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Old 10-03-2020, 11:23 AM   #1
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1992 35' Airstream 350
Issaquah , WA
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 9
Charging batteries for starting my 350LE

I assumed, incorrectly as usual, that when plugged into shore power that the battery that is used for starting the 350le would be automatically charged. This doesn't seem to be the case and I'm also not exactly sure what causes it to drain but if I don't start the thing every few days and let it run the battery is drained. The batteries for operating the lights and such seem to charge fine. So couple of questions, does the starting battery simply not charge when plugged into shore power or is there a switch or something I need to turn to make that happen. If it doesn't charge any idea what would be draining the battery so quickly? Advice, any docs I can read? I'm lost on this thing everything seems to be complex, mostly due to lack of info, the manual is ok but leaves much to be desired and mine is missing pages. Ours is a 93 350le with the 454 engine I believe. Truth be told not 100% sure of that, I inherited this thing when I got married as my wife had it but knows exactly zero about it.
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Old 10-03-2020, 04:02 PM   #2
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2005 34' Classic S/O
2006 39' Land Yacht 396 XL
north blenheim , New York
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LOL......you came to the right place. The start battery does not charge while plugged into shore power or with the generator running. You either have something drawing the start battery down or a bad battery. There is a momentary toggle switch in the glovebox. when you pull and hold the switch it joins the 2 coach batteries and the start battery together so that you can start the . With the engine running the alternator will charge all 3 batteries. The reason the start battery does not charge while you are plugged in is so it doesn't boil over. Normally there is nothing drawing on the start battery when you are camping so there is no reason to charge it. There should be 2 switches inside the entry door towards the front of the motor home on the wall. When you are camping you turn off the one closest to the door which is the engine battery. If your battery still goes dead with this switch off, chances are your battery is no good. The only reason to have this switch on while camping is when you are using the generator, as the generator gets it's starting and running power from the start battery. The generator will charge the start battery while it is running. Regards, Bob
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Old 10-03-2020, 06:57 PM   #3
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1994 30' Excella
1992 35' Airstream 350
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2002
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my 1992 350LE has only 1 battery disconnect switch and it is for the coach batteries only. It is located under the sink inside the cabinet on the right side. The switch in the glove compartment is an on/off switch and i frequently use it when the I first turn on the ignition to help the motor battery deal with the Airbag compressor.

To overcome your battery draining until you find the source, use a trickle charger for the Motor battery, whenever you on shore power in storage or on an extended campout. You have an outside plug just to the left of the entrance door to feed the trickle charger.
Get a person with knowledge to check your isolator in the front right of your engine compartment, it may be the source of your motor battery drain.

Also be aware of the auto leveling system, it will draw a lot of power.
Consider installing some voltage gauges, like in the picture, red is for motor, blue for coach. It will tell you whats going on at a glance and may save you from destroying stuff with low current.

And what a nice windfall for you to become a co owner of one of the nicer Classic Airstream Motorhomes ever built!
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Old 10-03-2020, 09:10 PM   #4
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Londonderry , New Hampshire
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Do you have a depth sounder in your Airstream?
The right most switch looks like it has a depth sounder symbol. ;-)
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Old 10-04-2020, 04:42 AM   #5
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1994 30' Excella
1992 35' Airstream 350
Austin , Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Air345Fly View Post
Do you have a depth sounder in your Airstream?
The right most switch looks like it has a depth sounder symbol. ;-)
Haha, good eye. Its the closest symbol I could find on the sticker sheet that came with the switches to use for the GPS
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Old 10-04-2020, 05:44 AM   #6
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Londonderry , New Hampshire
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Ah, I see! Perhaps you should have put the sticker up side down
for GPS. The radiating lines would be going up then.
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Old 10-04-2020, 08:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Air345Fly View Post
Ah, I see! Perhaps you should have put the sticker up side down
for GPS. The radiating lines would be going up then.
Just pretend the boat is the GPS satellite
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Old 10-04-2020, 08:21 AM   #8
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1994 30' Excella
1992 35' Airstream 350
Austin , Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Air345Fly View Post
Ah, I see! Perhaps you should have put the sticker up side down
for GPS. The radiating lines would be going up then.

No no, it goes with the direction of my new tranny, even Brad didn't catch on
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I think you have it pointed in the wrong direction.......
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Old 10-04-2020, 09:33 AM   #9
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

Things like GPS units or phone chargers can act as parasitic loads on the starting battery. Do a quick check for that sort of thing before you replace the battery.....

Bob
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Old 10-04-2020, 12:16 PM   #10
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1988 32' Excella
Robbinsville , New Jersey
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If you get a FLOAT charger make sure to get one you can leave hard wired to the battery. Then just unplug and start up no need to connect/disconnect from battery.
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Old 10-04-2020, 03:11 PM   #11
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Repair the parasitic drain or bad battery and you won’t have to put a trickle charger on it. Either something is draining the battery or it’s no good. Fix it correctly and you won’t have to rig something else up that may or may not work. Regards, Bob
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Old 10-06-2020, 12:48 AM   #12
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1992 35' Airstream 350
Issaquah , WA
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 9
Strange, I don't have any switches in the glove box and my bank of switches is my the entry to the door. I do have the outlet by the batteries to charge them so that's what I'm doing at the moment.
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