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Old 09-18-2020, 07:32 AM   #1
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2018 AI Drycamping: House Dead; Engine Not Replenishing

Hi, first night boon-docking after months of camping plugged in and this:
—arrived last night & within an hour parked, batts dropped to 11.8
—turned generator on, batt came up to 12.4, used one 120v plug to make tea for five minutes and ran fantastic fan for 20 min
—turned generator off , batts fell to 11.4 after about 30 min (fridge on, not using lights)
—turn Sprinter engine on : hour later, no change in house battery
—turned generator back on for 90 min, batts up to 12.5, go to sleep.
—Wake Up : Everything dead

House batteries are less than 2years old and excepting this ONE DAY, unit has been plugged in for over a year.
Chassis battery is 4 months old.
What gives? Why would the bat t he do lie after being plugged in for so long (and then driving for two hours!) ? Is there a way to start the generator without the battery? Why wouldn’t engine replenish battery—would the tech who installed the chassis bat have missed a connection? How do I fix that?
Help.
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Old 09-18-2020, 09:09 AM   #2
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It very well could be your batteries. That is what I would check out first.

Only two years old and lightly used, they theoretically should be ok. But it sounds like the charger may not have maintained the batteries well during that time. If so, they could definitely have gone bad.

Call the battery manufacturer or a local distributer. There may be warranty left to cover replacements if they cannot be brought back.

Good luck.
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Old 09-18-2020, 09:14 AM   #3
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I have a 2018 GT. I get all sorts of weird voltages indicated on the touch panel. I will get widely differing voltages for chassis and coach batteries, even when my Blue Sea battery manager has the batteries connected and I get identical voltages when I meter the two batteries. Others have indicated similar readings. In other words, do not trust the readings on the touch panel.

It sounds like bad coach batteries may be dragging down your start battery. This should not happen if the battery manager is working properly. IMO, the battery manager Airstream installs is a piece of junk and should be replaced as many of us have done.

You can get a jump start using the terminals under the hood. I would turn off the master switch at the door first.
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Old 09-19-2020, 12:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahaska View Post
I have a 2018 GT. I get all sorts of weird voltages indicated on the touch panel. I will get widely differing voltages for chassis and coach batteries, even when my Blue Sea battery manager has the batteries connected and I get identical voltages when I meter the two batteries. Others have indicated similar readings. In other words, do not trust the readings on the touch panel.

It sounds like bad coach batteries may be dragging down your start battery. This should not happen if the battery manager is working properly. IMO, the battery manager Airstream installs is a piece of junk and should be replaced as many of us have done.

You can get a jump start using the terminals under the hood. I would turn off the master switch at the door first.


Thank you. Definitely starting to sound like bad BM in addition to controller & batteries ( or maybe not on batteries). I took solar controller out and the clicking from the summer stopped but of course that means batts weren’t getting anything when parked although as I said, at 11. ? volts , running the engine didn’t move the needle.
These things are so frustrating and expensive especially if you aren’t a tech ; tried to get in to Colonial Airstream back in August—couldn’t get in until mid October so didn’t make the appointment. Argh.
PS, should I plug in once the new batts are in?
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Old 09-19-2020, 12:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rowiebowie View Post
It very well could be your batteries. That is what I would check out first.

Only two years old and lightly used, they theoretically should be ok. But it sounds like the charger may not have maintained the batteries well during that time. If so, they could definitely have gone bad.

Call the battery manufacturer or a local distributer. There may be warranty left to cover replacements if they cannot be brought back.

Good luck.


Thank you . So frustrating. Getting new batteries now & thinking as another suggested, it may be a combination of things.
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Old 09-19-2020, 12:56 PM   #6
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In your first post you said everything dead. Did that include the van engine battery? If not you could have used the "battery assist" button on the dash to get the generator started. I never used this feature but I understand you need to hold this button down to manually tie the engine battery to the coach battery.

In regards to engine not charging the house batteries I have the same issue. Sometimes it will, othertimes I could have been driving for hours and arrive at a campsite with partially discharged house battteies.
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Old 09-19-2020, 05:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AI927 View Post
In regards to engine not charging the house batteries I have the same issue. Sometimes it will, othertimes I could have been driving for hours and arrive at a campsite with partially discharged house battteies.
That is what is wrong with the battery manager that Airstream installs. If you stop somewhere for a time en route, the coach battery starts to go down. If it does not go down far enough, the battery manager does not start to charge it from the engine. You arrive with a coach battery maybe 15% down.

The Blue Sea ML series battery manager connects the batteries unconditionally whenever there is a charging voltage coming from either the engine or the Magnum. No charge is ever lost.
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Old 09-19-2020, 06:25 PM   #8
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Once you have new batteries, keep an eye on phantom (e.g. parasitic) drains on the battery and kill them when you don't need them. One example is the solenoid that enables propane when you flip the propane switch to "on." That solenoid draws power. Given enough time, it will kill your battery. So, turn the propane switch (usually outside at the propane fill location) to OFF when you don't need propane. Double check your cab radio to make sure it's off, as that can draw power without you knowing it. Make sure your inverter is OFF when you don't need it. If the inverter is in "Search" mode, it draws power just hanging around waiting for someone to need some AC power.

As a new Interstate owner myself, I will say that there seem to be more egregious examples of pointless battery consumption in an Interstate than there are in an International (e.g. Airstream trailer). The Interstate we just picked up used has batteries that are not much more than a year old, but they are already ruined. Clearly a previous owner had zero clues about battery management and allowed the system to drop well below 50% on multiple occasions. That's the only way they could have ruined a pair of Lifeline Group 24 AGM batteries so fast.
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Old 09-19-2020, 06:53 PM   #9
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Did you say you previously removed or disconnected the solar charge controller? What has been regularly charging the house batteries? Could it be that although you regularly were connected to shore power the batteries were not being charged and maintained. It doesn't take long for sulfacation to short out a cell. As others indicated get new batteries, perhaps under warranty and then check at least every three days while batteries are anything but completely disconnected that they have a resting voltage above 12.7 and a charging voltage above 13.2. When in use you must check battery voltage every 1-3 days. It must be the battery post voltage, you must be certain the battery is connected with full continuity to the voltage indicator. If you don't want to regularly check the battery voltage, then disconnect them completely after you are certain the have a resting voltage of 12.7 or 12.8. Then check them once a month.
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Old 09-19-2020, 07:30 PM   #10
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I don't know how quickly you can ruin the batteries, but I know that they will last at least 5 years, 60,000 miles, and 200 nights of usage if you pay attention.

I know the Blue Sea ACR is better than the Airstream BIM, but I've never understood how any charging via the alternator (or with solar) can provide the bulk/absorption/float schedule desired by the AGM's - and provided by the Magnum charger.
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Old 09-19-2020, 07:48 PM   #11
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If you drive them below 9 V and leave them there for more 5-7 days, that generally is all it takes.
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Old 09-20-2020, 07:35 AM   #12
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A few years ago I had a problem with the house batteries not charging and it turned out to be a fuse. I believe there is a 150A fuse in the electronics cabinet under the jack knife sofa chair and/or in the chassis battery compartment under the drivers seat. Someone else can chime in to help further.

And I know there is one of these terminal style 150A fuses at my battery terminal underneath the coach because I had to replace this one myself. Order more than one just in case. See link:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 09-28-2020, 09:36 AM   #13
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Does anyone know exactly where that 150 amp fuse is located? 2018 Grand Tour. Thanks
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Old 09-28-2020, 04:00 PM   #14
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On my 2013 AI (2012 MB chassis) there is a buss bar by next to the chassis battery positive post containing several fuses. One fuse is on the cable leading to the BIM. If it is blow the chassis battery (alternator) will not charge the coach batteries nor will the coach batteries charge the chassis battery.
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Old 09-28-2020, 05:41 PM   #15
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2018 AI Drycamping: House Dead; Engine Not Replenishing

I was told by the airstream guys at colonial to equalize your batteries....I was told once a month.

I just returned from a few weeks in New England and the batteries were starting at 12.5 -12.7. I came home, plugged in and let everything come up to “fully charged” 12.7. I equalized the batteries overnight and was back to 13.2. I have 300 watts of solar and 4 24 agms. The eq mode is in the magnum.

On another note, I added a goal zero 1500x under the sofa. That takes care of all the 120v needs excluding the ac. [ATTACH]379673.A great addition to say the least.
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Old 09-28-2020, 07:35 PM   #16
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Per Lifeline technical manual:
Conditioning (equalizing) should only be done when the battery is showing symptoms of capacity loss due to an extended time in a partial or low state of charge condition.
It goes on to say that
A group 24 battery that is in good condition should be able to provide 25 amps for 149 minutes before the voltage drops to 10.5 V. If is takes less than 80% of that time (< 119 minutes) to reach 10.5 V, then the battery should be conditioned (equalized). If it takes less than 75 minutes to reach 10.5 V then the battery should be replaced.

The word 'only' in their first sentence seems to suggest that you should not just routinely condition them once per month.
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Old 09-29-2020, 03:09 AM   #17
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Thanks for the clarification. I do agree and eq after the van has been sitting too long. I equalized when I got home from my trip last week. Batteries are back to proper voltage.
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