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Old 07-03-2016, 03:56 PM   #1
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Help---Converter will not charge batteries.

I have a 2016 classic equipped with interstate batteries and am somewhat electrically challenged. It seems that I have a battery and/or converter problem. My batteries currently read 12 volts (plus or minus .2 volts or so) on the interior display regardless of whether the battery disconnect is in the store or use mode. In other words, even when I engage the converter to apply a charge to the batteries I see no voltage rise on the display and it seemingly appears that the converter is not working. Can a bad battery/cell cause a failure of the converter to engage and apply the charging feature? Could it be that the battery disconnect switch itself is not engaging when I select the use mode? I recently had a problem with my GFCI breaker tripping for unknown reasons and had it replaced and it no longer trips. I'm curious if the GFCI breaker issue is somehow connected to the battery/ converter problem I'm now having? That said, all other electrical components seem to be working fine since the GFCI breaker was replaced. I'm trying to save myself from bringing the unit in for service, if possible. What should I do to trouble shoot the issue before bring my unit to the dealer for repair?
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Old 07-03-2016, 04:31 PM   #2
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If your battery is reading 12 volts, its dead! If it has been this way for a while.... its been damaged.
When the converter is charging your voltage will read more like 14.3-14.7 volts.
Sounds like yur converter is not getting power.
plug in your polarity checker or somethi g to ensure the 110 outlet is energised. If not check the upstream gfi if equipped or ensure there is not a switch that shuts off power to the outlet.
fwiw a fully charged deep cycle battery reads full at 12.6-12.9 volts.
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Old 07-03-2016, 05:25 PM   #3
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If your battery is reading 12 volts, its dead! If it has been this way for a while.... its been damaged.
When the converter is charging your voltage will read more like 14.3-14.7 volts.
Sounds like yur converter is not getting power.
plug in your polarity checker or somethi g to ensure the 110 outlet is energised. If not check the upstream gfi if equipped or ensure there is not a switch that shuts off power to the outlet.
fwiw a fully charged deep cycle battery reads full at 12.6-12.9 volts.
If the converter is getting power and the batteries are damaged will the voltage display inside the airstream jump up when the battery disconnect is engaged to the use position? In other words, just because the voltage remains at or about 12 volts regardless of the battery disconnect being in the store or use position does that mean the converter is not getting power?
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Old 07-03-2016, 05:50 PM   #4
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It would be helpful if you could measure the battery voltage directly in the Use and Store position with a voltmeter directly at the battery terminals and report back...
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Old 07-03-2016, 06:36 PM   #5
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Not knowing exactly how youre wired, I would have to say yes.... if your converter is getting 110v power your monitor should indicate a readiing much higher than 12v. If a plate is shorted in a battery it could pose a load on the converter but then you would have mentioned the heat and constantly running fan.
Start by checki g juice to the converter..... also check the voltage at the battery directly.
are your lights dim and pump able to run?
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Old 07-03-2016, 06:37 PM   #6
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I should have suggested that you make absolutely sure thst you are truly measuring only 12v.
I never trust the built in monitor displays!
use a good digital volt meter.
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Old 07-03-2016, 07:25 PM   #7
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Yes, The interior lights are dim. The voltage at the batteries is exactly 12 volts.
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Old 07-03-2016, 07:48 PM   #8
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Disconnect the batteries from the converter ensure there is no solar charge if equipped. Measure the battery leads. If the converter is functioning you should rrad in excess of 14v if not.... double whammy! Youll have to rrplace the converter and batteries!
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Old 07-03-2016, 08:11 PM   #9
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Disconnect the batteries from the converter ensure there is no solar charge if equipped. Measure the battery leads. If the converter is functioning you should rrad in excess of 14v if not.... double whammy! Youll have to rrplace the converter and batteries!
Thankfully, it's all under warranty whatever the problem may be!
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Old 07-03-2016, 08:17 PM   #10
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My '99 has an on/off switch on the wall (hidden behind the curtains in my trailer) for the converter. I don't know if newer trailers have this switch, but if so, perhaps it inadvertently got turned off (it's happened to me before, and worried me before i remembered to check it to make sure it was on LOL).
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Old 07-03-2016, 09:09 PM   #11
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I would check the circuit breaker for the converter to be sure it isn't tripped. It is located below the main wardrobe closet. Also, I would also check to be sure you have 110v coming in. Is the clock on the microwave lit?
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Old 07-03-2016, 10:47 PM   #12
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Your converter should be reading 13.6VDC as an output when shore power is accessible, regardless of the position of the use/store switch.

Check that it is getting power (120VAC circuit breaker on your breaker set) and also check the 2- 30 amp green fuses at the top of your DC fuse block.

Your See Level II battery monitor should be reading that 13.6 if you are plugged in!

You can also check the converter output directly at the fuse block with a VOM. open the access cover and place the proves on the positive and negative terminals with the use/store switch in the 'store' position. this will give you the true output reading from the converter.

If the breaker is on, fuses are all good, I bet would be a bad converter. If you are still under warranty, Airstream will only replace what you have.......which is essentially a poor excuse for a battery charger. It works fine as a DC power source when you are plugged in, but will quickly eat your batteries due to improper, single stage charging voltage.

I find it hard to believe that in a new $100K trailer that owners are still messing with liquid cell batteries and a POS single stage converter as a battery charger! One would think that better, maintenance free batteries and a proper 3-stage 'smart' battery charging system would be standard in a luxury travel trailer that Airstream wants everyone to believe they have purchased!!
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Old 07-04-2016, 07:03 AM   #13
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Lew, I installed an Iota converter in my '99. Are you saying that AS still installs single stages in new trailers? If so, that's nuts. Even my old Jayco had a three stage in it. BTW. I agree that for the money they charge AS should be installing AGMs. AS are not as "high end" as a lot of people think.

One note, I use 2 6v Trojans on mine. They take a lick in' and keep on tick in'. My last set took 7 years of abuse. That said, now with my AM solar set up I'm generally able to keep them hummin'. Maybe I'll get more than 7 this go round.

Sorry I went off topic.
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Old 07-04-2016, 09:23 AM   #14
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...and the new 2017 Classic includes even MORE 12V draws. Including 12V heating pads that come on at 44 degrees to keep the tanks from freezing since the new radiant heating system doesn't provide the usual forced air heat. We were told at the session with the Airstream team at the WBCCI rally last week that they are still "researching" multi-stage charging units. So, now you still get the POS Parallax with your $135,000 Classic. I'm really curious how the Classic will perform without being plugged into a park pedestal or a generator (or with a lot more solar panels), when it's off the grid. In addition to the usual stuff on all trailers you have 12V awning, stabilizers, table, bed, recliners....and if it's cold a recirculating pump for your heating system. Longevity of a couple of Lifeline AGM's will be seriously challenged.
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