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Old 05-15-2017, 08:12 PM   #1
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Default New to RVs and Hopeful Warp Core RoadTrekkers

Greetings all, and thanks for this forum and the wealth of information it supplies. The wife and I have no RV experience but we are intent on purchasing an RV for near full time use and running an online business out of it while traveling.

We are strongly considering pulling the trigger on an RS Adventurous XL with Warp Core if we can find one used or perhaps new for the right price.

Talked with the factory today and they told us that each 200AH module switch has about 3-4 amps of parasitic draw in order to run the temp controlling module protection and the BMS. We're hoping a fully charged 1600AH (without Air Conditioning) using the induction stove and running computers and some camera equipment will get us a week of off grid boondocking time.

Would love to hear any experiences, good or bad, from those who have ecotrek roadtreks. I appreciate that this forum allows for a real discussion on the topic.
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:28 PM   #2
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Greetings all, and thanks for this forum and the wealth of information it supplies. The wife and I have no RV experience but we are intent on purchasing an RV for near full time use and running an online business out of it while traveling.

We are strongly considering pulling the trigger on an RS Adventurous XL with Warp Core if we can find one used or perhaps new for the right price.

Talked with the factory today and they told us that each 200AH module switch has about 3-4 amps of parasitic draw in order to run the temp controlling module protection and the BMS. We're hoping a fully charged 1600AH (without Air Conditioning) using the induction stove and running computers and some camera equipment will get us a week of off grid boondocking time.

Would love to hear any experiences, good or bad, from those who have ecotrek roadtreks. I appreciate that this forum allows for a real discussion on the topic.
You would likely be OK for a week, but may be close, without AC use. You are going to lose about 100ah per day to parasitic losses, per module that is turned on. If you are very careful about only one at a time, you would lose about 700ah in a week. You will have a compressor frig, cooking with the cooktop, etc, so you will probably use at least another 100ah per day, maybe more. That will put you very close, depending on solar conditions which can help if you have good sun. A lot will depend on how many amp hours of the 1600 are actually usable, as most systems have some amount of cushion on both the charge and discharge ends of the use. It is often in the 5-10% on each end so would be in the 160-320ah of non usable. Roatreks don't have any monitoring in them, so we don't know how much usable Roadtreks really have. My guess is that you would have to run the engine a few times to recover capacity in a week of use.

You will also probably want to read the discussions on the forum about temps, heaters, charging and storage limitations based on temperatures, that most people don't know about. There is a lot of good information on the pluses and minuses of lithium setups on here.
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:41 PM   #3
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You would likely be OK for a week, but may be close, without AC use. You are going to lose about 100ah per day to parasitic losses, per module that is turned on. If you are very careful about only one at a time, you would lose about 700ah in a week. You will have a compressor frig, cooking with the cooktop, etc, so you will probably use at least another 100ah per day, maybe more. That will put you very close, depending on solar conditions which can help if you have good sun. A lot will depend on how many amp hours of the 1600 are actually usable, as most systems have some amount of cushion on both the charge and discharge ends of the use. It is often in the 5-10% on each end so would be in the 160-320ah of non usable. Roatreks don't have any monitoring in them, so we don't know how much usable Roadtreks really have. My guess is that you would have to run the engine a few times to recover capacity in a week of use.

You will also probably want to read the discussions on the forum about temps, heaters, charging and storage limitations based on temperatures, that most people don't know about. There is a lot of good information on the pluses and minuses of lithium setups on here.
Thank you for sharing that. One quick question, what do you mean by Roadtreks not having monitoring in them? Do you mean that they don't have a sophisticated way of showing exactly where juice is going or something different? I ask because we were under the impression that there wasn't a way to monitor voltage of the batteries which was an issue for us (how do you know how much juice you have, or when to stop charging on shore power?). But we talked to the factory today and they said there is an LCD that displays the voltage of the battery you have turned on. If you turn on 3 batteries, it will show the voltage of all 3 batteries as if they were one battery. The factory did mention having to use the battery disconnect switch to do this.

I'm not sure what I think of each module having to be turned on separately. At first glance I thought all should be wired up together and should read and act and charge as one large battery without all the individual switches. Then again, perhaps RoadTrek did it that way to save parasitic draw by not powering it all if all isn't needed? That seemed to be the rationale offered by the factory today and it seems to have some merit...
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:58 PM   #4
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Thank you for sharing that. One quick question, what do you mean by Roadtreks not having monitoring in them? Do you mean that they don't have a sophisticated way of showing exactly where juice is going or something different? I ask because we were under the impression that there wasn't a way to monitor voltage of the batteries which was an issue for us (how do you know how much juice you have, or when to stop charging on shore power?). But we talked to the factory today and they said there is an LCD that displays the voltage of the battery you have turned on. If you turn on 3 batteries, it will show the voltage of all 3 batteries as if they were one battery. The factory did mention having to use the battery disconnect switch to do this.

I'm not sure what I think of each module having to be turned on separately. At first glance I thought all should be wired up together and should read and act and charge as one large battery without all the individual switches. Then again, perhaps RoadTrek did it that way to save parasitic draw by not powering it all if all isn't needed? That seemed to be the rationale offered by the factory today and it seems to have some merit...
Most of the high end systems, and many moderate ones, have a battery monitor system in place that will tell you how much power you have left and the state of charge of the batteries, so you know what is going on. Roadtrek is the exception to this, and all they show is voltage, which is a very inaccurate way of telling anything about power left in the batteries.

The turning on the batteries one at a time was done by Roadtrek to address the huge parasitic losses they have, we think. If all of the modules were on (4 or them), you would be having 16 amps of loss, continuously, (4 amps per module). That is 384ah of lost capacity per day. The batteries don't have parasitic when turned off, so they want you to turn on one at a time, until it is empty, and then turn it off and turn on another, etc, etc. Folks have mentioned it being a PITA because they don't know when the module in use will go dead and shut off.
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:01 PM   #5
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think about a cassette-feu- a small butane 1 burner which takes butane in cans.
usually cost 10 ~20 bucks with can for about $3 each

that'll take load off your system and also moves the cooking heat and odors outdoors.

( older B's often carry LP/propane for cooking, fridge, furnace and water heater)

key to a B is to maximize outdoor living.

internet hero "campskunk" has a written a few articles on using a satellite internet if you need something with reliable speeds.

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Old 05-15-2017, 09:09 PM   #6
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Most of the high end systems, and many moderate ones, have a battery monitor system in place that will tell you how much power you have left and the state of charge of the batteries, so you know what is going on. Roadtrek is the exception to this, and all they show is voltage, which is a very inaccurate way of telling anything about power left in the batteries.

The turning on the batteries one at a time was done by Roadtrek to address the huge parasitic losses they have, we think. If all of the modules were on (4 or them), you would be having 16 amps of loss, continuously, (4 amps per module). That is 384ah of lost capacity per day. The batteries don't have parasitic when turned off, so they want you to turn on one at a time, until it is empty, and then turn it off and turn on another, etc, etc. Folks have mentioned it being a PITA because they don't know when the module in use will go dead and shut off.
That's valuable info, thanks again. I wish there were more big lithium options out there but I've only seen, thanks to this forum, ARV and those prices seem prohibitive for us.

From the little I understand, it's tough to work on Roadtrek's proprietary stuff to try to upgrade some of these limitations. Would probably void the warranty too I'm guessing. Maybe by the time the warranty expires though, a company will have cracked that nut and can upgrade it.
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:11 PM   #7
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think about a cassette-feu- a small butane 1 burner which takes butane in cans.
usually cost 10 ~20 bucks with can for about $3 each

that'll take load off your system and also moves the cooking heat and odors outdoors.

( older B's often carry LP/propane for cooking, fridge, furnace and water heater)

key to a B is to maximize outdoor living.

internet hero "campskunk" has a written a few articles on using a satellite internet if you need something with reliable speeds.

mike
That's a great idea, thanks.
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:37 PM   #8
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You might find that tank capacities are the most limiting factor. Class B's have smaller fresh water and waste tank capacities. It would become a factor if more than one person enjoys showering daily.

On one week off grid, no air conditioning needed, no hookups, trips we used to move that van midweek to get more fresh water and empty both waste tanks. Power for the week was never an issue with 2 AGM batteries and propane for cooking and fridge. No generator in that rig either.
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:56 PM   #9
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I think you’re going to be disappointed with Roadtrek’s amateur system (assuming it even works). My suggestion would be to get the class B you want and then pay to have the electrical upgrades done afterwards.

This will allow you to accomplish two things: (1) You won’t be overpaying for Roadtrek’s system and (2) you can find a new or used B at a much better price.

If the federal solar tax credit is still in effect (it was last year), you’ll even get a 30% tax credit against the cost of your upgrades (just remember to have them to install at least one solar panel). If the tax cut has expired, adding solar might not make sense. This FitRV post will help you understand the pros and cons of solar.

Since you live in WA, you could drive down to Oregon, to have AM Solar put in lithium batteries, inverter/charger, and a Victron Energy Color Control GX panel so you can monitor the state of your power down to the watt.

A system like this will almost be like like being plugged in at home. You can run your AC + microwave simultaneously, you’ll be able to monitor see how much power is coming in (solar, generator, alternator) and out (both 12 volt and 110) from your batteries. If you have an internet connection in the RV, you can even monitor the state of your batteries over the internet.

Here’s a very of the panel. I have one and I really like it a lot.

If you buy a new/used class B with the traditional generator setup, you can upgrade in stages. Start with the lithium, inverter/charger + panel, and solar (if it makes sense). And then use the generator (or idle the engine) once every few days as needed. Eventually you can remove the Onan generator and install a second alternator if you decide it makes sense.
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Old 05-15-2017, 10:51 PM   #10
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::
Talked with the factory today and they told us that each 200AH module switch has about 3-4 amps of parasitic draw...
::
LOL

Only 3-4 amps?
Do you believe that ???


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Old 05-15-2017, 10:54 PM   #11
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.

If you want to hear first hand experience on the RT lithium system,
you need to join the Facebook group called:

Roadtrek & Hymer Owners Group


There are at least a couple of active members who have CS Adventurous XL with 1600AH ecotreks.
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Old 05-15-2017, 11:21 PM   #12
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LOL

Only 3-4 amps?
Do you believe that ???


3-4 amps is actually quite a lot
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Old 05-15-2017, 11:24 PM   #13
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I think you’re going to be disappointed with Roadtrek’s amateur system (assuming it even works). My suggestion would be to get the class B you want and then pay to have the electrical upgrades done afterwards.

This will allow you to accomplish two things: (1) You won’t be overpaying for Roadtrek’s system and (2) you can find a new or used B at a much better price.

If the federal solar tax credit is still in effect (it was last year), you’ll even get a 30% tax credit against the cost of your upgrades (just remember to have them to install at least one solar panel). If the tax cut has expired, adding solar might not make sense. This FitRV post will help you understand the pros and cons of solar.

Since you live in WA, you could drive down to Oregon, to have AM Solar put in lithium batteries, inverter/charger, and a Victron Energy Color Control GX panel so you can monitor the state of your power down to the watt.

A system like this will almost be like like being plugged in at home. You can run your AC + microwave simultaneously, you’ll be able to monitor see how much power is coming in (solar, generator, alternator) and out (both 12 volt and 110) from your batteries. If you have an internet connection in the RV, you can even monitor the state of your batteries over the internet.

Here’s a very of the panel. I have one and I really like it a lot.

If you buy a new/used class B with the traditional generator setup, you can upgrade in stages. Start with the lithium, inverter/charger + panel, and solar (if it makes sense). And then use the generator (or idle the engine) once every few days as needed. Eventually you can remove the Onan generator and install a second alternator if you decide it makes sense.
Thanks very much for that info. I'm looking forward to contacdting those companies to see if there is a better way to do this. Much appreciated!

Wondering how easy it is to find an RV with all electric appliances for this conversion and wondering if this system can be powered by solar and underhood generator and also shorepower? I'll give the company a call and ask them.
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Old 05-15-2017, 11:28 PM   #14
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I do not have ecotrek-however i monitor the forum that discussess this on facebook many days and have since ecotreks were intoduced.

I have a zion with tppl agm and am quite satisfied with it. i did not over expect.

My opinion for the system you want is go with ARV.

they are far more likely to give you a satisfactory system
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Old 05-15-2017, 11:41 PM   #15
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My opinion for the system you want is go with ARV.

ARV builds amazing RVs but with an amazing price to match. If you want a high end custom layout, ARV is the only option. If you just want a fancy lithium system, there are lots of options that don't involve plunking down 300k.
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:39 AM   #16
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i'd be interested in who does that-plenty of power and running air conditioner-inverter and etc on the cheap.

Who specifically?
AM Solar located out in Oregon. They've been RV solar pioneers for a long time now although the ownership changed hands in the last couple of years. They primarily focus on larger rigs and they don't fabricate below-floor battery storage like ARV, but they install reliable, powerful systems. I expect your local solar power installer could do a lot of the troubleshooting since the same components are used for home and yacht setups.

Now I didn't say anything about cheap. AM Solar only uses high end components and skilled labor isn't cheap, but you get what you pay for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AM_Solar_Website_Link
800Ah Signature Lithium Battery System
$9,999.00 + Labor

FEATURES:
-800Ah LiFePO4 Capacity
-Expandable in increments of 200Ah up to 2000Ah
-Automatic Cold Temperature Disconnect
-Complete Color System Monitor
-WiFi Connection for Remote Trouble Shooting
-Automatic Reset on Battery Management
-Compatible with multiple charging sources including: Solar, Alternator, Generator & Grid


Throw in a 3k Victron inverter/charger ($2,150 last summer) + labor and you have an amazing system. They don't install second alternators but they'll hook it up to the system.

Second alternators for Sprinters and Promasters aren't cheap, so WingedRyno probably would be better off making due with the stock generator and single alternator until they're sure they want to jettison the Onan for a second alternator.
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Old 05-16-2017, 01:12 AM   #17
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AM Solar located out in Oregon. They've been RV solar pioneers for a long time now although the ownership changed hands in the last couple of years. They primarily focus on larger rigs and they don't fabricate below-floor battery storage like ARV, but they install reliable, powerful systems. I expect your local solar power installer could do a lot of the troubleshooting since the same components are used for home and yacht setups.

Now I didn't say anything about cheap. AM Solar only uses high end components and skilled labor isn't cheap, but you get what you pay for.



Throw in a 3k Victron inverter/charger ($2,150 last summer) + labor and you have an amazing system. They don't install second alternators but they'll hook it up to the system.

Second alternators for Sprinters and Promasters aren't cheap, so WingedRyno probably would be better off making due with the stock generator and single alternator until they're sure they want to jettison the Onan for a second alternator.
actually the best bet if your going this way-have sportsmobile build everything else and leave areas availlable for am solars stuff
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Old 05-16-2017, 01:19 AM   #18
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actually the best bet if your going this way-have sportsmobile build everything else and leave areas availlable for am solars stuff
If you can stomach the Sportsmobile design aesthetic, that probably would be the most practical way to go. What about resale/trade in though? The OP is new to RVs, so there's a chance they'll decide RVing, especially in a class b isn't for them. In that scenario, wouldn't an upgraded roadtrek/pleasureway/winnebago/etc would be easier to sell than a Sportsmobile?
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:10 AM   #19
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To me, the below floor storage is a huge benefit, as they can use up half the inside with batteries and such. Since no generator, there is lots of room underneath. I would not put them inside, even if I had to get the underbody mount done by someone other that the installer. I hung 440ah of AGMs under our Chevy without a problem.
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:24 AM   #20
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To me, the below floor storage is a huge benefit, as they can use up half the inside with batteries and such. Since no generator, there is lots of room underneath. I would not put them inside, even if I had to get the underbody mount done by someone other that the installer. I hung 440ah of AGMs under our Chevy without a problem.
The "hang below but access from inside" design that GWV used is pretty optimal, IMO:

IMG_7509.jpeg
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