WFCO power converter issue with parts falling off of the board

Discussion in 'Power - Site Power/Batteries/Generators/Solar' started by tfischer, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

    We're going camping this weekend so we brought the pup home from storage yesterday. I plugged it in to top off the battery and glanced at the voltage meter: 12.7V. Wait, that's not charging...

    Long story short, after doing a ton of other diagnostics I finally pulled the front cover off my WFCO power converter, which was new 2 seasons ago, and discovered that two large ceramic resistors had actually fallen off of the board. Fortunately one was dangling in place so that I could tell which went where, as they had different values.

    I did a quick check of Amazon reviews and sure enough, the 1-star reviews were reporting the exact same problem. Basically these heavy components need to be glued down to the board... which they did, with the world's smallest dab of what appeared to be latex caulk. Totally insufficient for road vibration. So once that failed, the very thin resistor leads were the only thing supporting the heavy components, and they soon snapped.

    So I pulled the converter (huge PITA), brought it inside, and removed the circuit board. The one resistor had enough lead left that I could solder it back in place. The second one had a short lead that i had to extend to get it back on the board. I tested it (worked- yeah!) and then my wife applied a generous amount of epoxy around both of them to keep the problem from happening again.

    Too bad when cheapening out on manufacturing causes a 2 year old product to fail. Just glad this didn't happen in July when we spent nearly 3 weeks in the camper over 2 trips.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  2. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    Jul 18, 2013
    Thornville, OH
    that sucks. We had there product in 3 trailers and have not had an issue. All were made long before two years ago. Hope they can turn around the product. Currently have one made before 2009.
     
  3. Adam H

    Adam H Active Member

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    This happened twice (2 different converters) to my camping buddy when his torsion axles failed and the PUP bounced a lot. After a new axle, the WFCO converter never failed again

    Adam
     
  4. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

    How do you know if a torsion axle has failed? On certain roads our pup does bounce more than I like, but other times it seems pretty smooth.
     
  5. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

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    Oct 15, 2006
    Graceville, Florida
    My Coleman TT has a WFCO converter and I have had no problems with it. Glad you got it repaired, now on to the next problem :) Good Luck and Happy Camping
     
  6. Adam H

    Adam H Active Member

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    California
    Because when I replaced the axles for him he stopped going through converters.
    Following him it was obvious there was no suspension left, the camper sat really low and bounced so bad it cracked the frame.
    I built a new frame for him, added a 3500lb axle and leaf springs. Gave him a 12” lift when done, got to use real rims and tires. Rides much better now, never like the torsion axles.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  7. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

    I think I asked that question poorly. I meant "How can I tell if my axle is bad?" Having had only one pup, I don't know how much bouncing is "normal".
     
  8. emoney

    emoney Well-Known Member

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    Jul 7, 2018
    My pup didn’t bounce much at all...ever. A couple thousand pounds isn’t as easy to get up in the air as one would think. Never hurts to drive by the tire store and have it checked
     
  9. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

    I don't think it's going up in the air ever. and most of the time it tows perfectly smooth. But there's been a few times, on certain roads, where things shake up and down a bit more than I like. Doesn't happen very often.
     
  10. Adam H

    Adam H Active Member

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    California
    First indicator was how low the PUP was. Literally the frame was 4" off the ground, when I followed him over RR tracks I could see the wheels leave the ground. Also the arm (lever) that the spindle attaches to that us usually angled down was angled up.
    I know I'm going to catch hell for this but I HATE torsion axles. the very thought of rubber bands holding my camper up is disturbing. When a leaf sprung suspension fails / breaks it's easy to spot and a roadside repair can usually get you back on the road.
    I repaired his cracked frame, built a second frame out of 2x2 - 3/16 wall square tubing with a 3500 lb axle and springs, removed all the torsion axle garbage and set the camper on the new frame. Clamped it down and welded, see link here:
    http://www.popupportal.com/threads/1984-coachman-frame-suspension-rebuild.103979/#post-1054066
    The pictures are long gone but I still have them somewhere....

    Adam
     
  11. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

    I'll give it a look over... we'll be towing it tonight... only about 20 minutes though. Last trip was about 10 hours driving from South Dakota lol
     
    Adam H likes this.
  12. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

    I hope you left your own review on Amazon. That is completely outrageous to have to deal with in a 2 year old converter. I have no idea what brand ours is, but it's the '99 original. I did have to take it out this past summer to rewire the a/c, so I know what PITA it is.

    In ours, there were a couple of wire nuts, with their resident wires hanging out, very loosely connected. Likely what caused the a/c problem, but at least it held up 20 years, not 2. Still not what I would consider appropriate connection for a moving vessel that is going to be exposed to lots of vibration and bumps.

    Just glad you had one resistor hanging on for dear life. It could have been a lot more interesting ....
     
    tfischer likes this.

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