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Old 01-17-2021, 01:49 AM   #1
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Default 2006 and Earlier Roadtreks with Battery Disconnect

It appears that the Roadtreks that have the Parallax DC Converter and the Intellitec Battery Disconnect do not automatically charge the coach battery when connected to shore power. I never realized this until reading the manual today and there have been times when the battery would be discharged and plugging in the van wouldn't charge it...leading to the suspicion of a failed battery. I thought I'd post this as a public service announcement and also field other people's experiences.

This is what the manual says:

The auxiliary battery is a group 27 lead acid battery. The auxiliary battery is located behind the passenger side access door found behind the rear wheel, see section on Auxiliary Battery. To access the battery refer to the auxiliary battery section found in the Daily Living section. The auxiliary battery is automatically charged through the isolator by the engine's alternator while the engine is running. This battery is also automatically charged by the converter / charger when:
1. The battery disconnect switch on the monitor panel is set to the "ON" position prior to connection to an outside electrical power source.
2. Your vehicle is connected to an outside electrical power source.
3. The breakers in the converter/charger are in the "ON" position.
4. Or while the generator is in operation (if equipped).
A disconnect switch, located on the monitor panel, provides a disconnect for the auxiliary battery from the 12V system while your vehicle is not in use.


The 2007 and newer Roadtreks with the combo inverter/charger are wired differently so that the coach battery will get charged automatically when plugged in to shore power.
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Old 01-17-2021, 02:11 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Stevemo View Post
It appears that the Roadtreks that have the Parallax DC Converter and the Intellitec Battery Disconnect do not automatically charge the coach battery when connected to shore power. I never realized this until reading the manual today and there have been times when the battery would be discharged and plugging in the van wouldn't charge it...leading to the suspicion of a failed battery. I thought I'd post this as a public service announcement and also field other people's experiences.

This is what the manual says:

The auxiliary battery is a group 27 lead acid battery. The auxiliary battery is located behind the passenger side access door found behind the rear wheel, see section on Auxiliary Battery. To access the battery refer to the auxiliary battery section found in the Daily Living section. The auxiliary battery is automatically charged through the isolator by the engine's alternator while the engine is running. This battery is also automatically charged by the converter / charger when:
1. The battery disconnect switch on the monitor panel is set to the "ON" position prior to connection to an outside electrical power source.
2. Your vehicle is connected to an outside electrical power source.
3. The breakers in the converter/charger are in the "ON" position.
4. Or while the generator is in operation (if equipped).
A disconnect switch, located on the monitor panel, provides a disconnect for the auxiliary battery from the 12V system while your vehicle is not in use.


The 2007 and newer Roadtreks with the combo inverter/charger are wired differently so that the coach battery will get charged automatically when plugged in to shore power.

Yep, the charger is on the load side of the disconnect on the earlier ones, and on the battery side on the newer ones.


The battery switch needs to be on for the batteries to charge in the units with the charger on the load side.


I think some of the early Chevies had a Tripplite and were wired to the load side, but not certain. Our 07 had the sticker that said it needed to on to charge, but it was not needed on ours. It much have been one of the first with the wiring moved.


This is all shown very well on the battery simulator that is online for Roadtreks. It has been linked here several times in the past and can be found by searching also online. On the simulator you can enter your year and model and it should change the wiring diagram and simulation to match what you put in, so very good education.
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Old 01-17-2021, 02:19 AM   #3
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This is true for my 1999 Dodge Roadtrek 170. Neither the generator nor the shore power will charge the house battery if the battery disconnect is set to OFF. The battery even seems to discharge in this situation. On the other hand, if the engine is running the house battery will charge either way.

This well-known (and useful) simulator demonstrates all this:

http://www.metrotrekkers.org/utility/electrical.htm
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Old 01-17-2021, 03:34 PM   #4
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I have a 2006 and have to turn on switch before connecting to shore power. Not a big deal for me. Just wondering why the change and pros/cons for each.
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Old 01-17-2021, 03:49 PM   #5
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I have a 2006 and have to turn on switch before connecting to shore power. Not a big deal for me. Just wondering why the change and pros/cons for each.

I have never really figured that out as there are very few benefits of having to turn on the batteries to charge.


All I have come up with would be that you could have 110v on the van for use in storage or long parking without having the batteries being on continuous charging. With the old too high voltage for long charges single stage chargers you would have to be aware of doing that kind of time on the charger. Not an issue on the smart chargers, for the most part.


The having to turn on the batteries deal would be a good thing for the way George uses his van though, as mentioned in another thread on 12v/110v frigs.
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Old 01-17-2021, 03:54 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by peteco View Post
I have a 2006 and have to turn on switch before connecting to shore power. Not a big deal for me. Just wondering why the change and pros/cons for each.

I have never really figured that out as there are very few benefits of having to turn on the batteries to charge.


All I have come up with would be that you could have 110v on the van for use in storage or long parking without having the batteries being on continuous charging. With the old too high voltage for long charges single stage chargers you would have to be aware of doing that kind of time on the charger. Not an issue on the smart chargers, for the most part.


The having to turn on the batteries deal would be a good thing for the way George uses his van though, as mentioned in another thread on 12v/110v frigs.


Will your charger even start up and charge if it doesn't see a battery in the circuit? If the old single stages did, which is possible, you would be able to have 12v and 110v to the van without charging, so that might be useful, but the charger would have to be able to control the voltage without a battery in the circuit, power supply style. That would be more useful for when on shore power for long periods, once you had recharged the batteries.
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Old 01-17-2021, 04:38 PM   #7
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I had seen the battery simulator in the past but never really understood its purpose. I did some testing last night and it now makes more sense.

If you go back to the 1991 Roadtrek I had there was only a 5 amp charger in the converter and a 30 amp self-resetting breaker from the alternator. When you discharged the coach battery it was hard to recover using either power source.
Roadtrek probably realized this and decided to put in the battery disconnect to stop people from accidentally killing their coach battery. This created the new problem in that the Parallax converter only has 1 output and it's part of the DC panel so they put it behind the battery isolator. What Booster mentions about the single stage charging is also correct. You'll need lots of water to add to the batteries if you leave it on a single stage charger or a poorly set-up 3-stage charger.

The Tripp-Lite inverter/charger created a new problem in that the inverter would likely be too much power for the battery isolator so they wired it up in front of the isolator.

It appears that the Intellitec device could be replaced with a Blue Sea Systems 9622 Sensing Relay could fix all of these quirks.
https://www.bluesea.com/products/762..._-_12V_DC_500A
They also make a 7701 relay which is essentially a higher current version of the Intellitec.
https://www.bluesea.com/products/770...enoid_-_12V_DC

I emailed Blue Sea back in 2019 asking about these relays and they were pretty quiet about how the external switches worked and stated that they couldn't be substituted. It is now very apparent that they are standard switches. The 7622 will work with both momentary and continuous switches to provide different functionality and the 7701 needs a momentary switch.

I am going to order a 7622 and do some testing with an adjustable power supply.
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Old 01-19-2021, 01:48 AM   #8
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I have two of the 7622's on order so I was looking through my photos to see where I can install the new control switches.

Lo and behold there is a rather inconspicuous sticker that mentions the disconnect switch...never noticed it before.
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Old 01-21-2021, 06:46 PM   #9
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Default charging the coach battery

When I store my RT 2005 190V I plug the rig into shore power, then plug this https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0759J6875 into the AC outlet in the galley, and plug it into the DC Cigarette plug by the driver (which is always hot- if the van is on or off). This way the house battery stays maintained through the shore power inverter, and the coach batteries stay maintained by the trickle charger.. the trickle charger has a hanger and it hangs nicely from the storage shelf, the cables are long enough to reach without being in the way.
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Old 01-21-2021, 07:43 PM   #10
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You still must have the battery switch.on to charge the battery..I have a 05 C RT 210 P and it requires the battery switch to be on to charge the batteries with shore power or with the vehicle alternator.
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Old 01-21-2021, 08:58 PM   #11
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You still must have the battery switch.on to charge the battery..I have a 05 C RT 210 P and it requires the battery switch to be on to charge the batteries with shore power or with the vehicle alternator.
Don’t think so. Alternator charging doesn’t care which way the battery switch is set. Yours could be different but i doubt it.
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Old 01-22-2021, 12:07 PM   #12
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The first thing I did to my 170 was to install a Progressive Dynamics converter. I leave the B plugged in 24/7 and my battery disconnect switch is always set to ON.


Hey Stevemo - what happened to your interior fabric in your gutter area? (That's what we call those overhead areas to put stuff - don't know what else to call them.) Did you have a leak --- and where did the water come in from???
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Old 01-25-2021, 01:25 AM   #13
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The caulking around the roof vent expired so the water runs across the headliner down into the gutter area. I have since fixed the leak.
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Old 01-25-2021, 01:47 AM   #14
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^^ Thanks for letting me know - will keep an eye on that vent!
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Old 01-31-2021, 01:42 AM   #15
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Got the relay tested today:

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Old 02-20-2021, 01:01 AM   #16
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I'm sure glad I ran across this post as I was having trouble with my coach batteries being drained while it was plugged in during storage and couldn't figure out why. Thanks Stevemo! Do you know how to check to see if I'm getting power to the charger when plugged in?
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Old 02-21-2021, 05:41 PM   #17
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The red light should come on when you hit the switch for the DC disconnect. Sometimes I have to hit mine a couple times to get it to hold but I am going to replace it.
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:30 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevemo View Post
1. The battery disconnect switch on the monitor panel is set to the "ON" position prior to connection to an outside electrical power source.
It's been 6 years since we sold our 2000 Roadtrek, but the word "prior" in this sentence from the manual was debated almost forever in the old Listserv. There were people who swore it was true, and others, like me, who tested the heck out of it and knew it wasn't true for our vehicle. The simulator acts as if it's not true (i.e. you can change the switch after plugging the vehicle in and the battery will charge). It was, of course, never really resolved, but knowing how the disconnect relay worked, I could never understand why anyone would think you had to turn it to "on" PRIOR to plugging in.
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:41 AM   #19
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It's been 6 years since we sold our 2000 Roadtrek, but the word "prior" in this sentence from the manual was debated almost forever in the old Listserv. There were people who swore it was true, and others, like me, who tested the heck out of it and knew it wasn't true for our vehicle. The simulator acts as if it's not true (i.e. you can change the switch after plugging the vehicle in and the battery will charge). It was, of course, never really resolved, but knowing how the disconnect relay worked, I could never understand why anyone would think you had to turn it to "on" PRIOR to plugging in.

It is actually very basic, I think. On models that have the charger on the load side of relay, there is not a battery in it's visible circuit. If it is a charger that checks for a battery, like most smart chargers and some other non smart chargers, the charger will fault out. A lot them will not reinitialize just by putting a battery in the circuit with a fault still active. They have to be disconnected and replugged in to shore power to reinitialize and if the battery is there, they will then start. The very common Tripplite is one that will not start with no battery and will not start until the power is cycled to clear the fault, AFAIK. Around 2007, they moved the charger to the battery side and since then no problem whether on or off.
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:08 AM   #20
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It is actually very basic, I think. On models that have the charger on the load side of relay, there is not a battery in it's visible circuit. If it is a charger that checks for a battery, like most smart chargers and some other non smart chargers, the charger will fault out. A lot them will not reinitialize just by putting a battery in the circuit with a fault still active. They have to be disconnected and replugged in to shore power to reinitialize and if the battery is there, they will then start. The very common Tripplite is one that will not start with no battery and will not start until the power is cycled to clear the fault, AFAIK. Around 2007, they moved the charger to the battery side and since then no problem whether on or off.
booster, I think that accounts for why I had the sticker with the sort of odd 05/04 190P without the expected Tripplite. Sure has worked out well for 14 years plus 22 months with the first owner, 120K miles with no converter or charger problems, just a new inverter after 12 or 13 years and I may have caused the failure.
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