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Old 12-31-2017, 09:45 AM   #1
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With solar, no need to remove batteries in the winter?

Happy New Year! I winterized my 2016 Classic in October and have it in outside storage where I live at Fort Meade, Maryland. As you know we're having a cold snap right now. I stopped by a couple of days ago to check on things and went inside; tried to turn lights on; and it won't go from "Store" to "Use." I assumed that with solar panels up top, the batteries would stay charged. I'm a newby, but I read somewhere that it's a bad idea to not keep the batteries charged. I assume that my batteries are dead now. So do I need to buy a charger, take the batteries out and bring them home inside my garage and put them on the charger? Did I make the wrong assumption about the solar keeping the batteries charged all winter? Bryan Stewart, Fort Meade, MD
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Old 12-31-2017, 10:06 AM   #2
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If you have a propane detector that is on 24/7 regardless of the main power disconnect, then if the panels are covered in snow for an extended period of time your batteries will discharge.
I have separate disconnect for propane detector. Disconnect it when propane is disconnected for winter storage.
Al
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Old 12-31-2017, 10:09 AM   #3
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Don't know why they won't go from store to use. My '99 has a simple mechanical switch that you flip. Seems like you should have kept them on use? If they are on store do they stay charged? Seems like they wouldn't. I'm sure someone will jump in with more info about later model Airstreams.

That said, yes it's a bad idea not to keep them charged. That's why a lot of folks use trickle chargers in the off season. Low voltage is especially hard on the stock "deep cycle" batteries that are in many trailers. That said, like you I have solar panels (AM Solar) and I keep my batteries on 24/7/365 and charged up, to no ill effect. Nor should there be IMHO. My Trojan 6V golf deep cycle batteries last for many years doing this. This allows me to keep my step light on all of the time (LED) plus have the ability to walk into the trailer whenever and turn the lights on etc.

Hope you get squared away and Happy New Year to you also.
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Old 12-31-2017, 10:11 AM   #4
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Good point about the propane detector and other phantom battery drains. Also about the snow on the panels. As for me, when it snows, I sweep off the one panel closest to the edge of the trailer. That one 100 watt panel supplies more than enough to keep the batteries charged.
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Old 12-31-2017, 10:56 AM   #5
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If the charge controller is wired to the disconnect side of the solenoid the batteries won't charge in store mode. Not sure how the factory wires them.
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Old 01-01-2018, 12:38 PM   #6
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Extreem cold is the enemy of batteries. I remove my batteries on all my ATV's and tractor at my place in MT and put inside during winter, when not using for over a month at a time. Good insurance to help them last. While plugged into shore power, your AS can still function through the converter, even if batteries are not connected. I have a battery disconnect switch installed which I throw now each time I am home in store mode, even when plugged into shore power. But, we do use the AS in winter here some times, so I do not remove the batteries.

I would take them to Interstate and have them checked, if that is not too much of an inconvenience. You could also try a charger with multi-stage capabilities. There are several threads in past couple months about the converters on the 2017 and older AS's where batteries went bad, and suspect were the converters on those AS's. AS recently switched to 4 stage converters with the 2018 models. Many of us have switched out the OEM converters with the newer models which include a "smart charging" capability built in, to help protect your batteries. Lots of good data here on the forum on this topic recently.
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Old 01-02-2018, 08:01 AM   #7
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New owner. older AS

Just towed our new (to us) 2001 Classic w/SO home to SC from CO.
It has been winterized so we did not use it on the trip home as we were racing to beat a wx front.
It does have a solar panel that might be working, but the batteries are over 5 years old and do not retain a charge-no big deal as I was planning on replacing them with some AGMs anyway.
I have seen several comments about the converter/charger in older models and think that this would be a good time to make that conversion.
So here's the questions:
*I am fairly handy, is swapping out the converter something I could do or best left to the pros?
*Any makes/models of the newer converter/chargers?
Thanks and Happy New Year.
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Old 01-02-2018, 08:34 AM   #8
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Stews.... I had the factory installed small solar panel at a high price on our 2006 23 foot Safari.

Parked at a RV Lot, left the electrical system on the using side and not turning it off. More out of ignorance. This was south of Denver, Colorado. After a snow we would bring a ladder and I would sweep off the solar panel. This wattage may had been 100w. You would have thought a larger solar panel could have been used, but it came with the trailer.

This small panel kept the batteries charged all of the time. We had to make sure we were camped in the back country in the SUN... which made for a hotter interior. If you can manage to position the trailer where the maximum exposure in the Winter months can be found... it worked for us.

As someone had said. Do not go to store. I learned by pure luck of being the first Airstream with solar option. Never had a dead battery.

Shut down whichever power draws you can on the interior. Having a charged battery also lowers the temperature the battery can take... as I had been told. Sometimes you can just do things the right way... by accident. That was my experience.
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Old 01-02-2018, 12:27 PM   #9
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Booma:

If your 2001 is anything like my 1999, it is a very easy swap if you have any abilities at all in that "area".

I think you will find a lot of folks on here will suggest dealing with Randy at bestconverter.com, super helpful and good prices. Personally, I swapped mine out for a 3 stage IOTA that I purchased from him. It's the second IOTA I have used, the first being standard in my previous Jayco.

There are a number of threads on here about charge/converters that you might want to look at. One is fairly current.

Enjoy your "new" trailer.

Den
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Old 01-02-2018, 08:36 PM   #10
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Booma, BTW, here is a thread where they have been beating to death the whole charger/converter deal.
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Honda EU2000i, Equalizer Hitch
AM Solar Panels 150W - 2 Trojan T 105 6V Batteries

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Old 01-03-2018, 01:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stews View Post
Happy New Year! I winterized my 2016 Classic in October and have it in outside storage where I live at Fort Meade, Maryland. As you know we're having a cold snap right now. I stopped by a couple of days ago to check on things and went inside; tried to turn lights on; and it won't go from "Store" to "Use." I assumed that with solar panels up top, the batteries would stay charged. I'm a newby, but I read somewhere that it's a bad idea to not keep the batteries charged. I assume that my batteries are dead now. So do I need to buy a charger, take the batteries out and bring them home inside my garage and put them on the charger? Did I make the wrong assumption about the solar keeping the batteries charged all winter? Bryan Stewart, Fort Meade, MD
Bryan, you got some good advice here. We have a 2017 FC and just recently had the converter changed out for a Progressive Dynamics. We also have solar and our and I assume yours are both setup the same eg it does not matter if the switch is in the use OR the store position...the panels will charge the batteries regardless.
FWIIW I started a Mid-Atlantic thread. Myself and a few others from MD/DC/VA are chiming in. If the stars align we'll organize the first locals weekend this summer. This should be a great way to learn...and get out of town
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f288...va-174970.html
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