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Old 12-25-2015, 10:17 AM   #15
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There are some elements of misinformation about the operation of the stock Dometic fridge in some of the posts in this thread that I will attempt to set straight.

#1. When forced on propane (or in auto mode when no shore power is present,) the fridge's computer board will use a small amount of 12 volt DC power. This draw is not enough to kill healthy batteries in only a few hours of operation as the OP reports experiencing.

2. The factory standard Dometic fridge cannot cool itself solely on 12 volt DC power. It uses either propane or 110 volt shore power for cooling. Some fridges do work on 12 volt power but Airstream does not install these as stock items in their travel trailers.

3. If you have an Airstream factory installed inverter, the 110 volt AC plug for the fridge which is located in the fridge's mechanical area accessible from outside the trailer is not powered by the inverter. The only way to get 110 power to the fridge's outlet is via shore power (or a generator.) Hence it is impossible to run down the batteries running the fridge off of 110 volt via the inverter as it comes from the factory.

It's likely that this brand new trailer simply has bad batteries. That's not at all unusual as trailer batteries take a real beating on dealer lots for various reasons.

If the OP has accurately observed his batteries at a 20% charge, then they are likely already damaged.
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Old 12-25-2015, 10:39 AM   #16
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I think you said earlier you had factory solar, so that means you have Lifeline AGM batteries. We have that as well and have never seen (or allowed) the batteries drop below 50%.

Dealers sometimes leave trailers plugged into shore power, or just sitting out there on the lot, while customers come and go turning on the inverter, testing things, lights and running the batteries way down repeatedly. This can ruin the batteries, as well as a constant charge by a single stage converter/charger (does the new Classic have a single stage charger?).
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Old 12-25-2015, 10:40 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Jim Flower View Post
If your inverter is on and your fridge is on auto, it will drain the battery in jig time. When running on the inverter it is best to ensure that both your fridge and hot water heater are on propane. If your inverter is off, the fridge will default to propane and the hot water heater will have to be switched to propane. If your inverter was not on you may have bad batteries which is not uncommon if the dealer let them perish over the course of time due to the parasitic draws that are common on most Airstreams. With factory solar, you should be able to manage the parasitic draws if you park your Airstream in the sun. Jim


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Do the new AS have the inverter going to all the outlets? On our 2006 there are only 2 inverter plugs in the front. The outlet for the fridge is shore power only so even if the inverter is on it won't power the fridge.
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Old 12-25-2015, 11:07 AM   #18
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Post #15 is the most accurate statement of the problem and issues involved.

The inverter does not power the refrigerator in any way.

I only mentioned the inverter in my older post as a possibility of a draw when idling and doing nothing. Most take 1.75 to 2 amps if left on. But that would not drain the batteries in the time period the OP mentions.

I believe that the batteries are simply defective. AGM batteries in the solar package and the stupid single stage charger AS provides are not compatible and can be easily damaged on the dealers lot.
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Old 12-25-2015, 11:21 AM   #19
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You should be able to get 3-4 days dry camping, not using the furnace, I will bet your batteries were down before you even started out, charge them up and go again. I have not had any problems with the stock batteries or converters that airstream supplied.... Have A Merry Christmas....
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Old 12-25-2015, 11:35 AM   #20
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I apologize for incorrect information pertaining to the relationship of the inverter and the fridge on new Airstreams with the factory solar. Mine is an after market install with all outlets powered and I indeed have to be very careful to not run the fridge and water heater on 110 when the inverter is on. Sounds like with the info provided by others that you will have a pretty accurate explanation of your problem. Jim


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Old 12-25-2015, 11:36 AM   #21
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The 1000 watt factory inverter usually powers about three outlets with two of them being the two televisions and perhaps one in the audio center to power the DVD player. As mentioned, the sub woofer is power on 12Vdc with NO switch, the propane leak detector at floor level is always on and the refrigerator and water heater use a little 12Vdc for the control circuitry. There may be a parasite power draw with the bed elevation mechanisms, the power awning circuitry or the electric stabilizers.
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Old 12-25-2015, 11:41 AM   #22
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First things first... get the batteries tested at an Interstate distributor.

Our new Airstream had immediate "battery retaining a charge" problem. The dealership in Denver, CO had this battery jumper setup to hook up a trailer to demonstrate that everything was working. Otherwise... pretty much dead batteries.

Interstate gave me credit on the standard batteries and a difference for the AGM Marine batteries which are sealed. Probably no better nor worse... but I depend on the "experts" to advise me as to what is best. I checked my battery charge and the inside meter reads 12.2 volts. I keep it plugged into 120v and have had the trailer sitting outside for a week now, unplugged from the 120v.

One of the two original batteries had one that was drawing the other down, they say. OK. Reading on the Forums, batteries are like repairing the memory chips in a computer. I just want something that I can depend upon.

Sears had these 60 month warranty batteries, Die Hard I believe. They usually died after four years, you paid the depreciation and paid extra for another... Die Hard in 48 months with a 60 month warranty. Great for business. Our 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser original battery is still going strong. Give me some of those next time.

Our 2006 Airstream with AGM Solar package batteries were still working fine when I bought a 2014 Airstream.

Bum battery or batteries. Interstate will hook them up to the tester and will know immediately. At the company store they will help you, but you have to "remove" them before they can do anything for you. I pulled the trailer onto their parking lot and was nice about it. Some retailer agreement about the factory reps not being able to do the exchange, I suppose. The RV dealership we inquired needed to do a number of things before anything could be done. So I went straight to the factory supplier, mentioned that this was a brand new trailer and I needed my batteries tested. They were decent about it. There was a pallet full of "dud" batteries that did not look very old in front.

Without Solar on our 2014, we are very... very, careful about our battery uses. Everyone points the finger at the trailer owner... but get them tested at a battery shop that sells Interstate batteries. The Airstream dealership probably prompted their demise. I know ours did... I saw them hook them up to the portable batteries and was too ignorant to know that these two batteries were already beyond recovery.

Good luck!
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Old 12-25-2015, 11:44 AM   #23
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On an outside chance, check to make sure that the plunger for the emergence brake break-away, on the hitch is still plugged in. If by chance that it's out, it will drain the batteries quickly.
@tsunami: Ah, this is a good catch: I had pulled the breakaway wire and taken it with me while I was out running errands. I assumed it was a nice little way to keep someone from messing with the cord while I was away. I didn't realize it would draw down the battery -- I've put the pin back in now.
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Old 12-25-2015, 11:51 AM   #24
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Are the propane tank valves open?
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Old 12-25-2015, 11:55 AM   #25
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Are the propane tank valves open?
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Yep, they're open.
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Old 12-25-2015, 11:56 AM   #26
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@tsunami: Ah, this is a good catch: I had pulled the breakaway wire and taken it with me while I was out running errands. I assumed it was a nice little way to keep someone from messing with the cord while I was away. I didn't realize it would draw down the battery -- I've put the pin back in now.
You might have more issues with your brakes now that they have been energized by your batteries over such a long time. A missing break away plunger will use the trailer's batteries to stop the trailer in the event of a separation from your 7-way plug in your TV. The magnets in the trailer's electric brakes don't like to be energized for long durations. There is a distinct possibility that you have compromised your trailer brakes and possibly burned out the magnets!!!

First thing to have checked!!!
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Old 12-25-2015, 12:05 PM   #27
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snip>>>I had pulled the breakaway wire and taken it with me while I was out running errands. I assumed it was a nice little way to keep someone from messing with the cord while I was away. <<<< snip.
It is possible you have damaged your brake system, if you left it like this for a long period of time. You might want to double check that everything works properly before getting back on the road.
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Old 12-25-2015, 12:08 PM   #28
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It is possible you have damaged your brake system, if you left it like this for a long period of time. You might want to double check that everything works properly before getting back on the road.
The breakaway switch was out/unplugged for ~18 hours. Is there something specific I should look for on the brakes before I pull out of this parking lot at the end of the weekend?
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