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Old 04-13-2021, 03:45 PM   #1
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2021 Interstate 24GL
San Francisco , California
Join Date: Feb 2021
Posts: 21
2021 Interstate Fuse Diagrams <> Solar Charging Problem?

We are in the middle of a cross country, multi-month journey with our Interstate and SEEM to have run into some solar charging issues.

Does anyone have an easy to read diagram of what each fuse is for under the driver seat of the 2021 Interstates? We have a 2021 Interstate GL 4x4 and I'm trying to troubleshoot why our solar panels suddenly don't seem to be charging our house batteries.

- The Victron Solar Charge Controller shows 14-16V on the "PV" display screen during the day with partly sunny weather. I don't know if that means the solar panels are generating 14-16V of power at the time of the readout
- we've had some extreme pollen where we're at now but I've cleaned that off 2 of the 3 solar panels.
- during the afternoon, with the sun out, the Victron solar controller readout says 0 W, 0 kWH and BATT OFF as I cycle up and down thru the charge controller menu

I believe the solar setup has been working up until recently. We are storing the unit in a driveway (no hookups) for a few days, had everything unplugged, propane switch turned off, tank heaters etc turned off and only have had the fridge on. the lithium house battery seems to deplete pretty quickly (from full charge to "red" of around 11.2V within about 2 hours with the battery disconnect switch turned ON. I finally shut it off b/c I don't want the batteries to completely deplete). when we boondocked about 2 weeks ago, I don't recall this happening so I'm wondering whether a fuse for something on the solar panels might be off OR whether something became unplugged while driving.

We don't have a ladder at our current place so unless you're a Cirque du Soleil acrobat, it's a tad hard to get access to the roof of these vehicles (any small portable ladders people use?)

I believe these Interstate models have a Victron BlueSolar MPPT 150/35 (beats me why they didn't install the bluetooth version for all of these) and while I think it's hidden behind the master control panel, I haven't had the guts to try to remove the panel and look around back there to see if something jostled and got disconnected. I don't want to break the master control panel.

anyway, thanks for any guidance / ideas as to what's going on here.
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Old 04-13-2021, 04:27 PM   #2
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Normal , Illinois
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You’ve checked for a diagram in your owners manual?

Might Google it and see if something comes up.

Good luck,

Maggie
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Old 04-13-2021, 04:38 PM   #3
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2021 Interstate 24GL
San Francisco , California
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Thanks Lily&Me, I did look at the owners manual. I find the electrical diagrams somewhere between reading hieroglyphics and farsightedness (the paper version has many pages that are illegible unless you have a Scanning Electron Microscope and the PDF version even when I zoom in is sometimes hard to read/fuzzy). I just wish there was a driver side fuse box diagram that clearly labelled what each one does. some of the pages are more descriptive/helpful than others but maybe I missed the specific diagram for the under the driver seat one.. tx!
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Old 04-13-2021, 05:19 PM   #4
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I had the service department where we bought our first one on speed dial for a long time, so there’s always that option in the morning.

Maggie
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Old 04-13-2021, 06:49 PM   #5
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Fulton , Maryland
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BeachBrad,
Sadly you are another victim of Airstream's poor owners manual and general lack of info on how they build these coaches.

I'm attaching a copy of the 2020 Mercedes Sprinter fuse-supplement that covers all the fuses under the drive's seat. But I doubt that is the source of your problem.

Solar is a totally Airstream system. I just looked at the 2021 Owners manual - it doesn't even mention lithium batteries. The attached graphic is all the manual has about the solar wiring.

The problem could be as simple as a loose wire connection. I had that problem on my 2013 a few months after delivery. A delaer service tech helped me solve the problem over the phone.

Your best bet is to get it checked at an Airstream dealer.

Stay safe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeachBrad View Post
We are in the middle of a cross country, multi-month journey with our Interstate and SEEM to have run into some solar charging issues.

Does anyone have an easy to read diagram of what each fuse is for under the driver seat of the 2021 Interstates? We have a 2021 Interstate GL 4x4 and I'm trying to troubleshoot why our solar panels suddenly don't seem to be charging our house batteries.

- The Victron Solar Charge Controller shows 14-16V on the "PV" display screen during the day with partly sunny weather. I don't know if that means the solar panels are generating 14-16V of power at the time of the readout
- we've had some extreme pollen where we're at now but I've cleaned that off 2 of the 3 solar panels.
- during the afternoon, with the sun out, the Victron solar controller readout says 0 W, 0 kWH and BATT OFF as I cycle up and down thru the charge controller menu

I believe the solar setup has been working up until recently. We are storing the unit in a driveway (no hookups) for a few days, had everything unplugged, propane switch turned off, tank heaters etc turned off and only have had the fridge on. the lithium house battery seems to deplete pretty quickly (from full charge to "red" of around 11.2V within about 2 hours with the battery disconnect switch turned ON. I finally shut it off b/c I don't want the batteries to completely deplete). when we boondocked about 2 weeks ago, I don't recall this happening so I'm wondering whether a fuse for something on the solar panels might be off OR whether something became unplugged while driving.

We don't have a ladder at our current place so unless you're a Cirque du Soleil acrobat, it's a tad hard to get access to the roof of these vehicles (any small portable ladders people use?)

I believe these Interstate models have a Victron BlueSolar MPPT 150/35 (beats me why they didn't install the bluetooth version for all of these) and while I think it's hidden behind the master control panel, I haven't had the guts to try to remove the panel and look around back there to see if something jostled and got disconnected. I don't want to break the master control panel.

anyway, thanks for any guidance / ideas as to what's going on here.
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Old 04-13-2021, 07:46 PM   #6
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2021 Interstate 24GT
Magnolia , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeachBrad View Post
We are in the middle of a cross country, multi-month journey with our Interstate and SEEM to have run into some solar charging issues.

- The Victron Solar Charge Controller shows 14-16V on the "PV" display screen during the day with partly sunny weather. I don't know if that means the solar panels are generating 14-16V of power at the time of the readout
- we've had some extreme pollen where we're at now but I've cleaned that off 2 of the 3 solar panels.
- during the afternoon, with the sun out, the Victron solar controller readout says 0 W, 0 kWH and BATT OFF as I cycle up and down thru the charge controller menu.
BeachBrad, the PV output from your panels has to exceed your house battery voltage by +5V for the Victron MPPT solar charger to turn on and charge. So if your PV is only 14-16V, then either
A. You have dirty panels, or
B. It’s too cloudy.
(or both)

My PV readings are typically 21V or higher, even in partly cloudy skies.

If you have clear skies AND clean panels and it’s still not charging, then I’d recommend you reference your Victron controller manual on how to read the charge history. The good news is the new controller stores 30 days of history. So if you scroll through the past 30 days and don’t see ANY charging history, then it could be a wiring problem like I experienced on mine. It was originally wired wrong from the factory with the PV + and - wires reversed going into the controller. The dealer couldn’t find this when I took it back to them and thought everything was working OK and I didn’t know how to read the system (won’t tell you how infuriating that was). It was only after spending several hours studying the manuals and wiring diagrams and then pulling panels and chasing wires did I find the polarity problem. Anyway, try the above first (cleaning your panels and checking your history) and let me know what you find out. If it looks like a wiring problem like mine, it’s a relatively easy fix that I can walk you through.
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Old 04-15-2021, 03:21 PM   #7
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2021 Interstate 24GL
San Francisco , California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeekendBob View Post
BeachBrad, the PV output from your panels has to exceed your house battery voltage by +5V for the Victron MPPT solar charger to turn on and charge. So if your PV is only 14-16V, then either
A. You have dirty panels, or
B. It’s too cloudy.
(or both)

My PV readings are typically 21V or higher, even in partly cloudy skies.

If you have clear skies AND clean panels and it’s still not charging, then I’d recommend you reference your Victron controller manual on how to read the charge history. The good news is the new controller stores 30 days of history. So if you scroll through the past 30 days and don’t see ANY charging history, then it could be a wiring problem like I experienced on mine. It was originally wired wrong from the factory with the PV + and - wires reversed going into the controller. The dealer couldn’t find this when I took it back to them and thought everything was working OK and I didn’t know how to read the system (won’t tell you how infuriating that was). It was only after spending several hours studying the manuals and wiring diagrams and then pulling panels and chasing wires did I find the polarity problem. Anyway, try the above first (cleaning your panels and checking your history) and let me know what you find out. If it looks like a wiring problem like mine, it’s a relatively easy fix that I can walk you through.
Thanks again WeekendBob for the helpful suggestions. I finally got around to 1/ cleaning the solar panels of all the pollen and 2/ looking through the 30 day history as you suggested. here is my 30 day yield readout history. the more I look at this, i wonder if a wire has come loose on day -7. not sure how to troubleshoot it from here and I'm in an area (NC) that I don't think services Interstates nearby. Called the Greensboro airstream and they don't service these. hmmm. the more I own this, the more I realize you need to become an expert in fixing these yourself as much as possible

VICTRON SOLAR HISTORY (I'm assuming Day 1 is yesterday and Day 30 is 30 days ago?)

Day 1 - 0 kWh **plugged in back at campsite that was wooded but we didn't show up there until the end of the day and were in sun driving around all day***
2 - 0 kWh **cleaned pollen off**
3 - .05
4 - 0
5- 0. ***cleaned most of pollen off 2 of the 4 solar panels***
6 - 0
7 - 0.
8 - .73 *arrived at new location; no electricity hookup; less pollen; that night there was thunderstorms/lightening in the area but it didn't seem very close; ie we were not in the middle of a big storm cell (as far as I know)**
9 - .74
10 - .67
11 .57
12 - .63 **no hookup; parked in drivewa with only fridge running days 2 to 12; days 13-30 (except one of them) was plugged into 30amp
13 - .37
14 - .31
15 - 0
16 - .15
17 - .22
18 - .51
19 - .11
20 - .22
21 - .56
22 - .83
23 - 1.26
24 - 1.21
25 - 1.20
26 - .69
27 - .82
28 - .19
29 - .59
30 - .99
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Old 04-15-2021, 03:54 PM   #8
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2007 Interstate
Normal , Illinois
Join Date: Jan 2009
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You might cast about for someone fairly close by who knows something about solar and wiring.

After 14 years of owning an Interstate, I have learned that the specialized work is best done by a person of that specialty, rather than specifically an RV or Airstream repair place.

Maybe make some phone calls, ask around.

It has worked well for me.

Good luck and please keep this thread updated for others who may have similar problems.

Maggie
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Old 04-15-2021, 04:58 PM   #9
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2021 Interstate 24GL
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Tx Lily&Me..I'll keep this thread going until I solve it
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Old 04-16-2021, 03:11 PM   #10
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2021 Interstate 24GT
Magnolia , Texas
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BeachBrad, those definitely are some interesting data points, especially from day 7 to 1 showing 0.

I wouldn't give up on it just yet. See if you can put yourself in an ideal solar charging situation and then capture your readings.

Fist, ideal solar charging condition:
1. Full sun, no shade
2. Vehicle stationary and engine and generator OFF (so no charging coming from the engine alternator or the inverter/charger)
3. Not plugged into ShorePower (so Battery Minder is not charging)
4. Put some load on the house batteries (e.g., fridge on, lights on, etc).

Then, scrolling through your current Victron Display Controller readings:
1. what is your "PV" "V" (Panel voltage) reading? Ideally it should be between 18V - 22V
2. What is your "Bat" "V" (battery voltage) reading? Should be ~13V
3. If the gap between 1 and 2 above are >5V, then you should be in a charging state.
Then
4. Is there a PV W reading?
5. Is there a PV KWH reading?
6. Does your Charger state reading show anything but "Off"? (e.g., BULK, ABSORB, FLOAT, etc)

If yes to any of 4,5,6, then you should be charging.

Finally, I know you were hesitant to pull the main overhead panel to access the Victron MPPT charger but here’s something easier. Take a sharp knife and gently pry out the central Magnum display away from the Panel. It should pop right out (see below) which gives you clear line of sight to the Victron MPPT. Capture the LED lights per the manual. A blinking Blue means not enough solar power to charge. A solid Blue, Amber, or Green means you're in Bulk, Absorption, or Float charging mode respectively. You should also see the 4 main wires that go into the controller and can check if any came loose.


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Old 04-30-2021, 12:20 PM   #11
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2021 Interstate 24GT
Phoenix , Arizona
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Same Issue

Hi Weekend Bob, I am at the “infuriated” stage working with the service centers saying my solar is working.

My solar is ‘t showing any production and the HSE batteries are reading at time as low as 10.5v on both the firefly and the Magnum Controller and yet the MPPT is showing 13.5v and in float( which is right). There has got to be an issue with the wiring because my history shows 1kWh production, and I live in Phoenix, lol. I know there si a wiring issue, I just don’t know where to go back pulling the cover off and making sure the wires going into the MPPT are tight( which they are).

I know for a fact something is wrong can you help me trouble shoot my system?


QUOTE=WeekendBob;2482979]BeachBrad, the PV output from your panels has to exceed your house battery voltage by +5V for the Victron MPPT solar charger to turn on and charge. So if your PV is only 14-16V, then either
A. You have dirty panels, or
B. It’s too cloudy.
(or both)

My PV readings are typically 21V or higher, even in partly cloudy skies.

If you have clear skies AND clean panels and it’s still not charging, then I’d recommend you reference your Victron controller manual on how to read the charge history. The good news is the new controller stores 30 days of history. So if you scroll through the past 30 days and don’t see ANY charging history, then it could be a wiring problem like I experienced on mine. It was originally wired wrong from the factory with the PV + and - wires reversed going into the controller. The dealer couldn’t find this when I took it back to them and thought everything was working OK and I didn’t know how to read the system (won’t tell you how infuriating that was). It was only after spending several hours studying the manuals and wiring diagrams and then pulling panels and chasing wires did I find the polarity problem. Anyway, try the above first (cleaning your panels and checking your history) and let me know what you find out. If it looks like a wiring problem like mine, it’s a relatively easy fix that I can walk you through.[/QUOTE]
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Old 04-30-2021, 07:30 PM   #12
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1968 24' Tradewind
Eureka , California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azff55 View Post
Hi Weekend Bob, I am at the “infuriated” stage working with the service centers saying my solar is working.



My solar is ‘t showing any production and the HSE batteries are reading at time as low as 10.5v on both the firefly and the Magnum Controller and yet the MPPT is showing 13.5v and in float( which is right). There has got to be an issue with the wiring because my history shows 1kWh production, and I live in Phoenix, lol. I know there si a wiring issue, I just don’t know where to go back pulling the cover off and making sure the wires going into the MPPT are tight( which they are).



I know for a fact something is wrong can you help me trouble shoot my system?





QUOTE=WeekendBob;2482979]BeachBrad, the PV output from your panels has to exceed your house battery voltage by +5V for the Victron MPPT solar charger to turn on and charge. So if your PV is only 14-16V, then either

A. You have dirty panels, or

B. It’s too cloudy.

(or both)



My PV readings are typically 21V or higher, even in partly cloudy skies.



If you have clear skies AND clean panels and it’s still not charging, then I’d recommend you reference your Victron controller manual on how to read the charge history. The good news is the new controller stores 30 days of history. So if you scroll through the past 30 days and don’t see ANY charging history, then it could be a wiring problem like I experienced on mine. It was originally wired wrong from the factory with the PV + and - wires reversed going into the controller. The dealer couldn’t find this when I took it back to them and thought everything was working OK and I didn’t know how to read the system (won’t tell you how infuriating that was). It was only after spending several hours studying the manuals and wiring diagrams and then pulling panels and chasing wires did I find the polarity problem. Anyway, try the above first (cleaning your panels and checking your history) and let me know what you find out. If it looks like a wiring problem like mine, it’s a relatively easy fix that I can walk you through.
[/QUOTE]



Hi there,

I just had this problem with my victron 150/35. I fixed it by removing the positive solar cable from the controller and waiting until it read the correct voltage on my battery. Then I reconnect the solar positive and Eureka!!!!
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Old 05-01-2021, 10:49 PM   #13
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2021 Interstate 24GT
Magnolia , Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Humboldt Air View Post
I just had this problem with my victron 150/35. I fixed it by removing the positive solar cable from the controller and waiting until it read the correct voltage on my battery. Then I reconnect the solar positive and Eureka!!!!
Nothing wrong with trying the ‘ole power off “reboot” if all else fails....
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Old 05-01-2021, 11:09 PM   #14
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2021 Interstate 24GT
Magnolia , Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azff55 View Post
My solar is ‘t showing any production and the HSE batteries are reading at time as low as 10.5v on both the firefly and the Magnum Controller and yet the MPPT is showing 13.5v and in float( which is right). There has got to be an issue with the wiring because my history shows 1kWh production, and I live in Phoenix, lol. I know there si a wiring issue, I just don’t know where to go back pulling the cover off and making sure the wires going into the MPPT are tight( which they are)
What are the LEDs showing on your MPPT controller (behind the panel) during peak solar charge time?
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