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Old 03-21-2014, 03:46 PM   #1
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Battery Problem - How Does This Work?

My 2012 FC 25 is 30 months old, and guess what?--the "30 month batteries" seem to have failed. Surprise, surprise.

So, I don't understand this part of it. I went to raise my jack this am to hook up and the jack groaned. Ok, dead batteries. I had left the power on to keep the fridge running on propane so that it would be cold this morning.
Apparently, that drained the batteries.

So, I connect my umbilical cord thinking that will now power the jack. Nope. Didn't do a think for the jack. We got it up and hooked up, and we are at the camp sight. I am going to go buy some new batteries. But wondering why the umbilical doesn't power the jack?
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Old 03-21-2014, 05:58 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mstephens View Post
My 2012 FC 25 is 30 months old, and guess what?--the "30 month batteries" seem to have failed. Surprise, surprise.

So, I don't understand this part of it. I went to raise my jack this am to hook up and the jack groaned. Ok, dead batteries. I had left the power on to keep the fridge running on propane so that it would be cold this morning.
Apparently, that drained the batteries.

So, I connect my umbilical cord thinking that will now power the jack. Nope. Didn't do a think for the jack. We got it up and hooked up, and we are at the camp sight. I am going to go buy some new batteries. But wondering why the umbilical doesn't power the jack?
If you have not checked it already, there should be a fuse in the battery line. There should be one in the camper as well as one in the tow vehicle. Also do you have a battery switch in the camper? If that is off the TV might not charge the battery.
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:10 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by mstephens View Post
My 2012 FC 25 is 30 months old, and guess what?--the "30 month batteries" seem to have failed. Surprise, surprise.

So, I don't understand this part of it. I went to raise my jack this am to hook up and the jack groaned. Ok, dead batteries. I had left the power on to keep the fridge running on propane so that it would be cold this morning.
Apparently, that drained the batteries.

So, I connect my umbilical cord thinking that will now power the jack. Nope. Didn't do a think for the jack. We got it up and hooked up, and we are at the camp sight. I am going to go buy some new batteries. But wondering why the umbilical doesn't power the jack?
Several scenarios:

• your jack fuse is blown (easy check)
• your OEM Interstate batteries have not been maintained (e.g.; liquid level not maintained thru their short life)
• your single voltage 'dumb charger' provided with your Airstream has cooked the batteries with either excessive voltage for the 'float' stage or never fully charged them to begin with, resulting is premature sulfating, loss of capacity and eventual failure

Several solutions:

•buy a set of new, quality batteries with a long warranty from a source that will provide warranty service/replacement if required
•*replace your battery burner 'dumb' converter/charger with a 'smart' charger from Progressive Dynamics or IOTA Engineering that has 3-stage charging
• check your batteries bi-weekly for proper fluid level (if still using liquid lead acid types)
•*be sure to maintain the voltage in your batteries at 12.8-13.2 VDC (full charge) as often as possible to prevent sultfation
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:34 PM   #4
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Lew,
Thanks. No fuses were blown. he jacked worked, but slowly because the batts were nearly dead. What I wondered, is why my car battery didn't take over when I connected the 7-pin? There was no extra ooomph.

Now as to cause. Yes, I have the dumb charger and I have often considered to get the improved ones. Now I have a reason. My batteries (Interstate) had no provision for liquid that I know of? I thought it was a sealed battery.

We had to have batteries today (we are camping) so I bought some deep cycle RV batteries from Pep Boys. Yeah, I know it's not the premium stuff. I think I will get the charger replaced AND add a battery off switch, which I also do not have.

Thank you for the info and advice!
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:51 PM   #5
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Lew-
Any suggestions on battery brand/sources? Just found out two days ago mine was dead. I want to get a good one. My plan is to gradually add solar as able. Not sure if better to get one marine or series golf cart ones. What happens if you put a dead battery in to complete the circuit for shore power? That is what I was going to try. Probably blow something up?
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Old 03-21-2014, 07:38 PM   #6
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So, I connect my umbilical cord thinking that will now power the jack. Nope. Didn't do a think for the jack. We got it up and hooked up, and we are at the camp sight. I am going to go buy some new batteries. But wondering why the umbilical doesn't power the jack?
I'm wondering that too, since my jack can work with only the umbilical cord for power.

And yet if it works slowly, this would seem to indicate to me that the TV's battery AND the coach batteries are weak, or perhaps your jack is wired into the coach's 12VDC system only.

The umbilical carries a blue wire (at least on mine it's blue) which turns on the exterior running lights for the coach and gives power to the jack. It also connects to the main 12VDC circuit and will very slowly begin to charge the battery.

All that to say, you have a problem and it isn't evident to me where it is.

Have you customized your battery set-up, added more of them, or anything along those lines?
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Old 03-21-2014, 08:28 PM   #7
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Aage, newer Airstreams have the jack connected directly to the positive terminal of the batteries with a 30 amp fuse in the wire and the jack body connection to the frame as ground. In this case, unless the charge line from the TV was inputting substantial amperage to the batteries (which in this case are connected to the charge line thru a bus bar internal in the trailer and not directly to the batteries), you really won't see much at the batteries.

Rippie, I am a big proponent of Lifeline AGM batteries, but the best battery for your needs might not be the best for mine. I use Lifelines almost exclusively in my solar installations, and they continue to prove themselves with their longevity, ease of charging due to low internal resistance (about 2%) and the fact that they do not out-gas when properly charger or need any maintenance what so ever….other than being properly charged. I can't stress this enough, but the proper and correct charging of Lifeline batteries (or any batteries for that matter) could fill several pages.

I would never use a dead battery for anything, as the potential of a shorted cell or thermal run away are too great to risk a battery explosion or melt-down!

Asking what the is best battery is akin to asking what the best engine oil is, or which TV is best. My opinion is just that…..MY PROFESSIONAL OPINION. It is based on my 14 years of RV service, 8 years of extensive experience installing RV solar charging systems and AM Solar's 27 years in the RV solar business. We do use liquid lead acid batteries on customer request, but these are generally Trojan 6VDC golf cart batteries. The Lifelines that I use most are also 6VDC wired in series as pairs in either 220 amp/hour or 300 amp/hour sizes. They can be placed inside the trailer if proper charging (there's that phrase again!) can be assured and can be used in any position except up side down. As always, YMMV!
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Old 03-21-2014, 10:05 PM   #8
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I would not be surprised if your TV charge line is not hooked up, or a fuse is blown so it is not delivering any charge at all to the AS batteries. If you have a meter of some kind, ground one of the leads, and then touch the other lead to each of the pins in your TV outlet. You should get 12 volts at one of them (no lights on). If you don't, start the TV and try it again. If you get 12 volts on one terminal now, your TV is wired so it only charges when running. If you get no +12 volts on either check, something is wrong with your TV charge setup.

You might also want to ground one lead to the AS, then take the other lead and touch each of the terminals in the plug end. One should give you + 12 volts. If not, you may have a problem in the AS side of the charge system.
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Old 03-21-2014, 10:36 PM   #9
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No fuses were blown. the jacked worked, but slowly because the batts were nearly dead. What I wondered, is why my car battery didn't take over when I connected the 7-pin? There was no extra ooomph.

mstephens, are you still using the Chrysler 300? I don't believe a 7-pin is factory. Who installed the 7-pin? Is the 12v+ pin actually hot? Is it on a relay and you need the car running? You may only have running, left, right, brake, backing light, and ground. If you do have a 12v+, what is the wire gauge, if it's 18-22ga you're only going to get a trickle of juice.
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Old 03-22-2014, 12:03 AM   #10
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To get along with what you have, original converter and new lead acid batteries.

When you are plugged into external power or generator, always place the Battery Disconnect switch (it is next to the entrance door) in the STORE position. That will isolate the batteries from your dumb converter and prevent damage to your batteries from overcharging.

When the battery switch is in the STORE position, the batteries will not provide power to your DC equipment such as lights and refrigerator (to run on propane), so to keep the refrigerator running while towing you must move the battery switch to the USE position. The tow vehicle will keep the batteries charged when towing.

To maintain the batteries at home, get a Battery Minder-type smart charger to plug into AC power and connect to your batteries.
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Old 03-22-2014, 12:11 AM   #11
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Hi, my trailer batteries usually only last three years, so you are due. GM products either have a dummy fuse or no fuse at all for the charge line to your trailer. [Buy a fuse and new batteries]
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Old 03-22-2014, 07:55 AM   #12
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Aage, newer Airstreams have the jack connected directly to the positive terminal of the batteries with a 30 amp fuse in the wire and the jack body connection to the frame as ground.
=============================
Bingo! I discovered this when I put the new batteries in yesterday. Something I never knew. The wire comes direct from the jack motor to a terminal on the battery. Mystery solved! And for years I used to plug the 7-pin in, start the TV, so that the jack would have more power when raising the back end for the WD bars! HA HA. Oh boy, the things we learn!

Someone in this thread recommended that when on shore power, put the red light inside the door in STORE position. I just tried it. The red light remains on no matter if selecting STORE position or not. (Yes, it works fine when not on shore power. )

Someone asked if this is the Chrysler 300. No, I gave up on that. This TV is my new Suburban 2500 which weirdly needed a new battery THE SAME MORNING! We woke up Friday morning to go camping and when I went to the garage to start the 'Burb, the battery was dead. We got it jump started and off to Pep Boys (the only thing in my area) for a new battery. Came home, picked up wife and went to the storage yard for the trailer.....dead batteries! Is that weird or what?

I think I will install a battery cut-off switch.

I've always noticed a weird thing about batteries. No matter what the life rating, like 36 months or whatever, they are perfectly good one day, and then dead the next. And usually it is exactly as long as the label or warranty said. I've had several new car batteries die exactly at the 3 year point.

Thanks to all of you for your amazing expertise.

I love my Flying Cloud! Camp on!
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Old 03-22-2014, 08:47 AM   #13
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The other possibility is a bad jack switch which seems to be fairly common. My jack often operates very slowly. After toggling directions it will operate normally.

Did your new batteries fix your jack issue?
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Old 03-22-2014, 09:05 AM   #14
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I had a similar problem, the jack was slow going and then it AND the light on the jack was not working. I had power inside the AS, so I thought to myself the jack switch was the culprit, but no, I had a bad ground FROM the switch to the ground, I cleaned the wire and replaced the end and screwed it back to where it was and now everything works fine.
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