Communication and customer support are always top of mind here at WFCO. We must not only help our customers answer any questions they may have but simultaneously create a solution that helps them achieve their goals. With over 50 years of technical experience and expertise, WFCO can be a great resource to dealers and OEMs, so we’ve initiated a Proactive Power Pros (PPP) program. In this program, WFCO’s Power Pros perform energy and line audits for OEMs to ensure that their products work correctly. They are also on hand to answer customer questions on their support lines.
Our Power Pros help OEMs with various product issues, including performance, efficient installation, feature specification, and model selection. In addition, we have instituted the PPP program to provide outreach technical support for dealers. Our Power Pros are helping to increase the awareness of support tools offered to our customers through our website, such as product conversion charts, warranty information, and e-newsletter.
Both OEM and Dealer customers appreciate the service provided by the Power Pros and the products offered at WFCO.
“We want OEMs and Dealers to know that we are there for them and are paying attention to their needs,” said Tom Ryan, WFCO Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Our PPP program is proactively engaging our customers to let them know we are always there to assist them in whatever they need in every way we can.”
The innovative new WF-8500 Series and WFCO power centers from the WF-8700 Series and WF-9900 Series demonstrate a simple design element’s significant difference. All WFCO power centers featured in these series from the last five years have front-venting/zero-clearance designs. The fan system used to air-cool the unit is designed to cool only from the front, eliminating the minimum two cubic feet of free air space required in the rear of other converters to cool the unit.
This setup allows many WFCO power centers to be installed in a smaller compartment, providing more floor space, storage area, and design flexibility for the manufacturer. In some WFCO products, there is also more hand space within the converter compartment to make it easier to bend and install the wiring. Another benefit of the front venting is that the backside casing has no holes or slots because it no longer needs to vent air to the rear. This means that wood chips, sawdust, metal shavings, and screws are much less likely to get into the unit during the manufacturing process, helping to prevent potential shorts and problems down the road.
This is part of WFCO’s ongoing dedication to supplying the innovation you need. For more WFCO Firsts, click here.
Over the years, we have noticed issues on the production line that are pretty common and relatively easy to prevent. Our goal is always to help our partners install our products correctly and minimize potential problems down the road.
Below are some common occurrences we’ve noticed through our close association with RV manufacturers over the years. Most involve relatively simple solutions that, if implemented on the factory floor, can prevent warranty claims and other complications in the future.
Proper torque levels are essential to ensure a solid electrical and mechanical connection. Product torque ranges are shown on the door assembly of each power center and distribution panel board. 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 ensure it meets the design specifications.
- The 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 stripped too much could lead to strands of exposed wire extending outside and beyond the terminal, creating a short circuit and circuit damage. Stripping too little can result in the screw terminal 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 trying 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 control and drive the screws too fast into the plastic, resulting in broken door assemblies.
To avoid this issue in the future, be a little more careful or, if necessary, use a non-power screwdriver.
- The wrong fuse size is being used.
Occasionally, 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.
With sophisticated electronics and appliances becoming standard in new RVs, there is a critical demand for more innovative converters, power centers, and inverters. Power product expertise and support are essential for OEMs in this transforming market.
Our Elkhart Power Pros™ team works closely with manufacturers daily, gaining insight into how manufacturers use our products. This close, ongoing contact gives our Power Pros an understanding of our customer needs regarding product improvements, installation issues, and potential new products.
Being located in Elkhart is highly beneficial for service and product development. This close relationship with manufacturers and our knowledge of what they need in terms of power conversion, charging, and delivery will help WFCO continue to be the leader in power products, offering ongoing innovations to advance the industry. You can see a list of 20 innovative firsts WFCO has produced for the RV industry by clicking here.
The sensitivity and adaptability to customer needs displayed by WFCO have been the case throughout the company’s 40-year history. Many of their innovations have been adopted as standard features for RV power products.
The formula for success includes taking the time and investing to know your customers to provide the innovation, quality, and service they need. These factors are more important than ever as the industry moves forward to find a more significant niche in the recreation marketplace.
WFCO’S innovative new WF-8500 Series power center is the most advanced and smallest power center available, but it is also designed to save time in the installation process. The small, lightweight package also provides tremendous design flexibility, ease of handling, and reduced space needs.
The 8500 Series comes in 40, 50, and 60 Amp models. Its small and light configuration makes it easier to handle on the assembly line and allows it to fit into a greater variety of floor plan designs. This flexibility is enhanced with an exceptional range of 13 DC circuits, three of which are rated 30 Amps.
To further facilitate installation, the 8500 Series optionally offers three types of connections for DC circuits, allowing each manufacturer to use their preferred style. These include regular screw connectors, Quick Connect terminals, where flag connectors may be used for simple positive connections, and pre-wired pigtails that are routed out the back of the power center. Each pigtail wire is labeled with the circuit number, so the installer doesn’t need to see or touch the circuit board. Installers simply route the wires to the back of the power center and connect them to the appropriate pigtails.
Metal reinforced mounting holes make the power center installation quick and easy without concern for cracking mounting flanges. The back of the power center has built-in strain relief devices for the AC wiring, saving time.
The 8500 Series is also designed with a new system of LED lights that indicate high, low, or normal input voltage and indicate if the converter is in bulk mode or connected in reverse polarity to the battery.
This all adds up to a new range of possibilities for manufacturers and RVers.
WFCO’s automatic three-stage converters handle every charging need for the RV while extending the battery’s life. Well-maintained batteries should typically never need more than WFCO’s two-stage (Normal and Trickle) charging modes. Our Fast Charge third stage (Bulk) is for the rare times a battery needs extra power charging.
The WFCO Normal (Absorption) Mode alone is a powerhouse capable of charging a fully discharged battery in under three hours at 13.6 Volts. When the RV is being used, the battery is kept readily charged in Normal Mode.
However, suppose the converter detects no significant variation in the current draw for approximately 44 continuous hours. In that case, our Trickle (Float) Mode automatically kicks in and brings the battery back to full charge. Maintaining complete charging helps prevent stratification of the battery’s fluids.
For those cases when the battery charge drops significantly due to prolonged disuse, poor maintenance, or very heavy system overloads, our 14.4 Volt Fast Charge (Bulk) Mode kicks in. Our Fast Charge delivers a maximum four-hour charge to prevent battery damage and extend the battery’s life.
So be assured that whenever you install any WFCO converter or power center, your customers are getting the best battery charging care available.
WFCO Converters – Theory of Operation
WFCO Converters of every style have become the favored brand for power conversion and electric distribution in the RV industry. They provide RV owners with an efficient and cost-effective method to use an AC power source and provide power to DC components inside the RV while charging accessory batteries simultaneously.
RVs are frequently sold with at least one 12 VDC accessory battery installed. This battery is usually a deep-cycle battery that could sustain a slower power drain. RV owners find this practical when loads such as lights, radios, and refrigerators without being connected to AC power or running the motorhome engine. As soon as the RV is connected to AC power, the converter begins changing the battery as needed while at the same time providing 12 VDS power to loads such as lights, radios, and refrigerators.
When the RV is connected to AC power, users frequently use the lights, refrigerators, fans, and other electronics as they would in their home. RV users also expect the battery to be fully charged when they want to disconnect from power and move the RV or when they are dry camping and turn off their generator.
WFCO converters are designed to fulfill these needs and expectations by providing three charging stages: absorption, bulk, and float modes.
Absorption Mode is the default or regular operation, providing an output of 13.6 volts DC. Because RVs today are designed with converters sized to provide ample DC output power for all DC loads in everyday usage, an RV will rarely require anything other than absorption mode.
When a WFCO converter is connected to a battery in absorption mode, power is available for charging that battery whenever the converter output is greater than the voltage level of the battery. If the battery is at or near fully charged, the current draw from the converter to the battery may be minimal. On the other hand, if the battery were to be fully discharged, the current draw from the converter to the battery may be pretty high.
Testing has shown that a completely discharged battery (11.9 VDC) connected to a WFCO converter in absorption mode with an output of 13.6 VDC and having a 20-amp lighting load connected to the converter will charge the battery to its fully charged level of 12.7 VDC in fewer than three hours. Adding more DC loads will lessen the current amount and lengthen the time required to charge the battery. Batteries with damaged cells will also require additional time to charge and may never reach a full charge voltage.
Because of the relationship between voltage and amperage, once the converter reaches its maximumly rated operating current level, any increase in the DC load will start to decrease the voltage output level. When the output from the converter reaches a preset level, the converter will go into bulk mode.
Bulk Mode is designed to charge a significantly discharged battery in less time than absorption mode. The microprocessor in WFCO converters continuously monitors the DC line voltage. When the microprocessor detects the preset voltage level, it will boost the converter voltage to 14.4 VDC. The increased voltage will help the battery charge faster while still providing power to the DC appliances in the RV.
In bulk mode, it may not be possible to observe the 14.4 VDC output because of the voltage-current relationship. To measure the 14.4 VDC, reduce some DC loads while monitoring the voltage at the converter output. As the DC loads are removed, the voltage will begin to climb until 14.4 VDC (nominal) is shown on the meter.
WFCO converters are designed to drop out of bulk mode when the total amperage draw from the converter reaches a preset point, indicating the battery is charged. As the battery continues to charge, the current drawn by the battery will gradually decrease. If the amperage draw stays above the preset point, the converter will remain in bulk mode for four hours. These features have been implemented to protect and extend the battery’s life.
Float Mode is the third stage of converter operation. This mode is designed to provide a trickle charge to the battery. If the converter observes no significant variations in the current draw for approximately 44 continuous hours, it will drop the. The output of the converter is from 13.6V to 13.2V. This lower voltage will keep the battery charged while the RV is not in use. This also helps preserve the battery’s life, while keeping it charged and ready to use. A change in DC current will cause the converter to exit float mode and return to the default, normal, or absorption mode.
WFCO converters are designed to keep the RV safe and, in some cases, prevent irreparable damage to the converter.
Automatic Cooling Fan – The microprocessor in the converter monitors the current drawn by the appliances and battery and increases the fan speed as the current draw increases. This cools the converter components as required by the load.
Over Temperature Protection – If the internal temperature of the converter exceeds a critical point and the fan cannot. Cool the unit down. It will shut down. This protects the unit from excessive heat that may damage sensitive components. The unit will restart once the temperature inside the unit is again low enough.
Short-Circuit Protection – In the event of a short circuit in the RV, the WFCO converter will drop the voltage output to zero volts. The converter will resume normal operation if the short circuit condition is removed and no other fault conditions are detected. However, short circuit conditions are dangerous, and an RV will require inspection by a qualified service technician.
Reverse Battery and Overload Fuse Protection – WFCO converters include replaceable fuses for protection from conditions that can permanently damage the converter. These fuses will blow and protect the converter if the battery is connected incorrectly or if the converter experiences an overload condition. Before replacing the fuses, check to ensure the polarity connection is correct, and turn off as many DC loads as possible. Disconnect from power, replace the fuses, and then reconnect to power.
MEASURING DC OUTPUT
Voltmeters or digital multi-meters are great tools for measuring the voltage at different points in the system. Here are a few simple steps to follow in testing a converter.
- If a battery is installed, disconnect one of the cables so the battery is out of the circuit.
- Turn off all the DC loads in the coach (lights, etc.) so there is no load on the converter.
- Turn the converter OFF by throwing the converter breaker in the load center, unplugging the shore cord, and leaving it OFF for at least one minute.
- Turn the converter back ON and measure the DC voltage at the NEG and VCC lugs on the DC fuse board in the power center or the NEG and POS terminals on a deck mount converter. The reading should be approximately 13.6 VDC.
- One by one, start turning DC loads back ON and monitor the voltage at the lugs on the fuse board or the terminals on the deck mount. The voltage should remain stable but may drop slightly as loads are applied.
- After completing the testing, reconnect the battery cable removed in the first step.
TIPS FOR CHARGING BATTERIES
Batteries charge more quickly when no other connected loads compete for DC current. If the batteries take too long to charge, consider turning off as many DC loads as possible. More power will be available for the battery to charge.
The following styles of batteries are approved for all WFCO converters and power centers:
- Sealed lead-acid batteries for automotive engines starting
- Flooded lead-acid batteries for deep-cycle applications
- Sealed AGM batteries for deep-cycle applications
Do not charge GEL cell batteries unless you use a WFCO WF-6800 Series power converter and have selected the GEL switch position at the back of the unit. No other WFCO converters are designed to charge GEL cell batteries.
Do not charge any batteries other than those listed above with WFCO converters. If you are unsure if the WFCO converter is compatible with a particular type of battery, please call your RV dealer or the battery manufacturer for assistance.
The WF-68100 was the first 100 Amp converter in the RV industry and is ideal for powering electronics and appliances in larger RVs quietly and efficiently while offering the unique capability of using Gel-Cell batteries.
The WF-68100 Series converter/chargers are versatile, advanced power source solutions. The output rating of 100 Amps provides clean, reliable DC power for many electronics and appliances and the heavy loads associated with motor coaches, toy haulers, and larger RVs. WFCO can provide the 68100’s clean power with or without a battery. The cooling fan runs only when needed, enabling quiet operation.
The 68100 ensures longer battery life and a smoother converter operation. It is the only converter able to use Gel-Cell type batteries by switching to a lower voltage charge. Electronic Current Limiting automatically shuts down power during overload or short-circuit conditions. An exclusive LED status indicator on the converter’s front monitor operation indicates a low battery charge.
- WFCO’s Power Factor Correction (another WFCO first) makes the 68100 more energy efficient and a “greener” energy solution. Power Factor Correction aligns the waveforms, improving the conversion efficiency by approximately 30 percent.
- Double connectors on the back so you can tie a battery directly into the converter.
Click here for more information.
WFCO Power Pros are permanently close at hand for whatever RV manufacturers might need. Whether an overnight order, installation advice, or a rush energy audit for a new RV design — our Power Pros work in Elkhart, Ind., the hub of RV manufacturing, and for many manufacturers, they are just a short drive away as well as a quick contact by email or phone.
Services WFCO Power Pros provide line audits, using and testing products on OEM production lines to ensure line workers are installing and using WFCO products properly, including the right torques, right gauge wire for AC and DC, and the proper overall wiring assembly. Load and energy audits are also part of this process to ensure manufacturers are not overloading their systems and are effectively using our products to save energy. It’s about helping manufacturers find better, quicker, more efficient ways to install our products.
We take products back to our lab if further testing is needed. In short, we work with RV manufacturers to develop the products and processes they need. We work with manufacturer requirements to augment or design new features to improve their products.
Our location within an hour’s drive of many of our customers ensures rapid service capabilities. Every WFCO Power Pro, in fact, every WFCO employee, lives and breathes the company mantra — treat every customer as part of the family, with service our priority.
WFCO makes emergency runs with products to help a manufacturer with an unexpected need. Our 55,000 sq. ft. warehouse is close to most customers, and we always maintain a 45-day inventory of all products.
Technical Support phone lines are available to all customers. Manufacturers need not wait for a Power Pro to visit. Call 877.294.8997 or click on the “Contact” tab on our website.
For more information, click here.
WFCO Electronics is introducing its new WF-8500 Series Power Center in a high-capacity compact size, with a choice of three types of connection modes to assess future RV design and power needs.
The 8500’s cooling system requires zero clearance for ventilation, and it has an exceptionally small footprint, thus increasing useable space for RV manufacturers to install other amenities. Initially, it will be offered in 40 Amp and 60 Amp modes, with a 50 Amp application to be added.
An exceptional range of 13 DC circuits, three rated 30 Amps, enables manufacturers to install more circuits for greater design flexibility. For easy DC installation, three electrical connection modes are offered, matching those favored by different RV production lines — either Screw terminals. Quick connect terminals or Wire pigtails.
Multi-color LED indicators to provide instant information to technicians and owners about AC voltage input, dead circuits, reverse battery polarity, and bulk mode operation. Click here for more details on the WF-8500 Series.
WF-511OHP inverter upgrade
WFCO has upgraded its WF-5110H inverter with its new WF-5110HP model. The WF-5110HP retains all the advantages of the WF-5110H but is designed to improve and simplify the in-plant testing process conducted by manufacturers, making Hipot tests easy and fast.
As with the previous version, the WF-5110HP is a 1,000-watt pure sine wave inverter that provides the electrical filtering needed to run such appliances as residential refrigerators in larger RVs. It features a plug-and-play design, allowing it to be plugged into an AC outlet to connect directly to the RV’s AC system. It will convert 12 VDC to 110 VAC and has a remote control system and built-in circuit protection on the AC side.
The features on the WF-5110HP that RV manufacturers notably like include an Internal Transfer Switch that allows input to bypass the inverter when the RV is connected to an AC source, either shore power or generator power. This inverter also protects the system by automatically shutting down when batteries run low, and input is below 10 volts. So there’s no need to install an external switch.
Furthermore, the WF-5110HP allows manufacturers to use more cost-effective 4AWG wiring versus 2AWG wire. With no crimping required, 4AWG connections are also much easier and quicker for installers.
Click Here for more information about the WF-5110HP inverter.
At WFCO, we understand how important it is to have clean electric power and how “dirty electric power” can create noise in electronics you can hear in sound systems and see on TVs. Fans and motors, which are numerous in RVs, can also feed “bad noise” back into an RV’s electrical system, affecting other appliances.
WFCO converters take in 115VAC, 60 Hz power, and our advanced design filters out noise, ripples, and spikes as the AC voltage is converted to DC. WFCO’s High-Frequency switching technology removes 60Hz AC ripple from the output line resulting in clean and smooth DC power.
In lab tests we’ve conducted using WFCO and other power converters, WFCO products have proven to have the lowest noise level.
With WFCO, you can count on clean DC power to provide peak electrical performance with all of your electronics and appliances. Please contact our Power Pros with questions about WFCO Clean Power, and please call 1-877-294-8997.
At WFCO, we think of ourselves as the installer’s friends, making it easy for manufacturers to efficiently and adequately install our systems on the assembly line.
One of the small but very helpful touches for installing WFCO power centers and distribution panels is steel inserts that reinforce every screw mounting hole, preventing the cracking of mounting flanges as installers attach the unit. The steel inserts allow installers to quickly drill in the mounting screws without concern for damaging the component.
This is one of the many ways WFCO engineers have examined what’s helpful in the manufacturing process, giving WFCO products an economic edge on the assembly line.
Reinforced mounting holes are just one of many WFCO Firsts; Click Here to see more firsts from WFCO.
WFCO’s vertical integration puts us in the unique position to be your best power equipment supplier in terms of quality, service, and cost. WFCO has control of the entire supply chain required for our production needs, from the manufacture of components to assembly and the distribution of the complete unit. Because we manufacture our products, we are not subject to unexpected changes in features, materials, or quality that can surprise other manufacturers and frustrate their customers.
Vertical integrations include control of our inventory, where we maintain a constant 45-day supply and deliver with our trucks, enabling emergency deliveries and programs such as recycling old pallets and packaging.
Watch this video For more WFCO leadership advantages.
Total vertical integration allows WFCO to have control of quality, consistency, and delivery at every step of the manufacturing process, resulting in unmatched reliability, with warranty claims of less than one percent. This is one crucial reason why engineers favor WFCO products in more than 80 percent of RVs built today.
Accordingly, this large volume, along with eliminating supplier markups through vertical integration, allows us to give you the best quality at the best price, with the best service and best value of any power product on the market.
What would you like to know? Click here to ask a question we can answer in future bulletin editions.
There are a lot of things that can disrupt the manufacturing supply chain, including dock strikes, trucking strikes and other acts of God, not to mention unexpected market surges or downturns. At WFCO we make it a priority to make sure that, no matter what happens, you are never without the WFCO product you need.
That is why we maintain a 45-day inventory so that our products are always available and your production line never has to wait for a WFCO unit. We keep every product on our shelves for your emergency calls, for a last-minute installation need and for sudden production changes.
Maintaining that 45-day inventory takes work — and it’s more than guesswork. Every two weeks we develop an OEM and aftermarket forecast of upcoming needs in our industry. We look at the new plants being built, new RV models coming out, new companies getting in the business, and the developing trends in our market and the overall economy, all to make sure we stay a step ahead of whatever is happening. Even staying close to the market, we have seen substantial, unexpected market fluctuations and unpredictable bursts of demand and we factor in an extra buffer of inventory to cope with such sudden changes. So, with all the things that can go haywire, you can be sure that WFCO isn’t one of them.
Click here to let us know what you want to know about WFCO or power products for future editions of the WFCO RV HEARTBEAT Bulletin.
For today’s power needs, our new WF-5110HP inverter is a smart choice. Like it’s WF-5110H predecessor, the WF-5110HP is a pure sine wave inverter, giving you the filtering needed for premium electronics and refrigerators. Additionally, a simple plug and play design makes installation a snap. Just plug it into an AC outlet to connect directly to the RV’s AC system. It will convert DC to AC with DC inputs between 10 to 15 volts, and has a remote control system and built-in circuit protection on the AC side. As a recent upgrade, the WF-5110HP also simplifies and provides certainty on product testing on the RV assembly line.
Other features include an Internal Transfer Switch that allows input to bypass the inverter when the RV is connected to an AC source, either shore power or generator power. So there’s no need to install an external switch. This inverter also protects the battery by automatically shutting down when batteries run low and input is below 10 volts.
Furthermore, the WF-5110HP allows the use of more cost-effective 4-gauge wiring versus 2-gauge wire. With no crimping required, 4-gauge wire connections are also much easier and quicker for installers. Click here to learn more.
WFCO Power Centers demonstrate the significant difference a simple design element can make. All WFCO Power Centers introduced over the last five years have been front-venting/zero clearance designs. That is, the fan system used to air cool the unit is designed to cool only from the front, which eliminates the typical 2 cubic feet of air space required in the rear of other converters to vent the exhaust air.
This allows many WFCO Power Centers to be installed in a smaller compartment, providing more floor space or storage area and design flexibility for the manufacturer. In some WFCO products there is also more hand space within the converter compartment to make it easier to bend and install the wiring. Another benefit of the front venting is that the backside casing does not have any holes or slots for venting air to the rear. This means that wood chips, sawdust, metal shavings and screws cannot get into the unit during the manufacturing process, helping to prevent potential shorts and problems down the road.
Click here to find WFCO’s growing line of “zero clearance” power products.