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Old 01-29-2023, 05:36 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
2021 Interstate 19
Sandpoint , Idaho
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 18
Keyed switch for the battery heaters

Hej folks!

First the summary:

While traveling cross-country through an arctic blast, I had to make an emergency replacement of the keyed switch for the battery warmers. The switch broke and I replaced it with a toggle switch rated at 10A for 12VDC. Can anyone tell me if this would be a problem? I don't know the power specs on the heating pads.

Now... the rest of the story....

My wife and I were headed back to North Idaho in our Interstate 19 (after visiting our daughter and grandson in Missouri) when we ran smack dab into an arctic front that took the temperature down to -10F in Wyoming. And when I went to turn on the battery warmer, the entire key switch assembly rotated and I heard it come apart in pieces behind the panel.

Knowing that we needed the battery warmers to be able to keep the lithium batteries charged, I broke out the toolkit. Unfortunately, to fix the switch, the entire front panel of the overhead bin had to be opened. This took about 45 minutes (with lots of swearing as the temperature was dropping quickly).

And what a rats' mess I found behind that panel. There are a number of different components that are mounted on that panel. Some had excessive extra cable coiled up in back of the panel, but most of the cables were so tight that opening up the panel pulled out the connectors.

And as expected, the key switch for the battery warmer was in multiple pieces. Luckily, I had my electrical tool kit w/me (as I had been doing some wiring for my daughter) and I replaced the broken battery warmer switch with a toggle switch rated to 10A (for 12VDC). I then reconnected every disconnected cable I could find (luckily, they all had different connectors (RJ-45, RJ-12, etc...) replaced the panel and turned on the battery warmer. The battery warmer came right on and all the components that were mounted on that panel seem to be working correctly (knock on wood).

So I have two questions:

  1. Why is the battery warmer switch set up to use a key? The last thing I need is another key on the ring (why don't they key everything to a single key!!! The first thing I did with my Yakima storage system was re-key everything to a single key).
  2. I can't find any documentation as to the power rating for the heating pads. Is a 10A 12V switch sufficient for the battery warmer? The only documentation I have found indicate that the heating pads used for BBGC2 batteries heaters are rated at 30W (and I assume there are two of them) indicating the the two pads together would pull 5A.
When I have the Interstate in for a stove recall, I am going to have them check behind the panel to make sure everything got reconnected right. And I will probably change out the 2 pole switch for a 3 pole switch so I will have an indicator light when the switch is on.

Good Roads
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Old 01-29-2023, 07:09 PM   #2
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2013 Interstate Coach
Fulton , Maryland
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 3,688
That keyed switch is just another dumb thing from Airstream. Check the fuse rating for the circuit that supplies the battery heater - that will give you a good idea of power rating.
- - Mike
2013 Airstream Interstate Lounge EXT
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Old 01-29-2023, 09:25 PM   #3
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1994 25' Excella
Waukesha , Wisconsin
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 4,542
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Battleborn shows that the heat function on their batteries with built in heaters consume 1.8a per battery. If you have Battleborn you should be able to calculate the amperage with this - just multiple 1.8a times the number of batteries you have on the heating circuit.
1994 Excella 25 Follow the build on Gertie!
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Old 01-30-2023, 09:37 AM   #4
1 Rivet Member
2022 Interstate 19
Ottawa , Ontario
Join Date: Sep 2022
Posts: 13
From the wiring diagram it looks like that switch is on the the "24 HR PWR" circuit which is fed by circuit breaker CB2 which the drawing says is 8 Amps. A 10A switch should be a suitable rating.

I also found the wiring behind the panel disappointedly a mess (which I cleaned up)...surprising to me for what I thought should be a quality product.

Just to add, the parts book shows the Airstream part number as: 513469 but no manufacturer part number or rating details.
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