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Old 10-15-2013, 03:47 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Suru View Post
We have had issues with our 2013 Interstate battery(and inverter solar panel too) . Even after driving for 8 hours, once we go to use the house battery, it is depleted very quickly. I haven't figured out how to use the inverter other than how to turn it on to use the power...but then it shows low battery almost immediately. Also... this must sound so dumb.... but I'm not a car tech/electrical woman... how do I Plug it in at home, when I don't have a 30 amp plug? I can't seem to have it sit over night anywhere, unless we find a camp ground with electric. I turn the house battery off when it sits for more than a day as the sales people recommended. I'm just not sure how the solar operates. The inverter doesn't have to be turned on, to charge...correct? Thanks in advance. Whomever helped me with the Macererator fuse...THANK YOU! That worked. Suru
I too have a 2013 that had the same problem. My particular problem started because the dealer ran the house batteries down too much and too often while it sat on their lot; so the batteries would no longer hold a charge. My dealer replaced both house batteries with Lifeline AGM batteries (this is what came in my Interstate and are generally considered the best). Then I had to configure the DIP switches on the Tripp-Lite inverter correctly (does not apply if yours came with a Magnum inverter). Then, I upgraded the factory 50 watt solar panels with two 100 watt panels so that I can have my fridge running 24/7 and never have to plug into shore power.
Also, you can plug your Interstate into a 20 amp (vs 30 amp) outlet.
Attached is a picture of how my DIP switches are currently configured in case you also have a Tripp-Lite inverter. There is more on this topic in a post titled "Parked Battery Life" way down below).
Good luck,
David

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Old 10-15-2013, 04:18 PM   #16
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Also, your Interstate should have came with a 20 amp AC adapter for your shore power chord.
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Old 10-15-2013, 05:44 PM   #17
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Also, your Interstate should have came with a 20 amp AC adapter for your shore power chord.
If not, they are commonly available at RV supply shops. They will allow you to connect the heavy duty (30A) cable that came with your Interstate to a standard household (20A) outlet.
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Old 10-15-2013, 09:16 PM   #18
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House Battery Charging When Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suru View Post
We have had issues with our 2013 Interstate battery(and inverter solar panel too) . Even after driving for 8 hours, once we go to use the house battery, it is depleted very quickly. I haven't figured out how to use the inverter other than how to turn it on to use the power...but then it shows low battery almost immediately. Also... this must sound so dumb.... but I'm not a car tech/electrical woman... how do I Plug it in at home, when I don't have a 30 amp plug? I can't seem to have it sit over night anywhere, unless we find a camp ground with electric. I turn the house battery off when it sits for more than a day as the sales people recommended. I'm just not sure how the solar operates. The inverter doesn't have to be turned on, to charge...correct? Thanks in advance. Whomever helped me with the Macererator fuse...THANK YOU! That worked. Suru
Suru your questions and problems are not dumb. You have hit on what I think is the weakest part of the Airstream Interstate design it has to be plugged in every few days even when you think everything turned off.

David M told you about the 20 amp adapter you should have received with your rig that will allow you to plug into a standard wall outlet to fully charge your batteries. The charging function should start as soon as you plug it in no need to turn on Inverter.

My experience is that even with the house battery switched off my rig has to be plugged in after about three days or else the batteries are below 70%.

I have also read over the technical data on the Precision Circuits Battery Isolation Manager (BIM). I will do no better than the weak 50 watt solar panel to keep your batteries charged. The BIM does charge the house battery, but not fully. It shuts off charging from the Sprinter engine after 1 hour and then will only continue charging between 12.6 and 13.0 VDC. This is not enough to fully charge the 160 AH house battery even after driving for 8 hours or more. A primary goal of the BIM is to prevent overcharging the house batteries.

I my view the only way to make the Interstate reach its full potential as one of the best B-vans on the market is to add more solar. I just completed upgrading mine to 200 watts with a 3-stage Blue Sky controller.
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:01 AM   #19
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Quote:
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David M told you about the 20 amp adapter you should have received with your rig that will allow you to plug into a standard wall outlet to fully charge your batteries. The charging function should start as soon as you plug it in no need to turn on Inverter.
Not necessarily true. The inverter is an inverter/charger, and needs to be set on either "charge only" or "auto/invert." It cannot be switched completely off if you want the house batteries to charge from shore power.

In my case, I set it to "charge only" while on shore power or generator power, just to be sure.
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:12 AM   #20
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My solar panel keeps the house batteries and chassis battery charged when sitting parked. I do turn everything off including the inverter, the propane valve, the antenna, and the batteries disconnect switch.
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Old 10-16-2013, 09:33 PM   #21
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Not necessarily true. The inverter is an inverter/charger, and needs to be set on either "charge only" or "auto/invert." It cannot be switched completely off if you want the house batteries to charge from shore power.

In my case, I set it to "charge only" while on shore power or generator power, just to be sure.
Protag - you must have a Tripp-Lite inverter/charger. My 2013 Interstate has a Magnum inverter/charger that charges when turned off. So I guess it depends on what model inverter/charger one has installed as Airstream is using both.
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:56 PM   #22
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I my view the only way to make the Interstate reach its full potential as one of the best B-vans on the market is to add more solar. I just completed upgrading mine to 200 watts with a 3-stage Blue Sky controller.
Mike,

Did you by chance take any pix of how / where you mounted the solar controller and remote display? I assume you used the existing AI wiring for the system. Thanks in advance for the feedback.

Mario
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Old 10-17-2013, 08:55 PM   #23
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Blue Sky Solar Controller and Remote Display

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Mike,
Did you by chance take any pix of how / where you mounted the solar controller and remote display? I assume you used the existing AI wiring for the system. Thanks in advance for the feedback.
Mario
I've attached a photo of Controller mounted under the lounge seat next to electrical distribution panel. Also a photo of Remote Display in place of old one in curbside overhead locker. I did not use the existing wiring, which is only 12 gauge. That's not adequate to 200W with option to upgrade to 400 watts later. I pulled new 6 gauge wires from the roof - not a task to the faint of heart! I put the new wires inside the gray water tank vent cap. I've added some photos of that too.

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Old 10-17-2013, 10:04 PM   #24
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Mike.

Thank you. That's perfect. I am considering the exact same set up but am thinking about upgrading the charge controller first to use with the 50w panel. Then upgrading to 100w or 200w of panels later. Not knowing the airstream system wire gauge, going down the gray water tank vent with heavier wire was a solution I thought about as well.

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Old 10-18-2013, 01:23 PM   #25
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Boxter71, Very nice! I also like your LP On/Off label! I haven't upgraded my solar charge controller yet, so get ready for lots of questions
Isn't it nice not having to plug into shore power?
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Old 10-18-2013, 10:22 PM   #26
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Isn't it nice not having to plug into shore power?
David
It's great. I was getting a fairly good charge even on the two overcast days after I turned it all on earlier this week. Got full sun today and batteries are at 100%.
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Old 10-18-2013, 10:50 PM   #27
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It's great. I was getting a fairly good charge even on the two overcast days after I turned it all on earlier this week. Got full sun today and batteries are at 100%.
Yep. I used to get 2.8 charging amps on a sunny day with the factory 50w panel, but now I get 2.6 amps on an overcast day. On a sunny day, I got 12.7 amps
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Old 10-18-2013, 10:59 PM   #28
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Do you have any pics of the additional solar panel layout on the roof?
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