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Old 05-04-2014, 03:32 PM   #1
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'13 Interstate batteries toast?

New to the Interstate. Bought new 2013 March 25 2014. Dealer demo. Last week traveled 5 days, plugged in all 5. Returned, decided to test battery life for end-of-month dry camp outing. After 48 hours with all of the 12V features off (lights,frig, antenna boost, propane switch, etc.) battery disconnect (both) on, cloudy days (this is the Pacific Northwest after all), the solar panel numbers looked like this: Battery remain-0, Solar chg. amps .9, battery voltage, 10, solar amp hours 23.5. Not enough juice left to start the generator. The battery main indicator read 12.47. Am I mistaken, or are the batteries toast?
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Old 05-04-2014, 04:00 PM   #2
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They may be bad, or you may have a load you don't know about. The coach is still under warranty, take it back and have them verify what's wrong.
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Old 05-04-2014, 04:00 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by jkinglet View Post
New to the Interstate. Bought new 2013 March 25 2014. Dealer demo. Last week traveled 5 days, plugged in all 5. Returned, decided to test battery life for end-of-month dry camp outing. After 48 hours with all of the 12V features off (lights,frig, antenna boost, propane switch, etc.) battery disconnect (both) on, cloudy days (this is the Pacific Northwest after all), the solar panel numbers looked like this: Battery remain-0, Solar chg. amps .9, battery voltage, 10, solar amp hours 23.5. Not enough juice left to start the generator. The battery main indicator read 12.47. Am I mistaken, or are the batteries toast?
If you had it plugged into shore power for at least 48 hours and the disconnects were off during this time, then - yes, your batteries are past their point of return, probably due to misuse at the dealership.
I would ask them (no, make a demand) to test the electrics and if necessary replace the batteries. After all, its under warranty.
And make sure you let Airstream know about it when you complete the dealer survey which arrives through them mail eventually.
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Old 05-04-2014, 04:42 PM   #4
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The coach is under warranty but the batteries aren't included in the Airstream warranty. Lifeline, over a year old, prorated now up to 60 months. Our local AS dealer service routinely doesn't answer its phone and has difficulty returning phone calls. In fact our AS dealer network seems to find Interstates annoying (or so it seems). The service departments for sure know less about Interstate systems than you all do on the forums. I'll try plugging it in for 48 hours straight and see if that revives them. It was plugged in off and on over the 5 day trip 12 to 14 hours at a time. No 12V drains currently I can find. Unfortunately dealer service is the last resort, at least in the Pacific Northwest.
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Old 05-04-2014, 06:10 PM   #5
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The dealer replaced both of my house batteries with new Lifelines. The dealer didn't keep the batteries charged, or drained them too many times, while it sat on their lot. The batteries were so damaged that they wouldn't even hold a charge for the duration of my 30 mile drive home after the purchase. Airstream did not pay for the new batteries, but my dealer did. The dealer took responsibility for "lot damage", and so should your dealer. Good luck.
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Old 05-04-2014, 06:10 PM   #6
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I would contact Jim Parrett, Airstream National Service Manager-Touring Coaches. jparrett@airstream.com. tel: 937/596-6111 X7409; explain the situation to him. He is normally very receptive to problems like this.
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Old 05-04-2014, 07:55 PM   #7
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The battery issue seems to keep raising its ugly head..... I have been working my way through it for the past 5 months. My coach is in the shop now for load tests on the coach batteries. Stayed on shorepower for a week, peaked at 85% when unplugged in the dark. Tried installing the Magnum Temperature Probe since it was winter....helped a bit, but did not solve the problem. Performed (at service mgrs direction) the Equalization step. Did get up to 95%, but quickly (15 min) dropped to 85% again.
While in the shop, I am also having the Magnum ME-RC50 control panel installed along with the ME-BMK battery monitor. Want to see more detail on what goes in...and what comes out of the battery bank. BTW, the dealer objected, at first, to installing these items since they did not sell them......
I will get there someday....just trying to be patient....and thorough on the way.
Tech already feels the batteries may be toast, but needs to run the tests first. Probably the same issue, "lot damage", as others here. Time will tell......
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Old 05-04-2014, 09:49 PM   #8
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The battery issue seems to keep raising its ugly head..... I have been working my way through it for the past 5 months. My coach is in the shop now for load tests on the coach batteries. Stayed on shorepower for a week, peaked at 85% when unplugged in the dark. Tried installing the Magnum Temperature Probe since it was winter....helped a bit, but did not solve the problem. Performed (at service mgrs direction) the Equalization step. Did get up to 95%, but quickly (15 min) dropped to 85% again.
While in the shop, I am also having the Magnum ME-RC50 control panel installed along with the ME-BMK battery monitor. Want to see more detail on what goes in...and what comes out of the battery bank. BTW, the dealer objected, at first, to installing these items since they did not sell them......
I will get there someday....just trying to be patient....and thorough on the way.
Tech already feels the batteries may be toast, but needs to run the tests first. Probably the same issue, "lot damage", as others here. Time will tell......
Congrats on installing the ME-RC and the ME-BMK. Assuming that they were installed properly ( I have had to re-wire many shunts that did not have all of the negative loads going thru them, or the installer cut the length-specific twisted orange and blue pair of shunt wires), you will get a wealth of information from your new monitor panel and battery monitor.

It sure sounds like your batteries have lost their maximum charge capacity......probably due to lack of temperature compensation. It is VERY DIFFICULT to bring them back to 100%, even following Lifeline's guide to 'conditioning', once they have lost their full capacity. You might be in for new batteries under Lifeline's 5 year RV warranty.
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Old 05-04-2014, 09:54 PM   #9
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Airstream and their dealers would be better off totally disconnecting the batteries until the coach is ready to be turned over to buyer. If the units sits a week or more at Airstream after assembly and the dealer lot the batteries will be damaged.
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Old 05-05-2014, 12:26 AM   #10
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When I first took my AI back to the dealer, the dealer wanted Lifeline to cover the cost of the new batteries, but Lifeline wanted to test the batteries first. So my dealer removed the batteries and took them to Lifeline (fortunately they aren't too far away). Lifeline determined that the batteries were too far damaged by neglect and wouldn't cover them (I suspect that the batteries sat fully discharged for months while the rig sat on their lot). So my dealer had to pay Lifeline for the new batteries. In hind sight, I now respect and appreciate my dealer for stepping up to the plate.

This could be why the 2015s now come with a 100 w solar panel. The 50 w panel just can't keep the batteries charged while sitting on dealer lots (and I'm sure they don't shut off all the electrical draw like the antenna booster, inverter, etc.) Just my thoughts.
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Old 05-05-2014, 05:52 AM   #11
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When I first took my AI back to the dealer, the dealer wanted Lifeline to cover the cost of the new batteries, but Lifeline wanted to test the batteries first. So my dealer removed the batteries and took them to Lifeline (fortunately they aren't too far away). Lifeline determined that the batteries were too far damaged by neglect and wouldn't cover them (I suspect that the batteries sat fully discharged for months while the rig sat on their lot). So my dealer had to pay Lifeline for the new batteries. In hind sight, I now respect and appreciate my dealer for stepping up to the plate.

This could be why the 2015s now come with a 100 w solar panel. The 50 w panel just can't keep the batteries charged while sitting on dealer lots (and I'm sure they don't shut off all the electrical draw like the antenna booster, inverter, etc.) Just my thoughts.
Glad that your dealer stepped up to cover them for you. A 100 watt panel is better, but the key is charging the Lifelines at the proper voltages required. If the solar charge controller included does not have adjustable set points AND temperature compensation, it will simply be extending the battery life a bit, but is really NOT the solution.

Better battery charging equipment (like Magnum inverter/chargers) and including....NOT EXCLUDING the temp compensation sensor that generally comes with a Magnum, along with better solar charge controllers WILL help prolong your battery life to the maximum.
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Old 05-05-2014, 03:38 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by David M View Post
The dealer replaced both of my house batteries with new Lifelines. The dealer didn't keep the batteries charged, or drained them too many times, while it sat on their lot. The batteries were so damaged that they wouldn't even hold a charge for the duration of my 30 mile drive home after the purchase. Airstream did not pay for the new batteries, but my dealer did. The dealer took responsibility for "lot damage", and so should your dealer. Good luck.
David
After a couple of phone calls to Northwest dealer service departments today I don't see that happening. Good for your dealer!
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Old 05-05-2014, 03:56 PM   #13
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After a couple of phone calls to Northwest dealer service departments today I don't see that happening. Good for your dealer!
That is why I suggested getting Jim Parrett at Airstream involved.
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Old 05-05-2014, 04:52 PM   #14
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Glad that your dealer stepped up to cover them for you. A 100 watt panel is better, but the key is charging the Lifelines at the proper voltages required. If the solar charge controller included does not have adjustable set points AND temperature compensation, it will simply be extending the battery life a bit, but is really NOT the solution.



Better battery charging equipment (like Magnum inverter/chargers) and including....NOT EXCLUDING the temp compensation sensor that generally comes with a Magnum, along with better solar charge controllers WILL help prolong your battery life to the maximum.

... And as we know Airstream does not include the temp sensor with the Magnums they install. That cigarette pack sized solar controller they installed on my rig was a fixed voltage PWM Controller that would never fully charge the batteries.
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