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Old 05-14-2020, 02:46 PM   #1
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tampa , Florida
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batteries dead on new FC

We bought a 2020 26' FC a few months back. Since we are in Florida we decided to build a carport to keep the sun off. It was completed two weeks ago. The batteries are now dead!! We have two solar panels on the roof which I know did not charge since they were covered by the carport, but we shut the main battery switch off. Why would the batteries go dead with the switch off??? I plan to install an external solar panel while the FC is sitting under the carport, but I just do not understand how batteries can discharge if the main battery switch by the door is off. Other than disconnecting the batteries is there another switch that I am missing? Any assist would be appreciated. Thank you!
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Old 05-14-2020, 03:34 PM   #2
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Airstreams and most trailers have a lot of parasitic power drains like the woofer, televisions, LPG detector, and microwaves unless you install a cutoff switch at the battery. Also if you bought a trailer off of a dealers lot the batteries could have been run down already.
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Old 05-14-2020, 04:18 PM   #3
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Install a solar panel on carport roof and run a wire to plug in at the tongue area. that should help feed the battery.
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Old 05-14-2020, 09:35 PM   #4
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When we bought our AS, the batteries that came in it wouldn't hold a charge more than 4-5 days. One battery was toast, so dealer replaced with two new. They would hold a charge in STORE mode a couple of weeks. Installed a disconnect switch at the batteries, now they hold charge for months and months and months. Not sure hold long because they have never run down.
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Old 05-15-2020, 05:35 AM   #5
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The biggest parasitic draw is the inverter. Disconnect the negative wire from it, and it will greatly extend the time before the batteries go dead. If you plan to use it regularly, simply get a knife switch, and install it between the 12v- battery post and the negative power lead for the inverter.
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Old 05-15-2020, 07:13 AM   #6
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It could be that the batteries are faulty (not maintained in the dealers lot perhaps) or the parasitic electrical draw, or a combination of both.

You definitely want to install a battery cut off switch.
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Old 05-15-2020, 09:36 AM   #7
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Most standard RV batteries have a short life. They need tending, charging and regular use or else they are toast. Before we invested in solar, we tried trickle chargers, trickle chargers indoors with the batteries removed for more even temperatures, battery tenders, monthly battery check ups and usage and still, we wound up replacing batteries annually. We did keep the trailer plugged into a battery tender all the time and unless a cell went dry it worked the best.

Our solar works really well to keep things charged and running and the batteries that were installed are no maintenance, but the trade off is you have to park the Airstream where the solar panels can be charged...or else you are playing the same game of checking and double checking the batteries regularly.
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Old 05-15-2020, 11:20 AM   #8
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Check manufacture date

So I donít know much about batteries, but we took delivery on our 2019 International 25í about 3 weeks ago. We are currently living in it full time as we are in transit (relocating) Anyway, even with full hookups, we realized our batteries were not holding a charge as they should. They were manufactured in 6/18 and we assumed had been sitting on the lot one way or another since. Hubby went to Costco and bought 2 new ones @ about $80 each. We switched them out ourselves. Problem solved. Much less hassle than dealing with dealer. Should we have had to buy new batteries? No, but given the great deal we got on our rig, small price.
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:30 PM   #9
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Batteries lose energy for a lot of reasons. They will self discharge at a rate of 3-10% per month - depending on how old they are. When you discharge a battery, sulfation build up on the plates as part of the process. When you charge to 100%, it burns off the sulfation and a little of the lead plates. If you do not bring the batteries to 100% on a regular basis and leave the batteries partially charge, the sulfation will crystallize and permanently decrease the battery capacity. Enough crystal build up and the battery will not have the capacity to hold a charge. Bouncing down the road causes vibration. Vibration can cause the internal connections of batteries to break - AGM, Gel and lithium batteries are generally vibration resistance. Sometimes there are manufacturing defects. Life cycles and depth of discharge have a bearing. Flooded, AGM and Gel lead acid batteries should never be discharged below 50% if you want them to last. Starter batteries should never be used for anything but starting. Marine Deep Cycle will last longer, Flooded Lead Acid Deep Cycle are better, Flooded Lead Acid Deep Cycle 6V Golf Cart are better yet and Lithium are the best. The better the battery, the more they cost - this is truly where you get what you pay for.
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Old 05-15-2020, 02:57 PM   #10
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Dead batteries

I second the issue is parasite draw.
I installed a simple knob battery cut off switch that attaches easily on the battery post and you attach the battery cable to the switch. Probably a 15 minute job if that.
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Old 05-15-2020, 04:17 PM   #11
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If I were you I would ask for new batteries. Once you let the Interstate Deep Cycle batteries go dead it pretty much ruins them (or at least shortens their life and effectiveness significantly) I replaced mine after one year. These batteries need constant maintenance; meaning you need to make sure the cells are filled with water, and you should have a trickle charger on them when not in use. That won’t happen with an Airstream on a lot.

Learned my lesson the hard way. I’ve had the present batteries now for 2 years and they are fine. But I check them regularly and a trickle charger on them constantly when I’m not using the camper.
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Old 05-16-2020, 12:06 AM   #12
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batteries dead on new FC

The dealer permanently killed your batteries by letting the unit sit on the lot without charging, and the inverter, LP detector and other devices drawed them down into an unrecoverable state.

2 things:

1. Get the Batteries replaced under warrantee
2. Install a mechanical disconnect switch otherwise this will happen again with your new batteries

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Old 05-17-2020, 03:44 AM   #13
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Thank you everyone! After reading the great replies it baffles me why the factory does not install a switch at the batteries.
So I bought a cutoff switch. And we have our warranty service scheduled for June 1st. Along with about 10 other items the batteries are now on our list.
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Old 05-17-2020, 10:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwesthof View Post
Thank you everyone! After reading the great replies it baffles me why the factory does not install a switch at the batteries.
So I bought a cutoff switch. And we have our warranty service scheduled for June 1st. Along with about 10 other items the batteries are now on our list.


They cannot due to code. Propane detector must always be on.
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:57 PM   #15
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Dealers never care for batteries

The batteries as they come from the factory are probably fine. Sitting on the dealerís lot, that are not cared for. Left without shore power they will die a slow death. The older AS units, pre Ď18 I think, did not have converters that would protect the batteries if the unit was hooked to shore power.
My 17 was delivered with damaged batteries. AS said they would pay to take them out and put new ones in, but not the cost of the batteries.
I took the batteries to Interstate and they replaced both for free since less than one year from date on the battery.
So, if your Interstate batteries are dead, take them to an Interstate Service Center and they will either give you new ones or prorate the cost.
I then replaced the converter and now I can leave the trailer on shore power all the time and the batteries are good as new. Check the water level periodically, but the new converter will not cook them.
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:30 PM   #16
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The Use/Store switch is not a battery disconnect.
There are still things connected such as the propane detector and maybe radio presets, subwoofer standby, inverter, converter, etc.

A lot of folks install their own real disconnect, or simply pull one side off the battery. Here's mine.
https://www.airforums.com/forums/blo...sconnect-3036/
It may be more than most folks need.

You could run a trickle charger on the batteries if you have power available.

Then, the batteries are group 24 Interstate batteries, not the most powerful, but I'm keeping mine. Just because your trailer is a 2020 doesn't mean the batteries are. Check.
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Old 05-20-2020, 09:07 PM   #17
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I see you're in Tampa OP. My batteries from RV One were outdated when I bought mine new. Check the dates and if they are old have them give you new ones. I did.
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:03 PM   #18
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My interstate batteries are 5 years old and going strong. Specific gravity test shows “good” on all cells. I Just keep them on a tender when not using the trailer. Also keep the water levels topped off. Seems that long life For these things is an exception. I’m thankful that mine are just fine and ready for another season.
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