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Old 01-20-2014, 07:49 AM   #1
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Any pointers on charging my Sprinter chassis Battery?

Good morning everyone, I've been taking good care of my Airstream Interstate over this COLD winter in Michigan, but today I found out that the sprinter chassis battery needs a jump (under the hood). Are there any tricks to charge the battery without using jumper cables or is using jumper cables the best bet. There seems to be power with the internal batteries of the vehicle. I've been looking in the owners manual but I'm having a hard time finding a solution to using the internal batteries to charge the exterior chassis battery. I swear I thought there was a way to do that?!? Maybe not? Thank you so much guys.
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:08 PM   #2
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That's happened to me, too. I find it easiest to use jumper cables to get the engine running, but I did use the generator once. If you can get the genny running then it should charge the engine battery enough to get you going.
John
That reminds me, I should check my Interstate. It's been sitting in storage for about a month now.
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:42 PM   #3
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Hello,
Your 2014 Interstate should have a battery assist button next to the headlight switch. This connects the house batteries to your chassis battery negating the need for jumper cables.
HTH,
David
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Old 01-20-2014, 02:23 PM   #4
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Your 2014 Interstate should have a Magnum Inverter/changer. You can keep the Interstate connected to shore power indefinitely with the Magnum, and it also ensures the chassis battery is kept fully charged via the Battery Separator.
If you can't connect to shore power, then use the chassis battery isolator which is located in the driver's footwell to the right of the pedals.
Peter
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Old 01-20-2014, 05:04 PM   #5
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Interstate1: you say you needed to jump the battery under the hood? The engine starting battery is under the floor by the driver in my 2013 MB chassis. The battery under the hood in mine is basically not in use. Its an option that AI did not "pay for" but Mercedes shipped many with the option. Probably had them sitting in inventory. And as soon as I can find the time and verify some charger settings, etc I plan to replace the battery under the hood with an AGM and add the proper wiring to the Interstate batteries in the back thereby increasing from 2 to 3 AGM batteries for my inverter power.
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:29 PM   #6
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Interstate1: you say you needed to jump the battery under the hood? The engine starting battery is under the floor by the driver in my 2013 MB chassis.
I don't have a battery under the hood, but I had to jump-start my Interstate a few days ago due to the alarm system running down the battery. You still jump-start it "under the hood" using terminals provided for that purpose. No need to crack open the floorboard compartment just to jump-start it.
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:12 AM   #7
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Your 2014 Interstate should have a Magnum Inverter/changer. You can keep the Interstate connected to shore power indefinitely with the Magnum, and it also ensures the chassis battery is kept fully charged via the Battery Separator.
If you can't connect to shore power, then use the chassis battery isolator which is located in the driver's footwell to the right of the pedals.
Peter
I though I had read that the recommended procedure was to only leave the coach plugged in for 48 hours or so at a time. Any other opinons on this?
Thanks
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:19 AM   #8
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I though I had read that the recommended procedure was to only leave the coach plugged in for 48 hours or so at a time. Any other opinons on this?
Thanks
From what I've read it depends on which Inverter/Charger you have in your Interstate. The Magnum unit can be left plugged in. But not recommended if you have a TripLite unit.
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Old 01-21-2014, 10:09 AM   #9
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Thanks for that Boxster. My coach is parked unde my carport so I have been checking it every few days and when the batts get down to 70ish % I plug it in for a couple days. Based on what you're telling me I can just leave it plugged in.
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Old 01-21-2014, 11:03 AM   #10
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Do you have all of the circuit breakers and the main battery disconnect switch turned off? 70 percent in a few days seems like there is a small drain somewhere.
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Old 01-21-2014, 11:54 AM   #11
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Main batt disconnect is off but not circuit breakers. Propane is off as is tv ant booster.
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:11 PM   #12
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Main batt disconnect is off but not circuit breakers. Propane is off as is tv ant booster.
120v circuit breakers left on means that the inverter/charger will invert whenever there is no other source of 120vAC, even with the main disconnect switched off. 120vAC is not switched off by the 12vDC main disconnect, and neither is the inverter/charger itself. But don't take my word for it; you can test my hypothesis easily enough. With the disconnect switched off, and shore power unplugged, turn on one of the televisions. It will come on if I'm right.

If I'm right the source of your battery drain is probably the inverter/charger itself plus whatever appliances are drawing power. Anything with a remote control or a built-in display draws some power even when nominally switched off— unless you turn off the breaker.
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Old 01-21-2014, 03:08 PM   #13
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The inverter must be turned off to eliminate its drain. But w/ the breakers all off, the TV standby draw will be eliminated.

As far as I can determine, the only things drawing power w/ everything off are the smoke, CO, and propane detectors. So far this winter, the solar panel has maintained the house batteries @ 100% and the chassis battery @ ~12.75V. Even w/ several overcast days in a row.
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Old 01-21-2014, 04:03 PM   #14
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I found the battery assist button on the instrument panel. Unfortunately, I still had to jump the battery. I was able to do this by going through the engine chassis compartment under the hood. The 2014 Airstream Interstate has a unique + positive/-negative locators. They are hard to find, but I was able to work through it! Thanks for all your help :-)
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Old 01-21-2014, 04:44 PM   #15
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Tried that test protag and with disconnect switched off tv's do not come on. My invertor (magnum) control panel does have an off position which is where I set mine when storing. I'm wondering if my drain is from the detectors as Shark suggests.
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Old 01-21-2014, 05:33 PM   #16
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I also have been trying different schemes to find power drains. When I turn of the coach battery disconnect...the antenna amp is off, LP detector is off, TV's are completely off. Have not noticed if the CO and smoke detectors are impacted. The CO is connected to 12v, but not sure if it loses that with 12v disconnect..... I seem to remember it is also the low voltage alarm so that seems unlikely. Like I have heard before....I sure wish AS would release a wiring schematic!!! This switch-hunt is driving me nuts.
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Old 01-21-2014, 05:34 PM   #17
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Tried that test protag and with disconnect switched off tv's do not come on. My invertor (magnum) control panel does have an off position which is where I set mine when storing. I'm wondering if my drain is from the detectors as Shark suggests.
Your Magnum works differently than my Tripplite in that regard, then. Good to know for future questions in a similar vein.
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Old 01-21-2014, 10:07 PM   #18
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12V Interstate Standby Power Consumption

Relative to this thread -- just how much power does the Interstate 12V "Coach" system draw when not in use?

I added a net battery current monitor when I upgraded the solar system. The measured standby current draw on my rig is -0.4 Amps. It does not seem to vary if I have the coach battery switch on or off. The only thing I can determine that goes off is the propane gas detector that only draws a specified 70mA (0.07 Amps).

To confirm this I researched each component on the 12V Coach side and came up with a max calculated load of 0.5 Amps. I had to estimate a few components since I couldn't find the exact values. But anything with electronics or LCD display takes some small amount of power in the 0.1-0.2 watt range.

The 0.5 Amps calculated is consistent with the 0.4 Amps load I'm measuring.

If you have the original solar controller set up the load is a bit lower by about 24mA (0.024 Amps). So what is the major contributor to this parasitic load?

It's the Precision Circuits Inc. Battery Isolation Manager (BIM) that is specified to draw 4 watts. That's a constant 0.333 Amp load on your batteries that can't be turned off with any switch or circuit breaker.

This works out to a 10-12 AH depletion of your batteries every day. You can then understand why your batteries will go flat in a few days to a week if they aren't charged by solar or an AC plug.
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Old 01-21-2014, 10:47 PM   #19
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Good to know.
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Old 01-22-2014, 04:11 AM   #20
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Wow, thanks Boxster. You just cleared up a question that has been bugging many of us for a while.
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