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Old 04-27-2013, 10:53 AM   #1
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
Newbury Park , California
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Help! Desperate! Newbie Battery issues

Our system was already inspected at Airstream LA so we believe it is in good working order--we have a 3000 watt inverter (2006 Xantrex freedom 458) with 4 brand new AGM lifeline batteries. At the moment the invert led light is off, the charge light is blinking green, and the low battery light is slow blinking red. Troubleshooting guide indicates that the inverter was shutdown because battery went below 13.5 volts. Not sure how this happened other than possibly the radio draining things in the last week it was sitting (had it in store mode most of the time but radio may have been left on by cleaning person). Not sure what to do now: let solar charge back up, use AC to charge, do an equalization? Want to avoid any deposits that would limit battery life. Please help!

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Old 04-27-2013, 11:08 AM   #2
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Do not equalize AGM batteries. It will damage them.

AC to charge would probably be good, Solar over time would bring them back up too assuming it has the charge controller set properly (see below).

An inverter, left on, will flatten batteries easily in a week of no use.

I don't know how your trailer is wired, so hard to tell what is on or off with the "store" mode. I know it does not turn everything off, and probably not the inverter.

The inverter shut down would not be set at 13.5 volts, more likely 10.5. If it shut down at 13.5 it would be off all the time.

If you ever do run down batteries completely, the best thing to do is to get them re charged as soon as possible. Even so, it is very rough on batteries to run to full discharge, even once. AMG may be a bit more tolerant, but in general they are a fairly fussy battery as to charge voltage used. Your solar system must limit the charge voltage and current to what the AMG battery can take, and that is not the same as a flooded cell battery. I hope your solar system has been set for AMG batteries, not flooded cell ones.

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Old 04-27-2013, 12:29 PM   #3
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Thank you so much. Ok I know there is supposedly no such thing as a dumb question, but here are a few ( and, yes, we have read the manuals).

1) How do you turn off the inverter? It is the button at the bottom of the wall panel?When would you need to turn it off?
2) Will the solar panels charge the battery when it is in store mode?
3) does inverter need to be off when charging battery if you are not using it?
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:52 PM   #4
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The inverter should never be on unless it is being used. What reason could you have for leaving it on?
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Old 04-27-2013, 01:12 PM   #5
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No reason other than ignorance and stupidity.
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Old 04-27-2013, 01:31 PM   #6
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If you indeed have the unit you describe (although the Freedom 458 series from Xantrex comes in 2000 watt and 2500 watt modified sine wave models, but not 3000 watt) it is an inverter/charger. This is both a highly accurate battery charger and an inverter.

Do you have 50 amps in your trailer? How is your inverter connected? Does it have it's own 30 amp power supply at the breaker box? Is the charger section even being used?

These type of inverter/chargers have a pass-thru transfer switch that energizes the 'inverter circuits' whenever you are connected to shore power (assuming that your inverter is properly wired, which seems to NOT be a valid assumption) and will not invert when 120VAC input is sensed, being in standby mode.

There is an on/off mode for the inverter on the remote control panel (I assume that you have one). Check in your Xantrex manual for the proper operation of the remote and it's charging and inverting functions.

You don't need an Airstream-specific electric tech. In fact, most Airstream techs have little to no experience or knowledge of full-function inverter/chargers and their proper wiring as these are generally found on motorhomes.

Find a qualified tech with experience on AC and DC circuits who is intimately familiar with inverter wiring. It sounds like you have a real can of worms on your hands!

Lew Farber...RVIA Certified Master Tech...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician
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