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Old 05-13-2016, 01:38 PM   #1
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The Inexhaustable Topic of Battery Issues

I have read all the threads over the past 18 months on problems and fixes for maintaining the health and utility of house batteries on my 2015 Grand Tour. My solution thus far has been just to make sure it gets frequent use, so the batteries stay charged on the combination of driving, shore power at destinations, and the resident 100w solar. So far so good. However, because we were not going to be able to use Gizmo for about six weeks, and because we store it in indoor storage, I made arrangements with the storage facility to connect it to constant shore power (of course, at additional cost!). Today, having notified storage that I would be picking up Gizmo for the weekend, I received a call that the batteries were substantially discharged, even though the main power switch has been off during the entire period of storage. He assured me that the power had been constantly connected and was on at all times. Is it possible that maintaining shore power is still insufficient to keep the house batteries charged under these conditions? Any other explanation?
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Old 05-13-2016, 02:04 PM   #2
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hmmmm...lots could have happened...but my first questions would be:

1) when you got there, was there AC power to the trailer?

2) once found dead, are you able to verify the amps coming from your converter/charger? if you can confirm the unit is charging fine, no breakers tripped...?

3) water levels in the batteries good?

4) what is the voltage reading on the battery after a full charge? Or can you get them load tested?

I mean if your batteries are confirmed to be ok, and they are dead because they had not been charging, it is either a loss of shore power, or failure of electronics in your trailer to charge.

I doubt any devices or other sources could have overcame the charging and cause like a net depletion...? Escpecially if you had it switched to battery storage mode.

If there was a loss of power (lets imagine in the past 2 weeks just for fun) and you had it in storage mode...I suspect you will still get some power sucked off the battery unless you remove a negative terminal or something? so if you either lost shore power OR your electronics internally somehow failed, then you could drain the battery.

?

I only ask these questions as a fellow lay person non electrical person out of interest...good luck in your investigation.
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Old 05-13-2016, 02:06 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by tlundell View Post
......However, because we were not going to be able to use Gizmo for about six weeks, and because we store it in indoor storage, I made arrangements with the storage facility to connect it to constant shore power (of course, at additional cost!). Today, having notified storage that I would be picking up Gizmo for the weekend, I received a call that the batteries were substantially discharged, even though the main power switch has been off during the entire period of storage. He assured me that the power had been constantly connected and was on at all times. Is it possible that maintaining shore power is still insufficient to keep the house batteries charged under these conditions? Any other explanation?
There is something wrong. Do you have the SB164 solenoid installed? Likely since you have a new coach. If so it disconnects the inverter/charger from the batteries when the disconnect switch is off. That means the batteries will not get charged when plugged in if the disconnect switch is off. Yikes - could be another reason to avoid SB164.

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Old 05-13-2016, 02:35 PM   #4
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There is something wrong. Do you have the SB164 solenoid installed? Likely since you have a new coach. If so it disconnects the inverter/charger from the batteries when the disconnect switch is off. That means the batteries will not get charged when plugged in if the disconnect switch is off. Yikes - could be another reason to avoid SB164.

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Is this correct, that shutting off the main power toggle switch on the switch bank cuts off the house batteries from being charged by shore power!?!? I could swear that I have previously seen comments that that is NOT the case. Can someone please clarify? I have no idea which solenoid is installed in the 2105 Grand Tour.
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Old 05-13-2016, 02:45 PM   #5
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Does turning off the main power switch also disconnect the inverter/charger? If so, it never saw any shore power despite being plugged in.
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Old 05-13-2016, 02:54 PM   #6
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From the 2015 Interstate user manual: "Turning off the disconnect switch will cut power to 12-volt systems fed from the 12-volt distribution panel, but will allow the batteries to charge from the engine or inverter/charger."
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Old 05-13-2016, 03:24 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by tlundell View Post
From the 2015 Interstate user manual: "Turning off the disconnect switch will cut power to 12-volt systems fed from the 12-volt distribution panel, but will allow the batteries to charge from the engine or inverter/charger."
I have SB164 installed by my dealer and regretting it ever since. Yes, the disconnect switch must not be used otherwise the Magnum won't charge the batteries. In fact I don't think the batteries will charge from the engine either with SB164 installed and the disconnect switch is used.
The manual has lots of errors relating to the electrical system.
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Old 05-13-2016, 03:34 PM   #8
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From the 2015 Interstate user manual: "Turning off the disconnect switch will cut power to 12-volt systems fed from the 12-volt distribution panel, but will allow the batteries to charge from the engine or inverter/charger."
This was true until Airstream came up with this crazy solenoid fix called SB164. Airstream has never kept their user manuals current.

It's easy to test to see if you have this fix installed. With disconnect switch off in earlier Interstates you could still turn on the inverter. That's because the disconnect only stopped the 12V battery power to the DC distribution panel, where the automotive type fuses are located. Then Airstream came up with this cheap a$$ solenoid fix to totally disconnect the inverter/charger from the batteries. Since this cut-off solenoid is in the positive red wire to the inverter/charger is also disables the charger function of the Magnum MM1000 Inverter/Charger in your Interstate.

If you can't turn on the inverter with the disconnect switch off you have the SB164 solenoid installed. Alternatively you can check the Magnum remote panel when plugged in with the disconnect turned off. If it is blank and won't light up when you press any of the buttons you have SB164 installed.

Solution - plug in and leave the disconnect ON. The power coming in from the 120AC power with keep everything working and charged.
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Old 05-13-2016, 07:13 PM   #9
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Can anyone help me with this? When plugged into shore power, my inverter monitor shows 13.1 or so V, and ~ 66% state of charge. Inverter reads "float" which I thought means almost fully charged.

When I disconnect to pull away for our next desTination, or driving local, it almost immediately drops to 12.8 , and maybe 50% charge

but then when I'm unplugged, and driving and/or relying on my 200 w of solar, it will get to as high as 14.1 and 100%

I can't figure out why it doesn't charge past the 13.1 from shore power, even if plugged in for more than a day
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Old 05-13-2016, 07:33 PM   #10
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A battery reading of 12.8 is fully charged. The reading of 13.1 is the float charge - just kind of keeps things topped off. As far as I can tell, your system is perfectly normal.

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Old 05-13-2016, 08:54 PM   #11
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At least for my Grand Tour, I have the answer: flip the disconnect switch while plugged into shore power and the remote Magnum panel shuts off. So although the power draw is less, there is no battery charging going on. Very disappointing that the manual provides exactly opposite information from the reality on this very important topic...and by the way, the 2016 Interstate Owner's Guide has the same misinformation
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Old 05-13-2016, 09:01 PM   #12
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The Inexhaustable Topic of Battery Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marks71 View Post
Can anyone help me with this? When plugged into shore power, my inverter monitor shows 13.1 or so V, and ~ 66% state of charge. Inverter reads "float" which I thought means almost fully charged.

When I disconnect to pull away for our next desTination, or driving local, it almost immediately drops to 12.8 , and maybe 50% charge

but then when I'm unplugged, and driving and/or relying on my 200 w of solar, it will get to as high as 14.1 and 100%

I can't figure out why it doesn't charge past the 13.1 from shore power, even if plugged in for more than a day

The simple explanation is that your Magnum Inverter/Charger is a sophisticated 3-stage charger (bulk/absorb/float) that optimises the battery charge for you, whereas the standard Atkinson solar controller isn't, and is basically just an on/off charger. Unless you changed out the solar controller in your upgrade!
What is of a concern is that you're implying you were hooked up to shore power for several hours, and when disconnecting, the charge displayed between 66 and 50%. To me that implies the batteries have already been degraded and can't hold a full charge.

Update: Incidentally, if you look in the Magnum ME MR Remote manual, the float voltage for an AGM Type 1 battery is 13.1V.


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Old 05-13-2016, 09:06 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by tlundell View Post
At least for my Grand Tour, I have the answer: flip the disconnect switch while plugged into shore power and the remote Magnum panel shuts off. So although the power draw is less, there is no battery charging going on. Very disappointing that the manual provides exactly opposite information from the reality on this very important topic...and by the way, the 2016 Interstate Owner's Guide has the same misinformation
If there is no power to the ME-MR remote panel, that indicates that your inverter is NOT RECEIVING 12VDC from the batteries. This also means that even with shore power connected, the inverter's charging section is still disconnected from the batteries and no charge will get thru to them.

My advice to all that have had this SB164 'upgrade' installed is to simply remove it or if you would like to leave it in place, Move the both heavy (should be 1/0 AWG) cables on to only one terminal of that solenoid.

This will allow for the continual flow of voltage between your batteries and Magnum. If you want the ability to completely disconnect your inverter from the batteries, simply add a Blue Sea Systems M-series battery disconnect switch which is completely mechanical and draws 0.0 amps all of the time!!

Remember that this solenoid that is the heart of the SB-164 is a basic constant draw type, which means that it draws a continual 0.4amps ( I just measured the one I removed last week with a Fluke amp/clamp meter) and also gets HOT TO THE TOUCH!

I sure wouldn't want one in MY coach!!!!
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Old 05-13-2016, 09:54 PM   #14
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If there is no power to the ME-MR remote panel, that indicates that your inverter is NOT RECEIVING 12VDC from the batteries. This also means that even with shore power connected, the inverter's charging section is still disconnected from the batteries and no charge will get thru to them.



My advice to all that have had this SB164 'upgrade' installed is to simply remove it or if you would like to leave it in place, Move the both heavy (should be 1/0 AWG) cables on to only one terminal of that solenoid.



This will allow for the continual flow of voltage between your batteries and Magnum. If you want the ability to completely disconnect your inverter from the batteries, simply add a Blue Sea Systems M-series battery disconnect switch which is completely mechanical and draws 0.0 amps all of the time!!



Remember that this solenoid that is the heart of the SB-164 is a basic constant draw type, which means that it draws a continual 0.4amps ( I just measured the one I removed last week with a Fluke amp/clamp meter) and also gets HOT TO THE TOUCH!



I sure wouldn't want one in MY coach!!!!

Considering where Airstream is installing this hot solenoid in a crowded confined space they have created a potential fire hazard. Yikes! How stupid are the "engineers" at Airstream?

It's only a matter of time before they will have a NHTSA recall to remove this crazy stupid SB164.

Owners beware!


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Old 05-14-2016, 10:21 AM   #15
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I doubt there are any engineers at Airstream/Thor, just tradesman who have been in the RV buisness most of their careers. If there are any engineers there they should either resign in shame or resign in protest of the dangerous budget constrains placed upon them.

Most of the RV industry is focused on the high volume customer that wants a plywood 5th wheel with 2 slide outs for $30k. The industry thinks the way to get high margins is to build "luxury" vans and coaches. At RV shows the high end finishes look great but true luxury to me means having a van that's ready to go when I am and not worrying whether I have completed a 30 step checklist before storing the unit. Or being out of commission for a month while my sink drains on the ground because Airstream skimped on $10 worth of flexible fittings that would keep all the my grey water tank connections from shearing off.

Sorry for the rant and turning this into another Airstream quality thread.
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Old 05-14-2016, 01:53 PM   #16
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What an odd issue to have....
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Old 08-25-2016, 04:16 PM   #17
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Smile Battery Issues

This is for anyone having problems w/keeping Airstream Batteries alive.
I purchased a 2014 Flying Cloud in 01/15 w/intent to sell the house &
change my address. Hasn't happened as of yet, & may be selling it.
Any way, due to the Converter issues that Airstream seems to have,
I've had 2 batteries die because of overcharge, etc.??? When the converter
has only one mode of charge something will happen. I replaced the batteries,
replaced the converter w/a Progressive Dynamics PD4600 Series, 4 stage
unit, w/Charge Wizard. All this was finally completed on this day, 01/25/16.
Also, I installed a device called Priorty Start. When battery voltage drops
below 11.7, the unit will automatically disconnect in just a matter of min's.
Your batteries will not drop below 11.7 because power is disconnected.
I have used this device on a 2500 Dodge Diesel for a year or so, & other auto's.
To say the least, IT WORKS. When it disconnects a trigger of some sort has to
be pressed, possibly a light switch or what ever works to restart the power.
Priority Start also sells a push button re-start that I'm using, mounted inside
the propane box. On a Truck the re-start trigger is the ignition switch or brake
pedal. Folks, this is a BATTERY SAVER. Works as expected on a Truck, & I truly
believe it will work on an Airstream. If you've got the single stage converter
on your Airstream, JUNK IT, & purchase the PD4600 & if you do not you can
expect battery problems from now on. This is an easy install, converter,
Priority Start & I also upgraded to a 50amp Portable Surge Protector.
I will see how this all works together. I believe it will work, & save batteries.
The Converter was the best investment for that, & for under $200.00, a no
brainer. Hope this helps ease the suffering for what Airstream could have done
right in the beginning, w/what Airstreams cost.
If interested, www.priortystart.com, & Best Converters. One more hint, begin
w/charged batteries. A 2nd hint, if you have any unused fuse connections in
your fuse board, fill them w/fuses & remember which ones are blank. Helps
complete the circuit. GOD Bless
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Old 08-30-2016, 12:27 PM   #18
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Question Blue Sea

[QUOTE=lewster;1790866 If you want the ability to completely disconnect your inverter from the batteries, simply add a Blue Sea Systems M-series battery disconnect switch which is completely mechanical and draws 0.0 amps all of the time!! [/QUOTE]

This one?
Just wire in between the Magnum + terminal and the red cable lug?
That simple?

https://www.bluesea.com/products/600...th__Knob_-_Red

So funny that the inexhaustible topic is, in fact, inexhaustible.
I have wired a house from the weatherhead to the last porch light and it was easier that keeping up with this.
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Old 08-30-2016, 12:41 PM   #19
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This one?
Just wire in between the Magnum + terminal and the red cable lug?
That simple?

https://www.bluesea.com/products/600...th__Knob_-_Red

So funny that the inexhaustible topic is, in fact, inexhaustible.
I have wired a house from the weatherhead to the last porch light and it was easier that keeping up with this.
Here is even the funnier part. There is already a motorized version of that in the coach! It is the thing that makes whirling sound when you turn on the switch to give power to the coach:

http://www.marinco.com/en/701-md



It is rated for 275 amps so it can easily shut down the inverter. It is not wired that way as to allow the coach to be charged while you have the switch in the off position.

Indeed in my Lithium conversion, I have made it do exactly that.

It is unfortunately some work to make it do that in the current system.
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