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Old 07-16-2018, 09:57 AM   #1
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2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Harrisville , Michigan
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Battery Management / Storing

Putting in the new house batteries tomorrow and I'm getting a bit conflicted with how the coach should be stored. First I have a 2016 Interstate EXT. I store the van in the pole barn in the summer (michigan) when not in use with 30 amp service plugged in.

1. Should the main battery disconnect be off or on while stored and plugged in.

I've always left it on but then a fellow camper told me it will still charge the house batteries even if it is off......hmmm?

For 6 months I store the coach at an outdoor facility in Floirda. It does get full direct sunlight for solar and I usually put it on the road once each month or use it when we need to pick stuff up or travel in Florida but not that much.

1. When storing it without power or plugging it in will the solar still charge with the main disconnect switch off? Last year, I turned off the main, shut off the propane switch and made sure the electronics for the TV up front are unplugged. After 2 months the house batteries were dead although the coach sat for a year (or more) at the dealer lot not plugged in since it was a new 2016 and I purchased in April 2017.
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Old 07-16-2018, 10:12 AM   #2
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It has a smart charger since it has the Magnum MS1012.

Leave it plugged in, with the battery switch on.
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Old 07-16-2018, 10:21 AM   #3
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FYI you might find this recent thread helpful IMO:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...rs-184259.html

Cheers,

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Old 07-16-2018, 10:48 AM   #4
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2018 Tommy Bahama Interstate
Huntington Beach , CA
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If you turn OFF the House batteries, the battery charger turns OFF also.
The solar charger works even if the batteries are OFF.

You should verify this with the 12V schematics that came with your AI.

If you have shore power, leave the House and Engine batteries ON. Leave the Inverter/Charger ON (in Charge mode) and turn OFF all the systems that you can (refrigerator, radio, etc.). That is what I, and most people, do with boats. The charger is a smart charger and will keep your batteries topped up.

If you do not have shore power, turn everything OFF (house & engine batteries, refrigerator, radio, etc.) and make sure you do not cover the solar panels. The solar charger should keep things charged. I assume that you replaced the horrible factory installed PWM solar charger with a MPPT charger and the factory installed Battery Isolator with a Blue Seas one. There are many posts in this forum for these worthwhile upgrades.
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Old 07-16-2018, 10:59 AM   #5
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So true about the solar-I'm replacing mine this week.

I am not sure the measly 50watt panel and the charge controller ever did anything on my 2011.

For what it is worth, I leave my plugged into a 30amp source 24/7 when not using it.
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Old 07-16-2018, 11:01 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
FYI you might find this recent thread helpful IMO:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...rs-184259.html

Cheers,

Peter

That thread is not going to help the OP. When storing in barn with power leave it plugged in as mentioned by gmiller.

Your problem is storing outside and thinking solar will keep batteries full. That is obviously not working. Sounds like you have just replaced batteries after the dealer ruined them by leaving it on lot for nearly a year.

I think your 2016 Interstate only has 100 or 200 Watts of solar. The stock solar charge controller that Airstream installs is junk and will not keep the batteries topped up as you have discovered. If you must store it outside for months at a time best to disconnect the batteries. Otherwise start with a better MPPT solar charge controller if you have 200 Watts of solar panels - that might work.

I have 400 Watts of solar panels and a Blue Sky MPPT charge controller. It keeps my all my batteries topped up. That is in a spot that only gets sun half day and I have the vent fan running to keep temps inside van down to ambient.
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Old 07-16-2018, 11:06 AM   #7
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[QUOTE=jtmac;2129322]Putting in the new house batteries tomorrow and I'm getting a bit conflicted with how the coach should be stored. First I have a 2016 Interstate EXT. I store the van in the pole barn in the summer (michigan) when not in use with 30 amp service plugged in.

1. Should the main battery disconnect be off or on while stored and plugged in.

I've always left it on but then a fellow camper told me it will still charge the house batteries even if it is off......hmmm?

Your fellow camper is correct. The batteries will charge from ac or solar with the disconnect turned off. You can test this yourself very easily by simply turning the disconnect off and watching your batteries overnight. Turning it off will reduce most parasitic drains. I had a 2014 Interstate for 5 years and usually had it plugged in to a household 110 receptacle. When travelling, I would leave it outdoors and rely on solar to keep the batteries topped off (I upgraded to 200W of solar). When travelling, I would leave the disconnect on so I could keep my meds cool in the frige and leave the Fantastic fan set to auto in case the coach got too warm. Worked for me for over 33,000miles and 2 trips to the East Coast.
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Old 07-16-2018, 11:15 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by gmillerok1 View Post
So true about the solar-I'm replacing mine this week.

I am not sure the measly 50watt panel and the charge controller ever did anything on my 2011.

For what it is worth, I leave my plugged into a 30amp source 24/7 when not using it.
I have a 100 watt solar charger and during orientation at the dealer they stated that if the batteries are fully charged the solar WILL keep them charged if left out in the sun assuming that all systems are turned off.
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Old 07-16-2018, 11:18 AM   #9
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Thanks all for the replies. I got the part about storing in the pole barn just leave it plugged in and main switch on.

I'll looking into a different solar charger because that would truly solve my florida storage issue. I guess it's either get a new type of solar charging system OR disconnect the house batteries underneath the coach then hook them back up each time we take it out.....
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Old 07-16-2018, 12:16 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jtmac View Post
Thanks all for the replies. I got the part about storing in the pole barn just leave it plugged in and main switch on.

I'll looking into a different solar charger because that would truly solve my florida storage issue. I guess it's either get a new type of solar charging system OR disconnect the house batteries underneath the coach then hook them back up each time we take it out.....
Once again, the battery disconnect can be turned off to reduce parasitic drains. The batteries will still charge from AC or solar. I assume you have a 100W solar panel on your coach. If your batteries are topped off when you park, and they should be, the solar will keep them topped off as long as you have full sun and minimum parasitic drains, in other words turn off the battery disconnect. It is very easy to test this yourself. I also agree with Boxter, install a better solar charge controller. This is a relatively cheap upgrade that will yield much better battery management.
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Old 07-16-2018, 02:50 PM   #11
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Once again, the battery disconnect can be turned off to reduce parasitic drains. The batteries will still charge from AC or solar.
On a 2014, the batteries will charge from solar regardless of the position of the disconnect switch. Solar is connected directly to the batteries.

OTOH, if the SB-164 "fix" has been installed, the Magnum is disconnected from the batteries when the disconnect switch is turned to "off" and the batteries will not charge.

I don't know what percentage of 2014 era AIs have the SB-164 modification installed. I checked and found that mine had it installed when I bought it used in January, 2017. I ripped SB-164 out and replaced the cheap solenoid with a heavy-duty battery switch. Therefore mine will charge from AC with the disconnect in the "off" state so long as I leave my added battery switch in the on state.

The OP should check to see whether the SB-164 fix is present on his AI. Any dealer can check or call Airstream will know, given the serial number.
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Old 07-16-2018, 03:04 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Pahaska View Post
On a 2014, the batteries will charge from solar regardless of the position of the disconnect switch. Solar is connected directly to the batteries.

OTOH, if the SB-164 "fix" has been installed, the Magnum is disconnected from the batteries when the disconnect switch is turned to "off" and the batteries will not charge.

I don't know what percentage of 2014 era AIs have the SB-164 modification installed. I checked and found that mine had it installed when I bought it used in January, 2017. I ripped SB-164 out and replaced the cheap solenoid with a heavy-duty battery switch. Therefore mine will charge from AC with the disconnect in the "off" state so long as I leave my added battery switch in the on state.

The OP should check to see whether the SB-164 fix is present on his AI. Any dealer can check or call Airstream will know, given the serial number.
I didn't realize that the SB-164 Mod changed the charge function. I no longer have my AI but when that mod came out, I researched it heavily then skipped it. Hopefully jtmac will see your post.
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Old 07-17-2018, 01:15 PM   #13
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Read through my Samsung TV owner manuals yesterday and learned that the little button behind the front Samsung TV, when pushed in (which is ON) to get channels over the air, does pull power from the batteries. I've added "Ensure TV button is in out (or OFF) position" to my storage checklist.
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