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Old 10-11-2014, 08:03 AM   #1
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Batteries in storage

I keep my motorhome in storage with no power available to maintain batteries. I have found, the hard way, that if I do not disconnect the batteries while it is parked for more than a few days, they will be DEAD when I return. As a consequence I disconnect the batteries whenever I leave it.

My procedure is to close it up, windows, shades, etc.., then shut off all power consuming devices I can think of, then turn off the switch to the house batteries. Then as I exit I lift step where battery compartment is and proceed to disconnect. Chassis battery has a knife switch which is fine, but when I disconnect the house batteries, which are 2 6volts in series, there is always a strong arcing between the cable and terminal. Same is true when I reconnect. Chassis battery has no such effect. Is it possible just the draw from the converter, even with nothing drawing on it but possible the gas, CO, and smoke detectors, is causing this?

How do others handle long term (more than a week) storage?
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Old 10-11-2014, 09:50 AM   #2
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You could try turning off the AC circuit breaker that powers the converter/charger before you disconnect the house batteries.

If your coach is stored uncovered, solar could be a good way to keep your
batteries charged while in storage. One 100 watt panel and charge controller
will keep all the batteries charged up nicely....the reason for 100 watt panel
is so on cloudy days, the panel still makes enough power to work well.

If your storage yard is secure, a portable panel setup on the ground might
even be an option for you.
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Old 10-11-2014, 12:08 PM   #3
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Not sure what you mean by "Strong Arcing" but first operate your House (AUX) battery DISCONNECT (May be marked STORE)

There are some loads that just never go away.. And thus there will be some arcing, I do know how to reduce it, but alas. Not sure it's a problem.
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Old 10-12-2014, 09:30 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post
Not sure what you mean by "Strong Arcing" but first operate your House (AUX) battery DISCONNECT (May be marked STORE)

There are some loads that just never go away.. And thus there will be some arcing, I do know how to reduce it, but alas. Not sure it's a problem.
Main reason for concern, was the horror stories I was told in shop and by Dad, when working on cars a spark near a battery could ignite the gasses being let off by battery as it charges. So, battery is charging all the way to storage, out gassing (I guess) and then I open the compartment and create a spark by disconnecting the battery
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Old 10-12-2014, 11:23 AM   #5
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At the risk of contradicting your Dad, I think the risk of explosion from your motor home batteries is pretty low. MH batteries are normally mounted in a well ventilated area. Any gas released by the batteries dissipates quickly, especially when driving. If you have concern about gas, open the battery compartment and let it vent for a few minutes before you mess with the cables.

I disconnect my batteries, (house and chassis) when I store my MH. I rarely get a spark when disconnecting or disconnecting. You didn't mention which cable you disconnect. Disconnecting the negative cable makes a big difference in reducing the spark. There is no need to disconnect the positive cable.
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Old 10-12-2014, 11:37 AM   #6
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Disconnecting the negative cable makes a big difference in reducing the spark.

If there is current flow, doesn't matter which cable is disconnected - electrically it's all the same to the battery.

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Old 10-12-2014, 11:43 AM   #7
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On mine I have to turn off the inverter even when using the knife switch disconnect. Seems inverter connected on other side of switch. Without turning of inverter batteries dead inn a week. With inverter off, will last month or more. Turning off ac circuit breakers don't stop all the draw.
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Old 10-12-2014, 11:55 AM   #8
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I'd be curious about what is drawing the current to cause the arcing. That sounds like more than a few sensors. I'm not sure I would "fix" anything but it would be interesting to know. If you have an inverter that is always powered up it is good to know and would account for the arcing as well as the battery drain. As I said, I would be curious, YMMV. ;-)
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Old 10-12-2014, 08:14 PM   #9
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I'd be curious about what is drawing the current to cause the arcing. That sounds like more than a few sensors. I'm not sure I would "fix" anything but it would be interesting to know. If you have an inverter that is always powered up it is good to know and would account for the arcing as well as the battery drain. As I said, I would be curious, YMMV. ;-)
No inverter, and I always assumed once the house battery switch is off I shouldn't have much draw, far as I know the only things that operate with the switch off is the gas detector and co detector. Maybe that is the source.

Reminds me of my boat, I keep it in dry storage and have no power to charger, if I leave the boat more than a week or two batteries will be drained by the charger. I have battery disconnects on there and NOTHING runs direct to batteries but bilge pumps and they don't run in dry storage.
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Old 10-12-2014, 09:50 PM   #10
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Batteries in storage

For many years having a TT and boat I would always take all the batteries out, place them on wood, never concrete, in the garage and charge them once a month during the long cold winters. The thought being that when a battery is completely discharged the electrolyte reverts from acid back to water. Assumed during sub zero temps the water would freeze and crack the case.
When the boat got larger and was winterized and stored by the "professionals" at the marina I discovered they simply disconnect the positive lead from both batteries and left them in the boat for our six months of winter. Was I incorrect?Now that I've changed to a land yacht. Do those in the northern latitudes store the MH bats this way? Any issues with frozen bats?
Thanks
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Old 10-13-2014, 01:08 PM   #11
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If you have a good battery (lead acid) that is fully charged you can leave in a vehicle, disconnected, all winter and it will not freeze or self discharge, even in sub-zero temps. If you wait till the weather warms up in the spring, or pre-heat the engine and battery, you'll have no problem starting a healthy engine. High ambient temps such as experienced in the desert southwest are much harder on lead acid batteries than cold temps. The only way to know if your battery is good is to use a load tester, or wait till spring and see if it froze over the winter.
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Old 10-13-2014, 08:52 PM   #12
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Good point thanks. In the coach they shall stay.
I worked in Phoenix in the summer for a few weeks. Good grief it's hot. Felt lousy till I realized hydration needs to be constant. Liked the area and classic cars.
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Old 10-14-2014, 06:57 AM   #13
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I ended up putting a Knife Blade switch on both house and chassis batteries. Very easy to lift the step and disconnect as I leave the rig. I keep a multimeter by the steps and check every visit for state of charge. I have not tried leaving it all winter but I am sure that I have gone 6 or 8 weeks between charging. Then I bring them home to charge them.
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