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Old 04-01-2018, 08:48 AM   #1
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Default Safety hazard in Aktiv and EcoTrek

I think this group will find this interesting too.

Thanks for your help finding regulatory authorities. RVIA should help get these hazards fixed too.
The safety code violations descriptions are in laymen's form so owners can understand the risk.
https://sites.google.com/view/shoot-...afe?authuser=0
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Old 04-01-2018, 01:27 PM   #2
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Seems like you're an unhappy customer.

Did you take it back to the dealer? Did they not fix the issues? Did you report your concerns to the safety organizations?

What do you want the members of this forum to do for you? Or are you just trying to get back at Hymer?
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Old 04-01-2018, 02:32 PM   #3
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I think I would point out that the 18ga grounding wire, useless as it is, is connected to the NEUTRAL buss bar, and not the ground buss bar.

In mobile applications, the "normal" rules would say that neutral/ground bonding like that should only be done at the power source, and you often have 3 different sources in an RV, shore power, generator, and inverter. The should never be more than one bonded location in the circuit at a time.

The shore power is bonded at the power pole, so good that way. The generator is bonded internally in most cases so good. The automatic transfer switch switches between them, so only one at a time like it should be. The tough one is the inverter because you want it bonded when inverting but not bonded when bypassing shore power to the van if it is an iverter/charger. If it is an inverter only, it needs to disconnect the bonded connection from the van when not in use. Good inverter chargers switch between bonded and not bonded with the inverter on and off and take care of the problem.

The system shown, with neutral and ground bonded at the breaker panel is incorrect ALL the time as it adds a bonded connection at a place away from the power source.
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Old 04-01-2018, 02:51 PM   #4
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I think I would point out that the 18ga grounding wire, useless as it is, is connected to the NEUTRAL buss bar, and not the ground buss bar.

In mobile applications, the "normal" rules would say that neutral/ground bonding like that should only be done at the power source, and you often have 3 different sources in an RV, shore power, generator, and inverter. The should never be more than one bonded location in the circuit at a time.

The shore power is bonded at the power pole, so good that way. The generator is bonded internally in most cases so good. The automatic transfer switch switches between them, so only one at a time like it should be. The tough one is the inverter because you want it bonded when inverting but not bonded when bypassing shore power to the van if it is an iverter/charger. If it is an inverter only, it needs to disconnect the bonded connection from the van when not in use. Good inverter chargers switch between bonded and not bonded with the inverter on and off and take care of the problem.

The system shown, with neutral and ground bonded at the breaker panel is incorrect ALL the time as it adds a bonded connection at a place away from the power source.
pretty sure he has an UHG and not an ONAN
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Old 04-01-2018, 03:11 PM   #5
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pretty sure he has an UHG and not an ONAN
In this case that makes no difference, I think, as a generator and shore power do their bonding before the transfer switch, so removing the genny and transfer switch won't do anything odd. The engine generator just works as a 12v source, like a battery, so it also will not affect anything related to the inverter or bonding The issue shown is on the110v side.
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Old 04-01-2018, 03:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booster View Post
I think I would point out that the 18ga grounding wire, useless as it is, is connected to the NEUTRAL buss bar, and not the ground buss bar.

In mobile applications, the "normal" rules would say that neutral/ground bonding like that should only be done at the power source, and you often have 3 different sources in an RV, shore power, generator, and inverter. The should never be more than one bonded location in the circuit at a time.

The shore power is bonded at the power pole, so good that way. The generator is bonded internally in most cases so good. The automatic transfer switch switches between them, so only one at a time like it should be. The tough one is the inverter because you want it bonded when inverting but not bonded when bypassing shore power to the van if it is an iverter/charger. If it is an inverter only, it needs to disconnect the bonded connection from the van when not in use. Good inverter chargers switch between bonded and not bonded with the inverter on and off and take care of the problem.

The system shown, with neutral and ground bonded at the breaker panel is incorrect ALL the time as it adds a bonded connection at a place away from the power source.
DIY community often discuss this bonding connection, it is in Magnum manual, so it is a little surprising for manufacturing company is not doing it correctly.
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Old 04-01-2018, 03:47 PM   #7
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Yep, we have a Magnum and that is some of the best information and easiest to understand around. When I went to hook it all up, I checked a lot of places in out Roadtrek to make sure there were no extra bonds. The Magnum is one of the brands that bonds and unbonds based on pass through or inverter on use.
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Old 04-01-2018, 04:52 PM   #8
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Without seeing the complete wiring diagram for the van (which we know Roadtrek will never, ever, provide, it is a bit hard to determine if the way they have, legal or not, is safe.

Many of the lower end inverter/chargers don't bond and unbond, and it appears they make the setup safer by putting the "inverter" outlets in as GFCI outlets. AFAIK, this will make it safe. If Roadtrek has the entire van on GFCI, it likely would be safe, although the wire sizing is still iffy and we don't know if the inverter is bonded, not bonded, or switches. Regardless of how it is the bonding at the box is not correct, IMO.

The whole idea of 110v power in a van is a very tough application to make safe all the time, as you don't have access to earth ground unless on shore power for zero reference.

As a final precaution, when I upgraded our system, I put in GFCI breakers in the main box, so everything is protected. Cheap insurance.
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Old 04-01-2018, 04:56 PM   #9
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We love our Aktiv and want to keep it forever. Unsolicited, Jim Hammill has three times offered to buy it back. It seems he would rather get rid of the customer than fix the problems. We've told the dealer but our Aktiv is built per Hymer and a dealer can't start inventing solutions. I'm reporting to many agencies
but the government safety organizations are not sure which has jurisdiction. Do you know a government official who can investigate. I'm posting so owners will be warned about the hazard. I want Hymer to succeed and these hazards must be addressed for them to succeed.
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Old 04-01-2018, 05:27 PM   #10
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I think I would point out that the 18ga grounding wire, useless as it is, is connected to the NEUTRAL buss bar, and not the ground buss bar.

In mobile applications, the "normal" rules would say that neutral/ground bonding like that should only be done at the power source, and you often have 3 different sources in an RV, shore power, generator, and inverter. The should never be more than one bonded location in the circuit at a time.

The shore power is bonded at the power pole, so good that way. The generator is bonded internally in most cases so good. The automatic transfer switch switches between them, so only one at a time like it should be. The tough one is the inverter because you want it bonded when inverting but not bonded when bypassing shore power to the van if it is an iverter/charger. If it is an inverter only, it needs to disconnect the bonded connection from the van when not in use. Good inverter chargers switch between bonded and not bonded with the inverter on and off and take care of the problem.

The system shown, with neutral and ground bonded at the breaker panel is incorrect ALL the time as it adds a bonded connection at a place away from the power source.
Thanks for the thoughtful response. I've opened the Inverter. The 18 guage wire is connected to the ground return to the campsite. It is the only wire connected to that return. Internal to the inverter, another 18 gauge wire is connected to the inverter's output to the breaker box. That 18 gauge wire is the breaker boxes only connection back to the campsite's shore power.

I agree that one one bonding location is best. Code also says it should be as near to the source as possible. In the Aktiv the inverter is the source of all 115 VAC so that could be the bonding location. I included pictures of the two "bonding pointsf" in the Inverter, both painted.

I'm OK if Hymer wants the breaker panel to be bond point but they first ran the 30 amp service shore power bond though an 18 gauge wire in the inverter. I'm also not happy that the 30 amp shore power only goes to the inverter that doesn't have a main switch or circuit breaker. Isn't a main switch a code requirement?
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Old 04-01-2018, 05:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
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In this case that makes no difference, I think, as a generator and shore power do their bonding before the transfer switch, so removing the genny and transfer switch won't do anything odd. The engine generator just works as a 12v source, like a battery, so it also will not affect anything related to the inverter or bonding The issue shown is on the110v side.
Another thoughtful question. There is no transfer switch in the conventional way. The Inverter receives shore power and then sends it to the circuit breaker box. In any case a transfer switch switches between two sources but always maintains ground and through a wire capable of handling 30 amps.
BTW: a solid ground between the Aktiv chassis and campsite would help protect the Aktiv and occupants from lightning surges. It would also stop the ProMaster chassis becoming live if camper use an extension cord from the campsite hookup and it shorts to the chassis.
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Old 04-01-2018, 05:39 PM   #12
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I think you have one thing mistaken in saying that the inverter is the source of all 110v power. It is not the source for shore power, as it is only being used as a transfer relay and is this a downstream device. The source of the power is the power pole and that is the only place it should be bonded when on shore power. Same is true for the panel, it almost certainly should be looked at as remote panel and not bonded when on shore power, and I would make the case that "close to" wouldn't really change that for inverter power, either.

The second 18ga wire is possible from internal bonding switching in the inverter, but why it would be an output is odd, I think. The inverter should be able to switch the bonding internally and keep it all where it belongs with no extra wiring. If the 18ga wire is only on the bonded activation of the inverter and not when on shore power, that would take care of that part of it.

Normally, the panel would be grounded to chassis for the 110v, not isolated, and the 110v would not be. The safety ground from the inverter would also go to chassis, as would the ground wire from shore power. All the 110v wiring grounds would normally go all the way back to the inverter and internal transfer switch. There may or may not be a ground wire in the inverter to hook up to the 110v wiring, but usually is. If not it is the same as safety ground and too the chassis.
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Old 04-01-2018, 05:46 PM   #13
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DIY community often discuss this bonding connection, it is in Magnum manual, so it is a little surprising for manufacturing company is not doing it correctly.
Good point. So Hymer built it two bad ways. Hymer created ground loops with the 18 gauge wire. An excerpt from Hymer's inverter is attached. It incorrectly states the ground is internally controlled but its actually hardwired with the 18 gauge wire.
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Old 04-01-2018, 05:53 PM   #14
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First, Past success is not a guarantee for future results.

On the other hand, RT wires almost every RV differently. One failure does not mean all are bad.

or should I say, a few success do not mean all are good.

I went to a local dealer and looked a every Ecotrek RV that could be seen. Every Roadtrek and Hymer was wired with the hazard described. That's one of the reasons I went public. Any building inspector would laugh at a bonding wire attached to a non-conductive painted surface. All I had to do was open the RoadTreks back door to see it. Where are Hymer's inspectors?
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Old 04-01-2018, 05:58 PM   #15
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Without seeing the complete wiring diagram for the van (which we know Roadtrek will never, ever, provide, it is a bit hard to determine if the way they have, legal or not, is safe.

Many of the lower end inverter/chargers don't bond and unbond, and it appears they make the setup safer by putting the "inverter" outlets in as GFCI outlets. AFAIK, this will make it safe. If Roadtrek has the entire van on GFCI, it likely would be safe, although the wire sizing is still iffy and we don't know if the inverter is bonded, not bonded, or switches. Regardless of how it is the bonding at the box is not correct, IMO.

The whole idea of 110v power in a van is a very tough application to make safe all the time, as you don't have access to earth ground unless on shore power for zero reference.

As a final precaution, when I upgraded our system, I put in GFCI breakers in the main box, so everything is protected. Cheap insurance.
I totally agree with using GFI. The Aktiv GFI is only on Owner accessible outlets. So all other 29 amp shorts to chassis will be seeking a ground back to the campsite. The 18 gauge wire could fuse so the plumbing and whole vehicle will be live. I need to buy a campsite GFI. What do you recommend?
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Old 04-01-2018, 06:04 PM   #16
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I just had to delete three messages due to references to a real name against a member's wishes. This list does not require real-world names. Please respect members' wishes in this regard.

Feel free to repost the deleted content after eliding the name.
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Old 04-01-2018, 06:09 PM   #17
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I think you have one thing mistaken in saying that the inverter is the source of all 110v power. It is not the source for shore power, as it is only being used as a transfer relay and is this a downstream device. The source of the power is the power pole and that is the only place it should be bonded when on shore power. Same is true for the panel, it almost certainly should be looked at as remote panel and not bonded when on shore power, and I would make the case that "close to" wouldn't really change that for inverter power, either.

The second 18ga wire is possible from internal bonding switching in the inverter, but why it would be an output is odd, I think. The inverter should be able to switch the bonding internally and keep it all where it belongs with no extra wiring. If the 18ga wire is only on the bonded activation of the inverter and not when on shore power, that would take care of that part of it.

Normally, the panel would be grounded to chassis for the 110v, not isolated, and the 110v would not be. The safety ground from the inverter would also go to chassis, as would the ground wire from shore power. All the 110v wiring grounds would normally go all the way back to the inverter and internal transfer switch. There may or may not be a ground wire in the inverter to hook up to the 110v wiring, but usually is. If not it is the same as safety ground and too the chassis.
You are describing what they should have done. I'll draw a schematic when I return from vacation. The inverter is the only box downstream to the shore power input to the Aktiv. There is no intervening circuit breaker or box. The main panel's only connection to shore power safety ground is through the inverter and its internally hardwired 18 gauge wires between gnd input and gnd output.
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Old 04-01-2018, 06:18 PM   #18
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Default Is there a government regulator reading this?

This is a great ground and, except for the person who published my name, very thoughtful. It's refreshing to discuss the subject rather than the messenger. I'm just a little tried of intimidation by Hymer and their chearleaders.

US or Canadian government regulatory authorities are urged to contact hymer.whistle.blower@gmail.com so the full engineering details can be discussed and corrected.

We are leaving on vacation in our safe Aktiv until Wednesday.
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Old 04-01-2018, 06:40 PM   #19
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This is a great ground and, except for the person who published my name, very thoughtful. It's refreshing to discuss the subject rather than the messenger. I'm just a little tried of intimidation by Hymer and their chearleaders.

US or Canadian government regulatory authorities are urged to contact hymer.whistle.blower@gmail.com so the full engineering details can be discussed and corrected.

We are leaving on vacation in our safe Aktiv until Wednesday.

since my name is easily figured out versus facebook-and here gerrym51-it never occured to me since your name is all over the place on facebook not to use it. even so i apologise. However how can you 'love' your van and yet spend your time saying how dangerous it is-then go out and keep on using it.In all honesty does not make sense-maybe it's me
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Old 04-01-2018, 06:58 PM   #20
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We love our Aktiv and want to keep it forever. Unsolicited, Jim Hammill has three times offered to buy it back. It seems he would rather get rid of the customer than fix the problems. We've told the dealer but our Aktiv is built per Hymer and a dealer can't start inventing solutions. I'm reporting to many agencies
but the government safety organizations are not sure which has jurisdiction. Do you know a government official who can investigate. I'm posting so owners will be warned about the hazard. I want Hymer to succeed and these hazards must be addressed for them to succeed.

If JH has offered you the buyback, but you declined. That implies you are accepting the RV, warts and all. He still has to fix the deficiencies under warranty. But in terms of changing anything, he will have no urgency to do anything unless it is directed by the respective governing agencies.

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