Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 04-13-2013, 10:40 PM   #1
Rivet Master
KJRitchie's Avatar
2008 25' Classic
Wichita Falls , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 4,302
Maiden Trip Cut Short: Converter or Batteries Failure

I purchased a 2008 Classic 25fb two weeks ago from an AS dealer. I had a local Airforums inspector and what I thought a pretty good PDI/orientation and was pretty confident with all the systems. This AS has been lightly used to where it appears not much was used in it. The stickers on the shower walls are still there!

We took or maiden trip this weekend to a nearby state park. Everything seemed fine. At about 2am in the morning I woke up and could see a flashing light in the corner of my eye. It was the Atwood LP Gas detector. The light was flashing amber every 8 seconds. I turned on the lights and saw on the face plate it meant a fault. I figured I would read up on it in the morning and after several minutes the flashing amber turned to flashing green.

In the morning I found the Atwood LP Detector manual and it explained the amber flashing light it due to low voltage. I had a voltmeter and checked the battery posts and the voltage was under 10v! I was hooked up to power and the microwave worked. The converter is under the bed in this 25FB and I measured the voltage across the outputs for the battery and the voltage was 9v.

I cut our trip short and drove back to the dealership service department today and have left the trailer there for them to work on it. Luckily the purchase included a 90 warranty.

If the batteries are old and failing would this cause the converter readings at the outputs to be this low? The readings should be 13.8v to 14.1v according to the AS manual.

I noticed a few days ago when we were loading the rear 3 light dinette lamp would change intensity, lower then brighten occasionally. The 4 Thin-lite fluorescent lights where steady. Was this a symptom of converter failure?

I think I have a Magnetek. If the dealership decides to replace the converter and batteries should I opt to spend the extra money and upgrade the converter to a 3 stage converter?

I'll probably replace the batteries irregardless. I believe the batteries are probably the original batteries, Interstates.

Driving the AS to the dealership was about a 90 minute drive and the batteries didn't seem anymore charged. How do you test if the tow vehicle is charging the batteries. If you hook it up can you measure the change in voltage on the batteries or on the converter panel.

Thanks for any assistance.


KJRitchie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2013, 10:57 PM   #2
Rivet Master
TouringDan's Avatar

1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,854
I will wait for the electrical guys to chime in, but I would say that new batteries and a new 3 stage converter would be a no brainer. Especially if you do any boondocking.


TouringDan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2013, 11:04 PM   #3
Rivet Master
NevadaGeo's Avatar
1978 31' Excella 500
Genoa , Nevada
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,339
A lot of us have found that towing doesn't charge the trailer batteries very much.
I admit to being powerless over housecleaning and social niceities
Airforums 22655 and now, WBCCI 22655

NevadaGeo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2013, 11:59 PM   #4
4 Rivet Member
timmaah's Avatar
1999 25' Safari
On , the road
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 296
Getting the obvious question out of the way. Is the switch for the converter in the "on" position? Is the 120 outlet the converter is plugged into actually getting 120v?

I'd go for a 3 stage converter. Better for the batteries. (Though we somehow have gotten 2 bad batteries from Interstate. Can't see it was anything I did to screw em up)

Speaking of batteries.. How old are they? How long was the trailer sitting on the dealers lot? Wouldn't hurt to get them load tested.
Our Adventure..
timmaah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2013, 12:10 AM   #5
Len and Jeanne
Len n Jeanne's Avatar
2005 16' International CCD
2015 19' Flying Cloud
Creston Valley , British Columbia
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,626
Originally Posted by NevadaGeo View Post
A lot of us have found that towing doesn't charge the trailer batteries very much.
Ours recharges well on an all-day drive. Not so much during a short hop.
Len n Jeanne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2013, 07:10 AM   #6
Rivet Master
KJRitchie's Avatar
2008 25' Classic
Wichita Falls , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 4,302
In the two weeks since delivery we have spent a couple of evenings with it in its covered storage with the electricity plugged in while we were there. The day before we left on this trip we had the trailer plugged in for 24 hours to run the fridge. When hitching up in storage to leave the power jack ran normal, unhitching at the state park it was normal. During the evening of the first night in the trailer we had the Thin-Lite ceiling lights on from about 7:00pm until about 10:30 when we went to bed. I didn't notice if the dinette light was fading in our out. None of this should've drawn done the two batteries.

I'm not sure I'm confident to attempt to swap out a converter to a 3 stage converter.

Do you have to make major modifications to the footprint of the existing space to switch to a 3 stage converter? I'm thinking get the current one fixed/replaced under the warranty to get me by then figure out what it takes to switch to a 3 way. In the mean time get a new set of batteries.

KJRitchie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2013, 07:25 AM   #7
2 Rivet Member
1971 31' Sovereign
fort myers , Florida
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 53
You can test the batteries for cell failure. You can test the converter/charger,as well. Could be something as simple as a bad connection.......rusty washers/ionization/moisture will cause that. I don't see the reason for cutting your trip short. One thing to remember....camping was here long before the discovery of electricity.
swampthang7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2013, 08:05 AM   #8
Rivet Master
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 811
Sounds like a classic case of worn out batteries since they were charged up before you left on your trip.
Until I changed to a 3 stage converter charger new batteries lasted only about 2 years.
The three stage converter from is a "plug and play"--it is the electrical guts and goes into the Paralax box. If you can't decide what you need on line, call technical support. They are responsive and well informed.
Lots of handy people have changed their own. I had the shop change mine as I am big and old, don't bend that way any more and my converter is in an awkward place in between the twin beds.
handn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2013, 08:15 AM   #9
Well Preserved
overlander63's Avatar

1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20,689
If the trailer is plugged in to shore power, it doesn't really matter how good or bad, or even if, the batteries are. It should work just fine with new, or old batteries, or missing batteries. Make sure the use/store switch is in the "use" position. Check the voltage at the terminals with a volt meter, it should read at least 13 volts when plugged in. Make sure the use relay is functioning, if it isn't, the converter will not charge the batteries.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
overlander63 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2013, 09:06 AM   #10
Rivet Master
Jim Clark's Avatar
2012 28' International
Currently Looking...
New Orleans , Louisiana
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 2,077
Images: 6
Convertor swap is easy,new one about $200. Best Convertors. Learn how to check your batteries for dead cells.

Good Luck
Jim N5TJZ Air# 174
2012 International Serenity 28
2005 Safari 25 SS Traded
1968 Globetrotter Sold
2011 F150 Ecoboost
Jim Clark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2013, 10:29 AM   #11
DKB_SATX's Avatar

2017 26' Flying Cloud
1976 Argosy 28
Alamo Heights , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,983
Images: 1
Blog Entries: 7
The kit that handn refers to is probably going to be the easiest route for you to get to 3-stage charging, because your converter is in that integrated "power center" under the bed with the 12V distribution panel as part of the same assembly. I don't know how hard those are to fix, since my trailer has a separate fuse block and floor-mounted converter. The challenge would be getting a dealer to replace with an aftermarket converter under warranty, but since it's a 90-day dealer question vs. the manufacturer warranty you may have a shot. It looks like they're price-competitive at retail, though I've no idea what wholesale prices are like.

The converter may have been on its way out when we inspected the trailer... at the batteries when plugged in it was over 13v but it wasn't pushing 14. I should have considered the fact that it's a one-stage charger at the time, I chalked it up to the fact that the trailer had been plugged in before they moved it to where we could get up to see the roof, etc. and plugged it in again. I don't know if a bad battery would reduce the voltage while charging that much, but it seems possible... and I'm sure I didn't unplug the trailer and watch the battery voltage over the time we were looking over the trailer. That would have given us more of an idea of the battery condition.

Zero Gravitas 2017 Flying Cloud 26U | Il Progetto 1976 Argosy 28 Center Bath | WBCCI# 15566

He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. Sir Winston Churchill
DKB_SATX is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2013, 10:36 AM   #12
Rivet Master
switz's Avatar

2014 31' Classic
2015 23' International
2013 25' FB International
Apache Junction , Arizona
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 5,247
Images: 8
Changing out the OEM converter for a 3 stage unit from Best Converters took about an hour. Fortunately on the 25FB, the converter is under the bed at the end of the short hallway, so I could lie down to see things with a flashlight.

Just be sure the shore power is unplugged and the battery wires are are lifted off the battery terminals before starting.
WBCCI Life Member 5123, AIR 70341, 4CU, WD9EMC

TV - 2012 Dodge 2500 4x4 Cummins HO, automatic, Centramatics, Kelderman level ride airbag suspension, bed shell

2014 31' Classic model 30 twin beds, 50 amp service, 900 watt solar system, Centramatics, Dill TPMS, disc brakes, 16" tires & wheels
switz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2013, 10:41 AM   #13
Rivet Master
daveswenson's Avatar
2012 28' International
Issaquah , Washington
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 773
My philosophy is always check the simple stuff first. Are your battery connections clean and tight? How do the cables look?

2014 Ram 2500 CTD
Pro Pride
daveswenson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2013, 11:52 AM   #14
Rivet Master
KJRitchie's Avatar
2008 25' Classic
Wichita Falls , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 4,302
Originally Posted by daveswenson View Post
My philosophy is always check the simple stuff first. Are your battery connections clean and tight? How do the cables look?
The battery connections look good at the terminals and the terminals have a mild coating of anti corrosion spray. My inspector checked all this but we can't find everything. The weekend trip was a shake down cruise and we are glad we found out about this issue before leaving on a longer trip in a couple of weeks. I'm learning more about this stuff also.

Thanks for everyone's comments.


KJRitchie is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:04 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.