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Old 01-27-2020, 05:42 PM   #1
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Batteries are dead

I have a 2012 FC with factory installed solar (2 Panels) on the roof and one year old batteries. I went to the storage yard today to check on it and found the batteries were dead. I have stored it outside since I bought it new and this has never happen before. I have always relied on the solar panels to keep the batteries charged. Anyway I was wondering if anyone had ideas as to what might have caused the batteries to drawdown especially since no electrical items were left on by accident. I am looking for potential causes however I will not be able to look at it until I take back to my home later in the week. So just looking for areas to begin with.

thanks
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Old 01-27-2020, 06:07 PM   #2
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Cold weather. Were panels clean? Snow? With a low draw and low angle of the sun, it would not take much to render your panels output to low to help.
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Old 01-27-2020, 06:08 PM   #3
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Did USE/STORE switch get left in USE? Did inverter get left on? Check USE/STORE operation once you get it home.

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Old 01-28-2020, 05:37 AM   #4
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I do not think the inverter was left on however the use/store switch was on.
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Old 01-28-2020, 06:13 AM   #5
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With the switch in USE, your subwoofer was no doubt energized, along with the propane detector that is always on. I guess the DC circuit to your thermostat was also ON. There may or may not have been anything else energized. But, in the winter that is probably enough to drain the batteries since your factory solar is only 100 watts and you live North of the mason-Dixon line.
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Old 01-28-2020, 06:24 AM   #6
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With the Store switch "on", any interior device would be energized if left on (closet light?). That could draw enough to overcome the batteries in cold / low solar charge condition and never recover.

No guarantees but you could try to bring them back with a slick trick I found on YouTube by Mercedessource: https://youtu.be/pH_ePyojQHM

When an AGM battery gets discharged so low, chargers may sense it as "bad" and refuse to charge. This guy connects a good battery to the dead AGM then connects the charger to the good battery. Over time, it slowly brings the dead battery back enough that you can connect a charger to the original dead battery. Pretty simple and all it costs you is time.

By the way, I also have factory solar but pulled my AGM's because I had a PulseTech charger that desulfates batteries. This will extend the battery life too.

Good luck with your issue!
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Old 01-29-2020, 11:00 AM   #7
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My thanks to all I will bring theAS home and hook it up to the house and see what happens
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Old 01-29-2020, 06:37 PM   #8
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an update. I went to the storage yard to bring home the AS. Yes the batteries were dead and the jack would not go up or down. I attached the 7 connector cable to the truck and the the jack worked. I went inside to see if any lights etc were on and found everything was off except for the radio which has always turned on when powering up. Turned it off. I checked the to see what the battery charge was and it read 11 percent. I have taken it home but have not connected to shore power will do that tomorrow. My question is will the shore power charge my batteries or do i need to use a battery charger. Also since we have sunlight and the batteries do not charge can I make an assumption that the solar is not working?

Thanks in advance
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Old 01-29-2020, 06:44 PM   #9
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Urnmor, you can try connecting to shore power and see if they’ll take a charge. If that doesn’t work, you may want to try the “recovery” trick with another good battery and charger until the dead ones have enough juice to take a charge.

Some smart battery chargers (like the one in the video I referenced in the earlier post) will do a test and indicate the battery is “bad”. I do not think the factory converter/charger is that sophisticated.

Good luck tomorrow!
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Old 01-29-2020, 07:16 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jeffmc306 View Post
Urnmor, you can try connecting to shore power and see if they’ll take a charge. If that doesn’t work, you may want to try the “recovery” trick with another good battery and charger until the dead ones have enough juice to take a charge.

Some smart battery chargers (like the one in the video I referenced in the earlier post) will do a test and indicate the battery is “bad”. I do not think the factory converter/charger is that sophisticated.

Good luck tomorrow!
Question are you referring to charging the batteries using a battery charger or plugging the AS into shore power to charge the batteries.
Thanks
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Old 01-29-2020, 09:02 PM   #11
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If you are getting ready for the 2020 summer camping season, why not just get new batteries, and then [quickly] figure out whether your battery charger/converter, solar brain, etc. are all working correctly? Brand new batteries will take one variable out of the diagnostic process.

Good luck,

Peter

PS -- To answer your recent question, if you want to keep your batteries for now, I would hook up a standard battery charger, and not plug into shore power just yet. [IMO]
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Old 01-30-2020, 08:25 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urnmor View Post
Question are you referring to charging the batteries using a battery charger or plugging the AS into shore power to charge the batteries.
Thanks
If you have a charger rated for Deep Cycle batteries, try that first as OTRA15 suggested. NOTE: A standard car battery charger is different than a deep cycle charger.

If you don't already have a charger, you can try the Shore Power option. I invested in a PulseTech charger for my first Airstream that had Interstate flooded acid batteries.

In fact, this model will charge both batteries in parallel simultaneously:
https://www.pulsetech.net/store/12v-...e-charger.html

Amazon sells both the single battery unit XC100-P Xtreme Charge 12V Battery Maintenance Charger Desulfator and the Parallel version.

By the way, I just noticed your trailer is a 2012 model. Are those the original batteries? Are they Interstate flooded acid (caps you can remove) or Lifeline AGM? If they're original, you might consider replacing them. New Airstreams with factory solar come with AGM's; just not sure what they did in 2012.

Good luck!
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Old 01-30-2020, 05:29 PM   #13
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I had a similar problem. I had always relied on my solar panel to keep the batteries charged. No problems until I moved my AS from one storage lot to another. Like you, I went to check on it one day and the charge was down to 50%, even with full sun. My solar panel will charge regardless of the Use/Store position, so I leave it in Store. I checked everything and I know the Propane detector is always on but it's never been a problem before.

After checking everything I went outside the AS to check the batteries. I looked up and saw the problem. The new lot has a large building and I was backed up to it. The sun in the winter has a low arc and the shadow of the building was coming across the top of the AS exactly over the solar panel. I pulled the AS forward about 5' and I was back in business. Now I have a new spot in the same lot, full sun all the time, other side of the building.
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Old 01-30-2020, 06:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urnmor View Post
an update. I went to the storage yard to bring home the AS. Yes the batteries were dead and the jack would not go up or down. I attached the 7 connector cable to the truck and the the jack worked. I went inside to see if any lights etc were on and found everything was off except for the radio which has always turned on when powering up. Turned it off. I checked the to see what the battery charge was and it read 11 percent. I have taken it home but have not connected to shore power will do that tomorrow. My question is will the shore power charge my batteries or do i need to use a battery charger. Also since we have sunlight and the batteries do not charge can I make an assumption that the solar is not working?

Thanks in advance
Yes the charger will charge them if good.
Original wet cell batteries? Yes... replace them.
Our Lifeline AGM's were well maintained, lasted 11 Seasons and are now powering an emergency sump pump.


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My radio was also a draw problem, even when shut off...if your's is similar take the faceplate off...nothing to power then.👍
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Old 01-30-2020, 06:40 PM   #15
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I’m tagging along to further my education.

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Old 01-30-2020, 06:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richw46 View Post
I had a similar problem. I had always relied on my solar panel to keep the batteries charged. No problems until I moved my AS from one storage lot to another. Like you, I went to check on it one day and the charge was down to 50%, even with full sun. My solar panel will charge regardless of the Use/Store position, so I leave it in Store. I checked everything and I know the Propane detector is always on but it's never been a problem before.

After checking everything I went outside the AS to check the batteries. I looked up and saw the problem. The new lot has a large building and I was backed up to it. The sun in the winter has a low arc and the shadow of the building was coming across the top of the AS exactly over the solar panel. I pulled the AS forward about 5' and I was back in business. Now I have a new spot in the same lot, full sun all the time, other side of the building.
Thank you I appreciate your response however unlike your situation my AS has been in the same location going on 4 years.
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Old 01-30-2020, 06:42 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Yes the charger will charge them if good.
Original wet cell batteries? Yes... replace them.
Our Lifeline AGM's were well maintained, lasted 11 Seasons and are now powering an emergency sump pump.


Bob
🇺🇸



My radio was also a draw problem, even when shut off...if your's is similar take the faceplate off...nothing to power then.👍
I like the idea or removing the radio faceplate especially since i never use the radio.
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Old 02-05-2020, 10:12 AM   #18
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Hi

If the batteries came with the trailer back in 2012, they are at the "time to replace" point. Depending on just how stock worked back then, they could be 10 years old. It ls unlikely they are less than 8 years old. That's a good long life on lead acid batteries. Once you take them down flat (and leave them there for a while) they get a bit more worn out.

What to replace them with? Anything from "on sale at Costco" through a full up lithium upgrade will do. Obviously it depends a lot of how you camp and what's in your wallet ...

Bob
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:23 AM   #19
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The $@#% "car type" radio can kill a battey in no time - we have 200 watts of solar on the roof of our AS and what we did was add an "off/on" toggle switch to kill the power to the radio. The only time we open the switch is if we want to listen to it. We have 2 T-105s that the solar keep charged all winter with the Use/store in the store position.
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:46 AM   #20
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same boat

great thread and info as I experienced the exact same thing a few weeks back. I too have 200 watts of solar and relied on those to keep the batteries charged, and it was great until I went to check recently and the batteries were dead. Hooked it to my truck and got them them to show back up on the charger, but I also had it in the 'use' mode, so I switched it to store since I know my radio is always on, the dumb thing is for a a car and doesn't have an 'off' function. I also plan to put a separate toggle on it this year as well which is a good idea, and will probably switch over to AGM's. I'm up north of Seattle so I guess i shouldn't be surprised there wasn't enough sun to charge them, but didn't realize it was that bleak! I also have 200 more watts to install this season as well....
Thanks again for starting this thread, it helps me a lot!
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