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Old 04-18-2019, 08:46 PM   #1
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Optimal Power Management

We are taking our new 2019 BCX out tomorrow for our first long weekend in Maine. After a week parked in my driveway while plugged to an exterior 120v outlet, I noticed that the battery indicator has been slowly depleting over the last few days from 13.7v to 12.0v. The master switch is ON and Iíve barely used the lights over the last couple days. The fridge is on Auto mode, hence I guess using gas. The heater is OFF. Anyway, is there something else that consumes battery while plugged in? We are also planning a dry camping weekend and we donít know what to expect in terms in battery management and capacity for 3-4 days. We have solar panels, but the weather forecast is cloudy for the entire weekend. Any point of reference?
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Old 04-18-2019, 09:09 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum!

Are you sure that outlet has 120 volt power? If your battery charger/converter is working right, your battery monitor should have been reading a constant 13.7 volts all along, while plugged in to shore power. This is the output of a functional converter/charger. Maybe the outlet popped off with a GFI fault, or the circuit breaker clicked off for some other reason?

Try plugging a tool or light into that outlet . . . is it working OK? Does the same device work inside the trailer on 120 volts?

It is also possible that your charger/converter has failed. Please check all the circuit breakers inside the Basecamp, both 12-volt and 120-volt. Do you have flooded cell battery or AGM with the solar setup?

You might want to consider postponing the trip until this is sorted out.

Peter

PS -- You should also read your owner's manual on battery and solar management. I guess your solar controller could also be messed up here? I would call your dealer in the morning for advice, and also the Airstream 800 number in your paperwork.
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Old 04-21-2019, 04:36 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smurf View Post
. . .
Any point of reference?
Wondering if you have figured out what the cause(s) might be?

Cheers,

Peter
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Old 04-21-2019, 06:24 AM   #4
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If the battery went to 12.0 while the trailer is plugged in to shore power then the converter has failed or has been cut off somehow. To trouble shoot, be sure the trailer is plugged in and check the battery voltage. It ought to go to 14 or so because the converter should be put-on out maximum charge. If not, the converter is off or dead.

If the trailer was not plugged in during the period it went down to 12.0 volts then you have a draw that is pulling it down. and 12.0 is below where you want to discharge the battery to. The battery could be shot. Often the dealers let them discharge on the lot. I would expect that to be the issue in your case but it is just a guess. It is a little trouble but you could disconnect one lead on the battery and use the amp setting on a VOM to check the actual parasitic draw on the battery.

I run a CPAP machine at night so I probably have more draw than you will camping. We have 2 flooded cell batteries and I generally have too recharge after 2 days camping and then maybe run the generator every day a little or every other day a little more. I do not think you can do 4 days on one small battery but maybe.

Probably the cheapest and most compact way to double your power time camping is to carry an extra charged battery. But that is a problem in a SUV or other compact TV. I would want a sealed AGM in a good container.

so I would: 1) check the converter 2) check the current draw. 3) go to the store and buy a new battery.
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Old 04-22-2019, 05:26 AM   #5
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Thanks Peter for the follow up. We had to cut short our trip to Maine because I found a leak under the shower and I was never able to get any hot water. While plugged in at the site, my voltage was indicating 13.2v all along and when I unplugged, it went back to 12.9v. There must be some sort of short circuit because the ceiling lights at back always keep some sort of intensity even when turned off. The rest went super well. I have an appointment at my dealer this week. This trip also helped us understand how we want to organize our things and I also have couple more questions about various details.
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Old 04-22-2019, 10:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smurf View Post
. . .
. . . my voltage was indicating 13.2v all along and when I unplugged, it went back to 12.9v.
. . .
That is the normal pattern:

-- 13.2 when the converter/charger is operating off the shore power
-- 12.7-12.9 when the batteries are fully charged
[wait an hour or so after unplugging before taking this reading]
-- 12.5 to 12.7 normal for a few hours [>90% capacity] after removing shore power
[If the voltage drops more quickly in a couple of hours, the batteries are suspect IMO.]

Good luck at the dealer.

Peter
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