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Old 06-08-2014, 07:38 PM   #1
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Battery/Electrical Question

The storage spot where we keep the MH has 20amp boxes. I've never used them, but noticed that the coach batteries were way down today. So a few questions:
1) Obviously, I only want to keep the batteries up. If I go from 50 to 30 to 20 in adapters and just plug in, I assume the batteries will stay up. Anything else I need to do?
2) Can/should I keep the chassis batteries connected as well (don't set the disconnect switch?
3) OK if leave the fridge on? It is a residential unit, so I'm not sure I can shut it off!
4) The 50amp cord is not long enough to get to the outlet, so I'll have to put the adapters on an extension cord. Will a standard outdoor heavy duty cord do the job?

Lots of questions, thanks.
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Old 06-08-2014, 07:50 PM   #2
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Adapters and a good 12 ga ext cord will work fine. Chassis batteries may or may not charge, varies with mfg. unless you're keeping a beer cold, no reason to run the refer, just shut it off.
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Old 06-08-2014, 08:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by COTuscany View Post
The storage spot where we keep the MH has 20amp boxes. I've never used them, but noticed that the coach batteries were way down today. So a few questions:
1) Obviously, I only want to keep the batteries up. If I go from 50 to 30 to 20 in adapters and just plug in, I assume the batteries will stay up. Anything else I need to do?
2) Can/should I keep the chassis batteries connected as well (don't set the disconnect switch?
3) OK if leave the fridge on? It is a residential unit, so I'm not sure I can shut it off!
4) The 50amp cord is not long enough to get to the outlet, so I'll have to put the adapters on an extension cord. Will a standard outdoor heavy duty cord do the job?

Lots of questions, thanks.

Great questions. About the frig: How often do you use your MH? If once every few weeks I suggest that you keep it running but if your rig is in storage for several months, clean the frig well and prop the doors open. Go to the coach a day or so before you are going to use it and reclean the frig, close it up and turn it on.

If you use your disconnect switch on the start battery and it seems to stay fresh you don't have to worry. Some coach manufactures provide a clean disconnect and others keep the engine computers "warm". The above suggestion of the 12ga cord is very valid. Make certain that your inverter is on and the charger is working from the 20A service.

I suggest the next time you water your batteries and clean your terminals that you put an oz or so of mineral oil in each cell after the water level is corrected. Edison did this for maintenance control of the batteries he used. You can look this historical fact up for yourself. I got mine for about a $1.80 per bottle at the Walmart pharmacy. It's used as a laxative.

I hope my suggestions provoke some good thoughts about keeping your coach and you happy campers.

Rick Y
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:04 PM   #4
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Battery/Electrical Question

Question 1: Nope...nothing else you need to do.

Question 2: YES! Absolutely! You'll keep ALL the batteries charged this way.

Question 3: Yes...leave it on.

Question 4: Yes.

This is how I have our coach plugged in all the time when at home. All I have available in the hangar are standard, 15-amp 110 volt outlets in the wall. I don't even uncoil the 50-amp cord off the reel. I just plug up the adapters, plug in the extension cord, run it over to the coach, plug in there and done. Been storing the coach like this when at home for almost two years.

When charging the batteries, the current draw on the 110 volt side is only a few amps. I have even run a 1,500 watt electric heater inside the coach from time to time. Or one air conditioner. All works just fine.


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Old 06-09-2014, 06:35 PM   #5
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You may not be the only coach plugged into those 20A outlets. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say there may be more than one outlet on a single 20A circuit. If that's the case, you may cause the breaker for the outlet to trip if you and your unknown buddies collectively use more than 20A. That means you may have to limit your own consumption a bit. If your batteries are low, your charging system could draw 10-12 amps all by itself for a short while.

If the management can't answer a question about whether those 20A outlets are each on a dedicated circuit, at least ask where the circuit breakers are so you can reset if needed.
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerichorick View Post
I suggest the next time you water your batteries and clean your terminals that you put an oz or so of mineral oil in each cell after the water level is corrected. Edison did this for maintenance control of the batteries he used. You can look this historical fact up for yourself. I got mine for about a $1.80 per bottle at the Walmart pharmacy. It's used as a laxative.
Rick Y
Everything I've ever read from the battery manufacturers say put 'nothing' in the batteries besides distilled water. The Videos from Trojan Batteries are one source.
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Old 06-10-2014, 07:35 AM   #7
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Everything I've ever read from the battery manufacturers say put 'nothing' in the batteries besides distilled water. The Videos from Trojan Batteries are one source.
True, and I have heard this argument before. Remember, these folks build these things. They know that there are many "battery additives" advertized that claim to "boost" your battery performance or recover a dead battery. This is what they are against because this stuff changes the chemistry of the cell it is used in. Mineral oil is non-reactive to the chemistry of the battery. It has no more effect on how the battery produces electricity than the plastic container that the battery is built in. It is simply a liquid cover. The mineral oil helps to reduce water evaporation and the caustic effect of the gasses upon the terminals and wires.

I was reintroduced to this practice last year on irv2. I had studied it in school and knew that the phone company had done this many years ago but never though about a automotive application. Many folks on this forum have been doing this for many years with great success. Please search this topic for yourself.

Bottom line: Don't us additives in your battery to change it performance. Mineral oil is neutral and has no chemical affect on the battery. It is no more harmful than terminal spray protective is to the terminal material and more beneficial because it is a complete seal, but still vents like a valve or membrane.

What you do is your choice as always. If you find a better way to do a thing is it wise to avoid it? I feel that this, as a maintenance procedure, is wise.

I just did this to my start batteries a couple of months ago. This coach is new to me and it was time to routine the batteries. I will never have to do this again for the life of the batteries. Routine water check are still on my list but I anticipate that I won't have to add water or clean corroded terminals when I do.

Happy trails,
Rick Y
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Old 06-10-2014, 04:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
1) Obviously, I only want to keep the batteries up. If I go from 50 to 30 to 20 in adapters and just plug in, I assume the batteries will stay up. Anything else I need to do?
You need to make sure the house batteries are CONNECTED

Quote:
2) Can/should I keep the chassis batteries connected as well (don't set the disconnect switch?
Depends on if you have a bi-directional isolator or Trick-L-Start or equal, if you do, leave chassis connected as well, if not, disconnect.

[/quote]
3) OK if leave the fridge on? It is a residential unit, so I'm not sure I can shut it off![/quote]

yes

[/quote]
4) The 50amp cord is not long enough to get to the outlet, so I'll have to put the adapters on an extension cord. Will a standard outdoor heavy duty cord do the job?[/quote]

YES, but.. I'd go with a 12ga.. You can get a puck type (All one piece, not a dogbone) that goes from your 50 amp direct to a 15 amp plug,, Sears and K-mart both sell 12ga cords with a push button on the outlet housing You push the button and plug in the puck, then plug the RV's cord into the puck, then plug the cord into the building.

An even BETTER option if you can afford it (I will explain) is a special cord you can get at many RV dealers, it is about 1 - 1.5 feet long and has a 50 amp Marinco outlet on one end matching the INLET on most 50 amp Motor homes, the plug end is a 15 amp, again use a Sears/K-mart 12ga with push button extension cord.

Why is this a better option

Copper is expensive and that 50 amp cord has lots and lots and lots of copper in it, Thieves like it when you leave them lying about the storage lot.
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Old 06-10-2014, 05:00 PM   #9
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I just run an extension cord to the converter/charger. Unplug converter/charger from the RV; plug converter/charger into the expension cord. No adapters to fail..

I use the adapters when camping as necessary to power the RV but I'm not a fan of using adapters for long time usage. There made like crap. The ones I've used ya gotta wiggle them to get a good connection... I can imagine a loose connection getting hot or failing causing dead batteries.
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