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Old 01-24-2016, 02:01 PM   #29
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1) Can I run the roof AC while driving without use of generator?
No. The air conditioner uses 120vAC power, but only runs on shore power or generator power. It will not run off the inverter. This is a good thing because if it did your house batteries would be toast in no time.
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3) Can I run the heater from shorepower, or it is designed only for LP?
The furnace runs on propane while the thermostat and the furnace's fan run on 12vDC. There is no electric heating element.
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2) Is it really safe to use generator while driving?
Every bit as safe to run a propane-fueled internal combustion engine at the rear as it is to run a diesel-fueled internal combustion engine at the front. As long as you stay out of tunnels and off ferry boats that require you to shut off your propane, you can run the generator while the vehicle is in motion.
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Old 01-24-2016, 02:41 PM   #30
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Every bit as safe to run a propane-fueled internal combustion engine at the rear as it is to run a diesel-fueled internal combustion engine at the front. As long as you stay out of tunnels and off ferry boats that require you to shut off your propane, you can run the generator while the vehicle is in motion.
This past fall on our western trip we faced some very high temperatures. The Sprinter AC would keep us cool up front but it was very warm in the rear. On those days I would start up the generator and run the AC when I was an hour or so out from the next RV park. It really helped in reducing the amount of time it took to get us to a comfortable temperature before the sun went down.
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Old 01-24-2016, 02:59 PM   #31
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Protagonist, you are the Man!
Nobody can explain it better, even specialists "professionally trained by factory" !
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Old 01-24-2016, 03:06 PM   #32
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Gentlemen, I have one main Sprinter battery under the driver floor, and house battery under the sofa. However, I also have one battery under the hood - what is that for? And is that a Mercedes or Airstream option?
Thank you in advance for explanation!
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Old 01-24-2016, 03:17 PM   #33
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Gentlemen, I have one main Sprinter battery under the driver floor, and house battery under the sofa. However, I also have one battery under the hood - what is that for? And is that a Mercedes or Airstream option?
It's a Mercedes option. On commercial vehicles such as ambulances or television news vans it's used as a house battery. On an Airstream Interstate, it's used for nothing at all— even though the smart thing for Airstream to have done would have been to hook up the awning and sliding step to this battery instead of the starting battery.
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Old 01-24-2016, 04:44 PM   #34
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Got it, thanks Protagonist! Im sorry for bombarding you by questions that could be found in manuals ))))

Are those two Mercedes batteries (starting battery and that which is under the hood) connected together?

Usually I hook up batteries on my cars, that not in use, to a low-amp battery chargers/tenders to keep them in fully charged state. Are all three batteries in the Interstate connected together, and are they in charging mode when the vehicle connected to a shore power? Or I need to connect all batteries to a trickle chargers when my AI on a prolonged stay on the driveway?
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Old 01-24-2016, 04:49 PM   #35
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Are those two Mercedes batteries (starting battery and that which is under the hood) connected together?
The starting battery and the auxiliary battery under the hood are connected through a relay. When the engine is running, the relay allows both batteries to charge. When the engine is not running, the batteries are disconnected, so that a drain on the auxiliary battery does not permit the starting battery to run down. The way that relay is wired, the auxiliary battery cannot be used to start the engine.

Perhaps the best use of the auxiliary battery would be to remove the relay, and directly connect the starting and auxiliary batteries, so that in effect you have two starting batteries. Which would double your cold cranking amps and avoid that auxiliary battery going to waste.

Don't ask me how to remove the relay, though. My Interstate doesn't have an auxiliary battery, so it doesn't have the relay, either.
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Old 01-24-2016, 09:24 PM   #36
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Man, you are the best!

I won't ask you how to eliminate the relay, because it's just a process and I can handle it. The main thing is a knowledge what, where, and why. I think I will connect both said batteries together via the marine "one-two-both" switch which they use in boats.

So, when the AI on a shorepower, it's main and house (under the sofa) batteries are on trickle charging mode, right?

When shorepower is disconnected, I see my house battery charge is 60 or 70%, and think it's not enough. Also it has only 11.95 Volts shown. Is the roof solar panel not enough to charge the house battery? Louisiana is also very sunny, so what is your experience?
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Old 01-24-2016, 10:14 PM   #37
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Is the roof solar panel not enough to charge the house battery? Louisiana is also very sunny, so what is your experience?
The solar panel by itself is able to keep the house batteries fully charged— IF everything, and I mean everything, that can be shut off is shut off, AND if the batteries were already fully charged when I parked it.

A dinky 50-watt panel is not up to the task of charging the house batteries, only of float-charging to keep them charged.

As a rule of thumb, you need at least the same number of watts of solar panel as you have amp-hours of house batteries for the solar panel(s) to be any good as a battery charger. So in the case of an Interstate with 160 amp-hours of house batteries, you need at least 160 watts of solar panel, so given the lack of usable real estate on the roof, you'd do best with two 100-watt panels. The stock panel just won't do it.
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Old 01-24-2016, 10:43 PM   #38
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Protagonist thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge!!

Would shore power fully charge the house batteries?
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Old 01-25-2016, 05:31 AM   #39
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Would shore power fully charge the house batteries?
Yes.
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Old 01-25-2016, 10:50 AM   #40
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It's a Mercedes option. On commercial vehicles such as ambulances or television news vans it's used as a house battery. On an Airstream Interstate, it's used for nothing at all— even though the smart thing for Airstream to have done would have been to hook up the awning and sliding step to this battery instead of the starting battery.
Small addition to Protag's comments.
On most Interstates with a second battery in engine compartment (Option Code E28) they have a 12V outlet in drivers seat base (Option Code E46) powered by the second battery. It's covered by the skirt that Airstream adds to the front seat bases.

There is one other 12V outlet in the rear D-pillar than can be powered by the second battery (Option Code ES2), but I don't think the Interstates have this option.

See attached Option Sheets for details.
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Old 01-25-2016, 01:36 PM   #41
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My 2013 has no 2nd battery, but does have the 12volt outlet in the base of the driver's seat. Use it quite often.
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Old 01-26-2016, 01:11 AM   #42
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Wow. Never saw this 12V outlet ) Gonna look tomorrow.
And what is most convenient - it is written that can be used regardless of the ignition key position.
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