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Old 08-23-2017, 12:25 PM   #1
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battery indicator/propane problem

When no shore power or generator, my battery indicator says 9.1. In that state: 1. The inverter circuits don't work. (The inverter switch is on).
2. The propane mode reefer won't cool, even though the LP indicator is on.
3. The LP water heater red light comes on after a while.
4. The furnace and the stove do work.
5. All the lights, radio, water pump do work, but weakly.

With my 30 amp generator running, the battery indicator says 13.5 and everything works fine, air, heat, TV, and microwave.

I really don't know what to think. Any insights appreciated, thanks. My best guess is that the battery needs to be fully charged or at a minimum threshold for everything to be fully functional, and that the reading of 13.5 when the generator is running is misleading. One more question, will the generator eventually charge the battery? I am running the generator now to see if anything happens.

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Old 08-23-2017, 12:39 PM   #2
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At 9 volts, you battery is too low to operate most of the items you include, they all have a minimum operating voltage and will shut down below that threshold. At 9 volts you have also damaged the battery/batteries, they should not be allowed to discharge below 12.0 volts.

When you run the generator you provide voltage sufficient to operate everything and to charge the batteries (13.5 volts). Whether or not the batteries will recharge depends on how damaged they are. Most likely, if you didn't run the batteries down to 9 volts, then you have one or more bad cells in the batteries and they need to be replaced. Take the batteries to a shop to have them checked.
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Old 08-23-2017, 01:00 PM   #3
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Agree and we have seen dealers delivering less than good batteries in new trailers since they sit on lots and may not get charged
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Old 08-23-2017, 04:16 PM   #4
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Thank you and very interesting. I was also wondering if a bad converter or converter fuse would interfere with recharging the batteries.
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Old 08-23-2017, 04:26 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by alphamale49 View Post
Thank you and very interesting. I was also wondering if a bad converter or converter fuse would interfere with recharging the batteries.
I'm pretty sure your converter is protected by a circuit breaker, not a fuse. If the breaker was flipped you wouldn't have any AC power. The converter takes AC and makes DC to power all the DC devices (lights, fans, etc.) without using battery power. In Airstream trailers there is a switch by the door: Use/Store. I don't know where that is in the Interstate.

If the Use/Store switch is in Store and you're connected to a power source (shore power or generator) you will have DC power to all the devices but your battery won't get charged. It needs to be in Use to charge them.
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Old 08-23-2017, 04:47 PM   #6
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Thank you. The generator raised the battery voltage some what, but very slowly. I just attached the 7 way electrical cable to the truck and I am letting it run. The voltage is now up to 12 after just a few minutes! Impatiently, I tried the inverter for a moment, and it now is working. I'll continue to charge from the truck to see how high I can charge the batteries.
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Old 08-23-2017, 05:18 PM   #7
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In Airstream trailers there is a switch by the door: Use/Store. I don't know where that is in the Interstate.
The OP has an International, not an Interstate. Normally that correction has to be made the other way, with people mistaking an Interstate for an International. It's actually nice to see that the mistake can happen both ways.
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Old 08-23-2017, 05:33 PM   #8
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Hi

If your battery voltage goes up to 13.5 when the generator is running, that suggests that the charging circuit(s) are working. Best bet is that you have at least one shorted cell in your batteries.

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Old 08-24-2017, 09:58 AM   #9
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The OP has an International, not an Interstate. Normally that correction has to be made the other way, with people mistaking an Interstate for an International. It's actually nice to see that the mistake can happen both ways.
D'oh!
My dyslexia raises its ugly head. Thanks, Protagonist
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Old 08-24-2017, 10:03 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by alphamale49 View Post
Thank you. The generator raised the battery voltage some what, but very slowly. I just attached the 7 way electrical cable to the truck and I am letting it run. The voltage is now up to 12 after just a few minutes! Impatiently, I tried the inverter for a moment, and it now is working. I'll continue to charge from the truck to see how high I can charge the batteries.
It will really depend on if the batteries can hold the charge. After they reach charged (12.7) let them sit for a couple of hours and take a reading. If they are wet cell and you can access the plates through the filler caps, a hydrometer will tell you if you have a bad cell. [If they are sealed then just take a voltage reading.]

Another fairly good tool is a load tester. I got one from Harbor Freight. It's cheap but will give you an idea of the battery's state under load. I think with the 20% off coupon it was less than $20 and you get a free something too.
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Old 08-24-2017, 04:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphamale49 View Post
When no shore power or generator, my battery indicator says 9.1. In that state: 1. The inverter circuits don't work. (The inverter switch is on).
2. The propane mode reefer won't cool, even though the LP indicator is on.
3. The LP water heater red light comes on after a while.
4. The furnace and the stove do work.
5. All the lights, radio, water pump do work, but weakly.

With my 30 amp generator running, the battery indicator says 13.5 and everything works fine, air, heat, TV, and microwave.

I really don't know what to think. Any insights appreciated, thanks. My best guess is that the battery needs to be fully charged or at a minimum threshold for everything to be fully functional, and that the reading of 13.5 when the generator is running is misleading. One more question, will the generator eventually charge the battery? I am running the generator now to see if anything happens.

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Hi Alphamale49,

Congratulations on your new Serenity. Please call our Customer Service and Technical Support team if you continue to have issues with your new Airstream. We're here to help!
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Old 08-24-2017, 06:55 PM   #12
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Battery issues are being discussed in the thread with my recent post quoted below, and you might want to read up at the Battery School link and other battery failure threads.

Good luck,

Peter

[click on arrow in quote to go there]
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Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
Yup that will happen with the basic charger supplied by AS. Most folks upgrade to 4-stage charger, and get new batteries. If your AS is still under warranty, you could take the batteries to an Interstate dealer (assuming this is the correct brand of battery) and have them tested. They may be toast or salvageable. You might want to read your AS owner's manual also, as some preventative maintenance can forestall problems like this.

Good general reading: http://www.batteriesnorthwest.com/ba...hool.cfm?TID=0

Lots of threads on battery failure issues.

Battery forum: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449/

Threads:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f382...ay-169288.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...ud-165144.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f382...or-170703.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f37/...es-170411.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f540...es-170571.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f516...on-169925.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...lp-169693.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f317...ge-170153.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...or-170148.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...ns-170201.html


That should be enough reading material for the night!



Good luck,

Peter
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Old 08-25-2017, 12:38 PM   #13
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Turned out the batteries were dead. Could not hold a charge. I replaced them. Thanks all.
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Old 08-25-2017, 01:22 PM   #14
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Thanks for the update. Hope you will seek compensation from the dealer/AS.

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