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Old 05-08-2021, 08:11 PM   #1
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2019 27' Tommy Bahama
Foothill Ranch , California
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Question Help! Lost Power - while hooked up!

2019 TB 27' FB here. This one has me totally confused!

Everything was working fine and coach plugged into 50 amp since last Sunday when we were camping. This morning we turn on Fantastic fan to ventilate (have noticed it was making a minor squeaking sound at times, like it needs lubrication, but dealer didn't get to it on the last go around).

Come back this afternoon and coach is "mostly" dead:
No interior lights
Fridge Flashing E4 and (even though it's hooked up to power & LP) all ice has melted
Hit the battery switch and it's showing 8.8(!)

But here's the weirder part:
Coach disconnect will NOT work! (Red light stays on regardless of which position)
While the lights won't go on, the exhaust fan over the stove and fantastic fan run
The red LED light on my exterior connection glowing red (isn't it normally that color?)
No fuse tripped on the circuit breaker powering the 50 am connection
Doesn't seem to be any circuits tripped inside the coach
Weirder still, my hard wired EMS system is completely dead - won't read anything on my cell app "devise not found" and when I look at the unit there's no light at all.

The two battery connections still look good (I think these are original Interstate batteries) - but with full hook ups, why would they come into play?

Any suggestions deeply appreciated! Luckily we are at home, but we're supposed to leave later this week!
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Old 05-08-2021, 08:32 PM   #2
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Sounds like your EMS died and power is not getting past it. With no power to the charger, the batteries drained. Disconnect the batteries before anything else bad happens to electronics and put a charger on the batteries directly to get them back up as soon as you can. They don’t like being dead.

Does your EMS have a bypass? If so, do you have an external one to use? I would use something in case there is a ‘reason it died’. If you have a bypass and an external protector to you, your trip should be fine. Otherwise you need to test and likely replace the EMS before you go. Good luck.
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Old 05-08-2021, 08:33 PM   #3
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Sounds like your surge protector gave up the ghost and you factory interstate batteries are now dead. With the surge protector dead no AC power was allowed to the converter so the batteries were carrying the load.

Now why the fans are running make no since. They are both DC powered so they should both be inoperable at 8.8V.
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Old 05-08-2021, 08:40 PM   #4
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I’m wondering if you are getting a good connection from you power cord to your airstream. You could try some dielectric grease on the terminals where the cord and airstream connect. The cord will illuminate regardless if the connection is made to the airstream. It lights up when the cord receives power from the shore connection. If you make a good connection, everything should come back to life...except possibly your batteries. I would disconnect the batteries and get them on a charger right away if you can’t power up the airstream. You might be able to save them... not guaranteed.
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Old 05-08-2021, 10:02 PM   #5
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I've triple checked the connection for shore power. It's clearly hooked in correctly.

Why would the coach disconnect refuse to work?

Wondering if these symptoms could be from one of the two batteries shorting out internally.
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Old 05-09-2021, 09:39 AM   #6
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Update - I put each battery on a trickle charger overnight. Battery reader in coach now at 10.8 and the coach disconnect will now go off when you push the switch (wouldn't before). And all the interior lights are now working.

I'm assuming this means that one of my two batteries has an internal short and I'll need to replace both?
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Old 05-10-2021, 05:11 AM   #7
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The disconnect switch is battery powered. So it wouldn’t work at 8.8v. I guess the fans would but ran slow. Keep the batteries charging. The surge protector/EMS still sounds like it is the issue.
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Old 05-10-2021, 10:54 AM   #8
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Update - and more questions

So I replaced both batteries ($73 each at Costco - not bad!) for the original ones (production date 7/17...I guess that lifespan isn't all that bad).

I put both on a trickle charger and got them both up to 13.4. Then unplugged the coach from shore power, but left the power disconnect un-disconnected. We took readings at each of the batteries and watched them drop, almost like an elevator 13.3...13.2...13.1...13.0 Why were they dropping so fast? I did have the front panel replaced at the front storage locker (warranty) and I know there are a bunch of electronics located on the curb side of that locker (inverter?) - could a wire have been pinched or grounded?

While on the trickle charger I noticed that every time the charger came online (with the "click") I could hear what I think was the power converter fan come on (at the floor, behind the fuse panel box). The inverter wasn't on and there wasn't anything on at all inside the coach. Is it true that these converters aren't all that great and there are better, more efficient ones out there? Suggestions?

Shore power disconnected, the battery level seemed to stabilize at 12.5, where it's remained for several hours. (How low can you draw the batteries down without hurting them?). I'm going to plug the shore power back in and see if the batteries charge back up to 13.4.

Oh, and another odd thing. We've had a Hughs Autotransformer EMS system https://hughesautoformers.com/power-...ge-protectors/ hard wired in our coach, and it's always worked great. Yet, after the batteries were replaced and the shore power reconnected, the awesome phone-amp couldn't find the EMS system. I opened the cabinet and the unit wasn't powered up as it always was. Nothing. That had me really concerned as if it won't come on, the coach couldn't get shore power. About an hour later a neighbor came over and I was describing what happened, went to open the cabinet - and the unit was powered up! Sure enough the app was working too. Now I'm really confused!

Any suggestions? We're due to camp this weekend (full hook ups) and I'm concerned we're going to have issues!
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Old 05-10-2021, 11:16 AM   #9
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Regarding your voltages on the new batteries: a flooded lead-acid battery isn't going to hold much more than 12.7 or 12.6 volts over time, even with zero or negligible load. You'll see a short term "surface charge" that's a little higher after you stop charging, but a perfectly healthy fully-charged flooded "12v" battery will show 12.7v, and 12.6v is much more common since perfect health and perfect charge are fleeting conditions.

Are you looking at the battery voltage on your SeeLevel meter on the wall? Or are you measuring at the battery posts with a real meter? My SeeLevel always reads a bit more than a tenth below what I see at the battery posts... there's resistance in the system, nothing's perfect, etc.

With your inverter attached to the batteries but switched off, there's always a small load across the batteries. I set mine up with 2 disconnects, so I can disconnect the inverter entirely when I'm not using it to eliminate that standby draw. It's more than enough to pull off the surface charge from the batteries, but they should hang in the 12.6v range for a long while with just that little standby draw along with the propane detector. What you saw as the batteries "dropping so fast" from 13+ volts is just a normal condition as they give up that surface charge.
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Old 05-10-2021, 12:28 PM   #10
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One general comment Mark . . . it is recommended that you wait an hour or so, after you stop charging batteries, in order to get an accurate voltage reading. As David just said, 12.7 volts +/- would be normal for a new flooded cell battery IMO.

It might be helpful to do the above . . . wait for a mental reset . . . and start on the same page again IMO. [ignoring EMS issues for now]

If there is some weird phantom draw, that should become apparent. A stable reading of 12.5 for "several hours" indicates a fairly stable situation IMO, with the batteries being about 90% "full."

See this Battery School article for more details:

http://www.batteriesnorthwest.com/ba...ool.cfm?TID=12

12.3 volts +/- is the time to recharge [~50%], or risk battery damage.

If you have time to leave the trailer after charging, with the Use/Store switch on "Store," and come back in a few hours, that will help diagnose any hidden phantom draws, but of course none of your 12-volt systems will work, including the control circuits for the fridge etc..

Good luck,
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Old 05-10-2021, 05:10 PM   #11
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Thanks, All!

As a first year newbie, I'm learning a lot. (Sometimes by choice, other times by necessity!)

I wasn't aware of the "let the battery rest an hour" rule, so that's very helpful. And the battery link was very helpful.

I spoke with my service advisor at Airstream, and we're pretty sure it was just a battery issue. I'll be able to confirm that tonight when I get home and see what the current charge is. To answer the question of how I was measuring the charge; it initial drop was measured right off the batteries at the terminal. But the later measurement was off my battery read out in the kitchen.

They did say that the power converter isn't the greatest, and that going to a four stage may be a sound investment - especially if we go to Lithium-Ion batteries in the near future. They recommend a PowerMax or Wolfco(sp?) ~ anyone heard of either? I'm not sure how to access it, but I know it's somewhere behind my central fuse block at the bottom of the pantry.

The Hughs Watchdog group were equally confused on my my unit didn't come back on immediately. So we're going to watch the entire system closely.

Fingers crossed we're good for this weekend's outing!
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Old 05-10-2021, 05:29 PM   #12
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I'm guessing what you heard as "Wolfco" is "WFCO" and that's a no in my opinion, they aren't wonderful. I put a PowerMax deck-mounted converter in my Argosy and was happy with it. However, at this point, with regular batteries, you're probably fine with the factory converter in a 2019. *IF* you change to lithium batteries you'll need to upgrade the converter to one that can be configured for the right charge profile for those.

My theory on what happened to you is that your EMS had some sort of transient problem that was (at least temporarily) cleared up by the reset of unplugging from shore power and plugging back in. While your 120v input through the EMS was down, your trailer switched over to battery power and ran the batteries down, to the point at which their capacity may be reduced. A battery hydrometer can give you a definitive answer on the condition of each of the battery cells (it's an inexpensive tool or you can take the batteries to a shop that has one.). New flooded batteries are cheap (80ish each at Costco) and if you're not doing a lot of long boondocking trips should be fine for the time being while you're thinking about upgrades.
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Old 05-11-2021, 09:14 AM   #13
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All good points!

But here's a shocker on the batteries - even though Costco's are flooded, they're permanently sealed! No way to check or add water! The ones my coach needed are Group 24 and they were $74.99 each + 15 core charge.

Checked out the coach yesterday as extensively as I could...now everything is normal. This weekend's camp out will be the acid test!

As far as converters, I realize that we use ours much more than the inverter - coach is plugged in at home and most of the time when we camp. I found this YouTube video pretty informative. Our cooling fan is annoyingly loud, so I'm starting to research true four-stage chargers. Thanks very much DKB on the WFCO "head's up". I have to figure out how to access where the current one is to figure out what space limitations I have. (I can hear it behind the fuse panel, but don't know how to get there)
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:30 AM   #14
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Innnteresting. In 2018 the Costco $80ish batteries (Interstate Group24s) had caps that I pry off, 2 caps covering 3 cells each. I'm not sure why they'd change to "maintenance free" but things do change.

The converter in a modern trailer is generally built into the lower part of that "power center" which contains the 120v breakers and 12v fuses. A number of people on the forums have upgraded theirs, there should be threads related to that. I think the drop-in replacement of choice is the Progressive Dynamics PD4655 which comes in "vanilla" or "lithium" versions (and I've no idea whether the lithium one is configurable or ONLY suited for lithium battery systems, caveat emptor.) The Powermax one is probably the "main board replacement" model.
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Old 05-11-2021, 12:24 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark of SJC View Post
. . .
Checked out the coach yesterday as extensively as I could...now everything is normal. This weekend's camp out will be the acid test!
. . .
Thanks for the update . . . have fun!

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Old 05-23-2021, 12:30 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark of SJC View Post
But here's the weirder part:
Coach disconnect will NOT work! (Red light stays on regardless of which position)
I don't think of the Use/Store switch as a disconnect but what you describe is normal.
When on battery the red light is only on during the "use" position, however, while plugged into ac power, the red light is on in both "use" and "store".
I know, confusing.
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Old 05-23-2021, 01:34 PM   #17
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Just a thought...surprised nobody has mentioned the converter (4stage) past discussion threads here. There’s even a step by step picture guide to installing one that we used to do it ourselves!
Try going to bestconverter.com for great info on airstream converter replacements. We put in a PD4655VL 55 amp converter from them . This is a four stage and essentially solved a lot of battery issues. Randy is an excellent resource at best converter as well. Don’t wait to get a four stage converter.
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