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Old 02-25-2009, 10:26 PM   #1
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1990 33' Land Yacht
Jacksonville , Florida
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House battery master switch

Is it safe and/or a good idea to turn the house battery master switch off when plugged into shore power? Except for a few hours a day to refresh the charge on the batteries (2 Exide Stowaway ST31DC205s)?

I have noted a loss of battery electrolyte in recent months, and suspect that my (less than two year old) Parallex 7345RU converter/charger is overcharging my batteries.

How might I check that?

Thanks in advance for your advice.
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33' 1990 Airstream Land Yacht: Edelbrock, Banks, Gear Vendors, MSD, Taylor wires, Super Steer bell cranks, Bilsteins, Roadmaster sway bar, Safe Steer, Pressure Pro, Crossfire, Bigfoot levelers, Rickson 7.5" rims & 245/70 R19.5 Bridgestones on steer axle.
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:33 PM   #2
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The house battery switch should be left on. That way your 12 volt devices run off the batteries. Otherwise your charger will run continuosly. It is important to check the water levels in the batteries often, at least once a month. I check mine every 2 weeks as I'm a fulltimer & need the batteries.
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:54 PM   #3
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Thanks. I was afraid that would be the answer.

Have you ever heard of or seen a timer for the charger?

Magnetek is a single stage charger, and puts 13.8 volts to the batteries at all times. I'm trying to avoid having to buy a new converter/charger.
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33' 1990 Airstream Land Yacht: Edelbrock, Banks, Gear Vendors, MSD, Taylor wires, Super Steer bell cranks, Bilsteins, Roadmaster sway bar, Safe Steer, Pressure Pro, Crossfire, Bigfoot levelers, Rickson 7.5" rims & 245/70 R19.5 Bridgestones on steer axle.
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Old 02-26-2009, 08:50 AM   #4
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Have you checked the output or just quoting the manufacture?

I would check it with a good voltmeter. a charger putting out more than 13.8 volts will tend to boil off the battery. Also I would remove the ground wire from the batteries and check them. Make sure they are balanced and one does not have a bad cell.
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Old 02-27-2009, 08:15 AM   #5
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Howie,

Just quoting manufacturer. I can check it though, and will when I am using external AC again. MH is "resting" now, in preparation for our Everglades trip next month.

I am annoyed that CW didn't tell me that it was a single stage converter/charger. Don't know what to do about that -- I really would prefer a 3 stage converter/charger.

Thanks for your advice & help.

Safe Travels,

FRank
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33' 1990 Airstream Land Yacht: Edelbrock, Banks, Gear Vendors, MSD, Taylor wires, Super Steer bell cranks, Bilsteins, Roadmaster sway bar, Safe Steer, Pressure Pro, Crossfire, Bigfoot levelers, Rickson 7.5" rims & 245/70 R19.5 Bridgestones on steer axle.
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:22 AM   #6
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I believe the Magnatek unit can be converted to a three stage charger with the addition of a chip. These used to be available from Camping World but several years ago they changed the product and included the chip. Check with Magnatek. You definitely need a multi stage or smart charger. By the way you can become the smart part of the charger by simpy unpugging it on a regular basis. Monitor the state of the batteries on a weekly basis and set up a regular un-plug the charger cycle. Not easy but definitely cost effective. Main potential problem is you cannot let the battery freeze since this will destroy battery. This can happen if you let them completely discharge and then freeze.

Howard
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:22 PM   #7
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Howard,

Thank you for your advice. I'll contact Magnetek Monday and see if there is a way to convert my 7345 to a three stage charger. It is only two years old, so maybe that will work -- would be nice if it can be done.

In the meantime, how do I unplug the charger? I gather it is a separate, easily identifiable part of the converter/charger? If it can be unplugged, that suggests that a cut off switch (or a timer) can be installed, either of which will make it much easier for me to manage my battery condition.

No danger of freezing the batteries. I am in Florida, and we leave on our annual trip when the temps up Nawth are well above freezing. We are "reverse" snowbirds -- winter quarters in Florida and summer quarters in the MH wherever it is not 95 degrees and 95% humidity!

Safe travels.
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33' 1990 Airstream Land Yacht: Edelbrock, Banks, Gear Vendors, MSD, Taylor wires, Super Steer bell cranks, Bilsteins, Roadmaster sway bar, Safe Steer, Pressure Pro, Crossfire, Bigfoot levelers, Rickson 7.5" rims & 245/70 R19.5 Bridgestones on steer axle.
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Old 03-01-2009, 07:52 AM   #8
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Frank,
Where is the magnatek located on your 33, I am in the process checking as many parts as I can before our first trip. New machine with unknowns is not relaxing or wanted if someone else is doing the repairs, po had systems screwed up due to "experts" at the dealership.
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:28 AM   #9
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Dave,

The power distrubution center is located under the sink on the street side of my MH. It is in a brown metal roughly 12" square container with cooling vents on the FRont. There are four screws that hold the FRont panel on. Converter/charger is behind that panel on bottom of power distruibution center; AC circuit breakers are on the left upper and the DC fuses are on the right upper panels.

Safe travels,

FRank
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33' 1990 Airstream Land Yacht: Edelbrock, Banks, Gear Vendors, MSD, Taylor wires, Super Steer bell cranks, Bilsteins, Roadmaster sway bar, Safe Steer, Pressure Pro, Crossfire, Bigfoot levelers, Rickson 7.5" rims & 245/70 R19.5 Bridgestones on steer axle.
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:58 AM   #10
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Try a timer

Check out my "Great Ideas" column in the current Airstream Life magazine. I use a heavy-duty lamp timer (must have a 3-prong outlet) and a short, heavy duty extension cord to run the converter part-time while in storage.

I use just a single battery in my Classic since I do not boondock. I set the timer to charge for 1/2 hour, twice a day. When I am using the trailer, I can either increase the charging time or simply bypass the timer by plugging the converter directly into the extension cord.

In very hot weather, the battery will lose water even when the trailer is in use. This happened to me at the Perry International trip before I installed the timer.
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Old 03-02-2009, 11:32 PM   #11
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1990 33' Land Yacht
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Pahaska,

Thank you for your suggestion.

Does your trailer have a Magnetek converter/charger? If so, where can I find the power cord for the charger?

Safe travels,

FRank
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Frank and Susan Davis
Jacksonville, Florida

33' 1990 Airstream Land Yacht: Edelbrock, Banks, Gear Vendors, MSD, Taylor wires, Super Steer bell cranks, Bilsteins, Roadmaster sway bar, Safe Steer, Pressure Pro, Crossfire, Bigfoot levelers, Rickson 7.5" rims & 245/70 R19.5 Bridgestones on steer axle.
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Old 03-03-2009, 08:18 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Taxman View Post
Pahaska,

Thank you for your suggestion.

Does your trailer have a Magnetek converter/charger? If so, where can I find the power cord for the charger?

Safe travels,

Frank
Mine does have the Magnetec.

In must conventional layout Airstreams, the power cord from the converter plugs into an outlet on the front wall of the trailer. I know that the 30 Bunkhouse and perhaps the current front bedroom models may be somewhat different. At any rate, the converter comes with a fairly short cord so that there will be an AC outlet fairly close to the converter. I had to half-raise my couch to reach the outlet in my Classic 28.
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Old 03-03-2009, 04:44 PM   #13
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1990 33' Land Yacht
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Thank you very much! As I think about it (MH is in storage at present), there is a 115 v outlet under the sink. I'll check it out tomorrow.

Appreciate the tips!

Safe travels.

FRank
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Frank and Susan Davis
Jacksonville, Florida

33' 1990 Airstream Land Yacht: Edelbrock, Banks, Gear Vendors, MSD, Taylor wires, Super Steer bell cranks, Bilsteins, Roadmaster sway bar, Safe Steer, Pressure Pro, Crossfire, Bigfoot levelers, Rickson 7.5" rims & 245/70 R19.5 Bridgestones on steer axle.
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Old 03-03-2009, 04:55 PM   #14
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Frank, on my 33' the converter is behind the carpeted panel under the dash, in front of the front passenger seat. The outlet sets right beside the converter,both are mounted on the right side wall.
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