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Old 01-30-2019, 03:53 AM   #1
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Default RT 190 Battery and Inverter

Newbie questions...

I recently acquired a 2014 RT Popular 190 from a family member. Coach batteries are toast from sitting discharged through 2 winters, won’t accept a charge. They appear to be 2x6V AGM... sound right?

Thinking to install a single 12V AGM for now just to get it working. Is there any reason not to do that, other than the reduced amp-hours? Could I even use the 12V wet cell from our travel trailer as a temporary measure? Not sure if that compartment is adequately vented or not.

Reason is cost. This unit has a number of issues- defects that were never addressed during the warranty period as well as damage from neglect. Trying to get it minimally functional to use and test all the systems, so we can decide what to do with it. Costs are adding up! We already have a travel trailer, which suits our style better.

I’ve also been reading there might be an issue with the inverter installation on Roadtreks. Anything important I need to know?
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Old 01-30-2019, 05:58 AM   #2
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Two six volt flooded lead acid batteries are cheaper than one 12 volt AGM. Just go for the cheapest ones which should be not much more than $160 total. Flooded lead acid are much more forgiving than AGM as you work through your problems.

Yes, you could use the battery from your other RV.

Just an opinion. If you are gonna fix it, fix it correctly, not halfway. Get it working, and you can sell it very quickly at a good price.

You can probably sell it as is. I expect there are several on this site that would like a shot at it.
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Old 01-30-2019, 04:12 PM   #3
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I agree you need two batteries. As advised, you can go with a pair of cheap lead-acid deep cycle ones pretty cheap. I paid only $139 last year at Sam's Club to get two 12v deep cycle Duracells and am very pleased with their performance.

Good luck.
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Old 01-30-2019, 06:14 PM   #4
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Okay, I like that answer. Flooded works for me. I just wasn't sure the compartment was properly vented. Just to clarify- I thought the OEM set-up consists of 2-6V wired in series, not 2-12V in parallel, right?

What about the inverter? I read a couple of posts here that alluded to an improper and unsafe grounding installation involving late-model Roadtreks. I tried to search for other posts on the topic but the search function didn't turn any up.

Thanks for the input!
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Old 01-30-2019, 06:31 PM   #5
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Two 6 volt or two 12v is you preference, so long as wired correctly for 12v output. I re-read your first post and you are correct that you can easily use just one 12 volt for trouble shooting purposes. One will just last half as long as two so you really need to keep on top of it because of parasitic draws (normal ones or perhaps worse ones due to gremlins). Whenever you are not in the van, unless it is plugged in, switch the battery disconnect to "Off".

My guess is you'll get it sorted out fairly quickly. Dead batteries like you have now, can cause many problems.

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Old 01-30-2019, 09:37 PM   #6
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Forget about the inverter, for now, if it works. Go on and solve the next problem.
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Old 01-30-2019, 10:11 PM   #7
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Agree. What other problems are you having?
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Old 01-31-2019, 07:49 PM   #8
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Okay. I won't worry about the inverter for now, and I'll go with two flooded batteries for the replacement coach batteries. I looked yesterday and I don't see any venting in the compartment, which is located in the rocker panel storage pods, but it would be easy to add a vent to the battery compartment access door.

Next issue...

Something is drawing down the chassis battery. It was dead (again) three days ago after sitting about a month. Prior to that I had driven it every 2-3 weeks and it started fine. Battery and charging system checked out good. I made sure the coach battery was switched off last time I plugged it in. Anyway, isn't there an isolator that prevents the coach from drawing down the chassis battery? There's a component under the hood that says "isolator."

There are some chassis wiring issues that may or may not be related. The front dome light stays on all the time. Dealer checked the door switch, which was okay, and said it was in the wiring. I left the bulb out. No other lights appear to be on. I also discovered the rear high mount stop light was melted over both bulbs and the integrated rear view camera not working.

I'm thinking this is something for my regular auto mechanic to look at. Or should I take it to an RV tech? Electrical work is definitely not in my skill set.

I do appreciate the help!
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Old 01-31-2019, 08:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Okay. I won't worry about the inverter for now, and I'll go with two flooded batteries for the replacement coach batteries. I looked yesterday and I don't see any venting in the compartment, which is located in the rocker panel storage pods, but it would be easy to add a vent to the battery compartment access door.

Next issue...

Something is drawing down the chassis battery. It was dead (again) three days ago after sitting about a month. Prior to that I had driven it every 2-3 weeks and it started fine. Battery and charging system checked out good. I made sure the coach battery was switched off last time I plugged it in. Anyway, isn't there an isolator that prevents the coach from drawing down the chassis battery? There's a component under the hood that says "isolator."

There are some chassis wiring issues that may or may not be related. The front dome light stays on all the time. Dealer checked the door switch, which was okay, and said it was in the wiring. I left the bulb out. No other lights appear to be on. I also discovered the rear high mount stop light was melted over both bulbs and the integrated rear view camera not working.

I'm thinking this is something for my regular auto mechanic to look at. Or should I take it to an RV tech? Electrical work is definitely not in my skill set.

I do appreciate the help!
Vehicles with computers have a parasitic battery current, always. Some are worse than others. When you have everything off, check the parasitic current from the chassis battery to determine how much it is. That dome light being on, even without a bulb in it could be an issue. A weak battery could be an issue. That current measurement is critical as a starting point for diagnosis.
It could be that a "normal" parasitic load is enough to drain the battery after a month. A maintainer is generally recommended for long term storage like that.
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Old 01-31-2019, 08:30 PM   #10
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Jon,

When I bought my '2012 Avenue in late '2017, the coach batteries were new (only 2 mos. old as indicated by the manufacturer stamp). The would not hold a charge well from the beginning. I assume they were either defective or damaged by sitting drained on the lot prior to my purchase. I purchased new ones, and my battery drain problems were gone.

As others previously stated, there will always parasitic loses and you should minimize them wherever possible. But new batteries will likely mitigate your problem as they did mine.

Plus, I would not worry about venting the external battery compartment, so long as it is the way Roadtrek designed it. I can only assume that it is not air tight enough to be a problem. Off-gassing of wet cell batteries is mainly a problem that prevents their use inside the coach or if severe overcharging creates excess gas. Regardless, that is something for another day.
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Old 02-01-2019, 02:30 PM   #11
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Default Parasitic draw

I would recommend you begin with the mechanic who you have a relationship with who takes care of your regular car. One of the beauties of my Dodge Roadtrek is that engine wise any good mechanic knows what to do. Once you get into RV systems the RV shops add a decimal. My mechanic has shop time of $70, the local RV shop is $147.
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Old 02-02-2019, 04:44 PM   #12
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I would rethink the flooded lead-acid batteries over AGM. Somewhere around 2010-11, RT changed from a slide out battery tray to a non-slide out. At the same time they went to AGM batteries, because the batteries were no longer easily accessible. It will become very difficult to check the battery water level. If you do decide to go the flooded battery route, then you will need to reset the charge profile on the Tripplite charger. If not, you could overcharge the flooded batteries and boil the water out.
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Old 02-02-2019, 05:01 PM   #13
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I would rethink the flooded lead-acid batteries over AGM. Somewhere around 2010-11, RT changed from a slide out battery tray to a non-slide out. At the same time they went to AGM batteries, because the batteries were no longer easily accessible. It will become very difficult to check the battery water level. If you do decide to go the flooded battery route, then you will need to reset the charge profile on the Tripplite charger. If not, you could overcharge the flooded batteries and boil the water out.
Good points I had not considered. If the Roadtrek battery trays are not pull-out (however, shame on Roadtrek if this is so), the non maintenace AGMs would be a better choice. And a dip-switch change is indeed required to switch a Tripplite RV750 between wet-cell & AGM configurations. Easy to do, but a good point since it can be an important, but easily over-looked, feature.
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Old 02-02-2019, 06:18 PM   #14
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Nope. They are not on a slide-out tray. Yup. It’ takes some work to get at them.
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Old 02-02-2019, 08:39 PM   #15
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In that case, maybe your earlier concern about venting wet-cell battery gasses into the compartment are legitimate. Roadtrek may not have ventilated the compartment because they felt this was not necessary with the use of AGMs .

Still, you can temporarily use your single battery on a test basis.
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Old 02-07-2019, 05:33 PM   #16
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A couple of suggestions for parasitic battery currents. One, I've had a relay in my 3-way fridge circuit (located behind the fridge) stick resulting in 12V DC being fed to the fridge regardless of what energy source was chosen on the fridge panel (I was wondering why the fridge was running so cold!). Second, for coach battery drain to be absolutely zero (especially important when the RV is in storage mode), the battery disconnect switch must be off AND the TrippLite switch must be off. If the TrippLite switch is on Auto or Chg Only, there will be a drain of 0.21 amps, even with the battery disconnect switch off. This is what I've learned (the hard way) in my 08210P RT.
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Old 02-07-2019, 06:15 PM   #17
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I have been working with my 1995 Dodge chassis Pleasureway for quite some time. I believe what you call an inverter (and I did too, for a while) is called an isolator by my automotive mechanic. If this is what you are talking about, I have a story to tell you.

My alternator went bad suddenly on my Pleasureway, and when they tried to hook up the isolator again, there was some smoldering and they didn't hook it up. I had to go to Amazon and buy the isolator that Pleasureway told me that they used. Before I bought and had the isolator hooked up, I took the rv on a trip. Bad mistake. Because I did not have an isolator, the house used up all the house batteries and then pulled from the chassis battery. Fortunately, I was at an area where I could get hold of AAA. But it was that no-man's-land between San Antonio and El Paso on I-10. It could have been a real pain in the ass, if my cell phone wasn't working there.


If your house batteries are pulling power from the chassis battery, I can just about guarantee you need a new isolator. The one that Pleasureway told me to use is: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 02-07-2019, 07:57 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Newbie questions...

I recently acquired a 2014 RT Popular 190 from a family member. Coach batteries are toast from sitting discharged through 2 winters, won’t accept a charge. They appear to be 2x6V AGM... sound right?

Thinking to install a single 12V AGM for now just to get it working. Is there any reason not to do that, other than the reduced amp-hours? Could I even use the 12V wet cell from our travel trailer as a temporary measure? Not sure if that compartment is adequately vented or not.

Reason is cost. This unit has a number of issues- defects that were never addressed during the warranty period as well as damage from neglect. Trying to get it minimally functional to use and test all the systems, so we can decide what to do with it. Costs are adding up! We already have a travel trailer, which suits our style better.

I’ve also been reading there might be an issue with the inverter installation on Roadtreks. Anything important I need to know?
There is a particularly knowledgeable group of people with regard to dealing with the electrical issues (and many other issues) in Roadtreks that participate in the roadtrek owners yahoo group. To join, go to yahoo, then groups, then search for “roadtrekowners”
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:16 PM   #19
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There is a setting on the inverter to select the battery type. If you are changing from AGM/Gel to flooded you need to change this on the dip switch settings on the inverter.
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Old 02-09-2019, 08:31 PM   #20
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The inverter is a device which converts 12VDC to 120VAC. It is not the same as the isolator, which seperates the house and chassis batteries but allows them both to be charged from the engine alternator. The inverter normally includes a charger to charge the house battery when connected to shore power. Units without an inverter normally have a “converter” which charges the batteries and provides 12VDC when on shore power but has no provision to make 120VAC.
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