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Old 04-16-2019, 08:56 PM   #1
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2019 23' Flying Cloud
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New batteries not holding a charge.

We just bought a 2019 23’ Flying Cloud a
Month or so ago. When we store the trailer on battery disconnect mode and not hooked up to electricity, the batteries are barely lasting a day without needing a charge. The water levels are fine, but shouldn’t the batteries last several days or weeks if it’s in battery disconnect mode? I also bought, but have not used, a trickle charger. I am not sure how to hook it to the battery terminals with the parallel wiring pattern in the pic...I assume it’s the positive terminal on one battery and the negative on the other.

Any advice would be appreciated.Click image for larger version

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Old 04-16-2019, 09:35 PM   #2
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Welcome Aboard!! 👍

No Airstream should be delivered without NEW batteries.
You are not alone...have your dealer test them, no have your dealer replace them and then test the entire charging system...pretty sad when you can't get a trailer delivered as it should be.☹️

Advisory this...🤔

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Old 04-16-2019, 09:51 PM   #3
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Oddly, the battery disconnect doesn't, at least it doesn't disconnect everything. A recent post said that the awning controller is not disconnected by the switch. Other suspects include the inverter, which must be turned off at its control panel, the propane detector, a subwoofer, and maybe other things. And let's not forget "lot rot" which is when the dealer leaves the disconnect switch on and runs the batteries down to zero repeatedly prior to delivery. After a few times, the batteries won't hold a charge.

Typically, the disconnect switch must be in the use mode to charge the batteries and it can take several days to get a full charge, depending on the converter.

Your best option is to take the trailer to your dealer and have them find and correct the problem.

If your dealer can't help you or isn't nearby pull the batteries and take them to an Interstate dealer. They can charge and test them for you and should replace them under warranty if necessary.

Once batteries are charged you can test for phantom drains, if you or a friend have some electrical testing knowledge and skills. If not, we are back to the dealer.

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Old 04-16-2019, 10:53 PM   #4
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Should last about a month if stored with full charge. Do not discharge to below 50% capacity. That is 12.2 volts measured after a 10-20 minute rest with no load. The converter can top up the batteries with an over night charge, but full charge can take a lot longer as reported above.

You can improve battery life by installing a marine type disconnect switch at the battery or just disconnecting the battery cables. Reconnect before towing so you have the emergency breakaway power for the brakes. Pat
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Old 04-17-2019, 08:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smeserole View Post
We just bought a 2019 23’ Flying Cloud a
Month or so ago. When we store the trailer on battery disconnect mode and not hooked up to electricity, the batteries are barely lasting a day without needing a charge. The water levels are fine, but shouldn’t the batteries last several days or weeks if it’s in battery disconnect mode? I also bought, but have not used, a trickle charger. I am not sure how to hook it to the battery terminals with the parallel wiring pattern in the pic...I assume it’s the positive terminal on one battery and the negative on the other.

Any advice would be appreciated.Attachment 338359
Hi smeserole,*

Congratulations on your new Airstream! Please send us a direct message with your contact information and the last 6 digits of your VIN so we can share it with our Customer Service and Technical Support team. We look forward to helping you get this resolved.

You can also reach Airstream Customer Service and Technical Support at*customer_support@airstream.com*

Thank you.*
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:27 AM   #6
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Answering one question. Yes the charger connects to one positive and one negative. It is much better if they are negative one battery and positive the other.
I would endeavor to protect the exposed parts of that one positive battery post. Always a chance of dropping a metal wrench.
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Old 04-17-2019, 10:08 AM   #7
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I've also had problems with the 12v Interstate batteries that came with my '16 Flying Cloud FB and I credit all of those problems to new owner inexperience.

Reading the forums, I was worried about my single stage inverter/converter not charging the batteries properly, so I made sure to always keep the trailer in the "store mode". I purchased a small trickle charger to keep on the batteries when it was parked at the house. What I learned was that the charger was so small, it wasn't even keeping up with the parasitic draw from the accessories that others have mentioned.

One of my batteries went bad, so I purchased and installed another Interstate and bought a bigger trickle charger. Subsequently I've learned that batteries should be replace in pairs because I'd already done damage to the second battery.

I've started this season by replacing both 12v batteries with 6v batteries, as I've read many good reviews about going to 6v, particularly if you like to boondock. It took a bit of trial and error to get them to fit. They stand too tall, so removing the plastic tray at the bottom of the battery box was the only way I could get them to fit without touching the top cover.

I'm hoping that my learning curve has improved and that I'm getting better with battery maintenance.
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Old 04-17-2019, 10:08 AM   #8
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Our AS batteries lasted a few months before they were shot. Interstate replaced them and allowed us to upgrade to 6v golf cart batteries. Upgraded the converter to a 4 stage and no worries ever since.
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Old 04-17-2019, 11:59 AM   #9
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This is not uncommon in new trailers. Think of it this way. A dealer may have 30 to 100 Airstreams on their lot. Do you think they run extension cords and battery chargers out to every trailer. Some sit for months without a charge which allows the battery to discharge to a point the batteries are forever damaged. They are charged up before delivery to a new customer but usually only gets to a "surface charge" of 12+ volts. Works for a while but not for long.

On AS events, I've been asked probably 6 times to come check out someones new trailer because the batteries won't hold a charge. Most think it's a problem with internal charger but it has always been damaged batteries right from the dealer.
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Old 04-17-2019, 03:12 PM   #10
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Dropped my '19 GT at the dealer this morning for the exact issue, but I have the AGM that come with the factory solar.

Good luck to us both!
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smeserole View Post
We just bought a 2019 23’ Flying Cloud a
Month or so ago. When we store the trailer on battery disconnect mode and not hooked up to electricity, the batteries are barely lasting a day without needing a charge. The water levels are fine, but shouldn’t the batteries last several days or weeks if it’s in battery disconnect mode? I also bought, but have not used, a trickle charger. I am not sure how to hook it to the battery terminals with the parallel wiring pattern in the pic...I assume it’s the positive terminal on one battery and the negative on the other.

Any advice would be appreciated.Attachment 338359
Your batterie re mot likely junk....load test them after a charge......mine last 5-6 years....4 days with out a charge
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Old 04-17-2019, 05:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PKI View Post
Should last about a month if stored with full charge. Do not discharge to below 50% capacity. That is 12.2 volts measured after a 10-20 minute rest with no load. The converter can top up the batteries with an over night charge, but full charge can take a lot longer as reported above.

You can improve battery life by installing a marine type disconnect switch at the battery or just disconnecting the battery cables. Reconnect before towing so you have the emergency breakaway power for the brakes. Pat
Are you sure 50% capacity is 12.2 volts ?
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Old 04-17-2019, 05:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by insleeg View Post
Are you sure 50% capacity is 12.2 volts ?
Yes, plus or minus. Check this Battery School page for the voltage readings:

http://www.batteriesnorthwest.com/batteryschool.cfm

This site is a great resource for general RV battery knowledge IMO.

BTW some folks recommend waiting an hour or more after removing shore power to check the voltage — and to turn off as many 12-volt functions as possible.

Happy Trails,

Peter

PS — FWIW with careful monitoring and storage practices the standard OEM Interstate batteries can last many years, even with a single stage charger.
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by insleeg View Post
Are you sure 50% capacity is 12.2 volts ?
Here are a couple of threads that reference the concept.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...art-69200.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...ng-169242.html see post #9
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smeserole View Post
We just bought a 2019 23’ Flying Cloud a
Month or so ago. When we store the trailer on battery disconnect mode and not hooked up to electricity, the batteries are barely lasting a day without needing a charge. The water levels are fine, but shouldn’t the batteries last several days or weeks if it’s in battery disconnect mode? I also bought, but have not used, a trickle charger. I am not sure how to hook it to the battery terminals with the parallel wiring pattern in the pic...I assume it’s the positive terminal on one battery and the negative on the other.

Any advice would be appreciated.Attachment 338359
Just to clarify your assumption about battery connections - 12v parallel like the photo is positive to positive and negative to negative. If you choose to go with the 6v golf cart batteries, you’ll use series: positive to negative to get 12v.

The best way to measure battery condition is with a battery hydrometer. Measure each cell and note the levels. That’s how Interstate tested my battery and found a dead cell (much lower that the others after a charge). You can pick one up at any auto parts store for a few bucks. Also, as PKI posted, here’s a description of specific gravity readings and charged levels. http://www.batteriesnorthwest.com/ba...m?TID=12#ANC12

*Both of my 2018 FC23FB batteries had to be replaced under warranty likely due to poor maintenance prior to delivery. Be religious about checking water levels! New AS trailers use a multi stage charger that should maintain them when connected to shore power.

By the way, I picked up a PulseTech dual charger to maintain and condition (desulfate) batteries in storage. Check out their full line of products: https://www.pulsetech.net/xtreme-cha...n-charger.html
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:18 PM   #16
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This is a common problem at the dealers

RUN don't walk back to your dealer and have them give you new batteries. I was too lazy to drive the 100 miles to get mine replaced while still under warranty. The battery never really worked just right. 15 months later I had to buy a new one. Now all issues are resolved (not holding a proper charge, not charging completely, etc)

This is happening way too often and a lot of time is spent diagnosing converter/inverters, battery set up. Address the easiest, fastest fix and get new batteries from the dealer. At their expense.

Airstream should also put their dealers on notice to ensure that every new trailer sold comes with NEW and properly maintained batteries.
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:45 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PKI View Post
Should last about a month if stored with full charge. Do not discharge to below 50% capacity. That is 12.2 volts measured after a 10-20 minute rest with no load. The converter can top up the batteries with an over night charge, but full charge can take a lot longer as reported above.



You can improve battery life by installing a marine type disconnect switch at the battery or just disconnecting the battery cables. Reconnect before towing so you have the emergency breakaway power for the brakes. Pat


I disagree that the batteries will last a month unless you completely disconnect them from the trailer. There are so many parasitic loads that most people will not even make it a week before hitting 12.2 volts.

For the OP....your batteries are dead! Not at all uncommon on a new trailer.
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:54 PM   #18
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The most accurate way to check batteries is to disconnect all loads. The best way is to disconnect the house ground wire from the batteries. Wait 1 hour after charging and check voltage with a digital multimeter. If it is not 12.8v with wet cell or 13.2v with AGMs charge them up and repeat. After the second test wait several hours. If the voltage drops 2 to 2.2v you have a bad cell. Each cell should contribute 2 to 2.2v toward the system. Be sure you isolate the batteries by disconnecting the parallel wire you if have more than one battery.
On Parallel setups you can get away with only replacing the bad battery if the good one load tests almost new on the scale. I have done that for years even with batteries that are several years old, but test OK.
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Old 04-18-2019, 06:15 AM   #19
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Are you sure 50% capacity is 12.2 volts ?
Depends on which expert you choose to use...🤔

Bob
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Old 04-18-2019, 09:40 AM   #20
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Depends on which expert you choose to use...🤔

Bob
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And, of course, how you’re doing the measurement. Lead acid batteries need to be at steady state open circuit (i.e. no load) for 12-24 hours for the voltage to indicate a true state of charge. With our necessary parasitic battery loads, this is never the case for 99% of us.

In addition, the voltage/charge relationship is temperature-dependent. For these types of lookup tables to be relevant, you need to make sure you’re accounting for battery temperature.

And most frustratingly, battery state-of-charge is quite dependent upon battery charging and usage history. Since we don’t generally manage charging profiles based on discharge history, the voltage measurement is only a loose proxy for the electrode surface conditions.
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