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Old 12-24-2014, 02:23 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
Bellevue , Washington
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Posts: 42
battery dead...and questions

I reviewed the hand book, say during winter store time, you have to check and charge the battery at least once a month.

But after 3 weeks when I went to storage and check the bambi, the battery's already dead.

My bambi 2012 model has 2 batteries installed by the 1st owner. I bought it this summer

Have 3 questions:
1. Usually how long your battery can stay from drain off?
2. How many years do we need to change battery?
3. Will the dead be harmful to the life or capacity of the battery?


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Old 12-24-2014, 02:38 PM   #2
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Common Sense , Texas
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Batteries don't "like" to be discharged below about 50%, and taking them all the way down to 0 volts kills them in my experience.

Your batteries if in good condition and fully charged should stay that way for a month provided you have no current drain on them. However, if you do not disconnect them from the trailer I believe some of the control boards draw some current as do the LPG, and CO detectors.

You need to change the batteries one day before they fail. I know that's sort of a smart --- answer, but really that's the way it is. The trick is to know when that day is, so you have to continually monitor how they perform. When they start discharging much sooner then they did when they were new, that's when.


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Old 12-24-2014, 02:39 PM   #3
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Chelsea , Michigan
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Your batteries may have discharged in storage due to several parasitic loads that continue to discharge the batteries even after you put the batteries in "store mode" such as your propane sensor. Of course, if you didn't put the batteries in store mode, there are even more parasitic loads (e.g., circuit boards) to discharge the batteries.

The best thing to do is to remove the batteries and take them home where you can store them in a temperature controlled environment (i.e., above freezing) and keep them charged. Of course most people do not go through that level of trouble and simply leave the batteries in the coach all winter. If you do leave them in the coach, disconnect the batteries from the coach and charge them. By disconnecting them you pretty much guarantee that there are no parasitic loads. Check the charge periodically. Properly disconnected healthy batteries should remain charged for several months. If you keep finding them discharged I would have the batteries tested to see if they are still good.

With Airstream's stock single-stage battery chargers, batteries will fail sooner than if you replace the stock charger with a quality multi-stage charger.

Also you don't know how the previous owner treated the batteries. Usually when you buy a used Airstream, you can pretty much count on needing to change the batteries.

Use the "search function" on this forum to research multi-stage chargers and batteries and you'll get some good ideas for how you should proceed.

Best of luck and happy camping!
Bob Martel
WBCCI# 5766
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Old 12-24-2014, 02:57 PM   #4
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Before I upgraded to a multi stage battery charger, I was lucky to get two years out of a pair of drowned cell lead acid batteries. That's about the limit on your 2012 trailer.
When you get tired of buying batteries, upgrade to a multi stage charger, you will get at least another year out of your batteries, perhaps longer if you don't boondock very much. The upgraded charger is about $250 so it doesn't take too long to pay for itself.
If you don't like the chore of charging your batteries once a month get a small solar charger. It will trickle charge your batteries and keep them in good condition.
If you like to boondock, solar is a necessity as it will greatly lessen the time you need to run your generator.
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Old 12-24-2014, 03:23 PM   #5
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Melbourne, FL , Searsport, ME
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Ideally, your batteries should be fully charged and either completely disconnected from your trailer, left on a trickle (maintenance) charger, or left on shore power if you have a 3 or 4 stage converter (this doesn't come as standard equipment on AS's).

To get maximum battery life, keep them at 13.2 volts charge and deplete them as little and as infrequently as possible. I know this is not feasible if you use your trailer, but the closer you come to achieving this goal, the longer the batteries will last. So, some general goals:
1) Don't deplete them more than 50%.
2) Fully recharge them as soon as possible after each use and if possible, while in use.
3) Keep them charged while your trailer is in storage or disconnect them from your trailer altogether when not able to keep them on shore power to avoid parasitic drain.
4) Get rid of the AS converter and replace it with a 3 or 4 stage converter or inverter. 4 stage is ideal because it has an equalization stage (which I won't get into here as there are many threads dealing with this subject).
5) If your trailer has wet cell batteries, fill them with distilled water to the split ring and never let the level in each cell drop below the top of the lead plates. This is more a problem in summer heat than during winter.

Wet cell batteries should last a minimum of several years and perhaps 5 or more if cared for and depending upon their original quality. Often, trailers sit on a dealer's lot without proper maintenance and/or previous owners haven't taken care of then as they should. If you'll fully recharge them and follow my recommendations above, you may be able to salvage them and get several more years use from them.
Fred Stokes
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Old 12-24-2014, 03:51 PM   #6
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My first airstream 2012 the original interstate batteries lasted 6 months I believe it's because it sat on the dealers lot with discharged batteries ,and when I went to get warrantee on them interstate said the batteries are out of warrantee ( older then 1 year)because they go my manufacture date, not when you buy the trailer . The other thing your batteries will go dead after 2-3 weeks if you have a inverter in your trailer these inverters draw a lot even when off some draw as much as 10 to 25 watts ,so like others have said ,fully charge your batteries before storage and disconect one of the battery cables.

2012 silverado ext cab 4x4 ,5.3 L , 6 speed trans,3:42 final drive,tow package standard box 6 1/2 foot . 2014 honda forza 300 scooter, #2 2015 honda crf 250 L (Dual sport)
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Old 12-25-2014, 06:13 PM   #7
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Bellevue , Washington
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It's great to hear so useful info and advice. I opened the battery today, but found one box with full of rain water, while another is empty. I wonder is it OK? I think I should clean up the water, right? And I guess the box lid is broken, I should change one, right?Click image for larger version

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Old 12-25-2014, 07:16 PM   #8
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To store your trailer when you don't expect to use it for several months:

1. Fully charge the batteries by using the converter/charger plugged into grid power for 24 to 48 hours. This will work with the original Airstream supplied one or a new upgraded one (which I would recommend in the future).

2. Turn the Use/store switch to Store but also disconnect all wires from the negative side of the batteries. Take a photo so you can re connect them without problems later.

3. Clean the battery tops as dirt will conduct power across the battery over time and cause it to discharge.

There is no need to remove the batteries from the trailer, even in cold freezing climates. A charged battery will not freeze unless it gets below -40 F. A charged battery will not self discharge to any significant extent for months, assuming it has the terminals disconnected and is clean.

Although you can put a charge on them every month or two, if they were completely charged to begin with, and completely disconnected, it is unnecessary. I have been doing this for 30 years with no problems, and I leave my trailer (s) for 5 months each winter without additional charge. I always get 5 years, and usually up to 10 years on a set of batteries. In the summer I don't discharge and leave them discharged for more than a day or two... another key to long battery life.

The water in one of your battery boxes is not good. Remove the battery, drain the water, and drill a couple of 1/4 inch holes in the bottom so it self drains.
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Old 12-25-2014, 07:21 PM   #9
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Oh, on your original questions:

1. A disconnected battery will not self discharge for many months if it was fully charged to begin with and is in good condition when put away.

I suspect yours may be shot already.

2.You can get 5 + years out of well maintained batteries.

3. If a battery has gone dead, and sits dead for even a few days it is often ruined. If it sits dead for a few weeks it is virtually always ruined.

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