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Old 09-13-2013, 09:09 PM   #1
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Battery disconnect

We are lucky to be able to keep our coach in our RV garage here at our home.
Is it better to use the battery disconnect switch or jus leave the coach plugged into power all the time? I used to use the disconnect switch as that is what I dod when we had a 5th wheel. Now i have been leaving the coach plugged in. I have been told that the charger/inverter won't over charge the batteries.
I fill the batteries with water quarterly.

Is that correct?
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Old 09-13-2013, 09:44 PM   #2
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If you have a "smart charger" the best thing to do is leave it plugged in and monitor the acid lever in each cell. If it were me I would either confirm that a my coach had a smart charger by finding the reference in the manual(s) or call the manufacturer to confirm that equipment was installed. They should be able to look up your coach by serial number and confirm. If you don't have a smart charger then I would disconnect the negative cable from the battery system when it is in storage. Connect it every month or so and charge up the batteries. Just shutting off the battery switch may still allow some parasitic drain. Many people think that batteries are damaged in cold weather. That is true if the battery is allowed to discharge in freezing temps. However a fully charged battery will not freeze even in the coldest climate. (Note that I live in Alaska, I'm talking about really cold temps) Hot weather will damage lead acid batteries much more than cold.
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Old 09-14-2013, 07:21 AM   #3
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The worst thing for a battery is to let it sit in a discharged state. The best thing is to keep it on a 'float' charge (13.2v). Since I do have a smart charger, mine stays plugged in 24/7. My batteries are 8 years old and they are in great shape.

Battery disconnects are fine. It's just batteries will self discharge over time, without any phantom drains. So, they must be monitored regularly and charged as needed. With a smart charger, it's a no-brainer to leave the coach plugged in.
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Old 09-15-2013, 02:26 PM   #4
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I hope you are using distilled water and not overfilling the cells? When the water touches the bottom of the inverted tower the level is correct.
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Old 09-15-2013, 02:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clyon51 View Post
The worst thing for a battery is to let it sit in a discharged state. The best thing is to keep it on a 'float' charge (13.2v). Since I do have a smart charger, mine stays plugged in 24/7. My batteries are 8 years old and they are in great shape.

Battery disconnects are fine. It's just batteries will self discharge over time, without any phantom drains. So, they must be monitored regularly and charged as needed. With a smart charger, it's a no-brainer to leave the coach plugged in.
I have no space to keep our coach at home and have no way to plug it in at the storage yard. What is the best way for me to maintain my house batteries?
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Old 09-15-2013, 02:32 PM   #6
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I have changed dozens of converters and inverters due to lightening. I prefer to buy a $35.00 to $50.00 battery maintainer and take my chances with that.
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Old 09-15-2013, 04:13 PM   #7
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Hi Falcon35,
New batteries sitting on a shelf will lose 1-3% of their charge per month. If the coach is being stored for a short time, make sure the batteries are fully charged. Then used the store switch to turn the coach off. That is not going to turn off everything, but it is the best you are going to do. If you do not use the coach for a long period of time (longer than 4 months) consider taking the batteries out of the coach and storing them in a dry place with a battery maintainer type charger connected to them.

If the batteries are old, they will lose more charge/month than what I have stated above.
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Old 09-15-2013, 06:59 PM   #8
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I have no space to keep our coach at home and have no way to plug it in at the storage yard. What is the best way for me to maintain my house batteries?
If you pull the NEG cable from the batteries and they are fully charged, I would leave them for a month without worry. However, if you do long term storage, I would just pull them right off the bat. Take them home and keep on a trickle charger. Keeping a wet cell battery charged at all times will last 10 years. Everytime they sit in a semi discharged state, they lose some life.
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Old 09-15-2013, 11:56 PM   #9
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Wow you guys are energetic. If the coach is going to be stored longer than 4 months just pop those heavy batteries out and take them somewhere to charge them. I might would recommend just disconnecting the ground cables and not worrying about it if it is not going to be stored for a year or so. every 3 or 4 months go to the storage facility and put the grounds back on start the coach and the generator let them charge the batteries for a while then shut everything off and remove the ground cables again. The engine really needs to be started on a regular basis and if the batteries cannot sit for 4 months without being charged I would be very surprised. That is a lot less work than removing all the batteries and then taking them somewhere and hooking them up to a float charger then taking them back to the MH and putting them back in the battery compartment and hooking them back up. My back is starting to hurt just thinking about all of that.
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Old 09-16-2013, 05:24 AM   #10
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gemini5362 has a great idea. Now the problem becomes weather. Cold will drain the life out of batteries also. And the genset will not start easily if too cold and the battery is not delivering correctly.

I have never faced storage problems because I am full time. But this is not a new idea. I hope someone here has faced these problems and can tell us, through actual experience, the results of winter storage on the coach.

My coach has a small solar panel to charge the batteries. I can not recall if this is to work with the house bank also. But is is just a small charge to the battery for makeup of depletion loss. If the rig is stored under cover this becomes useless.

If the batteries deplete but don't freeze and still have a small charge on them they should come back with a jump. What folks do with AGM batteries when storing there RV is a whole new avenue to explore.

I feel that only the experienced in the situation that is being discussed is the only valid answer. I look forward to reading it.
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Old 09-16-2013, 08:42 AM   #11
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IMHO there is a best and safest way to store an RV, especially handling of wet cell batteries. Then there is a 'get me by' approach and of course the wrong way. The first will preserve your batteries for 10 years. The second, which depends, may be 3-5 years and the later maybe a year.
Living in Mi all my life I have dealt with dead batteries more times then I care to count. Over this time I have developed my own approach, which is if stored over a month or so, they go on a trickle charger, which is no job for me. A bit aggressive I know, but just how I do it.

I'm lucky enough to be able to keep my RVs at home and they've stayed plugged in 24/7.

If I had to store in a no power remote location over the winter, the batteries would get pulled, gasoline treated and run through engine and genny. The trip to storage would be long enough to make sure everything reached operating temps, including genny. I would not return until spring or until I needed it.

Needing to run the engine is a fallacy. Cold starting an engine 4-5 times during the winter does more harm than once in the spring. Any engine mfgr, especially diesel, will tell you do not start the engine unless you are going to drive it long enough to get everything up to operating temps and drive an additional 30 mins or so. This expels the condensation out of the exaust system, engine oil, trans fluid, ect.

So, do I want to take the batteries home and go back when I need the coach, or do I want to go the storage yard 4-5 times over the winter, perhaps wading through feet of snow to charge my batteries?

The thing here is there are so many variables between RVers. Storing in AZ is going to be different than ND. I am still strong and mobile, my batteries weigh 66lbs. Some folks batteries weight 160lbs and weigh more than they do

All an OP can do here is wade through all the opinions and make a choice that fits their personal situation or the one that makes more sence to them. Some do well and some don't, but it's never a life changer

AGMs - abosultely don't need them, therefore the additional cost serves me zero purpose. Not so for some folks in their situation.
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Old 09-16-2013, 06:19 PM   #12
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Thanks for your ideas,
We go south right after New years and I do like to exercise the generator every month. To get it up to temperature I have to run it for over one half an hour that should put some juice back in the batteries. I have found that even even when I turn off the battery disconnect switch the batteries run down more than I think they should. I guess I will just have to pull a cable.
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Old 09-16-2013, 06:43 PM   #13
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This may be of interest if you have newer Interstate 4D-XHD batteries. I stared a thread a week or so ago Batteries about battery watering systems and post #3 has a response from Pro-Fill battery watering system covering that no battery watering system will work on the newer Interstate 4D-XHD batteries. The reason as explained is that these batteries now have a 2.00" fill line rather tan the standard 1.40" fill line. That x'ed the battery watering system for these batteries for now but also has me concerned about manually adding water to the batteries as needed. It hard to see down the back opening's and I am not sure if there are any bottle battery watering arrangements available for the new fill line. As indicated earlier maintaining properer water level is important anytime but especially in storage.
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Old 09-16-2013, 07:50 PM   #14
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I have found that even even when I turn off the battery disconnect switch the batteries run down more than I think they should. I guess I will just have to pull a cable.
Many coaches to not disconnect the LP, Smoke and CO2 detectors when the BDS is used. So unless one knows for sure it does, always best to pull the cable on long term storage.
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