Installation Notes for the WFCO Power Panel (8725/8712)

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Installation Notes for the WFCO Power Panel (8725/8712)

Postby GeoDrop » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:56 pm

The intent of this post is to share my experiences and what I’ve learned about the WFCO 8725 Power Panel. These experiences are based upon, what I deem, a successful installation in my teardrop. I hope what I have to offer helps a future (or current) TD builder.

DISCLAIMER: I am not an electrician. I did not sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night. Educate yourself, do your own research. There are a lot of smart people out there. I’ve expressed some opinions, which are mine and may not be anyone else’s. (If I made a mistake in this posting, PM me and I will correct it.)

The WFCO Power Panels are a self-contained AC and DC power distribution panels with the added benefit of a three-stage battery charger. The 8700-series units come in 12, 25, 35 and 40-amp versions. (The last two digits of the model indicate the DC amperage supported, ie: 8712 means 12 DC amps.) The units come with a number of DC circuits and provisions for several AC circuits as well. For the purposes of a small teardrop the 8712/8725 units are ideal. I think for a builder who is planning on having AC and DC circuits, this is a great little unit.

Image

Value: This is what pushed me towards using the WFCO. I bought mine for around $75. Add $20 for the two circuit breakers to go in it and I’m sitting at about a $100 investment. Compare that to a ‘pieced together’ design. The 1.25amp version of a Battery Tender will run you $50 and the 5amp version $75. Throw in a 12-volt fuse block and a 120v breaker box and you’ve landed somewhere near the $100 mark if not over. You may also not have the simplicity. (Some opinion thrown in there.)

Technical support: I emailed the WFCO technical support department several times with responsive and accurate replies. I think this makes the WFCO a great option. You can’t be getting good technical support for a product.

Technical Details (8712/8725 units)

DC Side:
The advertised amperage of a unit applies to the DC side. The 8725 will put out a maximum of 25 amps DC at 13.6 volts. Likewise, the 12 amp version would put out 12 amps. There are four DC circuits, one of which is paired with the battery, so in reality, consider it to have 3 circuits. The DC wires exit the back of the unit at the top left when viewed from the rear. The wires are 10-gauge (big!) and are about 10â€
Last edited by GeoDrop on Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby exminnesotaboy » Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:14 am

great info! when I get to this point on my next build, I will be using this as a reference
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Postby Shadow Catcher » Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:44 am

The Progressive Dynamics power centers are very similar (almost identical), there is however three circuit breaker slots. The goal of these was to help manufactures in ease of wiring but they are a great idea.
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Postby mcspin50 » Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:55 pm

exminnesotaboy wrote:great info! when I get to this point on my next build, I will be using this as a reference


Me too!!! Thanks Matthew & Sandi
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Postby cracker39 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:44 pm

This post has a good WFCO wiring diagram by Sonetpro ( a little over midway through the post, and the 2nd diagram pictured). I used this diagram to install my WFCO converter. I agree that the instructions with the unit are lacking in clarity.

http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?t=17154&highlight=wfco

I installed my converter inside one of my galley cabinets, but put a 30 amp main breaker in the tongue box between the shore cable and converter. I had two single 15 amp breakers in the converter for my front and rear 110 VAC outlets in the cabin.

In order to get to the wiring in a tight space, I made my galley counter top removable so I could access the converter and wiring from the top if I ever had to.
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Postby absolutsnwbrdr » Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:06 pm

Thanks for the info GeoDrop! Just got my WFCO wired today, and followed what you did, using a 30A as a main breaker.
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Do you know?

Postby pmowers » Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:26 pm

Great information. I was just looking at one the 8755 for my CT conversion. I am using a 20A marine plug on the outside, and don't think that I will need more than the 20A for my setup. Do you know if I could substitute a 20A for the main breaker and 10A for the other circuits? Do they even make a 20/10 breaker?

I agree that this seems to be the way to go, I was looking at a DIY piece-meal approach, and it was going to be more than the slick, integrated unit.

Maybe the 8755 is too big for my 6x10 :thinking:
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Re: Do you know?

Postby GeoDrop » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:37 pm

I would say a 20amp main + two 10-amp circuits would be just fine. Get a single 20-amp and then a tandem with two 10's and your set. The only reason for two tandems is to get the main + 3 circuits.

pmowers wrote:Great information. I was just looking at one the 8755 for my CT conversion. I am using a 20A marine plug on the outside, and don't think that I will need more than the 20A for my setup. Do you know if I could substitute a 20A for the main breaker and 10A for the other circuits? Do they even make a 20/10 breaker?

I agree that this seems to be the way to go, I was looking at a DIY piece-meal approach, and it was going to be more than the slick, integrated unit.

Maybe the 8755 is too big for my 6x10 :thinking:
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Postby Shadow Catcher » Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:11 pm

One thing to remember is that what what you think you need is subject to change with out notice. Plan for the thirty amp, you don't have to use it all, yet :lol:
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Postby pmowers » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:39 pm

Shadow Catcher wrote:One thing to remember is that what what you think you need is subject to change with out notice. Plan for the thirty amp, you don't have to use it all, yet :lol:


Don't I know it. I wonder how long I could run a 14KW generator off a 20 lb tank.

:twisted:

Got a Marinco 20A inlet installed already, don't really think that I will use more than 10 amps at any given time.
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Postby Shadow Catcher » Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:16 am

I did not see any indication that you intended to use this for boondocking only off a generator. :thinking:

We have a 2400W Kipor generator (which has a 30A plug) but have yet to use it. In each instance we have used the 30A pedestal which powers the AC the electric element in the water heater the electric fry pan the TV and satellite receiver the fry pan the hair dryer (Nancy's) and the refrigerator. The thinking is as long as you are on shore power and are paying for it you might as well use it instead of propane. There are 11 12V fuses in the PD power center and I am using them all, for LED lights, case fans, radio, Sirius receiver, LED reading, cabin and galley lights , ignition for the water heater when on propane, power, for the Espar diesel heater, power for the refrigerator when not on shore power.
This sounds like an awful lot of stuff that is electrically powered, and in reality it is but there are trade-offs as well, much of the stuff gets left home. If for example we will be boondocking all of the electrical needs can be supplied by the 180 W solar panel with the exception of the AC unit. That also means however that we do not use things such as the frypan or the TV or hairdryer or…,
What I'm trying to say is that as long as you have a trailer plan for more than you think you need or want currently. More AC outlets (you may want one for the recharger for your cell phone) more locations for DC outlets. If you intend to add solar at some point run the wires now and plan where you want the controller to be.
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Postby mike93lx » Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:23 am

pmowers wrote:
Shadow Catcher wrote:Don't I know it. I wonder how long I could run a 14KW generator off a 20 lb tank.

:twisted:


Not very long at all. A 20lb propane tank only holds 4 gallons and propane generates less energy per gallon than gasoline. Generators also get less and less efficient as load decreases (past a certain point). At half load, I am going to guess that your generator will consume approximately 1 gallon of gasoline per hour, maybe less, maybe more. It probably won't do much better than that at 1/4 load, unless it has idle/speed control, which isn't too common.

The other concern is that a 20lb propane cylinder will not run to empty in one shot when hooked up to something like a generator. It will turn into a block of ice before it empties, and even before that point, it will likely not have enough pressure in the tank to even keep the generator running.

Propane is really only viable/useful in either short spurts or if you have a large tank (100lb or bigger).
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