Echo Charger

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ELeland

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Do they go bad? I just replaced my chassis batteries due to age and thinking they were just worn out. They were down to 5 volts last week while on shore power and parked for the last 6 weeks. They were so low, the dash lights wouldn't even come on when I turned the ignition to on. The green light on the echo charger was on the whole time.

The house batteries are new Rolls 8D AGM's and were reading 13.5 volts at the same time I was reading 5 volts on the chassis batteries. During the chassis battery change out, I put my volt meter on the feed wire from the Echo Charger to the chassis battery (no battery connected) and got a reading of only 10 volts, hence my question - Is my echo charger working correctly?

Thanks for any feedback.

Ed
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Anything electronic can fail, but the chance that an Echo Charger failed in a way that produces low voltage (vs full or none) seems awfully slim. The device is basically just a smart relay, closing the relay to connect the two battery banks together when conditions are right, and leaving it open when not.

The Echo Charger cannot function properly if it cannot sense the voltage in both battery banks, so disconnecting either bank most likely causes it to do nothing (leave the relay open). The reason is that it only connects the two battery banks when the house is fully charged and the chassis is low. For the Xantrex Echo-Charge device, the house has to be at 13.0 or higher, but I couldn't a value for the chassis status. If you have a different brand of cross-bank charge manager, the voltage values will be different but the principle is still the same.

Hook up an auxiliary charge and see if you can bring the chassis batteries back to normal voltage (12.6 or more). Than reconnect the Echo-Charge and monitor the voltage to see what it is doing.
 

ELeland

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Thanks Gary. New chassis Northstar AGM's are installed and I'm monitoring daily to track any voltage drop. I topped the Nothstar's off over night with a battery minder charger when installed. After sitting for a few hours they were at 12.7 volts. 2 days after installation they are sitting at 12.5 volts and house is holding steady at 13.3 volts. I was thinking they should be closer to equalizing with the Echo Charger working correctly. Is my assumption wrong?
 

Utclmjmpr

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They would only be more equal if you have a source of power,, if you are not "plugged in" to a power source, were is the power coming from to charge anything.??>>>Dan
 

ELeland

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Chassis batteries are down to 12.3 volts and house at 13.8 this morning so something isn't right. I sent an email to Xantrex to get their input and I'll report back with their take.

Ed
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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They would only be more equal if you have a source of power,, if you are not "plugged in" to a power source, were is the power coming from to charge anything.??>>>Dan
Technically, the Echo Charge works as long as the house battery voltage is high enough to meet the minimum voltage threshold for hooking in the chassis battery, i.e. 13.0v. It's essentially a DC-DC charger, stealing DC power from the house side and feeding it to the chassis. It should do that until the chassis gets within about 0.5v of the house system voltage.

The 13.8 house vs 12.3 chassis is clearly enough to trigger charging, so either the Echo-Charge isn't working OR it cannot correctly determine the battery voltage of both house & chassis banks. The Echo will also shut down or cut back if the differential is too large (see Troubleshooting in the Echo Charge manual). That's to prevent an attempt to charge a shorted battery.

Is the led on the Echo Charge on and solid green? If off, a fuse is blown. If blinking green, it thinks the chassis battery bank is shorted. If yellow, it has suffered an overheat fault.

What about the ground wire on the Echo? Is it a solid connection to chassis ground?
 

ELeland

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Thanks Gary - Yes the ground is good and green light is solidly on. I'll check all the terminations to make sure everything is tight.
 

ELeland

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It apparently started before the battery change. Maybe my old batteries weren't as shot as I thought. I just assumed they were failing (or failed) due to age.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Can you disconnect the chassis battery bank from the Echo and hook in another battery for a test? Note that the other battery needs to have its negative post grounded to the RV chassis for the Echo to work. A known good battery and direct connection to the Echo would help eliminate any doubts.
 

ELeland

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I'll give it a shot. So far just crickets from Xantrex on my inquiry. I did order a replacement Echo Charger from Amazon yesterday just in case. If I get the current one working or confirm it is working I can return the new one for a credit. I'm leaving for a trip next week and prefer everything to be right. There's enough things that can go wrong on their own, I don't need to leave home with a known problem. LOL

Thanks for your help!
 

Ex-Calif

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I installed a ACR (automatic charge relay) in my RV. My coach battery had been dying.

The "EMG ENG Start" switch/relay does not work and I am not sure the battery isolator works.

All these things existed when I bought the RV. I do know there has been a lot of dodgy wiring added and fixed on this coach. I am just starting to get a plan of attack together to sort it all out. I think bad sparky's have willy nilly just added circuits to the coil posts on these various relays as they are "convenient" - Stuff that is supposed to be isolated on the coach side is wired into the house side and vice versa. It's a mess.

So the problem with troubleshooting something is I don't have a good original schematic, schematics I have don't really match wires I have found and of course, unfamiliar with coach systems and this one specifically, finding the "device" on a schematic on the coach is a treasure hunt. An installation diagram would be cool to have but I am sure I will never find one of those.

So you also might be dealing with stray circuits not behaving as they are supposed to.

Oh - One tenet is true. Corrosion is the worst enemy of vehicle DC circuits. Bad grounds and bad connections.
 

ELeland

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Jupiter, FL
You are right on the grounding and corrosion Ex-Calif.

I finally heard back from Xantrex. They think the Echo Charger is bad. He said the chassis voltage should equal the house voltage if the echo charger is working properly. I'll swap it out when the new one arrives. Fingers are crossed.
 

ELeland

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Jupiter, FL
Update - I installed the new Echo Charger today and after being hooked up for less than an hour the House batteries were at 13.3 and the Chassis batteries were a tad over 13.1. It appears I indeed had a bad Echo Charger.


Ed
 
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