told me I would be much happier with It than the WFCO and he was correct......I am.
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Old 12-26-2017, 10:24 PM   #5
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I wanted to follow up after speaking with Randy at BestConverter.com. It was an interesting conversation to be sure, but here’s the bottom line.

Randy does NOT recommend the 14.8v model. Not at all. He said he only carries it to placate customers who insist on the higher voltage model against his advice. Ha! Instead, he says the BY FAR best option for Escape owners is the Progressive Dynamics Model PD4655VL.

Alrighty! What do I know? Randy’s the expert. He says this converter will charge my Interstate batteries every bit as fast as the 14.8v converter. It seems counterintuitive and it’s all magic to me, but I’ll buy what he recommends.
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Old 12-26-2017, 10:27 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jeff and Karen View Post
I wanted to follow up after speaking with Randy at BestConverter.com. It was an interesting conversation to be sure, but here’s the bottom line.

Randy does NOT recommend the 14.8v model. Not at all. He said he only carries it to placate customers who insist on the higher voltage model against his advice. Ha! Instead, he says the BY FAR best option for Escape owners is the Progressive Dynamics Model PD4655VL.

Alrighty! What do I know? Randy’s the expert. He says this converter will charge my Interstate batteries every bit as fast as the 14.8v converter. It seems counterintuitive and it’s all magic to me, but I’ll buy what he recommends.
He said the same to me some time back. While Interstate does recommend a significantly higher boost voltage, Randy does have many years of actual experience on his side, so who knows. The great thing about the PD4655 kit, as I mentioned earlier, is that it's a direct fit in the WFCO enclosure. Basically routing and terminating 5 wires or so and you're done.
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Old 12-27-2017, 09:49 AM   #7
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An earlier thread said the PD4655MBA and now I'm seeing PD4655V(L). Can someone please clarify the difference? I see on BestConverter.com the PD4655MBA "WildKat" for $193 and a PD4655V for $197.50. The photos are a bit different, but there is no description for the PD4655V. Thanks!

http://www.bestconverter.com/PD4655M...l#.WkO04HlG1aQ

http://www.bestconverter.com/PD4655V...l#.WkO1BnlG1aQ
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Old 12-27-2017, 09:52 AM   #8
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This is from the Handy Bob website on battery charging.

Get the battery manufacturer’s charging specifications and pay strict attention to them. The charger manufacturers are nearly all not setting their equipment up for the voltage that the battery manufacturers specify. The difference between 14.4 & 14.8 volts is not 3%. That difference is nearly 20% of the charging range (12.2 to 14.8 volts). That 20% makes a huge difference in how full the battery gets before the charger shuts off. You can eventually get the batteries full by charging at 14.4 volts, but it takes hours, not minutes.

I think most of the companies selling chargers feel more comfortable going with a lower charge voltage because it does not require as much battery maintenance. (checking the water level) While the may result in less battery capacity the company is not going to be blamed for frying the batteries.

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Old 12-27-2017, 10:15 AM   #9
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Oops. I stated the 14.8v works well with my Lifeline AGMs, and I meant to say the PD4655V upgrade works well with them. But the point I wanted to make was that PD does build the 14.8v unit for Randy.
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Old 12-27-2017, 11:29 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
An earlier thread said the PD4655MBA and now I'm seeing PD4655V(L). Can someone please clarify the difference? I see on BestConverter.com the PD4655MBA "WildKat" for $193 and a PD4655V for $197.50. The photos are a bit different, but there is no description for the PD4655V. Thanks!

http://www.bestconverter.com/PD4655M...l#.WkO04HlG1aQ

http://www.bestconverter.com/PD4655V...l#.WkO1BnlG1aQ
Yeah, it's hard to tell the difference Dave. The info is scattered around and doesn't do a very good job of pointing out the differences in models. Basically the 4655V includes the metal box enclosure and the little bus board, to replace the one in the WFCO. The "MBA" in 4655MBA means "main board assembly". So, it doesn't include the metal box and the little board, just the converter main board. The "L" in the VL model means it has a jumper to allow you to charge lithium ion batteries. Strictly speaking, all you'd need is the main board assembly but if Randy is recommending the one with the metal enclosure, maybe go with that? You could ask Randy for more details.
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Old 12-27-2017, 03:42 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
Yeah, it's hard to tell the difference Dave. The info is scattered around and doesn't do a very good job of pointing out the differences in models. Basically the 4655V includes the metal box enclosure and the little bus board, to replace the one in the WFCO. The "MBA" in 4655MBA means "main board assembly". So, it doesn't include the metal box and the little board, just the converter main board. The "L" in the VL model means it has a jumper to allow you to charge lithium ion batteries. Strictly speaking, all you'd need is the main board assembly but if Randy is recommending the one with the metal enclosure, maybe go with that? You could ask Randy for more details.
Thanks Robert. I put an inquiry in with Randy at Best Conveter to get more details. I'll post back with my findings.
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:23 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
An earlier thread said the PD4655MBA and now I'm seeing PD4655V(L). Can someone please clarify the difference? I see on BestConverter.com the PD4655MBA "WildKat" for $193 and a PD4655V for $197.50. The photos are a bit different, but there is no description for the PD4655V. Thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
Yeah, it's hard to tell the difference Dave. The info is scattered around and doesn't do a very good job of pointing out the differences in models. Basically the 4655V includes the metal box enclosure and the little bus board, to replace the one in the WFCO. The "MBA" in 4655MBA means "main board assembly". So, it doesn't include the metal box and the little board, just the converter main board. The "L" in the VL model means it has a jumper to allow you to charge lithium ion batteries. Strictly speaking, all you'd need is the main board assembly but if Randy is recommending the one with the metal enclosure, maybe go with that? You could ask Randy for more details.
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Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
Thanks Robert. I put an inquiry in with Randy at Best Conveter to get more details. I'll post back with my findings.
I finally spoke with Randy from Best Converter and he is recommending the newer Progressive Dynamics PD4655LMBA which is the best option for a seamless retrofit of the WFCO 8955 main board. This does not require a change out of the DC board and comes with the charge wizard remote. Also has a jumper for lithium battery charging. Here is a direct link:

PD 4655L MBA WildKat 55 Amp Main Board Assembly for WFCO 8955 or Parallax 7155 (Includes 4600 Remote)
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Old 02-05-2018, 12:37 PM   #13
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I finally spoke with Randy from Best Converter and he is recommending the newer Progressive Dynamics PD4655LMBA which is the best option for a seamless retrofit of the WFCO 8955 main board. This does not require a change out of the DC board and comes with the charge wizard remote. Also has a jumper for lithium battery charging. Here is a direct link:

PD 4655L MBA WildKat 55 Amp Main Board Assembly for WFCO 8955 or Parallax 7155 (Includes 4600 Remote)
Makes sense Dave. Just the board. I'm not sure you'd ever need lithium charging, but at least you'll have the jumper if you do.
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Old 02-05-2018, 01:52 PM   #14
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By the way, the PD4655LMBA is $213 + shipping. Randy was a pleasure to deal with and the unit has already shipped.
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Old 02-15-2018, 10:21 PM   #15
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Installed it today

I installed the Progressive Dynamics PD4655LMBA WildKat replacement converter main board today. Went very well and fit perfectly in the stock WFCO 8955 lower enclosure. It did not require replacement of the DC board as earlier kits did. Only required 3 wires on the AC side and 2 wires on the DC side to be terminated. I routed the charge wizard pendant into the dinette underseat area near the EMS. Tested in all modes and saw 14.4V in “boost”, 13.6V in “normal” and 13.2V in “storage” just as expected. Looking forward to this upgrade treating the batteries better and giving the flexibility to force the mode into boost to get a quicker recharge on generator when boondocking for weeks at a time (no solar...yet).

As far as quality of the build you will notice a much larger heat sink and two variable speed cooling fans.
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Old 02-16-2018, 10:29 PM   #16
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Thanks for the Wildcat installation information. Mine is sitting in its box waiting for me to get busy.
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Old 02-16-2018, 10:44 PM   #17
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Yes, thanks Dave. What might be SUPER useful is an installation walk through for the wiring, showing what terminates where. You can make out where some of the wires terminate from one of the photos, but perhaps a follow up showing where they all go.
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Old 02-17-2018, 07:58 AM   #18
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Yes, thanks Dave. What might be SUPER useful is an installation walk through for the wiring, showing what terminates where. You can make out where some of the wires terminate from one of the photos, but perhaps a follow up showing where they all go.
5 wires come off and 5 go back on. **The wires on the new unit are labeled with stickers but make certain you have AC and DC straight because there are common colors.** On the AC side the small green wire goes to the ground bar, the white wire to the neutral bar and black to the hot. My converter hot was twinned on a 15A breaker with the fridge with a “utility pigtail”. I presume this is common practice so that only one wire is under the breaker lug. I simply cut the black wire connection of the original converter and used a wire nut and electrical tape to tie in black on the new converter. On the DC side the white goes to the DC board negative lug “NEG-“ and the black goes to the DC board positive lug “+VCC”. I did not remove the DC board so the trickiest part was getting the new wires routed behind the board and the out the left side and manipulated under the lugs in an area with limited space. Needle nose pliers are your friend. Then just route and carefully plug the charge wizard pendant in to the connection on the main board. Force it through the modes to make sure it is operating properly. Best done with a voltmeter on the DC board converter lugs mentioned above with battery isolated. I thought mine wasn’t going into storage mode, but it was backfeed with 13.5V from the batteries so I didn’t read 13.2 until I isolated. Hope this helps.

This is the same manual sent with the new converter. Page 4 covers the install:
http://www.bestconverter.com/assets/...55TVmanual.pdf
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Old 02-17-2018, 11:06 AM   #19
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Dave,
If you had the factory solar option and dual 6 ers, would you have still performed this change?
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Old 02-17-2018, 12:53 PM   #20
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Dave,
If you had the factory solar option and dual 6 ers, would you have still performed this change?
I would not speak for Dave, but I would think yes. Dual 6V batteries benefit from a better charging profile just like any others do. And then there's the benefit of cleaner conversion and better DC filtering, as well as the ability to manually change the charging mode. And take a look at the difference in the heat sink, and dual fans. A much better unit all around.
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