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Old 04-14-2015, 08:56 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by westcoastas View Post
Okay Lewster, now I'm confused. I should have consulted more with my dealer but at the time didn't know enough to question the efficiency of the converter. But what's confusing me is that the manual says the converter is a 7300 series converter. When I open the panel, there's a plastic pouch with a sticker that says it's a Parallax Power Supply Series 7300, Model 7355, 55 amp. But then there's another green sticker that says the power center has been retrofitted with a Progressive Dynamics converter. I don't know if that matters. So where do I go from here?
Yep! You DO have a PD-4655 conversion. I can tell by the new fuse block with the red LEDs on it. Given that fact your converter has been upgraded, my next question would be the amount of draw you are placing on those batteries, and how quickly they are being recharged.

Interstate batteries are NOT the highest quality (OK, here come the flames!!!!). They are the battery that I replace the most!! I have a pile of dead batteries at my shop and fully 85% are Interstates.

But regardless, if you deeply discharge ANY battery, they MUST be fully recharged almost immediately to prevent the leaching of sulfur from the electrolyte onto the lead plates ( a process called sulfation). In addition, it is not wise to continually draw a lead acid battery below 50% depth of discharge on a regular basis. This voltage level varies with different battery manufacturers; Lifeline AGM is 12.8-13.2VDC for 100% full and 12.2VDC for 50% discharge. IIRC, Interstates are 12.7VDC for 100% and 12.0-12.1VDC for 50% discharge.

If you have been exceeding the lower level regularly and have not been fully recharging immediately, you have damaged the batteries. Also, due to their very high level of internal resistance, they self-discharge rather rapidly; in the neighborhood of a month.....so 3 weeks left unconnected in the back of a truck would have probably seen them at 12VDC or less to start off.

I would have them tested at a reputable battery shop. See if they have the latest in battery capacity testing equipment.....a condutance meter. This device gives a very quick and accurate decision on battery condition without a load test or other older testing options.

If they are still under warranty, I would seek redress from the place of purchase, or any other Interstate dealer.
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Old 04-14-2015, 11:25 PM   #44
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Flame, Flame, Flame.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
Interstate batteries are NOT the highest quality (OK, here come the flames!!!!). They are the battery that I replace the most!! I have a pile of dead batteries at my shop and fully 85% are Interstates.



Hi, I agree that interstate batteries are not the best; My [cheap] Costco batteries have been as good or better than my Interstates were. If Interstate has the most batteries out there you obviously will have the most bad ones too. Sort-of like the Goodyear Marathons. [more tires, more failures]


Most Airstreams come with Interstates and Marathons, so most of the failures will be........ .......Interstates and Marathons.
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Old 04-15-2015, 12:33 AM   #45
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Chase those Phantom Loads

Lewster's advice is always great. He knows his stuff.

I do know that lots of electronic gadgets carry a phantom load. Every toaster and coffee maker now seems to have a clock timer. If you don't unplug them they use electricity 24/7, not just when you're toasting or brewing. Every microwave made has a clock, and if you have a built in one, it's impractical to unplug it. Even when your fridge is running on propane it has an exterior display - and an interior light that both use power. Have children with electronic gadgets they're recharging? Chase down those phantom loads and reduce them where you can.

LEDS do save a LOT of power. I converted most of my 2006 Airstream's lights to LED's. It does make a startling difference in brightness and electric usage. Also if you've got halogen bulbs they run HOT, they burn out fast and they are expensive to replace. LED's seem to last forever so all in all, they are a better bargain even in the short run. It might cost $300 to replace every bulb inside and outside, but since you don't use the running lights when you camp, why not just change the overhead lights and the ones in the bathroom. The ones in the closets and under the bed don't get used all that much anyway so you can do them as they fail. I like warm white, some prefer cool white. Try one of each before you commit.

Happy trails, and hope you find the source(s) of your problem.

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Old 04-15-2015, 11:09 AM   #46
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Thank you Lewster very much and the others who chimed it - I really appreciate it! I should have read up more before I bought these batteries. Darn, about $300 spent inefficiently. Oh well, lesson learned.

Again, thanks again for all your time. Well, it's time to pack up and move on to a new address!

Jeff
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Old 04-15-2015, 12:19 PM   #47
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Returning to the OP position, the reason I would like to go Solar (still haven't pulled the trigger; maybe this fall) deals more with two factors:

o The (belief at least that) assurance of having availability of the battery power source in good health at any given time or situation; opening more boondock or camping options where possible.

o The ability to be in the wilderness and listen to the wilderness; not engines. There is nothing more calm to me than the sound of the wind through 100,000 pine trees at once.
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Old 04-15-2015, 12:38 PM   #48
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Quote:
Returning to the OP position, the reason I would like to go Solar (still haven't pulled the trigger; maybe this fall) deals more with two factors:

o The (belief at least that) assurance of having availability of the battery power source in good health at any given time or situation; opening more boondock or camping options where possible.

o The ability to be in the wilderness and listen to the wilderness; not engines. There is nothing more calm to me than the sound of the wind through 100,000 pine trees at once.
I'd like to add one more advantage to this list:

-Convenience. You're not having to haul out the generator, hook it up, gas it up, unhookup, and stow it away.
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Old 04-15-2015, 12:54 PM   #49
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Before I got solar panels and a big battery. I could get two days from my interstates. So I don't think you are that far off for what your system will deliver
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Old 04-15-2015, 01:01 PM   #50
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All these scenarios of peacefully camping in the forest whilst your solar silently keeps all your toys operating is all fine and dandy until is rains constantly for 3 weeks in a row. Which is what happened to us this last November and January travelling through Oregon and Northern Cal.
Luckily the TV kept the charge up between campgrounds as the solar didn't have a chance.


George
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Old 04-15-2015, 05:46 PM   #51
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George - which is why you keep a genset as a backup - that or install a sailing wind vane as well. Usually when the sun is not available, wind js
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Old 04-15-2015, 09:10 PM   #52
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George - which is why you keep a genset as a backup - that or install a sailing wind vane as well. Usually when the sun is not available, wind js
Have a generator. Didn't want to take it. Learned my lesson.


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Old 04-17-2015, 07:34 PM   #53
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Some of you guys seem to know a lot more about this than I do, so I'll pose a question. Hopefully not too much of a hijack, since I think it's a valid part of the comparison between solar and generators. I have what is described on the box as a 2,000 watt Yamaha generator. However, in the instruction manual, it says the generator is capable of delivering 120 volts at 13.3 amps. Shouldn't they be selling this as a 1,600 watt generator?


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Old 04-17-2015, 07:53 PM   #54
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Probably 2000 watt surge and 1600 continuous.
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Old 04-17-2015, 08:06 PM   #55
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Yep. Marketing speak. 1600 watts becomes 2000 in the hands of the sales department to compete with other manufacturers.

As an engineer, I really hate this kind of stuff.


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Old 04-17-2015, 11:09 PM   #56
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The puffery also applies to solar panels. One sees the adds with a marketing claim of 100 watts. The reality is a good one may produce 75 watts at noon with the sun overhead. Cheaper units can produce at an even lower percentage of the marketing claim.

I have seen 575 watts reported by the TriStar 60 charge controller on a sunny day. There are eight AM Solar 100 watt panels on the roof. I was told that one should estimate solar production on our system as 5 amps per panel times the number of effective "sun" hours per day. So our solar system could be considered to create 5 x 8 x 6 hours or 240 amps into the battery array per day.

The new lithium iron phosphate batteries can bring a lot of power in a small package as they can safely use 85% of their amp hours, so a 300 amp battery system could provide 265 amp hours. It would have a 11.25" x 14.5" foot print and need about 11.5 inches in height for the wires and weigh about 84 pounds. That is less weight than one Lifeline 6CT6 Vdc 300-amp hour battery which weighs about 93 pounds and the pair would weigh about 186 pounds but provide a maximum of 150 amp hours.

We initially started our Airstream experience with the mated pair of Honda 2000 watt generator sets (could run the air conditioner in the 25FB) and had to run one every morning to bring the Interstate batteries to full charge for the next night of furnace operation at theOctober Balloon Festival at Albuquerque. The dealer installed 155 watt solar panel could not bring the two Interstate battery array up to full charge.

So when considering the off grid experience, full propane tanks, a well designed solar system and a backup generator allows for all eventualities to occur.

One needs to remember to install a switched outlet for each television so they are truly "off" as they draw power for the instant on feature or to let big brother eve's drop in the home (Sony can do that on their new models and perhaps can "see" like in Orwell's 1984).
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