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Old 04-06-2009, 11:46 PM   #1
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2008 27' Safari FB SE
Roswell , Georgia
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Furnace goes on, TV goes off

Hey all, got a problem with my 2008 27' Safari FB.
I'm plugged into shore power (either 30 amp or into the plug in my garage). I turn on the furnace, turn on the TV, pop in a DVD and relax. After it reaches temperature, the furnace turns off, all is well. When it gets cold, the furnaces goes on, the lights flicker a little, but the big thing is that the DVD player resets itself, and then continues off where it left off. Very disconcerting, as the subwoofer make a racket when it resets as well. We were having this problem camping at top of georgia this weekend, found out that the water in the battery was very low. after refilling it, it seemed to work fine (turned on all the lights, turned on the dvd and furnace, it never skipped). got it back home, went out there to clean up, and now the problem manifested again. This happened when we first got it, we assumed that the fridge was drawing a lot of power (it was warm) and after it cooled down, didn't have a problem. but now it's resurfaced again.

Side note: the panel on the floor near the shower (LP Gas detector?) was flashing red-orange, now it's flashing green (docs say that green-orange is low voltage, it went away after filling the batteries with water).

Any ideas?
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Old 04-07-2009, 06:09 AM   #2
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New Batteries Might Be In Order

Replace the batteries would be the route I would take. The stock single stage converter / charger installed in new Airstreams is hard on batteries, especially if left plugged into shore power for extended periods of time. You may have "boiled" your batteries.

I replaced an old humming Magnatek converter / charger in our '87 two years ago with a 60 Amp Progressive Dynamics Intelli-Power with the Charge Wizard and so far it has worked great and not boiled any batteries. So before the season gets rolling here in PA I am going to do the same thing with our '06.

Randy from www.bestconverter.com is very knowledgeable, easy to work with, and is on the forums.
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Old 04-07-2009, 06:32 AM   #3
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Wacksplat, you described several system problems that are tied into the 12VDC system of the trailer.

The furnace and the blower motor run on 12VDC, and the furnace motor draws a lot of current when it is starting up, and is beginning to move air.

The lights in the trailer run on 12VDC, and will flicker, dim, or go completely out if the voltage changes, gets low, or drops below the voltage threshold to keep them on.

I will guess that the DVD player is also a CD player that is tied into the stereo and is powered by 12VDC, as is the subwoofer.

The fridge is connected to 12VDC, 110VAC,and LP Gas. The roll of the 12VDC connection is to run the logic board that decides if it can use 110VAC for cooling or to use the LP Gas connection for the cooling system. The 12VDC connection also regulates the temp. and cycles the cooling system on and off. The 12VDC provides the spark to ignite the LP Gas. The 12VDC connection is necessary for the fridge to operate, but the current draw is small.

The LP Gas Detector might be a Protector brand, and this is also powered by the 12VDC system. The detector will flash a green LED every 8 seconds when the power supply is happy, between 11VDC and 16VDC. The detector will flash orange when the voltage drops down to 10VDC and continue flashing orange until the voltage drops to 8VDC, below these voltages it starts to scream and turn red.

The voltage was low with the 12VDC system, and you found that you had low water in the batteries, refilled them, the 12VDCpower system got happy. Now the batteries have low voltages, and even plugged into shore power the voltage is low.

I will guess that your 110VAC to 12VDC power converter/voltage regulator is having a problem, and overcharging the batteries, and boiling the water out of them, as both of them were low.

Give this a check, as it seems to be the direction to look, unless someone else has another idea.

Lots of luck
Steve
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:56 AM   #4
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I had a similar problem, but I would be suprprised if it is the same problem with this new a unit. It turned out to be the battery. Inverters and some DVD players will get schizophrenic when the battery gets low usually around 10.8 volts which is the point the battery is considered discharged. Even though you are hooked up to shore power the 12v system still goes through the battery which if compromised will cause problems.

You could use a battery tester to check the voltage in the battery or take it to an autoparts store for testing. You also might consider putting in a second or bigger battery or a better converter.

The furnace and the fridge draw a lot of 12v power. The fridge is more energy efficient on propane. If you have 110 use a small 110 heater and use your DVD player on 110.
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:06 AM   #5
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Beyond ringing out the whole converter - battery - furnace wiring harness looking for bad connections or corrosion...

Car audio systems have an accessory that might help the drop-out syndrome, install a 1-Farad 12V super-capacitor storage can near the AV equipment so when the nearly direct short of the motor start up occurs the A/V equipment will not be depending on the trickle through long skinny wires as the fan demands peak amps.

Also - subwoofers consume a lot of current, finding a separate nearby circuit, or running a new one to tap into for that alone could be a fix too..
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Old 04-07-2009, 04:35 PM   #6
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Thanks to everyone, I'm thinking it's the batteries. just went outside (it's been unplugged all day) and checked out the status of the battery. registered 5/8. turned on the furnace and radio. sat around for 15 minutes, shut off radio and furnace, registered 1/8. sat down in the quiet and pondered my options. Check the juice again, it went up slightly. turned the furnace on, now the radio isn't turning on.
Batteries covered under warrantee?
If not, any preference as to what I should get to replace it with? had the trailer for 5 months, electricity was giving minor issues then,but now it's unusable until I get some new ones. Even plugged in it's having fits when the furnace turns on and I'm watching a DVD.
Oh yeah, the flash code for the leak detector is green orange, not red orange like I said above.
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Old 04-07-2009, 07:04 PM   #7
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It's easy to have batteries checked. Remove them from the battery box, charge them separately a few hours (or overnight) with a regular battery charger, then take them to AutoZone, Pep Boys, Checker or any place that sells auto batteries and have them put a load on the batteries (one at a time). They'll tell you if they need to be replaced. You can check them with a voltmeter, but if the voltage looks OK, you really need to put a load on them to see what's happening.

(The auto parts places don't charge for this, because they want to sell you a new battery.)

By the way, it's possible that only one battery is bad and it is pulling the other one down. So you might be able to get a little more use out of the good one. However, if one is bad, the other one will not be far behind. If you want to nurse the old one along for another few months to a year, you may want to consider adding a battery isolater switch. These are about $35 at marine suppliers, and allow you to use battery A or B, both A and B, or none (off). Otherwise, by connecting them in parallel (like they probably are now), you will always be limited by the older battery's capacity; and when it goes bad, you'll be right back where you are now. The isolater switch will allow you to switch to the good one when the old one goes bad, and it may help you avoid shopping for a battery in Mexican Water, Arizona.
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:31 PM   #8
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It's under warranty (ha- ha). Have a dealer solve it. You paid top dollar for this, let them solve it.

Gotta love the quality of build.
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Old 04-07-2009, 09:45 PM   #9
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Splat,

Those batteries in an '08 could be 2 years old. They may have been abused at the dealer—letting them run way down many times and/or low on water. Some people with late model Airstreams find the batteries don't last all that long—I suspect the dealers are responsible plus cheapo batteries. I doubt the warranty covers them, but check your owner's manual. Maybe since you haven't it long, the dealer will do well by you, but I would be pleasantly surprised if they do.

The subwoofer is on all the time and is constantly sucking amps. I installed an on/off switch for my subwoofer and I doubt it'll be on very often because who needs a subwoofer in a trailer? If I have 120v, I'm likely near other people who aren't interested in hearing it and if I'm in the boonies, maybe I'd use it a little. You could just crawl under the dinette, unscrew the screws holding the subwoofer in place and take the fuse out, put the screws back and forget you have one.

Because Airstream is too cheap to put a 3 stage charger with the converter, if you leave it plugged into shore power all the time, you are cooking the batteries. I didn't know that until early last winter. I then unplugged the shore power. I have solar panels with a 3 stage charger and that keeps the batteries charged properly and I don't have to add water to the batteries every few months. You can charge the batteries every month or so for a few hours and keep them topped up that way. Get a multimeter to check the voltage at the batteries so you know how long it takes to get them topped up. The multimeter (measures volts, amps, ohms, AC and DC) is a very useful tool.

There are a number of threads on what battery to use. There's lots if disagreement, so start reading now and eventually you'll figure out what is best for you.

Gene
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Old 04-08-2009, 02:23 AM   #10
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Many repair/ parts shops can check the batteries in the trailer. In addition to a voltmeter consider checking the electrolite in the individual cells. It will give you a better idea of the health of the battery. It only takes one bad cell for the battery to need replacing.
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Old 05-10-2009, 11:43 PM   #11
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Bingo. heard back from Carolina RV, they reproduced the problem, it's the converter/inverter and is being replaced. Hopefully there isn't a secondary issue of a couple of boiled batteries, hoping not, as I've got a trip planned for Memorial Day weekend.

Thank you everyone for your info on this! Quite illuminating!
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Old 05-17-2009, 08:33 AM   #12
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Possibly resolved. brought to a dealer, they reproduced the problem, got me a new inverter/converter thingy. it appears to working correctly, will be trying it out this afternoon. now to see if the batteries are damaged from this fiasco.
Have a great memorial day weekend!
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