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Old 06-13-2018, 05:37 PM   #21
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Thatís the number one outcome. The rest will work itself out and for that I wish you the best.
FLYFISHINRVR - Thank you. Yes, safe family was the only acceptable outcome. I could care less if AI burned to the ground (in retrospect, maybe I should have). Instead I spent countless hours to make sure nothing hidden behind the panels that was slowly burning.
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Old 06-13-2018, 05:55 PM   #22
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Thor transfer switches are notorious for poor improper wiring (such as splicing solid copper wire with stranded aluminum wire secured only with black electrical tape) that leads to smoke/burning/fire...under the bed!

Just because they put an Airstream logo on a cargo van doesn't make it any different from Thor's usual lack of competence.

You should have researched this before buying any brand of Thor motorhome. My parents almost caught fire TWICE due to the transfer switch under the rear bed smoking in a 2015 Thor Vegas POS.

BTW...they aren't going to take your "tough cookie" approach as a threat. They aren't going to care in the least, and it won't change their approach. They see thus every single day. Maybe make a scary face when you get there. Have fun!
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:34 PM   #23
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Crazy... Glad everyone is ok and look forward to learning cause and solution.
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:21 PM   #24
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Hey Alex.

I have an AS CCD trailer and to be honest not very familiar with their little motorhomes. However we had an incident where our converter/inverter started a fireworks show, followed by a bunch of smoke and awful smell of burnt something or other. Turns out that a bunch of capacitors ruptured due to some kind of voltage spike anomolie. Long story shorter the factory converter, a Paralax something or other was a piece of cr&p. As advised here on the forums I replaced that with some other brand, then that one went bad. Third and current one from BestConverter is a 3 stage (?) Progessive Dynamics I believe. It even has a little monitor thing to see what it is doing at any given time.

Apparently in my case from what I understand, when those capacitors blow like that apparently there is a better chance of not destroying things down the electric chain. This may not even be close to what you are dealing with, just an fyi. Scary stuff though. Keep us posted and good luck!
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:39 PM   #25
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Crazy... Glad everyone is ok and look forward to learning cause and solution.
TOBBUN - Thank you. Will definitely post any info that would be useful to AI owners, as I learn them.

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Originally Posted by crazylev View Post
Apparently in my case from what I understand, when those capacitors blow like that apparently there is a better chance of not destroying things down the electric chain. This may not even be close to what you are dealing with, just an fyi. Scary stuff though. Keep us posted and good luck!
CRAZYLEV - yes, internal Magnum caps are suspect given I have yet to see external burns or melted enclosure. Scary stuff. BTW - you have a funny avatar. Also, grew up in Chicago, went to high school in Lane Tech at Western & Belmont
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:00 PM   #26
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Sorry this crappy thing happened to you.

Pure speculation on my part, as to the origination:

(1) Broken or improperly affixed solid core wiring of the type that my husband categorically refuses to even cast his gaze upon without cursing. We yanked and replaced all of ours that we could access when we did our lithium retrofits.

or

(2) Burned out a trace on a circuit board, and then kept right on burning.

This is a 2018 AI, though - it should be too young to be suffering from the formation of tin whiskers or for any board flaws to give way. I would hope, at least.

It won't be any consolation for you to realize that you're not the first Interstate owner to have faced an onboard fire. Our event was smaller than yours, only because I had an attack of neurosis and we caught it before it went too far. Our electrical converter was only about 18 months old when it burned out. The manufacturer Parallax examined the explant and admitted total fault. You can read my Air Forums post about that event here.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:09 PM   #27
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Electrical burning, heavy smoke w/ 3yr old grandson sleeping in AI

Personally, I would not blame you for being ďspring-loaded to the p*$$ed off positionĒ over this incident. Donít be afraid to go for throats if need be.

Iím just seriously glad the kid is ok, no one else got hurt, and you had the foresight to preserve as much evidence as you did.

If it had happened to me, my Norwegian berserker genes would probably have taken over...or my wifeís Mongol Horde ancestors had she been involved. Not a good scene...
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:39 PM   #28
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I am so sorry that this happened to you. I cannot imagine how scary it must have been... I hope you find a resolution and peace of mind very soon.

Please keep us updated with your findings as it may help others.
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:20 PM   #29
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Burned out a trace on a circuit board, and then kept right on burning.

This is a 2018 AI, though - it should be too young to be suffering from the formation of tin whiskers or for any board flaws to give way. I would hope, at least.

It won't be any consolation for you to realize that you're not the first Interstate owner to have faced an onboard fire.
INTERBLOG - Thanks much. It definitely smelled of Printed Ckt Board burning. Having been around them since early 70's, you just know the smell. Also having been in the technology field from high school, I am a realist and know the Best-of-the-Best technology can fail right off the factory line. I was paid handsomely by Hewlett Packard for over 30yrs. to fix such problems. So, it is how the dealer and AS handles the process that determines my satisfaction or not. We will see. It starts tomorrow.

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If it had happened to me, my Norwegian berserker genes would probably have taken over...or my wife’s Mongol Horde ancestors had she been involved. Not a good scene...
RMKRUM - Thank you. Funny, my best of friends in cycling & rv'ing is a Norwegian, big guy, who rides 42ft Monaco w/ tag axle. When he heard what happened (coz I did not make it to Breckenridge to meet up), he said the same thing. I think he was as hyped up as I was. I expect nothing less from the son-of-Knut, or Mr. Knutson as he is known to the world

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I am so sorry that this happened to you. I cannot imagine how scary it must have been... I hope you find a resolution and peace of mind very soon.
BOOM23 - Thank you. More to post later.
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:18 PM   #30
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My dear grandmother claimed she could trace her ancestors back to Leif Erickson...and having seen her temper flare a rare couple times, I can believe it.
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Old 06-14-2018, 01:56 AM   #31
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Sorry Alex, itís frightening and a real bummer since your rig is so new, hereís hoping for a most positive outcome so you can regain confidence and enjoy traveling again!
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Old 06-14-2018, 01:53 PM   #32
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Sorry Alex, itís frightening and a real bummer since your rig is so new, hereís hoping for a most positive outcome so you can regain confidence and enjoy traveling again!
AIR99 - Thank you. At dealer's as I type. They were on it right away with Jackson Centet and indications are it was all contained in Magnum inverter/converter. They are spending rest of time re-checking ALL wiring, connections, clamps, terminal buses, etc. for anything loose. Updates to follow.
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Old 06-14-2018, 03:09 PM   #33
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AIR99 - Thank you. At dealer's as I type. They were on it right away with Jackson Centet and indications are it was all contained in Magnum inverter/converter. They are spending rest of time re-checking ALL wiring, connections, clamps, terminal buses, etc. for anything loose. Updates to follow.
Interesting. I found out yesterday that my batteries were at about 60% with the coach plugged in at the storage yard. I brought it home last night to see what is the matter.

This morning, I reset the Magnum. I heard the fan start up and quit after a second or so. It sounded like something jammed the fan. Then I started seeing appreciable smoke from the end of the Magnum where the big cables attach. I quick turned everything off. I had replaced the SB164 contactor with a battery switch, so it was easy to kill DC to the Magnum. I turned off the 30a main breaker to interrupt the AC.

My twin bed mod made it hard to get to the bolts holding the Magnum, so I spent the day redesigning and rebuilding the box around the electrical area (between the twin beds in my year). It is now too hot to continue. I have the Magnum unbolted from the box, but not removed.

I'll pull the Magnum out in the morning and see what the damage is.
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Old 06-14-2018, 04:01 PM   #34
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Oh Bother!

I hope we're not seeing the start of a pattern of failures....or some weird install issues.

When you are dealing with inverters, you are looking at a LOT of energy going from the batteries into that one box...

Pictures please...inside and outside of the Magnum if possible.

Something weird is going on here--my engineer sense is tingling.
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:16 PM   #35
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Oh Bother!

I hope we're not seeing the start of a pattern of failures....or some weird install issues.

When you are dealing with inverters, you are looking at a LOT of energy going from the batteries into that one box...

Pictures please...inside and outside of the Magnum if possible.

Something weird is going on here--my engineer sense is tingling.
I agree, if this can happen to a brand new 3 month old unit, everyone can be susceptible. I do not have picture of my actual inverter, but the foreman showed it to me and where the burn hole was. I was unable to see it during the commotion & even during the following days of my take apart due to it's install location, obstruction, and just general lighting conditions. Even the source of the smoke was hard to pinpoint, mainly because the Magnum fan was actively pushing air all over. At least in PAHASKA's case, with fan not running, it's easier to tell smoke is emanating from Magnum. Below is pic of the identical Magnum in my AI. There is a burn hole visible on the side of the case (circled in red). Foreman did not bother to open case, moot point for them since they are not into doing component level repair on this and it's a Magnum component failure, not an AS install snafu. I suspected it, but did not really take it that far, again since the goal was to insure my safety driving back from CO, not trying to fix it myself given the warranty and just sheer time involved to fix myself. The burn was from inside-to-outside. There was nothing remotely close on that outside part of the Magnum case to cause an electrical arc from outside-to-in. So, I believe their findings. They already put a new one in (lucky they had one in stock in dealer's parts inventory).

Unit is going through checks of ALL electrical connections, at least inside the electrical box, and where all 120v connects to even outside. That was the bulk of their time spent on it, pretty much all day. This was at the explicit instructions from Jackson Center, although it seems Service Manager already had that going before the directive from JC came down. At least I felt relieved that it was not just a "replace bad part and not check anything else" strategy, leaving you wondering if any connection is contributory to the failure. I also feel good that an actual problem was found. I much rprefer only 1 confirmed blown part was replaced rather than replacing lots of parts because they could not isolate the cause. I never liked shotgun troubleshooting.

Although I could have driven unit home today, we all agreed it was best to leave the unit at the dealership, plugged in A/C running and basically going through real-life stress testing and as much as I don't want to use this industry phrase for this situation, go through a burn-in test. This is the hottest week so far this year in Las Vegas (104-107), so if it survives with A/C running the next 48hrs. I would be good with that.

PS: The failure was greatly accelerated by having Magnum inverter/converter/charger fully operational (not Standby) and A/C running full blast, either from shore power or generator.

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Old 06-14-2018, 07:32 PM   #36
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Interesting. I found out yesterday that my batteries were at about 60% with the coach plugged in at the storage yard. I brought it home last night to see what is the matter.



This morning, I reset the Magnum. I heard the fan start up and quit after a second or so. It sounded like something jammed the fan. Then I started seeing appreciable smoke from the end of the Magnum where the big cables attach. I quick turned everything off. I had replaced the SB164 contactor with a battery switch, so it was easy to kill DC to the Magnum. I turned off the 30a main breaker to interrupt the AC.



My twin bed mod made it hard to get to the bolts holding the Magnum, so I spent the day redesigning and rebuilding the box around the electrical area (between the twin beds in my year). It is now too hot to continue. I have the Magnum unbolted from the box, but not removed.



I'll pull the Magnum out in the morning and see what the damage is.


If you tried to reset the Magnum with shore power plugged in, Iím afraid a board may be fried inside it, as happened to mine. Hereís a link to discussion on details...Sorry to hear but still hoping it could be something less severe occurred!

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...ml#post2099405
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:41 PM   #37
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Defective Magnum Inverter

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Originally Posted by Alex AVI View Post
I agree, if this can happen to a brand new 3 month old unit, everyone can be susceptible. I do not have picture of my actual inverter, but the foreman showed it to me and where the burn hole was. I was unable to see it during the commotion & even during the following days of my take apart due to it's install location, obstruction, and just general lighting conditions. Even the source of the smoke was hard to pinpoint, mainly because the Magnum fan was actively pushing air all over. At least in PAHASKA's case, with fan not running, it's easier to tell smoke is emanating from Magnum. Below is pic of the identical Magnum in my AI. There is a burn hole visible on the side of the case (circled in red). Foreman did not bother to open case, moot point for them since they are not into doing component level repair on this and it's Magnum's problem, not an AS install snafu. They already put a new one in (lucky they had one in stock in dealer's parts inventory).

Unit is going through checks of ALL electrical connections, at least inside the electrical box, and where all 120v connects to even outside. That was the bulk of their time spent on it, pretty much all day. This was at the explicit instructions from Jackson Center, although it seems Service Manager already had that going before the directive from JC came down. At least I felt relieved that it was not just replace bad part and not check anything else. I also feel good that an actual problem was found. I much rather only 1 confirmed blown part was replaced rather than replacing lots of parts because they could not isolate the cause. I never liked shotgun troubleshooting.

Although I could have driven unit home today, we all agreed it was best to leave the unit at the dealership, plugged in A/C running and basically going through real-life stress testing and as much as I don't want to use this industry phrase for this situation, go through a burn-in test. This is the hottest week so far this year in Las Vegas (104-107), so if it survives with A/C running the next 48hrs. I would be good with that.

Attachment 314022
All things considered that's great news Alex!

As you said, it's good that they were able to positively isolate the problem, rather than shotgunning it.

If it passes the 'burn-in' test you're almost certainly in good shape, but I am curious whether that particular model of Magnum inverter is known to have that problem.

We actually have a 2009 Winnebago View on a 2008 "Dodge" Sprinter 3500. I joined this forum because I like Airstream and I knew they also use the Sprinter.

I am familiar with Magnum because I installed their MS2000 in our View. As far as I know the company has a very good rep. The inverter seems to be very well built, and the owner's manual is probably the best I've seen. That said, the MS2000 is a completely different unit. I've never seen the one in your photo.

As the owner of a View and not an AI, I have a question: Since the A/C is running on shore power, how is the inverter involved? Is there an internal transfer switch (ATS) that carries all of the incoming shore power? That is the case with mine (30A transfer switch) but the unit you had replaced looks relatively small to have an ATS. Just technician curiosity.

Assuming everything is now OK, I'm looking forward to reading about the other steps you took.
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Old 06-14-2018, 11:52 PM   #38
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All things considered that's great news Alex!

As the owner of a View and not an AI, I have a question: Since the A/C is running on shore power, how is the inverter involved? Is there an internal transfer switch (ATS) that carries all of the incoming shore power? That is the case with mine (30A transfer switch) but the unit you had replaced looks relatively small to have an ATS. Just technician curiosity.

Assuming everything is now OK, I'm looking forward to reading about the other steps you took.
Thank you. It is looking better now. I left it at dealer, at minimum it will be hooked up for 24 hrs and depending on when I can pick it back up, may end up being there for a couple more days, due to weekend when service dept. is closed. That would actually be good, to have it in "burn-in" test mode, which at this point I don't mind and dealer doesn't mind.

The AI only comes with Magnum 1,000w inverter/converter 50A charger. And I also do not know how the A/C running (or not) accelerated the speed at which the inverter started to overheat & burn up. I never made the connection between A/C & inverter, because when I was doing my own checking before deciding it was ok to drive it back 550miles, I had no choice but to run the A/C using gen power because it was very hot in CO. And then I would turn on/off the ckt. brkr. of inverter to test for burning. But in the dealer's shop, since they could shut off everything, they were able to observe how fast the problem manifested with A/C on vs. A/C off. I don't see any reason for tech to say this out of the blue (or worse, make it up), because it does not impact which component he isolated as the cause, just the speed of the problem manifesting.

I know it does not make sense how the inverter could be related to A/C running on shore power. All I can think of (wild guess) is when AI is plugged into to shore power, the converter system automatically charges the batteries. But depending on how much power is being used by lights & appliances, only the surplus is used to charge the batteries. Guessing maybe the Magnum logic has been damaged and is not trimming appropriately to match available surplus power and still attempting to pump max 50A charging batts ? Yeah, not my best theory, even I am grasping

Forgot: Magnum MMS Series 1012 with AC transfer switch circuitry
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Old 06-15-2018, 01:29 AM   #39
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Alex AVI, Your story gave me chills. If you were distracted in any way...I don't want to think about it. Glad Airstream is taking this very seriously. Airstream should always put safety over profit. This story will be a ''wake up call'' for corporate.
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Old 06-15-2018, 04:33 AM   #40
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So glad no one was injured, but this whole situation is very scary. The beauty of the forum is you find out you are not alone. While I'm sure they install many of these, look at the number of us with similar or related situations. Since I had issue in winter, I assumed it was related to heat. We all know the problem with "assumed".
I don't have my appointment till July, I am camping up till then. It makes it kind of hard to relax and enjoy the experience when you don't know if you are going to have a camper full of smoke in the middle of the night or if you can leave your pet while you take or hike or, as in your case, a loved one quietly sleeping. I think you are right to press them and see if a recall is warranted...this is truly a safety issue.
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