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Old 09-14-2021, 05:39 PM   #1
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Batteries are dead

Iím a newbie to Airstreaming. I stored our 2010 Excella for the summer. Turned the batteries off, now 5 months later they are dead. How do I charge them? Do I need to take them out and hook them to a battery charger?
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Old 09-14-2021, 05:46 PM   #2
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Hi

How did you "turn the batteries off"? If you did it by throwing the typical "use/store" switch to the "store" position, that's good for maybe a month before the batteries go flat.

Bob
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Old 09-14-2021, 08:02 PM   #3
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You could just plug in your trailer then the converter/charger will charge the batteries, you might need to put the store/use switch into use. Just realize you definitely damaged the batteries. How much you will need to find out. It's possible they have lost 20% of capacity, they might not hold any charge at all or anywhere in between.
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Old 09-15-2021, 08:53 AM   #4
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Hi

Running the internal converter / charger in long term storage is not a great idea. The batteries really don't "like it". Things like lighting hits *do* happen. Cords get unplugged and breakers get tripped by unknown gremlins.

The best thing is to either pull the negative lead off the battery or put in a ($30) full disconnect switch. Then just leave it and all will be well. ( assuming the battery is in good shape to start with ....).

Bob
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Old 09-16-2021, 04:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Running the internal converter / charger in long term storage is not a great idea. The batteries really don't "like it". Things like lighting hits *do* happen. Cords get unplugged and breakers get tripped by unknown gremlins.

The best thing is to either pull the negative lead off the battery or put in a ($30) full disconnect switch. Then just leave it and all will be well. ( assuming the battery is in good shape to start with ....).

Bob
Well he needed that info 5 months ago. He apparently had it in store mode with no charging and parasitic draws that made the batteries go dead 4 months ago. I said he should try the converter for coming out of long term storage and try to find out if his batteries are any good or junk.
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Old 09-16-2021, 04:24 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Wazbro View Post
Well he needed that info 5 months ago. He apparently had it in store mode with no charging and parasitic draws that made the batteries go dead 4 months ago. I said he should try the converter for coming out of long term storage and try to find out if his batteries are any good or junk.
Hi

If the batteries are dead, most converter / chargers will just sit there. They see < 6V on the DC bus and assume there is a short. Until something gets the batteries running again, they do nothing.

Batteries that have sat dead for 4 months likely aren't coming back to life. The rational question is always "what killed them". Since new batteries are the next step, properly caring for them *is* useful info.

Bob
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Old 09-16-2021, 05:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bkisner View Post
Iím a newbie to Airstreaming. I stored our 2010 Excella for the summer. Turned the batteries off, now 5 months later they are dead. How do I charge them? Do I need to take them out and hook them to a battery charger?
My advise.

Your second Post should be, "OK I've got new batteries now what should I do?"

And I would say..."Plug the trailer in wait till they're fully charged and make sure that the next time you leave it for five months that you fully charge them and disconnect the negative terminals."

Happy face.

Sweet Streams

Bob
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Old 09-17-2021, 10:18 PM   #8
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Most RV batteries require only a tiny constant charge. What works well is a 5 or 10 watt solar module wired across them.

As a matter of possible interest, I have installed sufficient solar on our house in Sydney (Australia) to not just run it- but have the electricity 'supplier' pay us about $10 a day.

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Old 09-18-2021, 07:52 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Collyn View Post
Most RV batteries require only a tiny constant charge. What works well is a 5 or 10 watt solar module wired across them.

As a matter of possible interest, I have installed sufficient solar on our house in Sydney (Australia) to not just run it- but have the electricity 'supplier' pay us about $10 a day.

Collyn
That is true IF there is no parasitic draw. Unfortunately if you only set the store/use switch to store and do not truly have the batteries disconnected you can still have a constant draw of 0.2 amp to as much as 2 amps draw on the batteries with some Airstreams. Some have propane detector, inverter and sub-woofer, maybe more still connected to batteries.
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Old 09-18-2021, 08:15 AM   #10
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1) Get a kill switch and use it when you store your AS longer than a few days.
2) Get either a pair of 6V Trojan T105's or a set of AGM's from Costco, Sams, Wallmart, or where ever...the 6V's will outperform/last the 12V's.
3) Get a 4 stage converter to insure your not boiling out the water (overcharging) your batteries while plugged into shore power. The multi-stage converter, will regulate the proper charge and keep your batteries properly maintained. AS's older than 2018, all had single stage converters...many of us have replaced with Progressive Dynamics or Boondocker type 4 stage controllers (call Randy at Bestconverter.com) to avoid the " battery shuffle". Good luck!
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Old 09-18-2021, 10:17 AM   #11
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Solar outside...Garage Power inside... 12 months

Currently I have a pair of Lifeline AGM Batteries in the 2019. During the daylight hours camped... Solar. When stored in the RV Garage... plugged.

My Airstream is a 2019. Same Batteries. Still holding a charge.

My 2006 had a small factory installed solar panel on the roof and two Interstate AGM batteries. In 2014 I sold the trailer and the batteries were... fine. Stored at an outdoor storage RV lot.

I had a 2014 25 foot International. Interstate wet cell stock batteries were dead, as the dealer did not maintain a charge sitting on the lot. They had the trailer hooked up to a battery cart to demonstrate how everything... worked. Interstate gave me a credit against a pair of AGM's I purchased and installed.

I installed the Interstate AGM batteries into the 2014, bought a Costco 100 watt Solar Panel with Controller and when Boondocking, fully charged. While stored in the RV Garage plugged into power... always fully charged. Never had a problem. Sold the trailer and never heard back from them... Yes, I did get payment, too.

Now I have a purchased new 2019 with two factory 80 watt panels on the roof, two Lifeline batteries and carry a PORTABLE Costco 100 watt panel with controller installed in the battery box, portable panel wiring plugs into the right side of the battery box plug. From the dealership with the 3 inch lift kit, also part of the 'deal'. Worked in 2019 and 'buzzing voltage' when Boondocking as of last week.

The 2019 had a Solar plug wire stock with the trailer. I wired the +/- correctly and get lots of Solar... if needed. The two 80 watt panels are still attached on the roof... do fine, but if I think I need a bit of a boost... the Costco 100 watt Solar Panel connected and moved with the Sun.

At worst... secure by light rope onto the Airstream's roof when stored outside, plug it into the battery box with controller for constant daytime charging. I write my name on all sides and the back of the panel. Just in case someone else thinks it is a good idea for... their SOB Trailer.

The $99.00 Costco portable Solar Panel is hauled flat on the BED while traveling. I take the bed spread at the end and flip it over the lower third of the panel. It has not moved since 2019. The solar panel, not the bed... of course.

When we park for the day... Boondocking or Parking Lot... we can put trailer pillows on the dining table and lay the Costco Panel on top with the wiring bundled. It weighs maybe 40 pounds and awkward in the trailer to move. Outside... have a long cord and move it with the Sun. That bright object in the sky during the day...

What am I doing Wrong?
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Old 09-18-2021, 10:44 AM   #12
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In addition to the great info you have been given there is another significant factor: the self-discharge rate of the batteries. There are a lot of variables here, the primary one being the battery technology. Wet cell lead acid batteries will self-discharge at 3-5% a month (significantly more at warmer temperatures); AGM’s at about half that; lithium batteries very little.

This might be your primary cause, and will not be addressed by disconnecting the batteries. A battery tender/maintainer — solar or shore power — may be required.
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Old 09-18-2021, 12:23 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by field & stream View Post
In addition to the great info you have been given there is another significant factor: the self-discharge rate of the batteries. There are a lot of variables here, the primary one being the battery technology. Wet cell lead acid batteries will self-discharge at 3-5% a month (significantly more at warmer temperatures); AGMís at about half that; lithium batteries very little.

This might be your primary cause, and will not be addressed by disconnecting the batteries. A battery tender/maintainer ó solar or shore power ó may be required.
Hi

Even with wet cells, there is a wide range of numbers that get tossed around. Trojan T-105's (which are darn good flooded batteries) are rated for 5 to 15% per month: (so "do not use" at just over 3 months ...)

https://www.trojanbattery.com/pdf/da...ata_Sheets.pdf

They also have some unusual charge requirements.

Others come up with numbers as low as 1% per month under "normal" conditions. Indeed few T-105 owners report anything close to the 5% number.

Bob
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Old 09-18-2021, 12:47 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bkisner View Post
How do I charge them? Do I need to take them out and hook them to a battery charger?
Remove the batteries and connect them one at a time to a modern external battery charger (it is possible to connect them both, but since you are a self-described newbie, don't try it). The battery charger may struggle for some time, maybe a couple of hours or more, but it will eventually advise you that it is charged, or give some error code indicating that it is bad. If it's a lead acid battery, likely sulfation, which is usually permanent. If either battery is bad, replace them both.

In my experience with my 2000 Excella, good lead acid batteries are ok for no more than two months in storage mode. There are parasitic loads from CO detector and other unknowns that will deplete fully charged batteries over that amount of time. That is my rule of thumb. If they are lead acid, after 5 months they are like a charge-off as they don't like to be dead that long.

What do you replace them with? That depends entirely on how you use your trailer. If you are always camping with hookups as we do, spend a couple of hundred at Costco for replacement lead acid and you're more than good. If you like extended dry camping or boondocking, you may need a more sophisticated setup costing thousands of dollars, and this forum has lots of sage counsel to help you spend that money.

I hope this helps.
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Old 09-18-2021, 08:31 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Wazbro View Post
That is true IF there is no parasitic draw. Unfortunately if you only set the store/use switch to store and do not truly have the batteries disconnected you can still have a constant draw of 0.2 amp to as much as 2 amps draw on the batteries with some Airstreams. Some have propane detector, inverter and sub-woofer, maybe more still connected to batteries.
That is true but one does not have to be or have Edison, to install (or have installed) an isolating switch to disconnect temporarily unneeded services.

Collyn
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Old Yesterday, 06:37 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Bkisner View Post
Iím a newbie to Airstreaming. I stored our 2010 Excella for the summer. Turned the batteries off, now 5 months later they are dead. How do I charge them? Do I need to take them out and hook them to a battery charger?
What type of batteries? If AGM or any lead acid based like flooded cells, you can equalize them . You can use an external charger or change you built in one. Follow the equalize procedure for the charger. If they are flooded, make sure to check the water levels first.
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Old Yesterday, 07:49 AM   #17
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That is true but one does not have to be or have Edison, to install (or have installed) an isolating switch to disconnect temporarily unneeded services.

Collyn
Hi

The key point that a lot of owners apparently didn't get told is that the use/store switch is *not* a full disconnect. The factory now puts full disconnects ( or they did) on trailers. Even with those rigs folks didn't get the information about using that switch ....

(Yes, you could debate the "didn't get told" vs "got told and forgot" thing. Either way, they aren't doing it right ...).

Bob
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Old Yesterday, 11:36 PM   #18
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Batteries are dead

Real disconnect switch in the positive lead from the battery. Wiring protection from an 80 amp MRBF fuse and fuse holder bolted to the battery positive switch. Full disconnect in a 1/4 turn of the knob.
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Old Today, 06:24 AM   #19
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Go back to post#10 and read #3 again...this is a real problem for many, many of AS owners with pre 2018 model AS's. A mechanical discounnect "kill switch" will help mitigate any power leakage when not in use, but the OEM single stage converter that comes stock with all the older AS's has caused many of us battery issues over the years...fix the source of the problem (single stage converter) and get new batteries.
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