• GeekyGuy
    4
    As snowbirds, we spend 4 straight months in an RV park in Texas.

    Connected to shore power. It means my converter constantly charges my 2 x 6v GC batteries. That cannot be good.

    It reads charging at 13.6 all the time, never goes in float mode it seems.

    Guess I'd like for a better managed trickle charger to help keeping my batteries in good health.

    Anyone with ideas, I have a few good quality Battery Tenders, which I think would do a better job than the WFCO converter.

    Would love to wire in something I could trip or enable to protect my batteries...

    Thank you.
  • Greg F
    146
    Try disconnecting the battery and see if the 12v stuff in your trailer like the lights still work. Normally the converter charging will keep the 12v circuits energized even if there is no battery hooked up.

    If the 12v stuff still works keep the battery disconnected from the trailer and attach your battery tender.
  • Ray
    393
    If you could install even a little bit of a solar system your GC batteries will be much happier. The thing about solar is the charge controllers have a better charge profile for the big lead acids than most OEM RV converter chargers, most solar controllers can put out the higher 14.6- 14.8V that many brands like to see during the absorption phase, also many solar controllers can perform an equalization to desufate the lead plates. Just an idea, Cheers, Ray
  • GeekyGuy
    4
    Thanks.

    I have a 100W solar panel with charge controller, would it be appropriate or too much for this task?

    Would you disconnect the batteries from my RV converter? If so, how or better yet, where you install a disconnect switch?

    Trying to get something installed to make it convenient...

    Thanks
  • Ray
    393
    I would turn off the converter for a while if you can, on my system, there is a breaker for it, then let the batteries run down a bit, say to 85% charge. Then hook up the solar and the converter together on a sunny day. The solar will take the lead charge as it has a higher voltage output and should charge them up and give them a good trickle charge to keep them topped up nicely.
    Then just check the water level every few weeks and you could also check each cell with a hydrometer to make sure they are all evenly charged. The good thing is 6V GC lead acids aren't that expensive and can take some abuse.

    By the way how old is your RV? Just wondering if the WFCO is a 3 level smart charger.
  • Eddie Aileen
    72
    Good advice Ray! He could sure use a Progressive Dynamics Inteli-Power 9200 Series Converter/Charger with Charge Wizard . You and I have had good luck with this charger.
  • GeekyGuy
    4
    It's brand new, 2019. It's suppose to be a 3 stage charger, but it ain't so. Just like my previous 5th wheel, would go to 14. 4 once in a blue moon, 13.1 never seen it, 13.6 was it's standard operating mode.

    I've read your Intelli Power review and installation, am tempted.
  • GeekyGuy
    4
    Thank you Ray for your wisdom.

    If I was to install an Intellipower Converter / Charger with pendant, like you did in my front compartment. How could I wire the 120V IN. I have a 2k generator, a 100W solar panel and shore power... That's where I get confused...
  • Ray
    393
    You could run an AC line to the front compartment from the existing AC line feeding the OEM WFCO converter, just cut the line and spice it with wire nuts, maybe put in a junction box. Likely would have to pull the underbelly down and fish the wire.
    An easier method would be an extension cord from one of your basement storage AC outlets and into the front compartment. I don't know about your rig but mine has an AC outlet on both sides of the basement storage compartment.
  • GeekyGuy
    4
    Got it, I do have AC Plugs and can connect the Intellipower there. Permanently disabling charging from the built-in WFCO and only use it to convert the 12V to power my 12V devices.
    Or.. The Intellipower is designed to be more than just a battery charger... Can I run wires then back to my fuse panel inside to be used as a fuse panel only, no converting from 110v to 12v.

    Is that what you did? Have you retired your OEM converter completely or is still performing tasks?
  • Ray
    393
    Yup the Intelpower is a quality 4 stage charger, it will keep the battery topped up, it even does a mini equalization ever once in a whiles, No need to run any 12V wire back to the power center as there already is a line that the OEM converter used for charging.

    Basically the Intelipower will charge the battery and the 12V RV loads will work just like if you were off-grid.

    I actually installed a dedicated receptacle just for the Intelipower, I generally only use it when boondocking and plug my generator into it, when on full hookups my solar keeps things charged up pretty well so the converter usually just sits and trickle charges, so decided to wear out my OEM then when it bites the dust I'll wire up the Intelipower for shore power use as well.
  • Schoolhouse
    3
    Ray,
    First, LOVE your channel and I have learned so much! Thank you !!!
    That said, is there a “Set it and Forget It” electrical system out there for both boondocking and electric hook-up parks? GeekyGuy’s question is a good one.
    I am recently retired and not a very geeky guy. I don’t want to have to think about disconnecting batteries (even if it means just throwing a circuit breaker) for a while to let them drain to 85%, then hook them back up. Or add solar to run a certain type of charger just to have a better experience during the absorption phase. I just want to enjoy nature, explore and have an RV 12Volt power system I can rely on. Too much to ask for a non-geek excited about seeing North America in our 2014 Winnebago View 24V?
  • Ray
    393
    Thanks! :)
    Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all. What is a tremendous amount of boondocking power to some is barely enough to others. Then there is the lifestyle factor, some folks don't want to gas, run and listen to a generator, others its no big deal. And each RV is different based on its size to what it can carry onboard. Then there is how much a person boondocks versus camps hooked up.
    A set it and forget it system is possible, just takes the money to have someone do a thorough energy audit for your needs then install all the equipment to allow the least monkeying around by the end-user.

    Generally to get a reliable system with the least user required maintaining/monitoring the more pricey the build. That's why you see DIY guys like me getting manually involved in our systems to keep the costs down and prolong the life of our batteries.

    It's like a car, some tinker with it and DIY their own maintenance and some just use it and drop it off at the garage. Unfortunately, there aren't that many decent "garages" for RV boondocking systems around as its a relatively new thing to have such complexity of RV power systems. For many years it was just a single lead-acid battery or a few more and a generator.
  • RVsolar
    161

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    69
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  • Rush and Lola
    100
    Schoolhouse, I see your learning the RV industry doesn't care if you want a hassle free system. They could care less about your happiness.
    If you want to fix your problem you have to spend a little money and then you can go do your thing with not a lot of worry, but with a little maintenance on you. You miss understood the boys I believe. Its not a lot of money to fix what you want.
    We have full time only three years and do a lot of moving about. Heard many horror stories about the equipment they install on RV's and how converter/chargers have there issues. We installed the necessary equipment and killed the breaker on the original converter/ charger but if the other charger fails all we have to do is flip a breaker and have it back till we fix anything broken. Just want to suggest that spending a little money will fix your problem and then its travel on with no worries.
    Enjoy these days and be happy. These RV's can make us go crazy if you let them. We fixed our so it makes us happy. Once again enjoy the lifestyle and see ya down the road.
  • Logan X
    69
    as it was already mentioned, there a a lot of different set ups that work for a lot of different styles. If you are looking for suggestions, I’ll share my set up. I believe my set up is relatively cheap, works for extended boondocking, and does not require much input from the user. I would recommend against replacing your OEM charger/converter unless you change batteries to lithium or something like that.

    I use 2 deep cycle 6v batteries in series for a 12v output. I can run for about 3 days on on battery charge.

    I use a Victron battery monitor so I know when to recharge the battery, you will damage them if you discharge past 50%

    I use a small 2000 watt generator to recharge the batteries when I am dry camping. If I am plugged in, the only thing I do is top off the batteries once a month with distilled water.

    Here is a video about my off grid system

  • Schoolhouse
    3
    Thank you all for you insightful and helpful replies; very much appreciated!
    I am beginning to understand the challenges and the options available.
    Again, fantastic forum and genuinely thoughtful replies. To borrow a phrase, “Cheers” to you all.
  • GeekyGuy
    4
    Thank you Logan X. I have spent $250 on new Costco golf cart batteries, rated at 207AH. I have a 1000W Xantrex pure sine inverter that was given to me. I have a 100W portable solar panel and a 2100W generator. Guess I was looking at ways to baby my 2 batteries the best way possible. For my needs getting even 1 $1000 battery is out if the question, let alone 2 of those... getting a $1400 Victron Inverter/Converter is also not in my rear view mirror. I'll spend for the Victron monitor though. After all, like you it's only for TV. Again thank you.
  • Logan X
    69
    I’ve heard good things about those Costco GC batteries. I think they give you the most bang for your buck.

    I am very happy with my Victron battery monitor. Here is my install video if you want to check it out.
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