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Old 08-11-2013, 08:01 PM   #1
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Generator battery

Does the airstream interstate generator have its own battery or does it run off house batteries?
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Old 08-11-2013, 08:24 PM   #2
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The owners manual seems to indicate that is starts from the house battery
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:30 PM   #3
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Starts from the house battery on mine.
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:48 AM   #4
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Starts from the house batteries. Which can be a problem. If you really need to charge your house batteries, and the generator is the only way you have (boondocking), then the house batteries can get too low to even start the generator, leaving you out of luck. Be sure to monitor your battery charge, and use the generator while you still have enough battery power to start it.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:01 AM   #5
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If you find yourself in the position of having let the house batteries get so low that the genset wont start the manual suggests starting the coach for a few minuets and letting charge the house batteries till you can start the generator.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:19 AM   #6
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Yes

I'm having to start coach to start generator.

But even after charging house batteries the generator will stall on a heavy load like AC

Then it won't restart because it seems batteries to low or the panel needs to reset after the stall.

Batteries are only a year old and they are the (2) blue optima ones.

Guess ill have to have the fun of taking seat out again to have them checked. What a pain!
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennu36 View Post
If you find yourself in the position of having let the house batteries get so low that the genset wont start the manual suggests starting the coach for a few minutes and letting charge the house batteries till you can start the generator.
That didn't work on mine. For some reason my BIM disconnects the house and chassis systems when either one gets low, not just when the chasiss system gets low.

I was faced with taking the batteries out to charge them on a bench; which was a royal pain to do without power to the sofa motor. In order to remove the front machine screws from the rear, you've got to have arms like an anorexic orangutang and know a LOT of swear words!

So, a word of advice to Teamaron, take the sofa bottom cushion out while the generator or the engine is running and you have power to the sofa to recline it (for the front machine screws) and un-recline it (for the rear nuts). Also, if you take the rear sofa cushion off as well, the batteries will be easier to remove from the rear.
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:11 AM   #8
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Batteries are only a year old and they are the (2) blue optima ones.
Do the Interstates have a good 3 stage charger (or did you put one in)? If they have a single-stage charger like other Airstreams, it probably cooked your expensive batteries.
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:22 AM   #9
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Do the Interstates have a good 3 stage charger (or did you put one in)? If they have a single-stage charger like other Airstreams, it probably cooked your expensive batteries.
I didn't change the charger

So they may be cooked?

But under warranty I hope.
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:29 AM   #10
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Our generator ignition is connected to the coach battery.

If this gets too low, we have to start the vehicle, then the generator.

Runs on its' own, once going, and we turn the vehicle off.

We have never tried to run the AC off the generator. We do know that loads should be added one at a time.

The AC may need to run independent of any other draw.


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Old 08-12-2013, 10:42 AM   #11
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I've run the A/C off the generator. It's a bad idea to start the generator JUST to charge the batteries. Generators are most efficient when operating between 50% and 75% of their rated load, and the charger by itself doesn't come anywhere close to 50% of the generator's rated load. So, when I've had to start the generator to top off the batteries, I run the air conditioner as well to serve as a load bank and get the generator RPMs up.
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:46 AM   #12
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We have always been told that, as well......always run a load when the generator is on.

If nothing else, we will turn the Fantastic Fan on high while plugging everything in to available outlets. We even plugged in another Airstream to the exterior outlet once.


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Old 08-12-2013, 11:42 AM   #13
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When I found that the built-in starter battery (small motorcycle type) on my Robbins Subaru generator - Japanese built but labeled Cummins Onan for marketing purposes - sometimes went dead from inactivity, I removed it and had the generator hard wired to the Sprinter’s main battery.

This way I always have power.

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Could this be an answer for some other SPRINTER owner’s here?


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Old 08-12-2013, 12:12 PM   #14
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I didn't change the charger

So they may be cooked?

But under warranty I hope.
If it's a single-stage charger, they're probably cooked. Optima might warranty them, but if they were overcharged they'd be within their rights to deny the warranty - they're pretty clear on the website about charging voltages. Note, any battery will be damaged by overcharging, but the gel batteries are more sensitive to it (and more expensive when it happens).

This is why many of us strongly recommend an upgrade to a 3-stage charger. With a deep cycle gel battery (like Optima, but there are other brands, some of which have better capacities), it's basically install and forget it. On my B190, I replaced the charger to a 3 stage Intellipower PD9260 with an Optima Blue Top, and 5 years later realized that I hadn't done anything to the electrical system, and the battery was still holding a good charge. This was one of the first upgrades I did to our trailer, too - another PD9260 and three Optimas.
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