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Old 12-12-2015, 06:26 AM   #85
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Old 12-12-2015, 09:36 AM   #86
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Originally Posted by coder View Post
Got it.
  • 1A when the Kenwood unit is on and being used
  • 0.1A when unit is off but house power is on
  • 0.001A (per Airstream docs) with ignition off and house disconnected
My problem is parking in storage, disconnected, under the cloudy skies of Seattle, so I'm good with the 0.001A Kenwood draw.

In my van, the Atwood propane alarm (70 mA) is OFF when the house power is disconnected. With the Magnum and its remote disconnected, I think everything else adds up to less than 6 Ah per week. The batteries (counting NO solar contribution) should last longer than 2 months at that rate. That's where the Interstate should have been when it rolled off the line in Ohio.

Correct - you have it. I was just thinking your complaints to Airstream about battery drain may have actually caused them to research the problem and issue Service Bulletin 164 to stop the main parasitic drain from the Magnum inverter. Although their solution is not as good as Lew Faber's total disconnect approach.


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Old 12-12-2015, 11:37 AM   #87
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Although their solution is not as good as Lew Faber's total disconnect approach.
From Airstream's point of view it's better, because it's the least expensive way to solve the problem, and probably the quickest. As the saying goes, "Good. Fast. Cheap. Pick two."
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Old 12-12-2015, 05:07 PM   #88
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While working on my van today I did a more accurate measurement of the current required to power the Kenwood. The full up mode with radio on and GPS map displayed was drawing a full 2.0A. So this list should be:
  • 2.0A when the Kenwood unit is on and being used
  • 0.1A when unit is off but house power is on
  • 0.001A (per Airstream docs) with ignition off and house disconnected

That explains why my batteries were down 11AH the other night when I took a group of six from our neighborhood out for dinner and left the Kenwood on for over three hours while we ate dinner. Lesson learned.


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Old 12-13-2015, 01:31 AM   #89
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If I ever get the van fixed enough that I can park it without destroying its batteries, then I have to work on being able to use it for camping off-grid. (We like national parks and forest service parks.)

I don't know yet exactly what SB-164 does. If it disconnects the Magnum Inverter/Charger when the house disconnect switch is selected, then that probably solves a lot of the parking problem.

Using the van off-grid, though, you'd still be unnecessarily losing 10 Ah per day from the Kenwood and Magnum that didn't need to be on. The best solution for both parking the van and using the van off-grid is separate manual disconnect switches for both the Kenwood and the Magnum. You can't just pull a fuse to stop the Kenwood draw, since Airstream shared the Kenwood fuse with other essential stuff.

Even a total battery disconnect doesn't solve the problem of excessive drain while camping off-grid, and I'll bet SB-164 doesn't either. Sigh.
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Old 12-13-2015, 01:40 AM   #90
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It's all a bit sad.

One of the reasons we were originally drawn to the Interstate, and eventually decided to trade in the Airstream trailer for the Interstate, is we wanted more battery capacity for camping off-grid and we wanted a little bit of solar. In the trailer, a little 50W solar panel would have kept the Airstream trailer battery full to the top indefinitely.

We traded that little Airstream trailer that we adored for this Interstate, which has been nothing but trouble.
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Old 12-13-2015, 08:44 AM   #91
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If I ever get the van fixed enough that I can park it without destroying its batteries, then I have to work on being able to use it for camping off-grid. (We like national parks and forest service parks.) ....

... Even a total battery disconnect doesn't solve the problem of excessive drain while camping off-grid, and I'll bet SB-164 doesn't either. Sigh.

Yes unfortunately the Interstate is not an optimal design for off-grid camping. I discovered that on our first camping trip. Having to run the LP generator twice a day was a real pain.

I suspect having to power that solenoid in SB-164 to use the coach electrics while camping will make it worse. It will be a lot like the propane solenoid that had to be on to use the cook top or furnace.

When I discovered the limitations of the Interstate for off-grid camping I had two choices. Trade it in for a better off-grid design like an e-Trek or modify my Interstate. I chose the later approach because I have the time and capability.


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Old 12-13-2015, 09:20 AM   #92
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Yes unfortunately the Interstate is not an optimal design for off-grid camping. I discovered that on our first camping trip. Having to run the LP generator twice a day was a real pain.

I suspect having to power that solenoid in SB-164 to use the coach electrics while camping will make it worse. It will be a lot like the propane solenoid that had to be on to use the cook top or furnace.

When I discovered the limitations of the Interstate for off-grid camping I had two choices. Trade it in for a better off-grid design like an e-Trek or modify my Interstate. I chose the later approach because I have the time and capability.


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Hopefully the solenoid that Airstream included in their 'upgrade' kit is of the latching type: only uses current to open or closed and state in that orientation until it is told to change. If it is similar to the LP solenoid, you probably won't be gaining much.
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