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Old 09-27-2016, 07:05 PM   #1
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Winter Storage

I'm new to owning a motorhome and have always just removed the battery from the 5th wheel in the winter. My Bay Star 3518 has 4 house batteries, a battery disconnect, and a small solar panel on the driver's side roof. I understand the small solar panel is used to keep the batteries charged to keep the small things running when the coach is parked/stored.

My question is what do others do in the winter with the four (4) house batteries, do I just throw the battery disconnect and let them be? Any help from the forum would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-27-2016, 07:08 PM   #2
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The 5W solar panel is for the chassis batteries only.
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Old 09-27-2016, 07:10 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unw1red View Post
The 5W solar panel is for the chassis batteries only.
Thanks for clarifying this for me, so is there any pros/cons in running the motor throughout the winter
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Old 09-27-2016, 07:15 PM   #4
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I have a DP and I exercise it at fast idle once a month if not being used. I also exercise the genny at half load every month as well. I add fuel stabilizer and top the tank off if it is going to be stored for extended periods of time.

I have a 20A circuit available to me and I keep the coach connected to it when stored to keep the batteries charged.
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Old 09-28-2016, 08:44 AM   #5
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Our inexperience led us to believe that we could just turn off the "battery disconnect" switch above the entry door on our Dutch Star and all draws from our batteries would be disconnected, allowing them to stay at full charge for at least a month. NOT! We have found that even if we shut down our inverter and switch off breakers in our power panel, that the 6 house batteries will be discharged to a damageing condition in about a week by power drains we have not yet identified ways to shut off.

If you have access to power where you store your coach, plug in and visit the coach regularly (monthly?) to ensure that the level of electrolyte in the house batteries is kept topped up.

If you do not have access to shore power where you store your coach, you can either visit the coach to run the generator regularly (for us it was every 7 to 10 days) to keep the battery bank properly charged on a schedule you determine by an initial close monitoring of the State Of Charge (SOC) of your batteries, or you can purchase sufficient permanent or portable solar charging capacity to ensure that the batteries are properly maintained. Note that if your battery bank are of the Interstate brand, a unique very high charge voltage is required on one of the 3 input voltage charge cycles (Bulk, Abosrb, Float) to meet the Interstate factory required charge maintence program. A search of your battery manufacturers website for a charge routine for your particular size and type of battery will be instructive.

We learned these lessons too late to prevent irreparable over discharge damage from affecting the functional life span of our battery bank, which are in need of replacement at just after 2 years of ownership. There are many long term owners of coaches on this site, far more experienced than we are, who can offer you a variety of good suggestions of how they have cared for their batteries in ways that see their batteries provide between 6 and 9 years of service by using good practices. I hope our experience and observations are useful for you. Best wishes for success in the operation and enjoyment of your coach.
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Old 09-28-2016, 10:21 AM   #6
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Welcome to the forum.
You were asked if you had power available where you store your coach, a good reason would be explained in this link.
The answer would be to leave your coach plugged in, 110 volts, all winter and your B.I.M. would maintain all your batteries , coach and house , and all you would need to do is check the water levels of your batteries at least once a month. If you have AGM batteries you have it easier.
You would also keep your battery cut off switch on, BCO, so your converter can charge your batteries.
If not you will have to run your GEN during the months of cold to charge your batteries with the converter for a few hours or take the batteries out and home to keep them charged as you did with your 5th.
As far as your Ford chassis once you have changed your oil and greased the chassis close down the coach and leave to coach chassis alone until spring as I always did with my chassis.
The only thing I did was run the GEN and the AC's for running once a month if you batteries are connected.
My coach was in the driveway plugged into house 120 outlet.
Here is info on winterizing your coach or winter camping or traveling.
Below in my signature are links to more info for your coach.
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Old 09-28-2016, 04:27 PM   #7
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I stay plugged in during storage.
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Old 09-28-2016, 04:40 PM   #8
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I plug mine into the 30 amp setup beside the stick house and keep a heater or two going although with the AquaHot I also turn the diesel burner on for really cold weather which is 25 or so here.
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Old 09-28-2016, 05:50 PM   #9
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I had a Go Power solar panel system installed on my BayStar, 160 watts, keeps my house batteries charged all the time, never a worry. You might want to consider that.
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Old 09-28-2016, 06:48 PM   #10
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Thanks to all of you who've responded, unfortunately, my residence is a condo and have no place to keep my MH on site. The place I'm going to be storing the MH doesn't have electricity and I hope to be south bound by January 1st. Looks like the options are going to be to pull the batteries out or look into the solar panels recommended by biglou847.
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Old 09-29-2016, 05:48 AM   #11
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I have two 12-volt house batteries and the chassis battery. I installed blade-type cutoff switches on the negative terminal of each and just pull the switch when the MH goes into storage. The longest I've gone in storage without running the engine is 3 1/2 months (mid-Sept to late Dec.) and have never had a problem with batteries losing charge.
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