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Old 03-24-2017, 02:21 PM   #29
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[QUOTE=Black7beard;1926334]Unless Airstream has recently changed the charging system and wiring, charging batteries from a generator while boondocking through the house system isn't going to get the job done. The best fix while on the road is to get something along the lines of a BatteryMinder or a Genius type smart charger. Hook the charger directly to the batteries and use that to charge while on the generator.

I agree. I suggest am Iota smart battery charger because it charges at 14.8 volts in Bulk, 14.2 v in absorption and 13.6 v in float charge phase. You will be amazed at how much energy it puts in your battery. First charge might take several hours time even with one of Iota's 45 amp chargers. These units are small and easy fit in a small bag. With these Iota charges you will have to add cables (#4) and clip on battery terminals (MOTOPOWER Battery Quick Release Connectors) I bought these on Amazon.
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Old 03-24-2017, 02:23 PM   #30
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Wesair.....You didn't indicate how you charged the batteries from your generator. If you were using a Honda 2000i and used the 12volt battery charging line you were limited to a rate of 8 amps which is a very low rate of charge. In two hours you would have transferred 16 amp hours into your batteries having a combined capacity of approximately 184 Amps. A charge of 16 amp hours is equal to 8.7% of your total capacity and is not enough to make a significant change in the status of your batteries. I would recommend that you purchase a 120v A/C input battery charger capable of charging of 15, 20 or 25 amps and see if that will bring your batteries back up.
The OP would likely be better-served by upgrading the guts of the converter-charger than by buying an external charger unless he has some need of it, but it remains to be seen whether his existing converter-charger is at fault here, or if it's an issue with the batteries themselves or the management of them up to now that's the culprit.
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Old 03-24-2017, 02:29 PM   #31
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I would recommend that you purchase a 120v A/C input battery charger capable of charging of 15, 20 or 25 amps and see if that will bring your batteries back up.
Better yet just plug the generator into the trailer umbilical and charge using the onboard charger/converter. That will produce up to 55 amps to bulk charge the batteries the fastest. Why complicate things with an external charger that produces less amps?
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Old 03-24-2017, 02:31 PM   #32
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I have a 2017 28' International Serenity with factory solar kit installed. I have it plugged into a dedicated 50 amp circuit at my home. Am I damaging the batteries by leaving it plugged in?
I believe a "more correct" answer will be found after you confirm the type of
converter installed in your new Airstream. AS often changes converter types/brands during buildup and it's simply not very helpful for everyone to simply spend a lot of money swapping out their converters which might actually be good units. Any modern converter with a multi-stage charging program will maintain common flooded cell/lead acid batteries.

And leaving those battery switches in the ON or USE position while in storage is a good procedure as long as the water/electrolyte level is monitored monthly.

My common Group 24 lead acid battery is now 4 years old and doing just fine. It is constantly connected and charged with the original "el-cheapo" WFCO converter which AS installed.

Take the time to discover exactly which model converter you have before flushing a bunch of money down a rabbit-hole based upon generic advice from people whose knowledge of YOUR trailer may not be current/valid.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-24-2017, 03:12 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Black7beard View Post
Unless Airstream has recently changed the charging system and wiring, charging batteries from a generator while boondocking through the house system isn't going to get the job done. The best fix while on the road is to get something along the lines of a BatteryMinder or a Genius type smart charger. Hook the charger directly to the batteries and use that to charge while on the generator.

The house systems on Airstreams might be adequate for the folks who travel from power pole to power pole but they are sorely lacking for folks who spend any time away from the umbilical cord. I'd suggest you take the further step, if you are apt to spent time away from power poles, to upgrade to a four stage smart charger integrated into your system.
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Better yet just plug the generator into the trailer umbilical and charge using the onboard charger/converter. That will produce up to 55 amps to bulk charge the batteries the fastest. Why complicate things with an external charger that produces less amps?
“Converters are set to maintain the batteries at the “float” voltage, about 13.5 volts, and supply a trickle charge (2-3 amps, or 25-35 watts) to keep the batteries full, while not over charging them and boiling them dry. Because of the length and size of the wiring in most rigs, the converter typically supplies less than 13 volts to the battery. Some newer three stage converters will put out over 14 volts, but that is still too low. You cannot successfully charge batteries with a converter, because you never get the batteries up to the required 14.4 volts and hold them there long enough.” plagiarized from https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com
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Old 03-24-2017, 03:40 PM   #34
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“Converters are set to maintain the batteries at the “float” voltage, about 13.5 volts, and supply a trickle charge (2-3 amps, or 25-35 watts) to keep the batteries full, while not over charging them and boiling them dry. Because of the length and size of the wiring in most rigs, the converter typically supplies less than 13 volts to the battery. Some newer three stage converters will put out over 14 volts, but that is still too low. You cannot successfully charge batteries with a converter, because you never get the batteries up to the required 14.4 volts and hold them there long enough.” plagiarized from https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com
All installations are a bit different of course. My converter-charger in the '75 Argosy had a 2' run of cable to fuse block, some inevitable loss in the connection between that and the 3' run of cable from the fuse block to the battery. A PowerMax "Boondocker" good-but-not-exotic unit. In boost/bulk I measured 14.5 volts at the battery terminals, and in "float" it ran about 13.4V. "handybob" is grinding the axe he likes to grind.
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Old 03-24-2017, 04:40 PM   #35
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In an emergency needing your furnace when power is not available:

Keep your trailer connected to your vehicle. Have your tow vehicle idle while using the furnace / fan to keep the interior warm. One snow storm caught us in Goodland, Kansas during the Spring. Parked at the Walmart and that morning, topped off the gas tank, before we proceeded to Colorado. You will need a few gallons to replace what you used to maintain steady power to your trailer.

Another option. The Mr. Heater 'Big Buddy' or 'Little Buddy' heater that uses a propane container. This is for those unexpected cold snaps.

Just be prepared in the event you get stranded. We plan just in case we have a situation that was not expected. Not everyone can be prepared for anything unexpected... but starting today may be a good time to begin!

Keep life simple and you do not need the modern technology. This may not agree with some, but we have never suffered when others are calling 911 as they haven't a clue what to do.
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Old 03-24-2017, 05:24 PM   #36
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Ray is right on with trying to be prepared as you can be..

A lot of folks like the Camco 57341 Olympian Wave-6 6000 BTU LP Gas Catalytic Heater at camping world, amazon etc. Low gas usage, quiet, NO 12v power needed for operation, a better alternative to the loud gas sucking power sucking heat monster most RV's come with. check them out.

be sure to find out what converter your model has and see it is a 3 or 4 stage charger. some can be use with lead acid or AGM batteries.

I am like some others will start with lead (golf car type ) 6v volt deals and then migrate to agm or maybe Lithium will be priced for humans with normal jobs to enjoy and go with them..


"Keep it simple".. words to live by for sure.. another one I like .. "no good deed goes unpunished" but try to do a good deed every day.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Eklund View Post
In an emergency needing your furnace when power is not available:

Keep your trailer connected to your vehicle. Have your tow vehicle idle while using the furnace / fan to keep the interior warm. One snow storm caught us in Goodland, Kansas during the Spring. Parked at the Walmart and that morning, topped off the gas tank, before we proceeded to Colorado. You will need a few gallons to replace what you used to maintain steady power to your trailer.

Another option. The Mr. Heater 'Big Buddy' or 'Little Buddy' heater that uses a propane container. This is for those unexpected cold snaps.

Just be prepared in the event you get stranded. We plan just in case we have a situation that was not expected. Not everyone can be prepared for anything unexpected... but starting today may be a good time to begin!

Keep life simple and you do not need the modern technology. This may not agree with some, but we have never suffered when others are calling 911 as they haven't a clue what to do.
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Old 03-24-2017, 06:48 PM   #37
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Last night the thermostat was set at 50 degrees and the outside temp went down to 40.
As others have said, your batteries may not be healthy.

Having said that, we don't run our furnace overnight unless we're expecting a freeze. And in that case, we set the thermostat at 34F. I don't expect most people to agree with this but we're very comfortable under our down comforter in these conditions. And if the inside is below 40F when I get up, I turn on the furnace for a little while I make my coffee.

Wife stays under the comforter until all is clear
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:41 PM   #38
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To get those batteries fully charged you need to boost the voltage up to 14+ volts and the OEM charger is only 13.4 to 13.6. Running the generator a couple of hours doesn't get them fully charged. You'll need something like a PD4655 converter/charger to get that bulk rate. it will boost the charge to 14+ volts then drop to 13.4v then to 13.2v. When I had that charger it would take a couple of days to before it was fully charged to drop to 13.2v. The last 20% charge takes a lot longer than than getting up to 80%. Your group 24s are probably rated at 85 ah but since you only should draw 50% (12.2v) and two batteries you are limited to 85ah per day. If you use most of that during the first day a couple of hours charge on the generator the next day will never get to full charge. Many use solar to top off the batteries through the day when dry camping.

Getting just AGMs will not solve the issue, just allow you a little more capacity. You need to upgrade your converter/charger ($225) before getting new batteries. The batteries charging parameters have to be matched with the charging parameters of the charger.

Check your current batteries using a hydrometer. Charge them fully then turn off the charger and wait about 1/2 hour the test each cell with the hydrometer. If all cells are at the proper specify gravity then your batteries are good. If a couple of cells are down you can get an external charger to boost the voltage up above 15v and charge a few hours (remove the vent covers) you might be able to recover those cells. Even if you recover them your total battery capacity is reduce a little.

What I would do:
Get the batteries tested and hopefully recovered
Replace the OEM convert/charger to a multi stage charger such as PD4655
Purchase a portable solar panel when dry camping. I have a Zamp 200w system. Minimum would be a 100w system.
Later, you can get AGMs or just get some Trojan deep cycle batteries if you are still using the A frame battery compartment. You could squeeze grp 31s into the box and get 200ah.
Later, install some roof solar, you can patch in the portable to the roof solar system to add capacity. While you are towing the roof solar keeps the batteries charging.

Kelvin
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:52 PM   #39
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If you have one dead cell, then the thing is dead!

You need to take them to a Auto Zone to have them check.

Welcome to dry camping.
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Old 03-24-2017, 08:17 PM   #40
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“Converters are set to maintain the batteries at the “float” voltage, about 13.5 volts, and supply a trickle charge (2-3 amps, or 25-35 watts) to keep the batteries full, while not over charging them and boiling them dry. Because of the length and size of the wiring in most rigs, the converter typically supplies less than 13 volts to the battery. Some newer three stage converters will put out over 14 volts, but that is still too low. You cannot successfully charge batteries with a converter, because you never get the batteries up to the required 14.4 volts and hold them there long enough.” plagiarized from https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com
This isn't true. I haven't read Bob's blog recently but I've talked with him on the phone several times and I'd be surprised if this is what he is saying today.
While it's true that some converters float in the 13.6-13.8 range (mainly Parallax and older Univolts) it's not true that a multi-stage converter/charger will not completely charge your batteries. With proper wiring, and as of lately Airstream does supply at least 8 ga, you will realize 14.4+ at the batteries and they will fully charge, and even gas a little which is what you want with flooded batteries. AGMS are sealed and won't gas (unless overcharged or damaged) but they too will reach full charge.
After the boost mode times out, you should then be in the 13.6 range and after a period of no voltage change (48 hours) is should drop to ~13.2. With a 4 stage converter, it will periodically raise the voltage to boost voltage once a day for about 15 minutes to mix up the electrolyte and prevent stratification (storage/float mode only) It does not do this if you keep turning on DC lights and reset the timer. For those with AGM, its does not benefit much but certainly does not hurt anything. Deslufation mode is mainly for flooded batteries.
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Old 03-24-2017, 08:38 PM   #41
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With proper wiring you will realize 14.4+ at the batteries and they will fully charge... After the boost mode times out, you should then be in the 13.6 range and after a period of no voltage change (48 hours) is should drop to ~13.2. With a 4 stage converter, it will periodically raise the voltage to boost voltage once a day for about 15 minutes to mix up the electrolyte and prevent stratification (storage/float mode only)
This is why I just bought a 4655 to replace my Parallax
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Old 03-24-2017, 10:04 PM   #42
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This isn't true. I haven't read Bob's blog recently but I've talked with him on the phone several times and I'd be surprised if this is what he is saying today.
While it's true that some converters float in the 13.6-13.8 range (mainly Parallax and older Univolts) it's not true that a multi-stage converter/charger will not completely charge your batteries. With proper wiring, and as of lately Airstream does supply at least 8 ga, you will realize 14.4+ at the batteries and they will fully charge, and even gas a little which is what you want with flooded batteries. AGMS are sealed and won't gas (unless overcharged or damaged) but they too will reach full charge.
After the boost mode times out, you should then be in the 13.6 range and after a period of no voltage change (48 hours) is should drop to ~13.2. With a 4 stage converter, it will periodically raise the voltage to boost voltage once a day for about 15 minutes to mix up the electrolyte and prevent stratification (storage/float mode only) It does not do this if you keep turning on DC lights and reset the timer. For those with AGM, its does not benefit much but certainly does not hurt anything. Deslufation mode is mainly for flooded batteries.
Before using Bob's statement I checked his website today to make sure it was current.
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