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Old 01-30-2019, 02:53 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, wonít 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.

Iíve 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, 04:58 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, 03:12 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, 05:14 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, 05:31 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, 08:37 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, 09:11 PM   #7
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Agree. What other problems are you having?
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Old 01-31-2019, 06:49 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, 07:14 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, 07:30 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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