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Old 11-21-2023, 01:54 PM   #1
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Lithium Battery Charging

I have a 202 basecamp 16x with lithium batteries. I have noticed the batteries do not get charged all the way. I wanted to see if I can get some insight on the autodetect of the WF-8955-ad-MBA. how low do I need to drain the batteries for the detection to work? Since I do not have a 30a outlet at the house, will a 15a wall outlet work for the autodetect feature?

I know there have been several issues with the autodetect feature of these devices, and I may have issues since I am not seeing a firmware sticker on the unit.

Other than the blue light and a full battery, what do I need to look out for? Any insight will be appreciated and helpful.

Scott
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Old 11-21-2023, 02:09 PM   #2
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Assuming you replaced the old converter board with the new AD one? I don't think it was out in 2020. And how do you know they aren't charging all the way?

With mine, I had to unscrew the charger and pull it out so I could see the light. I couldn't get the coveted blue light without isolating one battery and draining to about 20% or so then charging. Yes, 15A is good. That's 15x120=1880W and the 40W charger draws at most 40x12=480W.

I ended up replacing the charger with a Victron Smart Phoenix 50A since I lost faith in the WFCO staying blue and it was only putting out 18A or so with the batteries in bulk (not sure why). I've been very happy with the Victron. It's networked with my other Victron equipment and adjusts its voltage and charging accordingly. It puts out around 48A in bulk.
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Old 11-21-2023, 03:12 PM   #3
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I reached out to WFCO with pictures. They said I have the AD model, but I have not clue. I know the previous owner did some upgrades with Victron Smart Solar and BMV. So, to answer correctly, I have not clue. I am open to any solution that takes care of business.

How is the Victron charger wired in? I know on the WFCO are 3 wires for AC and 2 wires for DC.

I do not mind replacing, but not sure the best route to go. First I will drain the battery and they hook up the shore power up. If it is going to autodetect, how log should it take to switch over?

Again, this is outside my knowledge base, but learning all the time.
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Old 11-21-2023, 03:22 PM   #4
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This video pretty much explains it, very informative, I suggest watching the entire video if you have a WFCO Auto Detect.

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Old 11-21-2023, 10:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffKim View Post
I ended up replacing the charger with a Victron Smart Phoenix 50A since I lost faith in the WFCO staying blue and it was only putting out 18A or so with the batteries in bulk (not sure why). I've been very happy with the Victron. It's networked with my other Victron equipment and adjusts its voltage and charging accordingly. It puts out around 48A in bulk.
Can you tell me a little more about the wiring and installation of the Victron Smart Phoenix? Looking at the product there appears to be a plug for input. How did you get this set up?
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Old 11-22-2023, 06:02 AM   #6
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There are several discussions on Airforum about the WFCO AD converters. The issue is they don’t reliably go into and stay in lithium mode. WFCO has very nice tech support. The problem is they have a horrible product. You have two options: (1) get tech support to authorize a firmware update for your converter. To do this they will have you taking voltages and current readings. This is super annoying b/c they know they converter has an issue with the AD(they are nice about it though). Once you get your converter back from WFCO, it *might* work better. You have a relatively small trailer so the wire runs are short. For a 27’ like I have, the AD does not function. Option (2): buy a Progressive Dynamics converter for lithium. I went through option (1), then after many phone calls and aggravation, ended up replacing it. Call these folks, they’ll take care of you.

https://www.bestconverter.com/
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Old 11-22-2023, 07:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedantons View Post
I have a 202 basecamp 16x with lithium batteries. I have noticed the batteries do not get charged all the way. I wanted to see if I can get some insight on the autodetect of the WF-8955-ad-MBA. how low do I need to drain the batteries for the detection to work? Since I do not have a 30a outlet at the house, will a 15a wall outlet work for the autodetect feature?

I know there have been several issues with the autodetect feature of these devices, and I may have issues since I am not seeing a firmware sticker on the unit.

Other than the blue light and a full battery, what do I need to look out for? Any insight will be appreciated and helpful.

Scott
Are you sure your converter, in a 2020, has the lithium option? Get the model number. Does it have LIS in the part number?
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Old 11-22-2023, 07:56 AM   #8
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I am sure of nothing. I send pictures to WFCO a while back and I can not find the email. If I remember correctly they said it was not a lithium comparable unit. Since I could not find the message to confirm, I emailed them again with the same pictures. The rep replied stating the using was comparable and asked the list of questions about cable length, wire gauge, voltage outputs etc. I am not sold the unit is lithium comparable. So it I have to replace it I will, but wondering what to look for. From what I have seen here WFCO, Prpgressive Dynamics and maybe Victron.
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Old 11-22-2023, 09:04 AM   #9
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It is setup just like the existing WFCO converter except that the plug isn't wired in or included. The 2 DC wires are screwed in and a plug is used to connect to the AC system.

The plug is available from them and it looks like a computer-type plug. I guess this is because they are an international company and want to make it as modular as possible for different countries.
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Old 11-22-2023, 09:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedantons View Post
The rep replied stating the using was comparable and asked the list of questions about cable length, wire gauge, voltage outputs etc. I am not sold the unit is lithium comparable. So it I have to replace it I will, but wondering what to look for. From what I have seen here WFCO, Prpgressive Dynamics and maybe Victron.
My trailer came with the WFCO Auto-Detect version and when I switched to lithium batteries, it never sensed them. I spent a week with support verifying the same questions they asked you and the next step was to rewire everything to shorten the distance between the batteries and the converter. I didn't do it and bought a PD Lithium converter, installed it, and it fired right up correctly.

To me the AD feature is worthless and a solution looking for a problem. How often does one switch battery chemistries? Maybe once in the life of a trailer.
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Old 11-22-2023, 10:05 AM   #11
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I went the route of calling https://www.bestconverter.com/ and they set me up with a Progressive Dynamics converter replacement. It is a 55 amp charger and works perfectly for my lithium batteries. Give them a call. Randy is very knowledgeable and helpful and you will get the conversion right the first time.
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Old 11-22-2023, 10:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffb831 View Post
It is setup just like the existing WFCO converter except that the plug isn't wired in or included. The 2 DC wires are screwed in and a plug is used to connect to the AC system.

The plug is available from them and it looks like a computer-type plug. I guess this is because they are an international company and want to make it as modular as possible for different countries.
Just to make sure I understand, the DC side is exactly like the WFCO. I get that part. On the AC side, do you hardwire the cord into the breaker panel and then the other end of the wire has the plug connector that goes into the Phoenix unit?

I have been really happy with my other Victron devices so I may go down this road.
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Old 11-22-2023, 11:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedantons View Post
Just to make sure I understand, the DC side is exactly like the WFCO. I get that part. On the AC side, do you hardwire the cord into the breaker panel and then the other end of the wire has the plug connector that goes into the Phoenix unit?

I have been really happy with my other Victron devices so I may go down this road.
I wouldn't necessarily give up on the WFCO, it might work just fine for you and in a Basecamp as pointed out, unless you're intent on replacing it. If you can get a picture of the model number and post it, I can compare it to mine if that helps confirm WFCO support.

If you do go with Victron (more expensive, plays well* and of course, it's Victron) or PD (cheaper and good reputation), you'll have to find a place to put it since if I'm guessing your WFCO converter box is the same and either won't fit where the current WFCO charger lives. With mine I mounted it on the wall adjacent to the converter. The Victron is wired the same as the WFCO. It comes with an AC cord and plug, you need to cut off the plug strip and hook it up to the AC side. The DC side is more of a PIA, I had to thread through a longer wire in through a punch out in the back and contort the wire a bit to get it into the contacts.

The first picture is when I figured out it wasn't going to fit. The second is the completed installation.

*I am impressed with the VE.Smart Networking. The charger works with the shunt and increases the voltage to get the correct voltage at the battery accounting for wire loss. So, for example, it puts out 16.1V and at the battery it was 14.4V, the correct absorption voltage.
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Old 11-22-2023, 11:20 AM   #14
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Well darn, I was hoping it would fit. I may have to look around to see if there is a place to mount. Will the PD units that others have been talking about fit in the WFCO panel or is that another find a new home situation? If that is the case I may stick with a WFCO. I know they have a Lithium model that has a manual switch, but I have not seen many people talk about that.
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Old 11-22-2023, 11:36 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffKim View Post
I wouldn't necessarily give up on the WFCO, it might work just fine for you and in a Basecamp as pointed out, unless you're intent on replacing it. If you can get a picture of the model number and post it, I can compare it to mine if that helps confirm WFCO support.

If you do go with Victron (more expensive, plays well* and of course, it's Victron) or PD (cheaper and good reputation), you'll have to find a place to put it since if I'm guessing your WFCO converter box is the same and either won't fit where the current WFCO charger lives. With mine I mounted it on the wall adjacent to the converter. The Victron is wired the same as the WFCO. It comes with an AC cord and plug, you need to cut off the plug strip and hook it up to the AC side. The DC side is more of a PIA, I had to thread through a longer wire in through a punch out in the back and contort the wire a bit to get it into the contacts.

The first picture is when I figured out it wasn't going to fit. The second is the completed installation.

*I am impressed with the VE.Smart Networking. The charger works with the shunt and increases the voltage to get the correct voltage at the battery accounting for wire loss. So, for example, it puts out 16.1V and at the battery it was 14.4V, the correct absorption voltage.
Since the newer WFCO load centers are all plastic I would have been tempted to just cut the back out of the converter section and slide it in. That section is separated from the AC line section so no real danger/violation.

Another option would be to use a smaller Victron Blue Smart IP65 or IP67 Charger/Power Supply, they come up to 25 amps. I have seen a lithium conversion on a Navion motorhome where the converter was swapped with a Blue Smart IP67 12/17 and it's working fine. (see video, go to 24:30)
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Old 11-22-2023, 12:42 PM   #16
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Well darn, I was hoping it would fit. I may have to look around to see if there is a place to mount. Will the PD units that others have been talking about fit in the WFCO panel or is that another find a new home situation? If that is the case I may stick with a WFCO. I know they have a Lithium model that has a manual switch, but I have not seen many people talk about that.
Our 2022 Bambi has the guts of a WFCO lithium switch unit ("-LIS") and the front cover from an auto-detect ("-AD") unit. https://www.airforums.com/forums/f44...ml#post2708412.

I'm very happy with the -LIS unit. Converted to lithium, flipped the switch, works great. It doesn't seem like AS installed too many of them before switching over to the -AD.
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Old 11-22-2023, 12:45 PM   #17
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Since the newer WFCO load centers are all plastic I would have been tempted to just cut the back out of the converter section and slide it in. That section is separated from the AC line section so no real danger/violation.
Yes, that was what I was thinking originally but something was bumping out from above and it wasn't going to work. In the end it wasn't too much of a hassle mounting it and running the wires. It took me maybe an hour of messing around.
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Old 11-22-2023, 01:12 PM   #18
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Just to make sure I understand, the DC side is exactly like the WFCO. I get that part. On the AC side, do you hardwire the cord into the breaker panel and then the other end of the wire has the plug connector that goes into the Phoenix unit?

I have been really happy with my other Victron devices so I may go down this road.
On my unit, there is a regular 15A outlet on the back of the breaker panel that the unit plugs into. It works the same as the WFCO AD unit that came with the trailer.
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Old 11-22-2023, 05:21 PM   #19
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Well darn, I was hoping it would fit. I may have to look around to see if there is a place to mount. Will the PD units that others have been talking about fit in the WFCO panel or is that another find a new home situation? If that is the case I may stick with a WFCO. I know they have a Lithium model that has a manual switch, but I have not seen many people talk about that.
From what was in a thread a few months ago, that is; WFCO HAD a Lithium model that has a manual switch. Someone checked several sites that listed the model with the manual switch and all the merchants he checked actually only had the auto-detect version.
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Old 11-22-2023, 09:10 PM   #20
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Thank you guys for all of your assistance. I am going to drain the betteries down and give it a charge with the solar off tomorrow and see what happens. Who knows, I may get lucky and everything works like it should. Not holding my breath, but it is possible. I will keep researching solutions for the future.

Thanks,
Scott
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