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Old 12-17-2012, 01:54 PM   #1
Jeff
 
2010 22' Interstate
Clearwater , Florida
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New Owner of Interstate Twin

Hi all: recently purchased a used 2010 AI Twin model. Beautiful, just like new. Still learning how everything works. I notice that after a few days of no use the generator won't start unless the engine is running. Yes, the propane switch is turned on so that is not the issue. Doesn't make sense to me. Any thoughts? Thanks.
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Old 12-17-2012, 03:45 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Jcmitchell View Post
Hi all: recently purchased a used 2010 AI Twin model. Beautiful, just like new. Still learning how everything works. I notice that after a few days of no use the generator won't start unless the engine is running. Yes, the propane switch is turned on so that is not the issue. Doesn't make sense to me. Any thoughts? Thanks.
Welcome to the AirForums! Wecome to the wonderful world of Airstream Interstates, too.

Here's a thought… The propane switch is a solenoid. It uses a spring to hold it in the closed position. A really strong spring. It uses an electromagnet (a solenoid) to hold it open against the spring tension. That means, if you leave the propane solenoid on all the time, you're draining about 2 amps an hour from your house batteries. At about 48 amp-hours a day drained, the house batteries will get too depleted to start the generator in three or four days.

By the way, using the battery disconnect switch does not shut off the propane solenoid; the solenoid is wired separately. When you're not using your Interstate, make sure the solenoid is switched OFF.

While the engine is running, the house batteries are charging off the engine alternator through a relay/isolation switch. So, when the engine is running, you're actually using the engine alterator to provide enough power to crank the generator's starter and completely bypassing the house batteries.

Your house batteries might just be low and need a full charge. Or they might be bad and need replacement. Batteries that are drained too far, too often will end up with a shorter-than-normal lifespan, so your five-year battereis could easily be toast in just three years.
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Old 12-17-2012, 03:55 PM   #3
Jeff
 
2010 22' Interstate
Clearwater , Florida
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Thanks for the info. I actually saw your earlier post about keeping the propane switch off so I am always sure that is in the off position. I had a complete inspection of the unit at the nearby Airstrem dealer so i could transfer the remainder of the warranty, and he did not say anything about the house batteries being low. But that would seem to have to be the issue. I'll check that out. thanks again.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:41 AM   #4
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Congratulations, and welcome to the wonderful life of Interstates!

We frequently have to turn our engine on to get the generator started. Just seems to be that by the time we need the generator to charge things, everything is low.

Not a biggie for us, just get the generator going and turn the engine back off.

May you love your Interstate even half as much as we love ours.


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Old 12-18-2012, 11:38 PM   #5
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Welcome Jeff,
You can use the digital volt meter on the main panel to get an idea of the battery State of Charge (SOC). It is usually recommended that you not drain an AGM or FLA battery below 50% SOC. If you drain them lower than that it has a detrimental effect on the life of the battery. For an AGM (which was probably the type of coach battery installed by Airstream) 50% SOC at 70 deg. F is about 12.4 v. Keep in mind that you should wait 15-20 minutes after the batteries have been charging to take your measurement. This allows the surface charge to dissipate. If you don't wait, your reading will be artificially high and therefore meaningless. As Protag... mentioned, depending on how careful the previous owner was with battery care, your batteries may need to be replaced.

Enjoy your AI Twin! Mine is also a Twin and they do offer a few advantages vs the Lounge models.

Wayne
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Old 12-19-2012, 02:27 PM   #6
Jeff
 
2010 22' Interstate
Clearwater , Florida
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Thanks Wayne. Yes, they're AGM batteries. I did check volt meter and readings I thought were fine. That's why i was surprised the gen didn't fire up after only a few days idle. Oh well, I'll keep an eye on this.
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Old 12-19-2012, 02:28 PM   #7
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Thank you Maggie. I'm looking forward to a short trip very soon!
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Old 12-19-2012, 05:05 PM   #8
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Thanks Wayne. Yes, they're AGM batteries. I did check volt meter and readings I thought were fine. That's why i was surprised the gen didn't fire up after only a few days idle. Oh well, I'll keep an eye on this.
If your coach batteries are showing 12.5v or more, there is no reason that I can think of that the generator would not start without running the engine. I suspect a problem but couldn't guess what it might be.
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Old 12-19-2012, 05:14 PM   #9
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Welcome. I believe the batteries are covered by the warranty and are not pro-rated. At least that's what my dealer told me.
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Old 12-23-2012, 09:48 AM   #10
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Hi all: recently purchased a used 2010 AI Twin model. Beautiful, just like new. Still learning how everything works. I notice that after a few days of no use the generator won't start unless the engine is running. Yes, the propane switch is turned on so that is not the issue. Doesn't make sense to me. Any thoughts? Thanks.
Welcome to the forum! You will find it to be an excellent resource for information provided by a great group of very nice folks. Congrats, on your I3500 purchase.
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