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post #1 of Old 02-23-2011 Thread Starter
Maine Sail
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Xantrex Echo Charger Rant

Hi All,

For nearly six years I have been conversing with Xantrex and asking them to make important changes to the Echo Charger manual. Quite often I have had to spend time trouble shooting a device that is working properly but because the owners manual is INCORRECT, POORLY WRITTEN, MISLEADING and MISSING adequate WIRING DIAGRAMS customers have had to pony up money for me to tell them their device is either fine but the XANTREX manual is wrong or wired incorrectly because the owners manual is completely lacking.

Over the last two years or so I have spoken with Xantrex multiple times documenting changes that need to occur in this manual. I have spoke with Mariana twice, she is their head of technical support and numerous tech support folks. I have spoken with service reps in Indiana and also Prashant one of lead tech guys up in BC.

Promises have been made and yet its now been nearly TWO years and the horribly written manual is still UNCHANGED!

I told them today that I was at my wits end and was taking this to the net to clear things up for users who happen across my post. So here I am.

The Facts:

1) The manual is VERY, VERY unclear that this device MUST be fed from the HOUSE bank and that ALL charge sources, solar, wind or alternator MUST be attached to the house bank. Competent installers know this but DIY's RARELY pick up on this.

This device should NOT be used with a factory wired 1/2/BOTH/OFF switch where the alternator feeds back through the starter cable. The Alternator MUST be re-routed to the house bank for the Echo Charger to work properly.

2) The Echo Charger does NOT EVER work BACKWARDS and WILL NOT work in reverse. If your starting bank is wired to position #2 on the battery switch and the charge sources are feeding it first because of the battery switch position, eg: factory wiring scenario, the Echo Charger will do NOTHING other than sit there and look pretty.

3) I will quote the manual here:

Originally Posted by Xantrex
When the input voltage is 13.0/25.5 volts DC or higher, echo-charge automatically switches ON. The LED glows a steady green.
So far so good but the input voltage for the Echo is ALWAYS measured at the HOUSE bank therefore ALL charge sources must be fed to the HOUSE bank first.

Originally Posted by Xantrex
When the input voltage is lower than 13.0/25.5 volts, the echo-charge automatically switches OFF, and the LED blinks green.
Again this is correct information. When the house bank voltage drops below 13.0 Volts the unit turns off.

Additionally the unit NEVER turns off otherwise!!! This is NOT made clear and should be! The Echo DOES NOT turn off when the start battery is full as many owners AND professional installers think it does.

13+ volts is ON, less than 13 volts is OFF. The state of charge of the start or reserve battery DOES NOT turn the device on or off UNLESS it is greater than a 10V difference and then the Echo shuts off or won't turn on at all. They NEED to make this clear that the Echo does NOT turn off when the start battery is "full"..

Back to the manual:

Originally Posted by Xantrex
If the input voltage is above 14.4 volts (or 28.8), output will be limited to a maximum of 14.4/28.8 volts.
This is accurate and good because who wants to feed a fully charged battery at 14.5-14.8 volts despite the "low current".. The limit of 14.4 volts is a good one.

Originally Posted by Xantrex
When it reaches 14.4/28.8 volts, the charge current will decrease, maintaining a float condition. The starter battery will be fully charged without overcharging.
This is a bold faced MISLEADING statement and, as I see it, a LIE. Current is controlled/dictated by the battery receiving the charge current. This is based on SOC, and the limiting voltage of the charge source. Simple stuff.

You can have a battery at 14.4V & 80% SOC accepting 14A and that same battery at 99.5% SOC & 14.4V accepting .3A.. NOTHING HAS CHANGED OTHER THAN THE BATTERIES SOC TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN!! This is not float this is natural charge acceptance behavior at work........

Calling a decrease in charge current a "float condition" is actually a LIE, Xantrex knows this! How do I know? Because I have discussed it at length with them on multiple occasions.. They acknowledge the inaccuracies yet still don't care to change the manual....

Float charging is a voltage reduction. The Echo Charger DOES NOT drop to a float voltage independent of the HOUSE bank. It follows the charge profile of the house bank.

House at absorption = Echo at absorption
House at float = Echo also at float voltage

So in summary:

1) The Echo DOES NOT shut off when the start battery is full.

2) Charge sources like wind, solar, alternator and charger need to be fed directly to the house bank! A wiring diagram is needed.

3) The Echo Charger is a ONE WAY device. Senses voltage FROM the house bank TO the starter bank. It will NOT work backwards.

4) The Echo Charger does not enter a float mode when the start battery is "full".....

Hopefully Xantrex will FIX the misleading and incomplete manual.. I guess after waiting and asking for these fixes for two years I could be considered impatient? Not!!!

-Maine Sail / CS-36T

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Last edited by Maine Sail; 03-15-2015 at 09:02 AM.
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