Power issues

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  • #54127
    Chris
    Participant

    Hi All,

    I am having a weird power issue on my 2007 Cougar 5th wheel.  The rv is in my shop and has been plugged into shore power since September.  The shutoff switch to the batteries is off.  I have been using the fridge as my GoTo Beer fridge!  🙂  I pop in there every few days while I am doing something in the shop and have had no issues until this last weekend.  I went in and turned the lights on and nothing.  None of the breakers were tripped.  Interesting note though was the microwave still had power.  The fridge and lights did not.  Also the slides didn’t work.

    I flipped the breakers and the lights flashed on for a second and then went out.  The gas detector beeped and then slowly died.  We were heading out of town for the New Year, so I just left the breakers off and left.

    When we got home last night, I went out and flipped the breakers back on and everything worked like normal.  Strange, but cool!  But alas…it was not destined to be that easy.  Tonight, it was back to not working.  Actually, I am a little glad it reoccurred in the shop instead of on the road!

    I confirmed that the power is good coming from the shop plug.  And just to double check, I fired up the generator and still no power inside.

    Now, my next test was switching on the batteries.  Everything works!  Hmmm.  According to my battery monitor, the batteries are not getting any charge in.  So I am suspecting the converter.  Oh, I also checked the fuses and they all look good.   The converter is a WFCO WF-8955N.   How do I trouble shoot the converter?  I am not sure what to look at next.  Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Also, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate and enjoy this site and Ray’s YouTube Channel!!

    Thanks so much!

    Chris

    #54131
    Eddie & Aileen
    Participant

    Howdy Chris!

    Yep, sounds like your converter/battery charger is on it’s way out.

    I replace a ton of the “Junker” WFCO converters in my solar installs.

    Happy Trails!!!

    Here is a link to a good replacement unit…….

    https://www.amazon.com/Progressive-Dynamics-PD9270V-Inteli-Power-Converter/dp/B0039T059U/ref=asc_df_B0039T059U/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312029767170&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=10565712159235870661&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9009800&hvtargid=pla-434842566719&psc=1

    #54136
    Chris
    Participant

    Hello Eddie!!  Thanks for the help.   I was afraid that it was the converter.  😥   Just missed Christmas!!

    I have heard great things for the converter that you recommended.  I see that this model is a 70 Amp, does it matter that my RV is 30 AMP  (maybe dumb question…).   Also, do I pull out the WFCO converter and put this one in it’s place?  It doesn’t seem to have breakers or fuses.  (perhaps another dumb question…).   I will search around for an install video.

    Thanks again!!

    Chris

    #54138
    Chris
    Participant

    Found an install video and I see where it would go.  Looks pretty easy!!  Yeah!!

    #54140
    LolaandRush
    Participant

    My Hero at it again. Oh Eddie he’s the man. He want lead you wrong. I researched 1 yr. about solar. Had a price quote from another solar installer on a system.  Was about to have that party install a system till I happen to run across a recent video Ray did on Eddie’s solar setup. I contacted Ray and he put me in touch with Eddie. Being from NC he got back in touch with us. We were originally from close proximity. Two ole Carolina boy’s chewing the fat on solar and batteries. We drove 2000 miles to have him put our solar on. Ray had asked us to do some film footage of the install. Its a three segment solar install Ray has on his LoveyourRV youtube page. We became best friends for life. They let us stay 2 weeks on the Homestead. A lot of fond memories those two weeks, living the Dream.

    #54155
    Bruce
    Participant

    A word of caution, The Progressive unit is an excellent choice and Progressive Dynamics makes outstanding products, but before ordering, check Progressive Dynamics website.  When I ordered a Progressive Dynamics EMS unit a couple years ago, there website indicated they would not honor the warranty if purchased through Amazon and certain other on-line retailers.  I ordered mine through their website directing me to a trusted vendor.  Don’t know if this is still true, but I would check.  You can also typically purchase through RV dealership parts and accessories.

    • This reply was modified 10 months, 2 weeks ago by  Bruce.
    #54193
    Chris
    Participant

    Thanks Bruce for the warning!  I will look into this!

    I still would like to better understand the different AMP models.  Would the 70 AMP be too much for my 30 AMP RV?

    Thanks!!

    Chris

     

    #54198
    Bruce
    Participant

    You are welcome Chris.  Your choice of converter is independent of your 30 amp RV as that is the total amperage provided to your rig to operate the various AC loads in your rig.  The determining factor is the output amp rating of your current converter, which you will want to match as your rig is likely to only have sufficient wire gauge to the battery for the unit provided.  By putting a larger one in, you risk an electrical fire.  So check the rating on your current converter.  If you find it is lower than your proposed higher amp unit, you can run heavier gauge wire from the unit to the battery to handle the higher current. 45 – 55 amp converters are common, but yours may be different. I hope this helps.

    #54200
    Ray
    Keymaster

    [quote quote=54198]You are welcome Chris. Your choice of converter is independent of your 30 amp RV as that is the total amperage provided to your rig to operate the various AC loads in your rig. The determining factor is the output amp rating of your current converter, which you will want to match as your rig is likely to only have sufficient wire gauge to the battery for the unit provided. By putting a larger one in, you risk an electrical fire. So check the rating on your current converter. If you find it is lower than your proposed higher amp unit, you can run heavier gauge wire from the unit to the battery to handle the higher current. 45 – 55 amp converters are common, but yours may be different. I hope this helps.

    [/quote]

    Likely what would happen with an undersized wire is inefficient charging due to the voltage drop across the undersized wire. It would trick the converters smart charging circuitry into thinking the battery was charged more than it is and lower the output amperage.

    This is the case with my OEM Keystone setup. Its a WFCO 55 amp with around 20-25 feet of 6 gauge cable from under the stove to the battery n front storage compartment. Which is IMHO undersized for the job. I never see anywhere near 55 amps because I never see the max 14.4-volt bulk charging at my battery, max I ever see is 13.6V, so my amperage is actually reduced, max around 30 amps even with a depleted battery bank. It also drops into float mode earlier than it should. I ended up with chronically undercharged batteries.

    I think the RV industry prefers this over any chance of overcharging. Better to reduce the battery life with undercharging than risk the chance of overcharging with resulting gassing and potential harm.

    I added a second InteliPower 60 amp converter right beside my 4 golf cart battery bank for generator charging and see near 60 amps and 14.4 volts when charging a depleted bank. My battery bank charges up way faster, much less generator run time needed.

    One warning about going to a 70 amp converter is many 2000 watt generators might not be able to power it properly. I remember camping with Eddie and my Champion 2000 watt couldn’t get his 70 amp Intelipower going it would go into overload, but worked fine with my 60 amp model but took just about all it had. When the batteries are very depleted there is a large inrush current I guess and temperature can make a difference too.  Cheers, Ray

    #54204
    Chris
    Participant

    Thanks Ray!!  I have a Honda 2000 generator, so I would wager it might have trouble with the 70 Amp as well.  Perhaps the 60 is the best option.  If I replaced the OEM converter with the Progressive Dynamics 60 over the fridge, would I still get undercharged batteries like you experienced due to the long run to the batteries?  Or would the better PD converter compensate?  I just swapped out my batteries last summer to two 6 volts and installed an inverter after watching your videos.

    Thanks by the way for all of your videos!!  I too have a Cougar 5th wheel (2007), so I was super excited to find your channel and all of your how-to videos.  :yahoo:  Our RVs have a lot of similarities, and that really helps since this is our first RV.

    Thanks again!!!

    Chris

     

    #54206
    Ray
    Keymaster

    Thanks, Chris, I find the 60 amp works great. For lead-acid battery charging each one will only take so much charging current even during the bulk charging phase. I think the rule of thumb is something like 15 amps per battery. AGM type can charge a little faster and lithium even faster.

    It’s important to try and size everything in the system together, one weak link in the chain will lower the efficiency of the system. Most commonly it’s using undersized wiring and making poor connections. You see that a lot in shoddy solar installs.

    The InteliPower may help a bit as its a higher quality charger. You could give it a try and see. The best way to improve the converter’s battery charging would be to relocate the converter closer to the battery bank or run a heavier gauge wire.

    Happy RVing!   :good:

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