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Old 12-04-2021, 09:52 PM   #1
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Ft Worth , Texas
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Airstream Interstate refrigerators

Hi there
Iím new to the airstream world.
Iím having an issue keeping the fridge on while car and trailer
Is off. Like staying the night in a hotel or going into a grocery store
Or keeping it on in my carport.
Iím confused
Do I always need to have the invertor ON and or always have the master switch
Always on?
When I came out from the hotel in the morning my food was thawing in the freezer ?
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Old 12-05-2021, 06:10 AM   #2
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You don’t say what year your Interstate is, but you need to have the inverter on in order to access your coach battery, if I have worded that correctly.

In mine, there is a “use” or “store” switch, with “use” needing to be on for my frig and interior lights to work when not plugged in to electricity.

Maggie
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Old 12-05-2021, 12:08 PM   #3
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I assume you do not have lithium batteries.

The inverter only supplies three outlets ... the 2 TVs and the DVD player. It will charge the batteries whether on or off. On just lets it supply those 3 outlets. The inverter does not need to be on for the refrigerator.

The USE switch by the door must be on for the refrigerator to run.

The problem with most years is the batteries are too small to run the refrigerator overnight if not plugged in externally. Starting in 2019, the four batteries would usually run the refrigerator overnight, but not much more.

I carry a lithium Goal Zero 1000 to run the refrigerator overnight and charge it in the daytime.

The GT freezer is the biggest draw. If possible, it can be turned off overnight. The freezer can be used in the daytime to freeze water or cold packs to be put in the refrigerator to reduce power requirements overnight.
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Old 12-05-2021, 05:59 PM   #4
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If I remember right, our batteries in the Lounge would only run our refrigerator around 8 hours if nothing else is on. If your batteries are AGMs and have any kind of damage, take more time off that figure. If your batteries have been run down past 50 percent even once, chances are they wonít hold a full charge (8 hours). The fridge in the GT is different than the Lounge so they will have different run times.

I donít think Iíve tested the fridge run time since upgrading to lithium. Maybe someone out there has the info on how long it will run with a couple lithium batteries. I think the fridge in the Lounge pulls around 8 Amps..again, someone might be able to confirm that.
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Old 12-08-2021, 11:44 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Hawk-ination View Post
If I remember right, our batteries in the Lounge would only run our refrigerator around 8 hours if nothing else is on. If your batteries are AGMs and have any kind of damage, take more time off that figure. If your batteries have been run down past 50 percent even once, chances are they wonít hold a full charge (8 hours). The fridge in the GT is different than the Lounge so they will have different run times.

I donít think Iíve tested the fridge run time since upgrading to lithium. Maybe someone out there has the info on how long it will run with a couple lithium batteries. I think the fridge in the Lounge pulls around 8 Amps..again, someone might be able to confirm that.



Thank you guys for the help this is all been such a learning experience. I just assumed these things had more gusto than they really do. I will take the advice and get the external lithium battery How do I plug the refrigerator into it overnight I canít get the plug out from behind the mounted refrigerator?
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Old 12-08-2021, 11:45 PM   #6
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Sorry I forgot to mention I have a 2018 interestste
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Old 12-09-2021, 08:16 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Goldenslacks View Post
T I will take the advice and get the external lithium battery How do I plug the refrigerator into it overnight I canít get the plug out from behind the mounted refrigerator?
In my GT, the Goal Zero sits under the desk, against the wall. It is not in the way.

I ran a wire pair from there, over the refrigerator, to the output side of an unused fuse position in the 12v fuse box and put a 20-amp fuse in that position. You have to use a regulated 20-amp output adapter on the GZ, otherwise, the refrigerator will turn off as voltage drops when the GZ is about half discharged.

When I want to use the GZ, I turn the use switch at the door off. That isolates the fuse box from the batteries. I then turn the GZ on. I can use everything 12v in the coach.

Doing it this way eliminates all the losses from converting to 120v and then back to 12v to run the refrigerator.
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Old 12-18-2021, 11:01 AM   #8
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Hi

Before you spend money on this or that, do some research on the alternatives. A very common "fix" is to convert the coach batteries over to lithium. That gets you about 2X to 4X (depending on how crazy you go) the run time of lead acids. There is no messing around with plugging this or that in overnight. There also isn't yet another bulky object to store somewhere in the already cramped van.

No, I'm not saying this is a slam dunk alternative. I'm simply suggesting you dig into it before money is spent.

Bob
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Old 12-18-2021, 02:55 PM   #9
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I have a 2013, with the combo fridge-freezer. I have no problem running the fridge overnight with two Lifeline Group 24 AGM's, like those that came with it. If I start at/near 100% state of charge (SOC) and run the ceiling fan and lights for a few hours, occasional water usage, and the fridge overnight I'll be at ~80% the next morning. Add a Magnum battery monitor if you don't have one, to monitor SOC. I've heard that GT's with separate fridge and freezer are terrible on batteries. But if you don't have the GT and have the two Group 24 AGM's and can't run the fridge overnight, then I suspect that your batteries are bad. They can be load tested at a battery dealer (but probably not at a Walmart auto center) They apply a 25A load and see how long it takes to get down to 10.V. A Group 24 battery should last 149 minutes when new. If they test bad (~80% of 149 minutes) you can try an Equalizing or Conditioning Charge, but don't be surprised if it doesn't work. No doubt that lithium would be better, but not necessary unless you have the GT.
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Old 12-19-2021, 05:36 AM   #10
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So when you switch to lithium are you adding in a DC to DC charger or just letting the alternator do the charging. I just picked up an 04 and the PO put in a 120 only fridge. I installed a 2K inverter that runs it at night with an AGM but I'd like to switch over to lithium
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Old 12-19-2021, 08:36 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by MMSsprinter View Post
So when you switch to lithium are you adding in a DC to DC charger or just letting the alternator do the charging. I just picked up an 04 and the PO put in a 120 only fridge. I installed a 2K inverter that runs it at night with an AGM but I'd like to switch over to lithium
Hi

If you have both lead acid and lithium, you will have some sort of DC/DC involved. You also will have a converter charger that is targeted at lithium. It may be part of a hybrid inverter /converter or it could be a stand alone device. A single alternator will normally be targeted at the lead acid batteries on the chassis and do a poor job with the lithium house batteries.

Bob
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Old 12-21-2021, 08:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahaska View Post
In my GT, the Goal Zero sits under the desk, against the wall. It is not in the way.

I ran a wire pair from there, over the refrigerator, to the output side of an unused fuse position in the 12v fuse box and put a 20-amp fuse in that position. You have to use a regulated 20-amp output adapter on the GZ, otherwise, the refrigerator will turn off as voltage drops when the GZ is about half discharged.

When I want to use the GZ, I turn the use switch at the door off. That isolates the fuse box from the batteries. I then turn the GZ on. I can use everything 12v in the coach.

Doing it this way eliminates all the losses from converting to 120v and then back to 12v to run the refrigerator.
Is your fridge one that has two power source points? I carry a Goal Zero in that same spot too but Airstream made a change to the fridges at some point to where I allegedly can't power it that way. This was in a 2020 AI that I had last but I'm picking up a 24x next week and understand that it's the same setup.

I'm handy but not electrically proficient.. determined to solution this though.
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Old 12-21-2021, 09:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justinshort View Post
Is your fridge one that has two power source points? I carry a Goal Zero in that same spot too but Airstream made a change to the fridges at some point to where I allegedly can't power it that way. This was in a 2020 AI that I had last but I'm picking up a 24x next week and understand that it's the same setup.

I'm handy but not electrically proficient.. determined to solution this though.
2018 and later year fridges run on 12v only. Any year AI fridge will run on 12v. The worst thing about GT fridges is that it is very difficult to access the power wiring.

IMHO, the worst thing you can do to waste power is to invert the GZ output to 120v and then convert it back to 12v to run the refrigerator (and the rest of the coach). Just turning on the GZ inverter will show a battery drain even with no loads. All voltage/frequency conversions are lossy.

I use the 12v output of the GZ, through a regulated 12v adapter, to run the whole coach. No voltage conversions. The water pump, lights, etc. work just as from the batteries. We use minimum lighting and never use tank heaters and the like when operating from the GZ.

I spent 35 years designing electronics for IBM and I believe that my method is absolutely the best way to make use of a Goal Zero to relieve dependence on the AGM batteries. My cost ... the GZ, wire, 12-v regulated adapter, and a fuse.

If I was a frequent boon docker, I would surely convert to lithium. For me, the GZ is a band-aid in the rare instance where I have to spend a night without hookups. My GZ will spend the winter at home in case the Texas power grid fails again and that is a plus for a portable battery such as the GZ. Between my electric car and the GZ, I will always have light and a bit of heat since the car will run its heater for at least a full day.
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