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Old 01-21-2018, 11:26 AM   #1
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Newbie Battery Question

My wife and I just took delivery of our 16' Bambi right before New Years. We kept it in our driveway hooked up to shore power for a week or so then took it over to the covered RV storage spot we secured for the winter (our bay doesn't have power access).

After two weeks the battery monitor in the Bambi reads 11.9. Does that seem like normal when-not-in-use battery depletion/leakage? We have two AMG 6 volt batteries.

The service guy at the AS dealership said we shouldn't allow the battery to drop below 12.6. Are we going to have to tow it back to our house every week or two to charge the battery back up?
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Old 01-21-2018, 12:14 PM   #2
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First get your batteries fully charged as soon as possible again, leaving them at that voltage will damage them. Next install a battery disconnect switch at the battery box so there will be no parasitic loads draining your battery while in storage and your batteries should fine for several months. There are several good threads on disconnect switches if you search for them.
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Old 01-21-2018, 12:16 PM   #3
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You might have old batteries. We also have to keep our AS away from home. It's not such a problem in the summer when we use it every few weeks, but for winter storage we remove our batteries and keep them at home. That way we can test them periodically and re-charge them if need be. (Hint: we're not mechanically or electrically savvy, so if you're like us, we'd recommend you take some pictures or draw some diagrams of the proper set-up so you can figure out how to re-install, come spring.)
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Old 01-21-2018, 02:11 PM   #4
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I would remove them and get a trickle charger to maintain them at home.

If not that disconnect them while in storage. Install a disconnect switch or remove the negative cables.

The gas detector is the worst thing ever installed in a trailer. If I had to guess the battery company gives them free to Airstream to insure the batteries don't last.
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Old 01-21-2018, 02:57 PM   #5
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If your covered storage has open front or sides, you can connect a solar battery tender to the batteries. Like place the solar panel on top of the propane tanks. Disconnect the batteries from the trailer and they should be fine and maintain a 12+ charge.
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Old 01-21-2018, 07:02 PM   #6
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Hello PDXMike and welcome from Colorado. I think you will find traveling in your Airstream and these Airstream Forums just a lot of fun.

Maintaining our batteries is a rather chore. I'm in the market for a new AGM battery. I fully understand that the two 6 volt AGM batteries you have is an excellent power source for longer "boondocking" off the grid stays. We don't do that much, so just one 12v battery is enough for me.

I agree that disconnecting your batteries and hauling the heavy rascals home to your basement or garage is the way to go. A low current battery tender will keep them in top shape all winter. Haul them back when the traveling season is upon us.

I will install a cable connector (plug) instead of an on, off switch on my new battery. The previous owner did this and so will I. It makes sense to me. I can unplug the battery and know there is no voltage loss to the trailer, and then I can take it home with me without using a wrench. Just seemed easier than a switch.

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Old 01-21-2018, 11:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PDXMike View Post
My wife and I just took delivery of our 16' Bambi right before New Years. We kept it in our driveway hooked up to shore power for a week or so then took it over to the covered RV storage spot we secured for the winter (our bay doesn't have power access).

After two weeks the battery monitor in the Bambi reads 11.9. Does that seem like normal when-not-in-use battery depletion/leakage? We have two AMG 6 volt batteries.

The service guy at the AS dealership said we shouldn't allow the battery to drop below 12.6. Are we going to have to tow it back to our house every week or two to charge the battery back up?
MIke, as others have insinuated... you likely are seeing the results of a parasitic load caused by your propane leak-detector which is continuously powered even if you've switched your batteries OFF. The propane detector is hot-wired.
You can either disconnect your batteries completely by disconnecting the negative cable(s)... or you can install an "on/off" switch for your propane detector so that you can disable it while in storage and your propane bottles are turned off. (Of course you'll want to enable both again when travelling/camping.)
If you have an entertainment system or anything with a continuously powered clock, etc... you may find it easier to just disconnect the negative cable at the battery. You should recharge your batteries and not leave them in a discharged state regardless of which decision you take.
Hope this helps.
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Old 01-22-2018, 01:36 AM   #8
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It's a pain to take the battery in and out. I use a solar battery minder while the trailer is in storage. Even in rainy Oregon winters it seems to keep the battery charged. This is different than a panel made for quicker charges while you are camping. This one only generates 15watts in direct sun. This will plug into your "Zamp Solar" plug near your battery compartment if you have one. This panel works on AGM and Flooded Batteries, NOT Lithium.

As others have mentioned, you must install a battery cutoff switch in the battery compartment for solar to be able to keep up. I use this one. If you do the solar suggestion, just make sure the solar wires remain on the battery side of the switch.
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Old 01-22-2018, 06:09 AM   #9
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Two good points made....

1) Yes, what you have is normal. There are parasitic loads on your battery....even when in "store" mode. The two biggest are the propane detector and inverter (if you have one). Best way to fix this is with a battery disconnect switch. Your dealer says 12.6V is the minimum voltage? Good luck with that! I would say more like 12.2V.

2) AS batteries tend to sit on the dealer lot and never get plugged in until someone buys the trailer. My batteries were bad from day one and I could not figure out why I kept waking up to voltages below 12V. When you charge your batteries, you should really see no degradation of voltage overnight with NO load. Alternatively, take them to Interstate to be checked.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 01-22-2018, 10:16 AM   #10
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I would remove them and put a trickle charger on them ..The gas detector draws current, eventually draining the battery.
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