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Old 09-05-2011, 03:19 PM   #15
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2015 27' Flying Cloud
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mooresburg , Tennessee
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The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1). check this site out.

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Old 09-06-2011, 10:29 AM   #16
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San Jose , California
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Thank you all for your comments/advice.

A little more background, for what it's worth. We dry camp a lot along the Northern CA coast where even in summer, days and nights are cool, many times cold. We use the heater most every day in the morning and evenings to take off the chill inside. We use the ceiling lights minimally and the TV--television-- never. We can get just about a full day from the two batteries that came with our AS before the monitor goes blinking red. I'm reluctant to completely rely on our Yamaha 2000i, quiet as it is, because we're not always around the TT during mid day, and we simply don't like the noise anyway.

I got the idea for accessing additional capacity thru the umbilical when one time out of frustration with the short charge life of the TT batteries, I reconnected the umbilical to our TV. That seemed to give us enough additional capacity but at the risk of a dead TV battery, which happened recently when I inadvertently left an outside light on overnight. The next morning, not wanting to call AAA, I found that I could actually recharge the TV battery along with the TT's batteries by keeping the umbilical connected when I fired up the Yamaha which was connected thru the the shore power cable. After an hour, all three batteries were charged.

I'm looking for a simple, low cost solution, and this approach, if it will work, doesn't require modifying anything inside the TT. If I find that I can't charge the additional batteries thru the umbilical, I do have a golf cart battery charger gathering dust in the garage.

If I end up trying this approach, I'll post a message with my experience.

As far as I know, this is the oldest I've ever been.
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Old 09-06-2011, 10:47 AM   #17
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Some Airstreams have been delivered with batteries that have been abused on the dealer lot—perhaps run down well below 50% many times before being charged again. That may be your problem.

But, you can upgrade from the OEM Series 24 batteries to Series 27 by modifying the battery box. This will give you more capacity. Or 2 golf cart batteries will give you even more, but will require raising the door on the battery box. High quality AGM's cost a lot, but last much longer. A better converter will charge them in a better way as the OEM converter will overcharge them.

Having extra batteries in the truck bed seems like a pain after a while. They are heavy, bulky and get in the way of all the other things that land in the bed.

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Old 09-06-2011, 12:04 PM   #18
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re: "doubling your bank to 400ah from 200ah by bringing another set of 27s in a battery box in truck bed (my plan) would seem to give you twice as much battery time right? ... probably 1.5-2days to 50%. ...campground for fri-sat-sun. So by saturday morning my batteries are dead."

Yes, doubling the battery bank will double capacity, but that isn't the problem described here - which is a common one.

The description says the current situation barely covers one night. The goal is to cover two plus full days. Nominal reserve should provide for double that. What that implies is that the current battery situation is short by at least a factor of 4. Doubling batteries won't solve that problem.

re: "High quality AGM's cost a lot, but last much longer" -- the best data I have seen indicates costs at least double that of wet cell but life only 1.5 times longer.

I'm looking for a simple, low cost solution, and this approach, if it will work, doesn't require modifying anything inside the TT.
What works is to change how you do things. Keep the furnace off or very low at night. Minimize electrical energy usage. Keep your batteries properly maintained (this is a biggie). Use a genset to be able to recharge your batteries and keep them at a good charge level.

As you note, the topic keeps appearing in these forums. Occasionally you'll find someone with a quarter ton or more of battery - often installed contra to code - and a full roof of solar but in most cases, you'll find that folks solve their battery problems first by upgrading the converter to one that knows about proper battery charging and maintenance, second by energy conservation equipment and habits, and third with a genset.

This isn't the solution many envision in their dreams so there tends to be an expensive trial and error learning process. Those who can learn from others can avoid some of that expense. That isn't as easy as it sounds as dreams don't die they just get set aside for the expediency of reality until, maybe, something will come along someday to help them out.
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:54 PM   #19
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Road Geezer, I'm surprised that leaving the umbilical connected to your tow vehicle drained your TV battery. We have had two pickups that we used to tow our Bambi, a 1978 Chevy and a 2008 Tundra, both of which had a relay that disconnected power to the trailer when the vehicle ignition was off. Does your TV have a relay in line with the "hot lead" that supplies 12 volts to your Airstream?

Regarding the original batteries that came with our Airstream, the first one died after about 12 months; and the second one failed the following year, after about 20 months. We have had much better luck with the Optima Blue Tops that replaced the original batteries. Also, we use a marine battery isolator switch and use only one battery at a time. That way, when one gets low, we switch to the other one, which is still fully charged. Plus, we run our generator twice a day -- during breakfast, and again at dinner time.

To reduce the noise and exhaust fumes, I usually lock the generator to a tree or the picnic table, as far away from the trailer as the shore power cord will reach (under the picnic table also helps to hide it a little bit, and provides shelter from rain and weather). We can barely hear it running, and other campers that are able to hear it can't tell which site the noise is coming from (we've asked them). We've even asked if the noise was bothersome, and most have said that they couldn't hear it (sometimes, because they were running their generator, too).

Also, we boondock occasionally; and there's no one there to hear it, except us.

Since you already bit the bullet and bought a Yamaha, I'd recommend that you use it more often. It took us several years to decide that we actually needed a generator. However, now that we have it, there are many more camping opportunities available besides KOA. Dispersed forest camping is our first choice when we aren't on the road headed somewhere.
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Old 09-07-2011, 04:46 AM   #20
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Leesburg , Virginia
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Bryan im actually taking your advice (and others) i think one of my main issues is that my batteries are not being charged properly with the factory converter. Im looking at having a 3stage put in while it is in for some work.

Im still getting an extra battery bank though

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