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Old 02-13-2019, 04:47 AM   #1
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Default Converting Roadtrek Agile from Ecotrek to AGM

By now, everyone is aware of how problematic Roadtrek's Ecotrek Lithium based systems are. I won't go into my issues, except to say, in the two or so years since I've owned it, my 2016 Roadtrek Agile has been in the shop more than on the road and every single component has been replaced, some at least twice, and the whole rig has been completely rewired. Still not working completely.

Well, at this point, I'm thinking I should just rip the damn thing out and have my service guys reconfigure the whole thing with Old Skool AGM batteries and all the safe as houses systems that used to be part of the bombproof rigs that Roadtrek used to make.

Since obviously, this is going to be on my dime as I'm pretty sure EHNA is not going to resurface any time soon to honor the rest of my warranty, I'm looking for people who have done similar retrofits.

How did it go?
ARe you problem free now?
What components do you swear by/recommend?
Any specific advice?

Thanks in advance for all your help and excuse me if I've not posted this in the right forum. Newbie here.
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Old 02-13-2019, 05:35 AM   #2
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How many amp hours of AGM are you planning for?
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Old 02-13-2019, 07:40 AM   #3
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If I am going to go through the expense of this process, I would like to have as many AGMs as are practical. That said, I am not an energy hog. I have never run my air conditioning and would prefer not to. I get by fine, even in the desert with the Fantastic Fan, open windows and Reflectix. I've never used the microwave and wouldn't if boondocking, but I might want to use an electric kettle. I also have solar lights that I prefer to use instead of the LEDs (solar gives a softer light). But I would like to have a day or two of reliable house power without running the engine. I do want to put on the inverter and cook something in my Instant Pot pressure cooker which draws 75 watts (and that cooks most things in under an hour). I'd also like to be able to charge phones and laptops. I seldom watch the TV, but would like the option of watching a DVD or two if I got bored at night boondocking. However, having to run the engine to power batteries once a day is not a dealbreaker. Since the rig is my car, even when boondocking, I'm usually driving somewhere to a trailhead, so that gets the job done. I have the EcoTrek 400 AMP hr lithium power module. I have a small AGM as well, but all it really does is charge up the Lithium. Also i have solar. I would like more power than this.
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Old 02-13-2019, 02:04 PM   #4
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Consider contacting AM Solar https://amsolar.com/

They could likely figure out what needs to be replaced to give you an acceptable system.
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Old 02-13-2019, 02:18 PM   #5
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For smaller draw electrics do you have a portable 150 or 300 w inverter? This is what we use for charging, TV and the other small electric users. We then rarely put on the vans inverter except for coffee and microwave which is very quick.
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Old 02-13-2019, 06:22 PM   #6
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I've found a really good portable inverter/battery that charges from the wall, from solar and from a car cigarette lighter charger while you drive. I'm planning to get that for small quick 110 energy needs, especially while boondocking. I'm pretty good about wise energy usage. Backup is always wise. But I do want to get my rig to the point where it actually fricken works reliably.
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Old 02-13-2019, 07:47 PM   #7
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Are all your current batteries in the back with the inverter/charger above under the rear bed?
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Old 02-13-2019, 07:53 PM   #8
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The Lithium and the inverter are in the back. The AGM is up front under the hood. I have been told that it's much better not to have such a long distance line connection. Obviously storage space is minimal in an Agile and my "trunk" is teeny. So I know I'm going to have to make some decisions about how much space to give up to batteries.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:08 PM   #9
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I have a 2015 that I opted for the 4 AGM and generator. I am glad that I went that route since I don't have your issues. But now I am facing a battery issue because it appears the inverter/charger is not charging properly. So, like you I am considering upgrading and skipping the warranty. Unfortunately 2 batteries are in the front and the other 2 are in the rear. There is just no way to efficiently wire the 4.

I am waiting to hear what the dealer determines to be the real issue. From there either some warranty work or buy new batteries and a Magnum and live with the poor battery configuration.

Why is there a battery in the front of your Agile?

Pat
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:16 PM   #10
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I think that's just where there was space for it so that's where Roadtrek puts it. Again, my AGM is tiny and really does nothing more than goose up the Lithium.

I know I sound like an anti-progress Luddite to reject Lithium for AGM. But my husband is an Old Skool boat guy. There is no more extreme conditions for battery and electrical systems than the ocean. He's had a Magnum inverter and AGM battery system that has worked problem-free for 9 years. I also dare you to find a boat manufacturer who is using Lithium. IT just seems temperamental. I also like the idea that, if one goes out, I can buy another at Napa Auto Parts or O'Reilley's and almost any garage can hook it back up.

I'm not boondocking off the grid and without turning on my engine for weeks at a time. I just need reliable power for a few days at upper most. Even while boondocking, I'll still be firing up the engine to drive to a trailhead somewhere.

I know Lithium promises the moon, but I've had nothing but troubles with it. And the more people I meet with Lithium, the more problems I hear about.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:23 PM   #11
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It sounds like your energy needs could easily be met with two AGMs, so about 220Ah. You would likely want to have a better shore charger and maybe also solar controller with the right battery profile. You also may need to add a separator if you don't have an engine generator and charge off the van alternator. Shouldn't be a huge issue, except for space. AGMs under the hood can have heat issues, but it sure would save you space.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerrierTude View Post
I know I sound like an anti-progress Luddite to reject Lithium for AGM.
I'm with you. I am the opposite of a Luddite and do all kinds of exotic things with bleeding-edge technology. But, unless you need to run your A/C all night or have some other need for extreme capacity, lithium makes little sense to me. I have the space and the weight capacity for enough AGM for my needs, so that is the direction I went. I have never looked back. No drama.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:26 PM   #13
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Not knowing the actual battery configuration, you might luck out and be able to put a couple pair or more of 6v AGMs in the rear and not need the one up front. Then replace inv/chrg with a Magnum 2K.
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerrierTude View Post
...............................I have the EcoTrek 400 AMP hr lithium power module. I have a small AGM as well, but all it really does is charge up the Lithium. Also i have solar. I would like more power than this.
Why not just fix what's there? I not suggesting to keep replacing the same stuff Roadtrek used and keep having failures. By FIX I mean actually fix it. The 3.2V lithium cells themselves are probably good. The second alternator is probably good, replace the regulator if needed. Replace the entire Roadtrek BMS stuff so that the AGM in the front is not even needed. Put in a high end brand name inverter charger like Magnum.

400Ah of lithium would be plenty of power to run a 1,500W kettle for example. That would be hard on two AGMs.
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:24 PM   #15
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Here are some of my concerns about this plan and would be most appreciative of any real world experience out there:

*Given that AGMs don't provide as much real consistent power compared to comparable Lithiums, to get real-life equivalent battery power to what I have now what am I going to have to look at for in AGMs.

* Given the extra weight and footprint of AGMs, how much space will I realistically havr to give up (and I have precious little of it.)

*Given that AGMs take longer to fully charge up from the generator (my generator is actually the Sprinter engine, I believe), how much extra time am I going to have to run the generator to get fully charged AGMs? With solar trickle charging, how much will that really keep the AGMs topped up?

What I'm hoping to hear is it broken down to real-world terms for electrical boneheads.

I"m looking for real world experience such as: I have 2 400 AGMs. With judicious energy usage (not using the inverter, not running TVs, microwaves or appliances) and starting with a full charge, I can last two days off grid without firing up the generator.

Or: I can watch a 2 hour DVD and run an Instant POt (75W) for 1/2 an hour and light 12 volt cab power for one full day off grid. Then I turn on my generator and in 1 hour/2 hours/whatever, I have a fully charged bank.

Of course for me, all these scenarios with my current Lithium system are theoretical because I've never actually done a trip in the years I've had it where everything worked.
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:33 PM   #16
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We have 440ah of AGM and 300 watts of solar, plus engine generator in a C190P Chevy Roadtrek. We would have power use similar to yours except we use the microwave instead an electric cooker. We do have a compressor frig.


We can go indefinitely offgrid if we have good sun as we normally use 30-60ah per day and the solar can do up to about 90ah per day in good sun.


Without any sun or driving we can go 5-7 days off grid.
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:52 PM   #17
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5 to 7 day!!! Wow. I have a 370 W solar panel with engine generator + VoltStart auto start battery protection. My fridge is 12V and is very tiny. My stove and heater are propane.

If I could go up to a week with judicious usage, I would be ecstatic. Again, I don't go out into BLM land to watch TV and run the air conditioner. So I have no problem being frugal with energy. Ideally, off grid, I'd build a camp fire and cook everything on cast iron or in my tiny portable charcoal grill. The reality of the Western US in the midst of Climate Change is that 80% of the time I'm out camping, there is a burn ban. Hence the desire to use my Instant Pot, which I use all the time when hooked up in a campground.

I'm a big fan of fallback. Especially since I've needed a Plan B for every system in this rig. So I like having a propane stove and solar lights and chargers for those times when the whole cab electricity goes out. I also travel with enough "no cook" food options that at least I can eat. I'm planning to get a great little portable battery/inverter that should let me run the Instant Pot without drawing from the cab.

Although I'd love to have a reliable system, I've lived with Murphy's Law so long, I take comfort in having backup. Especially in my experience where, if you are stuck in the middle of the Mohave Desert in a two day Santa Ana windstorm, that's when everything in the Roadtrek goes out.

You are all being so helpful. Thank you. Keep it coming.
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:07 PM   #18
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I am following this with interest as I have a Hymer Activ 2.0 and due to issues with Hymer corporate problems this may need to be the way to go.
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:26 PM   #19
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We have 200Ah AGM, 300W solar, 2000W PSW.

We use the 700W MW every day to reheat, not cook. It actually uses about 1000W. It normally runs 1-2 minutes at a time.

We use an 800W water boiler every day. No need for anything more powerful for boiling water.

This summer in the desert with good sun, I could run the 6Qt Instant Pot (1000W). Most of its energy use is heating up, so the length of cooking cycle is almost irrelevant. We normally carry the 750W 3Qt.

If we are boondocking and run the Webasto, we minimize cooking to compensate for the heater's electrical demand.

Actually, that last statement is key. We can do all these things, but not all at once—and the sun doesn’t always shine—so we adjust accordingly.
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:29 PM   #20
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I'm getting such good advice here that I cross posted in the "battery/electrical/wiring" forum as that's probably where I should have posted in the first place.
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