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Old 01-16-2014, 03:06 PM   #1
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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
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Old 01-16-2014, 04:58 PM   #2
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Jamie - how does that Powermax one compare to the WFCO OEM ones?
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Old 01-16-2014, 06:47 PM   #3
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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
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:38 PM   #4
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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.
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:26 PM   #5
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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
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Old 01-16-2014, 10:18 PM   #6
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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.
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Old 01-16-2014, 10:20 PM   #7
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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.
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Old 01-16-2014, 10:30 PM   #8
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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.
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Old 01-16-2014, 10:44 PM   #9
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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.
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Old 01-17-2014, 08:01 AM   #10
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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
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