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Old 09-05-2020, 03:30 PM   #1
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Can't turn off DC converter separately? Any ideas?

Our 2020 Escape 5.0 has the standard WFCO WF-8955PEC power converter and distribution panel.

I can't figure out a way, when plugged into shore power or a generator, to turn the converter off without turning off ALL of the AC circuits, including refrigerator and 120V outlets.

Any ideas?

The AC circuit breakers in the distribution panel in the WF-8955 are marked:

1. MAIN ("Converter" is also penciled in)
2. "Fridge" penciled in.
3. "Plugs" penciled in.
4. "Plugs" penciled in.
5. "A/C" penciled in.

I've tried every breaker combination but the only way I've found to turn off the converter is to turn off the MAIN breaker.

The only thing I can figure out is that ETI didn't install a separate breaker for the converter section but hooked it to the main breaker instead.

Is everyone's converter powered from the main breaker?

The reason I'm asking is because I have a Honda EU1000 that works great as shore power as long as the batteries aren't significantly discharged. But when the batteries are discharged near my self-imposed 50% discharge limit (12.2 volts, per manufacturer) the converter draws too many amps for the generator when shore power is first plugged in. The EU is rated at 900 watts continuous. Trying to bulk charge discharged batteries when first plugged in, the WFCO pulls too many amps and the generator circuit breaker pops.

What's your experience?
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Old 09-05-2020, 05:57 PM   #2
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Think you're not going to win that battle with such a small generator. Have you turned off ALL AC load breakers while trying to charge the battery? Run the appliance on propane or shut them off until the battery comes up a bit.
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Old 09-05-2020, 06:46 PM   #3
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On my 19 the converter and microwave shared the same breaker on Circuit #1. (photo)

On my 21, not having a microwave, the converter and fridge share circuit #1.

I hadn't noticed that yet. I did install a new breaker for a built-in heater that I installed. I still have one empty slot and I don't like the converter sharing a circuit breaker so now that I've noticed that I'll install a breaker for it.

Ron
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Old 09-05-2020, 07:40 PM   #4
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All the Escapes I've seen use tandem breakers, ie two breakers in one body. The main is usually a 30/15.

The converter should not be wired directly to the 30 amp side of the tandem 30/15 amp breaker. The 30 amp side should be back wired, ie a wire from the 30 amp power cord (or EMS if you have one, goes to the 30 amp breaker screw that would normally be an output. When it is on, it feeds the buss that powers all the other breakers, including the 15 amp breaker that is part of the tandem 30/15.

It is likely that something else other than the converter is on the same pole, but it should not be connected to the 30 amp side. If it is, you do not have a breaker protecting the converter since it would be wired directly to the power cord.

If it was wired with the converter on the 30 amp side, it (the converter) wiring should be moved to a 15 amp breaker. You may need to move some circuits or add another breaker in order to turn off the converter without turning off anything else.

A more radical solution to the charging problem is to change the converter bottom to a 35 amp version. I did this when I converted to lithium batteries since I wanted a lithium converter anyway. I use a 900/700 watt propane only generator as a back up to my solar & since the lithium batteries draw the full output of the converter until 98% full, anything larger than 35 amps would draw too much at 120V.

I have no problem running the trailer on the 35 amp converter when plugged in, and, as long as I switch the refrigerator to gas & shut of the electric side of the water heater (and, of course, the air conditioner) I have no problem charging the batteries at 35 amps using the generator.
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Old 09-05-2020, 08:00 PM   #5
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The converter IS the distribution device for all of your 120V AC and your 12V DC. All of the circuit protection is part of the converter.


One method to solve this dilemma would be to first charge your battery directly using your generator. Then when it is reasonably fully charged, you may well be able to connect to your converter, and thence to your entire electrical system, without circuit breaker disconnect!
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Old 09-05-2020, 09:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
All the Escapes I've seen use tandem breakers, ie two breakers in one body. The main is usually a 30/15.
You can see in my photo that the hot water tank breaker is a single so ETI does use them on occasion.

You can also see that my converter is powered by the 15 amp part of the breaker. The OP should compare my photo to his panel and see if that's the situation and what second device, if any, is tapped into it.

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Old 09-05-2020, 09:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dfandrews View Post
The converter IS the distribution device for all of your 120V AC and your 12V DC. All of the circuit protection is part of the converter.
No, the Power Center contains both the AC and DC distribution panels, plus the converter. The converter - the part which converts 120 V AC to 12 V DC - is powered through a circuit breaker in the AC distribution panel, and can be turned off by turning off that one breaker.
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Old 09-05-2020, 10:05 PM   #8
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As others have already explained, the "MAIN" and "Converter" breakers work separately. If the converter were attached to the main breaker it would always get power, so it wouldn't be protected by a breaker.

This has confused Escape owners before, because the labels are sometimes not as clear as they could be. A few threads have included images of the panel with labels; this one wasn't about the main versus converter confusion, but includes a couple of images of typical panels:
Converter. Panel Directory
This is the answer to exactly the same question, in a thread from a few years ago:
How to stay under 8A electric usage? - post #30

As you can see in those images, the 15-amp breaker for the converter (and refrigerator) is separate from the 30-amp main breaker; the label has a dotted line between them because a single larger breaker would fill both spaces.

As shown in those examples, the refrigerator is usually on the same circuit (and so the same breaker) as the converter. That means that when you turn it off, the refrigerator can't be run on 120 volt AC power... but it will still work on 12 volt DC power or propane.
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Old 09-06-2020, 09:23 AM   #9
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Related: Our 15A was ordered as an all electric, by the previous and original owners, but without an inverter & water heater. I've since added an LFP bank and an inverter. We seldom stay at RV campgrounds and/or need shore power and I would like to eliminate the charger circuit of the WFCO 8955. When the inverter is on it is supplying current to the WFCO and then activating the charger...

Turning the 15A side of the 15/30 main breaker does the trick but it also cuts power to microwave, 12v ceiling lights, etc.

Will contact WFCO but if anyone has an idea how to eliminate just the charger side of the WFCO...much appreciated.
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Old 09-06-2020, 09:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstreight View Post
Related: Our 15A was ordered as an all electric, by the previous and original owners, but without an inverter & water heater. I've since added an LFP bank and an inverter. We seldom stay at RV campgrounds and/or need shore power and I would like to eliminate the charger circuit of the WFCO 8955. When the inverter is on it is supplying current to the WFCO and then activating the charger...

Turning the 15A side of the 15/30 main breaker does the trick but it also cuts power to microwave, 12v ceiling lights, etc.

Will contact WFCO but if anyone has an idea how to eliminate just the charger side of the WFCO...much appreciated.
There should be room in the WFCO panel to add another breaker. Add a 15 amp breaker for the converter & switch it off when you run the inverter.

If you truly never want to run the converter, there will be a white & black # 14 or so pair of wires going to the converter (the unit in the bottom of the WFCO panel). Disconnect the black wire from what ever circuit breaker it is attached to & the converter will be permanently disconnected. Everything else will still work as before.
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Old 09-06-2020, 10:01 AM   #11
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^ that's what I thought too. The hot and neutral wires coming off the 15A leg of the dual breaker run to the converter (only). I thought by turning off the 15A breaker I'd accomplish taking just the charger portion out of the loop; but not so. I'm thinking I'll need to go a little deeper into the circuitry side of the converter but was hoping not to have to pull it all apart...
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Old 09-06-2020, 10:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstreight View Post
Related: Our 15A was ordered as an all electric, by the previous and original owners, but without an inverter & water heater. I've since added an LFP bank and an inverter. We seldom stay at RV campgrounds and/or need shore power and I would like to eliminate the charger circuit of the WFCO 8955. When the inverter is on it is supplying current to the WFCO and then activating the charger...

Turning the 15A side of the 15/30 main breaker does the trick but it also cuts power to microwave, 12v ceiling lights, etc.

Will contact WFCO but if anyone has an idea how to eliminate just the charger side of the WFCO...much appreciated.
Fixing the breaker arraignment is much simpler than you would think. Just turn off all power to the trailer, pop the breaker panel open, add / remove breakers to get the arraignment you want, and connect the A/C wiring to the appropriate breaker.

Here's a pic of my breaker panel after the redo using tandem circuit breakers to get the number of breakers I needed. I printed out the labels and gluesticked them in the correct spots.
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Old 09-06-2020, 10:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstreight View Post
^ that's what I thought too. The hot and neutral wires coming off the 15A leg of the dual breaker run to the converter (only). I thought by turning off the 15A breaker I'd accomplish taking just the charger portion out of the loop; but not so. I'm thinking I'll need to go a little deeper into the circuitry side of the converter but was hoping not to have to pull it all apart...
One problem with this discussion is, as Brian pointed out, the definition of a converter. Most RVers consider the entire unit as a converter, but the actual converter is basically a battery charger & power supply built into the power center. If you pull the cover, it is the unit in the bottom of the WFCO power center. Calling the entire thing a converter makes it a bit confusing in that you can shut off the converter (charger/power supply) without disconnecting the 120V or 12V circuits.

The only way shutting off the 15 amp breaker would shut off everything is if everything is wired to it. You need to identify & disconnect the wiring powering the converter. This will not effect anything else other than no longer being able to charge the batteries from the converter, and, of course, no longer having 12V power supplied by the converter when plugged into a campground pedestal. The batteries will still be connected to the 12V distribution part of the power center or panel.
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Old 09-06-2020, 10:34 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstreight View Post
^ that's what I thought too. The hot and neutral wires coming off the 15A leg of the dual breaker run to the converter (only). I thought by turning off the 15A breaker I'd accomplish taking just the charger portion out of the loop; but not so. I'm thinking I'll need to go a little deeper into the circuitry side of the converter but was hoping not to have to pull it all apart...
You have wiring problems deeper than you think if turning off the 15 amp breaker kills power to the 12v lighting.

The converter supplies 12v power to the trailer as well as charging the battery(s). Turning off the converter shouldn't turn off power to the lighting as the battery should be powering the trailer at that point - just the battery is not being charged.

If you want the converter to power the trailer when on A/C power but not charge the battery, all you need to do is add a battery disconnect switch on the wire going from the converter to the battery.

edit: Jon types faster than I do! And explained the function of the converter better as well.
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Old 09-06-2020, 11:15 AM   #15
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I'm going to need to re-visit the integration of the inverter into the electric scheme. Essentially the inverter is now serving as the "controller"...methinks I'll need to bypass the WFCO controller entirely and let the inverter handle the pass through 12v to the 12v fuse panel side and then allow it to manage the 12v to 120v side as well as shore power management/conversion if/when necessary (seldom to near never...but still).
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Old 09-06-2020, 11:28 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by dstreight View Post
I'm going to need to re-visit the integration of the inverter into the electric scheme. Essentially the inverter is now serving as the "controller"...methinks I'll need to bypass the WFCO controller entirely and let the inverter handle the pass through 12v to the 12v fuse panel side and then allow it to manage the 12v to 120v side as well as shore power management/conversion if/when necessary (seldom to near never...but still).
Is your inverter an inverter/charger? That is the only type I can think of that would "handle" the 12V side of distribution.
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Old 09-06-2020, 11:39 AM   #17
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^ its a Xantrex 3000w Freedom X inverter (no charger) with the resident 30A relay to serve when plugged in to shore power. So, essentially (after thinking this through this morning), the Xantrex is feeding the GFCO and then the GFCO is feeding (through the charge circuit) the LFP battery...

Not sure if Escape provided any models with an inverter. And if so, it would be helpful to see their wiring diagram.
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Old 09-06-2020, 11:56 AM   #18
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Escape provides a 1500 watt inverter in 2 options. The simplest is adding the inverter & feeding a single 120V receptacle. The second option is to add a transfer switch. With this option, a 30 amp breaker is added to the WFCO power center that feeds a transfer switch. The output of the inverter also feeds the transfer switch, and the output of the transfer switch feeds a sub panel with 2 15 amp breakers that feed all the trailer 120V receptacles.

When the inverter is off, the transfer switch connects the output of the 30 amp breaker in the power station to the sub panel, and on to the receptacles. When the inverter is on, the transfer switch "switches" to the inverter input (after a delay) which then feeds the sub panel & receptacles.

This isolates the converter, water heater, refrigerator, and other 120V appliances from the inverter since they are connected to the power station breakers, not the output of the inverter,

Hope this is clear...

You could solve your problem by doing the same as Escape - add a sub panel with a pair of breakers for the trailer 120V receptacles, add a 30 amp breaker in the WFCO distribution panel, and use that rather than the entire trailer connection to feed the Xantrex 30 amp transfer switch.
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Old 09-06-2020, 12:25 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
Escape provides a 1500 watt inverter in 2 options. The simplest is adding the inverter & feeding a single 120V receptacle. The second option is to add a transfer switch. With this option, a 30 amp breaker is added to the WFCO power center that feeds a transfer switch. The output of the inverter also feeds the transfer switch, and the output of the transfer switch feeds a sub panel with 2 15 amp breakers that feed all the trailer 120V receptacles.

When the inverter is off, the transfer switch connects the output of the 30 amp breaker in the power station to the sub panel, and on to the receptacles. When the inverter is on, the transfer switch "switches" to the inverter input (after a delay) which then feeds the sub panel & receptacles.

This isolates the converter, water heater, refrigerator, and other 120V appliances from the inverter since they are connected to the power station breakers, not the output of the inverter,

Hope this is clear...

You could solve your problem by doing the same as Escape - add a sub panel with a pair of breakers for the trailer 120V receptacles, add a 30 amp breaker in the WFCO distribution panel, and use that rather than the entire trailer connection to feed the Xantrex 30 amp transfer switch.
Very helpful! Thanks 1M!
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Old 09-06-2020, 03:16 PM   #20
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1. This forum is great. As has been mentioned by others, Escape Trailer mislabeled the 120V breakers in our WFCO WF-8955 load center. The MAIN breaker is just that, the input breaker to feed all the other breakers. Although "Converter" is penciled in the main breaker space, it's actually connected to the 15 amp breaker just below marked "Fridge."

So when I get home I'll fix the labels by moving "Converter" from the MAIN space to the Fridge space. Thanks for the help.

2. Perhaps I ought to add a 15 amp breaker so the converter and fridge have their own breaker. That way I can turn off the converter without turning off the fridge AC power.

3. I'm still trying to come up with a generator charging solution for my situation. The converter/charger section of the WFCO draws too many amps in bulk charge mode when first connected to discharged batteries. One idea as mentioned is to swap the 55A converter charger for the 35 amp version of the WFCO.

I sure wish there were a way to keep the converter/charger from going into bulk mode. I see that <bestconverter.com> sells a replacement WildKat 55 Amp Main Board Assembly for my WFCO 8955 that includes a remote so a user can select the desired charge mode (Boost, normal or float/storage). That could keep it from going into bulk mode but is kinda pricey ($213). <http://www.bestconverter.com/PD-4655L-MBA-WildKat-55-Amp-Main-Board-Assembly-for-WFCO-8955-or-Parallax-7155-Includes-4600-Remote-_p_677.html#.X1U5xi05TMI>
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