changing converter

I'm looking to change out the converter that came with my new Tab 400 and replace it with a smart 4 stage converter. Does anyone have any recommendations on brand? I should get something 30 amp, right? Thanks. 
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  • N7SHG_HamN7SHG_Ham Member Posts: 987
    Take a look at https://www.progressivedyn.com/ and look at the crossover chart.
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
  • tphaggertytphaggerty Member Posts: 11
    Just did it with the Progressive converter about a month ago. Very easy to do. The only issue is locating the “remote”, if you want it available in order to manually set the fast charge setting, you will need to do some trimming on the converter enclosure.  I don’t really plan to do that, so I just velcroed it behind the enclosure face, easy to get to if I rally need to.
    2019 Honda Ridgeline RTL TV
    2018 [email protected] 400 
    Poughquag, NY
  • webers3webers3 Member Posts: 190
    I have WF-8735 three stage converter charger on my 320s. What are the features of a "smart" converter that the my current converter doesn't have? Does the swap out require mods or is it 1 for 1 replacement? Thanks in advance.
    2017 [email protected] 320S   2019 Jeep Cherokee - Southern Connecticut
  • TabbyShackTabbyShack Member Posts: 187
    edited August 31
    I have a 2019 400 and my breaker box/converter is located up by the door. I would like to be able to charge my batteries more quickly while on generator power.  What converter do you recommend? I see a link above but not clear which one to get. 
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 2,017
    If you swap,out for a larger charger, you will need to change the wires from the converter/charger to the battery to a larger size wire, depending in the charge current.
    cheers
    2018 TaB400 Boondock, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Moderator Posts: 6,516
    @DougH - can you answer @TabbyShack?
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • DougHDougH Member Posts: 895
    @Sharon_is_SAM @TabbyShack Apologies, but I cannot recommend any particular converter, as I've not swapped mine out yet.  Instead I carry a smart multiphase higher current battery charger in the tow vehicle.  When on generator power or shore power, and the solar cannot do the trick (heavy clouds or tree cover), I just hook the external charger to the battery bank.  You need only find out from the battery manufacturer what the recommended and maximum charging rate is (6A? 12A?, 20A?), and also find one that can auto-detect and match the recommended charging voltage profile.  There's chargers now that auto-detect whether you have standard lead acid, AGM, gel, or lithium... or they have a way to toggle between those options.  I guess they're basically converter/chargers but with extra displays for when they're doing equalization, bulk, absorption, or float and/or they show the voltage, the charging current, percent charge and estimated time to complete. Anyway, that seems to charge faster than the stock converter for me.

    If you go that route and find an interesting one that's not too heavy, not too big, in the $100-250 range that works great and whose fans aren't that noisy let us know what you went with please.
    2014 328d diesel wagon, 2017 [email protected] S Max, D/FW Texas

  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 2,017
    edited September 2
    If you only occasionally need the extra charging capacity, I also think the external charger designed for Lithium batteries is the way to go.  Just hook it up near the battery and only plug it in when needed.  If you are only charging and not using the house systems, you can turn off the battery disconnect switch to drop the load on the battery.  When I upgrade to Lithium, this is what I plan to do.

    If you look up Traveling with Delaney Patrick has a video on changing out his WFCO charger to one for lithium batteries.
    cheers
    2018 TaB400 Boondock, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • rh5555rh5555 Member Posts: 221
    @TabbyShack, we had exactly the same problem with our 2020 TAB400.  When the power center was moved to be up by the door, the extra wiring going back to the battery did 2 things:  It stopped the converter from ever entering Bulk charge mode, and it limited the charge current in Absorption mode such that it takes an eternity to recharge batteries.
    Our solution was to completely remove the converter portion of the WF-8955 and install a stand-alone converter as close to the batteries as possible.  This is how I wired it (along with our Solar, Inverter and battery monitor):
    I used the WFCO WF-9855 converter (which I got for free), but I wouldn't recommend it.  The Progressive Dynamics PD9260C is a better choice, mainly because it can be forced into Bulk charging mode through the remote.  If you have AGM batteries in your rig, then the Bulk charging method is the recommended method of charging batteries at any state of discharge.  This is how my install looked:

    The nice thing about this mod is that if you have AGM batteries, you get really fast charging (as in an hour or two, depending on battery discharge) automatically.  It then gives lithium a run for its money.
    Roger and Sue Hill | 2020 [email protected] Boondock ([email protected]) | 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 2L | San Juan Island, WA
  • TabbyShackTabbyShack Member Posts: 187
    edited September 1
    Ugh, I can see now I'm way over my head on this mod. I managed to easily install the Victron Battery Monitor, but that's as brave as I can be. I do like the idea of just using an external charger since I don't boondock that often. I'm just clueless though on where to attach the leads since I cant get to the batteries. They are enclosed in that black plastic box.  Is there some secret but accessible place where you can attach the leads from an external charger?  I have the factory installed AGM batteries.

    I'm at least going to study all the help from above and I might feel a bit more confident....or I can hire someone to install it I guess....just not sure I trust some random RV repair guy to do it right though!

    I'm definitely not comfortable putting in higher gauge wire since it has to go the length if the trailer but it looks like the other option is to put it in the back by the batteries.....just not understanding at this point what happens up front in the circuit breaker box. I have alot if studying to do!  I will check out the Delaney videos. I am very familiar with their videos. 
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 2,017
    edited September 1
    In the photo below, you see the plastic battery cover, next to it is a little black box with the battery leads, red/black wire from battery, connect.  This is a two pole ( negative/positive) power distribution box, pull the cover and attack the battery charger leads here to the same posts the battery cables connect to.  This will get the charger connected to the battery.


    Battery box far right, power distribution box (little black box) next to it.  Far left is the Inverter.  The location varies, this is a 2020 TaB400. The 2019 looks similar, but battery is in the front right side of the bunk.  On the 2020 and 2021 Model, it is in the back middle compartment under the bunk, under the screwed down cover.
    cheers
    2018 TaB400 Boondock, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • rh5555rh5555 Member Posts: 221
    If you want to do the @rh5555 upgrade, you'd remove the converter from the power center:
    and mount the new converter here:

    Finally, you need to find somewhere convenient to plug the 120V supply to the upgraded converter into.

    That's it!
    Roger and Sue Hill | 2020 [email protected] Boondock ([email protected]) | 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 2L | San Juan Island, WA
  • TabbyShackTabbyShack Member Posts: 187
    edited September 2
    Thanks Denny16 for the pic. That looks exactly like my set up to include the inverter. I guess I was hoping there was somewhere else to attach leads from that outside compartment since I have three layers of mattresses on my bed! Haha.  I had to take that little cover off the distro box when I installed the Victron battery monitor so thanks for the refresher on that.  

    Rh555....again a pic speaks a thousand words! I thought I still had to have the converter somehow still connected to the box up front, but I see you just connect at the back instead.  This looks more doable and not really any more difficult than installing the Victron, and bonus....I dont have to make a scary hole in the wall! 

    Well, I'm glad to know where to manually charge the batteries if needed. I feel silly now asking that question when I remember the big red and white wires coming out the battery box from before! 

    I'm camping this weekend so that will be a good time to study up on the upgraded converter to decide if I want to do that or just do the seperate external battery charger.

    I think I will wait until I'm done with this camping season to switch out the converter in case I break something! 

    Thanks so much! I really appreciate the help!! 
  • TabbyShackTabbyShack Member Posts: 187
    Oh one more thing...somewhere above someone said I need to upgrade the gauge of my wiring if I get a stronger converter....I dont have to do that if I install it in the back by the batteries right?
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 2,017
    You are welcome, have fun camping.
    cheers
    2018 TaB400 Boondock, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • TabbyShackTabbyShack Member Posts: 187
    Is this one ok? I don't think I need the 60amp one do I? 

    Progressive Dynamics PD9245CV Inteli-Power 9200 Series Converter/Charger with Charge Wizard - 45 Amp https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000GANZZ6/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_i_55VtFbVKS10AW
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 2,017
    The difference is time to recharge the battery, if you are down 100 amps 45/amp charger will take 2.25 hrs, the 60 amp a little more than 1.5 hrs.  I think the 45amp unit for a. 200 amp battery setup is fine, as you lowest drop would be around 125-135 amps., so you would recharge in 3hrs.   The larger 60amp unit works better when using a generator to recharge the batteries, where quicker charge times are needed to reduce run time on the generator.
    cheers
    2018 TaB400 Boondock, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • rh5555rh5555 Member Posts: 221
    Oh one more thing...somewhere above someone said I need to upgrade the gauge of my wiring if I get a stronger converter....I don't have to do that if I install it in the back by the batteries right?

    That's right - no need to upgrade your wiring.  Just be aware that the function of the "Battery Disconnect" switch will change:  Now when you disconnect, no 12V appliances will work whether you're connected to shore power or not.  Also, when connected to shore power, the battery will charge regardless of the Battery Disconnect setting.

    I agree with @Denny16, if you have the 2x6V AGM golf-cart batteries installed, I'd go for the 60Amp converter as the batteries can certainly take it, and charging will be faster.

    Roger and Sue Hill | 2020 [email protected] Boondock ([email protected]) | 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 2L | San Juan Island, WA
  • TabbyShackTabbyShack Member Posts: 187
    Great info....I will go with the 60 amp. Thanks!
  • TabbyShackTabbyShack Member Posts: 187
    So to run 12 volt items while on shore power I would just need to make sure the disconnect switch is on the on position? I do this anyway.  The only time I ever turn it off is when I get home and I'm tucking it in so there us no drain on the battery while parked at home.  Am I understanding you correctly? Maybe I'm not fully understanding the purpose of the disconnect switch?
  • rh5555rh5555 Member Posts: 221
    You got it.  The disconnect switch will ensure that you have no drain on your battery while in storage (from CO detectors, radios, TVs and such).
    Roger and Sue Hill | 2020 [email protected] Boondock ([email protected]) | 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 2L | San Juan Island, WA
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 2,017
    Correct @TabbyShack. Turn off battery disconnect when not using the TaB, Turn it on to get 12-volt systems to work.
     Cheers 
    2018 TaB400 Boondock, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • TabbyShackTabbyShack Member Posts: 187
    But in consideration of installing a new converter in the back near the battery, you were saying it would change the function of the battery disconnect switch so I'm trying to understand how it will change with the new converter in the back. Thanks. 
  • rh5555rh5555 Member Posts: 221
    The only difference in operation is when you are on shore power and the battery is "disconnected":
    With the original converter: 12V equipment is powered and the battery will not charge
    With the new converter: 12V equipment is not powered and the battery will charge
    Other than this, nothing changes.

    Roger and Sue Hill | 2020 [email protected] Boondock ([email protected]) | 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 2L | San Juan Island, WA
  • TabbyShackTabbyShack Member Posts: 187
    Oh good to know! I always have the disconnect switch in the on position anyway when camping even though I'm plugged into 30amp power. I only turn it off at home. Doesnt sound like I will notice any change then. 
  • JamesJames Member Posts: 21
    Boy, this thread gave me a headache just reading through.  Doing anything electrical is so far above my paygrade!  

    Kudos to all you guys and gals who know what it all means.  
    2021 TAB 400 BDL (arriving in November)
    No towing vehicle currently owned
    Chapel Hill, North Carolina

  • TabbyShackTabbyShack Member Posts: 187
    I'm still in the planning and studying phase of replacing the converter for the Progressive Dynamics model, but I still have a couple of questions. 

    How do you know the converter that came in the [email protected] (WF-8955PEC) (located at the front under the seat cushion) isn't converting over to bulk mode when you need fast charging?  I know it has to do with it being located too far from the batteries, but how do I know for sure mine isn't charging as its supposed to?  I have a Victron Battery Monitor, but I don't know what to look for that would tell me it is or isn't charging fast. 

    Thanks
  • rh5555rh5555 Member Posts: 221
    There are 2 reasons that we know that the WF8955 never enters bulk charging mode in normal conditions:
    1. The WF-8955 outputs 14.4V when in bulk charging mode. You never see this voltage on your Victron battery monitor, or any voltage close to this.  You just see sub-13.6V voltages, which indicates absorption charging.
    2. There is a 40 Amp re-settable breaker between the WF-8955 and the battery.  If the WF-8955 were to enter bulk charging mode, it would deliver 55 Amps of charge, which would trip this breaker.
    Roger and Sue Hill | 2020 [email protected] Boondock ([email protected]) | 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 2L | San Juan Island, WA
  • TabbyShackTabbyShack Member Posts: 187
    Very helpful explanation! Thanks so much.  So, now I have a new question I'm afraid. So, why would they use a breaker that would trip when another component (converter) was working as intended?  So, why doesnt an upgraded (and relocated) converter near the battery trip this breaker? Does a new converter bypass that breaker? 
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 2,017
    No, none of thenTaB converters actually go into Bulk charge, as I understand it.  Seems this is disabled on the converter/charger, or the bulk charging rate does not need the bigger breaker.  Either way, a TaB400 with the solar option, keeps the battery charged, and the bulk charge rate does not kick in.  Bulk charge occurs with a battery at or below 50% charge rate.  Not sure at what point the bulk charge rate would occur.  
    Cheers
    2018 TaB400 Boondock, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
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