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Old 01-20-2022, 02:28 PM   #1
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2016 27' International
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Trickle charger as a short term solution for converter

Hi

We just changed the batteries in our 2016 international signature. Now it appears the converter needs to be replace as the batteries do not hold a charge even if we are plugged to shore power. I can not bring the trailer to my dealer as I am traveling now and it is something I can not do myself. I got a hold of a mobile rv repair guy but it might be awhile before he can replace the converter. Would charging the batteries with a trickle charger while they are connected to the trailer be a viable short term solution. Any downside ? What if I removed the batteries all together? Can the AC and the fridge work whitout 12V? Or does anybody know where we can have this converter replaced near Oscar Scherer state park where we are staying for another 8 days

Thanks
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Old 01-20-2022, 04:47 PM   #2
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When traveling you need 12 volts DC in order for the breakaway brakes to engage in an emergency should the AS break away from the TV

As you travel, if your umbilical cord is properly configured, your TV will charge the batteries through a direct connection in the umbilical.

An external charger connected to a 120 VAC source will charge the batteries while installed in the AS. This will be your best bet

I would leave the batteries in place, nothing to gain by removing them

The A/C needs 120 VAC to operate, nothing from the batteries.
The fridge needs 12 VDC and propane or 115 VAC to cool (or possibly full 12 VDC to cool, depending on the fridge (3-way option)). If the batteries are charged up from the external charger they should provide enough 12 VDC to energize the fridge control board and ignite the propane as you travel and the TV will charge the batteries as you travel. Do not use the all 12 VDC option when on the road.
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Old 01-20-2022, 05:58 PM   #3
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Try the airstream dealer in Tampa.
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Old 01-20-2022, 06:57 PM   #4
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Much better than a "trickle charger" is a multi-stage smart charger like this: https://www.amazon.com/Schumacher-SC...NrPXRydWU&th=1

Once you get the converter replaced you can use this in your garage to charge batteries as needed outside the trailer, or to charge a car or boat battery. This is the kind of charger I'd recommend that most people keep handy for those times someone leaves a light on overnight or runs their car battery down somehow.

Many trickle chargers don't have the needed amperage to keep up with the draw in the trailer.

A better bet would be to get a replacement converter and just replace it yourself. If you're not comfortable with that, then perhaps there are others in your campground that can help. The converter connects to the system with a 120v plug on one end and the two 12v wires on the other end.

There are many here who can walk you through the steps of doing the swap if you need.
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Old 01-20-2022, 07:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich W View Post
When traveling you need 12 volts DC in order for the breakaway brakes to engage in an emergency should the AS break away from the TV

As you travel, if your umbilical cord is properly configured, your TV will charge the batteries through a direct connection in the umbilical.

An external charger connected to a 120 VAC source will charge the batteries while installed in the AS. This will be your best bet

I would leave the batteries in place, nothing to gain by removing them

The A/C needs 120 VAC to operate, nothing from the batteries.
The fridge needs 12 VDC and propane or 115 VAC to cool (or possibly full 12 VDC to cool, depending on the fridge (3-way option)). If the batteries are charged up from the external charger they should provide enough 12 VDC to energize the fridge control board and ignite the propane as you travel and the TV will charge the batteries as you travel. Do not use the all 12 VDC option when on the road.
Thanks for your help. I think I will leave the batteries connected and on the charger. That should let me use the lights in the trailer and once I move from one campsite to another the batteries will be charged by my tow vehicle and I should be able to use the fridge on propane.
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Old 01-20-2022, 07:20 PM   #6
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Try the airstream dealer in Tampa.
Thanks I might try that. Airstream in Fort Myers could not give me an appointment before April
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Old 01-20-2022, 07:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
Much better than a "trickle charger" is a multi-stage smart charger like this: https://www.amazon.com/Schumacher-SC...NrPXRydWU&th=1

Once you get the converter replaced you can use this in your garage to charge batteries as needed outside the trailer, or to charge a car or boat battery. This is the kind of charger I'd recommend that most people keep handy for those times someone leaves a light on overnight or runs their car battery down somehow.

Many trickle chargers don't have the needed amperage to keep up with the draw in the trailer.

A better bet would be to get a replacement converter and just replace it yourself. If you're not comfortable with that, then perhaps there are others in your campground that can help. The converter connects to the system with a 120v plug on one end and the two 12v wires on the other end.

There are many here who can walk you through the steps of doing the swap if you need.

Thanks. I used the term trickle filter but in fact that might not be correct. This is the charger I am using.
https://smartercharger.com/products/ctek-multi-us-7002.
As for replacing it myself I looked at a video that was on the best converter website and am not sure I want to go that route at this point but might consider it later
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Old 01-20-2022, 07:40 PM   #8
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That's better than most, but seems to be only 7 amps, which should maintain a charge but won't do much to keep up if you have anything running inside the trailer. Guess it all depends on what your needs are. If you user that, watch the settings on it. If you keep it at the 14+ voltage level it will eventually cause excess water loss in the batteries.

You'll have to do the math to see if 7 amps will be enough to get you through with the loads you run.

At the price of the unit though you could buy a decent multistage converter and just replace yours permanently.
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Old 01-20-2022, 07:48 PM   #9
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Trickle charger as a short term solution for converter

Lewster, a long-time member here and a guru of all things Airstream (especially electrical), usually winters in SW Florida. You might try to PM him.
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Old 01-21-2022, 09:33 AM   #10
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Lewster, a long-time member here and a guru of all things Airstream (especially electrical), usually winters in SW Florida. You might try to PM him.
Thank you
I just reached out to Lewstet by PM and also sent him an email at is rvsolar email. Hopefully I will hear from him soon.
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:05 AM   #11
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Hi

One major question would be: Is it the converter or the batteries? I'm not saying the converter is perfect, they most certainly are not. All I'm saying is that sorting out one problem from the other is often a bit difficult.

On a 2016 trailer, if you still have the original batteries, they easily could date to 2015. That's a lot of years on lead acid batteries.

Bob
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:25 AM   #12
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Hi

One major question would be: Is it the converter or the batteries? I'm not saying the converter is perfect, they most certainly are not. All I'm saying is that sorting out one problem from the other is often a bit difficult.

On a 2016 trailer, if you still have the original batteries, they easily could date to 2015. That's a lot of years on lead acid batteries.

Bob
I thought the same thing, but the line in the original post talking about not holding a change even while plugged in led me to believe that the converter was not supplying 12v power to the system.

Of course, another question to ask here is whether or not there is 120v power reaching the converter to begin with? Is the breaker tripped? Is there a switch behind the curtain which someone inadvertently turned off?

Or are the batteries so far gone that they're creating a huge drain on the converter and it can't keep up?

Lots of troubleshooting that could be done.
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:56 AM   #13
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My Inverter died, and Iím currently using a NOCO GENIUSPRO25. I believe they now have a a GENIUSPRO50 which I would have bought if it had been available at the time. B&H Photo shipped it to me quickly.

I added an additional set of marine grade terminals to my batteries and utilize the plug in wiring to connect to 20 amp. Batteries are at 100%.
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:56 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
I thought the same thing, but the line in the original post talking about not holding a change even while plugged in led me to believe that the converter was not supplying 12v power to the system.

Of course, another question to ask here is whether or not there is 120v power reaching the converter to begin with? Is the breaker tripped? Is there a switch behind the curtain which someone inadvertently turned off?

Or are the batteries so far gone that they're creating a huge drain on the converter and it can't keep up?

Lots of troubleshooting that could be done.
Thanks for your help. The batteries are new ,before I installed them in the trailer I put them on the charger and made sure they were completely charged. I disconnected from the pedestal before putting them in and the seelevel monitor was showing 12.9 V. I then plugged on shore power and open a few lights after 2 hours the reading was 12.5V. I checked every breaker and no fuse seems to be blown out.
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Old 01-21-2022, 11:00 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Papa smurf View Post
Thanks for your help. The batteries are new ,before I installed them in the trailer I put them on the charger and made sure they were completely charged. I disconnected from the pedestal before putting them in and the seelevel monitor was showing 12.9 V. I then plugged on shore power and open a few lights after 2 hours the reading was 12.5V. I checked every breaker and no fuse seems to be blown out.
Does your trailer have a switch on the way for the converter? Possibly behind the drapes?
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Old 01-21-2022, 11:28 AM   #16
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Does your trailer have a switch on the way for the converter? Possibly behind the drapes?
I donít think there is such a switch, if there is I never used it since I bought the trailer in 2016.
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Old 01-21-2022, 11:59 AM   #17
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The procedure for checking the converter is pretty simple - if there is 120v in the outlet where it's plugged in, there should be over 13v DC coming out of it. If not, then time to shop for a new one.
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Old 01-21-2022, 12:20 PM   #18
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Yes to the above. Use the meter to read the DC voltage when the trailer is plugged in. If it is not over 13 you converter is not working. A automotive charger will make an acceptable substitute for a while. You are charging 2 deep draw batteries at intermittent periods so get one up around 20 amps or more.
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Old 01-21-2022, 12:31 PM   #19
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I've got a 2018 27' Globetrotter FBQ. I've got a shorted 12V circuit (No 5) and as a result there is no heat or AC. The thermostat needs 12V and it controls the heat and A/C. The Heat and A/C use 120VAC but they are controlled by the thermostat.
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Old 01-21-2022, 12:41 PM   #20
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The procedure for checking the converter is pretty simple - if there is 120v in the outlet where it's plugged in, there should be over 13v DC coming out of it. If not, then time to shop for a new one.
You might have guessed it by now but I am a complete ignorant when it comes to all things electric. This is a picture of the power center in my Airstream. I kind of figured out that the converter was behind the row of fuses. I would not know where it is plugged in. I could always buy a meter but I still would not know what to check
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