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Old 10-11-2021, 11:02 PM   #1
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2021 30RB Classic
Tucson , Arizona
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Battery not charging on campground outlet

Hello,

I have 2021 Classic and full-timing since July. We have a good spot in a campground close to where I work where we stay most of the time. On the weekends, we travel to other campgrounds around the region to relax.

At the campground we usually stay, Iím hooked up to a 50 amp outlet and everything works fine while on shore power. Problem is, when we unplug before our weekend trip, the battery is low or dead. I figured it is a converter problem but since we live in the thing, Iím hesitant to take it in for repair.

The weird thing is that after we travel to the other campgrounds and hook up to their 50A, when we unplug at the end of the weekend to travel home, the batteries are fully charged and fine. This has happened on multiple (3x) occasions now.

Iím using a progressive industries surge protector and everything always checks out normally (E-0 code). The outlet also looks fine.

What kind of problem could it be at our main campground if everything works fine but the batteries are dying? Iím hesitant to tell the campground because we will likely lose our good spot. Is it something that is easy to fix?

Arthur
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Old 10-12-2021, 06:57 AM   #2
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Are you sure the batteries are getting charged by the converter or the TV. Perhaps as you travel to the other campground the batteries get charged via the TV, but then you don't actually use the batteries since your plugged in. When you're back at you normal campground the power doesn't stay on all the time and the batteries get drained down.

I'm of course grasping at straws here, since you didn't actually give us a lot of data to go on. What is your battery voltage while plugged in at your usual spot, versus the weekend spot? Is you unit always plugged in or does the power drop out? Only way to tell would be MW clock asking for time. What is the voltage at your usual spot (AC)? Is there another switch or disconnect that is not on to charge the batteries via the converter?

The lights in the AS and the pump would operate on 12v. So if the batteries are dead then the converter would seem to work since it is supplying 12v DC. So if it's supplying 12V then it should charge the batteries unless there is something not connected. The mere fact that you've killed the batteries a bunch of times indicates that the batteries at this point would be toast. So once you've figured out what the issue is then you'll need to replace the batteries.
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Old 10-12-2021, 07:39 AM   #3
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Check the output of the converter with a DVM. I agree, the TV is charging the batteries when traveling to a new location. If you disconnect the battery(s) do the 12v lights/items still work when connected to shore power?

I just had to replace my converter as it was stone cold dead...not sure how, but suspect a voltage surge. I knew something was up when the lights in the trailer would not work when I disconnected (store mode) the battery. I installed an EMS at the same time I replaced the converter.
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Old 10-12-2021, 08:14 AM   #4
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Get one of the little 12 volt meters that plugs into a 12 volt socket. Fifteen buchks. The will be enough to tell you if the converter is working. I keep one plugged in all the time. Wild guess, maybe one leg of the 50 has a connection problem?
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Old 10-12-2021, 08:46 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bill M. View Post
Get one of the little 12 volt meters that plugs into a 12 volt socket. Fifteen buchks. The will be enough to tell you if the converter is working. I keep one plugged in all the time. Wild guess, maybe one leg of the 50 has a connection problem?
Wouldn't the EMS tell you if you lost one leg of power?
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Old 10-12-2021, 09:08 AM   #6
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Maybe the batteries are bad?..ever check the water? Remove and charge completely and load test them separately..
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Old 10-12-2021, 09:10 AM   #7
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2022 Interstate 24X
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Hi

If the EMS is wired properly and is not broken in some way, you have proper voltage at all the campgrounds. The 50A internal Progressive will disconnect if things aren't right. If it's an external version then there are a few things that could be going wrong. You would see more than just the converter having issues if that was true.

First thing to check is to cycle the breaker on the converter. Next use your DVM to see if 120V is getting to the converter. Breakers do fail (and are cheap / quick to replace).

Next step is to pull the negative wire on the converter and see if your DVM shows > 13V between the + and - posts (or wires) on the converter. If there's nothing, then check the internal fuses or just replace the darn thing.

If you have solar then it may also have some issues. It should be able to keep up with the trailer while it's just sitting there.

Once you get the converter sorted, get the batteries capacity tested. (not a cranking test) to see what shape they are in. Running them flat is not good for them.

Fun !!

Bob
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Old 10-12-2021, 09:34 AM   #8
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I've had this problem twice. The first time the converter was completely blown out and dead; the second time the only problem is the batteries wouldn't charge from either sure power or when hooked up to the truck.

It turned out the problem was in the long 50 Amp cord that my dealer provided when I bought my Airstream. I generally use a shorter 50 Amp cord, so once they fixed the converter I had no problem until a year later when I was forced to use the longer cord. The dealer tested it and it had a short.
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Old 10-12-2021, 10:28 AM   #9
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I'm embarrassed to admit this but when I first bought my Airstream I wasn't aware that if the disconnect switch is in the Standby mode your batteries won't charge while plugged into shore power. I just kept it in Standby unless I was running solely on battery. The odd thing is that you still get 110V when plugged into shore power in the Standby mode.
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Old 10-12-2021, 11:01 AM   #10
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2021 30RB Classic
Tucson , Arizona
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Hi All,

Thanks for the input. Here is a bit more info for what it’s worth.

Two weeks ago after unplugging from the weekend campground, the battery indicator under the sink showed 12.9. It was 13.1 after driving home. This past weekend, when I unplugged from the main campground(after 1 week of shore power) the battery indicator under the sink showed the voltage @ 5.7. After driving about 2 hours to the weekend campground, the voltage showed 9.6. Three days later, after unplugging from the weekend campground, battery voltage was 13.1. It was 13.2 after a two hour drive home.

If I’m plugged into shore power and turn the battery disconnect switch off, the power in the whole trailer turns off. The breaker switch for the converter looks fine.

The progressive EMS is external.

The solar indicator above the sink shows 45 W in full Arizona sunlight.

The converter on the 21 classic is in a really awkward location. It is behind the breaker board and to get to it I’ll have to pull the board out with all the wires attached. I can see one of the fuses on the back of the converter and it looks ok.

Thank you, Arthur
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Old 10-12-2021, 11:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turonueve View Post
Hi All,

Thanks for the input. Here is a bit more info for what it’s worth.

Two weeks ago after unplugging from the weekend campground, the battery indicator under the sink showed 12.9. It was 13.1 after driving home. This past weekend, when I unplugged from the main campground(after 1 week of shore power) the battery indicator under the sink showed the voltage @ 5.7. After driving about 2 hours to the weekend campground, the voltage showed 9.6. Three days later, after unplugging from the weekend campground, battery voltage was 13.1. It was 13.2 after a two hour drive home.

If I’m plugged into shore power and turn the battery disconnect switch off, the power in the whole trailer turns off. The breaker switch for the converter looks fine.

The progressive EMS is external.

The solar indicator above the sink shows 45 W in full Arizona sunlight.

The converter on the 21 classic is in a really awkward location. It is behind the breaker board and to get to it I’ll have to pull the board out with all the wires attached. I can see one of the fuses on the back of the converter and it looks ok.

Thank you, Arthur
Hi

Since you have solar, it's a race between whatever you have running on the trailer (fridge?) and whatever comes in that day. Some days it'll keep up, other days ... not so much. That said, 45W in full sun into a battery at 12V is not doing very well at all with the normal number of panels on a 30' trailer. If the battery is up around 13.x V then that's not unusual.

If the '21 is similar to the '17, the converter is mounted to the same frame as the breakers, but it can be removed from that frame. This is AS / never the same way twice so ... who knows ....

The wiring from the converter should go to a "sub panel" next to the breakers. That's where you can monitor things and (sometimes) do the disconnect stuff.

Battery at 5.7V is well into the "doing damage" range. It also is low enough that the solar and converter / charger may cut off to self protect. Even being up around 9.6V is still well into the "damage" region. Best to plan on getting new batteries.

With an external EMS, you can have issues in the power cord or the connection to the trailer that will go undetected. Those issues will affect more than the charger. Spotting a problem depends on just what you played with here or there ....

On the bright side or things: If you are replacing the converter and the batteries it would be a great time to consider a lithium upgrade ( Yes, this all *is* under warranty, when my converter died after 6 months of use, I didn't even bother to go down the warranty route ....).

Bob
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Old 10-12-2021, 11:48 AM   #12
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The power converter/battery charger is dead. Replace it.

I just replaced mine this past weekend for the same reason. Noticed the problem shortly after I setup at the campground and no lights with battery disconnect in store position. Luckily the TV charged the battery to 100% and over three evenings my batter only dropped to 92%. LED lights are the only load.

I replaced my dead Boondocker 45 amp with a Boondocker 35 amp.

I now do not leave my trailer connected to shore power when not in use. This way, my converter is not always powered up when not needed. I occasionally will check battery voltage and top it up as necessary. A thought I had was to add a switch to turn the 120v power to the converter on or off. This way, I could leave the shore power connected (for a/c use) and turn the power converter off.
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Old 10-12-2021, 01:26 PM   #13
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Freebie tests. Bad cord? Plug the cord into the post, and the EMS at the Airstream end of the cord. Still getting good readings means cord is good.
Does your Airstream have 2 plugs to hook up to? One in front, one in back. Try the other one for an hour (stop if it makes nasty noises... [my] transfer switch was bad!) If the batteries voltage goes up in an hour something is askew in the wiring of the primary plug.
The USE/STORE switch is another piece of cheap crap that goes bad a lot. That one takes a meter to test. But replacing was so cheap, I did that just on speculation.. fixed problem.
Airstream MAY send you a replacement power supply if you can determine that it is the problem. Meet your neighbors. A grizzled veteran, even if a SOB owner, may have the skills and tools to be quite helpful. Airstream ASSEMBLES trailers, they buy every appliance, switch, converter, toilet from other suppliers. Your neighbor's converter is going to be very similar to yours. Converters seem to either die as infants, or last forever. Mine is the original 2012... probably cursed myself by writing that!
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Old 10-12-2021, 08:33 PM   #14
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Tucson , Arizona
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Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
Freebie tests. Bad cord? Plug the cord into the post, and the EMS at the Airstream end of the cord. Still getting good readings means cord is good.
Does your Airstream have 2 plugs to hook up to? One in front, one in back. Try the other one for an hour (stop if it makes nasty noises... [my] transfer switch was bad!) If the batteries voltage goes up in an hour something is askew in the wiring of the primary plug.
The USE/STORE switch is another piece of cheap crap that goes bad a lot. That one takes a meter to test. But replacing was so cheap, I did that just on speculation.. fixed problem.
Airstream MAY send you a replacement power supply if you can determine that it is the problem. Meet your neighbors. A grizzled veteran, even if a SOB owner, may have the skills and tools to be quite helpful. Airstream ASSEMBLES trailers, they buy every appliance, switch, converter, toilet from other suppliers. Your neighbor's converter is going to be very similar to yours. Converters seem to either die as infants, or last forever. Mine is the original 2012... probably cursed myself by writing that!
This is the most practical advice yet. Thank you! -Arthur
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Old 10-12-2021, 08:38 PM   #15
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Well, correct me if I'm wrong being new at this, but if you're hooked out to shore power, not sure why you're using the inverter. . With my 2022 International I only have to use the inverter when not hooked up to shore power. I'm currently at Cedar Point in East Hampton. Only water hook up. When on just batteries l I have to turn on the converter to run the the "TV's". When I turn on my generator to recharge my batteries it reads full charge at 13.6. No inverter needed. I was told when you don't need to use the inverter to turn it off. Maybe the inverter is draining your battery??
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Old 10-12-2021, 08:39 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Since you have solar, it's a race between whatever you have running on the trailer (fridge?) and whatever comes in that day. Some days it'll keep up, other days ... not so much. That said, 45W in full sun into a battery at 12V is not doing very well at all with the normal number of panels on a 30' trailer. If the battery is up around 13.x V then that's not unusual.

If the '21 is similar to the '17, the converter is mounted to the same frame as the breakers, but it can be removed from that frame. This is AS / never the same way twice so ... who knows ....

The wiring from the converter should go to a "sub panel" next to the breakers. That's where you can monitor things and (sometimes) do the disconnect stuff.

Battery at 5.7V is well into the "doing damage" range. It also is low enough that the solar and converter / charger may cut off to self protect. Even being up around 9.6V is still well into the "damage" region. Best to plan on getting new batteries.

With an external EMS, you can have issues in the power cord or the connection to the trailer that will go undetected. Those issues will affect more than the charger. Spotting a problem depends on just what you played with here or there ....

On the bright side or things: If you are replacing the converter and the batteries it would be a great time to consider a lithium upgrade ( Yes, this all *is* under warranty, when my converter died after 6 months of use, I didn't even bother to go down the warranty route ....).

Bob
Yes the lithium upgrade. Looks like this is the perfect opportunity. Time to convince myself that spending a few extra thousand now is better than taking advantage of the warranty. So many things to spend $$ on!
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Old 10-13-2021, 09:00 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by turonueve View Post
Yes the lithium upgrade. Looks like this is the perfect opportunity. Time to convince myself that spending a few extra thousand now is better than taking advantage of the warranty. So many things to spend $$ on!
Hi

Done the cheap way:

Two Renogy 100AH lithiums at $500 each (on sale)

One converter at $200.

Total parts cost $1,200

No, that's not the way I'd do it. I'd go with BB lithiums at $700 each (on sale) and get a 10 year warranty. I also would not be a beta tester on a brand new battery design .....

Total parts with BB's $1,600

Either way you double the usable amp hours.

Bob
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Old 10-13-2021, 09:15 AM   #18
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I’d say it’s the batteries. The lead acid batteries are not very robust.
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Old Yesterday, 07:12 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Kanusport View Post
Iíd say itís the batteries. The lead acid batteries are not very robust.
Hi

The AGM's that AS puts in are darn good batteries. They didn't cheap out when they picked them. The flooded cells ... not so much ....

Bob
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Old Yesterday, 09:12 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by turonueve View Post
Yes the lithium upgrade. Looks like this is the perfect opportunity. Time to convince myself that spending a few extra thousand now is better than taking advantage of the warranty. So many things to spend $$ on!
I'd be finding the problem first. And since it's under warranty why bother tearing things apart to figure it out when the dealer can. You can always upgrade later. But it sounds like you don't do a lot of boondocking anyway, so going lithium would be wasted money. My trailer has the converter disconnected so the batteries are only charged via solar since 2016. I rarely plug in. Maybe to run the AC when loading or unloading. But if you're always plugged in what difference does it make if the batteries are this or that. They should be able to store a charge for several weeks if they're not in use.

You indicated the batteries weren't charging or loosing their charge compared to one site over the other. Have you determined that this still the case?
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