Free 7 Day Trial RV GPS App RV Trip Planner Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Free 7 Day Trial ×
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 07-04-2017, 06:32 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
 
2017 16' Sport
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 51
Images: 1
Battery Died Right Away

Pretty new to trailer camping here, and have been dealing with good deal of struggles. Finally got the husband to go along with me this time, but it was my first trip boondocking and I had really hoped it would go smoother. We're planning to travel for a couple of weeks with the trailer soon, and I'm trying to work out all the kinks to make for a relatively stress-free vacation.

I have a brand new 16' Bambi, with 1 standard Interstate battery and a portable solar panel. A thing to note, I just had the basic FAN-tastic fan switched out with one that's reversible and has a thermostat. Theoretically, this would help alleviate some need to run the A/C (which I hope to never run anyway as it is deafeningly loud) and is supposed to automatically shut itself off when it gets cool enough.

The AS had been charging in the driveway for a couple of days. We drove 2 hours to our campsite, getting there really late, after 10:00pm. After backing into the spot (thank goodness I had someone helping me navigate in the dark) I realized it was pretty sloped. We didn't want to make a ruckus trying to level it and the kids were zonked, so we figured we'd all just go straight to bed and deal with it in the morning. We didn't use much power except to turn the water heater on for a few minutes so I could briefly shower off. We had the LED lights on for just a few minutes also. The fridge was running, but was set to run off propane. It was warm and stuffy, so I turned the fan on low and set the thermostat dial to moderately cool. I woke up in the middle of night sort of chilly and noticing that the fan was still running, so we shut it off. So much for it turning itself off.

We woke in the morning to a check light on the fridge and a dead battery. We leveled the trailer as best we could and plugged in the solar panels. The fridge finally kicked back on, but we could never get the battery fully recharged. As long as it was plugged into the solar panels, it would read around 11+ or bounce right back up to 13+ when the car was running, but within an hour of being unplugged even with no power usage, it would drop down to the 9 range, or quicker if the fridge was running. We finally gave up and just turned the fridge off, hoping it would stay cool enough with the couple of ice packs in there to get us through the day. We basically had to go the rest of the trip with no power. We had just enough to turn the water pump on a few seconds at a time.

I'm really confused. I was under the impression that if the refrigerator was set to gas as opposed to auto that it would work off the propane or not at all, but should not drain the battery. I realize it was probably not working the first night due to being unlevel, but not sure why that would affect the battery. We didn't run anything else except the fan, but I wouldn't think that would so rapidly zap it either. I knew I'd never be able to run the A/C on battery power, but was thinking we'd probably be able to run the furnace for a few minutes on low if it ever got really chilly. I'm now thinking that's not going to happen.

I checked the water levels on the battery. They didn't look significantly low, but I'll be sure to top them off when the trailer's done re-charging. I'm not sure what to do at this point. I don't know if there's something wrong with the fridge or if there's something else I should or shouldn't be doing to prevent battery loss.

I'm looking into options for a generator or an additional battery, but I really thought we'd get more than a few hours of minimal use out of the battery installed. This has kind of turned me off to boondocking. I don't want to run a loud generator or keep moving solar panels around all day. Maybe we should just throw more ice packs in the fridge, keep our lantern handy, and not count on any power at all.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Holly
polyester is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2017, 06:45 PM   #2
2 Rivet Member
 
2017 16' Sport
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 51
Images: 1
how does fridge's "auto" mode affect battery?

Another question, if the fridge is set to Auto and isn't connected to shore power, it should still opt to use propane over battery, correct? Is there any reason it would try to use battery power unless the propane tanks were shut off? I'm wondering if somehow it might have been set to Auto, though I tend to keep it set to use propane by default unless we connect to shore power at a campsite.

- Holly
polyester is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2017, 06:54 PM   #3
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
Currently Looking...
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 12,106
Hi

The fan will pull a bit under 2 amps when running. The fridge will pull another 1 or 2 amps from the 12V depending a bit on what it's doing (fans and other stuff run on 12V). Things like random LED lights and the smoke and propane detectors can easily add another amp or so. That may get you into the 3 to 5A region. Your battery is good for about 13 hours at 5 amps. That's run to dead. You should keep it above 50% charge, that would be about 6 to 7 hours. Taking it down to dead will damage it.

On a new trailer, you never quite know what the dealer did or did not do to the battery. It could have been damaged before you ever got the trailer. That also assumes it was charged to 100% capacity at the start. It also assumes the battery was at 70F (capacity is lower at colder temperatures).

Best bet - you have a damaged battery. Head back to the dealer and see if they will swap it out under warranty.

Bob
uncle_bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2017, 06:54 PM   #4
2 Rivet Member
 
2016 27' Flying Cloud
Little rock , Arkansas
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 52
I took my 2016 27FB batteries to the Interstate store and they said "you need two new batteries, bad cell in each". Free replacement for first year. I put them on a CTek charger and the new ones work fine.
Dtrentr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2017, 06:56 PM   #5
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
Currently Looking...
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 12,106
Quote:
Originally Posted by polyester View Post
Another question, if the fridge is set to Auto and isn't connected to shore power, it should still opt to use propane over battery, correct? Is there any reason it would try to use battery power unless the propane tanks were shut off? I'm wondering if somehow it might have been set to Auto, though I tend to keep it set to use propane by default unless we connect to shore power at a campsite.

- Holly
Hi

The spec sheet for the 16' Sport shows a two way fridge. It will run on LP or shore power. It will not switch over to 12V for the main power source. Regardless of power source, it will use 12V for the controls and fans.

Bob
uncle_bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2017, 07:11 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
dbj216's Avatar

 
1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 7,098
Images: 1
Hi Polly: Don't be discouraged. All trailers have problems to solve. I've never had a completely trouble free trip. I enjoy the fixing needed in our trailers. It's always something. On our last trip, I developed a plumbing leak with water dripping from the bottom of the trailer. Great. (Note, my trailers are vintage old.)

You may have a defective battery. Have it tested thoroughly.

Your dealer, or any RV tech, or even me can test a discharging current in amps from your battery as installed with the trailer just sitting, nothing running. You would expect to see almost zero amps. Maybe your new trailer has a short, or maybe there is a storage compartment light on, or something like that. This test is done with an amp meter.

I don't know your tow vehicle. But most folks unplug the 7 pin umbilical cord even if they don't unhitch the trailer. The umbilical cord has a "charging" wire to help charge the trailer battery while driving. If the tow vehicle battery is of lower voltage than the trailer battery, the current will flow trying to equalize the voltage in both batteries. Late model vehicles don't have this problem.

The fridge pulls very little power. Not likely the cause of the discharged battery.

The vent fan does pull a load, but I would expect it to run all night without a problem.

You will find the problem before your next trip.

David
dbj216 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2017, 07:23 PM   #7
2 Rivet Member
 
2017 16' Sport
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 51
Images: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

The fan will pull a bit under 2 amps when running. The fridge will pull another 1 or 2 amps from the 12V depending a bit on what it's doing (fans and other stuff run on 12V). Things like random LED lights and the smoke and propane detectors can easily add another amp or so. That may get you into the 3 to 5A region. Your battery is good for about 13 hours at 5 amps. That's run to dead. You should keep it above 50% charge, that would be about 6 to 7 hours. Taking it down to dead will damage it.

On a new trailer, you never quite know what the dealer did or did not do to the battery. It could have been damaged before you ever got the trailer. That also assumes it was charged to 100% capacity at the start. It also assumes the battery was at 70F (capacity is lower at colder temperatures).

Best bet - you have a damaged battery. Head back to the dealer and see if they will swap it out under warranty.

Bob
Ugh. I hate taking it to the dealer, but I kind of hope you're right. I was also suspecting a bad battery or bad connection somewhere.
polyester is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2017, 07:27 PM   #8
Rivet Master
 
jdalrymple's Avatar
 
2009 27' FB Flying Cloud
1991 35' Airstream 350
Jay , Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,695
The "brain" of the fridge uses some 12 volt power even with the cooling set to propane.

i am not sure if the fridge in a 16' has one, but most RV fridges have a heater in the door seal area to control condensation that uses even more battery power. There should be a switch to turn off this heater.

The thermostat in the fan takes a little getting use too. It will turn off automatically, but it takes some use to learn where to set it.

The battery gauge on the trailer monitor is a poor indicator of actual battery level. It measures real time voltage, which is going be the voltage of the charge being applied by the solar panel, car, convertor, or whatever it may be.

The only real way to know the actual level of battery reserve is to disconnect the charging source, let the battery rest for an hour or so then read the voltage level.


I would check the umbilical from your vehicle to make sure it is supplying adequate voltage and current to run the appliances you wish to run while traveling, insuring a charged battery upon arrival.


It may be that your trailer sat on the dealer lot long enough to discharge and ruin the battery before you took delivery.

I would request a replacement.



Regards,

JD
__________________
Jeff & Cindy
'09 27FB Flying Cloud
'91 350 LE MH
jdalrymple is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2017, 07:54 PM   #9
2 Rivet Member
 
2017 16' Sport
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 51
Images: 1
Right, the read out was the power from the source and not what the battery was retaining. It didn't seem like it was holding much of a charge. I think I read somewhere that it takes a couple of days of solar to charge it back up, but it didn't seem to be charging it all, only working as a source.

The battery was fully charged before we left, so even if there was a short between the TV, it should have been in good shape when we arrived at the campsite just 2 hrs away. I didn't check it before we went to bed.

Seems strange to me that it seems to hold the charge after being plugged in at home. I'm about to unplug it now that it's been recharging for a couple of days and will re-check it this evening and tomorrow to see if it's losing power.

If it's still holding power as expected, maybe I'll just test each appliance one at a time to see which causes it to plummet.
polyester is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2017, 07:54 PM   #10
Traveler
 
TravlinMan's Avatar
 
2017 25' International
Staunton , Virginia
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 939
Quote:
Originally Posted by polyester View Post
Ugh. I hate taking it to the dealer, but I kind of hope you're right. I was also suspecting a bad battery or bad connection somewhere.
If they're Interstate Batteries and ya got one in your area ya can go there instead of the dealer, that's what I did with mine and it took about 30 minutes and cost nothin. Just another option.
TravlinMan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2017, 08:01 PM   #11
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
Currently Looking...
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 12,106
Quote:
Originally Posted by polyester View Post
Ugh. I hate taking it to the dealer, but I kind of hope you're right. I was also suspecting a bad battery or bad connection somewhere.
Hi

The issue is that you really don't know what's wrong. It's a pretty good bet the battery is toast. It may be toast because of a defective "something else". The dealer may or may not be sharp enough to dig into it. A battery guy almost certainly isn't going to dig into the trailer systems.

Spend some time going over everything. You likely will come up with a list of a dozen minor things that the dealer can dig into all at the same time.

Bob
uncle_bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2017, 12:02 PM   #12
2 Rivet Member
 
2005 25' Classic
Conroe , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 38
TV antenna amplifier

Check that. When its on, it pulls a surprising amount of power.
wrhnco68 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2017, 12:10 PM   #13
4 Rivet Member
 
JRF0st3r's Avatar
 
1967 22' Safari
West Fork , Arkansas
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 341
We had a similar issue recently when we stopped for a night at a motel. The only appliance running was our 12 V DC / AC refrigerator, In the morning the TriMetric monitor said our 2 AGM batteries with 250 amp-hour capacity were down to 25% of full capacity. It took us 10 days or so of chatting in the appropriate Air Forums technical site, as well as the refrigerator tech support and other experts to resolve the issue. Our problem was the monitor and how it was set up. We had changed shunt to one smaller than it was set for. At this point I could not get the monitor to revise shunt type. On advice of some smart folks, I changed to a Victron BMV-702 monitor and all is well.

Of course this may not be your issue at all but it is conceivable, at least to me.
Jim
JRF0st3r is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2017, 12:25 PM   #14
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
Currently Looking...
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 12,106
Hi

Keep in mind that the "stock" monitors don't have a shunt like the Victron 700's do. The stock monitors just look at voltage. They then *assume* that they know the charge on the battery based just on it's voltage. There are a lot of holes in that assumption. Drop on the wires when they carry current is one. Temperature of the batteries is another. It's a list that just keeps going on from there ....

Bob
uncle_bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2017, 12:40 PM   #15
Rivet Master

 
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Sag Harbor , New York
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 17,550
Quote:
Originally Posted by polyester View Post
. . . I'm about to unplug it now that it's been recharging for a couple of days and will re-check it this evening and tomorrow to see if it's losing power.
. . .
Good feedback already IMO.

You have one battery, correct? And the water levels are to the top of the plastic tubes in each cell? Use only distilled water to fill if needed.

After unplugging from the shore power, and waiting an hour, what was the battery voltage on the monitor (without any 12-volt devices turned on).

Is is possible to wait a day, and report the voltage tomorrow, without making any changes?

One step at a time, I guess. I would also recommend that you buy a hydrometer and test the specific gravity of each cell.

Good luck!

Peter

PS -- You should also review these threads for "phantom loads" you may have, including the propane detector:

https://www.google.com/search?q=phan...:airforums.com
OTRA15 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2017, 11:53 PM   #16
1 Rivet Member
 
2016 25' Flying Cloud
Carter Lake , Iowa
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 8
You can take the battery to an Interstate battery store, as opposed to the AS dealer. I had a bad cell in each of the 2 Interstate batteries in my 2016 FC, and the battery store changed them out at no charge under the 1 year warranty.
__________________
2016 Flying Cloud 25' FB
Carter Lake, Ia
GeMeiner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2017, 12:28 AM   #17
2 Rivet Member
 
2017 16' Sport
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 51
Images: 1
I had left the Airstream plugged in for a few days in the driveway and unplugged it this morning. I didn't get a chance to check the monitor before heading to work. I checked it when I returned home this evening expecting that there should still be a full charge. My monitor only reads "OPn". Looks like I have more problems. I went ahead and switched the power off. I guess I can top off the water in the cels now, assuming it should be fully charged, but I guess it will indeed be headed back to the shop again. What a pain.
polyester is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2017, 04:35 AM   #18
Rivet Master

 
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Sag Harbor , New York
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 17,550
Ugh! What a pain indeed. Good luck at the shop!

Peter
OTRA15 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2017, 02:15 PM   #19
Rivet Master
 
McDave's Avatar
 
2014 23' Flying Cloud
Fair Oaks , California
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 717
Battery Died Right Away

Being a complete neophyte when I bought the Airstream, I didn't realize that pulling the emergency plug that powers the trailer brakes in the event of a disconnect will cause a continuous 10+ amp drain on the batteries unless you immediately plug it back in. It took several nights of complete battery discharge resulting in one fried set of batteries before I finally figured that out for myself. The dealer never suggested it; figured nobody would be that dumb, I guess. All they made were intelligent suggestions, like the ones listed above.
McDave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2017, 03:47 PM   #20
Rivet Master
 
gypsydad's Avatar

 
2017 28' Flying Cloud
2014 25' FB Flying Cloud
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Georgetown (winter)Thayne (summer) , Texas & Wyoming
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 4,097
Dead Batteries

Friend just picked up his 23D Flying Cloud and you guessed it; dead batteries. We had same issue from same dealer on our 2014; chassed the problem with the AS techs back then and turned out to be dead cells. Interstate was very good about 100% credit and I got 2 sealed AGM's and paid the difference. With my friends new 23, we were in Glacier and for 3 days, we tried several charging solutions; solar, generator, trailer plug, which led us to conclude it was batteries. We drove to Interstate dealer in Helena, and they gave us immediate replacement, no questions asked. The batteries we had did not have the date stamped, but still, they did not give us any grief. The tech said he services all the batteries on his route with several RV places, and has to replace after 6 months if not sold. My feeling is, AS dealers are dropping the ball if they don't check these out prior to taking delivery. I sent an email to management of the dealer in CA last week about how stupid it is for service not to check the cells in the heart out (batteries) on each AS prior to delivery. Have not heard back yet.

Side note: When we talked with the service manager while up in Glacier while troubleshooting the issues, he told us he would recommend replacing batteries with AGM's and also he would replace the converter with a Progressive Dynamic converter...another $200-300. It supposedly is smarter then the stock unit now in AS, and will tend the batteries when fully charged...I likely will get this at some point. Just ticks me off that this has to happen so often to many of us.
__________________
Empty Nesters; Gypsies on the road!
2017 28' Twin Flying Cloud
2017 F250 King Ranch, 4X4, 6.7L, Blue-Ox WDH
Summer-Star Valley Ranch RV Resort (Thayne, WY); Winter-Sun City (Georgetown,TX)
gypsydad is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Right sealants on the right sections BoldAdventure Leaks - Weatherstrips, Gaskets, Caulks & Sealants 5 11-22-2014 11:09 AM
Getting 1 solar panel, should I just get 2 right away? JustSomeGuy Generators & Solar Power 24 01-28-2014 08:22 PM
Right Rear Tire Wearing on Outside & Right wheels Closser together than left wheels Tnsawdust General Repair Forum 7 04-10-2009 07:49 PM
The right acid works with the right applic got polish Cleaning, Stripping & Polishing 1 07-17-2008 08:50 PM
Refrigerator died James Schmidt Refrigerators 9 10-18-2002 10:59 AM


Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:30 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.