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Old 08-09-2015, 03:12 PM   #1
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2016 Grand Tour battery problem

Help....I disconnected shore power, master switch off at door and inverter off, battery fully charged. House battery went down to 11.5 in one week.

What did I do wrong?
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Old 08-09-2015, 07:31 PM   #2
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There has been a lot of discussion about similar issues on this forum. Are you getting full sun? Assume you have the 100 watt solar panel? The master switch does not disconnect al the parasitic loads. There is typically about a constant 0.4 amp DC parasitic draw on your house batteries. So if you don't get good sunlight the solar will not keep up. Other causes could be a bad solar controller. The one Airstream installs isn't very good. Also leaving the TV antenna signal booster on will kill a battery and it is not on the master switch.

Hope this helps,

- - Mike
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Old 08-09-2015, 11:58 PM   #3
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Be sure to turn the propane switch off. It draws a significant amount of current and is not turned off by the master disconnect. The BIM will always draw a small amount of power and can not be shut off. I am not sure on the newer models but on mine the antenna booster is not on when the battery disconnect switch is off.
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Old 08-10-2015, 06:02 AM   #4
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On my 2013 the main disconnect turns off all parasitic loads mentioned above - antenna booster, propane solenoid, all detectors,etc. It turns off all but the Mangum, BIM, and solar controller. My 50W panel will keep up with those three loads and the self-discharge of the batterry. But il will not keep up if the main disconnect switch is on. Sad situation - and hence my current project (no pun intended) is to remove the 50W and add two 100W panels.
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Old 08-10-2015, 06:37 AM   #5
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Thanks for these responses. I should have mentioned that I am in bright sun. Solar shows 2.4 amps. I've read the threads on this topic and the 2016 manual says plug into 110v two times a month for one to two hours. Clearly that doesn't work. Other threads say with new inverter (3 phase) leave plugged in all the time.

I think the latter is the answer. Question I'll resolve today is whether turning off master switch at door turns off inverter. Also, I have satellite so I don't care about TV booster. Need to find how to turn it off.

grand Tour is terrific unit. I love it. Thanks again.
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Old 08-10-2015, 07:59 AM   #6
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I've read the threads on this topic and the 2016 manual says plug into 110v two times a month for one to two hours.
Now that is just silly, and I have no clue what silly bugger came up with it.

On the other hand, you should run the generator at least once a month for an hour or so to keep it in good working order, and you can get some battery charging that way— provided the batteries don't drop too low to even start the generator. But that's more for generator benefit than for battery benefit.

A 50w solar panel is woefully inadequate for boondocking— you need at least as many watts of solar panel as you have amp-hours of battery capacity for that— but 50w should at least keep up with the parasitic draws that can't be shut off while the unit is in storage.

The antenna amplifier on mine is located in the big storage compartment over the front seats, on the driver's side. It displays a green light if it's powered and switched on; the light is a lighted pushbutton. Easy to tell if it's still powered and on when the main disconnect is switched off because it would still be lit.

Master switch at the door does not turn off the inverter, only the 12v system. The Magnum inverters have an inconveniently-located on-off switch, but if you switch it to "line charge" then it can't invert even if left on in storage.

I also make sure to turn off all of my 120v breakers when the vehicle is in storage. I need to turn them off before connecting or disconnecting shore power anyway, so it makes sense not to turn them back on again until I get to the campground and hook up; I don't drive with televisions on so I don't need the inverter on while in transit.
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Old 08-10-2015, 09:50 AM   #7
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On mine battery disconnect switch shuts everything off except the propane valve, BIM, and inverter. At high noon on a clear day solar puts out a little over 3 amps. YMMV
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Old 08-10-2015, 06:19 PM   #8
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Now that is just silly, and I have no clue what silly bugger came up with it.
I wish it were silly. I have a 2014.5 Interstate, for more than a year. If I don't "plug into shore power two times a month for one to two hours", my batteries will be completely drained.

I turn off the master switch. I know how to make sure the MMS1012 inverter is off. I have turned off the antenna amplifier and unplugged the HDMI switch. The propane valve is off. The CO monitor is unplugged. Nevertheless, my Lifelines will go down to nil if I were to leave the van unplugged for more than a couple of weeks.

Everyone who doesn't have this problem thinks that we, the owners of these power-problem vans, are leaving something turned on. Nope. Something in the van, after everything is unplugged and turned off, is drawing a third to half an amp every hour, every day.

The van has to be plugged in almost weekly.
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Old 08-10-2015, 06:31 PM   #9
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I wish it were silly. I have a 2014.5 Interstate, for more than a year.
No. The reason I said it was silly is that the Magnum inverter/charger is a "smart" charger and will shut itself off to prevent overcharging even if left plugged in 24/7. I don't doubt for one minute that you have a power drain that can't be identified or that the batteries need to be charged every couple of weeks, especially if parked indoors where the solar panel doesn't help.

Also, rather than plugging it in every couple of weeks, DRIVE it every couple of weeks. Thanks to the BIM, the house batteries will charge from the engine alternator as well as from shore power.
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Old 08-10-2015, 06:49 PM   #10
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The original poster may have access to power while his van is parked, so he can avoid his original problem by plugging in.

I don't have the option to plug in where my van is stored, so "down to 11.5 in one week" is a real problem for me.

My van is spec'ed to draw only a hundredth of the half-amp that it does, and (from reading the forums) my van is not the only one with the problem.
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Old 08-10-2015, 07:11 PM   #11
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On the last '14 AI that I did a full solar/inverter/battery upgrade on, I noticed that the dash radio/navi was powered from the house batteries, rather than from the engine battery. This would cause a rather large parasitic load IF you have left the switch on for the navi.

I would also check, as Protag mentioned, that your TV amplifier button is OFF and no green LED is illuminated.

Another problem might be the BIM itself. If your starting battery is low (below 12.6VDC) and your meager factory solar (sorry, Airstream!) is actually adding it's 2.0-2.5 amps to your house batteries, the BIM WILL connect the 2 batteries and cause a parasitic load all it's own!

If you have no access to shore power in storage, I would do one of a few things:
1. add a 300 amp marine switch into the positive line from the batteries so that you have a TRUE 100% battery disconnect. A fully charged bank of healthy Lifeline AGM batteries left in total isolation should last for 90 days minimum before requiring a boost charge
2. take the AI for a 2 hour ride every 2-3 weeks and let your BIM/alternator combo charge your house batteries
3. upgrade your solar to a real solar charging system that will have the capacity to not only overcome your parasitic loads, but will keep your Lifelines in float charge indefinitely (assuming you have stored the Ai in the open)
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Old 08-11-2015, 07:23 AM   #12
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Again, Lewster is spot on. Get the solar upgraded and sleep better at night knowing that a sunny day will make everything better in your house batteries!
Airstream, are you listening? Base Solar setup is woefully inadequate!


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Old 08-13-2015, 05:46 PM   #13
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On the last '14 AI that I did a full solar/inverter/battery upgrade on, I noticed that the dash radio/navi was powered from the house batteries, rather than from the engine battery. This would cause a rather large parasitic load IF you have left the switch on for the navi.
My Kenwood is turned off, but my batteries last only 10 days unplugged on the storage lot. The Airstream manual says the DNN990HD uses 0.001A when it's turned off.

In my 2014.5, the Kenwood DNN990HD has power either when the ignition is turned on, or when the batteries are connected using the house battery disconnect switch. With the house batteries switched off and the ignition off, it is not possible to turn on the Kenwood. The Airstream manual says there is a "Radio Power Relay" that connects both chassis switched power and house power to the Kenwood switched-power input.

Oddly enough, the last time I had the house batteries physically removed from the circuit (looking for parasitic loads), the Kenwood lost all its memory. So, the Kenwood constant power input is wired to the house batteries, and not to either of the 2 chassis batteries. Go figure.
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