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Old 06-18-2017, 06:18 PM   #1
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2017 International Batteries won't hold a charge

Went to RV today to get ready for 4th and Batteries DEAD only been 10 days since I parked it. HELP
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Old 06-18-2017, 07:42 PM   #2
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A few questions:

Where the batteries fully charged when you parked it?

Have you checked the condition of the batteries?

Did you have it in the "Store" mode?
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Old 06-18-2017, 08:37 PM   #3
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Hi

If not in the store mode:

10 days x 24 hours = 240 hours.

Capacity to dead flat is about 150 AH.

A bit over 0.6A will flatten the battery in that time. The heater on the fridge seal is almost enough to do the job.

Even if you *are* in store mode, the propane detector is still hooked up. There may be / are other phantom loads depending on this and that.

Bob
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Old 06-19-2017, 10:08 AM   #4
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Brand new Airstream...only had about 6 months
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:16 AM   #5
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I have a 2017 as well and there is a solid draw on the batteries even when the battery is disconnected via the interior switch. The culprits are the propane detector and the inverter which is always in standby mode waiting for you to press the "on" button. These 2 items bypass the battery disconnect switch and have a steady draw of close to 0.4amps (thereabouts) combined. 0.4 amps x 24 hours x 14 days = 134.4 amp hours = two completely dead flat group 24 interstate batteries in no time.

When you store your trailer (just dropped mine off yesterday) it's essential that you manually disconnect both negative leads on the batteries. One is an automotive clamp (main 12v supply to the trailer) and the other is a ring terminal on the other battery terminal (feeds the inverter).

Remove these to completely isolate the batteries and eliminate draw while in storage. You must remove both.

Next week I'm installing a marine grade battery disconnect switch in the battery box and that will avoid having to physically remove wires to properly disconnect the batteries every time.

Here is a link to the one I have ordered and also have installed installed on my other airstream.... I can choose inverter, inverter+main 12v, main 12v or all off.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

If your batteries bounce a few times (charged -> dead -> charge -> dead) then they will be permanently damaged and will not hold a full charge anymore.

Also, when you are on shore power, it is essential to disconnect the batteries once they are fully charged if you are using the stock Paralax converter that came with your airstream. Otherwise they will get over charged and damaged.
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:02 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by wulfraat View Post
I have a 2017 as well and there is a solid draw on the batteries even when the battery is disconnected via the interior switch. The culprits are the propane detector and the inverter which is always in standby mode waiting for you to press the "on" button. These 2 items bypass the battery disconnect switch and have a steady draw of close to 0.4amps (thereabouts) combined. 0.4 amps x 24 hours x 14 days = 134.4 amp hours = two completely dead flat group 24 interstate batteries in no time.

When you store your trailer (just dropped mine off yesterday) it's essential that you manually disconnect both negative leads on the batteries. One is an automotive clamp (main 12v supply to the trailer) and the other is a ring terminal on the other battery terminal (feeds the inverter).

Remove these to completely isolate the batteries and eliminate draw while in storage. You must remove both.

Next week I'm installing a marine grade battery disconnect switch in the battery box and that will avoid having to physically remove wires to properly disconnect the batteries every time.

Here is a link to the one I have ordered and also have installed installed on my other airstream.... I can choose inverter, inverter+main 12v, main 12v or all off.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

If your batteries bounce a few times (charged -> dead -> charge -> dead) then they will be permanently damaged and will not hold a full charge anymore.

Also, when you are on shore power, it is essential to disconnect the batteries once they are fully charged if you are using the stock Paralax converter that came with your airstream. Otherwise they will get over charged and damaged.
Here is my on hands experience since 2012.
I have kept our 2013 30'International, Paralax converter Interstate batteries plugged in to shore power 24/7/364 except when traveling, or boon-docking.
Most times we stay at places with full hookups and when the AS is parked on our driveway in between trips it is plugged in to shore power at all times. We also run the AC as needed.
The AS has the original batteries and converter both working great. I regularly monitor and test the batteries and add water once or twice a year, that's it.
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:17 PM   #7
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2017 International Batteries won't hold a charge

That's encouraging Frank.

In my 2008 when I first got it I'd leave it plugged in with correct battery water levels... came back to the campsite one day and there was an odd looking puddle under the battery box... the batteries had boiled over and spit out acid....They were less than a year old.

My next pair of interstate batts only lasted a year as well before they could no longer hold a charge. I changed out the charger and went to AGM at that point.

Perhaps the newer chargers are different / better than the parallax installed back in the day. When I picked up my 2017 from colonial I asked Patrick about the charger and he said not to leave the batteries connected after they are charged.

Glad your experience has been different gives me hope for the next 12 months before I tear things out and replace with lithium.
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Old 06-19-2017, 04:16 PM   #8
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Hi

It's very important to understand that these batteries do *not* like being taken into a "dead flat" condition. You want to run them no lower than about 50% charge. Run them dead flat every few weeks and they likely will not last six months, let alone a year.

It's not just lead acid's. There are a lot of Lithium stacks out there with the same issue ....

Bob
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Old 06-20-2017, 08:10 AM   #9
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Hi

So what happens when you take a battery dead flat? All the "stuff" on the electrodes has moved over to the "other side". The charger (any charger) looks at the situation and dumps a lot of current into the battery to get it back up to speed. It has to charge long and hard to do that. Single stage, double stage, triple stage, four stage, twelve stage they all work the same way on a dead battery. (Not quite true, some simply give up).

Pour a lot of current into a battery and move material all from one electrode to the other, you may or may not get it all equally level when you do. Form a high spot and that point is going to get a bit more stuff. The high spot builds up. Each time you repeat the process it gets bigger. Not an issue in normal use. In repeated flat situations, the high spot may get pretty tall. Go bumping down the road and it touches the other electrode ... short circuit time. Heat can also do the same thing.

Once the cell shorts, getting it un-shorted is problematic. In some cases a massive current spike will do the trick, mostly you just lost a battery. You can detect this by looking at the voltage and knowing a few other things. Yes a really smart charger could work this out and shut down. I have not seen a lead acid charger that does that. Properly designed lithium stacks will indeed shut down.

From the outside, what does this look like? Well, if you short the cell hard, it is going to dump energy right now. It will get hot and boil. If the short is a "not so much" thing, it may just drop to zero without boiling (or catching fire ...). If you are running down the road and it boils ... you never notice.

What happens next? The charger fires up and tries to charge your 10V battery. The silly charger still thinks it's a 12V battery. Instead of properly running it up to about 12V max, the stupid charger wants to take it up to 14V or so. When it does that, the remaining cells in the stack go over voltage. Not just a little over voltage, a lot over voltage. They heat up as this happens. That drops the "full charge" voltage. You enter a fatal spin and the battery boils off (or catches fire ...).

Yes, sitting there watching steam or acid (or fire) dump out of the battery, it's all the stupid charger. With Lithiums get the fancy BMS and avoid the fire issue. Self contained or internal does not matter. Make sure the battery has a BMS. On lead acids, don't take them to zero. If you have done that a couple of times, replace them.

Are multi stage lead acid chargers nonsense? Of course not. Does a single stage charger do everything you would ever want? Certainly not. The point here is that we often blame the charger for things that it's not responsible for.

Bob
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Old 06-20-2017, 08:49 AM   #10
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2017 International Batteries won't hold a charge

Thanks Bob - great information.

I think the main issue for some new owners (certainly applied to me when I bought my 25' 9 years ago) is that even with the battery disconnect switch engaged, unknowingly to the owner there is still a draw on the batteries, and that will run them down flat in a relatively short timeframe, and after a few instances of running them dead other issues arise.

I store my trailer without access to shore power. So I've resorted to adding a disconnect switch to completely isolate the batteries while in storage. Then I make sure they get topped off with a good charge at least once per month. Seems to work.
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Old 06-20-2017, 09:08 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wulfraat View Post
That's encouraging Frank.

In my 2008 when I first got it I'd leave it plugged in with correct battery water levels... came back to the campsite one day and there was an odd looking puddle under the battery box... the batteries had boiled over and spit out acid....They were less than a year old.

My next pair of interstate batts only lasted a year as well before they could no longer hold a charge. I changed out the charger and went to AGM at that point.

Perhaps the newer chargers are different / better than the parallax installed back in the day. When I picked up my 2017 from colonial I asked Patrick about the charger and he said not to leave the batteries connected after they are charged.

Glad your experience has been different gives me hope for the next 12 months before I tear things out and replace with lithium.
I have been tempted to replace the batteries with AGM reading all the post but I decided to wait until the stock batteries gave out. I waited close four years now.
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Old 06-20-2017, 11:00 AM   #12
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Been there, done that!

We went through this with our new 2014 3 years ago after going through the de-bug cycle with AS and Interstate. Interstate checked the batteries and found bad cells. They offered us 100% replacement or 100% credit for other battery option. We chose AGM's and paid the difference. No issues for next 3 years. Our new 28' had low batteries when we picked it up in Portland 2 weeks ago. They checked the cells and said they were ok, then they charged them overnight with a generator. We are keeping an eye on them. Would have exchanged for AGM's with the dealer but they told me that was an expensive "upgrade" from parts dept. I will wait to see what happens with these and go directly to Interstate if I have issues; not the dealer.
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Old 06-21-2017, 09:03 AM   #13
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Hi

The whole "what to do in storage" thing is not at all easy. I wish there was a magic way to comply with the rules and regs (propane detector ..) and all the other issues. Unfortunately there isn't. They are very unlikely to build an RV that lets you disconnect absolutely everything.

One messy / heavy / awkward "solution" for over winter storage is to pull the batteries. If you do, take them home and put them both on a trickle charger. Yes, it's a lot of work ... maybe the kid will be up here that weekend

Bob
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Old 06-21-2017, 09:28 AM   #14
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disconnect switch...

One thing I installed on my last AS and will install on my new one shortly is a manual disconnect switch on the ground terminal. Simple device to install.
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