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Old 11-27-2013, 10:17 PM   #1
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Confused

I'm not very technical and need help understanding how to interpret the readings from the inverter/converter box? Purchased the van Oct 30, 2013 and still can't tell if my solar charger is working or not. We use the van daily and batteries always read at a 100% charge. Have never plugged the van into any household current but did take it on a long maiden trip of apps. 1500 miles using land line hookups with no problems. Can't shake the feeling i'm missing something. Airstream handbook sucks and can't figure out how to read the damn manuals provided by the manufacturers. Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-28-2013, 04:12 AM   #2
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If you use the van daily, the display should read 100% all the time. Your house batteries never have a chance to get depleted because rather than being charged by the solar panel, they're being charged by the alternator as you drive, thanks to the Battery Isolation Module (BIM).
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Old 11-28-2013, 09:38 AM   #3
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I have a new 2014/13 bought in October. At our home its always plugged in and then the solar control reads out 100%. But when we drive all day in sunlight and dry-camp for the night, usually it starts out at about 85% and by morning its at 50%. So I sent off a question to AI. Here is their answer:

"The battery isolator that is connected between your chassis battery and your house batteries is not designed to charge the entire time you are driving like a lot of other units use. It actually measures voltage and then engages to charge the batteries once they drop below 12.5V. So instead of constantly putting a charge to the batteries while you’re driving and possibly over-charging and shortening the life of the house batteries, it only engages at that voltage threshold. Therefore, it is possible to be at 85% battery life and for the house batteries to be above that voltage line."

In reading many other blogs about solar, there appears to be better solar gauges but AI does not use them. Maybe one day I will add more solar to the paltry 50 watts they provide and then upgrade the solar readout control.

One thing I have learned is that AI really is not making the Interstate for campers but for "people movers." And that's a shame because of the AI quality and camping background.
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Old 11-28-2013, 09:56 AM   #4
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The twin bed model is hardly a people mover since it can only hold 2-3 belted while moving.
I have written to Bob Wheeler in the past and his response was that some of these features we're are all asking for were available a few years ago and were "not popular" and therefore discontinued.
I think Airstream is lucky to have brand loyalty - it seems that is its major strength, not the product.
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Old 11-28-2013, 01:10 PM   #5
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The "couch model" without the extra 2 storage cabinets has 9 seated and belted positions and according to my dealer, that is the MOST popular model sold.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:44 PM   #6
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Airstream handbook sucks and can't figure out how to read the damn manuals provided by the manufacturers.
LMAO at this!!! This is what I keep saying, as I'm trying to figure out how everything works. I can not freakin' figure out anything on the dashboard. And I only kind of understand about 1/2 the stuff on that back panel with the battery power, etc.. And no, I don't understand the solar readout part of it.
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Old 12-03-2013, 05:00 AM   #7
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LMAO at this!!! This is what I keep saying, as I'm trying to figure out how everything works. I can not freakin' figure out anything on the dashboard. And I only kind of understand about 1/2 the stuff on that back panel with the battery power, etc.. And no, I don't understand the solar readout part of it.
Surprisingly, this is a GOOD thing! That means that everything is working the way it should. When something goes wrong, you get an education in a hurry, and THEN it all makes sense!

But there's a trade-off, too. Though you learn HOW things work when they quit working, you still can't understand WHY Airstream did it that way!
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Old 12-03-2013, 06:20 PM   #8
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LMAO at this!!! This is what I keep saying, as I'm trying to figure out how everything works. I can not freakin' figure out anything on the dashboard. And I only kind of understand about 1/2 the stuff on that back panel with the battery power, etc.. And no, I don't understand the solar readout part of it.
The dealer wouldn't be doing his job if at handover time he didn't spend several hours explaining how everything works to you. And since no-one can remember it all, he should give you a card with his number on it so you can call him any time you have questions.
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Old 12-04-2013, 05:43 AM   #9
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Uk, did you read the manuals? You have a great vehicle, do not try to make it into something it is not. For carrying passengers, you could buy a Sprinter with seats. Enjoy what you have, it will grow on you. Jim
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Old 12-04-2013, 06:09 AM   #10
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The dealer wouldn't be doing his job if at handover time he didn't spend several hours explaining how everything works to you. And since no-one can remember it all, he should give you a card with his number on it so you can call him any time you have questions.
My dealer did exactly that. But one correction… They don't explain how everything works. They explain how to do everything. Not quite the same thing. They go throuh the steps, but not the reasons.

During the walk-through, the best way is, first have the dealer perform a task while you watch. Then, YOU perform the task while HE watches. Repeat BOTH steps until you can do it right. There's no rush.

Oh, and since Airstream posts their owner's manuals online in PDF format, you owe it to yourself to download a copy of the manual and read it BEFORE the walk-through. Even if this year's manual isn't online yet, last year's will be, and that's usually close enough to at least get you familiar with everything. Sure, the manuals are incomplete, and sometimes inaccurate, but even a little foreknowledge is better than none at all.

Side note— When I bought my Interstate, the manuals were still shrink-wrapped, meaning the dealer hadn't looked at them, either. I gave him all of the hardcopies I printed off from the PDF files, in exchange for the real manuals, so that THEY would be able to read up as well.
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Old 12-04-2013, 09:37 AM   #11
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We got about 1.5 hours of a walk-thru. Very incomplete. Partially our fault for not doing our homework ahead of time. However, our dealer was also, how can I say this...kind of a sheister. We would NEVER buy another vehicle from them. Had several issues with them during the purchase process.

We are lucky, however, in that our actual sales guy is a good guy. We text him frequently, at all times of the day, to ask questions, and he's great about checking with the technicians and getting back to us with answers.
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Old 12-04-2013, 09:50 AM   #12
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There's no experience like hands-on experience. Ya just gotta do it, if it doesn't work, find out what you did wrong and do it again.

There is nothing msgical to necessary learning curves, nothing to fast-forward you from knowing-nothing to knowing-all. We live in s push-button world, instant access and results. There is a learning curve here, folks. Take a deep breath, relax, and just get out there,

Make sticky labels for buttons and knobs for awhile. Who cares? It's gotta work for you.

I had the service guy where we bought ours on speed dial for a couple of months, as sometimes you just need a voice to talk you through something. He was reasonably pleasant throughout this time, , and always gave the help that was needed.


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Old 12-04-2013, 10:06 AM   #13
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One thing that's been mentioned previously is to be sure that the galley sink faucet is left in the Cold position when closing the lid. If left in the Hot position, closing the lid will turn it on and if left unnoticed, it will drain your fresh water tank. Don't ask me how I know.
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:13 AM   #14
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One thing that's been mentioned previously is to be sure that the galley sink faucet is left in the Cold position when closing the lid. If left in the Hot position, closing the lid will turn it on and if left unnoticed, it will drain your fresh water tank. Don't ask me how I know.
No need to ask. Most of us have done the same. Luckily when I did it was when the water pump was turned off. But when I turned the pump on, and immediately heard sputtering from under the closed lid…
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