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Old 07-19-2017, 03:33 PM   #1
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Bozeman , Alaska
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Newbie needs help understanding battery monitor

Hi everyone. I'm sure this question has been asked and answered a thousand times but I've searched the forums and read all the manuals included with our new 2018 FB Flying Cloud and I'm still mystified. So with apologies: can someone tell me what numbers I should be seeing on the SeaLevel II Tank Monitor when I press the Battery button? Said another way: what numbers indicate a fully (or decently) charged Interstate battery and what level indicates a need to recharge?
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Old 07-19-2017, 03:41 PM   #2
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
Long Island , New York
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Welcome to the forum!

Here is a good site for general RV battery information:

http://www.batteriesnorthwest.com/batteryschool.cfm

When the batteries are being charged, your battery monitor should read 13.7 volts +/-. After you disconnect from shore power, and wait an hour, the voltage reading should be about 12.7 to 12.8.

When the voltage gets down to about 12.2, your batteries are at 50% of capacity, and the general thought is that you should not let them get below this level, as you will start to compromise their lifespan at that point.

There is a list of voltages etc. at the battery school link above.

Be sure to check your battery water levels often until you get used to things. Wear safety goggles and gloves, and only used distilled water to top off. Safer to remove shore power before doing this IMO.

Plenty to learn, as you appreciate, and the new search function at the top with the blue border works great. You should learn about "parasitic loads" which may compromise your batteries in storage, in addition to the propane detector which is hard-wired to the batteries.

Parasitic loads search results:

https://www.google.com/search?q=para...=airforums.com

Lastly you could peruse the list of topics in the Battery sub-forum for additional reading material:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449/

Good luck and have fun!

Peter
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Old 07-19-2017, 03:52 PM   #3
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Bozeman , Alaska
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Thanks much! That was exactly what I was looking for.

We are concerned that the batteries that came with the AS are...forgive the term...crap. If the AS sits in store mode for 3 days, the meter is down in the 11s. That didn't seem right to me and you have confirmed what I thought -- that they aren't holding a charge.

I understand about the parasitic draws but I'm assuming that wouldn't drain the batteries to that extent in 3 days.
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Old 07-19-2017, 03:55 PM   #4
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
Long Island , New York
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Ooops. Chances are good that the batteries might have "lot rot" and have been damaged beyond repair. I would call the dealer to discuss a warranty replacement. Any Interstate battery store will test and replace the batteries with proper paperwork about the purchase.

Sorry to say, but many new Airstreams are delivered with bad batteries.



Our batteries will last over a week in Store mode, even with the propane detector remaining on, and will not go below 12.5 volts (90% or so), which is the level at which we recharge FYI.

Peter

PS -- Thanks for the correction -- "parasitic" loads!
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Old 07-19-2017, 04:02 PM   #5
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Thanks again. Very helpful.
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Old 07-19-2017, 04:03 PM   #6
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And here's another dumb question: how does one add water to the batteries? My spouse (in his 60s) says he hasn't seen a wet battery since he was a kid and I'm not I ever have
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Old 07-19-2017, 04:08 PM   #7
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
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The Interstate batteries are (probably) standard old-fashioned wet cell lead/acid batteries. If your 2018 AS has sealed gel AGM batteries your dealer (or owner's manual) should be able to tell you.

If you open the top of your battery box near the propane tanks, you will see the batteries, and can ID their type. Probably best to read up a bit before doing stuff on your own IMO. What length is your 2018 FC?

Peter
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Old 07-19-2017, 04:13 PM   #8
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Yep they are the standard wet cell. We can't find anything in our owners packet from interstate about the batteries (although we have manuals up the wazoo on every other component of the AS) and I can't find anything on the the interstate website. How hard is it to have an online operating manual. Sheesh!
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Old 07-19-2017, 04:28 PM   #9
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http://www.batteries-faq.com/activek...p?questionid=6
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Old 07-19-2017, 04:36 PM   #10
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Thanks!
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Old 07-19-2017, 08:19 PM   #11
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If you want a good tutorial for your new Airstream this is highly recommended: https://www.amazon.com/Newbies-Guide.../dp/0983345805
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:16 PM   #12
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2017 16' Sport
Plymouth , Wisconsin
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I received a bad battery with my new 2017 Airstream. After struggling with it on a trip to Asheville, I replaced it with two high-quality Marine batteries. I also have a solar panel on the roof. Now everything works perfectly. Not sure why Airstream provides batteries that are crap in such expensive trailers.
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:05 PM   #13
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Copy that, Elizabeth!



Peter
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Old 11-22-2020, 06:33 AM   #14
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Our new 2019 Flying Cloud batteries would not hold a charge even when apparently nothing was drawing (apart from the propane alert) until I learned I made a mistake when we parked it on our lot. I disconnected the breakaway switch on the advice of the pro who delivered the trailer (hired by the dealer) for instant emergency brakes, sort of like free chocks. After many calls to the service department in which I mistakenly accused them of giving me bad batteries, I learned from an RVing friend of the fatal error I'd made. (It didn't occur to the service dept. to ask me about it--maybe it's so boneheaded a mistake that it's beyond consideration.) Those brakes draw heavily from batteries. Breakaway switch reconnected, problem solved, batteries good, lesson learned.
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Old 11-22-2020, 06:37 AM   #15
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With winter here in Vermont, the reading on our monitor with shore power connected is lower than in earlier months: 13.2, 13.3 compared with 13.6, 13.7. Is this a normal variation regardless of season or does cold weather affect this reading?
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Old 11-23-2020, 01:55 PM   #16
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Frederick , Maryland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VPLB View Post
Yep they are the standard wet cell. We can't find anything in our owners packet from interstate about the batteries (although we have manuals up the wazoo on every other component of the AS) and I can't find anything on the the interstate website. How hard is it to have an online operating manual. Sheesh!
Remember not to use ordinary tap water in batteries. You should use distilled water (someone please correct me if my info is out of date!).
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Old 11-23-2020, 02:17 PM   #17
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On a side note, when looking up something else I saw that Airstream will deliver trailers without batteries in 2021. The dealer will install them, presumably when you pick it up. That should help with the "lot rot" mentioned above.
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Old 11-24-2020, 05:50 AM   #18
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The 21' models that come with solar have AGM bats installed.
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