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Old 05-30-2023, 11:13 AM   #1
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Solar panels / charger doing what it is supposed to?

I recently purchased a new 2023 New Aire 3543 with their factory installed 640W of Lithionics batteries and 400W of GoPower solar with a Schneider Electric (Xantrex) C40 DVM solar charger. For the life of me it either displays 0 watts or 13 watts, with a solid green status light during the day regardless of battery storage %-age. Even if the batteries drop to 30% or below (even at 16%) the panel says there isn't more than 1.0 array/load current and 13 watts coming in from the panels into the batteries even in dead noon overhead full sun... Needless to say the batteries then automatically shut themselves off.

So... Unlike my previous Battleborn and Victron setup on my previous rig, which was brain dead simple to monitor and diagnose the flow of power throughout the system, this factory OEM setup from Newmar is a bit blackbox and cryptic.

Has anybody figured out how to tell what their solar converter / charger is really doing? Is there a config setting somewhere I can inspect / change? To me it is acting like it thinks it is connected to AGM or Lead Acid Batteries as opposed to Lithium from the factory. Since the voltage stays up there over 13.4V as opposed to dropping over time, it is like the charger thinks the batteries just need a trickle float/maintain vs sending actual bulk charge to them. I've looked in Newgle, but the supporting docs for the Xantrex C-Series Solar Charger don't really say much.

Best,
-Mark
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Old 05-30-2023, 05:27 PM   #2
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Here are some photos from this afternoon. Full sun, no other power sources. Zero coming in from solar...
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Old 05-30-2023, 05:46 PM   #3
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I don't think the Xantrex C40 is lithium compatible... did Newmar install this and the batteries or a 3rd party? The C40 is effectively an antique PWM charger, anybody doing solar these days uses MPPT stuff...


C40 is only rated for Lead-Acid or NiCad batteries...
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Old 05-30-2023, 11:30 PM   #4
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That is what it came from the factory with. It would explain why it is never sending power to the batteries given the voltage holds high on lithiums until the last minutes before the BMS turns them off. I have a support ticket in with Xantrex. Looks like my next call is to Newmar to see why they would do such a thing and see what their proposed remedy is.

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,Mark
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Old 05-30-2023, 11:32 PM   #5
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Also, check out the -40 outside. That may explain my random Oasis firing up gremlin as well...

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-Mark
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Old 06-01-2023, 12:01 PM   #6
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Here are pics of the solar controller in the basement of the RV. Looking through all the specs and documentation me thinks Suburbazine is correct in that they installed a lead acid / nicad device at the factory vs something that supports lithium (which was also factory installed). Still waiting on a response from Newmar and Xantrex tech support...
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Old 06-01-2023, 12:28 PM   #7
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The -40 outside temp sounds like an open circuit on the thermistor temp sensor.

Agree with suburbazine, that solar controller is an antique. Given what your coach costs, thatís just not right to put in something like that!
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Old 06-02-2023, 03:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldenavy View Post
The -40 outside temp sounds like an open circuit on the thermistor temp sensor.

Agree with suburbazine, that solar controller is an antique. Given what your coach costs, thatís just not right to put in something like that!
And when I started the generator the temp magically started to work. Has me wondering if bad sensor or loose connection.

As for the solar controller I received an update from Newmar support on the phone today. Very friendly. Long story short they are still consulting with their engineers and will get back to me.

I have to admit I've been tempted to just buy the correct MPPT charger for lithium and swap it out myself this weekend in just a few minutes, but given this is only my second major new rig gremlins experience with Newmar, I am currious how it plays out given I can use my generator as plan B for a trip or two.

Also wondering if I just happened to get the lucky rig set up this way or if everybody shipped this build configuration from them actually has this same issue and may not even realize it. Fingers crossed!

Best,
-Mark
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Old 06-02-2023, 11:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkMaxPayne View Post
And when I started the generator the temp magically started to work. Has me wondering if bad sensor or loose connection.

As for the solar controller I received an update from Newmar support on the phone today. Very friendly. Long story short they are still consulting with their engineers and will get back to me.

I have to admit I've been tempted to just buy the correct MPPT charger for lithium and swap it out myself this weekend in just a few minutes, but given this is only my second major new rig gremlins experience with Newmar, I am currious how it plays out given I can use my generator as plan B for a trip or two.

Also wondering if I just happened to get the lucky rig set up this way or if everybody shipped this build configuration from them actually has this same issue and may not even realize it. Fingers crossed!

Best,
-Mark

You're the second person I've seen post with a Newmar installed C40 on lithiums. I think it's probably widespread.
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Old 06-11-2023, 06:36 PM   #10
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I gave up waiting for Newmar support to respond beyond "our engineers are still looking at it." Last night I ordered a Victron SmartSolar MPPT 150/70-TR on Amazon and to my surprise it showed up this morning!

Spent a couple hours swapping out the Xantrex C60 (which is designed for lead acid and Nicad, not lithium) and I NOW HAVE WORKING SOLAR CHARGING!

I changed its settings via the Victron bluetooth app as per the recommendations made by Lithionics (makers of the lithium iron phosphate house batteries Newmar also installed at the factory).

One mod I made was I added a circuit breaker as per U.L. rules between the solar panel wires and the charge controller so I could turn off and isolate the panels anytime I may want or need to.

Given the impropper solar controller was installed at the factory in combination with the lithium option I will update the post if/when I get a response...

My word of caution if your new Newmar has both the lithium and solar options on the build sheet: verify the solar charge controller they used is actually meant for lithium...

Best,
-Mark
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Old 06-14-2023, 04:24 PM   #11
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I received a response from Newmar support RE my ticket asking if the Xantrex C60 solar controller with the Lithionics batteries was correct when both solar and lithium options are selected together as part of the factory build. They said somebody from Xantrex would reach out to me. I did press back in my response that both Lithionics and Xantrex don't recommend that lead acid / nicad solar controller with lithium batteries and asked their position on it.

The plot thickens. Stay tuned...



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-Mark
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Old 06-19-2023, 10:50 AM   #12
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Still awaiting a call from Xantrex, but the mystery continues to unfold. I noticed this morning while on Newmar's online parts ordering site (https://newpar.newmarcorp.com/) that it appears on or around 02/20/2023 Newmar stopped using the Xantrex C60 solar controller designed for lead acid and nicad and then began using the Xantrex 710-3024-01, which does support lithium batteries. Perhaps the factory built my unit with the Lithionics lithium option before Newmar changed over to Xantrex’s solar controller that supports lithium? Surprised Newmar support hasn't/can't just tell me the answer.

If you have the factory-built Lithium and solar options, you may wish to ensure the correct controller was installed. This image from their parts site:

Best,
-Mark
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Old 07-29-2023, 09:24 AM   #13
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Since June 15th, still no further response from Newmar Customer Support nor any outreach from Xantrex. I have to admit this first interaction isn't delighting this customer.

It is clear to me they installed the wrong solar controller in conjunction with the Lithionics lithium factory upgade. A mistake they made in Oct 2022 at the factory and perhaps stopped making by Feb 2023.

With my previous Tiffin, their customer service would have profusely apologized and quickly shipped me a replacement within days. Here I'm almost 2 months out with the last response on 6/15 still being "we are looking into this."

I have pinged them yet again to see if there is any status update On my customer service ticket.

Stay tuned...

Best,
-Mark
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Old 08-17-2023, 02:27 PM   #14
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Newmar Service Bulletin 603

Newmar Customer Support got back to me today. Turns out I wasn't ghosted and it looks like they are going to do the right thing by the customers impacted. I appreciate that they are admitting to the factory error and are going to do the right thing by their customers who have this issue.

Bottom line is that those of us who purchased new rigs which had both solar and lithium options installed at the factory in builds before 2/20/23 do indeed need our solar controllers and some related components replaced. I was told to reach out to my dealer and refer them to Service Bulletin 603: https://newpar.newmarcorp.com/instan...s/BLTN603T.pdf

In my case I gave up while waiting for a response these last couple of months and ordered a Victron SmartSolar Controller from Amazon and installed it myself the next day (so I'd have working solar while in storage and before my 4K mile summer trip). Details in previous posts in this thread. But for all those who have this factory installed option combination, this validates the issues I raised in this thread and provides a path to get it resolved under warranty.

Best,
-Mark
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