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Old 06-07-2019, 06:10 AM   #1
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Plug it in for storage?

Got my 2017 Interstate out of storage after only two months of non use. It struggled to start and both the chassis battery and house battery were low. I know there are various battery draw items that have been discussed, but does anyone leave their van plugged in at storage. Whether it is plugged in 15 amp or 30 amp, what are the long term and short term effects on the batteries? Do you battery and electrical goo rouxs recommend leaving it plugged in or not?

Thanks for the opinions!
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Old 06-07-2019, 07:45 AM   #2
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While I had mine in my driveway, it was always connected to a 15amp outlet. Red switch on. LP switch off. Fusion off (no kill switches at that time)... and I still saw issues with the batteries...

This was specific to the factory battery isolator that comes installed from Airstream. I replaced that with a Blue Sea ML-ACR 7622 and all those problems went away... plugged in... then I fixed the solar charging issues with a Victron BlueSolar 100/30 MPPT Charge Controller - 30 Amps / 100 Volts (new version is the Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/30)






I still think that this are the two must-do mods for any AI owner to avoid issues with the batteries and improve solar charging efficiency...


Then doing the kill switches for the Fusion and an inside switch for the LP (this one more for convenience)
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Old 06-07-2019, 11:17 AM   #3
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I left mine sitting outside in a storage lot for three months and had a heck of a time getting it started. Not because the battery was low but I think I had stale fuel that needed to flush its way through. It would sometimes try to catch and stay running but would not. I must have tried ten times and finally it kept running and has been fine since. First thing I did was dash to the gas station so I could dilute the old fuel with new.

I too installed the ML-ACR 9622. https://amzn.to/2WkhubD
When I left it, I had the override switched to OFF. I also had the rotary switch in back turned to MAN OFF and my batteries were all healthy voltages after three months of idle. Good thing, cause I was cranking that engine over a lot of times to get it going.

Now then.... here's a curious observation perhaps worthy of a new post... I also have the Victron Solar SmartController 100/30 (and the Victron BMV-712 monitor) and the history revealed something very interesting. Only 30Wh were passed into the battery every single day, consistently, while it sat there. Someone tell me why it wasn't zero, or why it wasn't different each day.

Couple this with how I've noticed that, if the coach electrical load is light, the solar input is low even in full sun... if I turn on something, the solar jumps up significantly. Evidently, excess solar energy is dumped into the ether instead of adding too much charge. Someone correct me if I'm wrong about these assumptions.
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Old 06-07-2019, 11:52 AM   #4
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Plug it in

My two AIs have always been plugged in while in storage. The 2014.5 was modified with the Blue Sea ML-ACR 7622 and I have ordered that BIM for my 2018. The 2014.5 was also modified with an MPPT Blue Sky solar controller. That will be a near future change for the 2018.

The BIM that Airstream installs is a joke, as is the solar controller they install. Either can leave you with a partially charged battery, even with driving and 300 watts of solar on a bright day. The combination of both is pitiful. Odd thing is that better current products don't cost more than the poor products installed.
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tronadora View Post
...Now then.... here's a curious observation perhaps worthy of a new post... I also have the Victron Solar SmartController 100/30 (and the Victron BMV-712 monitor) and the history revealed something very interesting. Only 30Wh were passed into the battery every single day, consistently, while it sat there. Someone tell me why it wasn't zero, or why it wasn't different each day.

Couple this with how I've noticed that, if the coach electrical load is light, the solar input is low even in full sun... if I turn on something, the solar jumps up significantly. Evidently, excess solar energy is dumped into the ether instead of adding too much charge. Someone correct me if I'm wrong about these assumptions.

Yes... demand based. So once it is charged it is wasted away in the ether... It works the same in mine.
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Old 06-08-2019, 12:16 PM   #6
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Seems like a few good answers were given here that make sense. I would like to add that you should fill up your AI with nonethanol gas and put a can of Seafoam in it if you plan on storing it a few months at a time. Stabil never really worked for me or a golf course maintenance shop in Nashville. I've always had luck with Seafoam and keep 35-45 gal. of treated nonethanol gas in a ventilated area in case of emergency. It goes into my generator and power equipment then any left over after 8 months goes into autos.
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Old 06-08-2019, 12:21 PM   #7
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Craig,
The Interstate runs on diesel...
Maybe really early ones ran on gas (?)
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Old 06-08-2019, 12:31 PM   #8
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I forgot, I had a 5 watt PulseTech solargizer solar panel connected to my dual batteries in my '77 Excellent 500. I had no parasitic draws on that trailer and that panel kept both Delco Voyager sealed batteries fully charged while in the driveway. If stored indoors, I would be inclined to add a BatteryMinder or BatteryTender multistage charger connected to the batteries to keep them up if plugged into a 15 amp. outlet. They come in a number of amp. outputs but don't get just a trickle charger. You need boost, desulphation and maintance phases to keep batteries in top condition. I drove a 43 passenger diesel pusher one day every three weeks and the two on board batteries were smaller than they should have been. I had our maintenance department install a Battery Tender 4 stage charger in the battery compartment and batteries were always topped off and ready to go.
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Old 06-08-2019, 12:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tronadora View Post
Craig,
The Interstate runs on diesel...
Maybe really early ones ran on gas (?)
Good point. Seafoam also works in diesel fuel to eliminate water. I always kept diesel additive in the bus at work.
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Old 06-08-2019, 04:39 PM   #10
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Good point. Seafoam also works in diesel fuel to eliminate water. I always kept diesel additive in the bus at work.

Wow, good to know.. thanks for the tip !
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Old 06-08-2019, 07:42 PM   #11
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Storage

Use a battery tender on the van and one for the coach batteries. They have a new 4 amp that does AGM WET CELL OR LITHIUM. I disconnect the battery switches and plug the charger(s) into a 15 amp power cord.

For gasoline please google k-100.com. It will treat ethanol non-ethanol and literally makes water burn. You cannot overdose with this product it’s great for generators. The D version is for Diesel.

Parasitic current draws cannot stop unless you disconnect the battery cables or use a smart battery tender.
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Old 06-10-2019, 06:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Craig,
The Interstate runs on diesel...
Maybe really early ones ran on gas (?)
The Airstream B-190s were on Ford e350s with gas 460s and '98 and later V-10s.

The Interstates have always been on Mercedes (Dodge/Freightliner) chassis with either an inline-5cyl diesel ('02-'06 OM612 or OM647 engine) or the various iterations of the V-6 engine since '07.
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Old 06-10-2019, 08:05 AM   #13
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The Airstream B-190s were on Ford e350s with gas 460s and '98 and later V-10s.

The Interstates have always been on Mercedes (Dodge/Freightliner) chassis with either an inline-5cyl diesel ('02-'06 OM612 or OM647 engine) or the various iterations of the V-6 engine since '07.
Don't forget the Avenue models from '2010-2012 on the Chevy Express 3500 gas chassis. All ten of them.

Ok, more than ten made, but most likely only a few hundred.

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Old 06-10-2019, 09:58 AM   #14
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Don't forget the Avenue models from '2010-2012 on the Chevy Express 3500 gas chassis. All ten of them.

Ok, more than ten made, but most likely only a few hundred.

.
Oh, geez... yes... all ten of them!
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Old 06-10-2019, 05:24 PM   #15
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I dont have option to plug in for storage. I drop by every 2 weeks and start the engine, turn on the lights, check the dehumidifying buckets, etc. After about 10 minutes, I shut it all back down. And sometimes I just bring it home for the weekend so I can plug in, run the AC or heat to keep it aired out. Technically it is only supposed to be parked in my driveway 2 nights per month per HOA, but I frequently break those rules.
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Old 06-11-2019, 02:05 PM   #16
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Today’s vehicles

Understand your dilemma. With today’s vehicles the Alternators are not battery chargers they can only maintain a full charged battery. It would be best to start your rig and drive it rather than idle it. At least 15-30 miles to warm up the engine oil and emissions exhaust system.

Have you considered a solar battery maintenance charger? Might be a viable option. To bad no electric at your storage unit.

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I dont have option to plug in for storage. I drop by every 2 weeks and start the engine, turn on the lights, check the dehumidifying buckets, etc. After about 10 minutes, I shut it all back down. And sometimes I just bring it home for the weekend so I can plug in, run the AC or heat to keep it aired out. Technically it is only supposed to be parked in my driveway 2 nights per month per HOA, but I frequently break those rules.
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Old 06-11-2019, 03:31 PM   #17
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Understand your dilemma. With today’s vehicles the Alternators are not battery chargers they can only maintain a full charged battery. It would be best to start your rig and drive it rather than idle it. At least 15-30 miles to warm up the engine oil and emissions exhaust system.
Actually, the Interstate's engine alternator is quite beefy (around 200A, I think) and designed to charge the house batteries. It is integrated into the coach electrical system and automatically receives or delivers a charge based on whether there is need or a surplus in the coach.

I watch my Victron battery monitor and routinely observe well over 50A being delivered into the house batteries while idling or driving. Add to that another 25A going into my Goal Zero 3000 through my onboard inverter plus another 10A to run fridge and separate freezer.
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Old 07-22-2019, 12:14 PM   #18
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I visited with AS techs on this issue after my interstate purchase in Nov 2017...advised to put 3amp charge on chassis battery and plug into 30 amp service for house batteries. In my second year and have had no problems with batteries what so ever...maybe lucky!!! Wishing you the best.

Tom
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