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Old 09-06-2017, 06:10 AM   #1
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Is AS installing multi stage chargers in newer trailers?

Hello,

On a post that I saw today someone mentioned that at some point in the recent past Airstream has been installing multi stage chargers on their trailers in lieu of the old single stage battery cookers they used to use. If this is correct it must be after 2014 as my Eddie Bauer of that year had the single stage charger before we had it replaced.

The person who made that particular post also indicated that their 2008 model came with a multi stage charger from the factory which seems unlikely.

Does any one have any factual information about this alleged change on the trailers? I know that AS has been using multi stage chargers on the Interstate line for awhile. If anyone can confirm this, do you know if the switch made across the entire product line or just some of the more "premium models" and what years may be affected?

Thanks in advance.
Bob
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Old 09-06-2017, 07:20 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnArborBob View Post
Hello,

On a post that I saw today someone mentioned that at some point in the recent past Airstream has been installing multi stage chargers on their trailers in lieu of the old single stage battery cookers they used to use. If this is correct it must be after 2014 as my Eddie Bauer of that year had the single stage charger before we had it replaced.

The person who made that particular post also indicated that their 2008 model came with a multi stage charger from the factory which seems unlikely.

Does any one have any factual information about this alleged change on the trailers? I know that AS has been using multi stage chargers on the Interstate line for awhile. If anyone can confirm this, do you know if the switch made across the entire product line or just some of the more "premium models" and what years may be affected?

Thanks in advance.
Bob
Bob,
I just purchased a 2018 Flying Cloud and one of the "improvements" for 2018 was the multi-stage converter. This is from the Airstream website:
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4th bullet down.


I haven't actually had a chance to read the converter's owners manual yet, but hope to in the next few days.

It appears from the Airstream website that this was an "upgrade" for ALL Airstream models except for the 22 Sport. Even the Basecamp has the "improved" electrical system.
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Old 09-06-2017, 08:02 AM   #3
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It is likely just like their tires. Buy the regular from Airstream and change to better tires and convertor on your own. You will be ahead cost wise.
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Old 09-06-2017, 08:13 AM   #4
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I just checked and the converter/charger on my 2017 26U is the Parallax series 5300 which according to internet search is a 3 stage charger. I was wondering why after all I had read on AirForums that my batteries were not needing continual topping off. Only done once in 3 months (and has been hot) and then only down 1/8" or so.
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Old 09-06-2017, 09:03 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dave-n-Janet View Post
I just checked and the converter/charger on my 2017 26U is the Parallax series 5300 which according to internet search is a 3 stage charger. I was wondering why after all I had read on AirForums that my batteries were not needing continual topping off. Only done once in 3 months (and has been hot) and then only down 1/8" or so.
When I got a replacement Parallax 5300 from Parallax in Jan 17, since Airstream had none to spare due to so many failures, (mine failed in less than two months) it was slightly different, and stayed on the job plugged in and charging from January to June, when I stored the trailer. Removed and home charged the AGM batteries last month and still holding within .1 volt of full charge.
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Old 09-06-2017, 09:39 AM   #6
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My 2016 FC had what I believed to be a single stage charger.
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Old 09-06-2017, 09:57 AM   #7
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Troubleshooting From Parallax and Replacement 5355 R - Jan '17

I must assume the model you have is a Parallax Power Supply model 5355. That model would have a maximum DC output capacity of 55 amperes. It should maintain a voltage level of 13.0 VDC to 13.8 VDC at any DC load up to 55 AC amperes.

Basic diagnostic tests a technician should perform would be to:

1. Measure the DC amperage with a DC ammeter from the blue lead at the center terminal of the DC fuse panel. (No DC fuse panel on 17 Classics, disconnect the wire to the G6 panel and test, unless you use a clamp-on meter)

2. Measure the DC voltage across the blue lead at the center terminal of the DC fuse panel and DC ground.

3. Record both readings.

At any DC load amperage less than 55 amps, the voltage should be above 13.0-13.2 volts DC. This method takes out all guesswork and confirms a converter section issue or not.


If the DC current is above about 10 amperes, attempting to read it using the current function of a standard digital voltmeter will typically blow the meter or at the least, a fuse within the meter. Just FYI… (I bought a clamp-on from Lowes)


I did the testing that Parallax specified; .3 amp and 12.3 volts (readings taken without supplemental charger running and with normal loads). I checked the new clamp on amp meter with other DC cables at the batteries and the auto charger I bought and got all readings as expected.


"The basic 5300 series converter has been in production for about 4 years now. The “new” would be the 3 lug DC positive board without load fuses. This is a new connection method provided for AirStream at their request. Of course, the 5300 series is also TempAssure compatible. I am not sure if your Airstream came with the TempAssure module or not. If not, here is what the TempAssure system provides.

The 4400TAU kit http://www.parallaxpower.com/4400tau...pgrade-4400tau features our TempAssure® module and has a temperature sensor cable (25 feet provided) that would need to be routed to the battery box. The ring terminal end should be connected to a battery negative terminal clamp. The temperature sensing cable plugs into the TempAssure® module port at the converter end. The converter output voltage will then be continuously adjusted based on the detected temperature at the sensor. Using the TempAssure® sensor cable is critical to provide maximum benefit for the battery system.

This system provides a more appropriate "float" voltage to the battery system based on the voltage the battery needs for the temperature the batteries are experiencing. Maximum voltage to the 12-volt system and the batteries will be about 14.5 volts DC and minimum voltage will be around 13.0 volts DC making the system voltage safe for use with the other 12 volts loads on the 12-volt system. The upgrade will also provide a 4 hour timed "boost" mode for faster recharge after each power on.

As the routing of the TempAssure® sensor cable from the converter to the battery location can in some cases be challenging due to RV construction methods, floor plans, etc., we recommend the installation of any TempAssure® equipped converter system be performed by qualified service personnel."


When I removed my factory converter, a piece fell out, looked like a fan motor brush (never ever heard the fan come on) and a piece of sound dampening material was hanging down from inside the chassis onto the electronics. My new charger fan came on within a minute if I turned on all the lights and/or tank heaters.

Replacement converter is the smaller one next to the screwdriver.
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Old 09-06-2017, 10:02 AM   #8
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Hi

First off, part of this confusion is the term "single stage charger". That term by it's self is incorrect. Any time you go searching, it's going to mess you up. Every charger made for the last 50 years or so has been at least a two stage charger by the current terminology. It starts out in a current limited mode and then constant voltage charges. None of them supply infinite current at a fixed voltage.

A three stage charger drops back from a "charge" voltage to a "float" voltage at some point. The standard chargers that AS has been using for several years did this. The gotcha with this process is *when* the drop back occurs. There generally is a time and a current element in that process. The stock chargers took quite a while to drop back and the current that would kick them out of the float mode was pretty low.

So, yes, if you go back and read the data, the chargers have been three stage for quite a while. They have not been single stage ever.

Why do we get wrapped up with all this "single stage" stuff? People seem to love buying new converter chargers. They come up with all sorts of nonsense to justify buying them. They also love to blame the electronics for problems from defective batteries. I suspect that some of this is simply confusion. That's not to say there aren't some very good units on the market. There are also some very good and logical reasons to swap them out. The post above is one example of that. If you get one, add a battery t'emperature monitor to it. More than anything else, that will help out your batteries.

Bob
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Old 09-06-2017, 10:39 AM   #9
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My 2015 Flying Cloud 23FB had the single which I changed out to a 3 phase. I didn't know about this until I purchased the trailer and read up, but was a bit disgusted with AS for putting such a useless piece of equipment in a $75K trailer. Sure hope they changed because it doesn't reflect well on their reputation.
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Old 09-06-2017, 02:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by JohnCaliAS View Post
My 2015 Flying Cloud 23FB had the single which I changed out to a 3 phase. I didn't know about this until I purchased the trailer and read up, but was a bit disgusted with AS for putting such a useless piece of equipment in a $75K trailer. Sure hope they changed because it doesn't reflect well on their reputation.
Our 2015 22FB Sport came stock with a 3-stage WFCO WF-8900 Series Power Center. Worked just fine with the stock Lead Acid and now no problems with 100ah Battle Born Li-Ion battery.
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Old 09-06-2017, 02:30 PM   #11
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I won't believe JC is putting in REAL multi-stage converters until someone on this forum that just bought a 2018 model states the Make/Model of this new OEM converter. Parallax has in the past, claimed multi-stage, but NOT TRUE, on some of their newer series. I only trust Randy's opinion (Best Converter) on what converters are truly multi-stage.
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Old 09-06-2017, 03:01 PM   #12
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Good info, but still confused as to what's in my 2015 27' FC.
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Old 09-06-2017, 03:23 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by glcmranger View Post
I won't believe JC is putting in REAL multi-stage converters until someone on this forum that just bought a 2018 model states the Make/Model of this new OEM converter. Parallax has in the past, claimed multi-stage, but NOT TRUE, on some of their newer series. I only trust Randy's opinion (Best Converter) on what converters are truly multi-stage.
Maybe it would be helpful to know what REAL is defined as.
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Old 09-06-2017, 03:26 PM   #14
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I'd have to go back in a previous thread but Parallax had previously advertised their latest series (2015-2016 timeframe) was a multi-stage. But, in fact, a temperature control was added. Again, I'll try to find the thread.
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