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Old 11-26-2013, 02:42 PM   #1
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Basic question but advice needed - Battery Tender(s) for the Winter?

I used to own a 36 foot 5th wheel that had one battery that I placed on a tender for the winter. Now that I have the Fleetwood 38B, how can I maintain the hugh amount of batteries for the winter? I know I should have attended the winterization class at the dealer but was not able to attend. Although it is still at the dealer for the 90 day punch out list it will be back home (hopefully) soon before the winter snows hit.
If I hook up the "shore" power cable on the reel with available adapters to the standard house current will this take care of it? or should I hook up a tender directly to a battery source and if so which bank of batteries or both the "box" and "chassis" batteries?
Thank you in advance to those who know! Travel safe!
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Old 11-26-2013, 03:02 PM   #2
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If you have a 15 Amp 120V circuit available, that is the best and simplest. Just be careful you don't try to run an AC or other big load while on that circuit.
You will need to check the water level after the first month to make sure they do not go dry. The old trick of adding Mineral Oil to each cell will reduce the amount and frequency you have to add water.
When it is time to top off the water, add the Mineral Oil (4 oz/cell on a 6V and 2 oz./cell for 12V battery) and then top off with Distilled Water to the correct height.
Also, make sure to use a good heavy extension.
Of course you will still have to do the rest of the winterizing for water lines etc.
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Old 11-26-2013, 03:44 PM   #3
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My 1997 Fleetwood Southwind Storm gasser has a 3 Stage Progressive Dynamics converter that keeps the house batteries very happy while on shore power. I'm sure your RV has something at least as good.
I hard-wired my chassis battery to a Batterytender kept in a forward basement basement compartment. that keeps the chassis battery happy too. Continuously charging whenever we are on shore power.
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Old 11-26-2013, 04:06 PM   #4
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Battery Tenders?

Thank you both for your quick responses and advice. I remember the prep rep during the "walk thru" telling me the batteries are set up so the coach will not drain the engine batteries. That way the engine will start. It also has a large converter that will works "both ways". That sounded real good during the walk thru but for the life of me I don't remember the benefit of the type I have. It is a new 2014 coach if that makes a difference in the thoughts of others for this question.
So if I understand it right, if I hook up the shore power cable and run nothing in the coach the batteries will maintain a charge? I will follow the advice on keeping the levels up in the cells as well.

Now that I think about it the inverter will charge all batteries (I think) when plugged in to shore power. I will have to confirm this with the dealer or Fleetwood I suppose.

Thank you again for all responses. Travel safe!
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:14 AM   #5
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On my older RV the two battery systems are completely independent except for a auxilary starter button on the dash that will fire-up the engine starter if the chassis battery is too weak. I have used it once or twice....
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Old 11-27-2013, 01:11 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by RTinVa View Post

Now that I think about it the inverter will charge all batteries (I think) when plugged in to shore power. I will have to confirm this with the dealer or Fleetwood I suppose.

Thank you again for all responses. Travel safe!
Just called Fleetwood yesterday on this very subject. The shore power will keep the batteries charged, but only if you have your main and auxiliary battery switches on. You should check the water level in your batteries ever so often if you decide to keep your battery switches on full time. I will leave them off when it gets above freezing, but will turn them on again if we go into a deep freeze.
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Old 11-27-2013, 01:39 PM   #7
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Best way to find out is to get yourself a simple digital volt meter and go out and measure the voltages across the battery banks while on shore power. If you read 13V or greater across each set (house & chassis), then your system is charging them. If lower then you'd need an auxiliary float charger. Most likely for the chassis batteries. Your converter should at the least be keeping your house batteries charged. Wal-Mart carries a 2.5Amp float charger for $25. Might need an extension cord to it unless there's a handy AC outlet nearby in a RV compartment.
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Old 11-28-2013, 05:14 PM   #8
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On my older RV the two battery systems are completely independent except for a auxilary starter button on the dash that will fire-up the engine starter if the chassis battery is too weak. I have used it once or twice....
My new RV coach has a similar button on the left side dash at the driver seat. Thanks for posting. Travel safe!
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Old 11-28-2013, 05:15 PM   #9
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On my older RV the two battery systems are completely independent except for a auxilary starter button on the dash that will fire-up the engine starter if the chassis battery is too weak. I have used it once or twice....
Quote:
Originally Posted by csrrsr View Post
Just called Fleetwood yesterday on this very subject. The shore power will keep the batteries charged, but only if you have your main and auxiliary battery switches on. You should check the water level in your batteries ever so often if you decide to keep your battery switches on full time. I will leave them off when it gets above freezing, but will turn them on again if we go into a deep freeze.
Thanks for calling Fleetwood. I do remember during the walk through that was told to me but I do not think he told us that the two battery switches needed to be on. Thank you for the information.
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