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Old 12-17-2014, 11:51 AM   #15
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1974 Argosy 20
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dkottum: I looked at the factory manual on the FC and as usual it is somewhat vague but this is what it says:

"Battery Disconnect switch
The disconnect switch is used to separate the batteries from the 12-volt distribution panel and converter charging system.
When the switch is turned to USe (on) and the trailer is plugged into a 110-volt shoreline, the 12-volt distribution panel will receive power from the converter and the batteries will be charged through the converter charging system.
When the switch is turned to STORe (off) and the trailer is plugged into a 110-volt shoreline, the 12- volt distribution panel will still receive power from the converter, but the batteries are disconnected from the system. The batteries will not be drained with the switch in the store position. The converter will not charge the batteries with the switch in this position.
The charge in the 12-volt batteries is replenished, when towing, from the tow vehicle alternator through the 7-way cord. This charge will flow to the batteries regardless of the battery disconnect switch position. likewise, if on or off, the solar panel is still charging the batteries."


So, what they are saying is that if you are not connected to 120 volt power, and your Use/Store switch is in Store, you should not be connected at all to the batteries and they should not be providing power to your rig. You indicate that in your trailer, in the store position, you still are connected to the batteries and they will run down (drop in voltage) overnight, and not recharge until the sun comes up the next day (the solar starts to work).

If I read your post correctly, something is wrong in your trailer. In Store, you should not be getting any power at night, when you are not hooked up to a 120 volt source.
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Old 12-17-2014, 12:05 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by tinbender View Post
-- I get it about the propane detector and power jack.... But, are you saying that if my factory inverter remote switch is in the "off" position, that it is still drawing power from the battery while in "store" mode ?????

Thanks for any insight on that item...
The factory inverter has it's own set of heavy power cables which run directly to the battery and do not go through the Use/Store relay. So, even with the Use/Store switch in Store, the inverter can be turned on, and of course could be left on accidentally.

That is one more reason I recommend that when you store your Airstream you pull at lest one side of the battery cables (I recommend the negative side) so there is no way the batteries can be discharged while it is not in use.

The Use/Store switch gives a false sense of disconnect security. The propane detector, the power jack (and lights on it) and the factory inverter are not run through the Use/Store switch and thus it does not fully isolate the batteries when the rig is not in use.

On my own FC 20, when I put it into storage for the winter, I remove the series connecting cable between the two 6 volt golf cart batteries which I use now for my battery system. Due to the way my batteries are wired that is the easiest way to totally disconnect the batteries when they are in storage.
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Old 12-17-2014, 12:21 PM   #17
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idroba, when in STORE position, and on external power, the charger/converter is isolated from the batteries but I don't it supplies anything to the 12 vdc system. However it might, and probably does if it's possible to have both the charger/converter and the batteries supply the 12 vdc system at the same time, while at the same time isolate the batteries from the charger/converter. On rare occasion I have heard the charger/converter cooling fan come on when lots of 12 vdc is being used.

I do know when on external power the batteries will deplete somewhat (12.7 vdc fully charged dropping to maybe 12.6 vdc) overnight, and then recharge from the solar system (my solar monitor indicates battery voltage and solar amp hours supplied) when the sun comes up next day.

I don't think it is wired wrong, or it doesn't matter. After 24v months on the road and actually living in the Airstream, the factory solar system works perfectly without external power and the Battery Disconnect in USE, and it presents no problem at all functioning as described when on external power and the Battery Disconnect in STORE.

When this factory charger/converter finally quits, I do intend to replace it with a multi-stage unit. Might be awhile because with the solar functioning as it is, the charger/converter doesn't get much work.
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Old 12-17-2014, 12:46 PM   #18
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I guess this is the critical point in the factory manual statements.

"When the switch is turned to STORe (off) and the trailer is plugged into a 110-volt shoreline, the 12- volt distribution panel will still receive power from the converter, but the batteries are disconnected from the system. The batteries will not be drained with the switch in the store position. The converter will not charge the batteries with the switch in this position."

Your overnight drop in battery voltage may just be reduction to their resting state voltage, and nothing more. Your solar system charge voltage may be set a bit higher than resting state and thus you see the voltage go up when the sun comes out.

It sounds to me like all is normal on your system. But if you can put your Use/Store switch in Store, and NOT be connected to 120 volts and still have 12 volt power on things inside, there is something wrong.
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Old 12-17-2014, 01:40 PM   #19
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Actually, the above statement is not true for all trailers. It depends upon which side of the positive busbar your converter is wired to. Mine is wired to the battery side, therefore, my converter keeps my batteries charged when shore power is connected even though the trailer's 12v & 120v circuits are switched off. It came from the mother ship wired that way and I prefer it because you can keep the batteries topped off when not in use. I wouldn't recommend it though unless you have a 3 or 4 stage charger

So, I guess there's an exception to everything when it comes to Airstreams!




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Old 12-17-2014, 02:00 PM   #20
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Just quoting the manual for the 2013 FC series of trailers. Airstream has never been consistent when doing things from model to model and even day to day....lol. Running changes I guess.

In the old Argosy days, nothing was constant. A few fiberglass outer end caps have been found and one trailer with one fiberglas and one steel end cap, both original. Then there are the Argosy's with serial numbers which indicate they were built in California, which Airstream says never happened.

It is all designed to keep us interested.
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Old 12-17-2014, 02:03 PM   #21
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There have been times when I've wanted to disconnect the solar system, such as to help isolate issues, test batteries without solar power interfering, etc. It's pretty rare, though, so I haven't gotten around to installing a switch. I'd definitely do it if I were doing a new installation, though.
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Old 12-17-2014, 04:12 PM   #22
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I don't like the idea of a solar disconnect because interruptions in the wire add a bit of resistance and are subject to corrosion and more resistance over time. I suppose if the connections were soldered it would be better.

Idroba, thanks for thinking this through. It's all working well, however they wired it. Battery Disconnect in STORE, no external power, then there is correctly no power to the 12 vdc equipment (except propane detector and brake switch).

A cautionary note: When you break camp and head down the road, be sure to return the Battery Disconnect to USE to keep your refrigerator running.
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Old 12-17-2014, 06:24 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
I don't like the idea of a solar disconnect because interruptions in the wire add a bit of resistance and are subject to corrosion and more resistance over time. I suppose if the connections were soldered it would be better.

Idroba, thanks for thinking this through. It's all working well, however they wired it. Battery Disconnect in STORE, no external power, then there is correctly no power to the 12 vdc equipment (except propane detector and brake switch).

A cautionary note: When you break camp and head down the road, be sure to return the Battery Disconnect to USE to keep your refrigerator running.
Doug,

The disconnect will have virtually no effect on voltage drop 'IF' you use the proper gauge cable, the right end connectors, run your solar connections directly to the batteries and place the switch in the right spot. You can't use solder on an airplane or boat, and IMPO, you shouldn't use it on an RV.....ANY RV either.

Dissimilar metals in the solder, brass connectors and terminal strips/busbars will eventually cause electrolytic corrosion. I see it every day, especially on open ended battery terminals where the corrosion runs 6-8" back up the cables. Keep it simple and crimp all of your DC connections with the proper cable ends, heat shrink and crimping tools.
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Old 12-17-2014, 08:50 PM   #24
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Lew, back when I was an electrician on Navy aircraft we used soldered connections frequently, especially on Canon plugs that joined wire bundles and then sealed them with potting compound. Quite a salt air environment.

Corrosion could be a problem in soldered and crimped connections, that's why I prefer to avoid cutting and reconnecting a wire if unnecessary, especially in low voltage circuits.
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Old 12-17-2014, 09:19 PM   #25
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We use both the factory disconnect and a cutoff switch for our solar panels. A gauge can tell battery volts (or charge voltage of panels or converter), or amps + or -. We never allow panel cutoff to be on when AC is plugged in (nor traveling if batteries are full… truck alternator and small cable would not deliver much to trailer, but we have no way to monitor it).
An additional benefit of the cutoff reveals itself when diagnosing problems… no need to disconnect/reconnect.
Much easier to to it all at initial install. Good luck.
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