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Old 03-02-2019, 07:04 PM   #1
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Unhappy New AGM Batteries drain in store mode less than a week

I have recently had electrical/battery issues with my 2016 30' Flying Cloud. Took it into AS dealer and they said I have dead batteries. I said "I had them checked by Autozone and they were fine. They held the charge and we hooked them up. After a week sitting in store mode - dead." AS still insisted it is the batteries. So, we threw out the batteries and bought expensive AGM Optima's. We only had one available for a weekend outing. We were hooked up to shore power the whole weekend and before we left from the weekend (unhooked from shore power) the new battery registered 12.6 - after towing it two hours home. One week later - in store mode - the battery registered 11.7. Six days later 5.6!!! It is NOT the batteries. Please help!!!
(we are currently trying desperately to save our new Optima with a charger)
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Old 03-02-2019, 08:08 PM   #2
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Common parasitic drains are the propane detector, the subwoofer, the inverter, and recently someone reported a bad converter.

Get a multimeter capable of reading DC amps at a range of a few amps. Put it in series with any positive cable coming to the batteries. If there are multiples, tie them together and then to the negative side of the meter. Connect the positive side of the meter to the battery positive. Disconnect from shore power, but leave the trailer in USE mode. Read the current. Put the trailer in STORE mode. Read the current. It should be less than it was in USE mode. If it is not either your USE/STORE switch is bad or your converter is. If in store mode it is not substantially less 1/2 amp, you have a significant phantom drain. Follow the positive wires to see where they go. Look for places where wires are connected before you get to the USE/STORE switch.

A week is 168 hours. According to a chart I found, 11.7 volts is 100% discharged. Hypothetically if you had a 100Ah battery, a current of 100/168 amps, or only about 0.6 amps would do it. This is a gross estimate, since I'm guessing about what battery you have. An Optima blue top with a C20 rating of 75 Ah would probably have about a 100Ah rating at 168 hours. You are looking for a current less than an amp.

Al
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Old 03-02-2019, 08:18 PM   #3
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Curious about what Optima you have?
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Old 03-02-2019, 08:37 PM   #4
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Not at all uncommon. You need to isolate the batteries with a disconnect switch. As pointed out above, there are numerous parasitic loads that will drain your batteries in less than a week. The inverter, even when not turned on is just one of them.
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Old 03-02-2019, 08:48 PM   #5
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My trailer cuts power to the subwoofer in store mode. The inverter, if left on, is a power drain. The propane detector cannot be turned off. Best thing to do is to unhook one of the battery cables when in storage. Another option is to purchase solar panel to provide a trickle charge into the batteries.
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Old 03-02-2019, 09:20 PM   #6
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In my 2001 Safari the PO had wired a switch to power off the propane detector. I didn't think that was a particularly good idea so I took it out and re-wired the detector to put it on the trailer side of the disconnect. I figure any time we are in the trailer the power will be on. Some detectors say that power should not be interrupted as it lets particles collect on the detector element and creates false alarms. My detector had no such warning. On my 30 it is apparently wired that way because I can leave my trailer with the disconnect switch off for 2-3 months at a time without draining the batteries significantly.

My 2002 has a simple rotary disconnect switch, not the more complex electronic one with the relay.

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Old 03-03-2019, 10:37 AM   #7
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More on the issue ...

The optima is blue top D34M - with 20C capacity of 55Ah. We have two.



We very rarely use the inverter - so we know it was not left on. Could the "store mode" switch be broken? We can hear it click when switched on and off and the light works.



Let me give you more food for thought...
We were traveling from NM to FL right after purchasing our new (to us) airstream. Everything worked great! Even dry camped for a few days with great success. Batteries were always charging and holding a charge with shore power. Two weeks in we bought Honda generators to help with boondocking. Hooked them up to see what they could do - one AC, then two, and then added the microwave - until it overloaded the pair of Honda 2000's. We were thrilled with the Honda output. Didn't really use the generators much after that initial "playtime". The two times we did use them, they did not show much charge to the batteries (and when we thought this odd someone told us the generators would not put out enough to charge - so we let that go).



Then the fun started happening. The light indicator on the water heater stopped lighting - and when switched to propane would not ignite (but still worked when hooked to shore power electric). Our AC in the bedroom stopped putting out cold air but the fan worked. The bathroom fan stopped working and shortly after, the shower fan stopped as well. Then, randomly, the GFCI breaker in the breaker box kept tripping - thus throwing the refrigerator into "check" mode. We never could replicate why this would happen - sometimes the fridge would work for hours and sometimes only five minutes before the breaker would trip. And all this happened while on AC - not DC!



We have explained all this to the Orlando RV One dealer explaining we think it's an electrical problem and they said "it's the batteries"!!! We are soooo frustrated as we know our warranty runs out next month. We have already paid them over $500 to inspect it for the warranty transfer - just for them to tell us to buy new batteries.



Well, the new batteries are dying too. Now what?


PS: thanks for all the input so far - we will personally look into this since our AS dealer (in our opinion) is not helping much.
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Old 03-03-2019, 11:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJMattern View Post
I have recently had electrical/battery issues with my 2016 30' Flying Cloud. Took it into AS dealer and they said I have dead batteries. I said "I had them checked by Autozone and they were fine. They held the charge and we hooked them up. After a week sitting in store mode - dead." AS still insisted it is the batteries. So, we threw out the batteries and bought expensive AGM Optima's. We only had one available for a weekend outing. We were hooked up to shore power the whole weekend and before we left from the weekend (unhooked from shore power) the new battery registered 12.6 - after towing it two hours home. One week later - in store mode - the battery registered 11.7. Six days later 5.6!!! It is NOT the batteries. Please help!!!
(we are currently trying desperately to save our new Optima with a charger)
I know this may sound wild but we were told by the service center check out person to KEEP our Emergency brake release key IN, which we did but found out later it was the culprit draining our batteries. This was advice from the service tech, can you believe that? And being brand new owners we did not think it through. So we are back on track but not without a lot of worry and lost time and back and forth with corporate ( this is a long, long story). If the plastic key is in the box, remove it.
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Old 03-03-2019, 11:16 AM   #9
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snip"The optima is blue top D34M - with 20C capacity of 55Ah. We have two."

Why optima?
At 55ah each not the optimal choice.
Their cylindrical design does not lend itself to more capacity.
Our 100ah Lifelines are in the basement as backup after 11yrs of faithful service...a little more expensive, but still only $70/yr.

Charge fully, let them rest for several hours and have them tested.

BTW...it's not the generators that charge your batteries when you plug the trailer into them...it's the converter in the AS.

You may have a converter concern if the batts were not charging, the converter could also be drawing them down.

Bob
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Old 03-03-2019, 11:45 AM   #10
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The good news is that your trailers problems are solvable. The bad new its going to take some work. The fact that the GFCI breaker is tripping means there's something seriously wrong with the 120 volt system that needs to be addressed ASAP. This is a safety problem.

As Al and Missy noted earlier a good multi-meter will help a lot in problem diagnosis. To figure out the GFCI short problem I suggest plugging your trailer into shore power and flipping all AC circuit breaker to off. If the GFCI trips is probably something in the panel. If not flip one circuit breaker on at a time. Attempt to operate whatever AC powered device is associate with that circuit (ie AC, fridge, etc). Eventually the GFCI should trip then you'll know which circuit is has a short.

There's a possibility your trailers converter has gone bad too. The purpose of a converter is to take in 120 volts AC and output 12 volts DC (actually somewhat more than 12 volts, maybe 13.5 or so). While in the electrical panel take a look at all the 12 volt automotive fuses. That may explain the bath and shower fan failures.

Hopefully the AC cooling problem is due to a mistaken selection on the wall thermostat. In addition to heat, cooling, etc, there is a mode for fan only. Double check that wasn't the case. Again, this can be confirmed while you attempt to track down the GFCI problem.

Also, if not done already, follow Al and Missy's earlier instructions using a multi-meter to find out what the voltage is at the batteries when the trailer is plugged into shore power and in the USE position. Then compare voltage and amperage when not plugged into shore power and the trailer is in the STORE position. While in STORE position there should be very little current leaving the batteries.

Good luck. I'm sure you will eventually succeed.
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Old 03-03-2019, 11:47 AM   #11
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Most things in the trailer need some 12V to work. The thermostat, water heater, fridge, all need 12V. I think you have some kind of a 12V distribution problem, perhaps among other things.

The fridge went into check mode because shore power went away and it couldn't light on propane. If your water heater is like mine, the light is only on when there is a problem lighting.

It is not good to let the generator overload, with two in parallel the effects may be different. Even one generator is more than adequate to charge your batteries. What you were told is only applicable to the 12V output. It only puts out 7 amps. The generator runs the converter, and the converter only draws about 1/10th of what it puts out. A 50 amp converter only draws 5-6 amps from the generator if under full load, leaving 10 or more for other things (from only one generator).

Do you have the separate input for the generator on the front and a shore power input on the side or rear? If you have both, you may have a transfer switch problem.

In your situation I would charge the Optima batteries but not connect them. Take the trailer to the dealer and tell them to hook up the batteries and find the current drain, or why they are not charging. Starting off with fully charged batteries they can't tell you the batteries are the problem.

The only other alternative is to dig into it yourself armed with a multi-meter, and outlet tester (<$5 at Lowes or HD) and a schematic diagram of your trailer's power distribution system.

Al
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Old 03-03-2019, 12:10 PM   #12
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For the short term you can disconnect the battery terminals when not using trailer.
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Old 03-03-2019, 12:26 PM   #13
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New AGM Batteries Drain In Store Mode Less Than A Week

So Iím curious, do you have solar panels?
If so and your parked outside why not ďstoreĒ your trailer in Use mode vs Store?
This would allow for a slow and natural discharge and recharge battery cycle.
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Old 03-03-2019, 03:05 PM   #14
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I disconnect my batteries every time I leave my airstream. This summer I will put an actual kill switch on the batteries so the propane detector doesn’t drain the battery. It sounds like you have bigger problems though.
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Old 03-03-2019, 08:10 PM   #15
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You do realize that you have dual purpose or marine type batteries @ 110 Ah... 55Ah usable, the pair. They have a respectable 750 CCA, but you don't need high cranking amps. You have half of what I have (@$115 each) and I really need more.
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Old 03-03-2019, 09:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJMattern View Post
The optima is blue top D34M - with 20C capacity of 55Ah. We have two.



We very rarely use the inverter - so we know it was not left on. Could the "store mode" switch be broken? We can hear it click when switched on and off and the light works.



Let me give you more food for thought...
We were traveling from NM to FL right after purchasing our new (to us) airstream. Everything worked great! Even dry camped for a few days with great success. Batteries were always charging and holding a charge with shore power. Two weeks in we bought Honda generators to help with boondocking. Hooked them up to see what they could do - one AC, then two, and then added the microwave - until it overloaded the pair of Honda 2000's. We were thrilled with the Honda output. Didn't really use the generators much after that initial "playtime". The two times we did use them, they did not show much charge to the batteries (and when we thought this odd someone told us the generators would not put out enough to charge - so we let that go).



Then the fun started happening. The light indicator on the water heater stopped lighting - and when switched to propane would not ignite (but still worked when hooked to shore power electric). Our AC in the bedroom stopped putting out cold air but the fan worked. The bathroom fan stopped working and shortly after, the shower fan stopped as well. Then, randomly, the GFCI breaker in the breaker box kept tripping - thus throwing the refrigerator into "check" mode. We never could replicate why this would happen - sometimes the fridge would work for hours and sometimes only five minutes before the breaker would trip. And all this happened while on AC - not DC!



We have explained all this to the Orlando RV One dealer explaining we think it's an electrical problem and they said "it's the batteries"!!! We are soooo frustrated as we know our warranty runs out next month. We have already paid them over $500 to inspect it for the warranty transfer - just for them to tell us to buy new batteries.



Well, the new batteries are dying too. Now what?


PS: thanks for all the input so far - we will personally look into this since our AS dealer (in our opinion) is not helping much.


Again, the inverter uses power even when you donít use it and even when the wall switch is off. Put an amp meter on the battery cable going to it and you will see. You sound like you might have other electrical issues, but it is not at all uncommon to use 0.5 amps per hour with all the parasitic loads. Thatís 12 amp hours a day and you only have 55 to play with. Your batteries will be dead in about 4 days!
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Old 03-03-2019, 11:36 PM   #17
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I am a fan of installing a battery disconnect switch, thanks to forum advice. The Interstate batteries that came in my trailer wouldn't have enough juice to run jack after sitting 3 days in store mode. Dealer swapped out with new Interstate batteries. Better, but still only 10 days +/- before too weak. Installed disconnect switch, now not sure how long it could sit in storage before being drained because I haven't had a chance to let it sit that long, but I know that after 8 weeks, still good.
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:31 AM   #18
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No expert but have had similar a experience. I'm on my 3rd set of batteries- I added solar and AGMs after burning through the first 2 sets. I asked the dealer to check the charge controller which I found out the 2016s did not have a charge controller, added it and have had no problems since.
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Old 03-13-2019, 12:14 PM   #19
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Cool Battery Issue......Plus More

We purchased a 2019 GT in January. It has AGM batteries. Maiden voyage was nothing but a huge electrical headache:
- Converter breakers flipped twice. Yes, we have a good surge protector at the 50 amp pedestal.
- Converter fuses blown. Pain in the *** to get to, but replaced both fuses.
- Fought battery draw down for 3 weeks, despite factory installed solar power for recharge. Yes, we used the Battery Disconnect Switch....and watched the batteries fall every day.
- Front jack non-operational.....replaced fuses 5 times.
We are taking it back to dealer on April 3 to have them look at the converter (I think a bad converter is the primary issue), look at the batteries, make sure the solar panels are connected properly such that they are charging the batteries, look at the jack.
I have had the AGM batteries on a battery tender in my heated garage for 2 weeks. They charge up, hold a charge for 4 or 5 days, then need a recharge from the tender. I suspect they are compromised. Once they fall below 11 V they are purportedly compromised........again, the converter is to blame in my opinion.
I am going to have them show me how to disconnect the Inverter and i will disconnect the sub-woofer. Never use it.
Honestly? I believe AS has reached the point of diminishing return with all the complicated-and-connected electrical systems.
This is our 2nd AS. Had we rented the first time and had this experience we would not have purchased a trailer. Would have gone with tents or hotels and avoided the headaches, stress and pissedoffedness. I think that is a word.
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Old 03-13-2019, 01:52 PM   #20
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If you do not have solar, install a battery disconnect switch to eliminate parasitic loads while in storage. But even then, if you do a lot of boon docking, you could have problems. We have a 2017 30' International Serenity. It came with two 12V, 75AH lead acid batteries in parallel (total 150AHs, with 75AH useable). Despite disconnecting batteries while in storage, we had numerous battery problems and went thru two sets under warranty (ended up with bad cells). Typical usage while boon docking for us draws about 35 amp hours in 24 hours. Even with factory solar, with the original set-up, if we had 2 consecutive days of cloudy/rainy weather they would drop below 50%. Despite using a generator for a few hours they would not fully recharge due to the single stage Parallax converter/charger. Added their temperature module for a slightly higher re-charge voltage with no real luck. Ended up replacing 2nd 12V set with two 6V, 240AH lead acid golf cart batteries (which fit the factory battery box). That gave us 120AH capacity vs 75AH, which seems to be enough to overcome a couple of cloudy days in a row. So far the heavier plates in the 6V batteries seem to be holding up better. Ultimately, we need to replace the Parallax for a true multi-stage charger.
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