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Old 12-31-2019, 10:37 PM   #1
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Charging? From Gen?

Hi All - it sure seems like Iím not getting nearly the charge out of my onan 5500 generator that I should be. Seems like we are needing to run the gen way too much. Got huge batteries, lots of solar, shore charge ok, but not enough charge from running the gen. Did anyone add a charger? And how is shore power better than 120v from the onan? Both go thru the stock converter..
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Old 12-31-2019, 11:39 PM   #2
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The Generator does not have a charging system. When the generator runs, the converter charges the batteries. If you have the battery disconnect turned on it will not charge the batteries. Typically the generator is connected directly to the battery. If the disconnect is on and you run the generator it will not charge the batteries because the converter is disconnected from the batteries.
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Old 12-31-2019, 11:49 PM   #3
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Charger? Like this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by VCToyhauler View Post
Hi All - it sure seems like Iím not getting nearly the charge out of my onan 5500 generator that I should be. Seems like we are needing to run the gen way too much. Got huge batteries, lots of solar, shore charge ok, but not enough charge from running the gen. Did anyone add a charger? And how is shore power better than 120v from the onan? Both go thru the stock converter..
ó Does this call for one of these?
Xantrex 804-1240-02 Truecharge2 12V 40A 3 Bank Parallel Stackable Battery Charger https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004VBGUNU..._nW-cEb4T7033P
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Old 01-01-2020, 12:03 AM   #4
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The converter you have is either a 90 or 100 amp 3 stage charger. What ever you have for a battery bank the stock converter should be able to handle it.
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Old 01-01-2020, 09:16 PM   #5
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You didn't change to lithium ion batteries did you? That requires changes to settings on some inverters, others you have to change inverters because they are not lithium ion capable.
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Old 01-01-2020, 11:53 PM   #6
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You didn't change to lithium ion batteries did you? That requires changes to settings on some inverters, others you have to change inverters because they are not lithium ion capable.
I had just upgraded from 3 x 12v to 4 x 6v, upgrading from about 200 to 400AH total. Started with a good shore charge; cloudy days while camping prevented good solar recharge, so I had to run gen a lot. But even after 4-5 hours gen, voltage was not back as high as it seemed it should have been, if it was really doing a full 1st stage bulk charge.
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Old 01-02-2020, 04:29 PM   #7
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4-5 hours of generator time won't be enough time to fully charge depleted batteries. But it should be enough time to get you well on your way, like maybe 90% SOC or something. It's that last 10% that takes hours and hours of charge time since you're in the absorption phase where current is tapering off.
My experience has been that the stock converter would quickly if not immediately get up to the bulk charge setpoint. Granted, I'm only at 2x6V batteries rather than 4 and my WFCO converter really only charges at 13.6V anyway. That's the voltage it immediately jumps to when plugged into shore power or generator.
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Old 01-03-2020, 03:58 AM   #8
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I contacted bestconverter.com, and will now be replacing my wfco 68100 with a boondocker 12100. They say it manages charges much better
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Old 01-03-2020, 12:31 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by VCToyhauler View Post
I contacted bestconverter.com, and will now be replacing my wfco 68100 with a boondocker 12100. They say it manages charges much better
Sounds like a good upgrade. Maybe you had what I see with my WFCO converter, it only charges at 13.6V instead of the claimed 14.4V. This would mean slow charging from shore/generator power.
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Old 01-04-2020, 02:21 AM   #10
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Exactly. Iíll report back after the upgrade. In the meantime... Anyone need a perfectly good wfco 68100A? 😎
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Old 01-04-2020, 04:09 PM   #11
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"Perfectly good WFCO" lol! I shouldn't bash them too much I guess. They do get the job done, but they don't perform as advertised
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:07 AM   #12
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Done, charging at over 14 volts! Also as it turns out, I had a faulty autoreset breaker coming off the converter, which explains a LOT. Like why it would appear to charge, once the gen starts, then a little click, and then it would recycle over and over again, eventually charging some. But DAMN! NOW itís cooking!
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Old 01-18-2020, 01:55 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by ewarnerusa View Post
Sounds like a good upgrade. Maybe you had what I see with my WFCO converter, it only charges at 13.6V instead of the claimed 14.4V. This would mean slow charging from shore/generator power.
My WFCO does the same. I have seen it charge at 14.4, but not since I upgraded to 200 amp hour of battery capacity. I don't think my 30 amp WFCO can deliver enough current within the 4 hour fast charge window to bring the voltage up to 14.4.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf WFCO-Theory-of-Operation-v2.pdf (956.3 KB, 33 views)
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Old 01-18-2020, 03:12 PM   #14
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30A would be ok I think, but it's the WFCO that doesn't even try. It starts tapering it's amps to hold at 13.6V. mine is the 55A version and I also have 200 Ah setup. I have one time ever seen the WFCO charge at 14.4V and have never been able to replicate it
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Old 01-20-2020, 05:53 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by ewarnerusa View Post
30A would be ok I think, but it's the WFCO that doesn't even try. It starts tapering it's amps to hold at 13.6V. mine is the 55A version and I also have 200 Ah setup. I have one time ever seen the WFCO charge at 14.4V and have never been able to replicate it
Talk to Randy at BestConverters.com. They make a plugin 4-stage replacement for every stock converter. I think Iím going to love this BoonDocker converter. The WFCO never showed nearly that much. But there was a bad 30A autoreset breaker on the charging output though also, which explains a lot!
Canít wait to go out on our next trip. Thatís in about a week.. Iíll report back!
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Old 01-22-2020, 02:16 PM   #16
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Fast charging lead/acid battery

I have had several battery chargers over the last 50 years. I have understood lead/acid battery charging in the last 15 years. I get a lot better results and am a lot more satisfied with results now.
1) It takes 14 to 18 hours to fully charge a lead/acid battery. This is the nature of the lead/acid chemistry. The battery must be fully charged periodically for long life. Leaving a lead acid partially charged for long periods will kill it. The longer you leave it, the quicker it looses capacity. A week should not be a serious problem. 3 months is excessive.
2) The idea of "Fast Chargers" is comforting. It doesn't actually mean much. One lab test proved a high quality 4 stage fast charger (14.4 volts) could save 22 minutes over a standard 13.6 volt converter charger. All of that 22 minutes accumulates early in the charging cycle. After 4 hours, even a slow 13.3 volt charger/converter worked just as fast. I wish I could find the link to that report.

3) The key to charging fast as you might need to when using a generator is to have enough charging capacity to supply what the battery will accept near the beginning of the charge cycle.

So, a 200 amp/hour deep draw battery bank may accept around 30 amps when deeply discharged. The batteries will not accept charge at a higher rate. An old 18 volt car charger can force more current, but the excess will only produce hydrogen gas from electrolysis. No faster charging will occur.
4) Neither a 4 hour generator charge nor an 8 hour solar charge can fully charge a deeply discharged lead acid battery bank. It can add a lot of charge fast and provide enough capacity to get through another day, but the battery bank still needs a full 14 to 18 hour charge periodically to have long life.
Battery University

https://batteryuniversity.com/
How does the Lead Acid Battery Work? https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/...ased_batteries
Charging lead acid batteries https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/...d_acid_battery
GEL https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/...d_acid_battery
AGM https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/..._glass_mat_agm
Charging with Solar, Turbine https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/...ar_and_turbine
How to Charge and When to Charge? https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/...o_charge_table
How to Store Batteries https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/...tore_batteries
Summary of Doís and Doníts https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/..._battery_table
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Old 01-22-2020, 02:33 PM   #17
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Correction: A 13.3 volt charger is slightly slower than both a fast charger, and a 13.6 volt charger.

Sorry, the "Edit" function is not working at the moment or I would have corrected the post.
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Old 01-22-2020, 07:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VCToyhauler View Post
Talk to Randy at BestConverters.com. They make a plugin 4-stage replacement for every stock converter. I think Iím going to love this BoonDocker converter. The WFCO never showed nearly that much. But there was a bad 30A autoreset breaker on the charging output though also, which explains a lot!
Canít wait to go out on our next trip. Thatís in about a week.. Iíll report back!
Replacing my converter has always been a "one of these days" project for me. But our current solar setup and long weekend warrior style camping has never left us low on battery power, so it continues to languish low on the priority list. But I fully support and recommend swapping out the WFCO with a converter that performs properly.
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