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Old 12-18-2005, 10:10 AM   #1
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2003 19' Bambi
oakland , California
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 2
charging/blowing fuses on the Bambi

I am new with a used 2004 Bambi, which I purchased a few weeks ago back East and towed to CA. (This is also my first post to this formu, I hope I am in the right place.) I didn't have much time to familiarize myself with the systems with the seller and I have been getting to know the vehicle as I use it. The owners manual was missing.

However, battery life seems to be shorter than one would expect with two large batteries charged off the engine. When I was towing home this did not seem to be a problem, but I soon found that if I used appliances in the trailer such as the furnace while I was plugged in to the tow vehicle, I blew fuses in the tow vehicle and thus stopped charging the trailer. If I unplug before using "big" appliances in the trailer, the tow fuses seem to be OK. This limits life in the trailer.

At some point soon I want to travel and live in the trailer in remote areas, without access to a 120 volt electricity source. Is this called "boondocking"? ANyway, I am looking to find ways to provide myself with enough battery power to run the furnace and possibly the reefer on "low" part of the time while I am unplugged. I have a couple of flexible solar panels which I will install on the roof and probably buy a couple more to connect when I am camping.

The engine seems to charge the trailer only very slowly. Is it OK to speed this process by connecting to the car battery with jumper cables while charging the battery when parked? What about a small quiet portable gas generator carried in the tow? I'd be grateful for any ideas for solutions to the above problems...
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Old 12-18-2005, 10:30 AM   #2
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2006 30' Classic
Farmington , New Mexico
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 822
Images: 14
If you are blowing fuses while plugged in you have a problem, this is not normal. Have a qualified technican check the electricals. Even if the tow vehicles connection to the trailers electrical system is working properly this is not a good way to charge batterys when parked. As to charging batterys when boondocking unless you are staying where the sun is always available, and have adequate sized solar panels, a small generator may serve your purposes better.----Pieman
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Old 12-18-2005, 10:47 AM   #3
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2003 25' Safari
spokane , Washington
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 114
Images: 6
Drop me an email @ shortdog1@comcast.net.
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Old 12-18-2005, 11:12 AM   #4
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
St. Cloud , Minnesota
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 13,280
Images: 19
Blog Entries: 3
The Search function might help

Welcome to the forums!

I will trust you already have used the Search function. You won't get too far before you find reference to posts that do the hard math on solar output (slow) and potential light or appliance usage. Is it member Pick who has written such thorough analysis on the topic? There just isn't enough square footage on the roof to power much -- and the cost gets outlandish when you use only the area that is available! Even with an inverter you will not be able to power a microwave. Look at documentation for your fridge -- you should be able to run it off propane.

Your tow vehicle takes a lot of miles to recharge your battery through the umbilical. Over a hundred - sure. Over two hundred - maybe. A Honda eu2000i is quiet and can be used when you need lights most -- like preparing meals. I still use my old backpacker's candle lantern -- migawd I've never been able to stab my eyes with a Coleman lantern.

They make short winter nights for study and dreaming! Please come back often!!

5 meter Langford Nahanni

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Old 12-18-2005, 03:43 PM   #5
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1986 31' Sovereign
Miami , Florida
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,559
Blog Entries: 13
I don't think you should be blowing fuses in your tow vehicle with two onboard batteries but I will say that I always unplug he trailer cord when I park if for no other reason than to keep a mysterious electrical catastrophe from draining my tow vehicle's battery and leaving me stranded. While it is a handy feature to have the tow vehicle charge the batteries while towing, it is a slow process (pretty long run of cable back to the trailer, not to mention all the demands of the truck...). Clearly, we all need (sorry Tim) "more power".

We have some very "green" members who swear by solar but I am not one of them. My Honda 2000i puts out very clean power to charge my batteries and to run my appliances, especially during mealtimes. It won't run the A/C, but I generally seek out campgrounds with 30 amp available when the going gets hot... The Honda is extremely quiet and very miserly with fuel.

As for the owner's manual, I'll bet the folks at Airstream's parts department can hook you right up. Might want to get a maintenance manual as well.

Have fun and welcome to shiny side of the force...

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Old 12-18-2005, 04:03 PM   #6
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2018 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Austin (Hays County) , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 7,060
Images: 4
Owner's Manual

You should be able to download a user's manual from the Airstream site. It will be in pdf form and easily printed. I keep my original in the trailer and a pdf copy on both computers so I can look things up at anu time.

I found it advisible to download a pdf of the parts manual, as well. There is a lot more info there about the little details of construction as well as part numbers if you ever need to order anything.
John W. Irwin
2018 Interstate GT, "Sabre-Dog V"
WBCCI #9632
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Old 12-18-2005, 10:16 PM   #7
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
St. Cloud , Minnesota
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 13,280
Images: 19
Blog Entries: 3
Navigating airstream.com

On all but the opening home page (for instance - check 'The Buzz'), you can get a better idea how to navigate if you scroll down and click on 'Site Map' in the lower right corner. Check under Customer Services. You might have to inquire if it's anything newer than a 2004.

I also appreciate the Faq section for covering a lot of useful details.

5 meter Langford Nahanni

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Old 12-19-2005, 07:04 AM   #8
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 98
Pahaska - thanks so much for the manuals tip.... They are so much more detailed than what we found in the owner's manual we received with the trailer

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