Life En Route

Converter Failure

When upgrading the RV battery bank last month, I replaced the converter with an “upgraded” model that supports 14.6V bulk charging. Our RV came with a WFCO 75A converter, which we can’t ever seem to get into bulk mode and as such, it provides a constant 13.2V for charging the batteries – not enough to properly charge a bank of GC2s. The practical difference in the short term is having to run the generator for 6-8 hours a day vs just a couple hours a day to charge the batteries while we’re attending the bash next week. If we assume five extra hours of daily run time, we’re looking at around $105 in propane and several inconvenient trips to the nearest fill station.

I ordered the converter from bestconverter.com, and after several days of silence from them called to ask for a status update. They proceeded to inform me that the converter I wanted was on backorder and asked if I would accept a “comparable” replacement (Boondocker BD-1275PC), which I agreed to in order to get the project moving. That turned out to be a huge mistake. I should have cancelled the order then and there, due to the lack of contact about the backorder.

Kelly woke me in a panic the other night due to the smell of an electrical fire. I ran to the panel, noticed a buzzing sound, and started shutting down all the breakers until the buzzing stopped. It stopped at the dedicated 20A breaker for the new converter.

We fortunately had not thrown out the WFCO yet, so I reinstalled it and flipped the breaker back on. I’m going to replace the actual breaker switch when I replace the converter, because I’m not sure it shouldn’t have tripped. I checked the batteries and found that they had all boiled dry during the incident and topped them off – and am hoping that they survived the ordeal without too much damage as opposed to becoming $600 and 260lbs worth of dead weight.

Since we’re going to be without electrical hookups for the next week, I just ordered a replacement converter from Amazon to be delivered tomorrow, and will be trying to work with the BestConverter to return the old one. I don’t have weeks to wait around for a replacement, and don’t want another Boondocker after having such an unfortunate experience with one.

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