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Old 08-02-2017, 07:44 PM   #441
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It is a scandalous saga, troubleshooting by sparking, no troubleshooting tree, fixing by parts replacement, if this would be my case I would run and run fast.

If there is no troubleshooting guide, at least an electrical schematic could lead any capable person to diagnosis. Lithium batteries are not a bleeding edge technology anymore but it can be made at the bleeding edge level if not design properly for the full product lifecycle from inception, design, manufacturing, maintenance, troubleshooting and disposal.

I don’t know if RT issues are lack of engineering or someone think they have more IP than they truly have. Hopefully this thread will gain some visibility by Hymer and contribute to a complete RT management shakeout from top down but primarily on the top.
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I totally agree, and would add their apparent dismal support and/or training for the dealer techs. How can it be possible that the tech doesn't know how to check if an alternator is sending current to the batteries? A 30 second Google search can teach you that, but this poor guy is trying to troubleshoot problems with a complex system with no documentation, and likely no decent help from Roadtrek.

When many of us complain of the lack of monitoring and diagnostics in the Roadtrek systems, we are often told that "most" folks wouldn't know how, or want, to use them, which may or may not be true. But, having those items in place would severely shorten the problems for the techs that have to fix these things. I would guess essentially every manufacturer of electrical stuff of this complexity, except Roadtrek, has a method to see performance or faults. It seems bizarre that the microwave in a Roadtrek has more diagnostics than the much more complicated power system.

I think Hymer has somehow fallen for the Roadtrek historical pattern of sending out bad stuff, with plans to fix it at the dealer, so it is out of the factory and paid for quickly. 50 years ago the the auto manufacturers did the same thing, but the Japanese quickly showed them it was a very flawed business model.
I thought the dealership did a fine job with troubleshooting as far as I could tell. They got the part ordered and it came in this morning. Then it was two techs, one of the owners, and myself spending the day troubleshooting it and talking to people from Balmar, Nations, and RT.

At this point it seems this Balmar is not working either. It tested fine except for the top right blue wire coming out. He took the blue wire out and bypassed the regulator and was able to register a significant voltage increase in the ecotrek that way, so it seems it's just another bad Balmar. So another one is on the way that Nations guarantees will work because they're test it before the send it just to be sure. And the dealer here reimbursed and continues to pay for my hotel and offered me a car to drive in the meantime. They're taking care of me and making progress.



I don't have any reason to think we won't work through these issues and I'm very happy with the Warp Core. Haven't tested out the solar but the solar charge controllers indicate properly. There might be a tiny sliver of shading from the awning on one panel that may be an issue, but I'll troubleshoot solar later. It's far down the priority list.
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Old 08-02-2017, 07:52 PM   #442
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The Balmar manual has a fairly thorough troubleshooting guide. That might have been a good place for them to have started.

Attachment 4586
They had that guide and were using it.
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Old 08-02-2017, 07:58 PM   #443
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It is highly unlikely you got two bad regulators. More likely something either killed it or is shutting it off.

Have them go through the screens to see FE on the display, which will give you the field % it thinks it is putting out and also have them check for fault codes. Also make sure there is 12v switched to the "ignition" terminal which is on the lower left. Roadtrek may be turning it on and off with that input.
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Old 08-02-2017, 08:00 PM   #444
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I thought the dealership did a fine job with troubleshooting as far as I could tell. They got the part ordered and it came in this morning. Then it was two techs, one of the owners, and myself spending the day troubleshooting it and talking to people from Balmar, Nations, and RT.

At this point it seems this Balmar is not working either. It tested fine except for the top right blue wire coming out. He took the blue wire out and bypassed the regulator and was able to register a significant voltage increase in the ecotrek that way, so it seems it's just another bad Balmar. So another one is on the way that Nations guarantees will work because they're test it before the send it just to be sure. And the dealer here reimbursed and continues to pay for my hotel and offered me a car to drive in the meantime. They're taking care of me and making progress.



I don't have any reason to think we won't work through these issues and I'm very happy with the Warp Core. Haven't tested out the solar but the solar charge controllers indicate properly. There might be a tiny sliver of shading from the awning on one panel that may be an issue, but I'll troubleshoot solar later. It's far down the priority list.
whatever you do don't close the deal until this is fixed. AS soon as they get their money the next day fixing your issue becomes a lot more 'blase'.

I was in a similiar position except i was paying cash and still had the certified check in my wallet. Fortunetly my issues were just a couple add ons roadtrek did not do. the screen package -which i found out they were out of and did not tell me and no cable tv hookup which i was assured it had.

Since everything else worked fine -i got written assurances that the cable tv hookup would be put in when the screen package for slider and back door came in.

However i did notice a 'non-chalance' after i gave my money.

it took roadtrek 6 weeks to send the screens and then the cable hookup was put in free of charge by dealer.

I have the standard agm on my zion . much easier to tell if things are working. Ecotreks are tough to read.

It does seem odd however that Balmar could have 2 defective devices in a row.
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Old 08-02-2017, 08:58 PM   #445
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It is highly unlikely you got two bad regulators. More likely something either killed it or is shutting it off.

Have them go through the screens to see FE on the display, which will give you the field % it thinks it is putting out and also have them check for fault codes. Also make sure there is 12v switched to the "ignition" terminal which is on the lower left. Roadtrek may be turning it on and off with that input.
Thanks very much for that, I appreciate it and will pass that info on.

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whatever you do don't close the deal until this is fixed. AS soon as they get their money the next day fixing your issue becomes a lot more 'blase'.
Point well taken. I can assure you that I will follow your advice when it comes to the GU. I may be more tolerant when it comes to the A/C even though I shudder to think of it with the heat wave over the nation, but I haven't tested it out enough to solidly confirm my suspicions (but my suspicions are very solid, I just need more evidence). Besides the wife and our weasel will not be in the rig before we get into the cool season anyway so it's a risk I can take.

I agree with you both that it seems odd that the Balmar would fail twice.

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Old 08-02-2017, 09:06 PM   #446
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Its funny, I went to great lengths and lots of extra wire and switches to have the ability to bypass and cross connect my system in the eventuality of any type of component failure, and I haven't had to use any of it yet.
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Old 08-02-2017, 09:13 PM   #447
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It is highly unlikely you got two bad regulators. More likely something either killed it or is shutting it off.

Have them go through the screens to see FE on the display, which will give you the field % it thinks it is putting out and also have them check for fault codes. Also make sure there is 12v switched to the "ignition" terminal which is on the lower left. Roadtrek may be turning it on and off with that input.
Balmar says without an active ignition terminal you won't get a display.

If they are both bad they are expressing it differently. The first one wouldn't light off, period. The replacement lights off but apparently is not providing proper instructions to the field winding. Before assuming it's bad I would check on the programming, e.g. the bulk charge duration schedule etc.
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Old 08-02-2017, 09:23 PM   #448
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At this point it seems this Balmar is not working either. It tested fine except for the top right blue wire coming out. He took the blue wire out and bypassed the regulator and was able to register a significant voltage increase in the ecotrek that way, so it seems it's just another bad Balmar.
The blue wire you describe provides field current to the alternator. The current level this wire delivers is determined by the regulator program. What they did when they removed this wire most likely was to full field the alternator field and check for alternator output to verify that the problem is with the regulator and not the alternator.
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Old 08-02-2017, 09:44 PM   #449
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The blue wire you describe provides field current to the alternator. The current level this wire delivers is determined by the regulator program. What they did when they removed this wire most likely was to full field the alternator field and check for alternator output to verify that the problem is with the regulator and not the alternator.
That's my understanding too. So they verified the blue wire works, and that power can go from the alternator to the batteries to charge them. So, then, it would appear the regulator is not energizing that blue wire to provide power for some reason...
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Old 08-02-2017, 10:17 PM   #450
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That's my understanding too. So they verified the blue wire works, and that power can go from the alternator to the batteries to charge them. So, then, it would appear the regulator is not energizing that blue wire to provide power for some reason...
The two failures involved are totally unalike. The first one was a dead soldier from the get go. The second one is alive but either it's incorrectly programmed or it is not providing the correct field current in response to a valid regulator instruction.

Whenever and however this is finally resolved, I think you can have the regulator display the program parameters and if so itt would be useful to keep a record of them.

I see that the regulator program is adjusted for the ah battery capacity installed. Of course, this assumes that they pay any attention to this at the RT factory.
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Old 08-02-2017, 10:45 PM   #451
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AFAIK, the battery bank size in the Balmar is used to calculate the absorption time for lead acid batteries, either AGM or wet cells. On lithium, there is really no absorption time needed, so it could always be set very low to make it drop out of absorption very quickly to prevent holding at charging voltage, which is said to be bad for lithium. The maximum absorption time would also be set to the minimum time.

It would also be interesting to see the rest of the settings, as I think the Balmar also checks voltage at the start of charging and might go right to float if above 12.8v or so. At that point it might not show any output on the field, as it wouldn't need any amps to be generated if the voltage was above the float setpoint.

We see that with our solar, which will finish charging in absorption and then show discharging until the voltage drops to setpoint for float. If we plug in the Magnum at that point, it will not go to absorption and we still see discharge to the Magnum float setpoint, which is a bit higher than the solar one.
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Old 08-02-2017, 10:50 PM   #452
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AFAIK, the battery bank size in the Balmar is used to calculate the absorption time for lead acid batteries, either AGM or wet cells. On lithium, there is really no absorption time needed, so it could always be set very low to make it drop out of absorption very quickly to prevent holding at charging voltage, which is said to be bad for lithium. The maximum absorption time would also be set to the minimum time.

It would also be interesting to see the rest of the settings, as I think the Balmar also checks voltage at the start of charging and might go right to float if above 12.8v or so. At that point it might not show any output on the field, as it wouldn't need any amps to be generated if the voltage was above the float setpoint.

We see that with our solar, which will finish charging in absorption and then show discharging until the voltage drops to setpoint for float. If we plug in the Magnum at that point, it will not go to absorption and we still see discharge to the Magnum float setpoint, which is a bit higher than the solar one.
One of the folks we talked to today on the phone suggested we run down one module because it might not be showing enough "need" to trigger the charging. We ran it down to about 12.68 and just tried to charge it alone with the GU but that still didn't trigger anything. I would hope that the GU would charge lithium batteries that were not completely full, but that AGM heritage (and knowing exactly when a battery is full) might be a hindrance here.
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Old 08-02-2017, 11:00 PM   #453
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One of the folks we talked to today on the phone suggested we run down one module because it might not be showing enough "need" to trigger the charging. We ran it down to about 12.68 but still didn't trigger anything. I would hope that the GU would charge lithium batteries that were not completely full, but that AGM heritage might be a hindrance here.
Doesn't seem likely but is it possible that the solar input is confusing the regulator? It's easy enough to rule this out by shutting down the solar controller.
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Old 08-02-2017, 11:10 PM   #454
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AFAIK, the battery bank size in the Balmar is used to calculate the absorption time for lead acid batteries, either AGM or wet cells. On lithium, there is really no absorption time needed, so it could always be set very low to make it drop out of absorption very quickly to prevent holding at charging voltage, which is said to be bad for lithium. The maximum absorption time would also be set to the minimum time.
There is an AGM battery in the mix that wants a different charging sequence than the lithiums. But since it never delivers any load except during a lithium reset, perhaps it never requires absorption charging.
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Old 08-03-2017, 12:42 AM   #455
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... And the dealer here reimbursed and continues to pay for my hotel and offered me a car to drive in the meantime. They're taking care of me and making progress.

....
That's a class act.


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Old 08-03-2017, 12:44 AM   #456
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It is highly unlikely you got two bad regulators. More likely something either killed it or is shutting it off.

...

My same thought.


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Old 08-03-2017, 12:46 AM   #457
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That's a class act.



i'd really be impressed if he'd already paid for it and they did that.
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Old 08-03-2017, 12:48 AM   #458
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That's a class act.


I agree, I think it was a very good thing to get the owners involved. Hopefully, they will be able to get reimbursed from Roadtrek.
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Old 08-03-2017, 06:41 AM   #459
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I thought the dealership did a fine job with troubleshooting as far as I could tell. They got the part ordered and it came in this morning. Then it was two techs, one of the owners, and myself spending the day troubleshooting it and talking to people from Balmar, Nations, and RT.

At this point it seems this Balmar is not working either. It tested fine except for the top right blue wire coming out. He took the blue wire out and bypassed the regulator and was able to register a significant voltage increase in the ecotrek that way, so it seems it's just another bad Balmar. So another one is on the way that Nations guarantees will work because they're test it before the send it just to be sure. And the dealer here reimbursed and continues to pay for my hotel and offered me a car to drive in the meantime. They're taking care of me and making progress.

I don't have any reason to think we won't work through these issues and I'm very happy with the Warp Core. Haven't tested out the solar but the solar charge controllers indicate properly. There might be a tiny sliver of shading from the awning on one panel that may be an issue, but I'll troubleshoot solar later. It's far down the priority list.
Without providing sufficient information to troubleshoot the system it should be RT’s responsibility to send someone and resolve the issue instead of pushing the monkey on the dealer. It shouldn’t take a couple of hours to trouble shoot with a multimeter not by sparking and with a day for ordering you should be out in a day or two.

I wonder how do you envision a possible future failure while in the boonies. Lithium batteries are sensitive to wrong charging, what will happen if the fry, kaboom?
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Old 08-03-2017, 09:22 AM   #460
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I envision things working as advertised, safely.
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