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Old 11-05-2018, 01:19 AM   #1
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Default Solution for no battery separator

It seems that the battery separator and the GU (underhood generator) are mutually exclusive on the Roadtrek. And because I have the GU, I don't have a battery separator. This cause me problems in two situation...

1. When I don't use the unit, I connect it to shorepower so the charger could keep the house battery charged. But because I don't have a battery separator, it means the starter battery won't be kept charged.

2. I plan to use the radio received to listen to music but because there is no battery separator, it mean the radio will drain the starter battery even when I'm connected to shore power.

What is the best solution? A small battery tender (pluged in the van AC) could probably address the first case. But what about the second case? A battery charger (again pluged in the van AC) with a 15A output capacity?
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:25 AM   #2
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It seems that the battery separator and the GU (underhood generator) are mutually exclusive on the Roadtrek. And because I have the GU, I don't have a battery separator. This cause me problems in two situation...

1. When I don't use the unit, I connect it to shorepower so the charger could keep the house battery charged. But because I don't have a battery separator, it means the starter battery won't be kept charged.

2. I plan to use the radio received to listen to music but because there is no battery separator, it mean the radio will drain the starter battery even when I'm connected to shore power.

What is the best solution? A small battery tender (pluged in the van AC) could probably address the first case. But what about the second case? A battery charger (again pluged in the van AC) with a 15A output capacity?
For #1, the standard (and best) solution is to install a Trik-L-Start.
For #2, I would consider powering a radio from the house system. With some radios, it isn't too hard to add an A/B switch to select how the radio is powered. This is not always easily done, though. Could you use a separate, house-powered radio?

Of course, you could always simply install a simple battery isolation solenoid, controlled by a switch on the dash. This has the added advantage that it could serve as a starter "boost" if you ever have a low starter battery state. This requires fairly hefty wiring, though.
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:49 AM   #3
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The biggest issue is that the engine generator is only connected to the coach batteries, so even if you had a separator it would not connect the shore charger to the van starting battery. On top of that, you really don't want to have any kind of disconnect in the coach cable from the UG as if you disconnected it will the engine was running you would likely fry the Balmar regulator and the UG itself. The GU has to have a battery in the circuit whenever it is running or being connected or disconnected.



As Avanti says, a trickle start will work well and moving the radio to the coach batteries if you want to be able to use it when parked is a good idea.
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Old 11-05-2018, 04:01 PM   #4
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For #1, the standard (and best) solution is to install a Trik-L-Start.
For #2, I would consider powering a radio from the house system. With some radios, it isn't too hard to add an A/B switch to select how the radio is powered. This is not always easily done, though. Could you use a separate, house-powered radio?
Beside doing the wiring, what could be the difficulty to power the radio from the coach battery?
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Old 11-05-2018, 04:23 PM   #5
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Beside doing the wiring, what could be the difficulty to power the radio from the coach battery?
Well, modern OEM head units can be complicated. Just a few examples:

1) There are often powered components "outside the box", such as powered antennas, subwoofers, etc. You have to track down and switch any such items.

2) There are often both "always on" and "ignition-sense" inputs so that the radio goes on and off with the van. The logic of how you want this to work has to be thought through.

3) Some head units (including modern Sprinters) have radios that are completely controlled via the vehicle CANbus. They are always powered, and various functions are controlled via vehicle ECUs.

Things aren't as simple as they used to be. Most of these things can be addressed, but it can become a science project. Honestly, a separate radio is likely more practical.
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Old 11-05-2018, 04:28 PM   #6
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I think I will simply use a few amps battery charger. Some models have a supply mode (13.6V).

Thanks!
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Old 11-11-2018, 05:19 PM   #7
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Why is the egine driven alternator not connected to the house batteries. how can u recharge house batteries if not connected to shore power?
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Old 11-11-2018, 06:09 PM   #8
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That particular RV has 2 alternators and two batteries. Each alternator connects to only 1 of the batteries. Both batteries charge while driving.

Shore power in that RV charges the house battery but not the chassis battery.
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Old 11-11-2018, 06:11 PM   #9
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Avanti and Booster, if you have the trickle charger, why couldn't you listen to the coach radio?
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Old 11-11-2018, 06:59 PM   #10
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Avanti and Booster, if you have the trickle charger, why couldn't you listen to the coach radio?

My understanding of the issue may have been wrong, but if the goal was to be able to listen to the raido, when parked, that would indicate parked, but not necessarily shore power. For the radio to work, you would need the key to accessory or run to get radio, but if connected to shore power the ignition would stay on, but on charge, so no chance of killing the starting battery if trickle charge is there. If you always have shore power and a trickle charge or a trickle charge through the coach batteries, it is a non issue.


I think many of us have found that anything that requires the key to be on has a high probability of being forgottenon, which is not a good thing.
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Old 11-11-2018, 07:30 PM   #11
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IMHO, I would spend my energy into adding a radio to the coach ‘stereo’ system... Of course the power source would be the coach batteries & the sound should be much better... you could also add connections to hook up external speakers when you’re alone in the outback & want to ‘crank up the music’... haha

A float/trickle charger hooked to the starting battery, as you mentioned will cure that part of the problem...

I like to play my tunes library on an iPod/iPhone thru one of those small 12 volt plug in Bluetooth devices you tune to an unused FM frequency...!
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Old 11-11-2018, 07:56 PM   #12
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Default Trik-L-Start Solution

I have been using the Trik-L-Start on my 2016 CS Adventurous with GU, 470w Solar for two years now. I was having trouble with low/dead starting battery if my CS was parked for more than 3-4 weeks.

It works well with the built in Solar Panels or shore power.

In the EcoTrek/Trik-L-Start environment on my CS, Solar will keep the House and Chassis battery charged whenever the Solar panels are exposed to Sunlight. The House Battery and Chassis battery will also be charged via the Roadtrek Charger/Inverter when plugged into Shorepower with the Trik-L-Start installed.

Please note that I have a EcoTrek 800 system and only keep one of the four Ecotreks on at one time most of the time when parked and depending on Solar Only for power.

The Trik-L-Start works extremely well in the EcoTrek environment... I've quit worrying completely about my Sprinter starting after being stored for extended periods of time. I even run some accessories off of the Chassis power while camping with no problems. (12vdc Electric Box fan and my Cellular Phone Booster). I see no reason why one could not use the chassis radio as the Trik-L-Start will keep the chassis battery charged.

For about $55 it may be the least expensive and simplest permanent solution to keeping one's batteries maintained while parked...

This is my installation.

I had planned to change the battery clamps to ring terminals, but decided I liked the ability to remove the Trik-L-Start quickly if I ever had a need to do so.

20180227_111750 by William Shivers, on Flickr

The blue lead on the left of the pictures is attached to the Mercedes Benz Jump Start terminal, which leads directly to the the chassis battery.

The battery you see in the picture is the EcoTrek auxiliary AGM battery Roadtrek installs to keep the EcoTrek House system functional in addition to the EcoTrek Lithium Ion battery packs.

Please see LSL products website for more detailed information about Trik-L-Start...

Ultra TRIK-L-START Starting Battery Charger/Maintainer
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Old 11-11-2018, 08:49 PM   #13
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....................... The Trik-L-Start works extremely well in the EcoTrek environment.....................
I'm super curious to know the voltage of that underhood AGM battery when not connected to shore power and when there's no solar (like at night) and at least one lithium module on. If you know how to use a voltmeter please let us know.

If it is over 12.8V then it would indicate that it is a constant drain on the lithium battery. It's probably a small drain but nevertheless a drain on the system.

With the Trik-L-start attached there would be an additional small drain on the lithium battery. A clamp-on ammeter would easily show the amount of either drain or the combined drains.

If the voltage at that underhood AGM battery is less than 12.7V the that would mean that it is isolated from the lithium batteries and not putting a drain on them.
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Old 11-11-2018, 09:48 PM   #14
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The best solution is to install a Xantrex Echo Charge. Then when the house battery is charging (either trickle charge or from solar panel), the chassis battery charges also. Easy to install, just 3 connections all inside of the van: chassis battery, ground, house battery (at inverter).

https://1drv.ms/u/s!AkbL9vqmMFTohM4JHcF95tqbalPM1g
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Old 11-11-2018, 10:09 PM   #15
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The best solution is to install a Xantrex Echo Charge. Then when the house battery is charging (either trickle charge or from solar panel), the chassis battery charges also. Easy to install, just 3 connections all inside of the van: chassis battery, ground, house battery (at inverter).

https://1drv.ms/u/s!AkbL9vqmMFTohM4JHcF95tqbalPM1g
My understanding is that the Xantrex Echo is basically the same thing as the Trik-L-Start. The differences I know of are (a) it is much more expensive; and (b) it is rated at 15A, rather than 5A. But, the Trik-L-Start folks make a 15A version as well, called Amp-L-Start. It still appears to be a lot cheaper than the Xantrex Echo. I believe that there is also a Magnum Battery Combiner, rated at 25A.

I'm not sure why one would want these high-current models, at least not when used in a battery maintainer scenario.
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Old 11-11-2018, 11:42 PM   #16
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I'm super curious to know the voltage of that underhood AGM battery
The Underhood AGM battery that Roadtrek installs as part of the EcoTrek systems is literally part of the EcoTrek battery system. Standalone with all EcoTreks turned off it will settle to 12.5-12.7vdc fully charged, it is just a standard AGM RV battery.

It is directly connected to all resources the EcoTrek modules are connected to when they are on. It is all one big battery system.

The AGM just assures the Balmar regulator gets voltage even when all EcoTreks are shutoff and that the EcoTreks can be switched on to receive a charge if they get too low, (Not likely with the BMS controlling them).

My CS is currently plugged into shore-power and Solar is still active at this time of day on the West Coast, the House voltage is 13.43vdc. (I have wireless voltage meters to monitor both systems).

The chassis battery is currently showing 13.33vdc and is connected to the House battery system via the Trik-L-Start.

RoadTrek has to compromise on the charging profiles since the system has both AGM and Lithium Ion, They have elected to go with a AGM profile in both the Solar Controller and the Shorepower Inverter/Charger.

This will not charge the Lithium batteries to 100%, closer to 90% and will not harm the AGM battery and the AGM will be fully charged.

This does decrease total capacity somewhat for house power, but it is far superior to a full AGM bank with the same amperage rating, (With the added AGM I have well over 800A available to keep things running for several days with no charging).

By only charging to 90%, the Lithium's will also benefit from a longer usable lifetime...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buford Wilson View Post
The best solution is to install a Xantrex Echo Charge. Then when the house battery is charging (either trickle charge or from solar panel), the chassis battery charges also. Easy to install, just 3 connections all inside of the van: chassis battery, ground, house battery (at inverter).
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Originally Posted by avanti View Post
My understanding is that the Xantrex Echo is basically the same thing as the Trik-L-Start. The differences I know of are (a) it is much more expensive; and (b) it is rated at 15A, rather than 5A. But, the Trik-L-Start folks make a 15A version as well, called Amp-L-Start. It still appears to be a lot cheaper than the Xantrex Echo. I believe that there is also a Magnum Battery Combiner, rated at 25A.

I'm not sure why one would want these high-current models, at least not when used in a battery maintainer scenario.
As Avanti stated, The Trik-L-Start and the Echo serve the same function and connect exactly the same way, choose whichever you prefer. The 5 amp service of Trik-L-Start handles the needs of being a Battery Maintainer just fine.

Only difference I see is the Echo must be mounted in a dust-free Moisture-Free well-ventilated location according to the Owner's Manual.

The Trik-L-Start can be mounted just about anywhere as it is a Epoxy-encapsulated enclosure - Completely waterproof, burnout-proof.

My Trik-L-Start has functioned perfectly for 2 years so far and only cost $49.95 when I purchased it, making it half the cost of the Echo...
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Old 09-23-2019, 02:30 AM   #17
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Default Trik L Start / Amp L Start in Chevy RT?

Chevy RT 170/190/200/210 OWNERS-- has anyone installed this? I'm trying to find the best place to connect the device to the van. Not as straightforward as Sprinter-based as far as I have explored so far as I don't know how best to connect to the chassis and house batteries.

One end to engine/chassis battery should be easy enough (vehicle battery is in the engine bay unlike the Sprinter) but how best to tap into the house battery(ies)? Output of Ballmar?
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