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Old 03-24-2015, 08:37 AM   #43
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I mean... What am I missing here? Or... (and I'm seriously trying to get the point and sincerely not making at attempt at being sarcastic) is this quest just a matter of Sal having found a distraction for himself for amusement?)
A lot depends upon how much you value your investment and how long you plan to keep your AS. If you value it highly and plan to keep it well maintained over the long term, you'll want to make at least some of these improvements if not all.
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Old 03-25-2015, 02:05 PM   #44
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It all depends on:

1. Your budget
2. Your tolerance for battery maintenance
3. Your desire to keep replacing batteries
4. Your acceptance level for prematurely running out of DC power at the worst possible time.

Investing in upgraded batteries/ charging systems is one that pays HUGE dividends. Imagine not even thinking about batteries for 5-7 years.

Cost more?..........SURE!

Worth the peace on mind?.........ABSOLUTELY!!!!!


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Old 03-26-2015, 10:05 AM   #45
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With the factory system,my batteries always have lasted 6 years,only adding very little water so why spend all the monies changing it?
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Old 03-30-2015, 09:49 PM   #46
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Thoughts concerning Batteries/Chargers/Boondocking

Hi All,
Really enjoying the continuing discussion and your feedback. It's very helpful for me to put a handle on the whole subject.

Having my trailer for thirteen (13) years and replacing the batteries a half dozen times has not been fun. Invariably I find I have a problem while on vacation and therefore have to waste valuable vacation time to solve the problem. I end up with no Heat, no Hot Water, no Refrigerator, no Light, and NO FUN! The worse part is that purchasing new batteries has never, never, never, solved the problem. It is a temporary patch at best, or a tarnished vacation (again) at worse. And my wife never tires of reminding me of how many first class vacations we could have enjoyed, for what we paid for that Airstream. I keep reminding her that it's not about the money spent but rather about the way we choose to vacation. On the road, taking our time, enjoying new experiences, and whatever comes around the next corner. But its never fun when the next corner includes loosing a day to confirm the source of an electrical problem, solving and then paying for the problem, and realizing that the problem hasn't gone away, I'll experience this again, down the road, in another two (2) years......or three (3) years if I'm lucky.

It has been one of the few reoccurring problems that I have never been able to get a handle on, "before leaving" for the Open Road....and all those beautiful sunsets.
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Old 03-31-2015, 06:31 AM   #47
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Hi All,
Really enjoying the continuing discussion and your feedback. It's very helpful for me to put a handle on the whole subject.

Having my trailer for thirteen (13) years and replacing the batteries a half dozen times has not been fun. Invariably I find I have a problem while on vacation and therefore have to waste valuable vacation time to solve the problem. I end up with no Heat, no Hot Water, no Refrigerator, no Light, and NO FUN! The worse part is that purchasing new batteries has never, never, never, solved the problem. It is a temporary patch at best, or a tarnished vacation (again) at worse. And my wife never tires of reminding me of how many first class vacations we could have enjoyed, for what we paid for that Airstream. I keep reminding her that it's not about the money spent but rather about the way we choose to vacation. On the road, taking our time, enjoying new experiences, and whatever comes around the next corner. But its never fun when the next corner includes loosing a day to confirm the source of an electrical problem, solving and then paying for the problem, and realizing that the problem hasn't gone away, I'll experience this again, down the road, in another two (2) years......or three (3) years if I'm lucky.

It has been one of the few reoccurring problems that I have never been able to get a handle on, "before leaving" for the Open Road....and all those beautiful sunsets.
I feel your pain!

You need to find someone who understands WHY you are having these problems and has the technical ability and experience to resolve them.

This does NOT happen to folks that take the time to have their rigs modified to their individual style of camping...........
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Old 03-31-2015, 08:11 AM   #48
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In our 25FB, the dealer installed a 155 watt solar panel and a Zamp controller using the #10 Airstream wiring before we took delivery of it. The factory installed 600 watt inverter powered three outlets of which two were the two televisions and one was under the dinette table. Running the furnace over night would bring the batteries down 1/2. The solar system could not recover despite bright sunshine. So we fired up the Honda 2000 to bring the batteries closer to full before dark. We did do the three stage converter change out to keep from toasting the stock batteries.

We ordered the 31' Classic with only the second air conditioner/ 50 amp service as a chargeable option. I knew a serious solar system was to be installed using equipment from AM Solar with the goal of all outlets being powered from both shore power or the converter/batteries.

Eight one hundred solar panels were installed on the roof with wires running to a TriStar MMPP TS-60 solar charge controller and then to a bank of four Lifeline model 6ct 6Vdc 300-amp hour batteries. The heart of the system is the Magnum MS-2812 (2,800 watts) that is installed under the front sofa in place of the factory equipment. A custom stainless steel battery enclosure was mounted above the original battery box that now housed the disc brake controller/pump. The four Lifeline batteries contributed about 360 pounds to the tongue weight while supplying 12Vdc and 600 amp hours of power of which 50% (or 300 amp hours) was the recommended maximum power consumption.

The New Lithium-ion P4 batteries are now available from AM Solar. We will remove the custom stainless steel battery box and the four Lifeline batteries and install a 12Vdc 600 amp hour battery unit (under the sofa and less than 12" from the Magnum) that weighs only 168 pounds. This new battery will allow us to use between 85% and 90% of the power or over 525 amp hours of power.

The Magnum and TriStar will be reprogrammed to the specifics needed for the new battery. Our off grid power capability has nearly doubled.

We expect to reduce the tongue weight by over 300 pounds which will be beneficial to both the trailer and the truck.
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Old 03-31-2015, 11:34 PM   #49
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A very comprehensive report. Sounds great!

Only down side to the lithiums, as I understand it, is that they must not be charged when the ambient temp is less than 32F. We're going to swap out iour battery bank of 6v AGM's for lithiums for the same reason as you, and Lew is working on a potential solution for auto-disconnect when we are away and temp requires shutdown of charging to protect batteries. Understand that AM is working in other solutions, too, to keep batteries at proper temp when cold ambient air is present. Our batteries will be inside the coach, so not an issue while were aboard.
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Old 04-01-2015, 12:09 AM   #50
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A very comprehensive report. Sounds great!



Only down side to the lithiums, as I understand it, is that they must not be charged when the ambient temp is less than 32F. We're going to swap out iour battery bank of 6v AGM's for lithiums for the same reason as you, and Lew is working on a potential solution for auto-disconnect when we are away and temp requires shutdown of charging to protect batteries. Understand that AM is working in other solutions, too, to keep batteries at proper temp when cold ambient air is present. Our batteries will be inside the coach, so not an issue while were aboard.

I've been thinking about this because I thought it would be reasonable to replace lifelines in the battery box with Lithiums when it's time. Why not add a little insulation and a 12v heating pad of some sort controlled by a thermostat under the lithiums to keep them above freezing when required? If you get plenty of sun the 3.5 amp draw wouldn't be a big deal.


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Old 04-01-2015, 12:14 AM   #51
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Switz...LMK if you are selling the Lifelines ...
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Old 04-01-2015, 02:17 AM   #52
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The charge temperature for the lithium batteries needs to be above freezing. That is why we are placing the batteries inside the coach. If we are on the road, it will be warm inside. At this instant in time, we have not contemplated placing the trailer into a winter salted road environment and thus the freezing issue could be moot.

Our storage place is located in Apache Junction, AZ so the probability of sub-freezing temperatures is low. We are under roof with huge MoHos on either side so the trailer is pretty well protected from sunlight and thus a no go for the solar system to charge the batteries. However, we are allowed about 6 amps at 120Vac to keep things charged. I think a damp chaser like used in pianos would provide enough warmth under the sofa to preclude battery issues when stored.

When assembled, our new battery will be 11.25" deep by 29.0625" wide by 11.25" tall to allow for wiring and cross the scales at 168 pounds. It will be in four 3.2 Vdc 600 amp hour 42 pound pieces when I pick it up mid April at AM Solar and we will interconnect them at installation time to a 12Vdc 600 amp hour battery. I can manhandle 42 pounds but definitely not 168 pounds.

See this link:

http://www.amsolar.com/home/amr/page...m_battery.html

As an early adopter, there is a huge price penalty until the Lithium battery production gets really ramped up. The other major lithium battery issue at this time is the inability to ship assembled units by any common carrier, thus my driving about 1,300 miles each way to pick up the battery array and then take it to the installer in Texas the first week in May when we also do a instant on water heater conversion.
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Old 04-01-2015, 06:45 AM   #53
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The temperature issue is the only piece of the lithium puzzle yet to be resolved. Greg at AM Solar has designed a BMS (battery monitor system) that monitors the battery voltage and will automatically disconnect the lithium pack via 500 amp solenoid and sensing circuitry from the charging source and the loads. This will totally protect the battery from over/under voltage situations, and is included in each lithium pack that AM Solar offers.

As these new batteries have interconnecting electronics placed on the top of them (cell balancing circuitry), it is not recommended to install them in any area that will exposed to moisture or water. This requirement negates the positioning of them in Airstream's tongue mounted battery box. Also, there is no gassing in the lithium process (unlike lead based batteries), so there no problems placing them inside the trailer.

The temperature situation is still in the 'engineering' phase. As it was explained to me..... if you intend to use these in sub-freezing environments, they can still be used, just not charged. For a storage situation, they can withstand freezing temperatures by isolating them electrically.......just disconnect the negative terminals so there is no load on the battery. With almost no internal resistance, they will hold their charge until you are ready to reconnect and use them again.

I have been investigating heating blankets and other heat sources, but they have considerable amperage draw. Still looking............
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Old 04-05-2015, 07:39 PM   #54
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Lewster is tight! After 30 years in marine systems on yachts that never see shore power but charge off gensets, M

agnum Energy is the way to go.. Doesn't matter whether you charge from shore power or generator power, quit looking at converters and look at Mag um Energy inverter chargers.
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Old 04-05-2015, 08:40 PM   #55
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Lewster is tight! After 30 years in marine systems on yachts that never see shore power but charge off gensets, M

agnum Energy is the way to go.. Doesn't matter whether you charge from shore power or generator power, quit looking at converters and look at Mag um Energy inverter chargers.
Tight? Funny spellcheck


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Old 04-05-2015, 09:10 PM   #56
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Tight? Funny spellcheck


George
That's OK.....I've been called worse... and I don't drink either (not much anyway...)
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