Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 08-15-2018, 12:58 AM   #1
Platinum Member
 
wincrasher's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Greer, South Carolina
Posts: 2,500
Default Report on problems with my Travato GL

Recently took delivery of my new Travato GL. I did have one big problem with the Volta system that I've described in this lengthy blog post.

Wincrasher's Travels

To summarize, we were not getting any charging from the second alternator. I go into the details on how we got it working and some pics from repair day.
__________________

__________________
2019 Winnebago Travato GL
Follow my blog: https://www.wincrasher.blogspot.com
Our Facebook group is: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ClassBCamperVans/
wincrasher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2018, 01:30 AM   #2
Platinum Member
 
Phoebe3's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: California
Posts: 603
Default

Nice post. Please don't take this the wrong way, but if it had to happen, I'm glad it happened to someone who had some experience. If you had been a first time owner, it might still be dragging on.

I read posts from new owners who have a major issue like that and can't manage it because they are still leaning how to dump, what to pack, how to park, etc. A major glitch becomes insurmountable and they get rid of their RV.

Really happy you got it resolved.
__________________

__________________
2018 Coachmen Crossfit
Phoebe3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2018, 02:37 AM   #3
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Texas
Posts: 243
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoebe3 View Post
Nice post. Please don't take this the wrong way, but if it had to happen, I'm glad it happened to someone who had some experience. If you had been a first time owner, it might still be dragging on.

I read posts from new owners who have a major issue like that and can't manage it because they are still leaning how to dump, what to pack, how to park, etc. A major glitch becomes insurmountable and they get rid of their RV.

Really happy you got it resolved.
+1 on this! ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

p.s. - Very good blog post. Even I, of little knowledge, could easily follow your ordeal.
rowiebowie is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2018, 03:31 AM   #4
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 6,359
Default

Definitely good writup, bummer on having the issue, though.


One thingcthis this does point out is the potential weakness of the "all in one box" type systems compared to traditional discreet components. This has been discussed here a couple of times in the past. If an all in one fails, you can be out of luck until you can get a skilled in that system repair person on it. Proprietary stuff can be even harder to find qualified help. With the discreet components, lots of places can replace an alternator and regulator, solar controller, or shore charger, and you would be very unlikely to lose more than one at at any given time.


I really like the Volta setup so I hope Wincrasher's issues have just been growing pains and other systems will have better luck. Roadtrek has already proven how frustrating it can be for owners to have repeated problems with their high tech systems and I can only hope that others don't have similar problems.
booster is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2018, 04:24 AM   #5
Platinum Member
 
wincrasher's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Greer, South Carolina
Posts: 2,500
Default

Actually, the whole system is rather modular.

Besides cables and fuses, you have distinct components.

Alternator of course. Alternator control box. DC-DC converter box. Battery Modules. BMS/BMU module. Shunt. Inverter. Inverter control display. Solar controller.

That's about it. I suggested that they actually put an access panel in the floor of the van so you could remove the top of the battery from inside the van. That would make it more user serviceable.

But their scheme now does make some sense to me. They don't intend for any dealer techs take the battery box apart and work on it. They expect them to remove the battery box and ship it back to Volta for repair or replacement. While this has some downsides to the end user (mainly wait times I would image), you don't have to train all these dealer technicians with really advanced skills. This kind of system is really difficult to diagnose - probably all systems would be.

Telling was that they reinstalled a tamper-proof seal on the box after we put it back together. If the end user or dealer opens it up, I assume your warranty would not be honored. They did not say that to me, but that is what I assume from such a thing.
__________________
2019 Winnebago Travato GL
Follow my blog: https://www.wincrasher.blogspot.com
Our Facebook group is: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ClassBCamperVans/
wincrasher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2018, 01:09 PM   #6
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 6,359
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by wincrasher View Post
Actually, the whole system is rather modular.

Besides cables and fuses, you have distinct components.

Alternator of course. Alternator control box. DC-DC converter box. Battery Modules. BMS/BMU module. Shunt. Inverter. Inverter control display. Solar controller.

That's about it. I suggested that they actually put an access panel in the floor of the van so you could remove the top of the battery from inside the van. That would make it more user serviceable.

But their scheme now does make some sense to me. They don't intend for any dealer techs take the battery box apart and work on it. They expect them to remove the battery box and ship it back to Volta for repair or replacement. While this has some downsides to the end user (mainly wait times I would image), you don't have to train all these dealer technicians with really advanced skills. This kind of system is really difficult to diagnose - probably all systems would be.

Telling was that they reinstalled a tamper-proof seal on the box after we put it back together. If the end user or dealer opens it up, I assume your warranty would not be honored. They did not say that to me, but that is what I assume from such a thing.

That description fits pretty well with what the new single source systems look to be heading for. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out over time. I would expect that if they start to get a bunch of bad internet chatter about ruined vacations while waiting for repairs, the procedures might change.


The whole thing is kind like what manufacturing companies when through over the last couple of decades with their purchased from others, specialized machinery. "Back in the day" the factories tried the have spares of all critical parts on hand to be able to fix their production equipment, but as the systems got more and more complex, that model got to be unaffordable to do. Reduction of inventories got to be a very big deal as everyone learned just how much inventory costs to have on hand, so from the OEMs to the end users all got rid of as much as they could from their stocks. The results were borderline disastrous in many cases, with production equipment going down, schedules to be met, but no way to get parts in a hurry because even the OEMs had to build them to order because they had eliminated their stock of spares. I sat in way to many meetings with company executives trying to explain just why it was going to take 10 days before a very critical piece of equipment was fixed, even though we knew what was wrong with it.


By 10 years ago, things had gotten a lot better because the supply chain had figured out that what they were doing was not working well. Most did not hugely beef up their inventory again, but did put in place stock for long lead time items needed to make the assemblies. At the same time, they made designated procedures for service assemblies that normally would ship what you needed in less than one day, many times same day if you ordered by noon. Basically, they had all the parts to build what you needed, did it in less than a day, and same or next morning shipped it to you. They had more inventory than just cutting out almost all parts, but with the finished products not on hand, that inventory normally could be used to build a huge number of finished variations.


If systems like Volta are building a service model of returning the whole assembly for factory service, I think they will need to either have "loaner" assemblies they can ship immediately upon getting the service request. I would guess that could reduce a delay getting back on the road to several day at most. If they had enough of the loaner assemblies, backlog and delays would not be an issue like it would be if you sent you unit in to be repaired and were told you 12th in line. The other way is to send factory techs to each repair, but you can easily get the same backlog delays that way.
booster is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2018, 02:21 PM   #7
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 1,928
Default

Ron-glad you got it working. i suspect even if you left it at your dealer they still would end up stymied for weeks without you there.

My only thought is the part that was defective. Winnebego should hope it's not the entire lot.

Other than that the system when working-seems to be all it's cracked up to be.

Good luck for the future
gerrym51 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2018, 02:29 PM   #8
Site Team
 
avanti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 2,598
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by wincrasher View Post
Telling was that they reinstalled a tamper-proof seal on the box after we put it back together. If the end user or dealer opens it up, I assume your warranty would not be honored. They did not say that to me, but that is what I assume from such a thing.
That is telling. It is also illegal:

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/pres...ranty-coverage

All those "void if opened" stickers are against the law and have been for a long time. In this case, I suspect it is a naive attempt by a young company to keep their "secret sauce" secret as long as possible, and to try to shut out third-party repair services. But if you bought it, you own it and the law is clear that you are free to take it apart if you like. Your warranty will be fine. Of course, if you break something in the process, such damage is no doubt excluded from the warranty. The other possible exception is an attempt to reverse-engineer their firmware. This is a gray area under active dispute due to the DMCA. That is what
the big "John Deere Tractor" kerfuffle is about. That story isn't over.

Sooner or later someone will do a "tear down" of the Volta mystery box and post the video on YouTube.
__________________
Formerly: 2005 Airstream Interstate (Sprinter 2500 T1N)
Now!: 2014 Great West Vans Legend SE (Sprinter 3500 NCV3 I4)
avanti is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2018, 03:08 PM   #9
Bud
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: LA
Posts: 448
Default

Hi avanti,

Yes, agree that there is 'reverse engineering' with lots of stuff.

A couple of years ago I had a heart procedure where a very new 'electrical mapping system' was used. I started asking the very learned cardiologist questions that most patients don't ask. After about the 4th or 5th answer, "I don't know". He said that the answers were not known and the private company would not answer the questions. They were trying to prevent or maybe more like delay the Chinese from "reverse engineering" the $300,000 machine. But 'enough' was known that he got a hospital to pay for it.

Bud
Bud is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2018, 06:15 PM   #10
Platinum Member
 
wincrasher's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Greer, South Carolina
Posts: 2,500
Default

The BMU as they called it, appears to be a third party supply. It was packaged in a plastic case with only the wiring connector visible. The technician removed a vendor's sticker off the unit before he installed it. I couldn't tell you who it was, other than it started with an F.

Looking in the box myself, I would agree that attempts to reverse engineer such a system are probably pointless. There really isn't any secret sauce to a system like this, but there probably are secrets to doing it to a price point.

Thankfully, what I saw looked heavy duty and well constructed. I imagine that comes from their history of supplying these systems to the Prevost converters.

Until my warranty is up, I really have no interest in opening the system up and tinkering with it. I am considering going to their shop and having the 4th battery module installed. Also having them install the optional heating pads in it. I explored with them doing this at this session, but it was not possible due to availability of parts - WGO has gobbled up all their inventory and they have a 14 week backlog on cells.
__________________

__________________
2019 Winnebago Travato GL
Follow my blog: https://www.wincrasher.blogspot.com
Our Facebook group is: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ClassBCamperVans/
wincrasher is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT. The time now is 02:51 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.