Is my rv electric converter bad

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djw2112

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Hello there,  I noticed recently that my converter was not making any noise under a load (sounds like a fan motor)  and i noticed that my batteries were not charging.  I have two 12V hooked up parallel (n to n and p to p).   

I removed the battery cables and tested the battery under no load, it was about 11 v,  then i put the charger on that battery and it showed about 50% charged, i did check the battery fluid and it is fine.

Then i tested the wires going to the battery from the 5th wheel and it only shows 9v and i have read that it needs to show 13.6 v so that makes me wonder if my converter inside the panel is bad.    I also tested the wire connection in the panel itself going from the panel to the battery to be sure it was not a bad connection and its also about 9v.

I have a model wf-8955AN panel and the actual converter board is wf-89xx-MBA  i assume xx is 55 for me which is a 55 amp model, but i have a 30 am RV - alittle confusing.

Is my converter bad?

Also i am guessing that i can just use one battery at a time and just recharge it myself every week or so until i can get a new converter, is that correct?

Also can converters be rebuilt?

Thank You In Advance

 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Sounds like the converter/charger has failed, but make sure the 120v breaker that feeds it is on and that any fuses are not blown.

AMPS:  Your RV uses 30A shore power, i.e. 30A @ 120v for a total power of 3600 watts. That supplies 120v power to outlets and such and is unrelated to the converter/charger amps. The converter produces 12v DC power and the 55A is the amount of 12v available for powering lights, furnace fan, water pump, etc. and for charging the batteries.
 

djw2112

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TY Gary, 

Main breaker is on and i have AC to the RV, and yes sir i just checked all the fuses on the 12v side of the panel and all are good.  I dont suppose the actual converter board itself (the box with the fins on it) has a fuse inside it?  But if that was blown it would not work at all i guess.  A new one is about 160 bucks, i wonder if they can be rebuilt at a rv or elect shop?
 

Koodog

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Cost to repair is most likely more than a new unit, if you can find somewhere to actually take it.
I found 1 on PPL for $139
Check Craigslist you may find  used one.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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PPL Motorhome Parts Store - https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/rv-parts-rv-accessories

The converter/charger portion of your WFCO panel is in fact a subassemble board, so that's what you would be buying unless you replace the entire panel + charger. The 55A version is $158 on Amazon. Same price at PPL Parts (the 35A version is the one for $130)

https://www.amazon.com/WFCO-WF-8935-MBA-Board-Assembly-Replacement/dp/B004A34G94?th=1
https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/electrical-plumbing-lp-gas/rv-electrical-systems-and-accessories/converter-chargers/wfco-main-board-assy_49-7343
 

djw2112

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Thank you all very much.  I assume with it being 10+ years old is why it went bad.  But also i have heard that resisters dry out over time, and i do have a small portable heater in the bathroom that blows outward and it is about 5 feet from the electric panel but it does blow right on the panel.  I am thinking that the heater may have contributed to the drying out of the board parts.,
 

John From Detroit

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Make and model of the converter. I gather this converter is "Remote" from teh power panel (That is a stand alone) IF you must replace I suggest Progressive Dynamics 9200 series

But it might just be a blown fuse. 30 amp. likely on the converter near where the BIG wires hook up if more than one replace all at the same time WHILE UNPLUGGED. then plug back in .
 

djw2112

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John From Detroit said:
Make and model of the converter. I gather this converter is "Remote" from teh power panel (That is a stand alone) IF you must replace I suggest Progressive Dynamics 9200 series

But it might just be a blown fuse. 30 amp. likely on the converter near where the BIG wires hook up if more than one replace all at the same time WHILE UNPLUGGED. then plug back in .

For now i went to one battery and i hooked my charger up to the battery in use and set my charger on 2am trickle charge.  Then plugged the charger into the side of the RV which is controlled by a inside switch.  So at night when im using the 12v power for lights and stuff i have the switch on so that it trickle charges as i use it.  Then during the day time i turn the switch off so that i dont over charge the battery.

It says on the panel that it is a WFCO 3 stage converter - model wf-8955AN panel.  I was able to find a manual for it online and that manual says that the actual converter board on the bottom section of the panel is wf-8955-MBA.  But i cant see for sure unless i remove the two screws for the converter itself and slide it out.  It does have a part number tag on it that i can see but that is probably just a local part number.

Wait i just thought i might have the original manual for the panel in my rv paperwork.... let me check.,.. 

yeah i found the original panel manual.... it says to test it by disconnecting the two main wires on the fuse panel section that lead to the battery so ill do that tomorrow.  I dont want to mess something up and then have to go all night with no power.
 

grashley

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I recently went through the same issue with my WFCO converter.  Mine is a different model with an independent WFCO converter.

I simply connected my car battery charger to my camper battery and plugged it into the camper 120V power until I got the new converter and got it replaced.  What you are doing will work.

I got the PD 9270  70 A converter for $185.  I feel it was a better quality converter.
 

djw2112

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I ordered the one from PPL. 

Anyone have an issue with the PPL site freezing after order submission, it wont go from place order to confirmation, it's just sitting there.  I don't want to refresh the screen because it could cause a double charge.  I closed the page and checked CC online and does not appear to have charged.  Maybe because they are closed, I will try the sale again on monday.
 

John From Detroit

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The use a car charger (If it's a good one) till you can finish diagnosis and repair plan is.....

Exactly what I did. (And it' is a good one) mine is a semi-smart charger. Knows when to stop but I have to tell it to re-start.. Was not a problem due to when the converter failed.

Like Grashley.. I like Progressive Dynamics converters.. THough I will admit to some bias.. My mother did a consult for 'em on a computer issue once.. (She worked nearby as head accountant of another firm... Only woman in the state tho hold that title at the time).
 

djw2112

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djw2112 said:
I ordered the one from PPL. 

Anyone have an issue with the PPL site freezing after order submission, it wont go from place order to confirmation, it's just sitting there.  I don't want to refresh the screen because it could cause a double charge.  I closed the page and checked CC online and does not appear to have charged.  Maybe because they are closed, I will try the sale again on monday.


Scratch that, I tried with a dif browser to order it via PPL and still website still did not work.  Oh well they lost that sale and amazon got the sale.
 

djw2112

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I received the converter today.  They did not even put any packing in the box, they just stuck the converter in the box and sealed it, so I hope it is not damaged.

One question I have is why is this wire made this way, it is the same on the old converter so it is the way it should be, but what is the reason behind being made this way.

 

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Gizmo100

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On our TT. The wire running to the circuit breaker has the same setup. The GFCI outlets share the the same breakers.
 

Gizmo100

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djw2112 said:
Im just not sure why they spliced it the way they did, is there a name for that technique?

Not sure about a name...But I know of a phrase....."This one's ready to ship"

I thought mine was a little weird until I saw yours.
 

djw2112

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Maybe Detroit John knows!

OH and also does anyone out there want my old converter to play around with in the shop just to see how it works or what broke?  Could be an interesting project.
 

djw2112

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Finally got the converter installed and works perfect. 

Had to do some redirection of some of the wires for better looks but that was easy.  On thing that was not easy is whoever at the factory tightened the common bar wires must have done so with an impact tool, they were wayyy over tight.  I could not even get the one for the converter loose so i just used the same wire, cut it and spliced it into the new one.

As far as inspection behind the panel, nothing major although whoever took this out before decided if it would not come out then they should just force it.  They pulled so hard on the panel that it broken one side of a wire clip that was nailed in the floor.  I checked the wires and it looks like they tore the outter sleeve of the romex but did not damage the inside wires.  There was one other place that looked like some wires showing through the black wire but on closer look it was just the paper wrapping. 

I checked the back of the box and also all screws on front side to be sure they were all tight and all is well. 

I will say this much for the MFG, you don't really see poor work until you look under or behind things.  They never cleaned up after themselves, left a ton of loose screws laying behind the panel as well as all their saw dust.  They also used the space behind the panel as the short sheet part of the laminent floor, its all curled up inside there.  Also when they drilled through the wall for the wires, did they clean up the whole so it was smooth, NO they did not.  They just stuck the wires through there with jagged wood splinters and all and the hole is just big enough for the wires and nothing else.  I looked the best I could as I could not crawl in the panel hole but it does not look like any of the wires are cut, but who knows how long that will last. 

All in all, further checking is another job for another day. I am retired so I can get to it this next summer or next winter and remove the panel and wires completely (marking them first of course) and then crawl in there and clean up the holes and recheck the wire damage closer.

But this job so far is done!  Thank you everyone for your great help.  :))
 

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