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Old 08-11-2012, 04:49 PM   #15
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They're better be vented at the top, too. Hydrogen is lighter than air, and will always rise. Hydrogen will not vent out through a bottom vent; that's to drain any fluids (condensation) that might get into the compartment, and to provide intake air to replace the whatever goes out the top vent.
If his are anything like mine, they don't have a top vent that I have ever seen. However, the door is pretty much all of the front of the battery box, and it's not really sealed to speak of. I think any hydrogen gas that is not in the battery would vent fairly quickly around the door edges.

Ken
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Old 08-11-2012, 05:55 PM   #16
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With respect to my larger electric bill, this isn't the first summer I've run the A/C at 78 degrees for an extended period. That's why I was leaning towards the charger running non-stop as the cause. As for the melting plug, my first move will be to change the female end of the extension to a high-quality hard plastic. Next, thanks to some driveway modifications, I can now move the trailer closer to the house plug and do away with the extension. With respect to the OEM battery switch behind the couch, what purpose does it serve if it doesn't take the batteries out of the system - as stated above??? I assumed that it would indeed remove the batteries so that the 12 volt converter could still run the 12 volt trailer systems when plugged in to shore power - without charging the batteries. Can someone else help to clarify this? Further, I would think that, due to the batteries being required for the emergency break-away system, power would still flow thereto regardless of the position of this switch.
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Old 08-11-2012, 06:43 PM   #17
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......................
. With respect to the OEM battery switch behind the couch, what purpose does it serve if it doesn't take the batteries out of the system - as stated above??? I assumed that it would indeed remove the batteries so that the 12 volt converter could still run the 12 volt trailer systems when plugged in to shore power - without charging the batteries. Can someone else help to clarify this? Further, I would think that, due to the batteries being required for the emergency break-away system, power would still flow thereto regardless of the position of this switch.
I believe the break-away switch is wired directly to the battery. In any case I would not travel with that switch in the off position. As far as what good the switch is wired as it comes, it supposedly is for when the trailer is not in use and takes almost all the load off the batteries so they will discharge more slowly. Everything I am saying applies to my trailer only as I have not checked others. However ours was purchased new and no mods have been done to it yet. However, the warranty has now expired and I plan to make a few things the way I want them. I discovered this the first time we camped. We plugged into shore power and then I turned the switch off expecting to disconnect the batteries, because I knew they were fully charged. I was quite amazed when the trailer when dark. Referring to the trailers manual confirmed that indeed the switch was supposed to be wired the way it is.

It will be a simple matter of adding one short battery cable and moving a couple existing wires from one terminal to another to make it perform as I feel it should.

Yes I agree 100% that is not the way I would expect things to be.

Ken
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Old 08-17-2012, 05:33 PM   #18
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To update, I wired in a new Camco female 30 amp plug to my 20' extension and installed two new Interstate RV/Marine batteries today. All is well with respect to the observed operation of the A/C and the battery monitor over the stove. The batteries registered 12.86 volts and 12.88 volts just before I installed them. Currently I've got the A/C running (---still set to 78 deg) and I plan to leave it that way overnight (---all that will do is simply determine if the extension cord gets hot again - or, horrors of horrors, another battery explodes!) Tommorrow I'll check the voltage on the batteries and see if it seems reasonable. I would like to be able to tell if the converter/charger is running (i.e. - "charging"), but other than noting a change in the battery voltages I don't know how? Does anyone know what the maximum voltage reading should be for the batteries??? I've heard that it could be over 13 volts - but what's a ballpark figure?
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Old 08-18-2012, 01:04 PM   #19
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OK - today's voltage for both batteries is 13.89. Is this correct for new fully-charged batteries - or is it an indication that the converter/charger is over-charging? Both batteries are cool to the touch - as is the new plug I installed on the extension cord. See post immediately preceding. I plan to unplug the trailer until I'm confident that all is OK. I cannot detect any "humming" from the converter/charger today nor could I detect any humming yesterday. Obviously the charger has been working since it boosted the batteries a full 1 volt. I would appreciate any help resolving this issue.
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Old 08-18-2012, 01:32 PM   #20
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You are reading the output of the converter. Turn the converter off or unplug it and I think you will read in the neighborhood of 12.8 volts. Given that you don't have a lot of 12 volt stuff running.
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Old 08-18-2012, 01:36 PM   #21
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Twinkie:

You are so right! In fact it ocurred to me just a few minutes ago that I had taken the readings with the trailer plugged in - so, after unplugging it, I took new readings and the voltage had dropped to 13.17 volts for each battery. Since I could not hear the charger running I had stupidly assumed that it was off! So----this still brings up the question of whether or not it should have been on??? At what battery voltage does it trip off?
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:00 PM   #22
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Twinkie:

You are so right! In fact it ocurred to me just a few minutes ago that I had taken the readings with the trailer plugged in - so, after unplugging it, I took new readings and the voltage had dropped to 13.17 volts for each battery. Since I could not hear the charger running I had stupidly assumed that it was off! So----this still brings up the question of whether or not it should have been on??? At what battery voltage does it trip off?
I am not going to answer the question of what it should read. Depending on what else is connected to it ,it should be 12.something. Keep in mind that unless you actually disconnect each battery and measure them separately, you are not getting a true reading of each battery. The reason yours are above 13 is because they were very recently charged. After the charger is removed it typically takes lead acid batteries several hours to stabilize. I would guess your batteries are fine.

Ken
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:04 PM   #23
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The battery(s) will read higher then normal because of the converter. To get a true reading, unplug the trailer and let it sit for an hour. Around 12.7-12.8 is what I would expect to see.
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:40 PM   #24
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I scanned through this thread again and can't find a mention of what converter you have, If you have the original converter it is my opinion that you should not be leaving the trailer plugged in for more than few days at a time. The original converters Airstream uses are not sophisticated enough to be used as a battery maintainer. If you want to do that I suggested you replace it with a 3 or 4 stage charger designed to maintain the batteries for a lengthy period. There are many threads on that.

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Old 08-18-2012, 03:11 PM   #25
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Ken:

Note that my Excella is a 2000 and it has the original converter/charger. It's my understanding that Airstream went to the present converter sometime in the mid-90's and that they have not made any significant changes since??? It doesn't seem logical to me that the converter would endanger batteries if left plugged in for an extended period - otherwise, Airstream should duly note that said action could cause dire consequences! I know that I'm not the only one who stays hooked up - as many talk about having their refrigerators continuously on, full of food, and ready to go - for the entire camping season! No, it is my understanding that the charger should switch off when the batteries are fully charged and not come back on again until they are discharged sufficiently - whatever the cause of the discharge. That operation might result in a gradual loss of acid and, accordingly, the acid level should be checked more frequently. I believe that my failure to do the latter may have been the cause of the explosion - but it hasn't answered the question of whether or not my charger is cutting in or out as designed (?) - or is it stuck in the "on" position???
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Old 08-18-2012, 03:55 PM   #26
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As I understand it, the OEM converter never sleeps when it comes to battery charging. You have a few options to prevent battery cooking:

1. Don't run the A/C all the time and unplug shore power,

2. Replace the converter with a better one—I have an Iota with multistage charger.

3. Disconnect the batteries and charge them periodically with a multistage charger.

It can take a long time for sulphuric acid to eat through anything it hit. The wire to the jack was probably hit as well as other things. That wire will short out once the insulation is eaten and I'd replace it rather than trust the insulation hasn't been affected. Battery cables also could be a problem. Neutralize anything that might have been hit a few times to prevent future surprises.

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Old 08-18-2012, 04:01 PM   #27
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Ken:

Note that my Excella is a 2000 and it has the original converter/charger. It's my understanding that Airstream went to the present converter sometime in the mid-90's and that they have not made any significant changes since??? It doesn't seem logical to me that the converter would endanger batteries if left plugged in for an extended period - otherwise, Airstream should duly note that said action could cause dire consequences! I know that I'm not the only one who stays hooked up - as many talk about having their refrigerators continuously on, full of food, and ready to go - for the entire camping season! No, it is my understanding that the charger should switch off when the batteries are fully charged and not come back on again until they are discharged sufficiently - whatever the cause of the discharge. That operation might result in a gradual loss of acid and, accordingly, the acid level should be checked more frequently. I believe that my failure to do the latter may have been the cause of the explosion - but it hasn't answered the question of whether or not my charger is cutting in or out as designed (?) - or is it stuck in the "on" position???
Note: My remarks were prefaced with my opinion.
The parallax 73XX converters do not go to zero output when the battery is charged. they have either one or two voltages. the single voltage models keeps the same charge on the battery as long as the converter is on. The 2 stage charger keeps an initial higher voltage, for a period of time and then changes to an Lower maintenance charge. I don't know how to tell which you have. However my experience is that even the 2 stage will significantly reduce the battery life, if left on for extended periods of time. You are probably correct that the failure to keep track of the electrolyte level lead to the explosion, However even if you had, I believe the battery would have become sulfated due to the lengthy constant voltage charge. My last TT, I solved the problem by installing a switch that totally disconnected the battery. I would switch the battery back into the circuit for 24 -48 hours every few weeks to recharge. In my present trailer, I have upgraded the converter to one that has a desulfating cycle.

I really wish that someone who knew this all better than I would post and perhaps explain it better.

Ken
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Old 08-18-2012, 04:12 PM   #28
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I washed everything down with a strong soda solution. Hopefully I managed to neutralize the acid. The only wires in question are the support wires for the battery door - which I sprayed with WD40 after washing them. One thought I've had is to wire in a 24-hr timer at the service outlet on the house. That way I could set the timer to turn the power off at around 4 p.m. and not turn it on again until around 8 a.m. the next morning. That would cut the charging time by 66% while still allowing me to automatically run the A/C during the hotter part of the day. Can anyone else confirm that the charger runs continuously, as Gene suggests???
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