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Old 06-15-2016, 03:52 PM   #1
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2016 28' Flying Cloud
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Chargers

Here we are at Watkins Glen State Park. Just gorgeous.
Of course we have no hookups so I am trying to figure out our batteries. Ours is a 2016 FC 28 with the original Parallax converter. The first morning the battery voltage (on the panel that has the various levels) read 12.2. I ran a generator for 2 hours and it read 12.5. I decided to get an external charger and got a 15 amp charger that showed 78% charge After 2 hours it still read 78%. I turned off the external charger and hooked up the battery to the converter. I'll see what I look like in the morning after several hours of charging (lwhile running the AC with two Honda EU2000s in parallel).
So, Is the external charger any better than the Parallax inverter charger or should I just take it back to Walmart? I'm not ready to replace the Parallax converter.
I suppose it could be that the original batteries may have lost capacity while sitting on the dealer's lot. We bought the trailer new in December from Tampa RV.

Any thoughts? Thanks.

Richard
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Old 06-15-2016, 04:37 PM   #2
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Take the charger back.

Then figure out why the voltage was so low the first day out. Do you know what it was when your left home? "The first morning" does that mean after a night of camping? If so, what power did you you use the night before?

With fully charged batteries, not using the inverter and being frugal with the juice, we routinely go several days on batteries.
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Old 06-15-2016, 04:54 PM   #3
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Thumbs up Welcome to NYS....

The P-LAX Converter is quite capable of sufficiently charging your AS's batteries, to the point of ruining them, (if left plugged in 24/7 on the dealer lot.)

The 15a charger may be worth keeping, but it will take considerably longer to completely charge the AS batts.
I would have the batt's tested and replaced if needed, If you carefully monitor the P-LAX, it will charge much faster than the 15a stand-alone.

Consider a better 3 or 4 stage converter, Ask Randy.

Bob
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Old 06-15-2016, 05:30 PM   #4
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I want to change mine to a 4 stage convertor but way to many to choose from. So with that what is everybody else using ? Does it fit in the same place where the old one is? I have a 2015 Classic.
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Old 06-16-2016, 10:13 AM   #5
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I have a 30 Classic 2011 with 50 amp service and replaced the original converter with a PM4B-60 Powermax Boondocker based on Randy's at Best RV's recommendation. Installed it myself, easy install once you loosen the couch and prop it up so you can easily access the area behind the fuse box.
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Old 06-16-2016, 10:28 AM   #6
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Chances are your batteries are toast due to lack of careful handling by the dealer. Have them tested by a qualified battery test shop (likely not your local auto mechanic or Walmart) and if bad, replace with a quality set of AGMs from Lifeline. There are cheaper alternatives (Walmart, Interstate & Costco come to mind) but in the long run if you camp without electrical connections a lot, you will appreciate the Lifelines.
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Old 06-28-2016, 02:27 PM   #7
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Testing my batteries

I don't think my batteries are holding a charge and I would like to test my batteries using a hydrometer before making the 100 mile drive each way to the nearest Interstate battery dealer who stocks the srm-24 deep cycle batteries. I have a couple of questions.
1. Should I use an external charger instead of my Parallax OEM charger to "fully" charge the batteries? I have a Schaumberg 2/10/50 amp charger.
2. Can I test the specific gravity right after charging or do I need to let the batteries rest. If so, how long?
3. Can I leave the batteries hooked up (with the switch in the store position) or should I disconnect the negative leads?
4. If I leave the batteries hooked up, I'd be charging both 12 volt batteries which are hooked up in parallel simultaneously. Is this OK?
5. They say to check the batteries when not under load. Even with the switch in the store position, there is a small load (various detectors, etc.). Is this too much load?
6. I've seen some people use batteryminder chargers when at home. They come in many models. Which might be most appropriate if I went that way rather then replacing the Parallax converter?

Any other suggestions would be appreciated. The Interstate dealer I called suggested the voltmeter test wasn't really sufficient and I needed to use a hydrometer. I can call him back to ask these questions, but I'd like to get the opinion of the Airstreamers first. Thanks in advance.

Richard
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Old 06-29-2016, 07:04 AM   #8
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Do you have your trailer plugged in? I suggest checking the gravity before and after you charge this way you know how the cells are taking a charge. If you can use the parallax it is what you will be using when out with the trailer. Use a DVOM to make sure that it's working to the proper voltage.
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Old 06-29-2016, 07:28 AM   #9
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Thumbs down No, they are toast.

I charged them overnight with my Schumacher 10 amp charger and tested the cells this morning with a hydrometer. Several of the cells read good in the green but several on both batteries were in the bad area. I'll let them rest for a few hours and try again, but the Interstate dealer said I could check the specific gravity right after charging. Despite the bad cells, the voltage was 12.74 but I suppose that will drop rapidly.

So off to the dealer with the two 6 month old Interstates and I hope the 12 month guarantee will let me have two replacements at no cost.

Richard
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Old 06-29-2016, 07:31 AM   #10
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Edit -- [deleted draft comment] Just saw your recent post. Agree with your plan of action. New batteries. Be sure to have as much documentation as possible if you have to later seek reimbursement from the dealer and Airstream.

Unfortunately poor storage/charging by dealers seems to be the norm for new trailers. Such bad PR for AS to allow this to happen!

The Parallax converter is OK for now, you just can't leave the trailer plugged in to shore power and ignore it. Upgrade to Progressive Dynamics is in our plan too.

Good luck!

Peter

PS -- And welcome to the forum, baptism by fire!

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Old 06-29-2016, 07:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
Edit -- [deleted draft comment] Just saw your recent post. Agree with your plan of action. New batteries. Be sure to have as much documentation as possible if you have to later seek reimbursement from the dealer and Airstream.

Unfortunately poor storage/charging by dealers seems to be the norm for new trailers. Such bad PR for AS to allow this to happen!

The Parallax converter is OK for now, you just can't leave the trailer plugged in to shore power and ignore it. Upgrade to Progressive Dynamics is in our plan too.

Good luck!

Peter

PS -- And welcome to the forum, baptism by fire!

I agree. I plan on using a low amp batteryminder that I just ordered to keep the batteries charged when stored and the Parallax while on the road. I may just have to bite the bullet and do the PD upgrade if my plan proves ineffective or too cumbersome.

Thanks for your comments.

Richard.
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Old 06-30-2016, 03:38 PM   #12
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Thumbs up Interstate

I took my two batteries to Interstate today and they did a quick check and replaced them without question at no charge. The man there said he had never seen two batteries fail at the same time.

Good for them - no hassle.
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Old 06-30-2016, 03:56 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by whitegs View Post
I took my two batteries to Interstate today and they did a quick check and replaced them without question at no charge. The man there said he had never seen two batteries fail at the same time.

Good for them - no hassle.
Great news thanks for the follow-up!

Have a good weekend.

Peter

PS -- Wonder if Interstate will go after Airstream for all the bad batteries AS dealers are sending out on the road, due to improper charging? Judging from the comments here, the numbers must be staggering. Improper charging of a battery certainly would void the warranty, but it may be hard to prove for each and every battery in question.

You have to know that the cost of all these replaced batteries is built in to the price of every new Airstream, at some level of someone's budget line items for recalls and warranty items !


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Old 06-30-2016, 11:34 PM   #14
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Sounds like you're in the right track. A charger/converter upgrade to a progressive dynamics is a good move as well, simple too, depending on ease or access.
One thing to keep in mind, charging a battery isn't a linear process. Charging a battery from say, 50-80% can be done fairly quickly, a few hours, the last 80-100% will take 12-24 hours of constant charge. So a couple generator hours will help keep them useable day to day, but it's not going to top them off. At least for lead acid batteries.

On the battery dilemma, why does AS even ship them with batteries, the dealers should be able to get them locally as needed as they are sold. If someplace like colonial has 100++ batteries sitting on the lot trying to manage them and keep them in good shape while they wait for sale makes no sense to me. The delivery guys could swap some in each time for the break away function. Seems like a no brainier. Dealer could keep 10 on a charging station ready to go and easy to maintain then pull and replace as needed. Can't see it being to difficult for dealer having good relationship with a local interstate dealer.
AS feel free to adopt as a process improvement.
ISO, Lean, six sigma, whatever color belt doesn't mean a thing if it's not practiced.
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