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Old 04-17-2016, 12:36 PM   #15
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I agree with those who suggest getting out and spending some time in your Airstream before upgrading much of anything.

You may find that what you think you want and need now is different from what you think you want and need 6 months to a year from now.

If you are not looking to boondock for extended periods, what you have in place now may be enough to meet your needs.

We/I always took the approach of working with what we had in place in the Interstate, and haven't upgraded anything in 9 years of ownership and over 170,000 miles....replaced batteries and tires, of course, but no "upgrades".

Because we have an onboard generator, it seemed duplicative and an unnecessary expense in the beginning to add solar panels...and we never felt since that these were "required". Phones and IPads stay plenty charged with what we have.

I had a little plaque once upon a time that said "Happiness is Wanting What You Have, not Having What You Want".

I believed in that, it helped my mindset back when retirement and traveling the country couldn't have been more a pipe dream....and I still basically do.

Take some time, get a feel for your Airstream's limitations, and go from there, is my thought.

I basically disagree with the approach some have...and can afford...that everything must be 18K quality. No offense meant, just a different way of looking at it.

If there is something you really need, you're going to know that.

You have a brand new trailer. Use the money you would spend on upgrades to travel.


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Old 04-17-2016, 01:12 PM   #16
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Solar Good. Tires, so so. The rest... try it, you may like it

We had the original Solar package on our 2016 23 foot Safari. It was not that large and probably the bare minimum for solar.

We boondocked for eight years and this small solar panel kept our batteries charged. The solar package also came with the AGM Interstate batteries. Never had an issue with the batteries and the solar could have been larger, but we worked with what we had.

While Boondocking off the grid: We do not take daily showers. We do not run the furnace unless absolutely necessary. We do not turn all of the interior lighting on in the evening. So, our boondocking style may vary from most. (Furnace and Water Pump are the biggest battery drainers you have on board.)

If in a very cold seasonal day we could hook up the tow vehicle and let the truck idle to run the furnace fan. You do what you have to improvise at times.

I found the 14" Marathon tires were a poor excuse for a tire on any Airstream. Others major tire brands worked out fine. Anyone with Marathons... be very careful.

Your 15" D rated Marathons are the same as those that came on my 2014 25 foot and I have not experienced any trouble with those... yet. I made the upgrade to 16" LTX Michelin tires and wheels not wanting to be in the paying for use against a warranty replaced tire... multiple times. Airstream puts the bare minimum onto the 'basic' trailer... solar and tires. The spare on the steel wheel... now that is cheap.
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Old 04-17-2016, 04:08 PM   #17
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You have your initial options in pretty good order. But like most are saying here the priority is go camping. But, the number one on your list is a fairly easy fix and not expensive, and it will far better take care of your AGM batteries, get rid of that Paralax for a PD.
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Old 04-17-2016, 04:18 PM   #18
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Albuquerque , New Mexico
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Congratulations on your new trailer! Consider letting the warranty on the factory solar package expire before making any changes. If you see a desperate need for an upgrade after regular use, you can always do it later.

We got the factory solar package. Our initial goal was to get by without a generator. To make a long story short-- we got a small Honda generator after eight months. You can control your usage of the things that draw power from the batteries when you're off-grid, but you can't control the weather!

I second urnmor's comments about all the other things you may soon find yourself feeling like you want or need. In our own case, the mattress the factory installed was the first thing to go!
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Old 04-17-2016, 04:51 PM   #19
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Converter gets you bang. You can do better if you go deeper in upgrades, but the converter is not a huge loss if you replace it later. Tires keep you from having a bang. Either you buy in to that concern, or you don't. The risk is 2-3X the upgrade cost which makes it a good bet if the cash is available. Solar depends. Adding the extra 100 watts gets you the matching solar for your battery bank. That is a good investment, but not a requirement unless you find your locations need the added capacity. The generator is a you need it or you can get by without it. We are doing our best to not need one. Pat
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Old 04-18-2016, 09:02 AM   #20
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I generally wait for a failure to upgrade.
At about 3 years old I did the 16 " wheel/LT tire upgrade and upgraded to AGM batteries.
I have even upgraded very small, trivial, inconsequential items like the wheel chocks and sewer hose.
Another very simple upgrade was the MaxxAir Fantastic Fan cover.
An addition of a rear view/backup camera on the trailer and TPMS are also nice.
All upgrades whether big or small make the trailer more enjoyable or easier to set up.
One future upgrade may be a new converter/charger.
A little along as money and time allow-
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Old 04-18-2016, 10:16 AM   #21
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If your priority is long distance travel, first consider upgrades to more reliable tires and a high quality hitch setup.

If your priority is camping locally, first consider upgrades to comfort, simplicity and convenience. Experience will teach you here, greatest danger is the "too-much-stuff" syndrome (which negatively impacts travel and camping).
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Old 04-19-2016, 12:33 PM   #22
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To answer your question I would first swap out the factory solar controller for a BlueSky MPPT controller. Doing so will get you three-stage battery charger and allow you to avoid upgrading your converter. Once you have a quality three-stage battery charger, you'll simply press your Use/Store switch to Store when connected to shore power to avoid overcharging your batteries.

Now, starting with the Blue Sky controller will also allow you to install their IPN Pro remote battery monitor and reuse the existing CAT5 cable for the IPN remote. Adding a battery monitor in my mind is essential if you're planning on using your solar system and keeping your batteries healthy.

After you've done these mods you can add more roof panels as needed. The Blue Sky controller will also allow you to stack panels in series so you'll have more options when you add panels. If you intend on keeping the original pre-wiring between the panels and the solar controller, the Blue Sky MPPT controller will give you flexibility to keep the voltage losses due to the pre-wiring to a minimum.
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