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Old 08-07-2014, 03:00 PM   #1
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2012 International Battery usage problem

Hi there everyone! I am brand new to this forum and am looking for a direction to go in with my issue.

A couple of months ago, I took my Airstream up to Covington WA in hopes that they could figure out why my Airstream wouldn't run anything on the batteries when not on shore power.

They looked at it for a couple of days and concluded that the batteries took a full charge and the inverter tested out great.

Last weekend, I tried running on the batts at our property that doesn't have shore power. I didn't even have enough juice to lower the hitch. I had to connect it to my generator.

Tested the batteries with a separate batt charger and they say they are full.

Made sure my batt disconnect switch is not in the store postion. One weird anomaly here - when I connected to the Gen, I still couldn't raise or lower the hitch - UNTIL I went in and pressed the Batt disconnect switch. It seemed like the switch was already in the "use" position, but hitting this again allowed me to run the hitch lower on the gen.

Checked all breakers and fuses under the bed.

Could I have an issue with my batt disconnect switch? Any ideas? I really don't want to take this thing back up to Covington again - really don't trust those guys...Thanks for any ideas you can give!!!
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Old 08-07-2014, 03:13 PM   #2
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Sounds to me like the switch is faulty. You can order one from outdoors mart.
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Old 08-07-2014, 03:27 PM   #3
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I believe the hitch jack is wired directly to the batteries with an inline fuse. If you fully charged them with a separate charger and they still cannot raise the hitch jack, they are probably shot. Which may be the fault of the single stage converter if it is left plugged into external power for long periods. Make sure the battery connections are not corroded and making poor contact though.
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Old 08-07-2014, 03:40 PM   #4
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Batt connections are still in really good shape - I did check that. Where is the single stage converter and is that something I can look into replacing myself? I am med/low as far as electrician skills

So far I might try:
1. Batt disconnect switch replacement
2. Battery replacement (I will get them out and charge them separately with a charger and then try to put a load on each one.)
3. Single stage converter replacement?

Thanks so much for the info guys!
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Old 08-07-2014, 04:10 PM   #5
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Find your fuses and you found the converter. In my 25FB they are under the bed as you face it. I would assume that if you have the rear bedroom that stuff is still forward under something. If you buy a plug and play replacement even a caveman can do it.
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Old 08-07-2014, 04:48 PM   #6
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As dkottum said, the jack is directly connected to the batteries, and has it's own fuse on these recent models. If the jack does not work, it sounds like the batteries are not capable of supplying power. With the generator on, and the switch in use position, the converter/charger is actually becoming the power supply to the jack.

Battery testing must be done under load. A battery can show fully charged by voltage measurement, but have virtually no capacity to do anything, that is the voltage drops to nothing under load. My guess is that is what has happened to your batteries.

Disconnect the trailer from 120 volts so there is no battery charge or conversion from 120 to 12 volts possible. Try to run the jack while measuring the battery voltage. If it drops to nothing under that load, your batteries are shot.
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Old 08-07-2014, 05:30 PM   #7
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Replace the batteries.
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:04 PM   #8
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Awesome - will do! Thanks again!


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Old 08-07-2014, 07:06 PM   #9
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How would these two year old batts be shot already? Haven't been off shore power to use them that often.


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Old 08-07-2014, 07:33 PM   #10
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The stock power converter is a crude battery charger.

Simply put, it supplies the same amount of power to the batteries without much regard to the condition of the battery charge.

When the batteries reach full charge, the converter will keep supplying power, which will finally boil the electrolyte dry. And, ruin the batteries in short order.


One can manage the charging rate manually, to some degree, by using the use/store switch to disconnect the batteries from the electrical system periodically when on shore power. The converter will supply power to the appliances without the batteries.


Others choose to upgrade to a more expensive converter that has a better charger built in. It monitors the charge condition, and limits the supplied power as the batteries reach full charge.


Regards,

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Old 08-07-2014, 07:40 PM   #11
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Thanks again everyone - the load test showed exactly what you talked about - it barely lowered the hitch before dropping way off on the meter. Time to replace batts.

Best place to buy batts? Certain type better for this application?

Is there something diff I can do to make them last longer this time around? The AS stays on shore power most of the time at my house with 8-10 trips a year.

So glad I found this forum! Will be reading and contributing as much as I can!


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Old 08-07-2014, 07:43 PM   #12
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Thx JD - you answered my question on how to maintain better. I really appreciate it!


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Old 08-07-2014, 07:46 PM   #13
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I store my trailer at home on constant shore power.

Just remember to switch the use/store switch to store most of the time.

I move it to "use" a day about every month, if I am not traveling.

This keeps the batteries charged, without the overcharging issue.

By the way, the red LED on the use/store switch will remain lit in the "store" position if the trailer is connected to shore power.



Regards,

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Old 08-07-2014, 08:04 PM   #14
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That Airstream dealer sure did a great job missing a simple diagnosis!
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