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Old 02-29-2016, 07:27 AM   #1
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Battery Charging Question

Hello Folks.....I spent the weekend exploring my new FC 20. I learned that the batteries charge when I am plugged into shore power at my house. I confirmed this by monitoring the charge level through the day and by reading the manual.

My questions is, since the batteries charge from the Tow Vehicle on the road and I can also plug into shore power at home and they charge, do I really need a trickle charger? I am considering having an electrician set me up for 30 amp service at home. It gets cold here in the winter but I am thinking I can forego the trickle charger expense if I can charge them myself just by plugging in. This would keep me from having to bring them inside during the winter.

Thoughts??
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Old 02-29-2016, 09:00 AM   #2
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The stock Airstream charger is a single stage charger that basically runs full blast all the time even when the batteries are fully charged. This will damage the batteries in short order. If you are diligent in turning the charger on and off periodically when the batteries need to be charged (using the infamous "store/use" switch) you can make it work. However, this is a PIA and subject to error so I would just buy an inexpensive trickle charger and be done with it. Your tow vehicle umbilical connection will provide around 7 amp hours of charge to the battery. Since a 50% discharged set of batteries can require 80 to 90 amp hours to charge fully you can do the math and see where this is not the optimal method to charge the batteries.

Use the Google Search function on this forum to learn more about battery charging and care/maintenance.

Good luck!
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Old 02-29-2016, 09:11 AM   #3
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Not sure about your oem charger. Single phase chargers are not good for batteries. My Intellicharger has a built in trickle charger. Tickle chargers are cheap and come in handy for other batteries too.
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Old 02-29-2016, 09:19 AM   #4
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In a perfect world that would work. Problem is the built in charger in our Airstreams is not the best and it tends to boil the batteries if you just plug the trailer in and leave it. Better way is to use a Battery Tender (Minder) which will float the charge and not damage the batteries. Or you can replace the Inverter / Charger in your Airstream with a decent one that will not hurt the batteries but now your talking money. Is this Airstreams fault? Not really. This is true with every RV I have ever owned...
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Old 02-29-2016, 11:35 AM   #5
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What is your opinion on this:

https://www.batteriesplus.com/productdetails/nocg7200
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Old 02-29-2016, 11:52 AM   #6
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My as has the original parallax and it works fine, check the battery water every couple months, my batteries last 6 years, and they get drained down to nothing several times a year , save your money for traveling...
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Old 02-29-2016, 12:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by centennialman View Post
I'm not familiar with that particular battery tender unit, but that's the kind of thing you want. If you value your batteries, I would eventually look to getting a three stage charger to replace the stock single stage one. A basic three stage charger can be had for under $300 (and some are really plug and play replacements) so it's not a very big investment in time or money for the peace of mind it gives.

Some people (like one of the above posters) say they leave their AS plugged in all the time with the stock single-stage charger and report not having any problems with their batteries. While I am sure that these people are sincere in their beliefs and comments, I am suspicious that they really don't know how a healthy battery is supposed to perform and only camp with full hookups where the battery really doesn't matter all that much. If you do your research on this particular subject (on or off this forum) you will find that the people who know what they are talking about all recommend replacing the stock single-stage charger with a three-stage charger.

Good luck and welcome to the world of Airstreaming!
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Old 02-29-2016, 12:38 PM   #8
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Thanks for the ideas! Now to find the right 3 stage battery charger. The one I sent the link for earlier looks like it is a single stage. I actually bought it yesterday and will return it. Do you have any recommendations as to a particular one I should seek out?
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Old 02-29-2016, 05:43 PM   #9
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A popular conversion for Airstream is the following.

http://www.bestconverter.com/Magnete...-kit_c_64.html

I installed this and leave my trailer plugged in all the time. There are several threads on this conversion. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...em-145232.html
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Old 02-29-2016, 06:02 PM   #10
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Having access to power plugging in is the best option. Unplug for a month & plug in for 3-4 days, repeat the process monthly & your batteries will be fine.
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Old 02-29-2016, 07:21 PM   #11
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If you have a solar upgrade in your future, then your solar charger will likely contain a three-stage battery charger and you won't have to bother with upgrading your converter, adding a trickle charger, remembering to plug and unplug your trailer, etc.
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Old 03-01-2016, 09:12 AM   #12
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Thanks for the ideas! Now to find the right 3 stage battery charger. The one I sent the link for earlier looks like it is a single stage. I actually bought it yesterday and will return it. Do you have any recommendations as to a particular one I should seek out?
I believe that the charger you posted the link to is a trickle charger. It is basically meant to be left plugged in all the time to keep the batteries topped off. I don't think it was a three stage charger capable of giving the batteries a charge from a significantly depleted state.
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Old 03-01-2016, 09:14 AM   #13
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Having access to power plugging in is the best option. Unplug for a month & plug in for 3-4 days, repeat the process monthly & your batteries will be fine.
This is certainly an acceptable "poor man's" way of dealing with the stock Airstream charger. However, if you are on the road and/or forget to switch it on or off, it will not be satisfactory. You just spent upwards of $50,000 (or more) on your new toy, spend the extra $300 and be done with this issue. There are better places to economize than on a entry level three stage charger.
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Old 03-01-2016, 07:25 PM   #14
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I hardwired a Battery Tender to my coach batteries. I've used this product for years on various vehicles, boats, motorcycles. Having owned a auto service I sold many of these over the years with only one unit failure. Highly recommend and very affordable. Any further questions please feel free to contact me.
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