Solutions to Production Line Issues Concerning Power Converters — Part I

Over the years, we have noticed issues occur on the production line that are fairly common and relatively easy to prevent. Our goal is to always help our partners install our products correctly and to minimize the potential for problems down the road.

Below are some common occurrences we’ve noticed through our close association with RV manufacturers over the years. Most involve fairly simple solutions that, if implemented on the factory floor, can prevent warranty claims and other complications in the future.

  • TorqueChart-fourtharticleScrews need to be properly torqued. 

Proper torque levels are important to assure a solid electrical and mechanical connection. Product torque ranges are shown on the door assembly of each power center and distribution panel board. Additionally, WFCO has a torque chart that specifies the correct torque for each product’s connections. To help assure proper levels, it’s a good idea to have your electrical team check the torque periodically during the manufacturing day to make sure it meets the design specifications.

  • Wiring needs to be stripped correctly.

The wire insulation can be stripped too much or too little before screwing the wire into the terminal. Wiring that is stripped too much could lead to strands of exposed wire extending outside and beyond the terminal, which could create a short circuit and/or circuit damage. Stripping too little can result in the screw terminal only contacting the insulation, instead of the wire inside, resulting in nothing on the circuit working because of no power.

The solution for this is knowing the right amount to strip — 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) — and making an effort to be as close as possible to this dimension every time. One suggestion is to develop a simple measuring gauge to help the installer practice identifying the right amount.

Ultimately, the best way to overcome this issue is to eliminate the stripping process and save time by using power centers that already have all the DC pigtails attached. WFCO has two power center series with this option: the WF-8700 Series and the WF-8500 Series.

  • Power tools and plastic don’t always mix.

We see too many power center door assemblies coming back cracked and broken. We believe this is due to power tools being used to secure the screws that attach the plastic door assembly to the plastic body. By the end of the day, operators can lose a bit of control and drive the screws too fast into the plastic, resulting in broken door assemblies.

To avoid this issue in the future, just be a little more careful, or, if necessary, use a non-power screwdriver.

  • The wrong fuse size is being used.

On occasion, a fuse that is too small is used for the battery circuit in the WF-8700 Series power centers. When a fuse is used that is smaller than recommended, the fuse has the potential to blow which would cause the converter to stop charging the battery altogether. This can lead many to believe the charger is not working. Ultimately, when a battery cannot achieve a full charge it can become damaged, resulting in a shortened battery life.

To help eliminate any guesswork when selecting the proper fuse, we’ve provided a chart (shown below) of fuse sizes needed for each WF-8700 Series power center. OEMs can print the chart as a reference for the installer. Also, please note that the fuse rating we suggest for the output fuses is marked on each unit.

Fuse Chart