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Old 06-19-2017, 06:03 AM   #15
MOS
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Originally Posted by nvestysly View Post
Looking quickly at the Parallax web site the 8355 has three-stage charging. Some charger/converters have four-stage charging. Three and four stage are both way better than single-stage chargers. You're probably okay with your Parallax. Had our trailer had three-stage I would not have switched to four-stage. Our trailer had old-fashioned single-stage and it cooked our batteries twice before I learned my lesson.

I did see that a fourth stage can be add to the 8355 , a temp sensor for $60 or less .
Thanks all for the input
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Old 06-19-2017, 07:04 AM   #16
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Hi

If you have the option for a temperature sensor, spend the money to add it on.

Bob
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Old 06-20-2017, 05:34 PM   #17
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Since you bought a newer Airstream, don't fall victim to all that talk about replacing your OEM charger. We bought a 2015 FB Flying Cloud 20 and the dealer tried to sell us a $350 charger replacement/upgrade, telling us the factory charger would cook the batteries if we stayed plugged in for long periods of time. We decided not to replace the OEM charger. Our Airstream is now 2 years old and it has been plugged into shore power most of the time it's not in use, without any problems. The OEM batteries still work great, so apparently Airstream now puts pretty good chargers on the newer models.
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Old 06-20-2017, 06:01 PM   #18
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The OEM batteries still work great, so apparently Airstream now puts pretty good chargers on the newer models.
When you say the OEM batteries still work great, can you elaborate on your usage? Off the grid 2-3 days on battery power only? One night on occasion, then back to a campground and hookups the next night? Full-boondocking with solar or a generator to charge batteries?

The anecdotal evidence read here and other places, combined with my own experience, convinced me the $200 upgrade was well worth it, and the performance since then has borne that out. Also, the 'newer' trailers, say last ten years, all have the same charger. A friend with a 2007 has the same good old Parallax 7355 that is in my 2014. I just changed his charger for him, as they were 100% full hookup RV Park types of campers (you'd never know you had a battery problem) but just started getting off the grid more...and after one weekend realized their 2 year old batteries were shot.

To MOS the original poster, how the trailer is used is a major factor of course in deciding whether the stock charger is adequate for any given owner. Sticking mostly to hookups, and just a night off grid here and there, and managing the charging via the 'store' switch when plugged in and the batteries have charged, could allow batteries to last a very long time.

Lastly, '4th' stage is not about a temp sensor, that's a different issue. The 4 stages of Progressive Dynamics replacement are:
1. Bulk Charge, 14.4 volts (OEM charger does not put out this voltage according to tests I've read)
2. Normal Charge 13.6 to finish the charge
3. Float Charge 13.2v to maintain batteries
3. Desulfation charge 14.4 volts every 24 hours or so for just a few minutes, to keep the electrolytes moving around.
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Old 06-20-2017, 07:57 PM   #19
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The 2018 Airstreams will come with a multi-stage converter,
https://www.airstream.com/blog/whats...international/
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Old 06-20-2017, 08:01 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Wetfeet View Post
Our Airstream is now 2 years old and it has been plugged into shore power most of the time it's not in use, without any problems. The OEM batteries still work great, so apparently Airstream now puts pretty good chargers on the newer models.
We bought our 2017 FC last Aug and hit the road. We've been camping at parks with full hook-ups so no boondocking for us. In Feb, we drove the Baja penensula and did some camping on the beach w/o hook-ups. Guess what? On the first morning of not being hooked up, our voltage was down to 10.7. These Interstate batteries, with May 2017 date stamps, were fired.

We were hooked up to 30 amp power the whole time except for the drive time. The factory controller killed them but we wouldn't have known it had we not done some beach camping. Oh and by the way, Airstream paid for a new pair of batteries and I paid for my new intelligent controller.
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Old 06-20-2017, 08:19 PM   #21
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We bought our 2017 FC last Aug and hit the road. We've been camping at parks with full hook-ups so no boondocking for us. In Feb, we drove the Baja penensula and did some camping on the beach w/o hook-ups. Guess what? On the first morning of not being hooked up, our voltage was down to 10.7. These Interstate batteries, with May 2017 date stamps, were fired.

We were hooked up to 30 amp power the whole time except for the drive time. The factory controller killed them but we wouldn't have known it had we not done some beach camping. Oh and by the way, Airstream paid for a new pair of batteries and I paid for my new intelligent controller.
Perfect example of what I was trying to describe in my post.

Regarding the 2018 having a multistage 'converter' that's mentioned on the website (first of all, it's not the converter that needs to be multi-stage, it's the charger, but that's just an uninformed copywriter using the wrong word) I'll be curious to see what they start using. On their website, Parallax has always referred to their 8300 series as "Multi-Stage", and we see how that turned out. They are not true multi-stage. Randy has explained that several times in these forums.
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Old 06-20-2017, 08:46 PM   #22
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I've always heard that what is hard on the batteries is when you stay plugged into the electrical utility and have no 12 volt appliances operating. In that case 100% of the converter output is being used to charge the batteries, and with the single stage chargers being dumb, you can boil away the battery liquid over time. I did that one summer when my Classic spent a lot of time at home in the drive.

If you are out camping though, you probably are using the fridge on electric and of course you have the various interior or exterior lights. If the furnace is used then you have load there due to the occasional use of the furnace motor. All provide a 12 volt load on the converter which lessens the available power available for charging the battery.

Now I'm not sure if that previous info is one of those myths, but I just avoid keeping the trailer plugged into electric, when we are not in a camping mode. When camping with the refrigerator in use I really don't believe you will boil away the battery(ies). I do check mine annually when I pull them to winterize and usually have minimal water if any to add. The other key to preserving the battery life is during winter I pull the batteries from the trailer and keep them on trickle charge in my garage.

If you boil them or let them run down, at best you may get only 1 or 2 years of use. I'm on my 4th pair since I bought my trailer in the fall of 2003. I don't boondock so pretty much the only use of the batteries is when I hitch or unhitch, or maintaining the electronics of the refrigerator running on propane, when we are on the road. I always consider the main purpose of my batteries being in good condition is to apply emergency braking if the break away pin is activated.

Jack

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Old 06-21-2017, 10:38 AM   #23
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I've always heard that what is hard on the batteries is when you stay plugged into the electrical utility and have no 12 volt appliances operating. In that case 100% of the converter output is being used to charge the batteries, and with the single stage chargers being dumb, you can boil away the battery liquid over time. I did that one summer when my Classic spent a lot of time at home in the drive.

........

Jack
Hi

Let's slow down here a bit. The charger side of the converter puts out a specific voltage. It does not *force* current into the batteries. If the charger is running at 13 V and the batteries are at 13V, zero current goes into the batteries. If the batteries want to be at 12.8V and the converter is at 13V, current will flow into the batteries.

What voltage the batteries "want" to be at depends on their state of charge, their temperature, and their health. Any charger that tries to deal with a battery that also is supplying a load can get a bit confused. Yes, there are very fancy chargers that completely isolate the load and the battery. You can't afford them ...They are way beyond what we call "4 stage" units.

Just in case you run out to grab just any charger that says "4 stage": There are some on the market that will run your battery up to 18V. No that is not a typo. It's not a guess. It's a measured value with a calibrated volt meter. Trust me, you do *not* want 18V on the power bus in your AS. I'd go into the details of the charger, but it's nothing you would rationally pick for a trailer anyway.

Bob
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Old 06-21-2017, 07:25 PM   #24
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I have never understood the economy of replacing the charger when batteries are designed to be consumable and are quite cheap. When I do the math, to replace the charger the payback is a decade or more...by which point I'll have upgrade to a self-flying trailer.
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Old 06-21-2017, 08:23 PM   #25
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I have never understood the economy of replacing the charger when batteries are designed to be consumable and are quite cheap.
I learned I had dead batteries on day 2 of a 3 night stay. If you're willing to deliver these consumables on an as-needed basis, then I agree, don't worry about your controller.

BTW, the smart controller is cheaper than a pair of batteries, if you are handy enough to swap it yourself.
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Old 06-22-2017, 08:25 AM   #26
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Hi

The delta between a "dumb charger" and a "super smart charger" is roughly 20% more battery charge. If your batteries hold up for 2 to 3 days with a dumb charger they will hold up for 2.4 to 3.6 days with a smart charger. The smart charger will do nothing to "fix" a battery that has been damaged by being repeatedly run flat.

The same basic math applies to battery life. If you get 4 years on a dumb charger, you may get 5 or 6 on a smart charger. Yes, there is a payback there.

Could you design a system that completely disconnects everything down at 50% discharge to protect the batteries? Sure you could. It is not a feature that comes with any of the chargers I have seen. Given the love of direct connect propane monitors, I doubt you will see such a setup on a factory system.

Bob
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Old 06-22-2017, 02:04 PM   #27
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I have never understood the economy of replacing the charger when batteries are designed to be consumable and are quite cheap. When I do the math, to replace the charger the payback is a decade or more...by which point I'll have upgrade to a self-flying trailer.
A PD4655 for a 30 amp trailer is $200. I know people who have to replace their batteries every two years or even less (they stay plugged in a LOT and are slowly coming around). Not sure how the payback is calculated at 10 years.

Meanwhile, in the previous post to this one, Uncle Bob made another observation that is correct...an upgraded charger will charge the batteries as much as 20% more. This is due to the 14.4 volt bulk charge mode. The OEM charger does not get up that high. 20% is a lot of battery power when you consider they can only be drawn down to 50% (for wet cell batts).

Again, for folks who are plugged in 100% of the time in RV Parks...yes there is little point in changing the charger, especially if they keep their batteries on "store" most of the time. Even if they don't, and the batteries are damaged, often it won't matter, power to the trailer will be fine via shore power. But one night boon docking when they won't hold a charge will be when the damage is recognized.

Meanwhile, here is more anecdotal evidence posted just today. See post #4.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f542...ml#post1966662
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Old 06-22-2017, 05:58 PM   #28
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Hi

If your batteries hold up for 2 to 3 days with a dumb charger they will hold up for 2.4 to 3.6 days with a smart charger. The smart charger will do nothing to "fix" a battery that has been damaged by being repeatedly run flat.
Agreed. But the point of my post was that the dumb controller killed my batteries and I didn't know it. We'd been on 30 amp power for six months. Then we did some boondocking and, uh oh, the batteries were dead on morning two. We managed to get through it with our generator but I was not a happy camper.

After researching it, I found out this issue is commonly known. I complained to Airstream and the CS rep said that the OEM controller wasn't the issue but he'd gladly refund my cost of a new pair of batteries.

My advice to anyone who plans to camp without 30 amp power is to upgrade your controller.
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