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Old 07-28-2015, 04:24 PM   #1
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2016 & Dead Batteries?

My new 25 FC has dead batteries & it's only 5 days old. It's been plugged in, everything worked. Put it in my storage facility, checked it two days later, all dead. Disconnect was on store. Either bad batteries or a bad converter/charger, all breakers are on & no other obvious problems. I plugged in the AS overnight last night, now back in storage & will check tomorrow on the state of charge. During the overnight charge I had the disconnect on use & this morning the meter read 13.7 while plugged in & 13.4 unplugged. Help.
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Old 07-28-2015, 04:36 PM   #2
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You should be under warranty and can get AS to diagnose & fix it for free-- up to and including getting you new batteries if yours were allowed to run down on the lot. When you are plugged in, your diagnostic will read a high number, and it take a while for the diagnostic to read the correct number after you unplug.
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Old 07-28-2015, 04:42 PM   #3
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I'd take it back to the dealer and get new batteries. A hydrometer will check the state of each battery but probably one is bad and took the other one with it. A fully charged battery, even with the LP gas monitor will last more than 5 days. Best practice is to disconnect the batteries (after charging them) when they're in storage without power, unless you have a solar panel.

The charger wouldn't have anything to do with draining them, overcharging maybe, but not even that in just 5 days.
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Old 07-28-2015, 06:49 PM   #4
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I have a 2014 FC 25 and had the same issue two months after I picked up my AS. Dead batteries. I got free replacements from Interstate but it took some doing. The date on my batteries was over two years old. I talked with a good friend who works for Interstate battery and he told me that most airstream dealerships will buy batteries by the bulk meaning they will have batteries stored someplace on site even before that year model comes out. Also the way they are charged is not correct and this Greatly shortens the life of the batteries you get.


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Old 07-28-2015, 07:11 PM   #5
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When you are plugged in, if the battery disconnect is on 'store', your batteries are DISCONNECTED from the converter (which is really no prize either and will eat you batteries if left on shore power for any length of time ) via the solenoid that the use/store switch controls.

You should have been told about this when you had your walk-thru at your dealer (assuming that you did indeed have one!) when you picked up the trailer.

There is NO EXCUSE for:
1. Not educating you about the proper use of the battery disconnect mechanism
2. Giving you less than full batteries on departure.

Hopefully, the trailer did not sit on the dealer lot for a long time. If so, there is a very high probability that the batteries were left in a depleted state, which is a sure battery killer!!

I would return with the trailer and explain your situation and get the dealer to replace them.

THEN, spend some time searching the Forum for some of the many threads dealing with your issue.


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Old 07-29-2015, 09:16 AM   #6
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I checked this morning and got a reading of 12.9. I'll check again tomorrow & see if it holds strong. I believe Lew Farber was correct in that upon delivery the batteries were in somewhat of a discharged state. As I took delivery soon after the AS was manufactured it's difficult to know when they were installed & left uncharged for how long. All I can do at this point is keep a close eye on the state of charge.
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Old 07-29-2015, 10:46 AM   #7
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Amazing! I had the exact same issue with my new AS. I also was not told about the charging issue and learned the solution from the owners manual. The fact that your batteries were manufactured two years ago may not affect their life span. When batteries are purchased in bulk by dealers they come in without electrolyte. They are filled at the time of instalation and that begins their normal sevice life.
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Old 07-29-2015, 10:50 AM   #8
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I had an issue with my new 2015 23FB Interstate, the batteries would last only about 2 to 3 weeks and then they were dead. I investigated and found out only one of my batteries was not hooked up and the other one the battery connections were very loose. No one instructed me either that the disconnect had to be in "on or use" to charge the batteries when plugged in to shore power either. I purchased a $20 solar panel from Northern Tools and hooked it up to my batteries when the unit is sitting for an extended time period and haven't had a issue since.
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Old 07-29-2015, 10:51 AM   #9
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Pull them out and get the batteries on a proper charger that can "recondition" them. After the batteries are taken off the charger let the batteries sit a while to stabilize the voltage. The voltage will drop down from 13+v to 12.6+. Then test each cell using a hydrometer.

When in storage always disconnect the negative cable from the batteries. The LP Leak detector always draws power.

Why don't AS dealers pull the batteries out when the trailers are delivered and store them until the trailer gets sold. Would save a lot of customer headaches. I know the answer; they don't care, do as little possible until a unit is sold.

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Old 07-29-2015, 11:57 AM   #10
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We got a suprise when our battery went dead in one night in our new trailer. If I ever buy another RV from a dealer, I will ask him to keep his battery and discount for the price of a new one; then go buy one myself.
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Old 07-29-2015, 12:50 PM   #11
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It sounds like you will be alright and didn't do too much damage on the new battery. I would follow KJRitchie's advice and get the batteries reconditioned with a proper charger. I would also watch your water level closely in case all the time on the charger is boiling the battery.

What I do is leave my trailer plugged in all the time in the "Use" position. I have my trailer on a timer which turns power on 4 hours then off for 4 hours.

While this is not the optimal solution (it would be better just to rip out the old inverter, charger, and deep cycle batteries and replace with much better system i.e.: lithium or GSM batteries and new modern charging system), it is better than leaving it on the battery frying charger that comes with the trailer, full time.

I check my water level monthly, more frequent in hot weather.
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Old 07-29-2015, 01:11 PM   #12
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Dealers are notorius for this

Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
When you are plugged in, if the battery disconnect is on 'store', your batteries are DISCONNECTED from the converter (which is really no prize either and will eat you batteries if left on shore power for any length of time ) via the solenoid that the use/store switch controls.

You should have been told about this when you had your walk-thru at your dealer (assuming that you did indeed have one!) when you picked up the trailer.

There is NO EXCUSE for:
1. Not educating you about the proper use of the battery disconnect mechanism
2. Giving you less than full batteries on departure.

Hopefully, the trailer did not sit on the dealer lot for a long time. If so, there is a very high probability that the batteries were left in a depleted state, which is a sure battery killer!!
It's been my experience that Airstream dealers (at least the three that I've done business with) are notorious for this. In Idaho, the dealer here has let my batteries deplete completely while on their lot for warranty work. So much so, that I had to plug into the TV in order to get the electric hitch to work. I have even found their new models on the lot completely dead as well.....not a good first impression. So for the OP, it's no surprise that your "new" batteries are toast. I would demand real "new" ones.
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Old 07-29-2015, 05:27 PM   #13
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Checked batteries again tonight 12 hours latter & still holding at 12.9 volts. Cautiously optimistic!
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Old 07-29-2015, 08:20 PM   #14
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I had a similar problem in our 2014 27FB Int. The batteries were low on the lot. Towed it home plugged in. Three days later dead batteries. Found the store/use relay not quite engaging when batteries were weak. Flipping the switch repeatedly got me converter power to the batteries. They charged up and I have had no further problems. A good VoltOhm meter with DC amprobe clamp can be a real help. Good luck
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Old 07-29-2015, 09:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
When you are plugged in, if the battery disconnect is on 'store', your batteries are DISCONNECTED from the converter (which is really no prize either and will eat you batteries if left on shore power for any length of time ) via the solenoid that the use/store switch controls.

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Is this only true with new AS units? On my 2004 Safari if I plug in on generators, even if the battery switch by the door was in the "store" mode to start, the light suddenly comes on and power from the converter goes to the patio light, step light, bed ceiling and kitchen ceiling lights. I do think the DC board to the battery is off though with no connection to the battery for charging or drain. This is a PD4655 replacement, so I am trying to apply your information above to my situation to see if I am in danger of draining my batteries by leaving it on store thinking all the power is coming from the generator and the batteries are 'safely' disconnected. I can just as easily put the switch in the "USE" mode and have the multi-stage charging system apply 14.4, 13.6 or 13.2 as necessary to keep the batteries from running down. What is the best way to handle an older system? Is it different or the same as far as discharging is concerned?
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Old 07-29-2015, 09:45 PM   #16
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Unless built to order, an Airstream has been sitting on the dealership lot for some period of time. Check the manufacturing build month and year on the serial number decal on the street side front corner of the trailer. If over six months old, the odds of a short life first battery set is very high since the dealers typically do not take proper care of the battery, or the coach for that matter.

The typical charge rate from the towing vehicle to the trailer battery set when moving will be under ten amps typically due to undersized wiring by the tow vehicle manufacturer. I upgraded the power to the trailer and the trailer brake circuit to #10 wire with 30 amp fuses attached directly to one of the two truck batteries. In my experience, driving for ten hours or more could replenish a night's furnace operation in the trailer in cold weather.

A three or four multi-stage inverter/charger is a great choice to properly take care of the battery system versus the single stage "toaster" Airstream has typically installed.
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Old 07-29-2015, 10:21 PM   #17
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Also remember that the inverter, if you have one as factory installed, does not go through the USE/STORE switch. If you left it on by mistake, or didn't realize it was on in a new unit, you can easily kill the batteries. It takes about 1.8 amps just sitting there doing nothing.

So, check to see if you have an inverter, that it is off.
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Old 07-29-2015, 10:42 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Rossbach View Post
Is this only true with new AS units? On my 2004 Safari if I plug in on generators, even if the battery switch by the door was in the "store" mode to start, the light suddenly comes on and power from the converter goes to the patio light, step light, bed ceiling and kitchen ceiling lights. I do think the DC board to the battery is off though with no connection to the battery for charging or drain. This is a PD4655 replacement, so I am trying to apply your information above to my situation to see if I am in danger of draining my batteries by leaving it on store thinking all the power is coming from the generator and the batteries are 'safely' disconnected. I can just as easily put the switch in the "USE" mode and have the multi-stage charging system apply 14.4, 13.6 or 13.2 as necessary to keep the batteries from running down. What is the best way to handle an older system? Is it different or the same as far as discharging is concerned?
Dan,

Unfortunately, the use/store light will illuminate if:
1. you are on shore power, either grid or generator
2. if you are dry camping and it is in the 'use' position.

I found this out quickly after purchasing my new 2006 19CCD Bambi late in 2005. If you are unsure about the switch position, unplug from shore power and set the switch, then plug in. When off-grid, the light only illuminates when in the 'USE' position, which closes the solenoid and connects your batteries to the converter output.

It is perfectly OK to remain on shore power with the switch in the 'USE"' position IF you have a smart 3-stage converter like the PD-4655. It will read you battery voltage and apply the proper charge, whether bulk, absorption or when it's full...... float.
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Old 07-30-2015, 04:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
Dan,

Unfortunately, the use/store light will illuminate if:
1. you are on shore power, either grid or generator
2. if you are dry camping and it is in the 'use' position.

I found this out quickly after purchasing my new 2006 19CCD Bambi late in 2005. If you are unsure about the switch position, unplug from shore power and set the switch, then plug in. When off-grid, the light only illuminates when in the 'USE' position, which closes the solenoid and connects your batteries to the converter output.

It is perfectly OK to remain on shore power with the switch in the 'USE"' position IF you have a smart 3-stage converter like the PD-4655. It will read you battery voltage and apply the proper charge, whether bulk, absorption or when it's full...... float.
Lew, at what voltage are the batteries getting dangerously low?
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Old 07-30-2015, 07:44 PM   #20
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It's not a good idea to drop your battery voltage below 50% depth of discharge. This number varies with specific batteries, but is generally recognized to be between 12.0 and 12.2 VDC for liquid cells and 12.2 VDC for Lifeline AGM batteries. Other AGM cells might differ.

AGMs are more tolerant of deep discharges below this point, but you decrease the useful number of charge cycles, and thus the longevity of the battery every time you draw them below the 50% level.

Conversely, the LESS you use a battery ( lower depth if discharge and assuming it is being properly charged) the more charge cycles you can expect.


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