Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 11-04-2016, 02:19 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Loma Mar , California
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 78
2016 Interstate- No solar charging

Discovered that our 2016 Interstate doesn't have any solar charging.

Our dealer is a good 2.5 hours away.

Any suggestions for sleuthing the cause and what is needed to repair.

I did double-check the panels and they were a little dirty so I cleaned them. Nothing showing on the upper left panel.

Haasman
Haasman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2016, 04:25 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
Boxster1971's Avatar

 
2013 Interstate Coach
Fulton , Maryland
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 3,602
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haasman View Post
Discovered that our 2016 Interstate doesn't have any solar charging.

Our dealer is a good 2.5 hours away.

Any suggestions for sleuthing the cause and what is needed to repair.

I did double-check the panels and they were a little dirty so I cleaned them. Nothing showing on the upper left panel.

Haasman
Donít know for sure, but suspect Airstream is still using the Atkinson Solar Controller on the 2016 models. However, I donít know where it is now located.

Iím attaching the manual on the Atkinson controller, it has a few troubleshooting tips.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Atkinson PVDM4-LC-KIT.pdf (280.6 KB, 121 views)
Boxster1971 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2016, 06:45 PM   #3
2 Rivet Member
 
southjk's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
2015 Interstate Grand Tour
midland , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 48
I had a bad panel on my 2015 GT, One sure fire check is to unplug the mc4 connector on the panel and check for voltage at the panel when in sun. You should see north of 20 volts dc.
southjk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2016, 08:55 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Bellevue , Washington
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 689
On mine, the controller is buried behind the fuse panel. Lots of work to disassemble it to get to it.

What does the LCD show?
amirm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2016, 06:01 AM   #5
2 Rivet Member
 
Aircruiser's Avatar
 
2012 Interstate Coach
Westerville , Ohio
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 50
I had the same problem. There should be no solar charging if your house battery voltage is above 12.4 volts (assuming blue jumper wire on the controller is cut). If blue wire is not cut, then you should have solar charging when the battery drops below 12.7 volts. See page 13 of the manual posted above by Boxter1971. If your house batteries are below 12.4 volts and the sun is shining, then you probably have a bad controller. The controllers have a five year warranty. I had to replace mine and it was quick and easy--just three wires, two screws, and unplug a network cable. Worst part of the job is removing the bottom lounge cushion to get to the controller. If it's defective, Airstream should replace it, but if you're handy with basic tools and are comfortable with working with electrical wires, then this is an easy job for you. Be sure to cover your solar panel so it is not producing voltage during the installation. Just call Atkinson and they'll help you diagnose if there's a problem and will send you a new one if needed. It may be easier than a five hour trip plus the long wait time for the service to be completed at the dealer.
__________________
Bob
Aircruiser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2016, 11:00 AM   #6
Rivet Master
 
FlyFishinRVr's Avatar
 
2017 Interstate Lounge Ext
Northern , California
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 1,298
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aircruiser View Post
I had the same problem. There should be no solar charging if your house battery voltage is above 12.4 volts (assuming blue jumper wire on the controller is cut). If blue wire is not cut, then you should have solar charging when the battery drops below 12.7 volts. See page 13 of the manual posted above by Boxter1971. If your house batteries are below 12.4 volts and the sun is shining, then you probably have a bad controller. The controllers have a five year warranty. I had to replace mine and it was quick and easy--just three wires, two screws, and unplug a network cable. Worst part of the job is removing the bottom lounge cushion to get to the controller. If it's defective, Airstream should replace it, but if you're handy with basic tools and are comfortable with working with electrical wires, then this is an easy job for you. Be sure to cover your solar panel so it is not producing voltage during the installation. Just call Atkinson and they'll help you diagnose if there's a problem and will send you a new one if needed. It may be easier than a five hour trip plus the long wait time for the service to be completed at the dealer.


Actually, looking at the Atkinson specs, if the battery compartment temp is nominal, the trip point is 12.6v. This is the same as most charge controllers.

If it were me and the Atkinson was bad, I'd replace it with a 3 phase controller vs putting another Atkinson in. You can get some good ones for less than $200 (this includes the remote display) and they will all do a significantly better job of maintaining your batteries. I'll likely make this change regardless of whether my Atkinson goes bad or not.
FlyFishinRVr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2016, 11:11 AM   #7
Rivet Master
 
paiceman's Avatar
 
2020 28' Flying Cloud
Upper St Clair , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,935
Images: 1
We had one go bad on our 2015, while out west. I called Atkinson, talked to them directly. They took a credit card number and explained they would send me a new one and in the postage paid box I would need to send the "bad" one back. Change out was simple. Three days later I got a call from Atkinson telling me the controller was bad and charge never came up on our credit card.
__________________
Bud

2020 28' Twin Flying Cloud-(Our 5th Airstream)
2021 F350 6.7 King Ranch
USAF Master Training Instructor (TI) - 68-72
paiceman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2016, 03:27 PM   #8
1 Rivet Member
 
proftjs33's Avatar
 
2010 22' Interstate
Severna Park , Maryland
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 11
I purchased from owner a 2010 Interstate about this time last year. The solar did not seem to work and the previous owner indicated that it never did much for him. After reading another thread, I tested and found voltage coming in from the solar but none coming out of the controller. I called Atkinson and purchased a new controller, installed it and had the same problem. Another AI owner convinced me to check the Cat-5 cable, which was showing 'chr' on the solar amps. I removed the display and plugged it into the controller using a different cable. Sure enough, bad cable so I replaced a connector and the tester that came with my tool kit showed all connections good. Since the house current had to be on for the display to work, the display showed 2.7 amps and my multi-tester showed voltage out of the controller. When I turned the house current off, the output voltage went off. Looking at the buss where the controller was connected to the battery showed that the controller was not even connected to the battery when the house current is off. In spite of other postings, I was convinced that the house current had to be on before the solar could charge the batteries. I tried leaving it on but my solar could not keep up with the drain. I rewired, inserting a fuse, so that the connection by passed the house switch. Now the solar will fully charge my batteries on a sunny day. The display also stays on to monitor things.
proftjs33 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2016, 04:02 PM   #9
Rivet Master
 
2013 Interstate Coach
Raymond , Iowa
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 1,449
I believe there is a fuse in the small electrical box on the bottom of the solar panel.
Titus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 05:48 AM   #10
1 Rivet Member
 
proftjs33's Avatar
 
2010 22' Interstate
Severna Park , Maryland
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 11
This fuse is between the controller and the battery.
proftjs33 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 09:38 AM   #11
Rivet Master
 
FlyFishinRVr's Avatar
 
2017 Interstate Lounge Ext
Northern , California
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 1,298
Quote:
Originally Posted by proftjs33 View Post
This fuse is between the controller and the battery.
Maybe the 2010 was wired differently from the '16-'17 models, but on the newer ones the solar is directly wired (through a fuse) to the power bus. Once the voltage in the house batts goes below 12.6v (temp dependent, but that's nominal), assuming there's sun, the solar controller turns on and starts charging the house batts. Once those get to 13v, the BIM/BS connects the house and chassis batts together, so the solar is charging all 3. Unfortunately with only 100W of solar on the roof, the chassis doesn't get much charge time, so on my coach the house batts seem to stay around 12.8v and the chassis stays around 12.5v. With another 100W of solar, I think both would stay around 12.8v even in the winter, but then I live in northern California where it's sunny most days, so where you live will have a dramatic impact on that result.
FlyFishinRVr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 04:09 PM   #12
Rivet Master
 
73shark's Avatar
 
2011 Interstate Coach
Overland Park , Kansas
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,798
Quote:
Originally Posted by Titus View Post
I believe there is a fuse in the small electrical box on the bottom of the solar panel.
+1

Lewster confirmed this to me for my 2011 50W system. Also said it wasn't easy to get to.
__________________
Glass half full or half empty to an engineer is the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

2011 Interstate SOLD! Upfitted 2017 Transit 350. SOLD!
73shark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2016, 08:43 AM   #13
mdf
2 Rivet Member
 
2016 Interstate Lounge Ext
Belvedere , California
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 29
Fly fishin is correct. I have a '16 with 2 of the factory 100w flex panels on the roof connected to the stock controller, also in Northern California. While using the coach, I can run my fridge and regular coach light usage and my batteries stay fully charged. If I'm storage mode with batteries off, I always come back to 100pct batteries.
mdf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2016, 11:42 AM   #14
2 Rivet Member
 
Currently Looking...
2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Loma Mar , California
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 78
MDF- do you run both the refrigerator and freezer?
Haasman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2022, 01:13 PM   #15
2 Rivet Member
 
riverdweller's Avatar
 
2017 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
northport , Washington
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 37
Solar module location in a 2016 grand tour twin

Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post
On mine, the controller is buried behind the fuse panel. Lots of work to disassemble it to get to it.

What does the LCD show?
I have access in the GT twin, breaker and fuse panel due to the bed configuration and top access panel. I cannot locate the module in this area and Atkinson electronics says Airstream puts the modules in all sorts of different places. So Iím looking for someone else with a 2016 GT twin specifically that knows where this elusive device is located. I am replacing it with Atkinsonís new model as Iíve added 2 more 100 watt panels and the new model is versatile for multiple battery types. LOCATION PLEASE😁
riverdweller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2022, 08:41 PM   #16
3 Rivet Member
 
2015 Interstate Grand Tour
Salem , New Hampshire
Join Date: Jun 2022
Posts: 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by riverdweller View Post
I have access in the GT twin, breaker and fuse panel due to the bed configuration and top access panel. I cannot locate the module in this area and Atkinson electronics says Airstream puts the modules in all sorts of different places. So I’m looking for someone else with a 2016 GT twin specifically that knows where this elusive device is located. I am replacing it with Atkinson’s new model as I’ve added 2 more 100 watt panels and the new model is versatile for multiple battery types. LOCATION PLEASE��
Take a look around your Magnum inverter area as it should be pretty close to it. I have a AIGT and it was under the drivers side and it looks like this.

On another note, before you spend your money on another Atkinson product, look else where as there are a bunch of better solar chargers out there. I have a Victron 100/30 one and a pretty easy to install and works flawlessly.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	54B25159-8E17-4DD2-917F-09A563E20EF6.jpg
Views:	5
Size:	89.5 KB
ID:	418823  
StogieMan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2022, 08:51 PM   #17
3 Rivet Member
 
2015 Interstate Grand Tour
Salem , New Hampshire
Join Date: Jun 2022
Posts: 175
Let me add that if you still have that flex solar panel up there, consider removing it and replacing it with a better one as those are junk too.

Now I wish that we had gone with the twin model also for convenience. Don’t know why they stop making those. I’m still trying to convince my wife to covert it.
StogieMan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2022, 11:32 PM   #18
2 Rivet Member
 
riverdweller's Avatar
 
2017 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
northport , Washington
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 37
Thank you StogieMan, it’s not there and the gentleman from Atkinson tells me airstream puts them in a multitude of mysterious places and good luck finding it. Mine is working fine, I’m just upgrading it to their new one. But 1st I have to find it and airstream doesn’t know where it is either. Thanks again.
riverdweller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2022, 07:49 AM   #19
3 Rivet Member
 
2015 Interstate Grand Tour
Salem , New Hampshire
Join Date: Jun 2022
Posts: 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by riverdweller View Post
Thank you StogieMan, it’s not there and the gentleman from Atkinson tells me airstream puts them in a multitude of mysterious places and good luck finding it. Mine is working fine, I’m just upgrading it to their new one. But 1st I have to find it and airstream doesn’t know where it is either. Thanks again.

Wow, Airstream doesn’t know where they put it at - that’s a classic!

Ok, try chasing down some wires instead. There is a yellow and green wire that comes down from the solar panel into the Atkinson controller. There is also a Cat 5 wire that also goes into it. Lastly, if you can locate your thermal fuse buss bar (small square looking breakers) there is a red wire going into at a 15 amp breaker there and you can probably chase that back to the controller as well. I know it might be a PITA but worth it.

Attached is the wiring diagram for your model and a picture of the thermal fuse box.

Hope this helps.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1966.jpg
Views:	11
Size:	126.9 KB
ID:	418859   Click image for larger version

Name:	Screen Shot 2022-07-03 at 9.50.56 AM.jpg
Views:	13
Size:	234.9 KB
ID:	418860  

StogieMan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
USB Charging Ports not charging WkendWarrior Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 29 09-08-2018 08:12 PM
Solar Charging System Question Mod-Streamer Generators & Solar Power 1 01-16-2006 10:33 PM
Solar Charging Panel and Cell Phone Antenna noiva Generators & Solar Power 15 01-16-2006 05:06 PM
Solar and the Disconnect Switch/Charging/Phantom Loads 67caravel Generators & Solar Power 9 01-23-2005 11:55 AM
Solar battery charging Charles Q Treichel Generators & Solar Power 23 10-17-2002 10:22 AM


Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:26 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.