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Old 03-13-2019, 01:15 AM   #1
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Default Life after RoadTrek: Ecotrek, rebuild Ecotrek module, or DIY?

Hey everyone.

I had one of my lithium Ecotrek modules die in my 2018 Zion, and just got a diagnosis today. The shop I went to has a Ecotrek specific battery tester. They wouldn't tell me the exact failure mechanism It will be $7,000 dollars to replace both my modules. They can't replace one because module Rev H isn't compatible with Rev G.

Anyway, this question is for those folks who know how to design off-grid power systems. I'm educated in these systems, and looking if anyone has dissected the EcoTrek module to see what we got inside? If anyone has cracked open that red "warranty void" sticker, please let me know if you can share photos.

I'm probably going to crack mine open next week. My options are:
A) remove the EcoTrek modules and go full DIY ~$4,000 OR
B) pay $7,000 (includes 3 year KS2 warranty) OR
C) remove the EcoTrek modules, extract the cells, and build a new module with battery heaters, cell balancer, custom BMS..... ~1,000$

I'm leaning towards C) and looking for anyone whom has possibly attempted the same given the horrible situation with RoadTrek / Erwin Hymer. Obviously I'll have to re-program the Balmar, solar controller, and maybe the inverter/charger after a complete re-design.

Please let me know if you have cracked open an Ecotrek module Rev G or lower. I want pics to make my process safe and efficient as possible.

Also, I have an almost complete schematic of the entire house electrical system on my 2018 Zion SRT that I'd be willing to post when completely finished. I just have to stick my endoscope a few more places to get that done. I know this information would be like GOLD on this forum.

If any fellow electrical engineers wants to talk battery management, also please hit me up.
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Old 03-13-2019, 01:28 AM   #2
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I can't help you, but just as an aside:
Those "warranty void" stickers are nonsense. Prohibited by Magnuson-Moss.
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43724348

(not that it is likely to matter much in this case)
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Old 03-13-2019, 01:45 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris_g19 View Post
Hey everyone.

I had one of my lithium Ecotrek modules die in my 2018 Zion, and just got a diagnosis today. The shop I went to has a Ecotrek specific battery tester. They wouldn't tell me the exact failure mechanism It will be $7,000 dollars to replace both my modules. They can't replace one because module Rev H isn't compatible with Rev G.

Anyway, this question is for those folks who know how to design off-grid power systems. I'm educated in these systems, and looking if anyone has dissected the EcoTrek module to see what we got inside? If anyone has cracked open that red "warranty void" sticker, please let me know if you can share photos.

I'm probably going to crack mine open next week. My options are:
A) remove the EcoTrek modules and go full DIY ~$4,000 OR
B) pay $7,000 (includes 3 year KS2 warranty) OR
C) remove the EcoTrek modules, extract the cells, and build a new module with battery heaters, cell balancer, custom BMS..... ~1,000$

I'm leaning towards C) and looking for anyone whom has possibly attempted the same given the horrible situation with RoadTrek / Erwin Hymer. Obviously I'll have to re-program the Balmar, solar controller, and maybe the inverter/charger after a complete re-design.

Please let me know if you have cracked open an Ecotrek module Rev G or lower. I want pics to make my process safe and efficient as possible.

Also, I have an almost complete schematic of the entire house electrical system on my 2018 Zion SRT that I'd be willing to post when completely finished. I just have to stick my endoscope a few more places to get that done. I know this information would be like GOLD on this forum.

If any fellow electrical engineers wants to talk battery management, also please hit me up.

Welcome to the forum chris_g19!


Sorry about your problem. I would probably get a "second opinion" and just use the one lithium bank for power for now. In some other threads there are posts naming a Ecotrek supplier and repair technician who are prepared to service Ecotrek systems (post Roadtrek's demise).

Seems odd to me since your's is such a new unit that they would have to replace both lithium banks. However, I have no experience or expertise with them.

Good luck.
.
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Old 03-13-2019, 03:00 AM   #4
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Default I found this on the forum

Found this. Not sure what ecotrek revision it's from.

These look like those Chinese (maybe not) prismatic LiFeOP 4 cells you can get online. They're pretty good. I think option C is the right one.

Hopefully there are some battery heaters in that module too I can use.

Those two big solenoids I think are the culprit for my battery failure. I think the discharge one failed. Hopefully can just replace the solendoid for 50$ and voila!

Otherwise will have to pull the cells and individually test them, balance them, add my own BMS, rewire it all..... Which would be cool too because I'd have complete DIY fix-ability and control over the reliability to some extent.
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Old 03-13-2019, 03:09 AM   #5
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Found this. Not sure what ecotrek revision it's from.

These look like those Chinese (maybe not) prismatic LiFeOP 4 cells you can get online. They're pretty good. I think option C is the right one.

Hopefully there are some battery heaters in that module too I can use.

Those two big solenoids I think are the culprit for my battery failure. I think the discharge one failed. Hopefully can just replace the solendoid for 50$ and voila!

Otherwise will have to pull the cells and individually test them, balance them, add my own BMS, rewire it all..... Which would be cool too because I'd have complete DIY fix-ability and control over the reliability to some extent.
I wouldn’t expect your Ecotreks to match that picture which is a first generation module but if you end up gutting it and just use the cells it doesn’t make much difference. Tony Pineda (independent RT repair service in CA) has spare parts and has been repairing Ecotreks for awhile. He might be able to help you repair it.
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Old 03-13-2019, 07:43 PM   #6
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chris_g19 - I did some searching but couldn't find any additional info. I did find the reset switch assembly made by KiB - Switch assembly ECOTREK by Roadtrek & KIB SP1282: nwrvsupply.com

I'd expect the individual lithium cells to be OK and agree that an electronics failure seem so much more likely.

$7,000 is way too much for a lot of folks to bear. They'd be stuck selling the non working coach at a huge loss. If you can figure this out and document it you'll be a hero.
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Old 03-13-2019, 08:24 PM   #7
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Default Interesting

Good to see some ecotrek parts showing up on other websites.

I got my rig back today. Confirmed my best option is to DIY it, 7,000$ is ridiculously huge number for a brand new rig, plus 5 hours labor! " 8-9k$!!!

I'm going to isolate one of my modules this weekend, unless the weather is nice, then I'll do something else

Once I have it isolated and confirm the other one is not affected, I'll drop it from the chassis and then the fun begins.

Note, I have a portable 100AH 12V module I built myself. I have transfer switches to the house 12V and 110V main branches. So I can survive running the coach off an external battery pack while the project is underway.

Thank God we got some warm weather coming, going to be spending a lot of time under the rig.

Right now I'm still ordering and gathering components. Lots of stuff to prepare before I start.

Hopefully I will have a schematic shortly which will help everyone debug their own electrical issues whatever they may be. I'll post that in a new thread.
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Old 03-14-2019, 12:10 AM   #8
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Man, honestly I don't trust roadtrek as electrical professionals. I was auditing their default solar charge controller parameters and they have a the equalization option turned ON. This is a no no for lithium, but great for lead acid. Oh boy, glad I'm going through all this system bit by bit, now wonder there are so many field failures. I wonder what else I will find.
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Old 03-14-2019, 07:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris_g19 View Post
Man, honestly I don't trust roadtrek as electrical professionals. I was auditing their default solar charge controller parameters and they have a the equalization option turned ON. This is a no no for lithium, but great for lead acid. Oh boy, glad I'm going through all this system bit by bit, now wonder there are so many field failures. I wonder what else I will find.
I also looked at my Solar controller and it was set to flooded (equalize 14.8, boost 14.6, float 13.. Change it to Gel (no equalize, Boost 14.2, float 13.. Ultimately may change to 13.5 across the board as recommended by KS2.

Another question re the Lithium battery box. My 2018 Axion has Eco Trek 400 and I noticed two red and one black connection as (Hopefully!) shown in the picture. They are labeled discharge, ground, and charge (red, black, red). The red (discharge) is not connected to anything obvious. is it not needed or connected internally?
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Old 03-14-2019, 07:18 PM   #10
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Not sure how the smiling faces got in. Should read float 13.8 in both cases.
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Old 03-14-2019, 07:46 PM   #11
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I also looked at my Solar controller and it was set to flooded (equalize 14.8, boost 14.6, float 13.. Change it to Gel (no equalize, Boost 14.2, float 13.. Ultimately may change to 13.5 across the board as recommended by KS2.

Another question re the Lithium battery box. My 2018 Axion has Eco Trek 400 and I noticed two red and one black connection as (Hopefully!) shown in the picture. They are labeled discharge, ground, and charge (red, black, red). The red (discharge) is not connected to anything obvious. is it not needed or connected internally?
So, you have just one battery box with 400 AH inside or is there another one with each having 200 AH?

The only thing consistent about EHGNA electrical systems is the inconsistency in how they are set up. If this is the single battery box and there are no other power connections to the box then there would seem to be only one positive terminal that must be connected to all of the loads and chargers which is something they have done in the past but I have not seen it done recently. Setting it up this way would prevent the BMS from disconnecting chargers when the battery cells have reached full charge and from disconnecting loads when the battery cells reach the low charge limit while keeping the chargers connected.

Just another conundrum when trying to understand these vans...
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Old 03-14-2019, 08:31 PM   #12
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Do you have an underhood generator?

Solar charging can be done via the bus, but the high current of the alternator they use a separate input so they can therefore have a separate isolation relay.

If you don't have an underhood generator, that makes sense.
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Old 03-14-2019, 08:33 PM   #13
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Default Here's my setup

(I have the underhood generator)

The battery in the foreground has been disconnected from the control panel and I'm going to hopefully drop it from the chassis shortly.
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Old 03-14-2019, 08:41 PM   #14
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Wow, the underside is pretty clean (Promaster=no rear differential; Lithium=no Onan generator or Propane tank).
.
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:55 PM   #15
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So, you have just one battery box with 400 AH inside or is there another one with each having 200 AH?

The only thing consistent about EHGNA electrical systems is the inconsistency in how they are set up. If this is the single battery box and there are no other power connections to the box then there would seem to be only one positive terminal that must be connected to all of the loads and chargers which is something they have done in the past but I have not seen it done recently. Setting it up this way would prevent the BMS from disconnecting chargers when the battery cells have reached full charge and from disconnecting loads when the battery cells reach the low charge limit while keeping the chargers connected.

Just another conundrum when trying to understand these vans...
Two boxes, 200 AH each.
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:56 PM   #16
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Wow, the underside is pretty clean (Promaster=no rear differential; Lithium=no Onan generator or Propane tank).
.
Haven't used it a lot. Promasater 1500 (Carado Axion). Underhood generator (recently replace the regulator).
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:57 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by chris_g19 View Post
Do you have an underhood generator?

Solar charging can be done via the bus, but the high current of the alternator they use a separate input so they can therefore have a separate isolation relay.

If you don't have an underhood generator, that makes sense.
I have an underhood generator.
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Old 03-16-2019, 02:00 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by gregmchugh View Post
So, you have just one battery box with 400 AH inside or is there another one with each having 200 AH?

The only thing consistent about EHGNA electrical systems is the inconsistency in how they are set up. If this is the single battery box and there are no other power connections to the box then there would seem to be only one positive terminal that must be connected to all of the loads and chargers which is something they have done in the past but I have not seen it done recently. Setting it up this way would prevent the BMS from disconnecting chargers when the battery cells have reached full charge and from disconnecting loads when the battery cells reach the low charge limit while keeping the chargers connected.

Just another conundrum when trying to understand these vans...
Sent a message to KS2,

"Also, I noted that the battery boxes have three connections (discharge, ground, and charge). On my Carado Axion, only the ground and charge have cables running to them (hopefully picture attached at bottom of page). Is this normal or harmful?"

KS2 response below.

"Ive never seen this installation mode. Its not harmful but if there is an overcharge situation or overvoltage detected you wont be able to use the battery until it lowers to 13.3V."
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Old 03-16-2019, 02:09 PM   #19
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Sent a message to KS2,

"Also, I noted that the battery boxes have three connections (discharge, ground, and charge). On my Carado Axion, only the ground and charge have cables running to them (hopefully picture attached at bottom of page). Is this normal or harmful?"

KS2 response below.

"Ive never seen this installation mode. Its not harmful but if there is an overcharge situation or overvoltage detected you wont be able to use the battery until it lowers to 13.3V."

That is interesting as I seem to remember that Roadtrek quit using the charge connection quite a while ago in one of their "revisions" that kept coming out to try to address the problems they were having. If what I remember is correct, I can't imagine that KS2 wouldn't know about it.
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Old 03-16-2019, 02:47 PM   #20
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I don’t recall any reports where both connections were not used. There were cases where the two connections were jumpered together, for example, the instructions that came with the free Ecotrek module offer that was installed by a dealer in an existing AGM van showed a jumper across the two connections. It is possible that these modules had a special firmware version designed for this configuration.
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