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Old 05-12-2014, 09:45 PM   #1
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1965 17' Caravel
Portland , Oregon
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WFCO Power Center

Hello -
I'm wondering if anyone has thoughts on the WFCO Power Center?
We bought a 1965 Caravel about a year ago with a confusing electric system (to me). It appeared as though several questionable modifications had taken place over the years? While most things seemed to work (12v lights/fan, AC outlets, outside lights) - a fuse in the old switch box continued to blow when starting my tow vehicle, the original switch box itself didn't seem to make sense (not sure if it was also modified?), I was never sure if the onboard battery was getting charged or not, and the AC circuit breaker had several unterminated wires hanging out. Anyway, I brought it to the local Airstream dealer and they installed a new brake controller and tested that the trailer brakes and exterior lights work. I started to try to decipher the rest of the electrical myself, but figured that it was better to just take the existing stuff out (switch box, AC circuit breaker box, 12v converter) and start over from scratch.

I've tested continuity of all the wiring to seven 12v lights, a 12v fan, a water pump, and two 120 AC outlets (one that powers a little fridge). All the wiring seems good including the exterior running lights and brakes powered by the auto.

After a little research I'm thinking of buying the WFCO Power Center (p/n WFCO WF-8725P), Power CentersWFCO WF-8725P, WF-8725 25 Amp Power Center

It seems as if this "all-in-one" unit will replace all the components I've taken out? I'm trying to:

1. Convert 120W shore power to 12W.
2. Charge the onboard battery (Interstate deep cycle Marine/RV) when plugged into shore power without overcharging the battery.
3. Charge the battery from tow vehicle while diving.
4. Divert onboard battery power to 12W lights and fan when boondocking.
5. Ground the electric system (What is the best way to do this?)
6. Potentially add solar capability in the future

Does anyone have thoughts and/or experience with this system as related to accomplishing the above? Would you recommend another system?

Thanks in advance,
Gary
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Old 05-12-2014, 10:36 PM   #2
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1968 20' Globetrotter
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I'm using the 8900 30A and am very pleased. Suggest 30A as you may someday want room for Microwave circuit or Electric Water heater, other appliances, or whatever science may offer in the future. It is quiet.
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Old 05-13-2014, 04:47 PM   #3
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South of the river , Minnesota
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Gary

The WFCO is a good unit. If it fits your space then it should work out well for you.

It will not solve your problems related to charging from the tow-vehicle. For that you're best off replacing the fuse with an auto-reset circuit breaker backed up with a much larger fuse. I use a 100 amp fuse and a 40 amp breaker although I have heavier than stock wiring. You want to use the largest fuses and breakers that provide safety for the size wire you have for the charge line in your trailer and tow vehicle. 14 gauge wire is common and for that you would want a 20 or 25 amp breaker and a fuse around 60 amps in series.

Not much to grounding, the - side of the DC and the ground wire of the AC should each be tied to the frame, ideally at different points.
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Old 05-13-2014, 04:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALUMINUMINUM View Post
I'm using the 8900 30A and am very pleased. Suggest 30A as you may someday want room for Microwave circuit or Electric Water heater, other appliances, or whatever science may offer in the future. It is quiet.
The unit he's looking at supports a 30a shore power connection as you suggest. The 25a is the output from the converter, which should be plenty for a Caravel with one battery.
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:42 AM   #5
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1968 20' Globetrotter
ANN ARBOR , THE GREAT LAKES
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Posts: 374
Oops, I didn't explain what I was thinking very well...

"The 8700 Series also brings you the convenience of built-in AC and DC distribution. 30-amp main AC breaker and a total of up to three 20-amp branch AC circuits can be installed."

What I meant to note was...

The 8900 has Four branch circuits. Possible uses include
1) Air conditioner
2) Dual fuel Atwood Water Heater
3) Original airstream "appliance circuit"
4) Added 20A circuit for microwave and 120V side of refrigerator, electric resistance heater, accessories of the future.

The WIFCO 8900 is very happy in my GT. I wired it so that I can switch off the converter/charger from the 120V without using the breaker as a switch.
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Old 05-15-2014, 09:22 PM   #6
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1965 17' Caravel
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Thanks for the inputs! I've ordered the 25 amp model from Amazon as I don't think we'll need the 30... I'll let you know how the installation goes.

-Gary
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