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Old 02-25-2016, 02:03 PM   #15
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House battery not charging from alternator

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Can you remind us again how you managed that feat? Husband and I could really use the 2007 version right about now. I've been thinking about opening a dialog with Jackson Center. The T1N's are now 10+ years old... not exactly cutting edge competitive advantage they are protecting by withholding the drawings. I remember this general topic being discussed on a thread about a year ago but I do not recall the bottom line(s).

I emailed Airstream and requested the wiring schematics for my model. They would not send me all of them because they said the main 12v DC schematic was for factory use only. I did get the main AC drawing and about six diagrams of the various 12v component wiring layouts.


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Old 02-25-2016, 02:18 PM   #16
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Mike,
PM me bout the 12V Main Schematic. I also have the 2013 on a 2012....
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Old 07-30-2017, 10:21 AM   #17
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House battery problems

I just purchased a 2012 Interstate. Two new house batteries were installed three days ago. They will not hold a charge. Cannot start the on board generator. There is a solar charge system but the monitor reads that no solar charging is taking place.
I would really appreciate some advice
on how to resolve this problem.
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Old 07-30-2017, 10:39 AM   #18
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I just purchased a 2012 Interstate. Two new house batteries were installed three days ago. They will not hold a charge. Cannot start the on board generator. There is a solar charge system but the monitor reads that no solar charging is taking place.

I would really appreciate some advice

on how to resolve this problem.

Have you kept your Interstate plugged in for the past three days to make sure those new batteries get fully charged?

IMHO - the solar charging system is not very useful on the 2013 Interstate. That's why I changed mine. Plugging into shore power is the only reliable way to get your batteries fully charged.
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Old 07-31-2017, 06:41 AM   #19
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House batteries not charged

Thanks. I have kept the outside power plugged in for 24 hours and it charged the batteries. Is there any problem keeping outside power plugged in for an extended number of days? Does the engine alternator also charge the house batteries?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 07-31-2017, 11:29 AM   #20
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Thanks. I have kept the outside power plugged in for 24 hours and it charged the batteries. Is there any problem keeping outside power plugged in for an extended number of days? Does the engine alternator also charge the house batteries?



Thanks for your help.

I think your 2012 Interstate has the Tripp-Lite inverter/charger. That unit is less desirable since it will overcharge your batteries if left plugged in constantly. But you should be able to leave it plugged in for several days without a problem.

Airstream switched to the better Magnum inverter/charger in the 2013 models.

Yes - the engine alternator will charge you house batteries.
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Old 07-31-2017, 05:44 PM   #21
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The alternator through the BIM chargers your house batteries and at very high current (100 amps). If you can identify the BIM and follow the wiring, then get a simple clamp meter, put it around that feed wire and see what it shows.
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Old 07-31-2017, 11:47 PM   #22
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Please forgive me if this has already been answered. I am trying hard to understand all of this electrical stuff. I know my BIM is working, because I see it connecting the house batteries to the chassis battery and keeping it charged up when I am plugged into shore power. Does that mean I can assume it works the other direction too, and feel confident the BIM is connecting the two banks when the engine is running and allowing the alternator to charge the house batteries? The reason I ask is after I had driven for a couple of hours, (also with full sun on my 100w solar panel) my voltage on the house batteries was even lower than when I had started. Frig and freezer were running. I think I read somewhere on the forum that if your starting voltage is quite low when you start driving, the BIM will never connect the two banks and the alternator will never charge your house batteries.

Susan
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Old 08-01-2017, 10:39 AM   #23
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Please forgive me if this has already been answered. ... I think I read somewhere on the forum that if your starting voltage is quite low when you start driving, the BIM will never connect the two banks and the alternator will never charge your house batteries.

Susan

Hi Susan - generally if you are driving in sunshine the solar panels keep the voltage too high for the BIM to connect the batteries. But at night it should connect when voltage in house batteries drops. But it only connects for 1 hour and then checks voltage to determine if is should stay connect so it doesn't overcharge the house batteries.
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Old 08-05-2017, 07:31 PM   #24
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Please forgive me if this has already been answered. I am trying hard to understand all of this electrical stuff. I know my BIM is working, because I see it connecting the house batteries to the chassis battery and keeping it charged up when I am plugged into shore power. Does that mean I can assume it works the other direction too, and feel confident the BIM is connecting the two banks when the engine is running and allowing the alternator to charge the house batteries? The reason I ask is after I had driven for a couple of hours, (also with full sun on my 100w solar panel) my voltage on the house batteries was even lower than when I had started. Frig and freezer were running. I think I read somewhere on the forum that if your starting voltage is quite low when you start driving, the BIM will never connect the two banks and the alternator will never charge your house batteries.

Susan
The BIM is an odd duck. It's caught in the past with the assumption it's still regulating charge voltage to flooded batteries, even though our coaches have shipped with sealed AGM batteries for many years now. The result is it's more concerned with overcharging the batteries vs. properly charging them, so it contains internal logic that says the coach batteries have to be below 12.6v before it will close (assuming the engine is running of course), and it will only stay closed for a relatively short period of time. So....if you started your drive with your house batteries at 13v and finished your drive with the house batteries at 12.8v, they're still "too full" for the BIM to close.

The good news is the BIM being used by Airstream (made by Precision Circuits) is now listed on the manufacturer's web site as being "phased out". That means Airstream is going to be forced to move to something else. We can only hope it's something that better matches current battery technology, and personally I hope it's something NOT made by Precision Circuits. There are other choices out in the market that make a lot more sense, especially if you look to the boating industry. We'll see what they choose.....

In the mean time, unless you're willing to dig into the guts of your electrical system (or pay someone else to do it), you're stuck with the way the current system works. It's not horrible as-is, but it certainly could be better. Upgrading your solar charge controller may help you, so check out the various threads on that.
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Old 08-09-2017, 12:03 AM   #25
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Related to this thread, does anyone know where the battery isolation relay/solenoid is on the 2009 AI? I want to install an indicator light to see if the house is charging from alternator. Have similar problem with house batteries.
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Old 08-09-2017, 06:35 AM   #26
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FlyFishingRVr:
What are the 'other choices out in the market' that can replace the BIM? Do you know how much re-wiring would be needed to install an alternative? Would these other choices preserve the chassis and coach battery connection button on the dash? I have never needed to use the battery connect, but it seems like a nice feature to have available. The BIM takes us to 80+% charge while driving and the 200W of solar does the rest if it is a sunny day. But I would also like to have full coach batteries after a few hours of driving on a cloudy day.
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Old 08-09-2017, 12:16 PM   #27
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FlyFishingRVr:
What are the 'other choices out in the market' that can replace the BIM? Do you know how much re-wiring would be needed to install an alternative? Would these other choices preserve the chassis and coach battery connection button on the dash? I have never needed to use the battery connect, but it seems like a nice feature to have available. The BIM takes us to 80+% charge while driving and the 200W of solar does the rest if it is a sunny day. But I would also like to have full coach batteries after a few hours of driving on a cloudy day.
If you look at the products available to the marine industry, you'll find quite a few candidates and lots of different ways to accomplish this. My favorite so far is the Blue Sea ML-ACR Automatic Charging Relay with Manual Control, model 7622 (https://www.bluesea.com/products/762..._-_12V_DC_500A). What I like about it is its very low power consumption while it's monitoring the bank voltages, very simple operation, and it looks like it would be a relatively easy retrofit. It has start isolation, manual control for added safety (and ease of maintenance), and remote control for ease of use. The remote switch is also illuminated (via LED) so you can see exactly what the relay is doing.

Basically, the Blue Sea does what I want. If there's a charging source at either bank, it connects them. If there isn't and either bank falls below 12.75v, it disconnects them. Easy peasy. No screwy "if this AND that then do X" like the current BIM, specifically the part that says "if the chassis is over 13.3v AND the house is less than 12.6v, then close" (or conversely if the house is over 13.3v AND the chassis is less than 12.6v). This is a legacy setup from the flooded wet-cell battery days and lets the house batteries (or chassis battery) get below 12.6v for no reason. In the case of maintaining the batteries via solar (for me this is while it's parked on the storage lot), it's allowing the chassis battery to keep bouncing off this 12.6v number vs. floating it at 13.4v like my house batteries (thanks to my MPPT solar charge controller). If (when) I switch to this new relay, BOTH battery banks will be float charged at 13.4v by my solar (which I will be upgrading to 300W at some point). Of course all the other charging sources will still work as they do today, so these changes are designed to specifically address a gap in the current (including the 2018!!!) setup when maintaining the coach batteries via solar.

For the 2019 model year (or 2018 1/2 if they so choose), Airstream could make a change to a similar relay (they have to make a change anyway because the existing BIM is being "phased out" per the Precision Circuits web site) and upgrade to a better solar charge controller and be done, for a parts cost of about $300, so maybe $150-200 more manufacturing cost than they have today. Ya'll raise your hands if you'd be willing to pay $200 more for your coach to see this happen (or Airstream could even absorb this cost as a "goodwill" gesture, LOL).....
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Old 08-09-2017, 01:28 PM   #28
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I see how the blue sea is better than the BIM, but it seems that it does not provide the AGM battery charging logic (bulk, absorb, float) contained in the Magnum charger and in the blue sky MPPT solar controller. Don't we risk damaging the AGM's without the multi-step charging?
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