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Old 03-26-2016, 02:02 PM   #15
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"Now for the real question. How do we keep from cooking our batteries when we are driving across the country and our tow vehicle is putting out 14.4 volts constantly? Note: the Battery Disconnect switch does not isolate the battery from the tow vehicle."

If your TV is constantly @ 14.4v, get it fixed....
The alternator should be regulated.

Bob
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Old 03-26-2016, 03:37 PM   #16
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The charge current available through the umbilical is pretty puny. I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.

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Old 03-26-2016, 07:39 PM   #17
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Bob,

I pull the fuse located in my trucks fuse box under the hood. The batteries won't be depleted during a days drive, and will be fully charged from the campground shore power by the next day.
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Old 03-26-2016, 08:17 PM   #18
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Now this is getting wild, worrying about the tow vehicle cooking the batteries, my original airstream converter is going to cook my batteries.. I have been pulling these travel trailers around since 1971 and have yet to cook a battery with a single stage converter or with a tow vehicle. I do check the water level every so often an they do last at least 6 years...
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Old 03-26-2016, 09:01 PM   #19
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Our new 2007 Airstream batteries were cooked when we got it home after sitting at the dealer showroom a year plugged in. A year later the original charger section of the converter/charger failed. Covered by warranty, but a trip to the dealer.

We learned the lesson, don't use the factory converter/charger to charge your batteries for for longer than needed to get them charged.

Tow vehicle charging while going down the road has not been a problem, and we have towed this Airstream a lot.
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Old 03-26-2016, 10:55 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjdonahoe View Post
Now this is getting wild, worrying about the tow vehicle cooking the batteries, my original airstream converter is going to cook my batteries.. I have been pulling these travel trailers around since 1971 and have yet to cook a battery with a single stage converter or with a tow vehicle. I do check the water level every so often an they do last at least 6 years...
I've had the same exact experience since I started full-timing in '98 (with the original converter). I'm generally plugged in, but we're in the rig using the converter/batteries to power the lights/fans/furnace/etc. I add water twice during the summer and once at the end of the winter after 6 months (3 times a year in all). My cheap (read Walmart) deep cycles last 6-8 years, depending how much I push them during short boondocks.
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Old 03-26-2016, 11:35 PM   #21
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Perhaps if the converter/batteries are in regular use powering the Airstream there is little chance of overcharging. If not it could be the cause of overcharging over long periods, or so it seems from our experience.

Could that be the reason Airstream is satisfied with factory single-stage chargers? Maybe I need to read my Owners Manual . . .
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Old 03-27-2016, 07:55 AM   #22
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One of the factors directly relating to battery life is the number of charge cycles vs. depth of discharge. Lifeline has a chart in their tech manual that shows 1000 charge cycles for a 50% (12.2VDC) depth of discharge. That number increases dramatically to 5000 charge cycles when only using the battery minimally at 10% depth of discharge and conversely, drops significantly to 500 cycles at 80% depth of discharge.

This might be one of the reasons for your experiences with extended life of batteries using the OEM converter.
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Old 03-27-2016, 05:57 PM   #23
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I think you guys are spot on (post #21,22). I would just reinforce that for those that still have the OEM converter, you do have to check the water level. Or they will not last a year. Exposed plates = death.
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Old 03-27-2016, 07:11 PM   #24
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Thanks guys, we understand our battery charging system a little better today. Some variables of use and effect we hadn't considered.
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Old 03-28-2016, 01:58 AM   #25
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In my first post, I attempted to provide the information need to make an informed decision about replacing a single stage converter with a multi-stage converter. Since I have owned two Airstreams, one that I converted to a multi-stage converter and one that will not be converted.

My first Airstream was a 2010 Classic Limited 27’ Front Bedroom. Since the batteries were in individual compartments in the front of the trailer, not in the A-Frame compartment, it was quite inconvenient to hook up a battery charger to them.After 20,000 to 30,000 miles and 5 years, I decided to replace the single stage converter with a multi-stage converter. The reason I replaced the converter was to get a faster recharge. Since I did not have solar and I did not have access to shore power where the trailer was stored, I need to use a generator. Furthermore, the batteries need recharging far more than they needed to have thieir water levels checked (they were checked twice a year). I should point out that my Interstate batteries lasted 6 years before they had to be replaced.

My second Airstream is a 2016 Classic. Since the batteries are in the A-Frame compartment, I do not plan to change the converter. When I need to recharge the batteries, I will hook up the generator to the trailer, put the Battery Disconnect in the Store position and hook up a battery charger to the batteries. The only modification that I am considering for the converter is to add the Parallax TempAssure kit.The TempAssure module adjusts the converter voltage based on the battery temperature. Battery absorption and float charge voltages should be adjusted for temperature. If I was ordering a coach from Airstream, this is an option that I would have Airstream install since it requires having a sensor cable run from the converter to the battery. I am also thinking about solar.

Now, some thoughts about batteries. When I replaced the batteries in my 2010, I replaced them with AGM’s. When I traded my 2010 in on my 2016, I had the dealer switch the batteries so my new coach has the new AGM’s. I also have a diesel truck. Since diesel trucks have intake heaters (they no longer use glow plugs) and require a lot of power to turn over the engine while starting, there is a heavy draw on the two 12 volt truck batteries. This means that the alternator spend a lot of time putting out 14.4 volts. In addition, with the amount of time I spend towing my trailer, even if the voltage drops to 13.6 – 13.8 volts, there is the possibility of overcharging my AGM’s. While I has been stated that 13.6 volts will never charge a battery to 100%, which is not entirely true. Progressive Dynamics, the maker of the 4-stage converter, points out in their own literature that at 13.6 volts a full discharged 125 amp-hour battery will reach 100% charge in 78 hours.
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Old 03-28-2016, 10:01 AM   #26
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OK.
Let's complicate it a little further...
I just installed 2 new AGM batteries.
Will the OE Parallax converter/charger charge them?
Some say yes.
Some say no.
AGM batteries have great merit in my opinion due to no more corrosion evidently caused by the acid in flooded cell batteries and also seem to be able to be depleted and recharged a greater number of times.
If a get a new charger converter it will be the Progressive Dynamics PD9260 becuase I have a 50 amp trailer.
What say y'all?
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Old 07-26-2017, 03:52 PM   #27
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hello, thanks to everyone posting their information. there are some gaps though. My family are recent owners of a 25' FB Flying Cloud. From what I can tell, a multi-stage converter if installed directly as a replacement for the existing converter is useless and would have no impact on the battery performance. This would agree with some of the experienced posters here, and with the original poster. My basis is the discussion from the Parallax website. Most of the discussion would suggest that deep discharging the batteries is more likely the culprit than the converter. Also it seems like maybe just installing some cabling to quickly isolate the batteries with some alligator clips to hook up a proper 12V battery charger directly to a 120V generator might be a more cost effective solution, and would allow one to easily maintain the batteries when the trailer is on shore power or not in use. Any comments?

Follow-up Question: is everyone who is installing the multi-stage converters, installing battery isolation cabling/switches? are there separate outputs on the multi-stage converters that isolate the batteries from the regular DC supply (eg. two separate outputs?)

see below:
http://www.parallaxpower.com/faqs
Q: My friend has a "smart charge controller" that plugs into his converter system. Why hasn't Parallax offered a "smart" charger option for my unit?
A: The issue we have with "smart charger technology" (when used in an RV) lies more with the application of the technology than the technology itself. In a typical RV 12 volt electrical system, the converter/charger and the battery or battery bank is connected in parallel with the rest of the 12 volt distribution system. In "parallel" means where the charging source (converter/charger) positive and negative output is electrically connected to both the battery bank positive and negative, and the 12-volt distribution system positive and negative, at the same time. The voltage output of the converter "smart charger" is based on a "detected" battery voltage. The converter "smart charger" claims to "monitor" and respond to battery condition while connected to the entire 12 volt system. Unless the charging source (converter) has a separate or isolated charging output, we do not agree that a converter or charger can effectively differentiate requirements of the batteries from other 12 volt loads while simultaneously connected to the rest of the 12 volt distribution system in the RV.

Detected use or voltage change on the RV 12-volt load system (i.e. lights, pumps, etc. being turnedon) generally keeps these devices at a 13.6 -13.8 "float" voltage. This raises the question whether any real additional benefit is being provided to the battery bank unless the coach remains in a "non-use" storage condition. If a converter "smart charger" is only connected to the battery bank and can therefore monitor only battery voltage or current, and is not also connected "in parallel" with the 12 volt distribution system, we have no problem with the application of "smart charger technology".
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Old 07-27-2017, 05:31 PM   #28
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On another thread someone informed me that the store button is a full disconnect from 12V system, so alligator clips can be connected directly to battery from a dedicated charger (solar or generator). I reviewed the circuit schematic and the disconnect is via a relay on the positive side, maintaining a common ground.

someone suggested that a multi-stage converter will shut down based on a thermometer installed on the battery? Does a high temperature (from battery's increased resistance at full charge) result in the charger switching out of float mode to a lower voltage? Thanks!
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