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Old 05-02-2015, 10:41 PM   #1
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Monitor Display Panel & Charging Issue?

We took a week long road trip from Southern California to Redwood National Park recently. On the return trip from San Francisco back home, we encountered the following issues:

1. Refrigerator stopped working. Usually during long road trips when I drove long distance everyday, the refrigerator would continue to work everyday without the AI being plugged in to a shore power. We stayed in the hotels every night during the road trips we took.

2. The Monitor Display Panel for the Black, Grey and Fresh Water Tanks and LPG Tank stopped working. When I pressed on the Tank Test button, the lights for the fluid levels for all the tanks would not come on.

3. When I pressed the BATT MAIN button, nothing showed on the Battery Voltage Display.

4. When I pressed the BATT AUX button, Battary Voltage Display did show the house battery had a very low voltage (9 or 10 V) which indicated the house battery charge was completely depleted.

5. The front TV stopped working. The TV power cord is connected to an inverter and then to the 12V outlet in the cabinet on top of the driver seat. When I turned on the inverter, the TV power indicator (red light) would come on. However, when I pressed the TV power button on the remote controller, it caused the inverter to turn off so no power would be supplied to the TV.

6. The remote display/control for the Lifeline Inverter/Charger also stopped working.

When we arrived home and plugged in to the shore power, all the issues mentioned above disappeared. But when the shore power was disconnected, all the issues came back.

It appeared that I might have some electricity/BIM/battery charging issue. Any suggestions to check the causes of the issues I encountered are greatly appreciated! Thank you very much!
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Old 05-03-2015, 03:33 AM   #2
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Sounds like your house batteries are dead. I am sure others will chime in and give more technical advice, but what I learn from this forum is that, your model year interstate has tripplite inverter/charger and that they are not very good and shortens life of the batteries. Everyone here seems to recommend Magnum inverter charger and lifeline agm batteries. Hope you get stuff sorted out soon.
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Old 05-03-2015, 08:53 AM   #3
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Sounds also like the house batteries are not charging while driving down the road. I had the same problem in my 2011 when I first took delivery. Check the connections to the battery isolator with the engine running. It should be 14+ vdc. If not check the bolts for tightness on the connection where it is connected to the chassis. This is located next to the chassis battery under the front driver's side just rear of the battery in a wiring block. Pull it out and check to make sure the bolts are all tight on the connector wires. In my case the one to the isolator was not tight causing the house batteries not to charge intermittently. My guess is that is the same problem you have unless your batteries are toast. More than likely though they are fine-just not getting enough of a charge.

Maybe you unit was built by the same guy that built mine who was too hurried or lazy or just didn't care to check the bolts for tightness. I went two years before a guy at Jackson Center found the issue and I haven't had the issue since. I did replace the Tripplite for the Magnum later but that had nothing to do with the issue.
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Old 05-03-2015, 09:06 AM   #4
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It sounds like replacing the standard Airstream inverter with a Magnum inverter charger preemptively is advisable. I had planned to do that as part of my (future) solar panel project, but I guess it should be done sooner, regardless of the energy input source. Correct?
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Old 05-03-2015, 01:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by MaineStreamer View Post
It sounds like replacing the standard Airstream inverter with a Magnum inverter charger preemptively is advisable.
On the 2011 Interstates like the OP has, the OEM inverter/charger is a Tripplite. If the budget allows for it, replacing it with a Magnum is a good idea, especially if you get the temperature sensor as well.

But even though Magnums are better, Tripplites are okay. I'm still using my Tripplite, and it still works. I don't store my unit with shore power connected, so the Tripplite doesn't get a chance to cook the batteries if it fails to shut off when the batteries are fully charged.

Getting back to the OP's problem, since it's a 2011 model Interstate, it could have come off the assembly line at Jackson Center as early as September 2010, and the batteries might have already been a few months old when first installed. Airstream buys in bulk, after all. Airstream's OEM batteries could be approaching five years old, or could be as young as three and a half years. Without pulling them and looking for a date stamp there's no way to know.

Start by checking the AGM house batteries to see if they'll hold a charge at all Basic rule of troubleshooting, start with the easy problems. If the batteries won't hold a charge, then it doesn't matter what else you check, they still won't hold a charge. So making sure they will hold a charge is the first step, before you delve into why they're not actually charging.

Note— if the batteries were down to 9 or 10 volts, they were depleted below a 0% charge, and will require a conditioning charge that the Tripplite cannot do. Taking them out and professionally bench-charging them will work best.

Or just bite the bullet and replace them.
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Old 05-03-2015, 03:13 PM   #6
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It could be the same issue I had where the alternator was not charging the batteries while I was driving. See the thread below.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...es-128968.html
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Old 05-03-2015, 09:38 PM   #7
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What does AGM stand for? What does OP stand for?
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by MaineStreamer View Post
What does AGM stand for? What does OP stand for?
AGM - Absorbed Glass Mat, a type of maintenance-free battery, often used for RV house batteries.

OP - Original Poster, the person who started the thread.
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Old 05-04-2015, 12:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
On the 2011 Interstates like the OP has, the OEM inverter/charger is a Tripplite. If the budget allows for it, replacing it with a Magnum is a good idea, especially if you get the temperature sensor as well.

But even though Magnums are better, Tripplites are okay. I'm still using my Tripplite, and it still works. I don't store my unit with shore power connected, so the Tripplite doesn't get a chance to cook the batteries if it fails to shut off when the batteries are fully charged.

Getting back to the OP's problem, since it's a 2011 model Interstate, it could have come off the assembly line at Jackson Center as early as September 2010, and the batteries might have already been a few months old when first installed. Airstream buys in bulk, after all. Airstream's OEM batteries could be approaching five years old, or could be as young as three and a half years. Without pulling them and looking for a date stamp there's no way to know.

Start by checking the AGM house batteries to see if they'll hold a charge at all Basic rule of troubleshooting, start with the easy problems. If the batteries won't hold a charge, then it doesn't matter what else you check, they still won't hold a charge. So making sure they will hold a charge is the first step, before you delve into why they're not actually charging.

Note— if the batteries were down to 9 or 10 volts, they were depleted below a 0% charge, and will require a conditioning charge that the Tripplite cannot do. Taking them out and professionally bench-charging them will work best.

Or just bite the bullet and replace them.
Thank you! Protagonist, as always, for your suggestions. I replaced the 2 house batteries last year for 2 new AGM Lifeline batteries, so I hope the batteries are still good. I remember that when the original Airstream installed house batteries no longer hold charges, the refrigerator would still work when I was driving for a long distance daily. Only when I stopped for overnight stay in hotels, the refrigerator would stop working. I believe at that time, the alternator charged the old house batteries to keep the refrigerator working while I was driving?

By the way, I forgot to mention that on the first night of our recent roadtrip, I forgot to turn off the headlight when we stayed overnight at a hotel, and the chassis battery was completely depleted the next morning. However, at that time, the Monitor Display Panel still worked, and the house batteries were still showing full charges. I had to call AAA to jump start my chassis battery. I wondered if this had anything to do with the problems that developed a few days later. Maybe the connections to the battery isolator became loose when the AAA Technician tried to jump start the chassis battery? I am not too sure how to check the bolt for the connection to the battery isolater, but I will try to follow gmillerok1's instruction to check in his post above.

Thank you very much!
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Old 05-04-2015, 12:18 PM   #10
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"Start by checking the AGM house batteries to see if they'll hold a charge at all Basic rule of troubleshooting, start with the easy problems. If the batteries won't hold a charge, then it doesn't matter what else you check, they still won't hold a charge. So making sure they will hold a charge is the first step, before you delve into why they're not actually charging."

My AI has not been plugged in for 2 days. I checked this morning and the Aux Battery (House Batteries) on the display panel is showing 12.64V. So, I think the house batteries still hold charges. Then, I started the engine and checked the AUX Battery display again. It still showed 12.64V. In the past, when the engine is running, both the Main Battery (Chassis battery) and AUX Battery would show 14+ volts. Now only the AUX Battery is showing a number (12.64V). Your advice for the next step to check is greatly appreciated!
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Old 05-06-2015, 12:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerhofer View Post
It could be the same issue I had where the alternator was not charging the batteries while I was driving. See the thread below.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...es-128968.html
Hi Jerry! Thank you very much for your reply to my post and the link to your previous post. Your post is very detailed. Great write-up! I have a question I hope you can help me. You mentioned that there are two fuses in the charging system that might cause the alternator not charging the house batteries: one was under the driver's seat and the other one was in the rear under the seat in the center area. Do you have any information on the one fuse that is under the driver's seat? Do you know the fuse position number I can check? I hope it is something easy to replace... Thank you very much!

Your write-up is very detailed for replacing the other fuse. However, I am not very handy, so I wonder if I can locate the defective fuse like you did. I do want to try first before I take my AI to the dealer for repair. Thanks!
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Old 05-06-2015, 05:50 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by milkfish888 View Post
Hi Jerry! Thank you very much for your reply to my post and the link to your previous post. Your post is very detailed. Great write-up! I have a question I hope you can help me. You mentioned that there are two fuses in the charging system that might cause the alternator not charging the house batteries: one was under the driver's seat and the other one was in the rear under the seat in the center area. Do you have any information on the one fuse that is under the driver's seat? Do you know the fuse position number I can check? I hope it is something easy to replace... Thank you very much!

Your write-up is very detailed for replacing the other fuse. However, I am not very handy, so I wonder if I can locate the defective fuse like you did. I do want to try first before I take my AI to the dealer for repair. Thanks!
If you open the driver's door and lift up the seat skirt, you will see a removable plastic panel. Behind the panel is a fuse block. Since I found the defective fuse in the rear, I did not investigate the front fuses so I don't know which one is used in the charging system. It is easy to pull each of the front fuses to see if any are blown. I would begin with the higher amperage fuses.
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:27 AM   #13
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According to the Airstream manual, there's a 125 amp fuse inside the Sprinter battery compartment under driver's floorboard for the battery separator power line to engine battery. Couldn't find any mention for the fuses under the driver's seat in the Airstream or the Sprinter manuals.

The monitor panel voltage display fuse (5 amp) is located under the driver's seat but the number is not given.
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:36 AM   #14
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Couldn't find any mention for the fuses under the driver's seat in the Airstream or the Sprinter manuals.
The fuses in the driver's seat pedestal are for house systems that are not powered by the house batteries— such as the awning, sliding step, and probably the BIM as well.
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