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Old 06-08-2015, 12:27 PM   #15
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I didn't actually look. That's what the manual and the dealer said. Anyway, I plan to charge directly using an AC powered charger from the generator. Two batteries can charge at 15A and in any event the factory box won't do that
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Old 06-08-2015, 01:47 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by leedav View Post
The OP has a 2015. They come with a 3 stage charger. At least mine did
I believe that only the 16' Sport's came with the 3 stage WFCO converter/charter. The majority of Airstreams have come with the Paralax 7300 series single stage converter/charger. Apparently the issue is/was size and mounting location.

Hearsay information is that the WFCO converter/chargers don't last very well, but I am only repeating the limited information others have provided, I have no direct experience with them.
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Old 07-18-2015, 08:27 PM   #17
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I made it through college physics but I'm afraid I'll never understand real-world batteries. I bought a Sport 22 this spring and found my battery running out after 3 hours of very conservative usage (fridge and minimal lights). I learned on AS Forums why that was no great surprise. (Thanks, folks!!) Went back to the dealer for replacement. The mechanic said he load tested the battery twice and that it passed both times. I said he therefore needed to search the AS for a source of abnormal drain on the battery. He came back a while later and said he used a hygrometer to test the cells and found cell #4 to be defective. Does this make any sense? I would have thought a defective cell would cause a battery to fail a load test. But then, like I said, I'm over my head here!
Anyway, I said I'd like more battery capacity for boon docking, so I bought a second battery. Looks to me like the two are wired in series, not in parallel. After reading this thread, I'm worried that I might have already damaged them on my one trip since the repair shop, as I got a reading of 11.5 on the battery meter at the end of 2 days.
My question is, does your battery table apply equally to two 12 V batteries in series, as to a single 12 V battery?
Sorry for the longwinded message, and many Thanks for your advice!
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Old 07-19-2015, 08:32 AM   #18
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Correction: I got a battery reading of 12.0 when the batteries had rested overnight but not yet been recharged. So that would be 25% charge remaining if it were a single battery. Is the actual drainage each battery experienced more than that since I'm reading the number for two batteries? And, I'm using the display provided in the AS. I gather from other posts this might not be accurate. Do you advise against relying on it? Thanks!
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Old 07-19-2015, 08:39 AM   #19
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I have this chart printed and always handy. Applies only to wet cell batteries. 12 volts equals almost dead!Click image for larger version

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Old 08-23-2015, 07:54 PM   #20
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If damage to batteries begins occurring once 50% discharged, is there any sort of device that will automatically disconnect the batteries at that point?
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Old 08-23-2015, 08:19 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kellycanoe View Post
Correction: I got a battery reading of 12.0 when the batteries had rested overnight but not yet been recharged. So that would be 25% charge remaining if it were a single battery. Is the actual drainage each battery experienced more than that since I'm reading the number for two batteries? And, I'm using the display provided in the AS. I gather from other posts this might not be accurate. Do you advise against relying on it? Thanks!
If you have two 12V batteries in parallel (+ to +, - to -) then the two batteries have the same voltage and are at the same level of discharge, at least according to the table. In an ideal world (I don't know where that might be) you would have double the capacity of one battery, but still be at a percentage of charge as depicted in the table. When two batteries are in parallel, a poor battery will drag down a good one, so you may not get twice the capacity of one battery. It is best to replace both batteries when replacement is needed.

If you have two 6V batteries in series they must deliver the same current so one may discharge faster than the other. In that case it is better to monitor the voltage of the two batteries separately and divide the numbers in the table by 2. The table is specific to the battery technology, i.e. lead-acid will have different characteristics from Lithium chemistry.

Al
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Old 08-23-2015, 10:45 PM   #22
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If damage to batteries begins occurring once 50% discharged, is there any sort of device that will automatically disconnect the batteries at that point?
Flooded cell lead acid batteries have a lot of seemingly mysterious properties. First and foremost is that they are not linear in many of their characteristics.

As an example, if you discharge them slowly, they will have more capacity than if you discharge them fast. So the same battery discharged at say 3 amps per hour will give you much more energy prior to total capacity loss than it would if discharged at 30 amps per hour.

Similarly, a battery which is only used down to 80% of it’s capacity and then recharged will have many more cycles possible than the same battery used down to 20% of it’s capacity and then promptly recharged. A battery never fully recharged will have a far lower cycle life than one which is brought back to 100% of capacity. So, a discharge to 20% and recharge only to 60% over and over will shorten the life of the battery significantly.

The question of “damage” is hard to pin down as we are really talking about cycle life. Do you want a battery to last a long time? Don’t work it hard and recharge it promptly. If you are not as concerned about long life, you can discharge it deeper, and not recharge it as thoroughly or as soon. The “damage” is what you will accept. It is common to say that a battery should not be discharged below 40 to 50% of capacity but what is really meant is that the battery cycle life will be shortened a fair amount if it is done often. Is this “damage”? Only you can say.

A couple of things will shorten cycle life very severely, and should be avoided or never allowed to happen at all. These things would probably fall under the category of damage, if not abuse.

1. Total discharge of a battery to 0% and no recharge for days, weeks or months. You will most likely never recover a battery which has sat discharged for any length of time. So, if you for some reason run your batteries down to nothing get them charged up ASAP or you will probably be purchasing new ones. Even doing this a few times will greatly reduce the total cycle life of a flooded cell battery.

2. Letting a battery sit for weeks or months partly charged. Chemically this allows the plates to become unable to accept a full charge and total battery capacity is then reduced. They may seem to “work” but not to their original capacity. They charge up fast, but discharge equally fast as their capacity has been changed.

3. Letting the tops of the plates show before you add water. It is battery murder. The tops dry out, expand, and even when covered again with distilled water will have become essentially useless. They may even short plate to plate which is instant cell death.

On the question of a device to limit depth of discharge to any specific amount, then automatic shutdown, yes, such things exist but can be annoying or even dangerous in an emergency situation. And if you have a slow battery drain which causes discharge to say 50% and then the device shuts off the power, your battery sits half charged until someone does something about it, and by that time the battery has been “abused” and may not recover anyway. Sitting half charged for long time periods is not good for batteries. See 2 above.

So, considering the cost of batteries, and the desire to use them as fully as possible with out abusing them, in general don’t use them below 40 to 50% of capacity and then promptly recharge them. You can use them harder, just expect a shorter life from them. You can use them easier, and they will generally last considerably longer.

I recommend a well set up battery monitor such as a Tri Metric (and others) to allow you to see just how far down you are drawing your batteries, and when they are fully charged. Only with a device like that will you actually be able to see what is happening to your batteries. Most everything else is guessing.

In my own case, I use a pair of 6 volt golf cart type batteries in series for a capacity of about 220 amp hours at a 5 amp discharge rate. I have a 200 watt solar system which, when out camping, replaces some or all charge into them daily. I tend to find spots in the shade, so my solar does not bring my batteries back fully quite often, but they are totally recharged when I return home with my PD 4645 converter/charger. Even in late fall weather with furnace use and more lighting and inside occupation, I have never seen my Tri Metric meter show them at less than 40%. In the summer, like now, they seldom go below 80%. My last battery set lasted over 10 years in the Argosy. I am only on my second year in the Airstream’s set as it is new.

So, ask a simple question, get a load of too much information. But there are few simple battery question answers in truth. They all are filled with if’s and’s and but’s.

I hope this helps some.
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Old 08-24-2015, 08:45 PM   #23
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Thanks for the well written explanation, idroba. I appreciate you explaining the many factors that affect battery life. Let me run this scenario by you... There are times when I leave my trailer in one place and may return days or a week later. In such cases I'll leave the fridge stocked and the shore power on to my 12v/120v fridge. While this doesn't happen often, there have been times when the power has cut due to a storm and I imagine my batteries may have been depleted. Any solution to such a case so I can have my cake and eat it too.

Maybe switching to a propane fridge would be the answer.
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Old 08-24-2015, 09:05 PM   #24
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When the power comes back on your converter/charger will recharge the batteries and I really don't think you would have any serious problem with reducing cycle life. It is not the ideal situation but as long as the recharge is reasonably soon (like most power outages, the power does not stay off that long) I would not worry about it.

I hope you have already replaced the old Univolt converter/charger with a more modern 3 stage one such as a Progressive Dynamics 6245 or 6255. If you have not done that yet, I would put it on the budget to do list.
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Old 08-25-2015, 07:30 AM   #25
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Electrical usage

Thanks. I am using a PD converter--I'll have to check, but I believe the one I have is the 9200 series.
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Old 08-25-2015, 09:08 AM   #26
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Thanks. I am using a PD converter--I'll have to check, but I believe the one I have is the 9200 series.
My error, I meant the 9200 series but somehow it came out 6200.
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Old 08-26-2015, 10:57 PM   #27
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If you have an airstream with an inverter/charger in it instead of a converter then the multistage charger is usually normal for an inverter/charger. Inverter/charger is an option in most airstreams and many of the lot models will have them.

Chuck
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Old 08-28-2015, 03:55 PM   #28
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Electrical usage

Does the Trimetric also show the status of the batteries while plugged in? For example, I have an analog meter that reads 12+ volts for my batteries when I'm plugged in. However, my batteries where shot and as soon as I would get off shore power the meter would drop to nothing. Would the Trimetric give an accurate read regardless of shore power status?
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