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Old 07-05-2009, 03:15 PM   #1
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Battery type in my 2007 Interstate... new and confused!

Ok, I'm new to all of the battery types and handling... We have a 2007 interstate in which the house battery is not holding a charge well. We don't typically connect to a shoreline, but let the engine or generator top off the battery.

Anyhow... I want to be sure the battery is not a flooded type that might need more water. Anybody familiar with the type used in the 07 Interstate? It just says "Varta 12V 100Ah" so I'm not sure how to tell.

I'm pretty sure I'm just not getting it charged enough, but want to make sure I'm not missing something dumb!

Thanks in advance,
pat
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Old 07-05-2009, 04:02 PM   #2
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If it has removable caps on top it is the flooded type,just pop the caps & refill with distilled water,or a good filtered water.I doubt Airstream would spend the money to put the good batteries in there trailers. Dave
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Old 07-05-2009, 11:10 PM   #3
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If it has removable caps on top it is the flooded type,just pop the caps & refill with distilled water,or a good filtered water.I doubt Airstream would spend the money to put the good batteries in there trailers. Dave
Thanks. It has what might be caps, but might not. I guess I need to look harder for some photos to compare it with.

The latest model parts list available from AS is for the 2004 model, and it lists an AGM house battery, so I suspect mine is probably the same.

Thanks again for the response.
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Old 07-05-2009, 11:16 PM   #4
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Hi, I can't see what batteries you have from here, but most Airstream trailers have Interstate group 24 flooded cell batteries unless you have the factory solar panels, then it should have AGMs. From what little I have found, the Varta is an European battery.
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Old 07-06-2009, 12:23 AM   #5
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I believe Varta is the largest battery mfg in the world...being a European Corp., they also have plants in North America, and they make some private branded batteries, as well as their own labeled stuff...from my Battery Biz experience, they make a quality battery at the OEM level.

If your battery is marked '100Ah' it's probably a Group-27 (12 inch long) sized, flooded cell battery - the caps will be easily removed to check the fluid level...

Most AGM batteries have what look like removable caps on top, that are sealed during the mfg. process - but they are NOT removable when completed.

If you replace with an AGM type battery, make sure your converter/charger is compatible, for example it won't produce over 14.2 Volts during charging, or the AGM may be damaged - check the mfg's specs out carefully...AGM's are at the least, TWICE the price of flooded cell batteries...take care of your investment if you use AGM's...

A few additional comments:
1. if you don't hook up to shore power very often, it's essential that you fully charge your AS's battery after use...if not, you're battery will be in a constant state of 'undercharge', allowing the sulfate to build up on the plates and shorten it's life...
2. don't ever store your AS with the battery run down - again the sulfate deposits will build up and ruin the battery.
3. using an AGM battery won't help the undercharge conditions - Deep Cycle batteries need to be kept charged when not being used for maximum life...
4. generator charging can be misleading...your 100Ah battery, if half discharged (down to 50Ah capacity) needs 50 amp hours of charging, IE, 25 amps for 2 hours, 10 amps for 5 hours, etc...chargers aren't 100% efficient, and the charge rate tapers off as the battery gets to approximately 80%, so I always suggest using about 150% of the time need to recharge - for example, for the 25 amp charger above, I'd say to charge for 3 hours instead of 2 to bring the battery all the way up to a full charge...

When boondocking, we use three, group 27 flooded cell deep cycles in our AS, and make sure to run the genny each day to insure the battery bank is kept up to snuff for the next cycle of use...
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Old 07-10-2009, 03:32 PM   #6
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Thanks everybody. I really appreciate the great advice!
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Old 07-11-2009, 12:11 PM   #7
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Turns out it's a flooded battery, and probably needs to be topped off. I plan on doing that tonight with distilled water.

Last night I connected the vehicle to our home AC source for 12 hours, and I'm still reading less than 9 volts from the battery. Is this a lost cause, or could topping off the water and recharging save it?

Thanks,
Pat
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Old 07-12-2009, 12:36 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by patrickdylan View Post
Turns out it's a flooded battery, and probably needs to be topped off. I plan on doing that tonight with distilled water.

Last night I connected the vehicle to our home AC source for 12 hours, and I'm still reading less than 9 volts from the battery. Is this a lost cause, or could topping off the water and recharging save it?

Thanks,
Pat
Hi, top it off with distilled water and put it on a 2 Amp charge [or lower] for at least 24 hours. If this doesn't bring the battery up, time for a new one.
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Old 07-12-2009, 08:43 AM   #9
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Pat
When you pop those caps and refill with DISTILLED WATER only no tap. Check each cell before filling.IF the water level is below the tops of the plates the battery is probably TOAST. But refill and recharge at 2 amps for at least 24 hrs or more. If ya don't see any improvement then replacement is in order.
I would replace with the same type battery,not necessarily the same brand,shop around and find the best available BANG FOR THE BUCK. I found the best buy in my area for Group 27 Deep Cycle was at AUTO ZONE.
Then make a mental note to check water in trailer batteries ONCE A MONTH. I DO NOT recommend a NON SERVICE TYPE Battery.If kept charged and full of water they will last for yrs. I just replaced the batterys in my TV that were 7 yrs old.Thats what proper maintance will do. It takes a little effort but its worth it,Also remember NOTHING LAST FOR EVER!
Roger
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Old 07-12-2009, 09:16 PM   #10
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Thanks again everybody! I truly appreciate the suggestions. Simply priceless!

I topped off the battery cells, they were down an inch or so from the filling "tube" area, but it looks like the plates were still covered. Getting the passenger seat out of the way was a ridiculous pain (must be an easier way!) but that's for another thread.

I connected the shore line to my home 120V 15A service, and after about 4-6 hours the battery voltage is up from 8 to over 10 volts (compared to no added charge when I plugged it in overnight before filling), and I'll check it again in the morning. It remains to be seen whether it will take a full charge in the usable range, but I'm still optimistic!

It vented a little bit of water when I started charging, but stopped after about 5 minutes. I assume this is OK and common based on what I've read? I can hear the converter fan kicking on periodically, so the system seems to be more "active" than it was when I tried to charge it before refilling the cells.

Lesson learned on keeping batteries full (charged) and full (of electrolyte). I'll follow up with my results. Thanks again.

Pat
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