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Old 01-12-2009, 09:39 PM   #1
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Problem with battery charging

We purchased a 2005 Safari SS 25' in November 2008 from a private individual. I am having a problem with the batteries staying charged. The batteries will charge when connected to the truck and we are towing, but it seems to not be charging when we are connected to shore power. There is a switch inside the camper to the left of the door that appears to control whether the batteries are to be charged or not. The switch does not hold when I push it to the up of the down position. It just clicks and remains in a middle position. I think it may be keeping the battery from charging when I am attached to an electric source. I would like to disconnect this switch but when I opened it there is a complicated circuit board that is beyond my capabilities. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Any help is appreciated.


Larry
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:32 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry71 View Post
We purchased a 2005 Safari SS 25' in November 2008 from a private individual. I am having a problem with the batteries staying charged. The batteries will charge when connected to the truck and we are towing, but it seems to not be charging when we are connected to shore power. There is a switch inside the camper to the left of the door that appears to control whether the batteries are to be charged or not. The switch does not hold when I push it to the up of the down position. It just clicks and remains in a middle position. I think it may be keeping the battery from charging when I am attached to an electric source. I would like to disconnect this switch but when I opened it there is a complicated circuit board that is beyond my capabilities. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Any help is appreciated.


Larry
Larry your 25 ft Safari SS is almost identical to our 2005 International. The disconnect switch by the door does not stay in the up position or the down position; it always returns to the center position. It switches a relay under the front sofa on (press switch up) or off (press switch down). The relay has to be turned on to charge the batteries. One way to test it is plug the trailer in to 120 volt power and press the switch down. Now measure the voltage at the batteries with a DC volt meter. After doing that press the top of the disconnect switch and then measure the voltage at the batteries again. You should see it rise to approximately 13.8 volts. If you see no rise it may mean that the relay is bad or that the main circuit breaker on the battery buss under the sofa is faulty.

By the way, has anyone ever replaced the batteries? I replaced ours in 2006 because they would discharge fairly quickly when we boon docked. They had been damaged by leaving the trailer plugged in to 120 volt power too long when stored. The converter will over charge the batteries if left plugged in too long. Now I turn of the disconnect if we are plugged in more than a few days. Even then our solar panels charge the batteries since the solar charge system connects directly to the battery buss between the battery and the relay.

I suspect that the charge line from the tow vehicle also connects to the battery bus but I would have to check the wiring diagram to make sure.

If you want email or PM me and I'll give you my phone number so we can talk.
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Old 01-14-2009, 07:59 AM   #3
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We have a 2005 International and had two things done to her last summer - new batteries and we had the solenoid that is controlled by the switch you mention replaced. The solenoid would not cut off the batteries so they were always "on". I had begun to disconnect the cables on the batteries when we left the trailer and re-connected them when we used it again. Hopefully, the new solenoid will lead to longer battery life - three years seems a little short to me.

BTW, we needed a road trip so we took her to JC for these repairs - and they moved that solenoid for use to a more accessible location - the original location requires a 75 pound contortionist to access it!
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Old 01-14-2009, 08:38 AM   #4
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Funny thing about that switch

Quote:
Originally Posted by Motoman View Post
The disconnect switch by the door does not stay in the up position or the down position; it always returns to the center position. It switches a relay under the front sofa on (press switch up) or off (press switch down). The relay has to be turned on to charge the batteries.
The odd thing about that swtch and disconnect Relay/Solenoid is, "it is powered from the battery side".

Click here to see the Switch

click here to see the Relay/Solenoid

The Solenoin as Steve and Susan call it (which is what I call it but Airstream calls it a Relay) is set up to where it turns off all the 12 volts power, including the refrigerator, so that you won't run your battery down when not in use.

What needs noteing here is that, if the power is down on your battery and you flip that switch it will not activate that Relay/Solenoid and no matter how long you leave your unit pluged up, your battery will not be getting a charge from the converter. You have to get power to the battery before that Relay/Solenoid will click. Once to do get power to the battery you can click that switch and take the power off the battery and power will be going from the converter to the battery.

Depending on how your tow vehical is wired will determine if you can plug your trailer in to your tow vehical and get power to your battery.

This setup was used from 2002 on. The guys in the shop here at the
Out-of-Doors Mart say that the last two years are not like this. However, I have not seen it for myself.

Dan
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Old 01-14-2009, 03:37 PM   #5
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Dan4Odm -

Thanks for the information - I was not aware of that little quirk - my ignorance probably cost me a set of batteries - 'doh!

steve
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Old 01-14-2009, 04:23 PM   #6
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Since my switch doesn't seem to be working, what would happen if I just disconnected the back of the switch near the door. I really don't know of a time when I would want to completely disconnect the battery from the camper. Maybe if the switch is deactivated, the battery will start being charged when I am plugged into shore power, which is what I want.

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Old 01-14-2009, 11:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry71 View Post
Since my switch doesn't seem to be working, what would happen if I just disconnected the back of the switch near the door. I really don't know of a time when I would want to completely disconnect the battery from the camper. Maybe if the switch is deactivated, the battery will start being charged when I am plugged into shore power, which is what I want.

Larry
Larry, it's not the switch at the door that does the work, it just uses a low current signal to cause the relay to trip on or off so it's not likely the wall switch. If the relay is not switching it is either bad or the fuses on it a blown. I am not sure I agree with Dan4. There are connections to both the battery and the converter side so if your battery is dead it might require having the 120 volt power plugged in to power the relay. Take a look at page G-11 in your owners manual (that's the page number in the one I downloaded from Airstream's site). There are two 5 amp fuses on the relay (up through the small cut out in the front under the sofa. You can see them in the pictures that Dan4 provided the link for. One plugs in on both sides. If one or both of those fuses is blown the relay may not work. You have to take the storage boxes out from under the sofa and then slither in on your stomach or back to see the relay mounted on the aluminum skin at the front of the trailer. I always use a small LED headlamp to see with once I slither in there. Make sure you check the fuses.

Did you try switching the relay back and forth and measuring the battery voltage with a small volt ohm meter? If so what voltages did you see? You can't use the LED display on the wall to determine if it is charging, especially if the battery is low. You need to use a separate volt meter.
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:19 PM   #8
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By the way, I forggot to point out that the wiring diagram of the battery/converter and disconnect relay on G-11 also shows that the converter connects to the battery buss through a 50 amp circuit breaker with another 50 amp circuit breaker between the buss and the battery cable. the charge line from the two vehicle connects to the battery buss with another 30 amp breaker so you know the battery 50 amp and the charge line 30 amp breakers are ok if it charges from the tow vehicle.

I really this the problem is with one or both of the 5 amp fuses on the relay or the relay itself.

Let us know as you find out more info after examining the relay and those two fuses.
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:57 AM   #9
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I've had my challenges with even new batteries in our '06 International 28. A guy I worked with suggested that I might have better luck (ie capacity, etc) by installing two 6V "golf cart" batteries in series. Any thoughts or suggestions on this?

Thanks, Jack
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Old 12-14-2016, 08:49 AM   #10
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Thank You!

I have been battling an issue where I couldn't get the shore power to charge my batteries. I was gifted my 04 Safari and told that when plugged into the shore power that the disconnect was automatically taken off and the red light would appear. The red light appears automatically when plugged into the shore power but the disconnect is still in place. (Either faulty or bad design if you ask me) After reading this thread I took a reading on the battery = 12.4 then pushed up on the disconnect switch even though it appeared to be on(red light). I hear the relay click. Then tested the batteries and got 13.6. Jackpot! Problem Solved!
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