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Old 04-03-2017, 09:02 AM   #1
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Boondocker Retrofit for WFCO converter

Is the Boondocker Retrofit for the WFCO converter still a good easily installed replacement?

Boondocker Main Board Assembly for WFCO 8955

I would like something better for our 21' that won't fry the batteries if I leave it plugged in all the time. I have dual 6 volts.
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Old 04-03-2017, 09:46 AM   #2
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Still waiting for Robert (rbryan4) to do his retrofit and report in with how it works.
www.escapeforum.org/forums/f41/so-many-mods-so-little-time-8353.html#post154531

Just out of curiosity though I'm wondering how one figures this unit is going to work better than the WFCO? Based on the numbers and functionality they are very similar. If your WFCO is working properly and dropping to 13.2V float then you shouldn't be frying your batteries. The only real difference I see is that the boondocker claims to be "4 stage" with a comment in the manual that says "When the converter is in the trickle/float mode (storage) the converter will periodically raise the voltage to mix the battery electrolyte to prevent stratification which can lead to sulfation." It doesn't say what voltage. A true equalization for Interstate GC2's is listed as 15.6V. There may be other attributes of the Boondocker (cleaner power?) but as far as extending the life of your batteries some measurable amount I'm not convinced.

Not trying to kill the idea, I just personally would need some better data on the performance before taking the time and expense to replace something that may be working fine.
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Old 04-03-2017, 10:00 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skiman View Post
I would like something better for our 21' that won't fry the batteries if I leave it plugged in all the time. I have dual 6 volts.
Has this actually happened. I never had a problem leaving it plugged in year round for 6 years with my 19.
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Old 04-03-2017, 11:27 AM   #4
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Still waiting for Robert (rbryan4) to do his retrofit and report in with how it works.
www.escapeforum.org/forums/f41/so-many-mods-so-little-time-8353.html#post154531

Just out of curiosity though I'm wondering how one figures this unit is going to work better than the WFCO? Based on the numbers and functionality they are very similar. If your WFCO is working properly and dropping to 13.2V float then you shouldn't be frying your batteries. The only real difference I see is that the boondocker claims to be "4 stage" with a comment in the manual that says "When the converter is in the trickle/float mode (storage) the converter will periodically raise the voltage to mix the battery electrolyte to prevent stratification which can lead to sulfation." It doesn't say what voltage. A true equalization for Interstate GC2's is listed as 15.6V. There may be other attributes of the Boondocker (cleaner power?) but as far as extending the life of your batteries some measurable amount I'm not convinced.

Not trying to kill the idea, I just personally would need some better data on the performance before taking the time and expense to replace something that may be working fine.
Exactly my question before I go spend bucks!
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Old 04-03-2017, 11:43 AM   #5
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Perfect fit, easy to install in only 10 minutes. 2 screws and 5 wires, that's all it takes! The only difference in wiring is the red positive DC wire on 8900 series is blue on the Boondocker upgrade. You are welcome to call us with any questions during installation.
Clearly superior to the chinese world friendship company converter.
Call Randy to get the details from someone that KNOWS rather than SPECULATES !
Boondocker Converters
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Old 04-03-2017, 11:55 AM   #6
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Short answer, If you have solar I would recommend replacing the solar controller and leaving the WFCO alone.

Long answer follows. If you are interested I recommend you use the forum Google search for: bue sky and for xantrex truecharge2

I have replaced my WFCO converter with a Xantrex TrueCharge2 and the solar controller with a Blue Sky SB3000i to charge at the higher voltages Interstate recommends.

With the stock chargers I almost never added water - once or twice a year. With my replacements I add water every few weeks.

With the stock units I believe the batteries were rarely fully charged and I lost some solar charging capacity when I had partial sunlight or partial days to charge.

With my 2 95watt ETI installed solar panels I almost never turn the converter on, even when I have shore power.
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Old 04-03-2017, 12:51 PM   #7
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I too would like to hear from Robert/rbyran4 on his experience with the Boondocker. We routinely let our batteries go down to maybe 25 - 30% charge before firing up the generator. Our previous trailer (Nash) had a 4 stage unit with desulfation, so I am interested to know if this feature would benefit us with all our boon docking. We also noticed the lights flickering when we use a water pump, maybe another thing that the Boondocker might address.
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Old 04-03-2017, 01:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
Just out of curiosity though I'm wondering how one figures this unit is going to work better than the WFCO? Based on the numbers and functionality they are very similar. If your WFCO is working properly and dropping to 13.2V float then you shouldn't be frying your batteries. The only real difference I see is that the boondocker claims to be "4 stage" with a comment in the manual that says "When the converter is in the trickle/float mode (storage) the converter will periodically raise the voltage to mix the battery electrolyte to prevent stratification which can lead to sulfation." It doesn't say what voltage. A true equalization for Interstate GC2's is listed as 15.6V. There may be other attributes of the Boondocker (cleaner power?) but as far as extending the life of your batteries some measurable amount I'm not convinced.

X2

I just can't figure out the benefit of switching. If it had a higher change rate for the regular charge cycle to meet the interstate dual 6 volt specs (14.7) maybe I could see it. Both have a 13.2 float charge so I don't see how it would burn up anything. The boost charge is a little higher but I never see that kick in for more than a couple minutes.
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Old 04-03-2017, 01:50 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Kountrykamper View Post
X2

I just can't figure out the benefit of switching. If it had a higher change rate for the regular charge cycle to meet the interstate dual 6 volt specs (14.7) maybe I could see it. Both have a 13.2 float charge so I don't see how it would burn up anything. The boost charge is a little higher but I never see that kick in for more than a couple minutes.
My opinion is the original (WFCO) converter is fine if you do hookups most of the time. Its float (which it seems to stay in 95% of the time, no matter what the battery voltage is) is low enough that you are unlikely to "cook" your batteries.

On the other hand, if you dry camp and recharge with a generator, it is far from ideal. Because it rarely kicks into the bulk mode, it takes forever to charge the batteries to full with a generator. If you don't have a good solar controller (and, of course, panels) and rely solely on the generator to recharge or a one day visit to a campground with hookups, switching to either the Boondocker or the Progressive Dynamics Upgrade Kit makes sense.
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Old 04-03-2017, 02:17 PM   #10
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My opinion is the original (WFCO) converter is fine if you do hookups most of the time. Its float (which it seems to stay in 95% of the time, no matter what the battery voltage is) is low enough that you are unlikely to "cook" your batteries.

On the other hand, if you dry camp and recharge with a generator, it is far from ideal. Because it rarely kicks into the bulk mode, it takes forever to charge the batteries to full with a generator. If you don't have a good solar controller (and, of course, panels) and rely solely on the generator to recharge or a one day visit to a campground with hookups, switching to either the Boondocker or the Progressive Dynamics Upgrade Kit makes sense.
So these will kick into boost (bulk) before the WFCO or do it more often?
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Old 04-03-2017, 02:48 PM   #11
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Randy, referred to in this thread, is at bestconverter.com.
He does sell the Boondocker but now recommends the Progressive Dynamics.
I did replace my WFCO with the Progressive Dynamics and am much happier with the charging profile and the fact that the lights no longer flicker. Took about 45 minutes, and I was taking my time.
In the final analysis, for me, it is an improvement.
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Old 04-03-2017, 03:02 PM   #12
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Is the Progressive Dynamics better because of the manual operation it allows or is there something else?
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Old 04-03-2017, 04:05 PM   #13
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Is the Progressive Dynamics better because of the manual operation it allows or is there something else?
I've not used the manual override. I believe the PD charges up my batteries faster than the WFCO and the lights no longer flicker. Unless you are picky about that stuff and don't mind spending $200 on the PD I'm sure the WFCO will suffice. Then again, A month ago I spent $600 replacing my perfectly good flooded Interstates with two AGM 6v. Batteries. Expensive, but the propane alarm hasn't gone off a single time since. You haven't lived until the propane alarm has rocked you out of bed between 1 am and 3 am three nights in a row when the propane is not even turned on. It confirms my theory that a minute amount of hydrogen offgassing was activating the propane alarm. I'm never going back to flooded lead batteries, even if AGMs are twice the cost.
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Old 04-03-2017, 04:33 PM   #14
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"On the other hand, if you dry camp and recharge with a generator, it is far from ideal. Because it rarely kicks into the bulk mode, it takes forever to charge the batteries to full with a generator. If you don't have a good solar controller (and, of course, panels) and rely solely on the generator to recharge or a one day visit to a campground with hookups, switching to either the Boondocker or the Progressive Dynamics Upgrade Kit makes sense. "
This is true if the 120V is supplied to the converter from a generator or the campground pedestal.
When the Boondocker converter is powered it automatically starts at the 14.6 Boost Mode Output and tapers off to the13.2 Float/Storage (trickle) Mode Output as the battery is charged. When we used the WFCO converter the battery charge would go very low before the converter started the bulk charge.
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Old 04-03-2017, 04:38 PM   #15
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Yeah, I had AGM in our Casita and they were great. I am having a hard time swallowing the money for 2-6 volt since ours are in the storage box and brand new.

I am interested in a better converter first since we will be boondocking more.
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Old 04-03-2017, 05:19 PM   #16
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Yeah, I had AGM in our Casita and they were great. I am having a hard time swallowing the money for 2-6 volt since ours are in the storage box and brand new.

I am interested in a better converter first since we will be boondocking more.
Yes, I had a hard time swallowing the cost but I was sick and tired, emphasis on tired, of the propane alarm going off in the middle of the night. The sad thing is, I know there are others with "internal" battery boxes that are dealing with the same problem of the propane alarm sounding in the absence of propane. The alarm manufacturer also told me a dog lying next to it could set it off.
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Old 04-03-2017, 05:29 PM   #17
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Yes, I had a hard time swallowing the cost but I was sick and tired, emphasis on tired, of the propane alarm going off in the middle of the night. The sad thing is, I know there are others with "internal" battery boxes that are dealing with the same problem of the propane alarm sounding in the absence of propane. The alarm manufacturer also told me a dog lying next to it could set it off.
I get the same, seems like it's anytime the solar charger goes into Equalize mode. Can usually smell the batteries when it happens. I would like to change to AGM's, but I'm not tossing out a pair of good flooded to do so. Keeping the propane alarm seems to help.
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Old 04-03-2017, 05:53 PM   #18
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Two additional thoughts.

I have not installed the temperature compensation cables. After looking at the voltages and temperatures I do plan to install them. In Arizona in the summer we see rather warm temperatures. I suspect that will correct the high water usage I see.

A better converter/charger (any of those being discussed) will help a lot when trying to charge the batteries quickly on a generator. The WFCO is particularly weak in that area.
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Old 04-03-2017, 05:56 PM   #19
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I get the same, seems like it's anytime the solar charger goes into Equalize mode. Can usually smell the batteries when it happens. I would like to change to AGM's, but I'm not tossing out a pair of good flooded to do so. Keeping the propane alarm seems to help.
Equalization mode would result in "boiling off" some hydrogen, but on the solar controller, it would only happen when the sun is shining. 14 out of 15 false alarms with my propane alarm would occur in the middle of the night. I didn't toss mine out. They are in the garage on a maintenance charger. If someone wants to come and get them, they can have them. But they cannot be shipped so it is a u-pick up situation.
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Old 04-03-2017, 07:16 PM   #20
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We are on the road right now and I have not done the retrofit. However, based on an inquiry that another forum member made, Randy began recommending the Progressive Industries retrofit instead of the Boondocker. Both are far better than the WFCO, but Randy now seems to think the PI model is slightly better than the Boondocker.
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