Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 06-04-2014, 12:42 AM   #1
2 Rivet Member
 
2014 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Knoxville , Tennessee
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 33
3 Stage Charger

How come Airstream does not have a 3 stage charger built in?
Joan
2014 25' Eddie Bauer
__________________

__________________
Jfed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2014, 01:11 AM   #2
Rivet Master
 
1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,591
Short answer, because AS does not think it is worth the money vs. sales.

On the FC series they include a significant package of Television, DVD player, and fancy radio as standard equipment, because they know it will sell more units. but a 3 stage charger and better battery system will not. Their optional inverter is of mediocre quality, and their optional factory solar system is way overpriced and of limited power output.

I guess (only) that they figure most users don't know, or care about the quality of the electrical systems needed for boondocking, so they don't provide them. They have a full hookup at a full service campground mentality.

I write this at a remote Forest Service Campground in Montana, with my replaced 3 stage charger, pair of 6 volt batteries, low power draw inverter, Tri Metric battery monitor system and 200 watt solar system. All added costs to me over the original price of the 20' FC. But with it, and a good cell phone net service, I can camp in comfort with almost no one around. Cost? $3.50 a night! And I didn't do it for the cost, but because I love remote campsites with lots of space and quiet.

Sorry, I got carried away with my answer.
__________________

__________________
idroba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2014, 01:21 AM   #3
Slowpoke
 
Gnorts's Avatar
 
2012 27' Flying Cloud
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 255
And, unlike yourself, most people have no clue what a 3-stage charger is, nor do they care. You do. I do. We're in the minority.

A friend who is an EE and a genius started a company that makes very effective charging systems for boats. He decided to try to sell his wares to the RV crowd at the Calgary Stampede, which is a huge RV gathering as well as a big rodeo, and he couldn't give the stuff away. Meanwhile, the local Interstate battery dealer sold a semi trailer full of batteries in a weekend. People routinely kill their batteries by mistreating them, and the only answer they can come up with is new batteries! Expensive in the long run, but - simple mind, simple answers!
__________________
Like the tortoise, travelin' slow with the house on our back
2012 FC27FB "Ted Zeppelin"
2010 Tundra Crewmax Platinum "Silver Rhino"
Gnorts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2014, 06:37 AM   #4
Rivet Master
 
mayco's Avatar

 
1982 31' Airstream 310
champaign , Illinois
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2,760
Once again this is an example of the beauty and value of this forum and the people like you and Idroba who, on a regular basis, are willing to share your knowledge and insight to those of us just getting started with their AS. When i purchased my 310 a year ago i was absolutely clueless about the systems and intracacy of this vehicle. I have a pretty good foundation of knowledge in mechanics, residential electrical, and construction priciples but quickly realized i was out of my comfort zone when getting the 310 put together. I would have been lost, and broke, without the folks here on the forum.

So, as i proceeded in getting the rig ready i thought i was doing the right thing in leaving it plugged into shore power 24/7 thus keeping the batteries at full charge. It had the original converter, i had no idea that i was frying the batteries in the process. So when the inevitable happened and the batteries were boiled dry i inquired here about battery replacement. I was quickly educated about converters and the value of 3 stage units. I wouldnt have known ANYTHING about this if not for the fine folks here on the forum.

Sorry about my long winded post here but i just cant pass up the oportunity to express my gratitude to you folks for your help along the way here. Your patience is seemingly unending!

THANK YOU!
__________________
mayco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2014, 06:54 AM   #5
Rivet Master
 
lsbrodsky's Avatar
 
2012 25' FB International
Trent Woods , North Carolina
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 1,687
I completely agree that this forum is very valuable, even if takes time to keep current. After decades of owning boats I was very familiar with maintenance and repair but the Airstream was a different beast. Actually less well-built and less accessible than a cruising sailboat. The converter/charger was one of the first things I replaced although the factory solar kept the batteries charged. Even the factory solar controller had to go as it was low end, not right for the batteries.
I really do not fault Airstream for using cheaper stuff behind the curtain as the look and feel sell their product. I suspect what they install serves a part-time camper pretty well for the typical camping season. Serious users must upgrade and that is just a cost of owning. Certainly for the average owner replacing cheap lead acid batteries is a better deal than paying for an expensive inverter/charger.
Larry
__________________
lsbrodsky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2014, 12:11 PM   #6
2 Rivet Member
 
2014 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Knoxville , Tennessee
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 33
Thanks, I like to remote camp as well and had no idea that the battery and charging system was so poor. For the money I spent on the Eddie Bauer I am sorely disappointed and will need to find help to upgrade my system.
__________________
Jfed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2014, 12:15 PM   #7
2 Rivet Member
 
2014 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Knoxville , Tennessee
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 33
Yes, I as well was clueless and it has been a process to get educated, thanks to the forum.
__________________
Jfed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2014, 12:19 PM   #8
2 Rivet Member
 
2014 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Knoxville , Tennessee
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 33
Thanks, any recommendations in the southeast for replacement of converter/inverter as I am not knowledgeable enough to do it myself.
__________________
Jfed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2014, 12:21 PM   #9
Wise Elder
 
Jammer's Avatar
 
2010 30' Classic
Vintage Kin Owner
South of the river , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jfed View Post
How come Airstream does not have a 3 stage charger built in?
Joan
2014 25' Eddie Bauer
Because, once you cut through the hype, a 3 stage charger only makes a practical difference to people who are trying to charge their batteries with a generator.

The stock converters that Airstream has been using at least since 2010 do not overcharge batteries any more than a 3 stage charger will. I have the original batteries in my trailer, and the original converter, and I leave the trailer plugged in all the time, year 'round. My batteries still work great. The only problem I have with my converter is that it takes 24 hours to fully charge the batteries.

Some earlier converters that Airstream used were prone to damaging the batteries. The current production ones are not.

3 stage converters will overcharge batteries in hot weather unless they are temperature compensated, and the vast majority of 3 stage chargers are not installed with a temperature probe.
__________________
To learn to see below the surface, you must adjust your altitude
Jammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2014, 01:19 PM   #10
Refugee from Napa, CA
 
Photobum's Avatar
 
2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
Madison , South Dakota
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 501
Images: 5
Blog Entries: 1
I just want to follow this....
__________________
Photobum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2014, 02:20 PM   #11
Rivet Master
 
Wayne&Sam's Avatar
 
2014 25' Flying Cloud
Cuddebackville , New York
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 3,099
Images: 21
On my '07 Safari, I used the standard converter and when I left it in storage, I used a Battery Minder Charger on the batteries 24/7 (except when I used the charger for other batteries now and then). My original Interstate batteries lasted 7 years.

When I got my '14, I just moved the pigtail to the new unit and will do the same.

We tend to boondock for a few days, then go to a campground where we can dump, refill and recharge. Battery charge has never been the limiting factor- water and wastewater has been. When boondocking we don't watch TV (which would be a great battery drain), it's boondocking.

With the bigger tanks in our new unit, I expect to have more days boondocking between full service campgrounds.

Finally, in virtually every car you ever bought you could buy a better stereo aftermarket. What's the difference in an Airstream?
__________________
2014 25' Flying Cloud Rear Twin
2012 Dodge Durango Hemi/AWD
Wayne&Sam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2014, 03:06 PM   #12
Wise Elder
 
Jammer's Avatar
 
2010 30' Classic
Vintage Kin Owner
South of the river , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,119
I prefer to avoid using a generator.

I have my tow vehicle set up with an enhanced charge line and an extra battery, which is one way to do it. Power does become a limiting factor when running the furnace, but we can stay for a full day even in cold weather if stationary, or 3 days in the summer. If we're driving around the batteries recharge. Works for us.

If we needed more time, I'd add batteries and solar.
__________________
To learn to see below the surface, you must adjust your altitude
Jammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2014, 03:15 PM   #13
2 Rivet Member
 
2014 23' Flying Cloud
Reed Point , Montana
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 99
I quickly learned about the weakness of my converter on my new 23 Flying Cloud on this forum and purchased a multi-stage converter through: 4600 Series Upgrade or Replacement Power Converters from Progressive Dynamics
It's also amazing to me that A/S won't upgrade the "build quality" of their units.
It may save them a few dollars now, but in the long run it will cost them much more......
__________________
Bigskyrider8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2014, 11:03 AM   #14
Slowpoke
 
Gnorts's Avatar
 
2012 27' Flying Cloud
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 255
Seems like there are enough boaters here to thoroughly confuse everybody else regarding this admittedly complex issue. Here's an article from the West Marine website on battery charging which may perhaps shed some light on the subject.

Selecting a Battery Charger | West Marine

BTW, the alternators in the tow vehicles won't do a very good job of charging the trailer batteries either, unless they are regulated in the same way as the battery chargers are. As a former cruising sailor who didn't have a generator, I had to retrofit the charging system on my boat's little diesel engine so it would fully charge gel-cell deep cycle batteries without damaging them. In the boating world, since we can't use propane refrigerators, the single biggest energy user on the boat is the fridge, and the batteries and charging system needs to be able to support them. I could live on the hook (anchored - the boat versioin of boondocking) for three or four days, and recharge my substantial battery bank in about six hours of engine time.

The alternator in a car or truck isn't designed to charge batteries. It's designed to support loads, like headlights, heater fan, wipers, etc. Charging the battery is a secondary function. It actually doesn't take a lot of capacity to start a gasoline engine, so the battery doesn't need to have the same kind of full charge that deep cycle RV batteries need. The regulator in a standard automotive alternator senses feedback voltage at its own output, and as soon as that voltage starts to rise as the battery is replenished after starting, the regulator starts to turn off the alternator's output. That's exactly wrong for deep cycle batteries. But, as has been mentioined, it works for the way most folks use their RV's, so if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I've had to re-think what I expect from a charging system with the AS. Electrical loads are quite light, since the fridge will run on propane and the lighting in the newer units is all LED. The biggest electrical loads will be the furnace fan and the TV.
__________________

__________________
Like the tortoise, travelin' slow with the house on our back
2012 FC27FB "Ted Zeppelin"
2010 Tundra Crewmax Platinum "Silver Rhino"
Gnorts is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Solar addition to system with a multi-stage converter/charger drboyd Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 1 03-01-2014 06:59 PM
Converter/Charger vs. Inverter/Charger moosetags Batteries, Univolts, Converters & Inverters 5 11-22-2013 11:21 PM
Want To Install 3 Stage Charger 1999 Safari Soyboy Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 3 04-15-2010 06:27 AM
stage one completed carmen Our Community 5 05-18-2003 08:31 AM
Adding charger where no charger has gone before Jabba Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 4 03-08-2003 10:39 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:05 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.