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Old 07-22-2015, 06:25 AM   #43
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I added a battery monitor kit to the Magnum and a disconnect to the positive cable leading to the Magnum. Turning this +12V cable is the only way to completely eliminate all current draw (or so I understand). But is that a good idea to use as SOP for every storage event? And soon as I do (if I do) I lose my current meter (shunt).

I hde the same question as coder: 'Put in a switch to turn off the BIM?' So I called the BIM mfgr to ask if it was OK to do so, and what wire I should run through the switch. Mfgr laughed, saying that current draw was too small to bother with. 'too small' x 24 hrs/day x 7 days/week x several weeks of storage is still something. SO I am tempted to call the BIM mfgr again and take another run at it.
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Old 07-22-2015, 10:15 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c21bill View Post
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
The Atkinson Electronics solar controller in my Interstate kicks in when the batteries drop to 12.7 volts or below. If the jumper has been cut, it will kick in at 12.4 volts or lower.
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Old 07-22-2015, 10:26 AM   #45
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This may not apply since I have a trailer, but a battery cutoff device like this at the negative terminal is a simple method for non-powered storage as it cuts all parasitic draws. I first started this approach on the two classic cars stored in my garage which get substantially less use than the daily driver. There are various configurations available depending on terminal type and location.

http://www.amazon.com/Side-Battery-M.../dp/B001N72FES
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Old 07-22-2015, 01:29 PM   #46
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After a week and a couple of days this is what Airstream Customer Service told me in an email. They also sent me attachments which I have not read yet. Going to RBM now to pickup AI and at least $1000 poorer. One comment though, Airstream CS said they tried to call me...no one else has had this problem with my phone and I suppose if they had tried to call RBM, RBM's answering machine didn't work either....curious.

"Good Morning,

I tried to call you a couple of times and it seems that your voicemail is not set up. I talked to Theresa today regarding the batteries. I do want to help you so that your batteries do not get damaged in the future. RBM found the charging system to be working like it should and confirmed its operation with our National Service Manager. It looks like we replaced batteries for you at the end of September last year? There are several reasons that the batteries could expand, most commonly is that they are allowed to discharge to less than 80% and either left that way for a while or repeatedly. The other common reason is that the batteries freeze during the winter. The best thing to do with the Magnum charging system is to leave it plugged in and periodically use the unit. The charger is a 3 stage charger/inverter that works really well with the AGM batteries. When you do store the unit, make sure that the LP system is turned off and the inverter. These two components can draw a battery down pretty quickly even if the disconnect switch is turned on. If you are leaving the unit for longer than a week, I would suggest disconnecting the batteries themselves so that there is no parasitic drain. I have included information on the Lifeline batteries as well as the Magnum charger. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thank you."
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Old 07-22-2015, 05:33 PM   #47
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A lot of info above. Perhaps owners would benefit from a very short set of decision trees summarized along the lines of:

IF you have [this Interstate year and electrical configuration]
THEN follow [this procedure optimally]
ELSE follow [this Plan B procedure]

We, too, had our coach battery get ruined, and it got to the point where I gave up trying to wrap my head around all the why's, wherefore's, and should-have's. My husband developed a scheme and I follow it. In our case that amounted to replacing the Lifeline battery, replacing the original converter with a "Parallax Power Supply Model TCRU with TempAssure", and keeping it plugged in 21.5 hours per day while the Interstate is not in use (no solar panels plus interior warehouse storage; the shore power supply is on a timer, with the daily time interrupt meant to simulate, in my husband's description, "a poor man's fourth-stage charger"). It's been some months now, and no further battery problems (knock simulated cherry wood).
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Old 07-29-2015, 01:32 PM   #48
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We got back from out trip to Texas Monday and today I went to where I have the AI stored to check the battery status. (Inverter off, house power off)...it was down to 90%. When I picked the AI up it had a sound like an electrical whine that matched the engine speed (radio off) that wasn't there when I dropped it off so I decided to find the battery box and look at the batteries. The battery box is under the seat to the right as you are looking forward. I undid the 4 screws and pulled the battery box out and what did i find were two Duracell AGM batteries and not LifeLine!!!! What do you think? Should I insist on LifeLine batteries?
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Old 07-29-2015, 02:38 PM   #49
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You know what my answer is !!!! :-))


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Old 07-29-2015, 03:17 PM   #50
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Might want to check your solar controller as w/ everything off, the solar panel should keep the batteries at 100% by midday. Even on cloudy days, there seems to be enuf lite to keep up w/ the drain of the BIM and solar controller.
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Old 07-29-2015, 04:23 PM   #51
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Ok...baby steps.... I have thrown in the towel on my 50watt panel on my 2013 AI. As others have stated....the GS100 mono crystalline panel from AM Solar is not available. I did locate a 100watt polycrystalline panel (Grape Solar's GS-100-Star) that has about the same (well....almost) dimensions, and similar specs. I did buy a set of brackets and tilt bars from AM Solar to replace the (less than desired) brackets that came from Grape Solar.

Current plan is to swap out panels. The new brackets appear to give me enough room to clear old brackets and not disturb those roof penetrations. MC4 connectors everywhere....

I considered putting the 50 in parallel with the 100, but the 12ga wire Airstream uses makes that a no go, if I read the charts right.
The electrical specs for both are close....18 Vmp for the 100, and 17.9 for the Ameresco 50 watt...... 5.56amp for the 100, and 2.79 amps for the 50 watt. If I read the wire size charts correctly, that is just too much to stuff through a 12ga wire (approx 12' long).....when I add 25% for weather variations. Soooooo, it looks like I will just swap out.

This is all for battery maintenance in storage...if I ever get the need...I will certainly look to AM Solar for a real system.


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Old 07-29-2015, 04:36 PM   #52
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So are you saying that the 50W panel would not keep the batteries up in storage outside?
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Old 07-29-2015, 04:41 PM   #53
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Not over the winter, and questionable in extended rainy weeks. After replacing one set of Lifelines....actually the dealer did....I get a little gun shy when the voltage continues to drop.


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Old 07-30-2015, 12:09 PM   #54
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Here is my current plan - slightly different than toskeysam:
My 50W will keep up when sitting in the driveway with main battery disconnect turned off (no detectors, no refrigerator, no lights, etc - just the BIM and Magnum draw. But that keeping up with no load is of no value to me because I have power available while sitting in the driveway and can have it plugged in continously (I have Magnum inertor/charger). I need to keep up with detector and refirgerator load while out camping. I am willing to use the genny for anything more than that (for example, if I had to run the furnace at night).I too have concluded that existing wiring of 50W panel is inadequate for anything more than that. But I had concluded (with comfirmation from AM Solar) that 50 W panel (and its wiring) could meet up with the new larger wire from two new GS 100 panels at a new Blu Sky Energy controller.

But ten I found that the GS 100 is no longer available and have not looked too much at plan B.

Plan B issues:
Do I have room for different (larger than GS 100 panels)?
Is monocrystal or polycrystal Grape Aolar 100 panels better?
Can I mix monocrystal 72 cell Ameresco with polycrystal 36 cell Grape Solar panels
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Old 07-30-2015, 12:46 PM   #55
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You should be able to fit the new SF-100 panels from AM Solar, as they are only 7" longer than the GS series.

I would not mix and match panels if differing configurations ( 36 cell vs. 72 cell) as the output voltages will vary dramatically.

You should have no more than a few tenths of a volt in output variation between panels, or the MPPT feature of your solar controller will get 'confused' and not operate.


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Old 07-30-2015, 01:21 PM   #56
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Glad you stepped in here Lewster....I was considering the SF100 panels, a pair of them in the rear of my AI. (once I either ditch or move the TV antenna) just not brave enough to start pulling a new system.......if I head for an upgrade,,,,,you and AM will be my first contacts.
Also thank you for mix/match comment. Always helps when someone "that knows" steps up.
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