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Old 10-14-2011, 05:31 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
It is true the Parallax 7455 voltage output (13.8 - 14.0) is too high for the recommended float charge of Lifeline AGM batteries (13.2 - 13.4).

But referring to my Airstream Owner's Manual, when plugged into shore power you may put the battery disconnect switch in the "store" (off) position to isolate the batteries from the converter. In this position the batteries will not be drained and the converter will not charge the batteries.

So when plugged into shore power you can use the converter as intended to provide all power to the trailer without damaging the batteries. I would think switching the battery disconnect to "store" should be added to your campground setup checklist.

doug k
Doug,

While this is true, why should you have to? Airstream, the 'Cadillac of trailers' should include equipment that will properly charge your batteries regardless of how long the trailer is connected to shore power.

You won't find any Class A motor home requiring such antics to keep their battery banks properly charged, and most stay connected to shore power for extended periods of time, whether in storage or in use. In fact, many trailers now on the market use more sophisticated chargers than Airstream does.

It's the bean counters that are responsible, certainly NOT the engineers!
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Old 10-14-2011, 05:34 PM   #30
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I don't find any vents anywhere. The doors would be an obvious place to have them but there are none.

Are your vents part of the door or are they a small grill that can be removed? If they can be replaced I could probably order them from AS.


Ah....there they are, to the right of the Honey Brown, the two black openings just below the hinge.

Bob
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Old 10-14-2011, 05:51 PM   #31
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Lew, it would be nice if Airstream had installed all top-notch equipment in my new trailer, considering how much they get for them. But I suppose it would cost even more, and it wouldn't take much more to price most of us out of their market.

There are other equipment and assemblies that certainly could be better, but where do I start? The Parallax works fine if I add turning off the battery disconnect switch to my list when hooking up to shore power, not a big deal. I would most probably get a different converter if this one failed, unless it's still under warranty (like the last one). But why shell out the extra bucks to save this simple hookup procedure?

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Old 10-14-2011, 06:22 PM   #32
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Doug,

You raise a very good point, but let me tell you what I did when I bought my 19CCD. Having the benefit of 'being in the business', having some 'inside knowledge' about the best products available and also reading the troubles folks on these Forums were having, I made several changes to my trailer within the first few months of ownership.

*replace the converter with an IOTA DLS-55 IQ4 for proper battery charging
*replace the sub-par Interstate liquid cells with a pair of Lifeline GPL-4CT golf cart batteries
*replaced the 6 gallon Atwood LP water heater with the RV-500 tankless unit from Precision Temp
*replaced the 15" wheels and Goodyear Marathon tires with 16" aluminum rims and LT tires from Goodrich.
*re-sealed the entire front panorama window and adjacent seams which showed signs of leaking and were never properly addressed by Airstream or the dealer.
*replaced the noisy stock water pump with an electronic ShurFlo Extreme sensor 4.0 GPM unit
*replaced the front Fantastic Vent with a MaxxFan unit and added a second MaxxFan over the bed where the dead vent was located.

You might say that most if not all of this was unnecessary with a new trailer, but I pre-emptively eliminated all of the potential problem spots and weak points that I saw in the trailer.

Overkill?...........perhaps, but I never had to touch the trailer aain in the 5 years of my ownership.
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Old 10-14-2011, 06:45 PM   #33
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Good list of upgrades Lew. I've got them bookmarked, along with Propride hitch, European diesel tow vehicle, more solar, aluminum propane tanks, Sirius radio . . .

I'm getting a little short on cash.

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Old 10-17-2011, 11:25 AM   #34
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Forest & the trees and Vent holes

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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Ah....there they are, to the right of the Honey Brown, the two black openings just below the hinge.

Bob
Well, I'm red faced about not seeing the vent holes.

Went out and bought a 6 pack of Honey Brown. Drove over to the RV storage. Put one bottle on the trailer frame and looked to the right and there they were, two little vent holes.

Thanks Bob (& Honey Brown)
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Old 10-17-2011, 01:42 PM   #35
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Outside Opinion

I use DELCO AGM batteries. Mostly the price--free. A friend of many decades is an electrical contractor. One of the municipal contracts he does is replacement of Warning Siren Batteries. As I understand it they are replaced every couple years (even though the warranty is for three). He considers these excellent batteries for RV use. The very general understanding I got from him is #1 use AGM batteries in an RV, that has to do with gassing and safety.

I inquired about the optima and lifelines.
What I was told---Lifelines are top of the line, they are the Cadillac and priced accordingly (he emphasized that if you want top quality you will pay for it and get it with the Lifeline). Our county is replacing the Delco's with Optima's. His remark is that it it adequate for the job and cheaper than most reliable batteries. He still likes the Delco, it is not cheap but very durable and long lasting. He mentioned one called Trojan as being a good battery for the price.

In summary, my electrician agrees with Lew, Lifeline is the way to go, though for his money he thought the dollar value per battery the Delco was a better deal. He also mentioned that if he had Lifelines and did not get at least ten years of good service (regular use like a frequently used airstream) he would be very surprised. His choices were if you can afford the $, go with the Lifeline, the next best was the Delco, after that came a couple of brands I had not heard of included with the trojans. The optima was in his third rank of choices. He did emphasize that the optima is a decent battery, even though it was not his first choice.

Chargers were a conversation he could do a small book on. I have an wfco(?sp?) but he did not know anything about them. He definitely seems to like Iota. I did not realize how much junk that is intended as a basic intermittent use charger---like those for charging your car are sold as suitable for RV's.

It turned out there was a lot about batteries that I did not know. The scary part it that from what he said, I know a lot more than most RV owners. There are also a lot of "okay" batteries around. The top brands always seem to out perform those for durability.
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:06 PM   #36
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I am following this with a lot of interest. Basically, we picked up our 27FB last May, spent two nights in it hooked up to power, and then parked it inside a warehouse in Dallas. It was not on shore power in the warehouse. four and a half months later, we flew back up to the USA to finally make our first 'real' trip in the trailer. The batteries were totally dead. They had probably been dead for months. I hooked up the new F-250 rental and the trailer came alive with the 12 volt transfusion. Standard Ford Tow option connector.

We then camped for four nights, plugged into electricity and one night out of the trailer, with the Store/Use switch in the Use position. Nothing on but the fridge. Then Two nights plugged into KOA. no issues, of course, but then the storm hit. I was awakened at 2 in the morning by something, and noticed power was out for the town. The furnace was running. Fridge also.

In the morning the status light thing was showing yellow for the battery. Decided I needed to supplement the battery, hoping to fully charge it before nightfall. I ended up running the F250 from six until midnight, and then shut it off and went to bed hoping the batteries would keep us toasty until daylight on frigid snow night number two. set the thermostat to 55 deg. Woke up at six am to a foot of snow, 17 degrees outside, 40 degrees in the trailer, and unable to run the water pump or furnace. Lights were dim. I plugged the truck back in and , and we kept it running , while I was winterizing the trailer. Mostly running pump. The batteries were flagging within a couple hours. Furnace was not running much. I hooked up the trailer and we put it in storage, outside, in Fort Collins. After unhooking the truck I tried to use the electric tongue jack to level the trailer, and could tell there wasn't much juice. Despite the fact that the truck had been plugged into it and charging for hours.

I got on the internet, and the general consensus seemed to be that I sulfated the batteries when they sat discharged for four months. don't know if it matters, but the temps were over 100 deg for a month of that.

So, I left them in the trailer, expecting to replace them in the spring. I don't have access to them. They are in Colorado. I am on the island of Providenciales.

I figure these are most likely shot, will chalk it up to the learning curve, and replace them. I am looking at whether to try to come up with some kind of solar charger for next winter for whatever new batteries we buy.
In educating myself about batteries, I found this thread and also this writeup by Mark Polk for KOA: What You Need To Know About Your RV Batteries - RV Information (RV Maintenance)

This article says this about AGM batteries :
"They can be charged the same as a standard lead acid battery, they don’t loose any water, they can’t leak, they are virtually maintenance free and they are almost impossible to freeze."

Well, since I am planning to leaving this trailer in northern Colorado, without ac power, for the winters, I am extremely interested in this AGM stuff. We plan to use the trailer for about two months in the summer, sometimes campground hookup, sometimes Honda generator. No actual Boondocking planned. Hell, THIS boondocking wasn't planned, either.
Are the AGMs truly freeze resistant? Can they be traded straight across for lead acid batteries and no other investments? Some people here are saying the stock Airstream converter will fry them. This fellow Mark Polk , and therefore KOA, says that they can be charged just like lead acids, meaning the stock Airstream charger would be fine.

Any thoughts on how to find out the real story on this?

What are we talking for cost for two of these top quality AGMs and a new charger if that's what it takes? Good ones, I mean. No chinese made anything if I can possibly help it. i don't care how much cheaper it might be.

I mean, would it make more sense to just buy a new set of lead acids every spring and junk them in the winter? 85 bucks each at Sears.
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:20 PM   #37
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Gringo,

First, NO lead/acid battery (including AGMs) is resistant to freezing if not properly charged. Any dead battery will freeze and the possibilities are also high for a minimally charged or partially depleted battery.

Next, it IS NOT TRUE that AGMs require the same charging as liquid cells. They have a similar, but totally different charge profile requirement, hence my recommendation of the IOTA 55DLS-IQ4 converter. The converter that Airstream uses is NOT a 3-stage automatic charger and will not only fry a liquid cell if left unattended, but will also cook a Lifeline as well. The IOTA has the closest charging profile to Lifeline AGMs of any converter currently available. Magnum inverter/chargers hit the nail squarely on the head, but they in another universe and require extensive re-wiring of the trailer. Also, if you severely overcharge an AGM, it WILL outgas and you will ruin it and severely deplete it's capacity, as once the vapor escapes the casing, it can not be returned.

With NO LOAD on a pair of Lifelines (either a battery cut-off switch at the batteries or similar connection, NOT the cut-off solenoid that Airstream uses), you can leave the fully charged batteries for up to 90 days before they will need a boost charge. Very low internal resistance allows for extended periods of storage with negligible self-discharge. Liquid cells have a much higher internal resistance which causes them to loose their charge at a much faster rate and also require them to have a longer, higher charging cycle to overcome this resistance.

Want to know anything else?

And remember, I DID NOT sleep in a Holiday Inn last night, but do this type of work EVERY DAY.
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:47 PM   #38
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So, I left them in the trailer, expecting to replace them in the spring. I don't have access to them. They are in Colorado. I am on the island of Providenciales.
Wouldn't you have been better off taking the batteries out and trashing them? Seems to me they will freeze, and burst.
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:11 PM   #39
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Why, yes, Lew, I do have something else, thank you veddy much. Here goes:

I won't be easily able to get back to the batteries to charge them in 90 days. I need to be able to leave them alone from around now, say November 1, until the following May or June. Six months. How much solar would I need to keep them from hurting themselves if left unattended? Would one of those flexible things Robert was talking about work? There isn't really that much snow in Fort Collins. It just gets cold.

and yeah, Steve, I wish I had thought of that when I was parking the trailer. At the time I was thinking about having a stepson put the batteries on charge in his garage for the winter. Then when I found out that these are toast, I just didn't bother to remove them. Today I thought of the same thing you just did, and emailed my stepson to ask him to go over to the storage facility and remove them for me. That......I think he can handle. When he gets around to it.
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:16 PM   #40
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Gringo,

First, NO lead/acid battery (including AGMs) is resistant to freezing if not properly charged. Any dead battery will freeze and the possibilities are also high for a minimally charged or partially depleted battery.
Don't know if I froze em but I did not do as good a job last off season keeping my AGM charged. Last winter it hit -35 and in the spring the 3 year old battery was done. Did not break the case though.
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Old 11-02-2011, 11:09 PM   #41
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Guess I'm Old School. I still like my lead-acid wet batteries.
Just keep them topped off, excercise them regularly and use a 3 stage charger. Keep 'em vented, too.
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Old 11-02-2011, 11:50 PM   #42
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I tend to agree with edglen. With proper maintenance the lead acid battery will serve one well. And when it comes time to replace one or more depending on the requirements of your trailer, you don't have to break the bank to replace them. I always remove the battery in my trailer when it is in storage. In my case I have other equipment that I can use the battery. This keeps the battery in use and results in a life span in excess of 4 years.
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