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Old 03-25-2015, 09:35 AM   #15
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So it sounds like once I get the batteries tested/replaced, the next step would be to get a new charger. Would this be in addition to the WFCO converter/charger that is already in the TT or to replace it? The WF-8955 that I have does say that it has a 4.4 Vdc range “bulk” charge mode for up to 4 hours- is that sufficient to charge the batteries? Also, I was wondering how I know if my batteries are AGM? they say 'maintaince free" on them. I got paperwork on just about everything for the trailer from the dealer, except the batteries.

I was looking at this:

http://www.amazon.com/BatteryMINDer-...ttery+chargers

Thanks
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Old 03-25-2015, 01:09 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by gogreenwave View Post
So it sounds like once I get the batteries tested/replaced, the next step would be to get a new charger. Would this be in addition to the WFCO converter/charger that is already in the TT or to replace it? The WF-8955 that I have does say that it has a 4.4 Vdc range “bulk” charge mode for up to 4 hours- is that sufficient to charge the batteries? Also, I was wondering how I know if my batteries are AGM? they say 'maintaince free" on them. I got paperwork on just about everything for the trailer from the dealer, except the batteries.

I was looking at this:

http://www.amazon.com/BatteryMINDer-...ttery+chargers

Thanks

The problem with WFCOs is that they rarely or ever get above 13.6V. As you found out, they *claim* to have a bulk mode but I and many others have never seen it. So your batteries never really get a full charge. Also they *claim* to have a lower voltage float mode so you don't dry out your batteries in storage. But I've never seen that either.

You could get a separate charger and run it right off your generator. That way you will have a charger available for other duties when not camping. You will want to match the max current rating of the charger to what your generator can put out and batteries can accept. That will keep your charging/generator run time to a minimum.

Not familiar with the Battery Minder you reference. But there are good battery chargers out there in auto parts stores and elsewhere. In general, you get what you pay for. If you can get one with adjustable voltages that you can match to the battery's charging specifications, you'll be all set. But they are rare and expensive. It's more common with the expensive solar chargers.

The alternative is to replace the WFCO converter (not the whole junction box, just the electronic part) with an upgrade like the PD4655D
4600 Series Upgrade or Replacement Power Converters from Progressive Dynamics

I haven't done this but have heard it's pretty simple. You will want the "charge wizard" control, so in the morning when you run the generator you can force the PD4655D into Bulk mode to speed things up. At least that's what I've heard people do.

AGM (A? Glass Mat) is a completely sealed battery with only a high pressure vent. They are expensive and behave differently than regular lead-acid batteries. From that Centennial link, I don't think you have one. They all look to be regular lead acid.
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Old 03-26-2015, 08:53 AM   #17
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Interesting thread. I'm hearing that simply plugging my Honda 2000 generator into the camper may not be the quickest way to recharge my batteries due to limitations in the campers charging system.

I have two 12 volt batteries. If I brought my 12 volt car battery charger along and plugged that into the generator how would I connect it to the batteries? Would connecting to the positive and negative terminals on one of the batteries charge both? With no adverse effects on the campers electrical system? Or maybe flip the battery disconnect switch on the camper before doing this? Or would I need to disconnect the batteries from the camper and change them one at a time?
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Old 03-26-2015, 09:19 AM   #18
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Interesting thread. I'm hearing that simply plugging my Honda 2000 generator into the camper may not be the quickest way to recharge my batteries due to limitations in the campers charging system.

I have two 12 volt batteries. If I brought my 12 volt car battery charger along and plugged that into the generator how would I connect it to the batteries? Would connecting to the positive and negative terminals on one of the batteries charge both? With no adverse effects on the campers electrical system? Or maybe flip the battery disconnect switch on the camper before doing this? Or would I need to disconnect the batteries from the camper and change them one at a time?
I've never done this as we use Solar instead to maintain the batteries. But, from what I've read elsewhere, you charge your RV batteries just as you would your car batteries. Presumably two 12V batteries are connected in parallel (the two pos terminals are connected together, as are the two neg terminals) so either pos and either neg terminal will do.

The speed of the charge will depend upon how much current the batteries can accept in bulk mode, and whether the battery charger, generator and cables can provide that current.

If you disconnect your batteries, with a switch or manually, all your RV electronics will stop working, probably including the propane frig (with electronic thermostat), water pump, and so on. So I would leave them connected. I have heard that as long as the charger does not exceed 15V applied to the batteries, your electronics will be fine. I do separate my batteries from the RV electronics when I do high voltage (15.8V) "equalization" every few months.

Again, I would try to find out what the battery manufacturer recommends for charging and check that the battery charger follows a similar protocol.

And some RV's do have built-in converter/chargers that work ok. It's just that most people report that WFCO is not one of them.
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Old 03-26-2015, 09:23 AM   #19
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RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Tech Issues

This is where I've picked up most of this info - good and bad.
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Old 03-26-2015, 09:32 AM   #20
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Hello,

I'm sure there are other posts that have dealt with this before, but I can't seem to find any that answer my question.

My wife and I are relatively new RVers, having purchased a 2014 26' Springdale by Keystone travel trailer last year. We have taken it out several times, and everything has been going great, except lately we have been having problems with the batteries holding a charge.

We first noticed this at the end of the season last year when the batteries would be fine when we went to bed, but by the time we woke up, they were almost dead. It was late in the season so we thought it was the cold maybe killing the battery efficiency. But we just took it out for the first time this year, and we had the same problem, only it seemed to be worse- by the morning the lights we dim and there was not even enough juice to run the water pump. The lows were around 30 degrees F, so the heater was running a decent amount, but the 2 deep cycle batteries we have (less than a year old) should have gotten us through the night. We have a 2000W generator that I have been running for about an hour in the morning and 2 hours in the evening, but that is just barely getting us through. Is that adequate to charge the batteries?

We having been thinking we should replace our light bulbs with LEDs, maybe insulate the batteries with a box, or maybe the batteries are bad?
I have had the batteries on a trickle charger most of the winter. How do I test the batteries? Also the battery monitor has "C, G, F, L" on it- is this charging, good, fair, low?

As you can see, I have a lot questions and a lot to learn- any suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Matt

I just had a similar problem after bringing my TT out of storage. We even replaced the battery which didn't fix my problem. We pulled every five in the panel and found 2 40 amp fuses had blown. Now all is working well.


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Old 03-26-2015, 09:34 AM   #21
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The word five above should have been fuse. A telltale sign we didn't pick up on until after we fixed the problem was the fan in the fuse panel was not running/making noise.


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Old 03-30-2015, 09:35 AM   #22
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Byt the way, I've heard good things about the Black&Decker VEC1093DBD Battery Charger, available on amazon and elsewhere.
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Old 04-04-2015, 08:43 AM   #23
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If using a generator to run the converter to charge, or using the charging outlet on the generator--neither will work as good as using a regular battery charger run off the gen and connected direct to the batteries--just as you would charge a dead car battery. No adverse effects if the pos and neg wires are connected right. Invest in a good quality multi-mode charger ( I use a Schumacher digital model) and run it off the gen.
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Old 04-04-2015, 10:31 AM   #24
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If using a generator to run the converter to charge, or using the charging outlet on the generator--neither will work as good as using a regular battery charger run off the gen and connected direct to the batteries--just as you would charge a dead car battery. No adverse effects if the pos and neg wires are connected right. Invest in a good quality multi-mode charger ( I use a Schumacher digital model) and run it off the gen.
Joe
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I respectfully disagree.

If an RV has a GOOD inverter/converter/charger, (with a built in 3 stage charger), it will automatically charge the RV batteries as well as any accessory multi-mode charger if/when the RV has shore or genset 120VAC power...
(my Heart Freedom 20 inverter/charger does).

No need to spend money on another charger.

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Old 04-04-2015, 11:52 AM   #25
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Joe
I respectfully disagree.
If an RV has a GOOD inverter/converter/charger, (with a built in 3 stage charger), it will automatically charge the RV batteries as well as any accessory multi-mode charger if/when the RV has shore or genset 120VAC power...
(my Heart Freedom 20 inverter/charger does).
No need to spend money on another charger.
Mel
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I do agree if the OP has a quality 3 stage charger it will charge the batteies properly on shore or generator power. However, the OP does not have a quality charger because the bulk voltage is only 13.6 V. In order to fully charge the batteries and get them up to the battery manufacturer's recommended bulk charging voltage, the bulk setting needs to be much higher. Trojan recommends 14.8, Progressive Dynamics charger bulk set point is14.4 V. I have a Progressive 9260 and it does a good job of charging my batteries. I do like the boost charge every 21 hrs for 15 minutes from the float 13.2 V to 14.4 V helps to keep the batteries from sulfating. So there is no need for portable battery charger.
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Old 04-04-2015, 12:32 PM   #26
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On the subject of batteries. I have read, look long and hard at AGM's versus wet batteries. Because of the high cost of AGM I am not convinced they are worth the cost. The only advantage I can see with AGM is they can be installed in almost any position and you never have to add water to them. I eliminated the watering problem by installing the Flowrite battery watering system. I know I will get flamed by ones that are convinced AGM is the only batteries to use for sayjng that. The best bang for your buck is 6V GC-2 golf cart batteries. Costco is now selling Interstate batteries, at my local store the GC-2 is $83.45. They are the Interstate lowest 208 AH @ 20 hr rate that Interstate has, but for the cost they are a good buy. For less then $400 you can buy four of them, if you have room to install them and have 416 AH wired in series/parallel. It would be hard to find AGM with that AH rating for less then $400.

Interstate Batteries Golf Detail Page - Interstate GC2-RD-UTL 6-Volt Golf Car Battery replacement battery

I have looked at this AGM battery, but don't know the quality of them. It is a good price for an AGM with 210 AH @ 20 hr rate.

Amstron AP-GC2 Sealed Lead AGM Battery (6V 210Ah)
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Old 04-04-2015, 02:56 PM   #27
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I've never done this as we use Solar instead to maintain the batteries. But, from what I've read elsewhere, you charge your RV batteries just as you would your car batteries. Presumably two 12V batteries are connected in parallel (the two pos terminals are connected together, as are the two neg terminals) so either pos and either neg terminal will do.

.
Brulaz: How much solar are you using to top off your batteries during the day? I just purchased two 100w panels (not installed yet) and am looking forward to giving them a try this summer.
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Old 04-06-2015, 01:36 PM   #28
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Oh my Oh my, the problems with chargers are legion. If you actually looked at the actual performance of a WFCO or most others, as well as looked at the actual performance of most batteries, you would discover the following.

Most chargers don't charge at the rated Amperage for more than a few minutes, and then taper off.

Batteries only accept high amperage until about 80% of capacity.

So with only a generator for a couple of hours a day you only can safely (eg expect the batteries to last) cycle between 50% and 80% of capacity. Running the generator longer than the 80% is just wasting fuel. Going below 50% Battery capacity will reduce the battery life.

SO if you have an 80AH battery, you have LESS THAN 30 amps to work with using a generator intelligently.

You can determine these discharge and charge point ONLY with a battery monitor like a trimetric.

Solar can help during the day by pushing the batteries closer to the 100% point after you have run the generator in the morning, getting you another 15 AH or so.

No free lunches.
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