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Old 06-05-2015, 03:03 PM   #1
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Battery Drain Question?

I have a question about battery life. My 2011 interstate just had the house batteries replaced, I verified it because i pulled up the sofa and checked the sticker then called the manufacturer, so i know that batteries are fresh.

The rv has the 50w solar panel.

I parked the rv this monday night. Batteries were fully charged. I turned off the red battery cutoff on under the sofa. Here's what I DIDN'T do, I didn't change it from auto/invert to charge only and I didn't turn off the propane solenoid. When I came back the friday at noon, the tripp-light was flashing red on the left indicating a really drained battery. Luckily the generator still started.

So, my question to all of you is. Do I have a troubleshooting expedition on my hands to find the cause of the drain or is leaving the auto/invert on and the propane solenoid enough to cause that much drain and 3 and 1/2 days?
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Old 06-05-2015, 03:27 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwcmick View Post
I parked the rv this monday night. Batteries were fully charged. I turned off the red battery cutoff on under the sofa. Here's what I DIDN'T do, I didn't change it from auto/invert to charge only and I didn't turn off the propane solenoid. When I came back the friday at noon, the tripp-light was flashing red on the left indicating a really drained battery. Luckily the generator still started.
That last bit is the key. There was still enough juice left to start the generator. Looks like you caught it in time and no damage was done. Regardless of what the Tripplite panel says, that's the real gaugeó if there's not enough power left to start the generator, THEN your batteries are drained, not before. I know, because that has happened to me, twice.
Quote:
So, my question to all of you is. Do I have a troubleshooting expedition on my hands to find the cause of the drain or is leaving the auto/invert on and the propane solenoid enough to cause that much drain and 3 and 1/2 days?
On the older Interstates like ours, where the solenoid is independent of the main disconnect, it can be a significant drain all by itself 0.75 amps per hour, or 18 amps per day.

A couple of potential drains you didn't mention: the fridge, which if left on would have drawn off the inverter even with the 12v feed disconnected; and the antenna amplifier, which is also independent of the main disconnect.

Also, the best storage solution for an Interstate with Tripplite that won't be plugged into shore power is:
12v disconnect off;
Inverter/charger completely off so not even its cooling fan runs;
Propane solenoid off; and
Antenna amplifier off.
Pretty short checklist, and easy enough to remember once you get used to it.

I also turn off the circuit breakers, even though I don't have to, but that's because when I'm packing up to leave a campground I always turn off the breakers inside before turning on or off the breaker outside on the pedestal, so it's force of habit to turn off the breakers every time I park.
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Old 06-05-2015, 03:50 PM   #3
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FWIW, on my 2011, the main 12V disconnect does kill power to the antenna amplifier.
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Old 06-05-2015, 03:51 PM   #4
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Excellent info as always. So if I am hearing you correctly, it seems that you are saying there likely isn't anything wrong with the RV but rather my incorrect procedure for turning things off?

I didn't realize that the fridge would still pull juice if I turned the master switch off!!!

On a side note, when the guy was "demonstrating" the rv to me he broke off the knob for my propane access panel. Now I suppose I could call back the the RV place and ask they send a replacement knob but I don't want to get into a fight with those clowns. Right now I am using a twist tie to secure it. Have folks found anything else that is a good replacement or should I just get another knob?
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Old 06-05-2015, 05:16 PM   #5
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Excellent info as always. So if I am hearing you correctly, it seems that you are saying there likely isn't anything wrong with the RV but rather my incorrect procedure for turning things off?
Can't say that for sure, but when troubleshooting it's always best to check the easy things first just in case the problem IS an easy thing. And procedures are always easier to check than hardware problems.

So what I'm actually saying is, try it and see. And if the revised procedure doesn't solve the problem, check back and we'll think of something else.
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Old 06-05-2015, 06:47 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by rwcmick View Post
Excellent info as always. So if I am hearing you correctly, it seems that you are saying there likely isn't anything wrong with the RV but rather my incorrect procedure for turning things off?

I didn't realize that the fridge would still pull juice if I turned the master switch off!!!

On a side note, when the guy was "demonstrating" the rv to me he broke off the knob for my propane access panel. Now I suppose I could call back the the RV place and ask they send a replacement knob but I don't want to get into a fight with those clowns. Right now I am using a twist tie to secure it. Have folks found anything else that is a good replacement or should I just get another knob?

Yes your Interstate is probably OK - you just need to turn off everything if you want to conserve battery power. On this forum we have seen that Airstream wires each model differently. So be sure to turn off the things mentioned by Protag above. The big "gotcha" items are the propane valve and the TV antenna booster.


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Old 06-05-2015, 08:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwcmick View Post
Excellent info as always. So if I am hearing you correctly, it seems that you are saying there likely isn't anything wrong with the RV but rather my incorrect procedure for turning things off?

I didn't realize that the fridge would still pull juice if I turned the master switch off!!!

On a side note, when the guy was "demonstrating" the rv to me he broke off the knob for my propane access panel. Now I suppose I could call back the the RV place and ask they send a replacement knob but I don't want to get into a fight with those clowns. Right now I am using a twist tie to secure it. Have folks found anything else that is a good replacement or should I just get another knob?
Since you also have a 2011, I'm interested if your antenna amplifier stays on when the battery disconnect is OFF. Mine doesn't.
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Old 06-09-2015, 12:49 AM   #8
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Being new and especially imtimidated on this subject...just got my 2011 Interstate. For last week, I had it stored with shore power. My question(s):
1)when on shore power what should the Trippet panel read? Espcially the inverter vs converter rocker switch (slow and not getting it)
2) when off shore power and not wanting to drain house batteries - what should be turned on and or off?
thanks, MJ
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Old 06-09-2015, 01:00 AM   #9
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Personally when on shore power, I don't pay much attention to the Tripp-Lite panel because it seems to give conflicting info sometimes. The switch on the panel will, when the inverter is in Auto mode, switch it to Charge only mode. Too bad that they couldn't put a remote On/Off switch there also.

When off shore power, I turn the inverter, frig, and main battery disconnect off. Some say that the antenna amplifier and propane valve need to be off but mine are not powered when the batteries are off. YMMV When parked outside, the solar panel keeps my batteries charged.
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Old 06-09-2015, 01:32 AM   #10
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When off shore power, I turn the inverter, frig, and main battery disconnect off. Some say that the antenna amplifier and propane valve need to be off but mine are not powered when the batteries are off. YMMV
Even within the same model year, different Interstates are wired slightly differently. My propane solenoid and antenna amplifier are independent of the main 12vDC cutoff. I proved this by virtue of two simple tests:
1 - The green light on the antenna amplifier lights up when I press the button to turn it on, even with the main disconnect turned off.
2 - With the main disconnect turned off and the propane solenoid turned on, I can light the burners and cook a meal. It's not just burning off residual propane from the lines between the tank and burners because that little bit of propane would only burn for a few seconds, not ten or fifteen minutes.

But as 73shark said, your mileage may vary. I think there are more technicians than just one doing electrical wiring on the Interstates at Jackson Center, and it probably depends on which technician did yours.
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Old 06-09-2015, 12:02 PM   #11
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I would NOT recommend leaving your Interstate connected to shore power while in storage constantly with the Tripplite. It may overcharge the batteries. It either does not have a smart charger that stops charging when the batteries are full, or does not float charge them correctly. I'm not sure what damage it could do with the AGM's, but in my old Roadtrek, with the same Tripplite inverter/charger used in the Interstate, it would boil off battery acid after a while if left constantly plugged into shore power. My driveway still has the rust red stains to prove it.

I swapped out the Tripplite for the Magnum MS2012 as it does have a smart charger and won't overcharge. If you opt to keep the Tripplite, I would suggest killing all power, and periodically, top the batteries off and then disconnect from shore power rather than leaving it plugged in all the time. Better yet, replace it with the Magnum. It's pricey, but worth it. Plus, you get pure sine wave instead of modified in the process.

Even if you turn off the battery disconnect switch, the propane switch, and the external antenna amplifier, there is a draw from somewhere. One place I think it goes is the gauges which draw a small amount. But over time, it can deplete the batteries. I personally think a battery disconnect switch should kill ALL power from the batteries, and may change that out in the future.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mjwcubed View Post
Being new and especially imtimidated on this subject...just got my 2011 Interstate. For last week, I had it stored with shore power. My question(s):
1)when on shore power what should the Trippet panel read? Espcially the inverter vs converter rocker switch (slow and not getting it)
2) when off shore power and not wanting to drain house batteries - what should be turned on and or off?
thanks, MJ
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Old 06-09-2015, 02:16 PM   #12
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I personally think a battery disconnect switch should kill ALL power from the batteries, and may change that out in the future.
If you do, you'll lose the BIM function and may lose the solar charge capability. I think, but as most things Airstream, not sure.

Edit: I guess w/o 12V, the BIM is not needed. But not sure how the solar would work w/o it.
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Old 06-09-2015, 02:34 PM   #13
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From the schematic for the 2011, these bypass the disconnect switch:

1. Fresh/Grey Tank heater switch and heater pads. These shouldn't draw any current unless on.
2.The Tripplite inverter/charger positive input. If the inverter is on, it will draw some current.
3. The battery separator and tank and battery monitor. Again, it will always draw a current.
5.The solar charge controller and remote. Always draws a bit.
6. Generator starter and remote. Always draws a bit to show the display.

I'm guessing these draw maybe an 1 amp, 24/7.

Protag, the antenna booster is supposed to be powered by #4 circuit along with the rope light (and in my case, the light in the wardrobe).

The LPG valve is supposed to be wired into #6 circuit. There is no provision in the schematic for it to be wired any other way.

Both circuits should be killed if the main disconnect is off, or if the main 12vdc or individual circuit breaker is off. If off, can you still hear the LPG valve make the "ping" sound when turning it on?
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Old 06-09-2015, 02:41 PM   #14
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Yes, you would have to re-wire the solar and BIM, but actually, the solar should to be re-wired. Currently, they have the positive go to the posiitve bus bar, where it is not very efficiently providing the power back to the batteries. It should be wired directly to the charge controller and that to the batteries, and skip the disconnect altogether. Or maybe have it's own disconnect.

And yes, it would disable the BIM when disconnected. But that's ok. Just leave the battery connected when you drive down the road so they get a charge which you have to do anyway if you are using any of the DC appliances (such as the fridge). Or if they don't need to be charged, and you aren't running anything on DC or the inverter, for instance, leave it off.

I bet Lew doesn't leave 'em wired the way Airstream does.
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