Replacing stock WFCO converters - Escape Trailer Owners Community

Go Back   Escape Trailer Owners Community > Escape Tech > Escape Systems | Water, Waste, Charging & Propane
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 01-16-2014, 02:06 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
jamie beers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Vancouver, BC, British Columbia
Trailer: 19'
Posts: 325
Replacing stock WFCO converters

Hi, newbie with question for those who have replaced the stock WFCO converters with other equipment, such as the Powermax Boondocker, and have dual 6 volt batteries.

I've bought in to the idea of giving batteries the various charge rates that the manufacturers recommend to optimize battery performance, and am just trying to sort it out with the specific items in our trailers.

The stock ETI Interstate batteries are model GC2-XHD. From what I can see on their website, Interstate recommends these charge rates for these batteries:
-bulk 14.46
-absorption 15.3
-equalization 15.6

From what I can see on the Best Converter site, the Powermax Boondocker 4 45 amp Main board replacement puts out these rates:
-Normal (or bulk) 13.6
-Absorption (or boost) 14.6
-no "equalization" cycle. The desulfation cycle operates periodically during storage mode, for about 15 minutes, at 14.6 volts.

From what I can see in my limited experience, the Powermax doesn't seem to provide what the Interstate battery wants.

I've been looking at the Trojan T-105's because their recommended charge rates are lower than the Interstates, but the Powermax does not satisfy the Trojan's either.

Any comments or feedback would be really appreciated. j
__________________

jamie beers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2014, 03:58 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
thoer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Galesville, Wisconsin
Trailer: 2017 21 "Blue II" & 2017 Highlander XLE (previously 2010 17B "Blue" & 2008 Tacoma)
Posts: 4,207
Jamie - how does that Powermax one compare to the WFCO OEM ones?
__________________

__________________
Eric (and Mary who is in no way responsible for anything stupid I post)

"Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance." George Bernard Shaw
thoer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2014, 05:47 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
jamie beers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Vancouver, BC, British Columbia
Trailer: 19'
Posts: 325
Again, just a newbie blindly trying to figure this stuff out, But, the figures I see for the WF- 8955PEC 55 amp power centre are:

-Bulk mode 14.4
-Absorption 13.6
-Don't see an equalization rate

When I talked to Best Converter, I thought Randy said that in their Powermax specs "normal" equates to bulk, and "boost" equates to absorption.

But the WFCO site says "boost" is bulk, and "nominal" is absorption. Different terms are confusing.

At any rate, in the original post, the terms in brackets and their corresponding charge rates, are from the Best Converter web site .

Nonetheless, none of the figures seem to me to provide the interstate batteries what they want. Hence my call for help!

j
jamie beers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2014, 06:38 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Kountrykamper's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Middle, Tennessee
Trailer: 2017 Escape 19' #2
Posts: 1,442
I have installed 2 different smart chargers over the past years.
Progressive Dynamics & WFCO both purchased from best converter. I don't think you will find any converters with charge rates that high. Maybe a golf cart charger would.

I have used them on both standard and AGM batteries.
My conclusion is you can drive yourself crazy with this stuff. So long as you have a good multi stage charger you are fine. I'm leaving the standard 3 stage WFCO in our Escape until it breaks and just going to try to enjoy camping more without running around checking voltage outputs all the time. Left plugged in long enough 13.6 volts will charge any 12 volt system.
__________________
Tom
Kountrykamper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2014, 07:26 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
jamie beers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Vancouver, BC, British Columbia
Trailer: 19'
Posts: 325
I too am uninterested in running around checking voltage outputs all the time. Nor do I camp this time of year.

Moreover, it seems wasteful to me to spend extra money on solar and dual volt batteries and then be unable to utilize them fully. If doing a little research in my spare time, and perhaps spending a couple hundred dollars, would improve my battery performance then I am quite interested in doing so. j
jamie beers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2014, 09:18 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Trailer: 1979 Boler B1700
Posts: 11,801
I'll just suggest using "voltage" for voltage, and not calling it "rate". A given applied voltage could result in various charging current (which is what the term "rate" suggests), depending on factors such as the state of charge of the battery, and its internal resistance.

In a three-stage charging cycle, the first or "bulk" phase is not at a constant voltage; it is at a constant current, until a voltage limit is reached. In the second stage ("absorption" or "topping") the voltage is held constant (at the first voltage limit, or perhaps lower) while the current drops as the battery approaches fully charged. The third stage of "float" or "maintenance" is at a lower voltage than the first state limit or the second stage.

Interpreting the numbers posted here without checking any references:
  • It looks like the WFCO profile is a bulk stage ending at 14.4 volts followed by a compromise between absorption and float of 13.6 volts.
  • The Powermax numbers look like 13.6 volts for their compromise between absortption and float/maintenance (not bulk) which they call "normal", switching to a 14.6 volt bulk charge stage and maybe same-voltage absorption state (depending on how they decide to switch) which they call "boost".
... so the two are very similar. The Progressive Dynamics voltages are similar, but with addition of a 13.2 V float/maintenance mode.

These are not very far off the Interstate specs, but those specs are missing the float/maintenance voltage.
Brian B-P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2014, 09:20 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Kountrykamper's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Middle, Tennessee
Trailer: 2017 Escape 19' #2
Posts: 1,442
I have not seen a converter in the 55 amp range to deliver voltages as high as you found In the Interstate specs (14.4 -15.6).

The 6 volt batteries are basically golf cart batteries and you may get that voltage from a golf cart charger but as Brian said it's mostly about current.
__________________
Tom
Kountrykamper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2014, 09:30 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
gbaglo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: North Vancouver, British Columbia
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B - "Toad". '08 Toyota RAV4 V6
Posts: 13,673
I swear I read somewhere on this forum or FGRV, that golf cart batteries are actually 9V, not 6V. So, the 6V batteries aren't really "golf cart batteries".

Correction. 8V, not 9.
__________________
2009 Escape 17B "Toad"
2008 Toyota RAV4 V6 Sport
North Vancouver, British Columbia

What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
gbaglo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2014, 09:44 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Trailer: 1979 Boler B1700
Posts: 11,801
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
I swear I read somewhere on this forum or FGRV, that golf cart batteries are actually 9V, not 6V. So, the 6V batteries aren't really "golf cart batteries".
Close: from my reading of golf car specs online, the most popular configuration is a series of six batteries each of 8 volts, for a combined 48 V operating voltage. Eight batteries each of 6 V is an option, with higher capacity because all the batteries (6V or 8V) are about the same size, and thus more energy is stored by simply piling in more boxes of lead; the set is 48 volts either way, because that's what the motor is designed for. So batteries intended for golf car use are readily available in both 6V and 8V configurations (as well as 12V, perhaps for mini-putt ) - see the Trojan Battery Golf & Utility Vehicles page for examples.

Of course, 8 volt batteries are not very useful in 12 volt systems, so the golf car/cart batteries of interest to RV people are the 6V ones.

There's really nothing special about golf cars; the same batteries are used for them as for other similar heavy-duty industrial applications with similar requirements.
Brian B-P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2014, 07:01 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
Kountrykamper's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Middle, Tennessee
Trailer: 2017 Escape 19' #2
Posts: 1,442
Interstate labels them as Golf cart on their website

Interstate Batteries Golf Detail Page - Interstate GC2-XHD-S 6-Volt Golf Car Battery replacement battery
__________________
Tom
Kountrykamper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2014, 12:07 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
jamie beers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Vancouver, BC, British Columbia
Trailer: 19'
Posts: 325
Thanks everyone for taking time to reply.

I want to add that many of my questions stem from curiosity. I am really excited about getting an Escape trailer. I'm not sure whether we'll take home a bone stock model, or one with all the options. Regardless, I really enjoy studying all aspects of these awesome trailers.

Thanks again for your time. j
jamie beers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2014, 08:29 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
fudge_brownie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Janesville, WI, Wisconsin
Trailer: Escape 19 (sold) Escape 21 2014
Posts: 1,449
Jamie,
You request for a better smart battery charger/controller intrigued me. I, for one, have bad mouthed the WFCO and it seems only appropriate that it makes me somewhat responsible. I dislike when someone says something negative about a product and then does not offer an alternative.

I think we have pretty good specs for the WFCO controller already; the issue is the low absorption rate on this charger. We are only charging our batteries at 13.6 VA, a long way from the recommendations of Trojan for 14.8 VA and Interstate for 15.3 VA.

Here is a link for a further discussion of Interstate charge recommendations.

In searching for other charger/controllers I came up with the specs for GoPower GPC 35 and IOTA IQ4, the results were better when compared to the numbers for WFCO and the Progressive units. These both had an absorption rate of 14.2 VA. Better, but still quite away from the recommended 15.3.

I also looked at Progressive Dynamics Inteli-Power 4000, Parallax 7300, Atwood, and Progressive Dynamics Charge Wizard. They all were at a lower absorption rate then the GoPower and Iota.

The final charger/controller I found is actually just a charger. It is made for RVís and does not do the controller function that all the other models above perform. The Xantrex TrueCharge2 20 Amp has an option to charge at a voltage of 15.5 VA. This is a custom configuration that is a part of this charger and has preconfigured set points for charging. The set points are designed for a flooded type battery, usually a lead/calcium chemistry. In checking with Interstate the GC2 series is very close to this chemistry and this is an acceptable absorption charge rate.
__________________
Paul and Janet Braun
2003 Toyota 4Runner V8 now 2012 Toyota Sequoia V8
Escape 19' 2010 now 2014 Escape 21'
fudge_brownie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2014, 09:12 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
gbaglo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: North Vancouver, British Columbia
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B - "Toad". '08 Toyota RAV4 V6
Posts: 13,673
I don't pretend to understand, but would it not be adequate to charge the battery with an external charger from time to time?
My plan is to carry my battery charger to to back up my inadequate solar panel.
__________________
2009 Escape 17B "Toad"
2008 Toyota RAV4 V6 Sport
North Vancouver, British Columbia

What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
gbaglo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2014, 10:11 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
jamie beers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Vancouver, BC, British Columbia
Trailer: 19'
Posts: 325
Quote:
Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post

The final charger/controller I found is actually just a charger. It is made for RVís and does not do the controller function that all the other models above perform. The Xantrex TrueCharge2 20 Amp has an option to charge at a voltage of 15.5 VA. This is a custom configuration that is a part of this charger and has preconfigured set points for charging. The set points are designed for a flooded type battery, usually a lead/calcium chemistry. In checking with Interstate the GC2 series is very close to this chemistry and this is an acceptable absorption charge rate.
Thanks for the info. I did some reading (in my spare time ) about the Truecharge2, and it does seem to fit the recommended voltages. I did come across some site, maybe Amazon?, where many reviewers complained about it failing.....

Gives me things to think about while winter's here. j
jamie beers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2014, 10:12 PM   #15
Senior Member
 
KarenH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Bellingham and Glacier, Washington
Trailer: 2013 Escape 15A
Posts: 1,981
Send a message via Skype™ to KarenH
I’ve read all the recent posts about converters, inverters, charge rates, etc., and went through several emotional ups and downs: curiosity, consternation, outright concern, and finally plain old acceptance.

I have a cabin which is off-grid. I have six 6-volt batteries, a 2500-watt inverter, and a 6000-watt propane generator. I never paid attention to much of anything (except routine maintenance) other than if the batteries were low, I fired up the generator until they were fully charged and then I shut it off. I got ten years out of my first set of batteries (when I was working and was there only about every other weekend) and seven years out of the second set (after I retired and was there a lot). While Egbert is still fairly young—less than a year old—I have taken him out on four excursions and have never run out of juice with what I now have learned is a less-than-adequate solar panel and converter set-up. I’m either incredibly lucky or incredibly stupid or both, but I don’t plan to change my equipment or the way I do things. I’m camping, after all, and refuse to monitor every amp, volt, or ohm while I’m enjoying myself. It works for me and I’m happy. I hope that there are others who are enjoying their Escapes as much as I!
__________________
Karen Hulford
2013 Escape 15A, "Egbert"
Ford 150 XLT 5.8L
Bellingham, Washington
KarenH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2014, 10:33 PM   #16
Senior Member
 
paulw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Marysville, Washington
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21 & Chevy Silverado 5.3L EcoTec
Posts: 632
Well said Karen
paulw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2014, 10:39 PM   #17
Senior Member
 
gbaglo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: North Vancouver, British Columbia
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B - "Toad". '08 Toyota RAV4 V6
Posts: 13,673
I didn't have any battery problems until I started reading these posts.
__________________
2009 Escape 17B "Toad"
2008 Toyota RAV4 V6 Sport
North Vancouver, British Columbia

What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
gbaglo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2014, 06:02 AM   #18
Site Team
 
cpaharley2008's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Chilliwack, British Columbia
Trailer: Escape#4, 2019 Escape21 DejaView pulled by 2014 Ram Hemi/8sp
Posts: 19,409
I'm with you Glenn, ignorance is bliss……. it works and I'm happy. Whether it works as good as it can is another story but it works.
__________________
Jim
It is not the years in your life but the life in your years Lincoln
cpaharley2008 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2014, 07:25 AM   #19
Senior Member
 
kstock11's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Asheville, North Carolina
Trailer: 2014 Escape 19
Posts: 803
I purchased an Escape because I feel that I will get good value for my money. I added solar so that I can camp in the generator free zones and also so that my batteries will be charged when I store it "offsite." My expectations are that the system installed by Reace will fulfill my expectations. Now is my time to plan trips and enjoy!
__________________
Kevin
Thanks to the interstate highway system, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything - Charles Kuralt
kstock11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2014, 07:40 AM   #20
Site Team
 
cpaharley2008's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Chilliwack, British Columbia
Trailer: Escape#4, 2019 Escape21 DejaView pulled by 2014 Ram Hemi/8sp
Posts: 19,409
Exactly my thoughts, the quality is unsurpassed for 99% of the owners.
__________________

__________________
Jim
It is not the years in your life but the life in your years Lincoln
cpaharley2008 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off






» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Escape Trailer Industries or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:03 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.
×