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Old 12-06-2018, 07:36 PM   #1
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Have to Remove All Coach Batteries - Need Some Help

Background: Storage is difficult where I live, but I was finally able to find a covered location with NO power. That's the parts that isn't so great. Over the summer, I was able to keep the battery set charged (Lifeline 2 - 12's and 4 - 6's) with a solar panel. It's now winter in Utah and the skies are not nearly as sunny as summer. When I went to the coach yesterday I was at 12V on the chassis batteries and a little better on the 6V batteries (not as discharged). I simply cannot keep all the batteries charged the way that I need to on the coach over winter. So I have decided to pull them all and maintain them at home over the next 3 months. Using the AGS is not as effective as I need it to be, so that is also not a viable solution. Here are a couple of questions I need help on:

1) As I remember with a Magnum inverter (I am certain of this step after multiple discussion with Magnum) I need to remove the primary charging positive lead from the inverter first to prevent damage to the inverter/charger. After that, I can pull the chassis negative cables and then make a good map when removing the remainder of the cables. All correct in sequence?

2) Anyone have an idea on something to cover cable ends when I complete disconnecting all leads. It is going to be in the 30's when I do this so everything will be very stiff. I want to be safe.

3) Is there anything I am not thinking about with no power on the coach for 3 months?

4) I assume I should just rely on the manual door locks and deadbolts to secure the coach with no power?

I am worried the Lifeline AGM chassis batteries are already gone, but I DO NOT want to rush and screw anything else up on the coach. If I have missed anything else, please help me out ......
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:41 PM   #2
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If you fully charge the batteries and then leave the positive or negative cable disconnected, so there is NO power draw from them, they should be fine leaving them in the coach. Cold weather slows down the self discharge to a very slow rate.
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:43 PM   #3
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Get the batteries charged to 100%, remove the positive cables, tape them up and your done.

AGM batteries loose about 1% charge per month. Come spring hook them up and charge them up. No need to babysit them.
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:46 PM   #4
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Any good quality electrical tape should work to cover the hot leads. No reason to cover grounds.

Yes, manual locks only if you can.

Off hand I cannot think of anything that cannot recover from not having power for 3 months. That said, I don't know the specifics for your coach. I will say that if there is the designer was incompetent.
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:30 PM   #5
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Today I ran the generator for 5 hours to charge the house batteries. Newmar has told me before that the Magnum system only slow charges the chassis batteries after the house batteries. So, I hooked up a smart battery charger to the chassis batteries and plugged it into an inverted source. My intention was to get them off discharge today and then try to work them back up to full charge. 4 hours later, the house batteries were mostly topped off and the chassis batteries had lost voltage. Down to 11.95V. I disconnected the charger secured the coach and left. I sure hope that the chassis batteries aren't dead, but I suppose they might be. They certainly didn't accept any charge!

Open to suggestion here, I just don't want to screw them all up.
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Old 12-07-2018, 07:41 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ColoradoBnd View Post
Today I ran the generator for 5 hours to charge the house batteries. Newmar has told me before that the Magnum system only slow charges the chassis batteries after the house batteries. So, I hooked up a smart battery charger to the chassis batteries and plugged it into an inverted source. My intention was to get them off discharge today and then try to work them back up to full charge. 4 hours later, the house batteries were mostly topped off and the chassis batteries had lost voltage. Down to 11.95V. I disconnected the charger secured the coach and left. I sure hope that the chassis batteries aren't dead, but I suppose they might be. They certainly didn't accept any charge!

Open to suggestion here, I just don't want to screw them all up.
Define small. 10 Amps give or take or one of those maintainers that use a wall wart?

The maintainer types probably did not have time to put back any power lost just opening doors, steps, and whatever else runs off the engine battery.

A 10 Amp or so charger should have had time to put back what you lost going into the coach and make some progress. Check the connections and the charging voltage when you connect the charger to the battery.
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Old 12-07-2018, 07:48 AM   #7
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fully charge the batteries and then disconnect a battery lead or install a disconnect switch. they will last just fine for many months. you are supposed to exercise your generator once a month. go over, reinstall the disconnected battery cable and run the generator for a couple of hours. the disconnect the cable again and wait another month. i do this and the batteries are just fine.
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Old 12-07-2018, 08:18 AM   #8
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At 11.95 volts your chassis batteries are just about dead. It will take at least a day of charging with a 10 amp charger to bring them back.
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Old 12-07-2018, 08:35 AM   #9
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If your generator runs off the chassis battery AND the " big boy " solenoid is bad, your generator will draw down your battery faster then a 10 amp charger can keep it up.

Run the generator and see if the chassis battery is getting any charge from the house side. If the generator runs off the chassis battery, it should.

OR, start the engine and see if the chassis and house batteries are charging. You will have to wait until the chassis battery gets up to 13.4 volts before the house gets a charge.
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Old 12-08-2018, 11:36 AM   #10
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Well, I am more confused now. Here is what I did today in better cold weather gear:

1. I pulled the tray out and checked every battery individually. Chassis batteries were both at 11.97V, and the house 6V batteries were all around 6.2-6.4V. So no apparent signs of a dead cell battery that might be robbing other batteries. I used my Fluke voltmeter to ensure I was getting good readings.

2. RV doors unlocked without issue and the generator started with no issues (to my surprise).

3. I decided to use the generator and charge again. Once again, there is charge voltage only on the house battery side (maybe because they are not fully charged) by the Magnum. So I decided to hook up my Noco Genius G7200 to an inverted plug. To my surprise, the % charged led slides up to 50% and it begins to push the 75% charge.

I am going to charge again for about 4 hours today just to see what happens. Before I left the Noco said I was at 75% moving to 100%. I'm sure this led isn't perfect but it usually is not too far off. Am I missing something here? It just doesn't all add up!
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Old 12-08-2018, 12:21 PM   #11
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How old are your 12 volt batteries
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Old 12-08-2018, 12:52 PM   #12
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Using your GEN to charge the batteries will take a while in cold weather because everything is cold as you are.
Your converter will be charging your batteries and its drawing its power from GEN to do it make sure you have your BCO switch operated to do so.
You might try using a 12v stand alone battery charger and see if that helps charge all your batteries through your BIRD Charging system, faster.
Batteries and charging is explained in this link for Newmar Owners.
When you check your batteries have GEN off and inverter off to read voltages, your house batteries will charge first when fully charged your BIRD will switch to your chassis batteries to charge.
The link will explain all this operation, make sure your wet cells are full when charging unless they are AGM's.
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Old 12-08-2018, 01:45 PM   #13
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How old are your 12 volt batteries
Answer that question and you will know what you are missing.

It seems like I am always replacing batteries. It could be that there is an electrical problem of some sort. Or it could be that I am dealing with 14 large lead acid batteries with a finite life of less than 14 years.

Two months ago, I had to replace one of the batteries on my sailboat. It was on its 8th season. Since using a small solar panel for each battery, batteries have been lasting a few years longer. So not a problem.

In may it was the battery in the TOAD which I owned less than a year and did not know how old it was. A year ago it was the chassis batteries on the MH which I owned less than a year and did not know how old they were.

So the simple answer is the battery is near the end of its life.

With an older MH, electrical problems should be expected too. I have also replaced the battery boost solenoid because it shorted out and the generator voltage regulator because of an intermittent problems.

So sometimes the answer is not simple.

Good luck let us know how it turns out.
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Old 12-08-2018, 02:11 PM   #14
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....your house batteries will charge first when fully charged your BIRD will switch to your chassis batteries to charge.
It is my understand that the BIRD allows the chassis batteries to be charged first and then the house batteries when driving down the road.

The isolation solenoid connecting the house and chassis batteries can also be activated by the 'battery boost' switch when starting the MH engine with a weak battery.

The important function is to isolate the two sets of batteries. If you run down your house batteries is still want to be able to start your MH engine. The nice feature is that house batteries will charge going down the road off the engine alternator thus the generator will not be needed for small 12 vdc loads.
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