Using auto battery charger after converter goes bad

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KerriT

Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2021
Posts
15
Location
Alabama
According to the manual there is no hazard to using the condition mode, even with a bad battery the worst that will happen is it gives up. It doesn't do any charging in this mode so that would be the downside. The worst I see happening is having to check and restart the charger once a day. If you don't, you'll be reminded by all your stuff quitting as your batteries go flat. Your batteries won't be too happy about this either so it'll just have to be something to do until the converter is replaced. Given the same circumstances I'd be doing the same thing, there's only so many options you have when stuff craps out sometimes.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
Thanks Mark! I agree it will be a pain, but I'll only have to do it for a little while, I hope. Once I see what happens when I unplug it - hoping the battery won't drop too fast - I will feel better about it. I really hope it hasn't/won't hurt the battery! Thank you so much for your advice!
 

Ex-Calif

Well-known member
Joined
May 15, 2020
Posts
3,319
Location
NorthCentral Florida
Only thing is this. > Though it drops to "Tender" mode automatically
It will not go back into "Charge" mode automatically.. I had to do that manually a few times.

Mine would go back into charge mode but the voltage had to drop below like 11V for it to happen.

Either way if OP is unplugging the charger for a couple hours a day it will likely cause a charge event.

For OP - I am sure you haven't harmed anything with the recondition mode and if you unplug for a couple hours a day I am sure your voltage won't drop too much. Your batteries should last 12-24 hours with "normal" 12V usage.
 

KerriT

Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2021
Posts
15
Location
Alabama
I just unplugged it and am watching it anxiously. :) Once I go through it a time or two, I'll feel better about it. Thanks so much for your advice!
 

IBTripping

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Posts
1,726
Location
Virginia
I used a charger for a couple of months when my converter failed. Left it connected and on full time. That's what I suggest you do. Less to worry about.
 

KerriT

Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2021
Posts
15
Location
Alabama
I used a charger for a couple of months when my converter failed. Left it connected and on full time. That's what I suggest you do. Less to worry about.
Thanks, IB! I am so glad that everyone is telling me what they did and making me feel so much better. I really appreciate your advice!
 

KerriT

Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2021
Posts
15
Location
Alabama
Hello everyone... Let me begin by saying I am a 58 yo woman with major health issues. No one to turn to for advice and can't really afford to pay someone right now. Like everyone, food and gas cost increases have taken what little extra $ I have each month. So please, no rude statements or judgement. This will be a long post (almost a book - I may try to publish it ;-) to attempt to anticipate some of the questions someone might have, so I apologize in advance.

Converter (according to the paperwork that came with my rig) - a WFCO model # WF-8835, 45, 55, 65, or 75 - not able to see the exact # because the converter is basically under the oven - on my 2004 Fleetwood Pioneer travel trailer apparently died yesterday. Around 2 pm I noticed the interior fridge light was off. Amber 'Auto' light near the 'on/off' buttons above fridge was still on as usual. No big deal - I could live without a light for a little while. About 2:30, I noticed the trailer was getting warm. Lowered the thermostat and A/C wouldn't come on. Checked the frig again and could tell it was beginning to defrost. (My Dometic fridge makes little-to-no noise so had not noticed it was off.)

(I do NOT have propane available - had tanks removed because I am severely allergic and have severe asthma so please don't suggest switching fridge to propane. :)

Panic ensued. (Did not think to check control panel inside at this point.) Got in touch with the maintenance man here at the campground (did I mention I'm in Tupelo, MS and it is almost 100 degrees each day?) He was kind enough to come over and check some things - pedastel, breakers, fuses, etc. After about an hour, he called an RV service man he knows. Advised that I use a car battery charger to recharge the battery. Went to Walmart and purchased one for $70. EverStart Maxx 50/15/3 amp. Has a "Smart Charge" function in which the charger selects what needs to be done, but I did not really understand that function at that time. No way to manually change between the amp selections available. (Also says it can jump-start a vehicle, but I digress.)

As soon as we connected the charger, the thermostat got power and A/C came back on and the fridge came back on (could see the light and it began cooling very quickly). Inside control panel showed 4 lights/fully functioning. By this point it was 93 degrees in my trailor. (I don't have a pet so no worries there.)

There is a button on the charger that allows you to select "Battery Reconditioning". This function says it automatically turns off after 24 hours. The maintenance man felt that would be the 3 amp charge and that it would be sufficient to fully charge the battery in 24 hours while keeping the charger from overheating. This was about 6:30 pm.

This morning, before 7 am, I checked my battery indicator on the control panel inside and it was down to 1 light, so battery was losing charge. I checked the fridge and the light was dim. Went outside to check the battery charger which was of course still in 'Reconditioning' mode. Battery indicator still showed charging. Unfortunately, I did not think to check the % gauge before I pressed the 'Charge' button again. After pressing that, it showed approximately 75% on the gauge and after about 2 minutes, the amps went from 14 - 14.1 down to 8 - 8.6 and held steady. Came back in - control panel had 4 lights, fridge light was normal, thermostat worked fine (had not had any issues with it this morning, since it draws so little).

Went back out 1 hour later and the gauge is still only at 75%. Of course, there is a draw because the fridge is on and the A/C has already been running.

One hour after that, gauge still at 75%, showing 8.1 - 8.4 amps. Charging indicator still showing it to be charging. Fridge/thermostat working fine.

I researched the "Smart Charge" function last night and found - if I am understanding it correctly - that I might need to leave the charger in "Charge" mode rather than "Reconditioning". From what I can tell, the "Reconditioning" is not enough if anything is drawing power.

FINALLY... my questions/concerns. Thank you for reading this far!
I am trying to determine if it is safe to leave the charger plugged in overnight on "Charge". Ideally, I would like to recharge the battery fully and then remove the charger for at least a few hours then reconnect it to charge again as needed. My research says my fridge will run from 6 - 10 hours on one battery, so I would have to reconnect it within 3 - 4 hours, I guess, to keep the battery from discharging too far. (I do not use the 12-volt overhead lights AT ALL. As far as I know, the fridge and the thermostat are all that is drawing 12-volt. Carbon detector is disconnected - another long story. Might be some other 'ghost draw' but it wouldn't be much.) I know that it is not an ideal situation, but I simply cannot afford to have the converter replaced at this time and this is the only solution I can devise.

*Do you feel it would damage anything or be unsafe to use the battery charger overnight 'indefinitely' (a few weeks or months) in "Charge" mode if I am careful to disconnect it each day and allow it to cool down fully?
*How long does it typically take a 15 amp charger to get a battery fully charged, or will it ever be fully charged since there is a constant draw from the fridge?
*Could it have damaged my battery (1 year old) so that it will not reach full charge?
*If the charger stays on all night (12 hours or so), will it overheat if full charge is never reached? It is supposed to have an auto shutoff to avoid overheating, but not sure I want to 'test' it.

I welcome and appreciate all helpful comments/questions because I am TRULY out of my comfort zone with this situation. Thank you SO much!!
Quick update... Charger went into FLOAT mode night before last. Still there, gauge reads 100%. I am disconnecting for an hour or so each evening just to be cautious. Everything is working well. I'm so happy!

Thank you SO much to each and every one of you that posted your advice, experience, and encouraging words. This community is AMAZING!! I hope you all have a great day. Safe travels! :)
 
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