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Old 06-05-2014, 12:04 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Gnorts View Post
The alternator in a car or truck isn't designed to charge batteries. It's designed to support loads, like headlights, heater fan, wipers, etc. Charging the battery is a secondary function. It actually doesn't take a lot of capacity to start a gasoline engine, so the battery doesn't need to have the same kind of full charge that deep cycle RV batteries need. The regulator in a standard automotive alternator senses feedback voltage at its own output, and as soon as that voltage starts to rise as the battery is replenished after starting, the regulator starts to turn off the alternator's output. That's exactly wrong for deep cycle batteries.
None of that is correct for tow vehicles manufactured in the last 15 years. It's a reasonably accurate description of the early charging systems with electromechanical controls that were used as late as the 1960s in some cases.

Truck alternators are designed to produce electric power. It makes no difference what the power is used for.

On most if not all fuel-injected trucks, the powertrain control module (PCM) manages alternator output voltage. In general the output voltage is temperature compensated, and in general there is some variation of what converter manufacturers call a "3 stage" charging algorithm. In practice this means that the PCM will drop the voltage target by half a volt or so when the engine has been running continuously for a long time.

There is no difference in correct charging technique between flooded deep cycle batteries and automotive batteries.

Automotive batteries and deep cycle batteries, alike, are kept near full charge by the charging system.
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Old 06-05-2014, 12:34 PM   #16
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Jammer,

That is not quite what I observe with my 2012 Silverado with the factory towing package. Whether or not the trailer is connected, I can see the voltmeter drop more than .5 volt when the truck battery is fully charged. However, when the Tow-Haul mode is selected the voltmeter reads higher and stays higher even when the trailer battery is fully charged. I concluded that the GM design is to keep voltage high to the trailer battery expecting that the total charge to the trailer battery is not going to be excessive.
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Old 06-05-2014, 12:34 PM   #17
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Thanks, any recommendations in the southeast for replacement of converter/inverter as I am not knowledgeable enough to do it myself.

I would suggest you speak with Lew Farber. He is active on this forum under the screen name "lewster." He does a lot of work on Airstream electrical systems. He spends his summers in the Pacific NW and his winters in Marco Island Florida. His business is called Master Tech Mobile RV Systems.

You can find and communicate with him by searching for his screen name on the forum.

Good luck!
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Old 06-05-2014, 01:14 PM   #18
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The stock converters that Airstream has been using at least since 2010 do not overcharge batteries any more than a 3 stage charger will. I have the original batteries in my trailer, and the original converter, and I leave the trailer plugged in all the time, year 'round. My batteries still work great. The only problem I have with my converter is that it takes 24 hours to fully charge the batteries.
This is good to know. Thanks Jammer. That's interesting the Parallax is not a three stage charger. I see on their (Parallax) website they have or are planning on a converter that is "temperature controlled output voltage"
I wondered what that battery disconnect switch out by the door was for.
great

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Old 06-06-2014, 01:24 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
None of that is correct for tow vehicles manufactured in the last 15 years. It's a reasonably accurate description of the early charging systems with electromechanical controls that were used as late as the 1960s in some cases.

Truck alternators are designed to produce electric power. It makes no difference what the power is used for.

On most if not all fuel-injected trucks, the powertrain control module (PCM) manages alternator output voltage. In general the output voltage is temperature compensated, and in general there is some variation of what converter manufacturers call a "3 stage" charging algorithm. In practice this means that the PCM will drop the voltage target by half a volt or so when the engine has been running continuously for a long time.

There is no difference in correct charging technique between flooded deep cycle batteries and automotive batteries.

Automotive batteries and deep cycle batteries, alike, are kept near full charge by the charging system.
Jammer, you're right, mea culpa. I come from the world of marine electrical systems, and the PCM-controlled alternators don't exist yet in that market. Heck, gasoline marine engines only got catalytic converters a couple of years ago.

Still, I wonder how the "smart" PCM regulation works when a set of trailer batteries are added to the system through the 7-wire connector. Deep-cycle flooded batteries do have a slightly different charge acceptance rate because of their thicker plates. They won't supply starting current as well as starting batteries with thinner plates, and the absorption stage of charging needs to be less aggressive to keep the plates from overheating.

I did a bit of reading on the PCM control systems, (I love this stuff!) and as far as I can tell the temperature compensation doesn't get its signal directly with a thermistor attached to the battery, which is usually the case in custom-designed marine charging systems, but rather with an algorithm in either the PCM or a separate battery management ecu, or from under-hood temperature sensing.

Somebody mentioned that a modern truck ordered with a towing package will include an algorithm that will monitor the trailer battery bank. How is this done? Inquiring minds want to know...
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Old 10-28-2016, 02:51 PM   #20
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I'm confused, sorry

I called WFCO and spoke to tech support. My 2014 Eddie Bauer has the WF5100 series inverter - which I was told has a three stage charger! Can we "turn off" the single stage in the Parallax system and have a system that doesn't cook batteries. I have now cooked 2 sets of batteries in 3 years by trying to "store/use" switch...
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Old 10-28-2016, 05:10 PM   #21
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I also just want to follow............... thanks guys.
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Old 10-30-2016, 08:42 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Holmanoneill View Post
I called WFCO and spoke to tech support. My 2014 Eddie Bauer has the WF5100 series inverter - which I was told has a three stage charger! Can we "turn off" the single stage in the Parallax system and have a system that doesn't cook batteries. I have now cooked 2 sets of batteries in 3 years by trying to "store/use" switch...
Your WF 5110 is an inverter only and does not have any charging capability, nor is it a DC power supply.
You likely have the 7355 Power center that includes your converter at the bottom below the circuit breakers and fuses. It will be a single stage and yes they are widely known to overcharge batteries (and even undercharge)
You could install a cut off switch but that will leave you with no charging or DC power except your batteries. A much better option is the 4 stage Progressive Dynamics 4655V (with remote) upgrade for your Parallax and you will see immediate improvement. They are generally DIY upgrades and not difficult at all to install with very basic skills. Good luck.
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