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Old 07-18-2015, 10:36 PM   #1
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A little storage time power advise from the forum of experts please.

So we just bought our new DP after having the luxury/privilege of using dads that he never uses. My question is this: when storing my coach in my shop, do i need a 50 amp source for maintenance while stored or is an adapter to a 20 amp normal wall plug sufficient for float charging? I ask because my dad always wants his plugged in, and I added a timer to turn on power for 6 hours 3 days a week- that's what he wanted. I have 50 amp, but would need to run conduit to where it's needed in my shop no big deal. Is it worth it? Necessary?
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Old 07-18-2015, 10:44 PM   #2
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Welcome to iRV2.
15/20 amp for battery maintenance is enough, I'm running a 100" extension on a 15 amp outlet to maintain mine , no issues , I can even run the fridge for cool down prior to trips.
Don't try air conditioning or a vacuum cleaner though.
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Old 07-18-2015, 10:46 PM   #3
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If you are just going to run a few lights and the inverter to keep the batteries charged, a 20 amp supply will be adequate. I do it all the time in AZ when stored behind our home there.
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Old 07-18-2015, 10:51 PM   #4
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Troostr, my Bounder 38N DP is also a 50 amp rig. I have my shed that we keep it in wired for 30 amp. Unless you want to run everything in your coach 30 amp will work. Mine has been this way since we bought ours new in 2005 and have not had any trouble at all. We leave it plugged in all the time. Keep in mind you can only run a very minimal of things in your coach. Like only one ac at a time and not if you want to run the microwave.

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Old 07-19-2015, 10:16 AM   #5
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I'll echo what the others say: for simple battery maintenance and running the fridge, 15/20 amp is OK. If you want to run a few more loads, including one air conditioner, 30 amp is helpful. If you want to run heavier loads (electric heaters in winter, all air conditioners in summer, 50 amp is wonderful to have.

For the first few years, I ran a 15 amp extension cord, and was happy. When we moved, I had the ability to put in a 50 amp line, and it's wonderful to be able to fire up the air conditioners when loading/unloading and when working on the coach.

Short version: 15 amps works for storage, 50 amps is a happy luxury.

You mention a timer on the power line. Your need for that will depend on your battery charger. If you have a simple single stage converter, it's a good idea to prevent over charging your batteries. If you have an intelligent three stage charger (bulk, absorb, and float modes) then you don't need the timer. Try running it for a couple days without the charger, and then check the batteries: if they are bubbling and the water level is going down, use the charger. If they aren't bubbling and the water level is holding steady, keep it plugged in and forget the timer.

I keep mine plugged in all the time when it's at home, first on 15 amp, and lately on 50 amp. No timer. I only need to add water to the batteries once a year.
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Old 07-19-2015, 10:28 AM   #6
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Thanks guys! That's what I thought but wanted confirmation from the experts. On average how often do you end up needing to change out house and chassis batteries?
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Old 07-19-2015, 10:46 AM   #7
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I have 50 amp in my shop so we stay plugged in at home. I keep the A/C's set at 81 in the summer so it doesn't turn into a giant oven. Winter time heaters set at about 50.
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Old 07-19-2015, 10:55 AM   #8
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Keep in mind if you leave your batteries, coach and engine, connected that you need to check their water level about once a month.

On my coach I have a battery disconnect switch for the engine and one for the coach. I always turn off the engine battery when stored.

This is not the "Salesman" switch usually located by the exit door but actual big heavy duty switches that connect directly to the batteries.
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Old 07-19-2015, 11:21 AM   #9
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Troostr;

You have received good information. Our rig is 50A also. I started out by using a 20A adapter. It was not long before DW complained she was blowing a breaker because she was using a carpet shampooer and she wanted to run the coffee maker. So I wired up a 30A plug and everything was fine until she started working in the coach in the heat of summer and wanted to run 2 A/Cs and anything else like the coffee maker or microwave. So I wired up a 50A plug and now no more complaints. I now have a 20A & a 30A that I don't use. When we get ready to go south in Feb she starts up a couple of electric heaters to preheat the coach and we have to power to spare. I wish I would have had the foresight to wire up a 50 A to begin with.

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Old 07-19-2015, 11:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troostr View Post
So we just bought our new DP after having the luxury/privilege of using dads that he never uses. My question is this: when storing my coach in my shop, do i need a 50 amp source for maintenance while stored or is an adapter to a 20 amp normal wall plug sufficient for float charging? I ask because my dad always wants his plugged in, and I added a timer to turn on power for 6 hours 3 days a week- that's what he wanted. I have 50 amp, but would need to run conduit to where it's needed in my shop no big deal. Is it worth it? Necessary?
Troostr
When not being used my coach has always been connected 24/7 to a 15A receptacle for most of its 19 years, (50A and/or a timer is NOT needed for float charging from my on board 3 stage automatic inverter/charger).
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Old 07-19-2015, 12:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troostr View Post
On average how often do you end up needing to change out house and chassis batteries?
I just replaced my house batteries at the beginning of my 2007 coach's ninth season, they were used for a lot of dry camping in that time. The original factory chassis batteries are still going strong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petro View Post
I wish I would have had the foresight to wire up a 50 A to begin with.
A good point. If you can get away with running an extension code with no other installation required, you can try the 15/20 amp connection for a while. But if you have to run wires now, think hard and careful about it: yes, it's more expensive to run 50 amp wires right now, but it's cheaper than running lower capacity wires, and then doing it over again later when you decide you need more power.

If you run the 50 amp power now, you will only be unhappy once while you pay for the materials. If you skimp, you open up the possibility of being unhappy every time you want to use something that takes more power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mel s View Post
a timer is NOT needed for float charging from my on board 3 stage automatic inverter/charger
Generally true. But depending on the charger, and whether it is set up properly, that might not be the case. For example, if the charger is set to the wrong battery chemistry type and is using a higher voltage than the batteries want, or if it's been set to supply more current than the batteries want, that can still boil the batteries dry.

Different battery chemistry types (flooded, gel, absorbed glass mat) prefer different charging voltages. Select the wrong mode and you either under or over charge your batteries. Overcharging can cause boiling off of water.

In addition, different battery sizes have different maximum charging currents. Generally, the more amp-hours of battery capacity, the more amps you can use to charge them. Set the current too high for a set of batteries, and you can once again cause water to boil out.

But yes, if properly set up for the batteries, a three stage charger should not need a timer. You should still periodically check water level, but you shouldn't have to add water often if things are properly set up.

I leave mine plugged in all year long, and I only need to add water about once a year. I could go longer, but I don't like the batteries getting too low. Others will need to add water more or less often.
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Old 07-19-2015, 12:38 PM   #12
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Battery maintenance can be done with as little as 15 (actually 10) amps if that's all you have turned on.. in fact I've done it that way several times.

On 15 amps you can run the battery charger and after a day of that the fridge (possibly sooner) or Television.. You can MIGHT get lucky with microwave or one A/C provided the batteries are full up.. (Again after one day) I used to store on a 20 amp site.. Converter TV and Microwave OR Air conditioner OR water heater is possible on 20 amp
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Old 07-19-2015, 01:44 PM   #13
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One more point: this talk about what can be done on a 15 or 20 amp outlet assumes that there is nothing else plugged in on that same circuit. If that 15 or 20 amp outlet is in a garage or shop, and there are loads plugged into other outlets fed by that same breaker, then those loads will reduce the available power to the coach. Plug the coach into a 15 amp circuit that already has 5 amps of load on it, and that's 5 less amps available for the coach. (Another reason to put in a dedicated line, and if doing that, realize the costs of skimping.)
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Old 07-19-2015, 02:17 PM   #14
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Everybody's situation is a little different, but 15A should be fine for continuous storage.


As for using microwaves, vacuums, etc. just turn on the inverter (if you have one). An hour or two on high draw usage will recover soon enough, and you'll be fine.


I'll echo the need to check water, or suggest getting the squeeze bulb filler system for the batteries. The caps prevent water loss, and the minor amount you will need will refill in a couple of squeezes.


Hope this makes some sense.
Tom
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