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Old 07-16-2015, 01:07 AM   #29
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Monroe , Washington
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I have a 2014.5 Interstate, with the stock 50-watt panel.

Parked in full sun, no shade, in the summer, its batteries will NOT stay charged (above 50%) parked, unplugged for a month, in Seattle. That's in decent, sunny conditions. Forget trying to leave it for a month in the winter, when it is mostly cloudy in Seattle.

A 3.3-amp parasitic draw is ridiculous. Infuriating. It means I have to go out to the storage place every week or so (in the winter) or every couple of weeks to charge the batteries. Yet another design flaw that at some point I'm going to have to go in and fix somehow. Find a different BIM? Put in a switch to turn off the BIM?

Shipping the Interstate with a 50-watt panel is pointless. It's not enough to run anything while the van is in use, and it's not enough to keep up with the absurd 3.3-amp continuous parasitic draw. It's sad, because a 50-watt panel would have kept my Airstream trailer charged 100% indefinitely.
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Old 07-16-2015, 09:07 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by coder View Post
I have a 2014.5 Interstate, with the stock 50-watt panel.



Parked in full sun, no shade, in the summer, its batteries will NOT stay charged (above 50%) parked, unplugged for a month, in Seattle. That's in decent, sunny conditions. Forget trying to leave it for a month in the winter, when it is mostly cloudy in Seattle.



A 3.3-amp parasitic draw is ridiculous. Infuriating. It means I have to go out to the storage place every week or so (in the winter) or every couple of weeks to charge the batteries. Yet another design flaw that at some point I'm going to have to go in and fix somehow. Find a different BIM? Put in a switch to turn off the BIM?



Shipping the Interstate with a 50-watt panel is pointless. It's not enough to run anything while the van is in use, and it's not enough to keep up with the absurd 3.3-amp continuous parasitic draw. It's sad, because a 50-watt panel would have kept my Airstream trailer charged 100% indefinitely.

There shouldn't be a 3.3 amp parasitic draw - unless there's some sort of problem or something like the inverter was left on. Here in the Arizona full sun, my 50 watt panel can keep up with any parasitic draw while the fridge is running. And at a pinch I can leave the Maxxaire fan running too.
Have you checked the readings on the solar display to ensure the solar is running properly?


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Old 07-16-2015, 09:07 AM   #31
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Haha - yes it does say that!
If you go by their battery draw figures on page 9-8, you can see the batteries won't last anywhere near 30 days before they need a top-up - more like 4 days!
If you also look at the bottom of 5-16, it says for long-term storage, remove the batteries and use a maintenance charger. But the experts on this forum have assured us that the Magnum is smart enough to do the same thing!
Here's a follow up question : most of the draw is from the Magnum, which I turn off. The solar (100w) seems more than capable of keeping up because my charge is always at 100% when I go to "visit" my AI on the lot. Is there any reason I need to leave the Magnum ON when parked, unplugged? btw I'm in Chicago. I feel like there's been an avg amount of sun vs. non-sun over the past 2 mos, although I haven't researched it.
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Old 07-16-2015, 09:17 AM   #32
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Here's a follow up question : most of the draw is from the Magnum, which I turn off. The solar (100w) seems more than capable of keeping up because my charge is always at 100% when I go to "visit" my AI on the lot. Is there any reason I need to leave the Magnum ON when parked, unplugged? btw I'm in Chicago. I feel like there's been an avg amount of sun vs. non-sun over the past 2 mos, although I haven't researched it.

They upgraded to the 100 watt panel to support the larger fridge/freezer in the Grand Tour, so you have an advantage when storing in the daylight.
You don't need to (and shouldn't) leave your Magnum on when it's stored. The "on" is just referring to the inverter setting actually, and doesn't affect its charging abilities, and it's using amps in invert mode. But nothing to do with solar charging of course.


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Old 07-16-2015, 09:47 AM   #33
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Boxster is correct in that Airstream deletes the temperature sensor from their Magnum MMS 1012 orders ( I confirmed this with Magnum).

WITH the temp sensor installed and the Magnum set for the AGM 1 charge profile, the Magnum charging section will keep track of your battery condition: floating most of the time while the batteries are dormant.

Every 4 hours or so, the charger will cycle quickly thru the Bulk and Absorption charge just to keep the electrolyte fresh. It will then go right back to float.

Since the 'AGM 1' setting was created specifically for Lifelines, you can be assured that at 77 deg. F, they will be receiving a 14.3 VDC bulk/absorb charge of proper duration for the size of your battery bank and. 13.2 VDC float charge, as this detail should have been programmed into the remote on installation.

These voltage levels do change, depending on what data the temp sensor sends to the remote and will follow the pre-programmed temperature compensation curves located in the firmware of the remote.

Lifelines can float at their properly temperature compensated level for years without any effect on the charge retention properties.


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Lew, I have the opposite question: if I"m leaving my 2015 AI on a lot for 4-6 weeks, is it ok to leave it unplugged? I think it is if I turn off everything (including Magnum) to minimize draw, and count on my 100w solar to keep the house batteries charged (parked in Santa Barbara area during winter) ?
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:17 AM   #34
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I have had to replace the sets of batteries twice and interstate is not even two years old. It has never been unplugged for more than a month from the shoreline. I have complained to our dealership constantly. They say I should not have to keep it plugged in when not in use but it should be charged once a month and to use the disconnect switch. Which I had been using. I even went to the shop and had them walk me through the shutdown/disconnect steps. Be sure propane is off, your inverter is off and refrigerator. Imagine my surprise when after 3 weeks, it was dead. So I brought up the solar panel unit to them and asked why that didn't provide enough of a charge. It had been in full sun those three weeks. Low and behold a wire was loose and a fuse blown.

Hopefully this fix will help. It is disappointing how many times I reported this issue and essentially I had to be the one who troubleshot it for my dealer. Oh, and let's not forget the 4 batteries needing to be replaced at $350 each.

Good luck.

They are expensive machines and it would be great if they felt more reliable and received better service. The Sprinter part is reliable. I am also having my second round of issues with the automatic awning. Just crap.
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:36 AM   #35
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Lew, I have the opposite question: if I"m leaving my 2015 AI on a lot for 4-6 weeks, is it ok to leave it unplugged? I think it is if I turn off everything (including Magnum) to minimize draw, and count on my 100w solar to keep the house batteries charged (parked in Santa Barbara area during winter) ?

Assuming that your Airstream-provided solar is actively charging your batteries, you should have no problems ........ provided that you have removed all known parasitic loads like LP solenoid, main DC disconnect and the inverter in 'off' position.


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Old 07-20-2015, 03:27 PM   #36
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Assuming that your Airstream-provided solar is actively charging your batteries, you should have no problems ........ provided that you have removed all known parasitic loads like LP solenoid, main DC disconnect and the inverter in 'off' position.


Lew Farber
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Master Tech Energy Systems, Inc.
AM Solar Certified Installation Center
Lifeline Batteries**Magnum Inverters
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Lew, on my 2014 AI with the 50W panel, how many amps should the panel be putting out in full bright sun. I just got back from 4 days of dry camping and the most amperage I saw on the solar indicator was about 1.5. At some times it read zero in bright sun and the batteries were only reading around 75% remaining charge.
Thanks,
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Old 07-20-2015, 03:58 PM   #37
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Typically, a 50 watt panel should give you around 2.5 amps in bright sun from your PWM solar controller. Unfortunately, Airstream's idea of solar wiring leaves a lot of room for voltage drop thru-ought the system.

You also might have a loose connection or bad solar controller.

2.5 amps......... And especially 1.5 amps is little more than a trickle charge to maintain full batteries. There just isn't enough peerage there to add much, if anything to your batteries.


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Lifeline Batteries**Magnum Inverters
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Old 07-20-2015, 03:58 PM   #38
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Another solar question, how hard Is it to upgrade the 50W panel to a 100W? Is the 100w larger in terms of dimensions? Can it be wired to the same controller?
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Old 07-20-2015, 03:59 PM   #39
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'Should' be fairly straight forward. I doubt if the 100 watt panel will be able to use the existing mounts though.


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Old 07-20-2015, 05:33 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by lewster View Post
Typically, a 50 watt panel should give you around 2.5 amps in bright sun from your PWM solar controller. Unfortunately, Airstream's idea of solar wiring leaves a lot of room for voltage drop thru-ought the system.

You also might have a loose connection or bad solar controller.

2.5 amps......... And especially 1.5 amps is little more than a trickle charge to maintain full batteries. There just isn't enough peerage there to add much, if anything to your batteries.


Lew Farber
RVIA/RVDA Nationally Certified Master Tech
Master Tech Energy Systems, Inc.
AM Solar Certified Installation Center
Lifeline Batteries**Magnum Inverters
541-490-6357
I'll agree with your comments on the wiring, Lew. From new, my solar controller display never showed anything other than 'CHR' in full sun, and the cumulative amps display never went higher than 1.something. It took the dealer 3 months to determine the CAT5 cable was faulty since he was measuring output at the panel and that always looked fine. Now with a new cable I see 3.something amps in the overhead AZ sun and it does keep the batteries topped up.
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Old 07-20-2015, 06:30 PM   #41
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The highest solar charging current I've seen on mine is around 3.7 to 3.8 and amps.

One thing to consider when putting a larger solar panel on would be to ensure that the existing wiring could handle the higher current w/o an unacceptable voltage drop.
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Old 07-22-2015, 03:33 AM   #42
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Lew, on my 2014 AI with the 50W panel, how many amps should the panel be putting out in full bright sun. I just got back from 4 days of dry camping and the most amperage I saw on the solar indicator was about 1.5. At some times it read zero in bright sun and the batteries were only reading around 75% remaining charge.
Thanks,
Bill
One more question Lew, is the solar supposed to charge the batteries at all times (in sun) or only when the batteries are below a specified state of charge?
Thanks,
Bill
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