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Old 06-18-2013, 09:58 AM   #29
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For storage longer than a month, I use smart chargers from CTek. I use a MultiUS 3300 (4 step) for the Sprinter battery and leave the battery connected. Due to the higher capacity of the coach batteries I use a MultiUS 7200 (8 step) for those. I do disconnect the coach batteries but probably don't need to. I have left the Interstate unattended for up to 6 months at a time and find my batts in perfect condition when I'm ready to roll. MB, Audi, Lamborghini, BMW and Maserati sell these (rebranded) and I've found them to be excellent. See CTEK Battery Chargers - The World's Smarter Battery Charger
Looks like a good product. I'm just hampered by the fact that, as an apartment dweller with no reserved parking spaces, I've got no place to plug in my Interstate when not using it. On those (generally rare) occasions that the chassis battery gets depleted by my alarm system, I rely on my other car to provide a jump start. At least until I can get to the MB dealer and get an auxiliary chassis battery installed in my Interstate.
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:26 AM   #30
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Solar charging via the Atkinson controller used in my Interstate stops at 13.9 Volts. There is no 3-stage charging from this charge controller and it doesn't even start charging until the battery voltage is at 12.4V or below 75%. In my opinion Airstream did not install a quality multi-stage solar charge controller.
Among the multitude of documents that came with my 2013 Interstate is one that specifically states the solar panel is meant to maintain the battery charge level but not charge the house batteries. Given the size and relatively small output of the solar panel calling it a charger seems to me misleading. It isn't capable of generating a high enough voltage to fully charge the batteries so a three stage controller would be pointless.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:29 PM   #31
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True, but 13.9 VDC Is not a maintenance charge. Depending on the specific battery, a float or maintenance charge should be 13.2 - 13.5 VDC at 75* F.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:55 PM   #32
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I don't store my Interstate because, as stated earlier, I use mine as a daily driver. I think what I'm going to do is to keep the inverter switch on "Line/Charge Only" and switch to "Auto/Invert" only when I need AC. Line/Charge still lets me use the lights, fridg, water pump, furnace, and radio, but yet retains my house batteries much longer. The only time I would switch over is to watch TV. I'd have to be plugged in or on generator to use the AC and microwave anyway. And as Maggie and others have stated, I'll plug it into shore power for a couple days prior to a trip to fully charge the batteries. I'm still waiting for a return call from Airstream LA, but if space will not allow for a second solar panel, I will replace the existing one with the highest wattage panel I can find. Thanks all for your inputs!
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Old 06-18-2013, 02:42 PM   #33
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Oh, and does anyone know of the chassis battery charges when plugged into shore power?
Thanks,
David
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Old 06-18-2013, 03:09 PM   #34
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Oh, and does anyone know of the chassis battery charges when plugged into shore power?
Thanks,
David
Yes, it does. On my 2010 anyway.
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:42 PM   #35
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I called Airstream LA today and they said that they can replace the existing solar panel with a 95w panel and put another one in front of the fan. I didn't get the name of the panel, but they quoted $1200 out the door ($574 each for the panel plus labor and tax). This seems high to me so I'm going to research if this is something I can do myself. I will look into the panel that Lewster recommended and see if that will physically fit in the space I have. So the hunt is on...
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:55 AM   #36
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I called Airstream LA today and they said that they can replace the existing solar panel with a 95w panel and put another one in front of the fan. I didn't get the name of the panel, but they quoted $1200 out the door ($574 each for the panel plus labor and tax). This seems high to me so I'm going to research if this is something I can do myself. I will look into the panel that Lewster recommended and see if that will physically fit in the space I have. So the hunt is on...
These are the panels that you need: WGS100 Solar Panel Kit | Solar Panel Kits
I have 5 on my Sprinter. They fit easily across the roof anywhere you have 21" of longitudinal space and the full width of roof access.
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:36 AM   #37
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These are the panels that you need: WGS100 Solar Panel Kit | Solar Panel Kits
I have 5 on my Sprinter. They fit easily across the roof anywhere you have 21" of longitudinal space and the full width of roof access.
These look like nice panels for sure but you're not going to find room for 5 of them on an Interstate! I'm not even sure there is room for one.
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:54 AM   #38
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These look like nice panels for sure but you're not going to find room for 5 of them on an Interstate! I'm not even sure there is room for one.
These are the smallest, lightest 100 watt panels currently available. If you have 21" of roof space anywhere on your roof, you can use one or two. If you look at my avatar, you will see that my Sprinter roof is covered with them, as the roof was otherwise unobstructed.

Total space requires (including mounting feet) is 21" X 41" @ 15.5 lbs
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Old 08-08-2013, 11:24 AM   #39
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[QUOTE=Protagonist;1313074]I had a problem when I first got my Interstate. Could not figure out the source of the parasitic draw. In my research and experimentation, here's what I foundů




4 - You have to make sure the antenna amplifier is turned off. That draws quite a bit, too, though I don't know exactly how much.


just where do you turn off that amp ?
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Old 08-08-2013, 11:30 AM   #40
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[QUOTE=bennu36;1337698]
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4 - You have to make sure the antenna amplifier is turned off. That draws quite a bit, too, though I don't know exactly how much.


just where do you turn off that amp ?
It's in the overhead bin over the driver's/front passenger seats, on the side wall on the driver's side. There's a 12v outlet up there, and a 120vAC outlet that the front television is plugged into. There's also a little pushbutton that lights up green when the antenna amp is on. Be careful, though, because it's very close to the 12v outlet.
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Old 08-08-2013, 12:18 PM   #41
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These are the smallest, lightest 100 watt panels currently available. If you have 21" of roof space anywhere on your roof, you can use one or two. If you look at my avatar, you will see that my Sprinter roof is covered with them, as the roof was otherwise unobstructed.

Total space requires (including mounting feet) is 21" X 41" @ 15.5 lbs
Hello Lewster, I'm considering asking you to install those panels for me and wondered whether it might be feasible to fit 3 of them on my EXT - one in place of the standard 50W, one right up front ahead of the Maxxfan (and for that I also wondered whether an air deflector could be installed to protect it), and one right at the back behind the TV antenna.
Thanks, Peter
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Old 08-08-2013, 03:39 PM   #42
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Protagonist,

I have a Drone system with remote alarm installed, and my chassis batteries don't drain it that fast. That system should not use that much of a draw. I wonder if something else may be going on with yours. Mine can go a month and still have enough of a charge to start the vehicle.

I did add a "Trik-L Start" that may help a bit. Technically, the BIM, depending on what type they used (mine is a Sure Power) is supposed to connect the two batteries if the level of the house batteries are higher than 12.6vdc. If the house batteries are at 100% they should be above that level, and the two batteries connected, which then would charge the chassis battery as well. The BIM has some quirky features, though. For instance, if the voltage of the house batteries falls below 12.6vdc, even if the charger is on, it won't connect the chassis batteries until it reaches above 12.6vdc. So if the solar cannot increase the voltage enough to be above that level the chassis battery won't ever get a charge. In addition, even with the alternator running driving down the road, if the level is below 12.6vdc on the house batteries, the BIM may still prevent any charge from getting to the house batteries to prevent the chassis battery from being depleted. At least, that's what a guy a Sure Power told me the other day. I guess the rule is to charge up your house batteries to 100% power before you take a trip.

The Trik-L Start steals a small amount and sends it to the chassis battery any time there is a charging current either from the charger/inverter or the solar controller-but only one way to the chassis battery to keep from depleting the charge there. Maybe that is enough to keep the chassis from being depleted. But it really shouldn't be needed at all if the BIM worked correctly. The BIM by Precision Circuits is even more restrictive. It supposedly won't send a charge to the house batteries from the alternator unless the voltage is below 80% charge. This is to prevent them from being overcharged, or so I was told by the guy at Precision Circuits.

GM



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I actually have more of a problem with the chassis battery, due to the alarm system I installed. If I let it sit for two weeks without running the engine at all, I have to jump-start it due to the battery drain (though the alarm system still has enough power). Another thread on the AirForums addressed auxiliary chassis batteries, and I'm planning to have one installed after my next trip. That should help.
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