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Old 07-31-2017, 09:01 PM   #361
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Greg-he was there before here-lol. We warned him
Very good, I haven't been following the group closely these days...
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Old 07-31-2017, 09:02 PM   #362
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I guess we have different definitions of "significant" cost. At $35 and the size of matchbox, while also being a plug in, I wouldn't see a reason to carry the expensive one which you can get in a couple of days if you need it after the emergency repair. There is, of course, the case where the regulator failure was caused by something else in the system. In this case a would rather fry a $35 regulator than one that cost 10X that.
There is plenty that a malfunctioning external regulator can do to an alternator but I don't think the converse occurs much. An alternator could go into continuous full field as a result of some short or jumper and destroy itself but I don't think the regulator could care less.

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this emergency regulators missing an important feature? For high output applications, the regulator is part of a system. The MC-614 monitors the alternator temperature and backs alternator output down to avoid over temp damage. I don't think a bailout regulator affords this supervision, does it? Sure, this bailout regulator might result in a mitigating reduced output from the alternator, but in this case, with a 1600ah battery setup, perhaps in a deeply discharged condition, that Nations alternator will probably deliver pedal to the metal without overheating protection and I don't think the prognosis would be good.
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Old 07-31-2017, 09:09 PM   #363
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It's not easy to verify this empirically because the battery disconnect shuts off the voltmeter. If the meter was connected to the battery side of the disconnect switch, it would be easier to demonstrate.

There is something that; puzzles me about this arrangement. When unconnected to shore power, if the main battery switch is in disconnect, the inverter is inoperative. It needs a basttery output to function. I get that. Now, if you hook up shore power, even with the main battery switch off, you can still light off the inverter. What is the source?

Another question: you describe all the charging sources to be in parallel at the lithium charging port. If these charging sources are in a constant current (bulk) mode, with respect to the load, they apparently act in concert with one another. But if these sources are in a constant voltage mode, the load becomes selective with respect to which source is recognized and only recognizes the highest of competing voltages at the input. How is this phenomena dealt with in a condition where the alternator and solar panels are simultaneously attempting to charge the batteries?
Keep in mind that there is a large variation in the wiring in RT vans, even two of the same model and the same year, so anything I describe is for the majority of the vans I have seen described by owners.

The inverter is normally hardwired to the load side of the Ecotrek battery modules. The battery disconnect does not disconnect the inverter from the batteries in the normal wiring.

I will leave it to the people here who understand parallel charging from multiple chargers (that no doubt are using different charging profiles) to multiple batteries (that are no doubt at different levels of charge and also mixed between AGM and Lithium) to explain what happens for your last question. I am a software engineer and try not to act like I know any more than I actually do when it comes to the hardware and electronics...
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Old 07-31-2017, 09:17 PM   #364
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There is plenty that a malfunctioning external regulator can do to an alternator but I don't think the converse occurs much. An alternator could go into continuous full field as a result of some short or jumper and destroy itself but I don't think the regulator could care less.

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this emergency regulators missing an important feature? For high output applications, the regulator is part of a system. The MC-614 monitors the alternator temperature and backs alternator output down to avoid over temp damage. I don't think a bailout regulator affords this supervision, does it? Sure, this bailout regulator might result in a mitigating reduced output from the alternator, but in this case, with a 1600ah battery setup, perhaps in a deeply discharged condition, that Nations alternator will probably deliver pedal to the metal without overheating protection and I don't think the prognosis would be good.
Any break in the output of the alternator while it is running can throw a spike that can take out electronics, including the regulator. Intermittent wire etc. The alternator has to have continuous battery ballast on it when running.

The solution for the for the no temp sense and other features is that this is an emergency regulator, so just run it for 10 minutes to get functioning coach back, as you wait to get a full repair one. It is everyone's choice to what they carry for spares, but there are lots of things that mess up the power systems, and whatever you don't have with is the one that will fail.
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Old 07-31-2017, 10:00 PM   #365
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Just talked with the service manager at the dealer and he said they determined it's a failed Balmar. He said he's waiting on a call back from Nations to start a warranty claim with them on the Balmar (because Nations programs the Balmar he said). He said they told him they'd call him back in 30 mins which is about his quitting time today. So fingers crossed I get some information within the next 30 mins.

He said they confirmed the GU is putting out good voltage but plugging in some wire into the Balmar caused sparks, which is why they think the Balmar is bad (from what I gather on the phone).
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Old 07-31-2017, 10:20 PM   #366
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Just talked with the service manager at the dealer and he said they determined it's a failed Balmar. He said he's waiting on a call back from Nations to start a warranty claim with them on the Balmar (because Nations programs the Balmar he said). He said they told him they'd call him back in 30 mins which is about his quitting time today. So fingers crossed I get some information within the next 30 mins.

He said they confirmed the GU is putting out good voltage but plugging in some wire into the Balmar caused sparks, which is why they think the Balmar is bad (from what I gather on the phone).
This is confusing. They confirmed that the GU is delivering proper voltage? Well, AFAIK this can't occur unless the regulator is up and running and delivering field current to the alternator? What wire produced sparks when connected to the regulator? Where were the sparks?

FWIW, it's not a good practice to correct or disconnect certain wiring from a regulator while it's powered up.
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Old 07-31-2017, 10:25 PM   #367
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On a standalone generator like this, the normal test would be to disconnect the batteries and hook it up to an alternator testor that will put a constant 12v on the field to check output voltage. Some also have a load they can have on them to check output at the same time.
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Old 07-31-2017, 11:00 PM   #368
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This is confusing. They confirmed that the GU is delivering proper voltage? Well, AFAIK this can't occur unless the regulator is up and running and delivering field current to the alternator? What wire produced sparks when connected to the regulator? Where were the sparks?

FWIW, it's not a good practice to correct or disconnect certain wiring from a regulator while it's powered up.
He may have said it was delivering "voltage" -- perhaps I added the "good" to that statement.
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Old 07-31-2017, 11:10 PM   #369
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The inverter is normally hardwired to the load side of the Ecotrek battery modules. The battery disconnect does not disconnect the inverter from the batteries in the normal wiring.
Let's start with your original observation that all charging sources (alternator, converter/charger and solar are in parallel and are connected to the common side of the disconnect switch and continue to address the batteries regardless of the position of this switch.

OK, I got that with regard to the alternator and solar inputs. But with your description, I don't get how shore side power functions with the battery switch "off". You indicate that the battery charger is on the common side of the disconnect switch and the inveter is on the load side.. With a stand alone charger that works. But with the RT, for the charger to operate, the inverter must be on, but as you describe it, the inverter is hardwired to the load port of the batteries. If that's the case, it won't operate if the main disconnect switch is activated and without inverter operation, the charger won't operate.

But here's the punch line. With the battery switch off and shore power connected, the inverter will still power up with the disconnect switch "off".
If your description is accurate, when the battery switch is "off", where is the inverter getting power from?
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Old 07-31-2017, 11:36 PM   #370
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He may have said it was delivering "voltage" -- perhaps I added the "good" to that statement.
I don't think the alternator is delivering anything. If the regulator is kaput, the alternator delivers zip. Under this condition, the voltage seen at the alternator B+ terminal is more likely battery voltage.

Do they have a replacement MC-614?
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Old 07-31-2017, 11:44 PM   #371
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I don't think the alternator is delivering anything. If the regulator is kaput, the alternator delivers zip. Under this condition, the voltage seen at the alternator B+ terminal is more likely battery voltage.

Do they have a replacement MC-614?
Apparently not since they're waiting for a replacement from Balmar by way of Nations. Or if they do, they don't know how to program it. I'm not sure. They seem to be under the impression that Nations has to program the regulator though.

I was told they were on the phone today with Balmar and Nations troubleshooting it...
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Old 08-01-2017, 12:12 AM   #372
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Apparently not since they're waiting for a replacement from Balmar by way of Nations. Or if they do, they don't know how to program it. I'm not sure. They seem to be under the impression that Nations has to program the regulator though.

I was told they were on the phone today with Balmar and Nations troubleshooting it...
No, nations doesn't have to program it. It's just that the MC-614 is supplied with a default program that permits altering to permit custom installations. In conversation with Balmar, I got the impression that Nations selects the program parameters for their alternators but Balmar sends them already programmed. I suggest you have your dealer make it clear to Nations that the application is for a 1600ah battery capacity because I would think that different battery capacities could warrant programming different timing sequences, i.e. the bulk charge duration could be different for 1600ah than it is for most commonly provided 400ah. It's possible that during production RT adjusts the program to meet the requirements for each coach.

Make sure that when the dealer mounts the replacement, it's located in such an obscure position that reading it puts a crick in your neck for a week. . Hey, consider that a very modest penance for buying a Roadtrek.

I believe the dead soldier (if it is dead) eventually gets back to Balmar for an autopsy.
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Old 08-01-2017, 12:15 AM   #373
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No, nations doesn't have to program it. It's just that the MC-614 is supplied with a default program that permits altering to permit custom installations. In conversation with Balmar, I got the impression that Nations selects the program parameters for their alternators but Balmar sends them already programmed. I suggest you have your dealer make it clear to Nations that the application is for a 1600ah battery capacity because I would think that different battery capacities could warrant programming different timing sequences, i.e. the bulk charge duration could be different for 1600ah than it is for most commonly provided 400ah. It's possible that during production RT adjusts the program to meet the requirements for each coach.

Make sure that when the dealer mounts the replacement, it's located in such an obscure position that reading it puts a crick in your neck for a week. . Hey, consider that a very modest penance for buying a Roadtrek.

I believe the dead soldier (if it is dead) eventually gets back to Balmar for an autopsy.
My credit card is showing quite enough penance thank you!
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Old 08-01-2017, 12:21 AM   #374
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Everyone who owns a Balmar regulator should take the time to read and document its programming. It is not difficult to program a new one, but you need to know how the old one was programmed before it breaks.

Programming is done by activating a magnetic reed switch in a particular sequence that is documented in the Balmar manual. They come with a magnetic tool to do this, but any small magnet will work. Normally, a running Balmar flashes a sequence of codes that shows a summary of its operating state. You can use the magnet to put it into a "verbose" mode in which it reports its entire state, including all programmed parameters. They go by kind of quickly, so it can be tricky to record it all. The best thing to do is to use your phone to take a video of the entire sequence. You can then decode it at your leisure without the cricked neck.
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Old 08-01-2017, 12:54 AM   #375
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If the Balmar is in a tough to see spot, it will be hard to program in place, and you would be better to program it before putting it in, I think, like Nations does.

Concerning the programming, how the absorption time was set would be really weird if the use the AGM setting for lithium, as lithium needs essentially zero absorption time if the voltage is set right. With the 14.4v of the AGM setting, you would really want zero absorption time as you are already past what many would want for state of charge for lithium.
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Old 08-01-2017, 01:09 AM   #376
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If the Balmar is in a tough to see spot, it will be hard to program in place, and you would be better to program it before putting it in, I think, like Nations does.

Concerning the programming, how the absorption time was set would be really weird if the use the AGM setting for lithium, as lithium needs essentially zero absorption time if the voltage is set right. With the 14.4v of the AGM setting, you would really want zero absorption time as you are already past what many would want for state of charge for lithium.
"Ours" looks like it's pretty accessible...

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Old 08-01-2017, 01:24 AM   #377
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"Ours" looks like it's pretty accessible...
Yep. That is where I put mine, as well.
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Old 08-01-2017, 03:10 AM   #378
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Probably a little late to ask, but why didn't the dealer just put you into one of their used units for the time you are stuck there? Are you in Ramsey or Garfield?
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Old 08-01-2017, 03:13 AM   #379
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Probably a little late to ask, but why didn't the dealer just put you into one of their used units for the time you are stuck there? Are you in Ramsey or Garfield?
Not sure. I'm in the former.
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Old 08-01-2017, 03:27 AM   #380
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Not sure. I'm in the former.
Dale, the owner, is usually very good about taking care of the customers and a very nice guy besides. His new operations manager, who I met a while ago while there to get some stuff, not so much, I think. Seemed like a typical RV sales type to me. If Dale isn't involved, you may want to get him to intervene. Lake Regions has a very good reputation, and should have some experience with the lithium stuff by now.

It is also where Mumkin got her, used to be lithium, now AGM, unit that was so much trouble for her. They did grant her request to go to the AGMs though, to solve the issues she had.
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