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Old 01-07-2015, 11:04 AM   #1
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New Member with Battery Charger Question

We have a 2015 Flying Cloud FB with 200 watts of solar and a Zamp controller. We are camping along the California coast in some foggy weather and can't get my batteries fully charged with the generator running a good part of the day. Is it possible to buy a good smart charger and charge the batteries from a stand alone charger? If so would I need to charge each battery or would it charge both once it was connected.
Thanks for your help, the information in this forum has be very helpful!
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:26 AM   #2
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Yes, and there are smart charger/converters available also to replace the single stage converter your trailer came with. A lot of people do this because the single stage converter is not good for the batteries. Take a look at bestconverter.com/

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Old 01-07-2015, 12:11 PM   #3
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Thanks for your reply, but I am wondering if I can use an external charger as well until I change the one that came with the Airstream?
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Old 01-07-2015, 12:14 PM   #4
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Yes, and the batteries are wired in parallel, so you can charge them together.
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Old 01-07-2015, 12:24 PM   #5
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Question

Are you plugging the trailer into the generator and letting the converter charge the batteries?.....or connecting the batt's directly to the generator?

Do you have a front & rear shore plug on the trailer?.....if so have you tried both?

You may have a bad transfer switch.

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Old 01-07-2015, 01:30 PM   #6
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I am letting the converter charge, but the batteries don't fully charge. So my question is, at the same time I an using the converter can I use a smart battery charger hooked directly to the batteries. Since they are wired in parallel, Steve said it would charge them both. Maybe a dumb question...... but does it matter which battery I hook the charger up to?
Thanks for all your help!
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Old 01-07-2015, 01:49 PM   #7
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I would have to say yes, but not definitely sure because the smart charger may see the charge voltage of the converter as being a charged battery, and then reduce it's output voltage accordingly. You would just have to try it. Nothing should be damaged in doing so.
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Old 01-07-2015, 01:52 PM   #8
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Thanks Steve for your help. One last question, does it matter which battery I hook the charger up to?
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Old 01-07-2015, 01:55 PM   #9
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I does not matter because they are tied together at the converter area. If the smart charger "sees" the converter on, and cuts back, turn off the converter off and let the smart charger work that way.
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Old 01-07-2015, 03:07 PM   #10
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I use a "Schumacher 6V/12V Model #XC10-CA; up to 10 amp" charger purchased from Walmart a couple of years ago. It automatically selects charge rate for charging & maintaining both standard or AGM batteries.

I connect it to the positive buss bar in the 12 volt breaker box and a ground in the same box, thus charging both batteries which are connected in parallel.

I also keep my various vehicle batteries charged with it as well.
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Old 01-07-2015, 03:09 PM   #11
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Thanks Steve,
Would it work if I turned the batteries off at the disconnect switch, plugged the trailer into the generator for power and charged the batteries with external charger running off the generator? Probably simple questions, but just trying to learn.
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Old 01-07-2015, 03:13 PM   #12
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Thanks Steve,
Would it work if I turned the batteries off at the disconnect switch, plugged the trailer into the generator for power and charged the batteries with external charger running off the generator? Probably simple questions, but just trying to learn.
Yes, probably but you'd also have to have the converter off, because the way they are wired from the factory, the converter is still connected to the batteries when the disconnect switch if off. (I changed mine so the disconnect switch only switches the batteries off, so I can still have power to the trailer while working on the batteries, etc.)
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Old 01-07-2015, 03:23 PM   #13
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Yes, probably but you'd also have to have the converter off, because the way they are wired from the factory, the converter is still connected to the batteries when the disconnect switch if off. (I changed mine so the disconnect switch only switches the batteries off, so I can still have power to the trailer while working on the batteries, etc.)
Concerning disconnecting the converter,;I put a power strip in the AC outlet that the converter was plugged into and then plugged the converter into the power strip. When I have the Schumacher Model XC10-CA charging the batteries I turn off the converter via the power strip on/off switch.
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Old 01-07-2015, 03:58 PM   #14
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Yes, and there are smart charger/converters available also to replace the single stage converter your trailer came with. A lot of people do this because the single stage converter is not good for the batteries. Take a look at bestconverter.com/

And welcome to the forum.
The bulk charge stage in the three stage converter will charge your batteries faster than the stock single stage converter.
Depending on your power usage, two to three hours of generator running, will get you up to 70-80 per cent charge which should get you through the night.
If you are going to boondock a lot, you might invest in a catalytic propane heater. It will provide heat during the day without using electricity. We don't sleep with ours on.
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Old 01-07-2015, 04:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverSinbad View Post
We have a 2015 Flying Cloud FB with 200 watts of solar and a Zamp controller. We are camping along the California coast in some foggy weather and can't get my batteries fully charged with the generator running a good part of the day. Is it possible to buy a good smart charger and charge the batteries from a stand alone charger? If so would I need to charge each battery or would it charge both once it was connected.
Thanks for your help, the information in this forum has be very helpful!
SilverSibad- Not sure this is your situation, but we purchased our new 2014, 25' AS earlier this year and found our batteries would not take a full charge from our portable solar, yet my neighbor had a SOB and his 12V batteries charged just fine with same unit. I found out the batteries, even though new from Interstate, were defective now and that's why they would not take a full charge. Interstate said this is not unusual to see bad batteries from a new RV, since who knows when they were installed originally and what loads were left on prior to you taking delivery. Interstate offered a no cost replacement under the warranty, but I opted for credit and went up to the 12V deep cycle AGM's for now so they would fit in my compartment without modifications. May move to 6V at some point if these were out, but for now, these work well and charge great with the solar!
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Old 01-13-2015, 11:45 AM   #16
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What is the make and model of converter in new Airstreams?

Kelvin
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Old 01-13-2015, 11:54 AM   #17
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See post 15. A good set of batteries should be charging much more quickly than you are experiencing, even from the OEM converter. Test them by checking how they hold their voltage under load.
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Old 01-17-2015, 04:38 PM   #18
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Update- after 40 days of no using the AS and not plugged into shore power, batteries were dead, even though had I had the store switch turned to off. Interstate charged for free, over couple of days, and suggested a "kill switch". Just installed the switch and batteries...noticed the connection also had the jack motor connected independently and was always connected;....not sure where the leak in voltage was/is coming from, however, that hot wire could be the problem. Anyone else have newer rig with similar issues after storage?
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Old 02-21-2015, 03:35 PM   #19
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One thing to keep in mind when charging two parallel batteries with a charger: Best to hook directly to the batteries but don't put both connections on the same battery. Put the + output of the charger on the + post of one battery and then the - output of the charger on the - post of the other battery. You will get more uniform charging across all of the cells with this connection rather than connecting everything to one battery or connecting at the buss.

I got this advice from the technicians at Interstate Batteries when I was inquiring about running four SRM24s. Frankly, I found it impossible to boondock in winter conditions for more than one night without incurring too high of a depth of discharge on my two batteries. One Zamp 150 watt panel wasn't enough either. Had to go to 300 watts of solar. Of course, if it isn't sunny during the day, then the gen(s) have to be called into service.

By the way, another thing I learned was the fact that you don't want to mix battery types on the same charging system. Causes real charging problems across the cells. My four batteries are in two groups of two, with each on it's own and separate charging system. The two groups are only connected together during times of depletion. I didn't want to modify the battery box on my AS so I chose to stay with the SRM24s supplied with the coach and just added the second group in a portable system. When I stop for the night and am not receiving any charge input from solor, gens or pedestals, the trailer is plugged into a different (as opposed to the normal one on my TV) TV type RV plug that accesses the other two SRM24s. Down to about 10F overnight, I have no problems and can be back at 100% state of charge by the next night.
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Old 03-09-2015, 09:03 PM   #20
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a novice with an AS trailer and after reading through this thread, i am moderately confused.

i have a 100w solar panel on the rooftop that is directly connected to the batteries. as long as the batteries are in need, the controller for this unit allows trickle charging to occur.

now it seems that the suggestion is that when shore power is applied, the battery switch inside the door should then be switched to 'store'. this, i guess disables the built in charger from applying power to the batteries.

do i have this correct??

if i hook up my generator, it also sounds as if it would be worth while to use a separate charger hooked to the positive on one battery and the negative on the other. i have used 'battery tenders' for lots of applications and they do take batteries to float pretty quickly. but what then about the solar connection?

if all of this is correct, then the only time the batteries come into play would be when no shore power is available, period. is this correct??
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