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Old 12-24-2017, 09:41 AM   #1
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Understanding Charging Systems

Here's a great series of blog posts about how RV battery charging systems work.
https://roadslesstraveled.us/rv-mari...harging-basics
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Old 12-24-2017, 09:47 AM   #2
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Thanks! I am all about learning new stuff!!!


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Old 12-24-2017, 04:31 PM   #3
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Am wanting to check specific gravity on my dual 6V. As per instructions I removed any charge source by disconnecting negative then positive cables and am going to let them rest for an hour.

Weird thing is my interior lights and range hood fan still work! Huh? I do have factory solar.

No shore power or umbilical connected btw.
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Old 12-24-2017, 04:40 PM   #4
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The lights are flickering; perhaps there is some residual power stored somewhere.
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Old 12-24-2017, 04:51 PM   #5
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The lights are flickering; perhaps there is some residual power stored somewhere.
If your battery disconnect is in the normal (ON) position, your solar system would be connected to the trailer 12V system, so your solar is running the lights directly. Check your solar manual, it might suggest to cover the solar panels if disconnecting the battery.

But leaving a 12V load from the trailer ON might keep the solar controller within its operating voltage range.
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Old 12-24-2017, 05:48 PM   #6
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Am wanting to check specific gravity on my dual 6V. As per instructions I removed any charge source by disconnecting negative then positive cables and am going to let them rest for an hour.

Weird thing is my interior lights and range hood fan still work! Huh? I do have factory solar.

No shore power or umbilical connected btw.
This is a bad idea if you have the GoPower solar controller. The manual states that the panels must be disconnected (or covered) before the controller is disconnected from the batteries.

Unless you have added a panel disconnect switch, if you have solar, the best way to check the battery state of charge by voltage is to wait until dark, unplug from any other charging source (the tow vehicle and campground power pedestal), then add a small load (an amp or two) for half an hour or so, remove the load, and measure the voltage.
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Old 12-24-2017, 05:59 PM   #7
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So I guess we have the common single stage Atwood 55?
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Old 12-24-2017, 06:29 PM   #8
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If you are asking about the converter, it's a WFCO 8955 if things have not changed. It's a multistage, but rarely goes into bulk.
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Old 12-24-2017, 06:57 PM   #9
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If you are asking about the converter, it's a WFCO 8955 if things have not changed. It's a multistage, but rarely goes into bulk.
Great...thanks
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Old 12-24-2017, 07:40 PM   #10
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This is a bad idea if you have the GoPower solar controller. The manual states that the panels must be disconnected (or covered) before the controller is disconnected from the batteries.

Unless you have added a panel disconnect switch, if you have solar, the best way to check the battery state of charge by voltage is to wait until dark, unplug from any other charging source (the tow vehicle and campground power pedestal), then add a small load (an amp or two) for half an hour or so, remove the load, and measure the voltage.
So I read the instructions before starting as I seem to remember you or someone else stating the above warning, however I didn't see it. I do sometimes have the Mr. Magoo syndrom(which drives Susan nuts!), however does anyone else see it in the instructions? I did this two years ago when replacing my Group 29 12V with dual 6V and had no problem then either. Anyway, have put it all back together and seems ok.

http://gpelectric.com/files/gpelectr...-PWM-30_vD.pdf
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Old 12-24-2017, 09:15 PM   #11
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Am wanting to check specific gravity on my dual 6V. As per instructions I removed any charge source by disconnecting negative then positive cables and am going to let them rest for an hour.
...
If you absolutely want to "disconnect" the batteries with a minimum of work then remove one end of the wire that goes between the two 6s. It doesn't matter which end.

When this is done then neither the solar charger, any other charger, nor any discharge loads, will have an effect on the batteries - if you measure one at a time. (In other words if your multi- meter is reading between 5 and 6.5 volts). Add the two readings (one for each battery) to get the 12 volt total. This also works for checking specific gravity.

The point is - two 6v batteries, if not connected in the middle, are totally out of the circuit. No charge, no discharge - just dead weight.

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Old 12-24-2017, 09:40 PM   #12
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That's what my first thought was, as is the case with a car battery. Have never had batteries in series before though and thought better safe than sorry. Next time two less terminals to bother with; thanks Alan.
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Old 12-25-2017, 11:10 AM   #13
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So I read the instructions before starting as I seem to remember you or someone else stating the above warning, however I didn't see it. I do sometimes have the Mr. Magoo syndrom(which drives Susan nuts!), however does anyone else see it in the instructions? I did this two years ago when replacing my Group 29 12V with dual 6V and had no problem then either. Anyway, have put it all back together and seems ok.

http://gpelectric.com/files/gpelectr...-PWM-30_vD.pdf
I just looked through both the operating & installation manuals of the current GoPower controller, and you are correct - this warning no longer appears. They do tell you to cover the panels during installation & when working on the system, but that is to prevent shock.

The warning I mentioned was in the manual for the older 25 amp GoPower installation manual, and is often stated with other manufacturer's controllers, so I'd still avoid disconnecting the batteries without shutting down the output of the panel.
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Old 12-31-2017, 12:59 PM   #14
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Here's a great series of blog posts about how RV battery charging systems work.
https://roadslesstraveled.us/rv-mari...harging-basics
I just read very well written set of posts. I has me wondering about our WF-8900 converter not having an equalization stage. With the trailer plugged in for an extended period of time, would shutting off the converter weekly for a few hours force the converter into the Bulk charge mode and help slough off some sulfate from the battery plates?
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Old 12-31-2017, 01:24 PM   #15
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I just read very well written set of posts. I has me wondering about our WF-8900 converter not having an equalization stage. With the trailer plugged in for an extended period of time, would shutting off the converter weekly for a few hours force the converter into the Bulk charge mode and help slough off some sulfate from the battery plates?
Theoretically, the WFCO charger will not go into 'boost' charge mode unless the batteries need it - when it detects less than 90% of charge. To my mind, shutting off the converter weekly for a few hours won't accomplish that. Also, you've no way of knowing what cycle it's in when charging unless you break out a voltmeter. If you want a desulfation cycle, I would think it requires changing out the charger for a true 4-stage one, something like a PD4655MBA. That one can also be manually controlled.

I think a desulfation cycle is probably the most important factor for longevity when batteries are stored long term. Only a 4-stage charger can do that.
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Old 12-31-2017, 01:47 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Rossue View Post
Am wanting to check specific gravity on my dual 6V. As per instructions I removed any charge source by disconnecting negative then positive cables and am going to let them rest for an hour.

Weird thing is my interior lights and range hood fan still work! Huh? I do have factory solar.

No shore power or umbilical connected btw.
The question I have is, why would you have to disconnect the batteries to check the specific gravity? I use a refractometer (the are cheap on e-bay). If you want to check no load voltage I would just wait till night time.
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Old 12-31-2017, 02:20 PM   #17
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Was under impression that you needed to remove any charging source before testing specific gravity, and we have solar. Is that not the case?
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Old 12-31-2017, 03:04 PM   #18
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Was under impression that you needed to remove any charging source before testing specific gravity, and we have solar. Is that not the case?
I don't have solar connected, but I'm on shore power all winter. I unplug the trailer for an hour or more ( to allow 'surface charge' to dissipate ) before checking specific gravity.
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Old 12-31-2017, 04:16 PM   #19
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You can also just turn on a light or similar for a few minutes before checking.

Has anyone seen their WFCO go into bulk?
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Old 12-31-2017, 07:08 PM   #20
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You can also just turn on a light or similar for a few minutes before checking.

Has anyone seen their WFCO go into bulk?
I have noticed a pull of about 6 amps on my EMS meter when starting up the Honda generator after driving for a day. I attributed this to charging the battery. I found I needed to wait a bit before starting the AC due to overloading the generator.
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