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Old 07-22-2016, 02:53 PM   #1
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Default Travato charging

The Travato 59K would be a luxurious step-up from our plug-in fold-out tent trailer. From reading this RV sounds great, but I get the impression itís hard to charge the batteries soundly. Could this affect our ability to camp comfortably without shore power (12v refrigeration, lights, fan, maybe even the Truma heat) or break down the batteries prematurely?

Iíve never camped with batteries. I imagined ďnormal useĒ of the provided charging tech (driving, running the generator a bit when allowed, or spending a night on power, combined with factory solar) would properly charge the (two class 31 AGM) batteries. Iím trying to be realistic in understanding this big purchase and noticed some possible issues:

+ The Travato Progressive Dynamics charger canít do itís job properly (because it does not have temperature compensation).
+ Alternator charging is not good (because it might provide full voltage too long).
+ Output of the factory 100W solar panel on the Travato 59K is especially compromised (because of shading by the adjacent the rooftop AC unit).
+ Solar and other charging sources interfere with each other (because of different charger charge profiles).
+ Charging while using your RV isnít good (because under load canít attain charge profile voltage).

Will these issues lead to bad charging and premature battery demise, or have I misinterpreted things Iíve read? One improvement over our current trailer would be the ability to confidently take advantage of no power campsites. Does the Travato battery system actually work well without extensive upgrades? Thanks for any advice.
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Old 07-22-2016, 03:32 PM   #2
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...Does the Travato battery system actually work well without extensive upgrades? Thanks for any advice.
Yes.

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Old 07-22-2016, 03:36 PM   #3
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The Travato 59K would be a luxurious step-up from our plug-in fold-out tent trailer. From reading this RV sounds great, but I get the impression itís hard to charge the batteries soundly. Could this affect our ability to camp comfortably without shore power (12v refrigeration, lights, fan, maybe even the Truma heat) or break down the batteries prematurely?

Iíve never camped with batteries. I imagined ďnormal useĒ of the provided charging tech (driving, running the generator a bit when allowed, or spending a night on power, combined with factory solar) would properly charge the (two class 31 AGM) batteries. Iím trying to be realistic in understanding this big purchase and noticed some possible issues:

+ The Travato Progressive Dynamics charger canít do itís job properly (because it does not have temperature compensation).
+ Alternator charging is not good (because it might provide full voltage too long).
+ Output of the factory 100W solar panel on the Travato 59K is especially compromised (because of shading by the adjacent the rooftop AC unit).
+ Solar and other charging sources interfere with each other (because of different charger charge profiles).
+ Charging while using your RV isnít good (because under load canít attain charge profile voltage).

Will these issues lead to bad charging and premature battery demise, or have I misinterpreted things Iíve read? One improvement over our current trailer would be the ability to confidently take advantage of no power campsites. Does the Travato battery system actually work well without extensive upgrades? Thanks for any advice.
We do talk about inadequate charging systems a lot on the B forum, and the things you list certainly are among them. That said, there are lots of systems like the Travato out there in campers, many of them that probably charge substantially worse than the Travato systems. It is all a balance of battery life vs convenience, vs cost of batteries, vs cost of upgrades.

The Travato owners will be able to speak better about the actual models of the equipment in them, but going down your list:

The PD changer not having a temp compensation is not ideal, but unless you are in very hot or cold temps most of the time, the negative affects on the batteries will not be extreme. Other changes to behavior and monitoring can lessen the affects, also. You don't mention it, but the biggest killer of batteries, IMO, is from under or overcharging, and used properly, assuming you can get a Charge Wizard remote for the model, the PD is one of the few chargers that you can prevent over and undercharging with.

Alternator charging is not inherently bad, as it can do a very good job of battery charging. A simple disconnect can be added to be able to shut off the charging when the batteries get full to prevent overcharging if it found to be an issue for you.

I can't speak to the solar on Travato's, but others will.

Interference and not playing well together can be an issue with some systems, but surprisingly it is most common in more sophisticated systems than what you are looking at. The PD charger is totally timer based, so it won't care what anything else is doing. The alternator is totally on/off, so it won't be of any issue. The only question is with the solar, and it probably is also on timer only, so won't care what the others are doing.

The charging while using the van problem is also only an issue with more sophisticated systems that measure and control charging based on amps to the batteries. As mentioned above, I don't think any of the systems you are looking at would have any issues with it. Plugging in while in use is usually one of the best things you can do for you batteries, as it will give them a chance to fully top off.

My recommendation would be not to be overly concerned, but put a battery monitor in the Travato if you get it. With the monitor, you will be able to see nearly exactly how the batteries are being used and charged, and by combining that knowledge with what your use patterns and desires are, it will be pretty easy to see if you need anything more than you have stock. My guess would be that the very most you would ever need would be a disconnect on the alternator and a remote Charge Wizard for the PD if it will accept one. (outside chance a different model of PD charger would be needed to get remote control). None of this stuff is very high dollar, especially if you can install yourself. The parts, even if you had to get a different PD, would likely be about the same as one top line AGM battery.
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Old 07-22-2016, 03:45 PM   #4
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I agree with Eric & Booster.

The system described is somewhat similar to my van. I'd give it a rating of "Good".

You have a good understanding of what to be aware of
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Old 07-22-2016, 07:40 PM   #5
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Thanks to you all for the cheering positive info about the Travatoís system. I recognize your names as cogent sources on this forum. Thank you for sharing so much clear information about RV power and for your quick replies. My hypothetical van will gain a Trimetric monitor and a PD wizard.

Iím now a neurotic ice buyer for our cooler. I could handle loss of most electrical amenities, but the fridge would need to keep going. Was I clear that the Travato 59K has a 110/12v compressor fridge (no propane)? Might the electrical demand of this kind of fridge hinder thoughtful unplugged camping or being away from the van?

Travato offers a 220A alternator option (up from 180A). Would this upgrade provide battery charging value?

thanks again!
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:55 PM   #6
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Thanks to you all for the cheering positive info about the Travatoís system. I recognize your names as cogent sources on this forum. Thank you for sharing so much clear information about RV power and for your quick replies. My hypothetical van will gain a Trimetric monitor and a PD wizard.

Iím now a neurotic ice buyer for our cooler. I could handle loss of most electrical amenities, but the fridge would need to keep going. Was I clear that the Travato 59K has a 110/12v compressor fridge (no propane)? Might the electrical demand of this kind of fridge hinder thoughtful unplugged camping or being away from the van?

Travato offers a 220A alternator option (up from 180A). Would this upgrade provide battery charging value?

thanks again!
I did notice the frig, and though they do change things related to how long you can stay offgrid, the charging stuff doesn't really care that it needs to recharge a bit more often.

You probably have about 200AH of battery capacity, and the frig will use something like 30-50ah per day. Total maybe 60-80ah per day depending on what else you use. 100 watts of solar will give about 30ah per day in very good sun, so it will nearly completely cover the frig if it is sunny. If it isn't sunny or you are in shade, you could get less than 10ah per day. You should be good for about 2+ days before needing a recharge, as long as you are willing to go under 50% full on the batteries (lots of talk about that here lately). With conservation 3 days should be doable.

The 220ah alternator would definitely be a good upgrade, but make sure they have wire big enough to carry at least 180 amps to the coach, so you can get the whole benefit.
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Old 07-22-2016, 10:30 PM   #7
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I would wager the Travato comes with the 220amp alternator already.
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Old 07-22-2016, 11:13 PM   #8
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I would wager the Travato comes with the 220amp alternator already.
It's definitely an option for 2016's -- and only available when the cab is the silver color....!? The 2017 Travatos seem to be available already, but Winnebago doesn't have the full 2017 brochure online. That means the 220A alternator could be standard for 2017, but I've not found anyone discussing it.
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Old 07-22-2016, 11:27 PM   #9
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I did notice the frig... You should be good for about 2+ days before needing a recharge, as long as you are willing to go under 50% full on the batteries (lots of talk about that here lately). With conservation 3 days should be doable.

The 220ah alternator would definitely be a good upgrade, but make sure they have wire big enough to carry at least 180 amps to the coach, so you can get the whole benefit.
2 days offgrid sounds great to me. Being able to do one night stays without reservations would get us much farther away from home than we go now with our popout. It's a bit complicated to open and shut for one night, especially if it rains.

If we order a Travato or find one with the big alternator I'll follow up on the connection gauge. Is it likely not a big deal because no one is talking about it? You can only get the alternator if you choose a silver cab -- I think people prefer the other colors!
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Old 07-23-2016, 03:15 PM   #10
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How fast would the 180/220 alternator charge the batteries, or the charging rate with the van's engine idling?

Thanks.

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Old 07-23-2016, 04:12 PM   #11
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How fast would the 180/220 alternator charge the batteries, or the charging rate with the van's engine idling?

Thanks.

Bud
With adequate wiring, it would probably be able to do at least 100 amps continuous at idle, I think, probably more depending on how much it reduces output hot. If he was 80% down on 200ah of batteries (160ah down), he would probably get 80-90ah in the first hour and be at around 75% full. At that point, the amps would start to drop pretty quickly on most AGMs, and it would take 6-8 hours to get the rest. Most would just go the point when the amps start dropping and stop there because of the diminishing returns. The main point is that if you do the short charge, you need to get to 100% full periodically. Most would say every 7-10 cycles.
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Old 07-23-2016, 04:19 PM   #12
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Thank you Mr. booster.

It appears that with my application, a large enough alternator would be a better solution than solar since I would be full charging often enough. Some idling vs. solar.

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Old 07-23-2016, 04:35 PM   #13
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.

Nations Alternator has output charts you can use as a guide.
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Old 07-23-2016, 04:41 PM   #14
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Even with a second alternator (which I think is a no-brainer), you might want to consider a modest solar setup if you store your vehicle outdoors without being plugged in. Even a small solar capacity will keep your batteries healthy and happy indefinitely while not in use. It doesn't take much, and it is really nice to be able to just forget about your battery.
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Old 07-23-2016, 04:55 PM   #15
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.

Nations Alternator has output charts you can use as a guide.
Do they have them for the factory alternators too? I haven't seen them very often anywhere, and I think that is what he 220 amp would be, but maybe not.
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Old 07-23-2016, 06:04 PM   #16
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Do they have them for the factory alternators too? I haven't seen them very often anywhere, and I think that is what he 220 amp would be, but maybe not.
Factory alternators on late-model vehicles are increasingly controlled by Intelligent Power Management systems. What they are physically capable of generating is increasingly irrelevant. The big advantage of second alternators is that they are independent of the vehicle systems--what you see is what you get.
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Old 07-23-2016, 11:56 PM   #17
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You can only get the alternator if you choose a silver cab -- I think people prefer the other colors!
Wrong, wrong wrong! What is it you don't understand about Winnebago owners that have to have their behemoth alternator finish match their coach color?

Seriously, it has to be a misprint in the specs.
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Old 07-24-2016, 12:09 AM   #18
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Do they have them for the factory alternators too? I haven't seen them very often anywhere, and I think that is what he 220 amp would be, but maybe not.
Do you suppose that moving up to 220 amp from 180 amp could involve a change in pulley and belt widths?
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Old 07-24-2016, 07:33 PM   #19
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Wrong, wrong wrong! What is it you don't understand about Winnebago owners that have to have their behemoth alternator finish match their coach color?

Seriously, it has to be a misprint in the specs.
I think the "colors lady" did a good job on the Travato, so maybe it is color coordination. (Having two X chromosomes I am inexplicably attracted by such things.)

Or the misunderstanding might be in my reading comprehension. I haven't gotten a dealer to respond, but I now think the following in the Travato brochure means the 220 alternator is part of the diesel package and not a separate option....

OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT
Ram ProMaster 174-hp, 3.0L diesel engine, 6-speed
automated manual transmission, 220-amp.
alternator (only available w/the bright silver paint
exterior)

http://winnebagoind.com/binaries/con...ital-bro.x.pdf
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Old 08-04-2016, 01:59 PM   #20
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It was my understanding that the larger alternator is what you get if you get the diesel engine. Not a stand alone option on the gas chassis.

The diesel is being phased out due to poor sales. If you want one of the remaining stock, it's going to be silver.

On Travato, house battery charging is topped out at 50 amps if you look at the wiring diagram.
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