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Old 02-16-2017, 05:30 PM   #1
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Default Roadtrek/Hymer Lithium/2nd alternator/Voltstart issues?

I'm in the market for a B van and started my research a few years ago and really liked the idea of Roadtrek's system with the lithium, inverter and voltstart. However after seeing a roadtrek in person, their floorplans just won't work for us. We started seriously considering the Winnebago Travato 59G. However now with the hymer aktiv using the same roadtrek tech with a floorplan that's similar to the 59G (I like the fixed dinette), the aktiv is on our radar. However I've read on this forum a bit that people seem to think that the roadtrek system is bad or has issues. Can anyone give me some direct info on what the problems are? We like to travel with the dog and would be in the RV most of the time, but on the off chance we'd like to go out to eat, being able to run the AC while being away for an hour or two is a nice option.

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Old 02-16-2017, 07:38 PM   #2
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I think "has issues" would be a better description than "bad". I dont have any "direct info", but here is a direct Link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1676694222568818/
to the Hymer and Roadtrek facebook page, where there is a lot of owner feedback.

With a generator, you can run the A/C "for an hour or two" (or more) with no problem.
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Old 02-16-2017, 07:46 PM   #3
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I think "has issues" would be a better description than "bad". I dont have any "direct info", but here is a direct Link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1676694222568818/
to the Hymer and Roadtrek facebook page, where there is a lot of owner feedback.

With a generator, you can run the A/C "for an hour or two" (or more) with no problem.
A search of the this site may be in order to get all the history, as it is too much to list. Many, maybe most, of the early systems didn't even work, and even the newer systems have unknown parasitic draw on them. It would be very hard to say, at least for me, that Roadtrek has it straitened out and all is good now, because they won't say how the system actually works, and don't include any real monitoring with it to see if it works. Am I skeptical, you bet, but there have been many very disappointed Raodtrek lithium buyers that have been left out in the cold. Others may think otherwise, and Hymer does seem to be making things better, but I would be hesitant to plunk down $150K.
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:11 PM   #4
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Whats the problem? Remote start with the dash ac on to keep your pets cool is not a recent technological breakthrough. You can even use your smart phone to monitor the temperature, get live video feed and start your vehicle for chump change.
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:52 PM   #5
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Whats the problem? Remote start with the dash ac on to keep your pets cool is not a recent technological breakthrough. You can even use your smart phone to monitor the temperature, get live video feed and start your vehicle for chump change.
not a recent technological breakthrough,
but RT is still having problems getting it to work consistently for all users.

Some users have reported no problem,
others have reported problems.

It is a throw of dice.
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Old 02-17-2017, 04:09 AM   #6
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We just ordered a RT Agile without volt star and just regular AGMs instead of lithium. We don't have a pet but I wouldn't solely trust the system for keeping the pet cool (use an add on temp phone app etc). Also based on the info from the FB page I don't think Roadtrek has fully figured out the lithium and volt start system and owners with AGMs and no volt start seem to be in good shape. For our use the VS and Lithium options were also not worth the cost to us. I didn't want to deal with a standard generator maintenance so we do have the underhood generator (alternator) so we can manual run the engine if needed.

We don't get the van till April but we are hoping the less advanced options will be more reliable. I will keep the group informed on how things go (crosses fingers).
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Old 02-17-2017, 10:48 AM   #7
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A search of the this site may be in order to get all the history, as it is too much to list. Many, maybe most, of the early systems didn't even work, and even the newer systems have unknown parasitic draw on them. It would be very hard to say, at least for me, that Roadtrek has it straitened out and all is good now, because they won't say how the system actually works, and don't include any real monitoring with it to see if it works. Am I skeptical, you bet, but there have been many very disappointed Raodtrek lithium buyers that have been left out in the cold. Others may think otherwise, and Hymer does seem to be making things better, but I would be hesitant to plunk down $150K.
Yes, I agree 100%. I guess what I meant to say is that the "idea" isn't bad, but the implementation has issues.. Issues like, it often DOESN'T WORK. I personally think its nuts and out of control, and I wouldn't (and won't) consider one of their products for purchase for a long long time because of their debacle and their original (and continuing) dishonesty in their method of over-selling the system. I constantly talk and read from people who are convinced they will never have to be concerned about power issues again: endless, silent, worry free electricity to run their Air Conditioners and electric cooktops... I certainly wish the the best for anyone who has bought, or is buying one, but buyer beware for sure. I am not in the position to make $150K gamble, I don't know why anyone would.

The Hymer is a cool floor plan; The bed is too short for me and the bath is nearly useless, but it's compact, light and airy feeling for a small person. The windows and shade system look cool. But I'm not sure you can get a real generator in it, you got to tote your poop and pee around in a bucket, and it is built by roadtrek with their "failed" electronics. Worse, it costs a substantial amount MORE than the Winnebago.

The Travato is a larger roomier rig on the more heavy duty chassis, has a Very large B bathroom and a great bed with the Froli sleep system. The table is larger and solid, and most importantly, it has a proven power system THAT WORKS. It is NO PROBLEM to run the air conditioner off its generator.
"on the off chance we'd like to go out to eat, being able to run the AC while being away for an hour or two is a nice option.": You HAVE that option with the Travato at the push of a button, and you have it from $20 to $75K LESS than the Hymer/Roadtrek.

Watch out for Marketing. "New and improved" products are sometimes nothing more than "New". There are tens of thousands of blissful Class B owners running around with out lithium batteries.

"K.I.S.S."; Use what works.
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Old 02-17-2017, 11:07 AM   #8
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Not to threadjack, but PleasureWay uses the Lithium without the underhood generator. Has that been working for folks?

Steve
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Old 02-17-2017, 01:32 PM   #9
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It all depends on what your requirements are. The Travato is on a longer chassis... for some that makes a difference. Also, WGO doesnt build Sprinters on the short chassis... only on the 24 footers... also a big difference to some (me included). Personally I think Roadtrek is on the right path with Lithiums and underhood generators. I wish more companies built on the shorter chassis Dodge and Sprinter vans and offered at least the underhood generator. For instance, I would have purchased the WGO Sprinter Adventure Concept on the short chassis if it had been offered... but it isnt so I bought an Agile (with AGM's and no volt start). The Agile is one of if not the most sold Roadtrek model and the Aktiv's are selling like hot cakes... IMO other companies like WGO are losing sales because they dont offer a product in that space.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:22 PM   #10
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Not to threadjack, but PleasureWay uses the Lithium without the underhood generator. Has that been working for folks?

Steve
We didn't get to The Minneapolis RV show this year, but last year I had a talk with the Pleasure-way sales guys, who really didn't know much about the system, but indicated it was primarily just a battery change with the other stuff staying essentially the same. If that is correct, they would be using batteries like a Smart Battery to just drop into a regular system. All the BMS within the batteries, not optimized for lithium or high charge rates. If that is the case, users probably wouldn't really notice much difference in day to day use, unless they froze them or had some other failure. I didn't see any monitoring system on the show model, so like most other factory stuff most people would not have much knowledge of how well the system is working. They are larger capacity, so that alone will make it easier on people, especially if they have gas frig and not a lot of other add on power users like many of the other lithium systems have.
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Old 02-17-2017, 07:44 PM   #11
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A search of the this site may be in order to get all the history, as it is too much to list. Many, maybe most, of the early systems didn't even work, and even the newer systems have unknown parasitic draw on them. It would be very hard to say, at least for me, that Roadtrek has it straitened out and all is good now, because they won't say how the system actually works, and don't include any real monitoring with it to see if it works. Am I skeptical, you bet, but there have been many very disappointed Raodtrek lithium buyers that have been left out in the cold. Others may think otherwise, and Hymer does seem to be making things better, but I would be hesitant to plunk down $150K.
There's no doubt that the Roadtrek Etrek had some aggravating birthing pains and it's difficult to understand how the early production ever got out the door without spotting the problems. Hopefully, the problems have been successfully addressed because the 800 ah Etrek build we got (July 2016) has been trouble free.

The problem with anecdotal negative reports is that while some reports may fairly reflect builder gaffs, others could be the result of cockpit error or simply failure to check the instructions.

We got a fully loaded 210 with the full Etrek package (minus the inductive stove which we think is an expensive solution to a non-existent problem) on a bulletproof Chevy platform for about 118k which is a long way from 150k.
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Old 02-17-2017, 07:59 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Scottbaldassari View Post
I think "has issues" would be a better description than "bad". I dont have any "direct info", but here is a direct Link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1676694222568818/
to the Hymer and Roadtrek facebook page, where there is a lot of owner feedback.

With a generator, you can run the A/C "for an hour or two" (or more) with no problem.
I tried to join that group but haven't been accepted yet, but when I am I'll read through them.

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Originally Posted by mojoman View Post
Whats the problem? Remote start with the dash ac on to keep your pets cool is not a recent technological breakthrough. You can even use your smart phone to monitor the temperature, get live video feed and start your vehicle for chump change.
Not a bad idea.

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There's no doubt that the Roadtrek Etrek had some aggravating birthing pains and it's difficult to understand how the early production ever got out the door without spotting the problems. Hopefully, the problems have been successfully addressed because the 800 ah Etrek build we got (July 2016) has been trouble free.

The problem with anecdotal negative reports is that while some reports may fairly reflect builder gaffs, others could be the result of cockpit error or simply failure to check the instructions.

We got a fully loaded 210 with the full Etrek package (minus the inductive stove which we think is an expensive solution to a non-existent problem) on a bulletproof Chevy platform for about 118k which is a long way from 150k.
Good to know that there are some users that haven't run into issues. I think there are a lot of non-owners that push out misinformation or old information that may not be accurate any longer. However it's pretty obvious that I have to do more research because it's a lot to plunk down. EDIT: Just found the post, 6amps per hour just to have the battery turned on!? I just found the other thread that's 34 pages long, didn't get a chance to read all of that, but holy cow, if that's what going on and they recommend turning the batteries off when not in use, that's a little crazy.
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Old 02-17-2017, 09:17 PM   #13
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Default Roadtrek/Hymer Lithium/2nd alternator/Voltstart issues?

Please be aware that "E-Trek" is not synonymous with RT's "Eco-Trek" batteries. There are lots of E-Trek model Sprinters that have 8 AGM batteries and don't have the problems associated with Eco-Trek batteries. I have owned one for almost 4 years and it has served me well.
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Old 02-17-2017, 11:57 PM   #14
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Good to know that there are some users that haven't run into issues. I think there are a lot of non-owners that push out misinformation or old information that may not be accurate any longer. However it's pretty obvious that I have to do more research because it's a lot to plunk down. EDIT: Just found the post, 6amps per hour just to have the battery turned on!? I just found the other thread that's 34 pages long, didn't get a chance to read all of that, but holy cow, if that's what going on and they recommend turning the batteries off when not in use, that's a little crazy.
I think that they have reduced the parasitic load drawn by the BMS(s) to around three amps but without shunt based metering, there is no way to know for sure. Their suggestion regarding shutting down batteries is directed toward situations where the coach is left unattended. Keeping just one battery on line presumably keeps the parasitic load low enough that the solar panel can deliver enough suds to maintain both the battery charge state and the compressor refrigerator.

Some of the complaints have resulted from forgetting to down the inverter when leaving the coach unattended for a while. The early rendition had a switch position that put the inverter in a power saver sleep/standby mode but the periodic check for a power demand in this sleep mode produced annoying beeps from the microwave. They should have corrected this by dealing with the microwave burps but they opted to just eliminate the inverter sleep mode and in its current invocation, it's either on or off. Left on, even without demand it idles at around 6 amps which seems pretty high for a device just sitting there with no operating load.
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Old 02-18-2017, 12:11 AM   #15
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There have been quite a few lithium owners that have said Roadtrek told them to only have one battery on at a time, and leave the others off until the first on is dead. Each of them loses the parasitic, so they all could be down to under 1/2 in one day at 6 amps each. Nobody knows what the current parasitic is, and it appears Roadtrek isn't saying.
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Old 02-18-2017, 12:26 AM   #16
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Please be aware that "E-Trek" is not synonymous with RT's "Eco-Trek" batteries. There are lots of E-Trek model Sprinters that have 8 AGM batteries and don't have the problems associated with Eco-Trek batteries. I have owned one for almost 4 years and it has served me well.
There has never been a problem with the Eco-Trek batteries, per se. It was the BMS that was not well designed but at this point I think they've cleaned that up.

Ssure, an E-Trek can certainly be supported quite nicely by AGMs, but I think there are some tradeoffs when choosing them rather than lithiums:

1. Practically, the AGM life will be substantially shorter than lithiums. RT use to warranty their AGMs for 5 years but have dropped that to 1 year while the warranty for lithiums has been extended to six years without any prorated copay. By six years, depending on the use pattern, you might go through a couple of sets of AGMs.

2. Inverters subjected to high loads are happier with lithium batteries than AGMs because their terminal voltage is relatively flat throughout their permitted depth of discharge.

3. AGM safe chargeing rates are substantially lower than the rate at which lithium batteries can be safely charged.
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Old 02-18-2017, 01:54 AM   #17
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I have the 2016 Zion SRT with AGM battery, no voltstart. I added the Compustar remote start with Drone Mobile add-on. Can monitor voltage and temperature on cell phone. Can start the vehicle from anywhere through the internet. Everything works fine. Through the winter the Zion was parked outside in Calgary. Down to 0 degrees F. I remore started the vehicle (from Russia) from time to time..
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Old 02-22-2017, 05:28 PM   #18
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Now THAT is cool technology.
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Old 02-22-2017, 06:18 PM   #19
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I have the 2016 Zion SRT with AGM battery, no voltstart. I added the Compustar remote start with Drone Mobile add-on. Can monitor voltage and temperature on cell phone. Can start the vehicle from anywhere through the internet. Everything works fine. Through the winter the Zion was parked outside in Calgary. Down to 0 degrees F. I remore started the vehicle (from Russia) from time to time..




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Old 04-10-2017, 04:08 AM   #20
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Default 1st test of volt start failed

Common goal: We went with the EcoTrek/lithium/volt-start pkg. on our new Versatile to be able to leave our dog in a "worry-free" air conditioned coach. I tested the volt start for the 1st time this afternoon. We turned on the coach a/c, the dashboard a/c, the inverter, both EcoTrek modules and the battery "disconnect" to assure ourselves the a/c would not shut down. Volt start instructions were followed to the letter. The VoltStart FAILED TO START THE ENGINE after the initial 35 minute manual start shutdown and we found the a/c off and the battery light out when we went out to check on it. Anybody experience this issue? I will test again tomorrow, then it is in to the shop. After our Balmar regulator failed on our first trip, we are trying to stay positive, but quickly losing confidence in the whole concept. And confidence in the system was the whole reason we spent 100k.
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