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Old 03-19-2019, 10:03 PM   #1
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Generator charging options

I just purchased a 2000 watt portable generator for those rare cloudy boondocking trips when the lack of sun prevents my solar panels from keeping the battery bank charged. I have been reading that plugging my generator into the shore power outlet and utilizing the built in power converter (in my case a WFCO 8955) is not the best option due to the inefficiency of the converter. The better alternative is to connect the generator to a battery charger then directly to the battery terminals. However, according to my WFCO manual, my converter provides 55 amps and a 14.4 volt bulk charge mode. Thatís a higher output than most stand alone 3-stage portable battery chargers. Is the recommendations I am reading about referring to old single-stage built in converters or am I missing something?
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Old 03-19-2019, 10:14 PM   #2
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I have the same convertor, and have no problem charging both batteries using land line and a 2000C watt inverter genny...Dinosaur Products also has a 4 stage board to convert to....
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Old 03-19-2019, 10:43 PM   #3
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best converter has a wildcat replacement board for your converter that comes with a wired remote. i put the remote just above the panel door so that when i need to use the genny i can push the little button on it so it will charge @ 14.4 volts. your wfco will be hard pressed to charge @ that rate. next time you run the genny or plug into shore power, put a dvm on your battery to check the voltage after being plugged for a couple hours.
the wildcat board provides 3 charge levels plus periodic destratification automatically. me likes it
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:22 PM   #4
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The 4 stage converter via the generator to the way.
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Old 03-20-2019, 05:09 AM   #5
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Some stand alone chargers will overcharge your batteries.

You have one built in, use that.
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Old 03-20-2019, 06:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danr43 View Post
...

However, according to my WFCO manual, my converter provides 55 amps and a 14.4 volt bulk charge mode. That’s a higher output than most stand alone 3-stage portable battery chargers. Is the recommendations I am reading about referring to old single-stage built in converters or am I missing something?
The WFCO is notorious for not doing what it says. Mine sat at 13.6V and never varied, and many others have reported the same. IMHO it is a simple 13.6V converter, not a battery charger.

However in your case, only rarely using it to supplement a better solar charger, I don't think you will do much harm.

As noted already though, there are alternatives allowing you to charge to a higher voltage. This is not only better for your batteries, but it reduces charge time and generator run time, allowing you to return earlier to the peace and quiet of solar only charging.
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Old 03-20-2019, 08:54 AM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. I plan to only use the generator when my batteries are approaching a critically low level of charge with the intent of giving them a quick boost (2-3 hours of generator runtime) switching back to solar to finish the charge. The sun comes out eventually right!?
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Old 03-20-2019, 08:58 AM   #8
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Our WFCO converter has never moved higher than 13.8 ever. Not concerned enough to go thru the expense of changing it out.

I use a separate charger mounted in the trailer for better results. It does not overcharge the battery bank. It is connected for months when not using the trailer.
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Old 03-20-2019, 09:26 AM   #9
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You need to increase the gauge of the converter to battery wiring. Even double up what they uses will help.

The converter is reading battery voltage at its output terminals, not at the battery. It senses high volts and cuts back, even though the voltage at the battery may be 1/2 to 1 volt lower. That is due to voltage drop along the light gauge and sometimes long wire run.

That's why so many get faster charging by clipping a charger directly on the battery.

Buy a standalone PowerMax 55 4 stage or equevelent and hook it up next to the batteries. Then plug it in and let it work. Shut off the original.
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Old 03-21-2019, 10:14 AM   #10
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Just move the converter close to the batteries. What you are seeing is voltage loss from the DC wires. AC does not lose voltage over such a short run but DC does. The converter is putting out plenty but it gets lost over the 20' distance to the batteries.

You could put a PD charger in near the batteries and just disable the WFCO in place. Then you would have a true 4 stage charger.
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Old 03-29-2019, 01:11 PM   #11
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I decided to upgrade my converter to a PD4655TV. When I removed the stock WFCO converter I discovered the factory installed it with a two-wire splice lug connection to the breaker. Very strange - Iíve never seen this and it doesnít appear to be a short-cut used in a rush because of the extra time it took to use that special connecter (shown in attached photo). I am not an electrician by any means but I thought attaching two wires to a single breaker was not allowed. Its the same circuit so maybe it doesnít matter. Why not pigtail the wire from the converter to the main 120v wire and and then add a third wire to the pigtail and go to the breaker?
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Old 03-29-2019, 01:54 PM   #12
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Looks familiar, I had something like that on my MH.

They don't want 2 seperate wires in the breaker, maybe that's the way to do it.
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Old 03-29-2019, 02:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danr43 View Post
I just purchased a 2000 watt portable generator for those rare cloudy boondocking trips when the lack of sun prevents my solar panels from keeping the battery bank charged. I have been reading that plugging my generator into the shore power outlet and utilizing the built in power converter (in my case a WFCO 8955) is not the best option due to the inefficiency of the converter. The better alternative is to connect the generator to a battery charger then directly to the battery terminals. However, according to my WFCO manual, my converter provides 55 amps and a 14.4 volt bulk charge mode. Thatís a higher output than most stand alone 3-stage portable battery chargers. Is the recommendations I am reading about referring to old single-stage built in converters or am I missing something?
I also bought a 2KW inverter generator to save time, money and operating hours on my 8KW Onan recharging my batteries. We do a lot of dry camping and boondocking without any solar. I found the same issues as you regarding the inefficiencies of the coach charger/converter.
My solution was a very smart multistage portable charger from Potek. Even though its max output is 40 amps it seems to charge my 4 house batteries faster than the coach charger does. Easy to switch from house to chassis batteries and toad to motorcycle batteries.
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Old 03-30-2019, 08:19 AM   #14
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FL420 where did you find that charger? I can’t seem to put in the right search parameters online to find one.
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