Upgraded Converter, or did I ? - 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 10-23-2019, 04:45 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Surrey, British Columbia
Trailer: 2013, 17B 'Mini Pearl' and a 2010 Highlander
Posts: 351
Upgraded Converter, or did I ?

I know that the factory-installed WFCO converter/charger doesn't start charging the batteries in bulk mode of 14.5 volts. It seems the start in float mode of 13.2 volts and just stay there.
So for some time, I have had a better converter on my wish list. If I have to emergency charge from a gas generator I don't want to have to run for hours and hours at 13.2 volts when an hour at 14.8 should get me through the night.
A couple of days ago I was offered a Powermax PM55A for under a hundred bucks $Cdn. It claims to be a proper three stage converter.
I looked at the manual on-line and thought I was deciphering it correctly. It must be very hard to find someone with a high-school grasp of sentence structure and verbs in China because there seems to be a real problem explaining the functions of these products in english.
Anyways, I bought it, got it home, hooked it up and measured what it is doing.
There is a switch on the side that you slide to the right and then set the output voltage to 14.6v with a screwdriver and a variable resistor. Once you have set this voltage you slide the switch back to the left.
Done.
I Hooked up a battery to the output.
I applied 115V A/C input power to the unit.
I measured the voltage to the battery.
The battery was receiving 14.6 volts, nice! (Bulk)
But then, after 30 minutes, the voltage dropped to 13.6 volts
And it is supposed to stay at 13.6 volts for about 12 hours. (Absorption)
(I didn't measure that yet.)
And then it will drop to 13.2 trickle charge (Float)

So it is better, yes but it is doing the three stages based on time, not the state of charge of the batteries.
If you unplug and then re-plug it in, you get 30 minutes of the higher voltage again.
(There is another variable resistor on the daughterboard on the mainboard, I would like to know if that controls anything I can use to fine tune the system.)
I think I will set the unit to 14.8v for the 30 minutes to get as much out of the generator as I can. If the batteries are really drained I can un-plug and re-plug to repeat the 30 minute charge voltage.
Solar charge controllers do a much better job it appears.
I don't want to carry a good outboard battery charger around with us just to put some juice into the batteries when the sun conditions are poor for days on end.
So far the sun hasn't let me down so I guess I'll just suck it up and live with a slightly better but still crappyish converter.
__________________

__________________
____
John
jxoco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-2019, 04:50 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
John in Santa Cruz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Mid Left Coast, California
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
Posts: 1,556
for a classic 3-stage microprocessor controlled charger, the stages are..

1) bulk mode, run at the maximum charge current until the voltage hits 13.8V or so
2) absorption mode, run at 14.2V or so until the current drops near zero or XX hours elapse
3) maintenance mode, run at 13.2V

if your battery was discharged to 12.0V (about 50%), ramming 14.2V directly into it would result in too much current, overheating and potentially boiling the battery, or frying the charger's output stage.
__________________

__________________
2014 Escape 21 (home away from home)
2002 Ford F250 7.3 Diesel 4x4 (tug)
1993 Mercedes 300CE Cabriolet (daily driver)
2006 Yellow Lab (Maggie... RIP Feb 2019 )
John in Santa Cruz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-2019, 05:48 PM   #3
Site Team
 
padlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Southwick, Massachusetts
Trailer: 5.0 TA #6, 2012 F150 EB
Posts: 5,874
Can you post a link to the manual? I don't see it on the Powermax site.
__________________
Happy Motoring
Bob
padlin is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-2019, 05:55 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Surrey, British Columbia
Trailer: 2013, 17B 'Mini Pearl' and a 2010 Highlander
Posts: 351
Manual;
https://powermaxconverters.com/wp-co...anual-2018.pdf
__________________
____
John
jxoco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-2019, 06:07 PM   #5
Site Team
 
padlin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Southwick, Massachusetts
Trailer: 5.0 TA #6, 2012 F150 EB
Posts: 5,874
What is/was the voltage of the battery before hooking it up? Let it sit for a day unconnected, then read it's voltage.
__________________
Happy Motoring
Bob
padlin is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-2019, 08:38 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
rubicon327's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Burlington Twp., New Jersey
Trailer: 2010 Escape 19
Posts: 3,315
John: Might be too late to reverse course but you might appreciate the capability of the Progressive Dynamics WlidKat drop in replacement main board for the WFCO 8955. True 4 stage charger with a charge wizard that allows you to select the mode if necessary. Made in USA. Here is a direct link to my install:

Progressive Dynamics 14.8v Charging Rate
__________________
“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.”― W.F.
rubicon327 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2019, 02:46 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Doug2000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: London, Ontario
Trailer: EX 2007 Escape 17B, 2020 E 19' on order
Posts: 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
for a classic 3-stage microprocessor controlled charger, the stages are..

1) bulk mode, run at the maximum charge current until the voltage hits 13.8V or so
2) absorption mode, run at 14.2V or so until the current drops near zero or XX hours elapse
3) maintenance mode, run at 13.2V

if your battery was discharged to 12.0V (about 50%), ramming 14.2V directly into it would result in too much current, overheating and potentially boiling the battery, or frying the charger's output stage.
Thanks for the explanation

One question though. Is the WFCO charger compatible with both lead acid and AGM batteries? Does it matter? Do you need to upgrade for AGM?

I looked a while ago, never really came up with a definite answer.
__________________
2020 Escape 19 on Order
Trailer #6 was a 2007 Escape 17B
2019 Toyota Tundra 4.6L 4X4 DC
Toronto to LA was Epic in my 17B
Doug2000 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2019, 07:05 AM   #8
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: 19,704
AFAIK, the WFCO is a 3 stage charger, but your solar has the ability to make up the difference.
__________________
Jim
It is not the years in your life but the life in your years Lincoln
cpaharley2008 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2019, 08:00 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
rubicon327's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Burlington Twp., New Jersey
Trailer: 2010 Escape 19
Posts: 3,315
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug2000 View Post
One question though. Is the WFCO charger compatible with both lead acid and AGM batteries? Does it matter? Do you need to upgrade for AGM?

I looked a while ago, never really came up with a definite answer.
An AGM is just a sealed lead acid battery. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but the charging profile should be very similar and the WFCO would work. I think any variation you see in recommended voltages is from the manufacturer based on electrolyte chemistry. Personally I would upgrade to the Progressive Dynamics WildKat main board as it is just better all around but of course I may just be justifying my decision to do so .
__________________
“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.”― W.F.
rubicon327 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2019, 08:19 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
John in Santa Cruz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Mid Left Coast, California
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
Posts: 1,556
AGM batteries have antimony doped lead plates, and ideally the absorption phase voltage is around 0.1V or 0.2V higher to achieve full charge. this is much the same as 'maintenance free' lead acid batteries. In practice its not that critical, AGMs will work fine as a direct replacement for wetcell batteries.
__________________
2014 Escape 21 (home away from home)
2002 Ford F250 7.3 Diesel 4x4 (tug)
1993 Mercedes 300CE Cabriolet (daily driver)
2006 Yellow Lab (Maggie... RIP Feb 2019 )
John in Santa Cruz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2019, 10:03 AM   #11
Senior Member
 
alanmalk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Arvada, Colorado
Trailer: '21 - 'Velocity'. Tow: Toyota Tacoma V6, 4X4, manual.
Posts: 789
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
AFAIK, the WFCO is a 3 stage charger, but your solar has the ability to make up the difference.

The WFCO manual confirms the above.

The solar controller may need to have the equalization mode turned off. Check with the AGM supplier to confirm if equalization is permitted. (My AGM's specify equalization should not be performed.)
--
Alan
alanmalk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2019, 10:26 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Surrey, British Columbia
Trailer: 2013, 17B 'Mini Pearl' and a 2010 Highlander
Posts: 351
Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
What is/was the voltage of the battery before hooking it up? Let it sit for a day unconnected, then read it's voltage.
Battery or no battery I observed the same start voltage and then a drop 30 minutes later.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
John: Might be too late to reverse course but you might appreciate the capability of the Progressive Dynamics WlidKat drop in replacement main board for the WFCO 8955. True 4 stage charger with a charge wizard that allows you to select the mode if necessary. Made in USA. Here is a direct link to my install:

Progressive Dynamics 14.8v Charging Rate
I have looked at progressive dynamics before, the boondocker model.
But, yes, I ventured down this road because of price.
I think it is better than the original WFCO converter by a tiny bit.
And it is just for the possibility of using a generator in an emergency, to make sure that the battery has enough charge to run the furnace and the fridge run through the night. My other choice was a charger that one of the solar places modifies to charge the batteries from a generator, but that was bucks as well.

I'm thinking that at least one person can use this information. If your convertor is broke, this is a good replacement. I wouldn't consider it an upgrade.
__________________

__________________
____
John
jxoco 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 05:59 PM.


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