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Old 12-09-2020, 11:50 AM   #1
PCS Express
 
2021 30' Globetrotter
Carlisle Barracks , Pennsylvania
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Solar Package Battery Charge - Store vs On Mode

Dear Airsteam Community,



We recently purchased a 2021 30ft RB Globetrotter with the solar package, plus an optional third panel (270 watts - I think). During delivery, the Greensboro, NC Airstream dealer stated the solar panels would NOT charge the batteries while the electrical system was in the "Store" mode. Curious if this is accurate and if so, why would the solar package not charge the batteries while the trailer is in storage? Seems an odd design feature. Feel free to school me on the electrical system or solar package, as I am new to all of this. Though I have a basic understanding of how electricity works.



Apologize if this information is easily found and already exists in the forum. I registered today and after a brief search could not find the answer.



Thank you!
Brian H
Carlisle, PA
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Old 12-09-2020, 03:06 PM   #2
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Welcome Aboard 👍

I worried for 10yrs about charging the batts during Winter storage.

Then the circuit finely connected and I realized that if they had no draw and were fully charged they would be fine at Spring get ready.
SFSG with both the AGM Lifeline's and Lithium BB's.👍

Can't help on the solar question as the use/store switch has been a dilemma for as long as we've had "Cloudsplitter".
The only thing I'm sure of with ours, the batteries do charge on shore power with the switch in the 'store' mode. 🥴
YMMV🤔

Bob
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Old 12-09-2020, 03:32 PM   #3
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That is different - Blue Streak charges in "store" mode so I don't understand what has changed with Airstream. Would suggest you contact them via email support an ask the question.
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Old 12-09-2020, 03:56 PM   #4
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2021 International - it absolutely charges from solar when in "Store" mode.
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Old 12-09-2020, 05:16 PM   #5
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I have the same factory solar on our 2019 Serenity, with 3 panels, and I was told it is closer to 300 watts vs 270.......but I digress.

The solar circuit breaker attaches directly to the positive lead in the battery box.....the store/use switch has no control over the solar. It will charge in either mode as long as there are enough lumens to activate the cells.

Chris
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Old 12-09-2020, 06:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittmaster View Post
I have the same factory solar on our 2019 Serenity, with 3 panels, and I was told it is closer to 300 watts vs 270.......but I digress.



The solar circuit breaker attaches directly to the positive lead in the battery box.....the store/use switch has no control over the solar. It will charge in either mode as long as there are enough lumens to activate the cells.



Chris


2019 international, Also factory solar with some added panels, it does charge in store mode.
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Old 12-09-2020, 07:19 PM   #7
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2021 30' Globetrotter
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To all, thank you for the prompt and informative responses. Acknowledge the solar circuit breaker connects directly to the battery box. Made that assumption based on what I observed during the walk through, but was thrown off by the reps comments.



FWIW, did not upgrade to the Lithium batteries. Figured between 1) the solar package with three panels, 2) the cost at ~$2k, and 3) not having to keep Lithium batteries warm (or remove them) during the winter, the AGM batteries are a smarter move. Furthermore, plan to use my NOCO Genius 10 battery charger (~monthly) on the AGM batteries. Alternating batteries every other month.



https://smile.amazon.com/NOCO-GENIUS...7566597&sr=8-3


Thanks!
V/r,
Brian
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Old 12-09-2020, 07:57 PM   #8
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Thanks to all of you for the prompt and thorough reply. Appreciate the insight. FWIW, we did not upgrade to the Lithium batteries. Between the 1) cost ~$2k, 2) requirement during winter months to keep them warm or remove for storage, and 3) having a 270w solar package, the Lithium didn't seem to be worth the investment. Sticking with the AGM batteries but plan to use my NOCO 10 Genius monthly, alternative which batteries are charged every other month. Thanks!
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Old 12-10-2020, 05:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PCS Express View Post
Thanks to all of you for the prompt and thorough reply. Appreciate the insight. FWIW, we did not upgrade to the Lithium batteries. Between the 1) cost ~$2k, 2) requirement during winter months to keep them warm or remove for storage, and 3) having a 270w solar package, the Lithium didn't seem to be worth the investment. Sticking with the AGM batteries but plan to use my NOCO 10 Genius monthly, alternative which batteries are charged every other month. Thanks!
I believe the lithiums they are offering have built in heaters which allow use in low temperatures. The problem becomes, if you get snow on the panels, then the heaters will nuke the batteries as the coach will still draw power for the CO monitor and will die in a month.

So the "smart" thing to do is if you did do a lithium upgrade and want to store is to get a battery tender that supports lithium (yes...built specific for lithium):

https://www.batterytender.com/batter...hium-batteries

and then get the extension cables:

https://smile.amazon.com/Battery-Ten...7603984&sr=8-7

to run the tender from your garage/where ever (assuming your within 100ft...I've done this and battery was properly charged...I know it works) and use the solar panel add on port near the battery box to keep the batteries running properly over the storage time.

That is what we do with ours......the caveat is that you need a polarity "reversing" plug to keep the polarity correct between the coach and the tender.....its been noted they are reversed, this device solves that:

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...&psc=1&fpw=alm

This is what we do for ours after we remove the shore power for the winter.....we still have AGMs, but will be upgrading to lithium as covid/time permits, the same methods apply.

Chris
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Old 12-10-2020, 07:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PCS Express View Post
Between the 1) cost ~$2k, 2) requirement during winter months to keep them warm or remove for storage, Thanks!
No need to 'remove' our BB's for Winter storage.
It does get cold in WNYS. 3rd Season in "Cloudsplitter" SFSG.

Bob
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28* this morning.
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Old 12-10-2020, 09:40 AM   #11
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The biggest advantage of solar panels for me is that I've never had a dead battery problem after any period of storage once they were installed; and this is on the "Store" button. BTW - thanks for the side info regarding the requirement to keep lithium batteries warm during storage or remove them. I think I'll stick with AGMs and avoid that worry!
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Old 12-10-2020, 09:49 AM   #12
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I want to clear up one thing first. LiFePO4 batteries can be stored or discharged below freezing just fine, no harm. They cannot be charged below freezing and some modern BMS's take care of that, some systems have battery warmers. What you install should depend on where you camp and when. If you have a big solar array, you need to be wary of that in freezing weather. In storage in freezing weather with a big solar array, the safe bet is to turn off the battery disconnect, assuming that it was installed on the battery side of the solar controller.
As for USE-STORE and solar charging, the switch has been a source of confusion for years because Airstream has installed it in different configurations. It is probably pretty safe to believe all of the posts above. These are people who know their systems, probably much better than a dealer. It sure would not make any sense to disconnect solar charging with the switch because that would eliminate a major advantage of solar....keeping the batteries charged while storing outside.
Larry
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Old 12-10-2020, 09:52 AM   #13
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Solar Package Battery Charge - Store vs On Mode

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatLee View Post
The biggest advantage of solar panels for me is that I've never had a dead battery problem after any period of storage once they were installed; and this is on the "Store" button. BTW - thanks for the side info regarding the requirement to keep lithium batteries warm during storage or remove them. I think I'll stick with AGMs and avoid that worry!


The lithium’s I installed have their own heater but if you’re in storage with solar and sun it’s really not necessary. As there is minimal to no load and as long as temps get in the 40s regularly during the day life is good. Now if you live where it’s under 25 all the time it’s more interesting. The reason for the heaters is to charge them when internal temps are under 24 degrees. For storage or discharge you’re good to -4 degrees F.
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Old 12-10-2020, 10:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
No need to 'remove' our BB's for Winter storage.
It does get cold in WNYS. 3rd Season in "Cloudsplitter" SFSG.

Bob
🇺🇸

28* this morning.

Saw the attached photo and curious about what device that is you use to get the battery data( ??) When my batteries died last summer on my brand new 2020 International Serenity after two months in outdoor storage (despite unobstructed solar panels), I was told the same thing about solar panels not charging the battery when in store mode by my Airstream dealership. (The batteries were not AGM or Lithium - just your basic Interstate cell batteries. Not sure why the dealership didn't switch them out for the AGM batteries as it says in the ownership manual, but that's a whole different issue) However, when I contacted the Airstream factory customer support line, they contradicted what the dealership had said about not charging in store mode, so not sure what to believe. Having a device like the one you showed would be really helpful and reduce the worry I have about my batteries possibly dying again this winter.
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Old 12-10-2020, 01:04 PM   #15
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^
It's a Victron smart monitor.
I have it velcro'd to the "Mouse Fur" using the separate wall mount.

Bob
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Old 12-10-2020, 01:36 PM   #16
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Solar Package Battery Charge - Store vs On Mode

Quote:
Originally Posted by drlangc View Post
Saw the attached photo and curious about what device that is you use to get the battery data( ??) When my batteries died last summer on my brand new 2020 International Serenity after two months in outdoor storage (despite unobstructed solar panels), I was told the same thing about solar panels not charging the battery when in store mode by my Airstream dealership. (The batteries were not AGM or Lithium - just your basic Interstate cell batteries. Not sure why the dealership didn't switch them out for the AGM batteries as it says in the ownership manual, but that's a whole different issue) However, when I contacted the Airstream factory customer support line, they contradicted what the dealership had said about not charging in store mode, so not sure what to believe. Having a device like the one you showed would be really helpful and reduce the worry I have about my batteries possibly dying again this winter.


The simplest way is to look at the battery voltage when there is sunlight. The factory display will let you see solar voltage, charge voltage etc. you should be reading 13.1 volts or so battery voltage and a higher solar voltage. I know mine always showed that when in store mode and just sitting in the sun. That was before I switched to lithium but was with agms
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Old 12-10-2020, 02:15 PM   #17
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Charging in store mode

Our 2021GT the solar will charge in both store and use modes. I would imagine they are the same.
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Old 12-16-2020, 10:58 AM   #18
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2010 International the factory solar system was connected at the battery side of the use/store relay. The converter connected on the other side of the relay, so no shore power charging but yes solar charging in store mode.
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