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Old 03-04-2014, 05:39 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ladagobago View Post
Don't let all these answers scare you. some of you batteries my recover just fine but some may not. First try to charge them up for a few days. when storing over the winter you could simply remove the negative wires off the battery to isolate it from parasitic current losses. but it is to late for that now.

go to auto zone or other type of store and pick up an inexpensive battery tester. get one with a pointer that will give you a relatively close reading of the specific gravity. you hope that the level will be up or above 1275. these things only cost less than 7 bucks and will let you know real quick if you have a bad cell with a low reading.

A low reading would indicate a new battery is needed. for the house batteries I would suggest the use of a set of 6 volt batteries some call golf cart batteries. these have a very good history for deep cycle batteries. I have given up on deep cycle marine combination batteries. 40 years of boating has relieved a lot about cheap batteries.

As far as AGM. I have a double set of deep cycle marine AGM about $266 each. these are for starting my diesel like in about 5 seconds. I also use them in my boat to crank the 454's. I use them because I don't like to crank starter very long. they tend to not like the heat from the long crank and are a real pain to replace on a boat.

If you have access to a good charger inverter you could try to equalize the batteries but first they need a full charge. at equalization for eight hours at 16 volts has brought back what was dead batteries.
A man of experience.

The equalization charge burns off the sulfates, right? Restores the charge plates? And that's why they come back?

It just seems like even when you do this they never seem to hold charge like they did when new, getting worse as time goes by. Instead of a 5-8 year useful like they might go another year or so before they just won't fully charge and/or won't hold a charge.

I just had to replace the batt on my diesel car that was only about 3 years old. It doesn't get driven enough so sits around at half charge and then has to put out a ton of amps to heat glowplugs, then try to charge with a wimpy alt at barely 14 volts. It just killed the batt - it would show ample volts but wouldn't crank. Egads, $120 bosche for the benzo.
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:11 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by CJBROWN View Post
A man of experience.

The equalization charge burns off the sulfates, right? Restores the charge plates? And that's why they come back?

It just seems like even when you do this they never seem to hold charge like they did when new, getting worse as time goes by. Instead of a 5-8 year useful like they might go another year or so before they just won't fully charge and/or won't hold a charge.
Average life out of a battery is 3-5 years. Some surely do last a lot longer and some others do not. However when a battery is already a few years old and you bring it back to proper working order and it test good on the right equipment 2-3 more years is right back to normal life expectancy.

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Originally Posted by CJBROWN View Post
I just had to replace the batt on my diesel car that was only about 3 years old. It doesn't get driven enough so sits around at half charge and then has to put out a ton of amps to heat glowplugs, then try to charge with a wimpy alt at barely 14 volts. It just killed the batt - it would show ample volts but wouldn't crank. Egads, $120 bosche for the benzo.
A charging system should vary the voltage from 13.2V to barely over 14V. So im not sure I follow you on having a wimpy alternator that just makes over 14V. That is working correctly in a manufactures book. My wife only drives 5 miles to work and back so every car she has driven has had battery drain issues. Especially in the winter. I get in the habit of using my smart charger on the car on the weekends to maintain proper battery life. Might not be a bad I idea for you also.
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:52 PM   #17
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A charging system should vary the voltage from 13.2V to barely over 14V. So im not sure I follow you on having a wimpy alternator that just makes over 14V. That is working correctly in a manufactures book. My wife only drives 5 miles to work and back so every car she has driven has had battery drain issues. Especially in the winter. I get in the habit of using my smart charger on the car on the weekends to maintain proper battery life. Might not be a bad I idea for you also.

The little 240d does not have a lot of alternator output, but a huge battery. A smart charger is regularly applied now, althought he new battery is staying up.

I'm sure that's the only reason my coach batteries have lasted since I use that same charger on it regularly to top them up. (5 years) I'm looking forward to installing an Iota converter in the coach - will keep the batts up a LOT better. It should work a helluva lot better with the genny as well.
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Old 03-04-2014, 10:10 PM   #18
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I'm new to the motorhome world and bought a 2001 Winnebago 36DL. Love the coach. We have it stored outside in a storage lot, and after this very cold winter, I went to start the MH and the engine would not start. Engine battery shows 11.5 volts and coach battery shows 8.5. I tried to start the onboard generator and it wouldn't start either. My question is, can I use a portable generator, connected to shore line just to recharge the batteries? Any comments and suggestions are welcome.


As you can see, your batteries are either fine or toast, you decide.

What you HAVE discovered, batteries drain over time. You can mitigate this by using battery disconnects to stop all 'phantom drains' on the batteries, including radio memory, clocks, engine ECU, etc. If your MH has switches labeled 'Battery disconnect' they usually do not 100% isolate the battery banks from phantom draws. A physical switch on the battery terminal is a 100% cut off. If you then only allow a 10-30 watt solar charger stay connected, your batteries will be ready when you want them.
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Old 03-16-2014, 07:23 PM   #19
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I thank every one that provided a post, here is what I did. I first bought a portable 2KW generator, I store the rig in a storage lot that does not have any power, connected up the shore line, ran the generator for a couple of days, observing quiet time at night. I think only the coach batteries received charging. That didn't work, so I took out the 5 batteries. I have a car battery charger at the house and charged each battery individually for about 8 hours each, then took them up to the local NAPA parts store for a battery check, all 5 failed, so I ended up spending $1,200 for the generator then another $630 for new batteries. An expensive lesson to learn and be sure that when we winterize this year, I will pull the batteries out and store them in my garage, on a trickle charger. After installing the new batteries, the rig started right up. Now if only old man winter would run out of energy, I'm ready for Spring.
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Old 03-17-2014, 07:04 PM   #20
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The Luck of the Irish. Thanks again for the help, on Saturday we started up the motorhome and took to a dealer for repair. Tonight the house next to the fence where we stored our motorhome caught fire, and 5 motorhomes burned up, there would have been 6 if not for this board. Thank you all. Ed Haggerty, and yes, I'm Irish.......
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:36 PM   #21
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Wow a battery is run down and it is automatically junk??? That's silly! You may need to trickle charge to get enough charge to use a 2 amp and then 10 amp. As stated above they may work, might not but well worth a try. When storing for the winter I'd suggest you unhook the ground from all batteries to stop the chemical reaction. This is why when you buy a new battery that has been sitting on the self for months is charged and ready to go, not grounded, no chemical reaction to reduce the charge of the battery. When you hook them up in the spring they will be ready to go
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