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Old 10-12-2015, 06:27 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
2015 25' FB International
Santa Barbara , California
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 8
What should I expect with my 12V system?

Please help. I'm not a new RV'er, but a new AS owner. And LOVING it, but very frustrated. I'll try to be brief:

We just bought a new 2015 Int'l Signature 25 FB. We LOVE to boondock, but it seems our 12V system will only accommodate us for about 1 1/2 days. After charging 12 V system (2 deep cell batteries) with shore power or generator(s), the battery shows about 13.7. Within about 1 1/2 days, WITHOUT using TV, microwave, radio, convection oven, A/C; and ONLY occasionally using water pump, ceiling LED lights, and the incidental power to the fridge, our battery power drops down to below 9 or 8. From there, the fridge fails to work, the lights dim when the water pump is used, the electric awning won't work, and the electric tongue jack labors. Is this normal and what we should expect? If so, this is a bummer. I spent over $2K on Honda generators, but out of respect to our camping neighbors and many campground rules, the use of a generator is not always an option. We are considering solar panels, but it seems ridiculous that an AS should only last 1 1/2 days without shore power.

Any comments or advice are sincerely appreciated.

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Old 10-12-2015, 07:18 PM   #2
Rivet Master
1972 27' Overlander
Denver , North Carolina
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Good day, you mention what you're not running, what are you using?


Lucky Dave, Denver NC
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Old 10-12-2015, 07:22 PM   #3
3 Rivet Member
2003 25' Safari
Riverside , California
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 230
Have the batteries tested,if you have been pulling them down to 9v they may never recover to have a normal capacity.I upgraded my convertor and added solar,my battery problems are history now
2003 25' Safari
2005 Ram 2500 4x4
1994 Ram 2500 4x4
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Old 10-12-2015, 07:30 PM   #4
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2013 31' Classic
billings , Montana
Join Date: Feb 2010
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Our 31' classic will run 3 good days being careful.....
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Old 10-12-2015, 07:32 PM   #5
4 Rivet Member
Durango , Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 273
When you are charging, your batteries will always read about 13.7.

But what does it read about an hour or so after disconnecting from the charger? Maybe you are not getting a full charge.

You should be able to go 3 days or more with the standard batteries and full charge. I have a 2015 Intl. Serenity and after a full charge we can go 3 or 4 days. That is using the heat at night, the fridge on propane, the water pump on, and about 3 hours of satellite tv viewing at night.

If you let your batteries drop to 9 volts, they are most likely damaged. I don't let mine drop below 11.9 volts.
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Old 10-12-2015, 08:23 PM   #6
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,592
I expect, despite being in a 2015 rig, that one or both of your batteries is damaged and needs replacing. It is not uncommon for a rig to sit on a dealer's lot and have the batteries run down, sit discharged for a couple of months and be delivered to a new owner with defective batteries.
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Old 10-13-2015, 02:54 PM   #7
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2006 19' Safari SE
Tucson , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,369
Images: 64
It does sound like the batteries are the issue... We can go at least 3 days on battery power using LED lights, gas for water heating and a little TV (using the factory inverter). Running the furnace will deplete battery power faster, depending on how long you run it.

We have factory solar (just one panel) and with the combination of good batteries, decent sun during the day and reasonable usage, we can go significantly longer on battery power before needing a boost with a generator or shore power.
TB & Greg and Abbey Schnauzer
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Old 10-13-2015, 03:13 PM   #8

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , WNY
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 10,802
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Thumbs up Welcome Aboard....

Not uncommon...

Replace the sub-par OEM converter with a quality 3 or 4 stage unit.
This is an upgrade a lot of folks have done during the first year....we did, as our batteries were ruined on the dealer lot. Too long 24/7 on a single stage converter.

Your batts may have been run down to the point of no return, consider quality Deep Cycle or AGM's, LithIon if pockets are deep enough.

You have the Honda....smoke 'em if you got 'em.

Charging for 1/2hr on the Honda 2000i, usually while fixing breakfast, is enough to keep us going.

2-3+ days is doable on two fully charged 100ah Lifeline AGM's, moderate conservation, no inverter usage.
AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 10-13-2015, 05:08 PM   #9
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2008 25' Classic
Nixa , Missouri
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 3,659
You need to pull the batteries and check the water level. Top up with distilled water. Then charge to 100% with an external charger, one that will pump over 14v into each battery. Then purchase a hydrometer. Check the specific gravity of each cell with the battery off the charger and left to sit at least an hour for the voltage to settle. If you show cells low then you need a charger than can pump 15-16 volts for a couple of hours on the battery with bad cells. Then retest using the hydrometer to test each cell again. If they've recovered then your batteries will probably be useable for a couple of years.

But since your AS is under warranty I'd get the dealer to replace your batteries. Then upgrade the charger to a 3 stage charger. Many, including me have upgraded to the Progressive PD4655. For boondocking, purchase solar,either roof top configuration or a 160-200 watt portable panel. I use a Zamp 200 watt portable system. I can park in the shade and put the panel out in the side and position it to follow the sun. The panels keep the two batteries topped up ready for evening activities.

Never let your batteries discharge below 12v (50% roughly). Get a multimeter to test the voltage at the battery posts.

2008 Classic 25fb "Silver Mistress"
2015 Ram 2500 6.7L Cummins. Crew Cab, 4x4, Silver
2010 Tundra 5.7L, Double Cab, 2wd, White
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Old 10-13-2015, 05:28 PM   #10
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
Long Island , New York
Join Date: Jun 2015
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One further thought to the excellent advice already given -- you may have a small short circuit someplace which is drawing down your batteries IMO. They should last longer. A dealer visit should help.
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Old 10-13-2015, 05:59 PM   #11
2 Rivet Member
Oak Harbor , wa
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 35
Hello M &M, we also have a 2015 25'FC, same problem. Not new to rv,s or boats, so expected at least 2 days with minimal use of power. Turned out each of the stock batteries had a dead cell. Local interstate dealer gave us full warranty.
Our unit was built in April 14, we purchased new from dealer in May 15. Interstate dealer said it probably sat around on dealership lot for many months with batteries dead due to normal hidden loads. Therefore even though it was new to us it did have old batteries. Dealership should have caught this!
Anyway we upgraded to agm group 24 batteries, they easily go two days. At this time we have also upgraded to 3 stage boondocker charger/converter. Now run Honda about 1 hour per day, watch TV using inverter, no longer need to skimp on power.
Happy campers!
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Old 10-13-2015, 07:21 PM   #12
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1986 25' Sovereign
Southern Middle , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2002
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Don't forget that your propane detector is drawing power in addition to any appliance on standby such as a TV or stereo and don't forget the power amplified antenna. Add the control panel for the fridge and you draw more power than you think. I added a switch to my AM/FM radio-CD to eliminate this slight power draw when boondocking.

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Old 10-13-2015, 08:00 PM   #13
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1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,134
Other than the excellent advice already provided I would install a permanent digital voltmeter so you are always aware of your voltage. You can get them on Amazon for less than $10.

I am fortunate that I have a vintage Airstream with 2 golf cart batteries and no parasitic loads. After boondocking for 4 days my voltage has only dropped from 12.9v to 12.6v. This includes led lights, water pump, phone charging, some tv and some fan usage.

I see new batteries, a 3 stage convertor and some solar power in your future.

The frustration is that for what you have paid for a new Airstream, you should not have to do anything to be able to boondock for 3 or 4 days.

Good luck.

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Old 10-13-2015, 08:02 PM   #14
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2014 27' FB Eddie Bauer
Chelsea , Michigan
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1,622
Images: 12
If the OP has seen 8 & 9 volts on his voltmeter then his current batteries are toast and not much can be done to save them.

It's not at all unusual for the first set of batteries on a new Airtream (or any RV) to be in very bad shape due to understandably poor treatment by the dealer while on the lot (who has time and manpower to check and make sure the batteries are fully charged all the time or not overcharged by continuous connection to shore power?)

See if you can get the batteries replaced under warranty and then get a 3 stage charger as previously suggested to take better care of your new batteries.

Bob Martel
WBCCI# 5766
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