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Old 06-11-2019, 08:27 PM   #1
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Default Ecotrek & "Underhood Generator" Charging

Greetings All,

I am new to this forum but not new to RVing and the challenges making everything work. This is my first class B and it definitely has the most complex electronics I have ever managed.

I have a 2018 Hymer Sunlight Van Two based on a 2017 Promaster 2500 chassis. As you might know, Hymer North America is in receivership and the Sunlight brand, apparently a Camping World exclusive, is now officially dead. I bought mine about seven months before the bottom fell out. My van has two Ecotrek 200 battery modules, 2 x 100W solar panels, and the underhood generator (or extra alternator, if you will). It does not have the Voltstart feature.

So far the electrical systems seem to work well, as designed, with one exception. On a recent long trip we found that the batteries seemed to shut down after a few hours of driving. They could not be restarted unless the engine was turned off and the batteries rested in the off position for a little while. (We have the Ecotrek batteries on while driving to be charged and to run the refrigerator.) When I say "the batteries shut down", they remain turned on with blue lights glowing but the coach voltmeter is dark as though the battery disconnect had been tripped. While driving when the coach system is running, the voltmeter shows 14.1 and that seems like typical alternator charging voltage.

When finished driving for the day with the engine turned off, both batteries power up like usual and can run the refrigerator etc with no problem. If it generally sunny, the Ecotrek batteries with solar charging can run the refrigerator, water pump, and basic house lights for many days.

My question is this: is the underhood generator overcharging or overloading the Ecotrek batteries causing them to shut down? Is there some other piece at play in this system that's causing the symptoms I am seeing? Technical information about this system is pretty hard to come by and since Hymer-NA / Sunlight is out of business, I don't have a tech support resource at hand. The Camping World dealer I bought this rig from knew far less about the RV than I did. The tech who handled the pre-delivery walk-through was very happy that I helped him through it.

Any ideas or pointers to other resources would be very much appreciated. We really like the unit and in some ways feel lucky that we haven't had the usual number of after-delivery issues that many RVs can have. Of course I have fixed a bunch of minor things because I know that's the way to get it done right without wasting hours and days in the service department.

Cheers!...ned.

2018 Hymer Sunlight Van Two
(2017 Dodge Ram Promaster 2500)
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:00 AM   #2
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Welcome the forum ncoonen!

If you search this forum you'll see at least one thread with advice on how to re-set Ecotrek batteries. Maybe there's more there to help diagnose the cause of your problem. But it's nice to hear your's have been working well up to this point.
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:59 PM   #3
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We just recently purchased a 2019 van 2 with all the goodies and had similar issues with the batteries shutting down in bright sunlight.
The second generation lithiums are well protected from overcharging and will shut down to prevent damage. The factory settings for the solar charge controller and balmar voltage controller for the underwood generator were programmed incorrectly from the factory.
If you join the carado banff Facebook owners group there is a ton of information on reprogramming these.
It isn't not too difficult once you read the info and figure out the system.
The Facebook group is a great bunch of folks and there is a wealth of information there about our vans.
Good luck!
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:26 PM   #4
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Thanks - this is exactly what I need. I had found a Hymer group on Facebook but not the Sunlight / Carado group. It is good to be among friends when you're an orphan.

...ned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevetrail View Post
We just recently purchased a 2019 van 2 with all the goodies and had similar issues with the batteries shutting down in bright sunlight.
The second generation lithiums are well protected from overcharging and will shut down to prevent damage. The factory settings for the solar charge controller and balmar voltage controller for the underwood generator were programmed incorrectly from the factory.
If you join the carado banff Facebook owners group there is a ton of information on reprogramming these.
It isn't not too difficult once you read the info and figure out the system.
The Facebook group is a great bunch of folks and there is a wealth of information there about our vans.
Good luck!
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Old 06-15-2019, 08:48 PM   #5
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For future reference, I want to point people with Ecotrek charging, wiring, and basic operation issues to two excellent Facebook groups. Yes, it's Facebook so there is some functional overhead but I have found a ton of useful reference data and documents as well as very knowledgeable contributors. I have made a number of controller programming changes to my Sunlight VanTwo and am in the process of rewiring the solar controller and inverter to the "charge side" of the Ecotreks.

Carado & Sunlight Owners Group - Lots of electrical and other help for Promaster based Carado and Sunlight branded EHGNA vans.

Roadtrek E-Treks & Ecotreks - Serious in depth discussion of the Ecotrek (and AGM based Etrek) electrical systems. Non-Roadtrek EHGNA van owners are welcome.

Thanks again to Stevetrail for sending me to Facebook in an earlier post. vBulletin style web forums are better organized and easier to navigate but sometimes you just have to follow the data.

Cheers...ned.
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Old 06-15-2019, 11:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncoonen View Post
.........................................
So far the electrical systems seem to work well, as designed, with one exception. On a recent long trip we found that the batteries seemed to shut down after a few hours of driving. They could not be restarted unless the engine was turned off and the batteries rested in the off position for a little while. (We have the Ecotrek batteries on while driving to be charged and to run the refrigerator.) When I say "the batteries shut down", they remain turned on with blue lights glowing but the coach voltmeter is dark as though the battery disconnect had been tripped. While driving when the coach system is running, the voltmeter shows 14.1 and that seems like typical alternator charging voltage.

When finished driving for the day with the engine turned off, both batteries power up like usual and can run the refrigerator etc with no problem. If it generally sunny, the Ecotrek batteries with solar charging can run the refrigerator, water pump, and basic house lights for many days.............................................. .................................................. ...................

Were you able to solve the problem?


It does seem like the system is taking the batteries offline ..... maybe over voltage or maybe over temperature. Or a too sensitive control. Any idea what the voltage coming in from solar is at when the batteries go offline?
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Old 06-16-2019, 01:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo View Post
Were you able to solve the problem?


It does seem like the system is taking the batteries offline ..... maybe over voltage or maybe over temperature. Or a too sensitive control. Any idea what the voltage coming in from solar is at when the batteries go offline?
I haven't been back on the road yet since I reprogrammed the EPEVER solar controller so I can't be sure that was the problem but all symptoms point to that. I couldn't monitor the voltage closely while driving but it was well into 14+ volts. The reprogramming lowered all the charge voltages to levels more amenable to the Ecotrek battery packs.

...ned.
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Old 06-16-2019, 04:01 PM   #8
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you should join this Hymer/Roadtrek forum on Facebook.
Everything you ever need to know about this system is there:

Hymer Aktiv Owners and Wannabees

If your Sunlight is like the Aktiv and Roadtrek, the voltage regulator on the UHG AND the solar are set too high.

I am not an electrician, but I have been reading this forum extensively and there are some very sharp folks. I have a 2018 Aktiv.



Quote:
Originally Posted by ncoonen View Post
Greetings All,

I am new to this forum but not new to RVing and the challenges making everything work. This is my first class B and it definitely has the most complex electronics I have ever managed.

I have a 2018 Hymer Sunlight Van Two based on a 2017 Promaster 2500 chassis. As you might know, Hymer North America is in receivership and the Sunlight brand, apparently a Camping World exclusive, is now officially dead. I bought mine about seven months before the bottom fell out. My van has two Ecotrek 200 battery modules, 2 x 100W solar panels, and the underhood generator (or extra alternator, if you will). It does not have the Voltstart feature.

So far the electrical systems seem to work well, as designed, with one exception. On a recent long trip we found that the batteries seemed to shut down after a few hours of driving. They could not be restarted unless the engine was turned off and the batteries rested in the off position for a little while. (We have the Ecotrek batteries on while driving to be charged and to run the refrigerator.) When I say "the batteries shut down", they remain turned on with blue lights glowing but the coach voltmeter is dark as though the battery disconnect had been tripped. While driving when the coach system is running, the voltmeter shows 14.1 and that seems like typical alternator charging voltage.

When finished driving for the day with the engine turned off, both batteries power up like usual and can run the refrigerator etc with no problem. If it generally sunny, the Ecotrek batteries with solar charging can run the refrigerator, water pump, and basic house lights for many days.

My question is this: is the underhood generator overcharging or overloading the Ecotrek batteries causing them to shut down? Is there some other piece at play in this system that's causing the symptoms I am seeing? Technical information about this system is pretty hard to come by and since Hymer-NA / Sunlight is out of business, I don't have a tech support resource at hand. The Camping World dealer I bought this rig from knew far less about the RV than I did. The tech who handled the pre-delivery walk-through was very happy that I helped him through it.

Any ideas or pointers to other resources would be very much appreciated. We really like the unit and in some ways feel lucky that we haven't had the usual number of after-delivery issues that many RVs can have. Of course I have fixed a bunch of minor things because I know that's the way to get it done right without wasting hours and days in the service department.

Cheers!...ned.

2018 Hymer Sunlight Van Two
(2017 Dodge Ram Promaster 2500)
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