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Old 05-06-2010, 04:43 PM   #1
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Chassis Battery Charger Install

Have just ordered the Xantrex Echo~Charge for our 2003 Monaco Camelot, and am trying to determine the best place to mount it. My first choice from a wiring standpoint would be to mount it on the back wall of the battery bay, but from an environmental stand point I am not sure that is the best or safest place to mount it. I believe I read somewhere that it is not a good idea to locate this unit in the battery bay because of the harsh environment and ventilation issues present in that area. My second choice would be to mount it in the electrical bay in the front of the coach below the driver's area. I believe I read in a recent thread someplace that "after market" installation of this unit routinely done by Monaco or other installers was to mount it there. There is a large chassis battery lug at this location, and there is a house battery connection near by at the genset, however the installation instructions for this unit states that it needed to be mounted within two feet of the batteries to reduce the current drop. So, any recommendations as to the best location to mount this unit? If the battery bay is not a good location is the electrical bay still a possibility, or does it need to be closer? Has anyone done this installation on Monaco or similar configuration?
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Old 05-06-2010, 05:32 PM   #2
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You do not want to put it in the same bay with the batteries. The acid fumes will do it in. What about the bay right next to the batteries? Is there room there, or could you make room. What is inside the MH on top of the battery bay?? Closet maybe? You do want to keep the cables as short as possible. You can use longer cables but they would have to be a lot larger gauge.
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Old 05-06-2010, 10:58 PM   #3
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Monaco 38...I'm guessing that your inverter is mounted in the bay directly behind the battery bay. I would place it there on the wall that is shred between the inverter bay and battery bay. Close enough, but in a safe area.
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Old 05-07-2010, 12:50 AM   #4
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You might want to look at the front run bay under the drivers window. I think you find connections for the chassis and house in the bay.
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Old 05-07-2010, 01:23 AM   #5
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Not familiar with your setup. The back wall of my battery bay is the wall for the engine room. So, a previous owner put it in the engine room under the bed on that wall. Works really well, also considering the fact that for power, it's plugged into the receptacle there that's available for the engine block heater.
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Old 05-09-2010, 05:19 PM   #6
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The Xantrex Echo~Charge for our 2003 Monaco Camelot arrived. Thanks to recommendations from contributors here and other threads that touched on the subject I have decided because of the harsh environment and ventilation issues the battery bay is not the place to install this unit, even though from a wiring standpoint it appeared to be the easiest place to mount it. The next choice is to mount it in the electrical bay in the front of the coach below the driver's area. As mentioned previously I believe I read in a recent thread someplace that "after market" installation of this unit routinely done by Monaco or other installers was to mount it here. There are battery lugs from both the house and chassis battery banks at this location. Both house and chassis battery lugs at this location are 'down stream' from their respective cut off switches, so that when the chassis cut off switch is turned OFF the voltage at this lug is 0. With the house battery cut off switch ON the Echo~Charge unit is powered on and is 'back feeding' the chassis circuit with 12v at 15amps through a 16guage hookup wire. The operating manual for the unit indicates that if the voltage difference between the house battery and starting (chassis) battery is greater than 10v the unit will shut off. Hooked up and with the chassis battery cut off switch turned off the unit did not shut itself off. Is this a malfunction of the unit? If it does not shut off then with the unit installed at this location I must always leave the chassis batteries turned on to keep from energizing any 'chassis' wired items like the entry step from the house side through this unit. If the unit powers down or shuts off when the chassis batteries are turned off and the voltage at this lug goes to zero than there is no problem, but if it does not shut off than it would appear that I must either always leave the chassis battieries on when the house batteries are on or install it somewhere that it is wired up stream from the chassis battery cut off switch. Any observations from those familiar with this unit and its operation would be appreciated.
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Old 05-09-2010, 05:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monaco38 View Post
The Xantrex Echo~Charge for our 2003 Monaco Camelot arrived. Thanks to recommendations from contributors here and other threads that touched on the subject I have decided because of the harsh environment and ventilation issues the battery bay is not the place to install this unit, even though from a wiring standpoint it appeared to be the easiest place to mount it.
I'm not familiar with the Echo-Charge, but I have the Trick-L-Start which is very similar. What does the case for the Echo-Charge look like? For the Trick-L-Start, it's a plastic case, where the back is open, and all of the electronics are potted in epoxy. It's a completely sealed unit with only the wires sticking out of the epoxy. If the Echo-Charge has similar construction, then the installation location may not be that much of an issue.

I understand the concerns about mounting electronics in the harsh environment of the battery bay. But after looking at the robust construction of my unit, I figured the risk was low. I mounted it to the back wall of the battery bay, right by the battery boost solenoid, and connected the wires to that solenoid. It's now starting its third year there, and I see no indication of corrosion or other harm to the unit or the wires.

I wouldn't put an unsealed inverter, charger, battery minder, or similar electronics in there. But I don't think the environment is that awful for a fully sealed unit. Just my opinion.
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Old 05-10-2010, 06:06 AM   #8
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Contrary to all except one above reply, I mounted mine on the back wall of the battery compartment 4 years ago along with about 10 other Monaco owners at the same time. Mine is still working great and so are all of the others. Some people read into the area a little too deep. There is also a lot of ventilation in that battery box and keeps the fuems out of the box. The way some want to mount it may take a lot of time and trouble. It took me exactly 10 minutes to do mine.
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:38 AM   #9
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ShapeShifter and Bill2, thanks for the information on 'real world' application over 'theory'. In light of the shut down issue I raised in my earlier post I have been reconsidering the battery bay location in spite of the cautions provided by others. There is a warning in the installation section of the manual that states "Never disconnect battery cables while the Charger is in operation." Mounted in the forward electrical bay, down stream from the respective battery bank cut off switches, that is essentially what occurs if the chassis battery disconnect switch is turned off with the house battery cut off switch left on. The unit is energized and the circuit to the chassis batteries open. Turning off the house battery switch shuts off the unit. There is a note in the trouble shooting section of the manual that states that if the voltage between the house battery input and the starter battery (read chassis battery) out put is greater than 10 volts the unit will shut down and the green LED will blink. That would be the case if the chassis battery disconnect switch was turned off, which would make the chassis battery voltage at the unit zero. My question, is it normal operation of this unit to simply shut down if the chassis battey voltage is removed from the unit (by the disconnect switch) or is this a condition that is warned against in the operation of the unit.
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Old 05-11-2010, 12:17 PM   #10
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Monaco38......I also mounted mine on the back wall of the battery box in the same spot as Bill2. Three screws and attach the wires and I was done.

Side note...Mine worked fine for years and still does, except the light on mine (Trik-L-Start) stays yellow and won't go to green anymore, but the batteries are still getting charged. The epoxy case is also bulging in one spot. I don't attribute this to being in the battery bay, I think the unit is just failing.

I replaced mine a couple of weeks ago with the product from MegaTech that replaces the relay in the front run bay. I also replaced the rear Trombetta relay in the battery bay with a better quality one. Apparently, when several people replaced that front relay, it burned up that rear relay soon after.
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:31 PM   #11
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Would I be able to use the Xantrex Echo unit if I have solar panels charging my house batteries?
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Old 05-11-2010, 02:22 PM   #12
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Ken, from everything I have learned about the Echo Charge unit, I don't think it matters the charging source. The product summary states that "the Digital echo~charge is designed to operate with any DC charging source to charge the starter or auxiliary battery." It connects to the positive side of the house battery, the positive side of the starter battery (read chassis battery), and ground, and goes to ON when the house battery voltage is above 13 volts, which would reflect the presence of any charging source, solar included, over the voltage at rest which, absent a charging source, would be less than 13 volts.
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Old 05-11-2010, 03:50 PM   #13
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I have read many post with people using these products but to this point have not purchased one myself. I have never had a problem with my chassis battery charge but am assuming it is because we don't stay in one place more than a couple of weeks so the engine charges the battery sufficiently. I do store my rig for up to two months at a time, but normally turn the disconnect switches off. Am I missing something? At what length of time have others had issues with their chassis batteries being discharged?
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Old 05-11-2010, 04:02 PM   #14
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At what length of time have others had issues with their chassis batteries being discharged?
When put to bed over a long cold winter. (4+ months)
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