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Old 07-17-2011, 11:45 PM   #15
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Tpi, with a marine battery isolator switch, all I do is turn the switch to OFF; and both batteries are completely disconnected from the trailer.
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Old 12-11-2011, 11:57 AM   #16
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BatteryMINDer Odd Behavior?

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Originally Posted by mojo View Post
If you don't have solar but have access to an electric outlet, you can also use the plug in version of the battery minder.
Nice suggestion. Bought one. Attached to my two LIFELINE AGMs as instructed. During the day, when I'm not watching, the setting changes from 8A/AGM [left or top] to 2A/Gel [right or bottom], as shown in the two attached pictures. I can set it back to 8A/AGM, reconnect the batteries, and later in the day it will drop to the other setting.
1 - Is this something others have experienced?
2 - Will my pair of batteries be ready to roll on the 2A/Gel setting?
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Old 12-11-2011, 05:20 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gheuer View Post
Nice suggestion. Bought one. Attached to my two LIFELINE AGMs as instructed. During the day, when I'm not watching, the setting changes from 8A/AGM [left or top] to 2A/Gel [right or bottom], as shown in the two attached pictures. I can set it back to 8A/AGM, reconnect the batteries, and later in the day it will drop to the other setting.
1 - Is this something others have experienced?
2 - Will my pair of batteries be ready to roll on the 2A/Gel setting?
Greg,

I use these quite a bit. If you find that the unit has returned to the default settings (2A/Gel), the unit has experienced an interruption in the AC power supply. They will stay as set if they see a continual 120VAC supply, but return to the lowest setting as a safety measure if the AC power is withdrawn for any reason.

They are excellent for charging Lifelines, but you have to be sure that they are set on AGM.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:09 PM   #18
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Lewster,
Thanks so much for your response. My first reaction, like you, was that we had a power outage. I thought that was the problem, too. So I reset things and went about my yard work. LO and behold it reverted again in a short time. I'll have to take a closer look.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:42 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by gheuer View Post
Lewster,
Thanks so much for your response. My first reaction, like you, was that we had a power outage. I thought that was the problem, too. So I reset things and went about my yard work. LO and behold it reverted again in a short time. I'll have to take a closer look.
Greg,

It's also possible that your batteries are too low in voltage (below the threshold) to be re-charged by the BatteryMinder. The unit will NOT re-charge a dead battery which is below a certain voltage threshold, which IIRC is about 11VDC.

If the batteries are above this, you might actually have a defective unit. I would then call the company and get their tech support line and discuss the problem with them.
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:26 AM   #20
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Lewster,

Yep, I read about and know the unit will not restore bad batteries. These LIFELINES are new in May from JC, have been on the road pretty much constantly since then, and were checked with a meter before I set them up for winter storage.

Last night, thinking there was something amiss with my parallel wires and clips, I attached the unit to a single battery with the same mystifying results.

I have just sent an email to techsupport@vdcelectronics.com along with the pictures. Hope to hear something soon. Thanks for your encouragement and support.
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Old 12-14-2011, 10:47 AM   #21
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Optima AGM Battery Questions

Our very recently purchased 2004 Airstream came with Optima batteries. I don't have the receipts in front of me, but I am thinking they are 3 years old. I know that the original owners kept the unit plugged it to 110 while in use and during storage. I have been reading and learned this is probably a death sentence for the batteries as the converter/battery charger is the original 7455 Parallax unit. Is there anyway that I would be able to check the batteries to determine if they are toast? I am getting everything setup for winter storage, wanted to remove the batteries and purchase the correct charger to maintain them. From my readings so far looks like a Battery Minder would work just fine. I also will be changing out the converter in the near future.
Thanks in advance,
Rod & Jane
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:11 AM   #22
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Rod,

Do you have a charger that will safely charge the Optima's?, blue top?

If so, charge fully and have them tested at a local NAPA or battery retailer,(Interstate).

There are better choices for the AS if they are bad.

Have had good luck with Interstate grp27 Marine/RV Deep Cycle.
Changed to AGM Lifeline's three seasons ago when I installed the Iota 55a DLS IQ4.

Bob
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Old 12-14-2011, 01:06 PM   #23
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If the Optimas test OK, they are supposed to hold a charge for 6-12 months. We charge ours overnight, once a month; but they went 3-4 months while in storage one time without recharging, and were still OK when we took our Bambi out.

The biggest thing is to disconnect them completely from your Airstream during storage, as parasitic loads will drain them in only a week or two. The easiest way to do this is with a marine battery isolator switch. See posts below.

Note: Second post is for photo and description only. I don't know if this is the best price.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...tml#post662384

http://compare.ebay.com/like/4002579...Types&var=sbar
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Old 12-14-2011, 05:06 PM   #24
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I agree with others here that a battery cutoff switch helps. I too have Optima Blue Tops and generally we'll leave the trailer unused for about four months. A cutoff mounted at the batteries eliminates any drain and we've always been fine when getting cranked up again in March. I also use a small solar charger mounted on top of the propane cover. I'm not sure how much that has helped, but all I need is to be able to easily get the trailer hooked up to get us to the nearest power source - usually to the house to get her ready for the new season. Good luck.
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:37 PM   #25
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Rod, the simple way to check batteries is to use a hydrometer—they are cheap and easy to find in auto parts stores. For most purposes they work fine although there are more accurate ways to do this. If you want to check the battery voltage any voltmeter or multimeter will do so. Fully charged they should be between 13 and 14 volts DC.

There are some electronic items in the trailer that will pull small amounts of electrons, but it mounts up after a while. If you have a subwoofer, it is on all the time unless someone installed a switch (as I have). The propane detector is always on and some other items may also draw phantom loads. The mysterious battery disconnect switch appears to leave the propane detector connected.

You check each cell with the hydrometer and see if they are ok and if any are dead. Make sure not to get the battery water on your clothes unless you like holes in them—even a drop can do that and I can prove it.

Until you change the converter, just plug the trailer into shore power every month or so overnight and check voltage in the morning with shore power unplugged. They can test good with a hydrometer, but be old and tired and not hold a charge very long. It is a good idea to check after several days or weeks to see if they are holding a charge.

We changed to an Iota converter and Lifeline AGM batteries (like Bob Cross) last summer. The Iota has a multistage charger. Before that we used the solar panel to keep the batteries charged and the trailer unplugged—the solar charger was multistage. And before that, the first winter, we left the trailer plugged in. I didn't realize Airstream wouldn't spend a few more dollars to include the multistage charger option with the converter. The batteries kept charged, actually overcharged, and I had to add water a few times over the winter. Once we unplugged and let the solar unit charge them I hardly ever had to add water.

Jack's solution—using a small solar panel can help if it has enough wattage, but if it doesn't have a multistage charger, you are in no different a place than using the OEM converter.

Wet cell unsealed batteries seem to last 3 to 5 years depending on how they were cared for, quality, and luck. If you upgrade to Series 27 or higher or golf cart batteries, you will have to modify the battery box—measure carefully. High quality AGM's cost a lot more, but last a lot longer, so they seem to be about equal. You have less worry and don't have to change them as often.

Gene
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Old 12-20-2011, 03:49 PM   #26
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I pulled the batteries out and have trickle chargers attached to them. They are showing 13.5volts. Are they over charged?. I will draw them down to 12.4V or so and recharge them. Comments/opinions will be helpful.

Many thanks.

Titu
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Old 12-20-2011, 04:53 PM   #27
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Charging Batteries

I pulled the batteries and called Optima to find out the correct procedure for charging. The batteries were purchased 6/06, and Optima told me that would be probably close to life expectancy. Anyway, I charged one battery, using my charger set at "Deep Cycle" at a 2 amp rate. Checked the volts after it showed fully charged and the meter showed 13.05 volts. I am charging the second battery now, and will maintain them with a Battery Minder. I am going to start my research on solar chargers, looks like Lifeline batteries are the best bet for boondocking, and changing the converter/charger will pay benefits in battery life. The sealed tops of the Optima battery will not allow me to test with the hydrometer, although that is what I used for testing my trolling motor batteries. So much to learn, but all of the answers are right here, thanks so much.

Rod & Jane
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Old 12-20-2011, 05:04 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirHog View Post
I pulled the batteries out and have trickle chargers attached to them. They are showing 13.5volts. Are they over charged?. I will draw them down to 12.4V or so and recharge them. Comments/opinions will be helpful.

Many thanks.

Titu
Titu,

I would let them sit 24hrs and re-test. 12.6v is considered a full charge.

Bob
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