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Old 05-06-2016, 08:09 AM   #1
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Battery Health

What is preferred method of insuring long battery life. When coach is not being used for a month or so and plugged in to external power, should battery switches, coach and chassis, be on or off? Refrigerator and all systems are off.

Barry & Susan, CAPTAIN'S QUARTERS, 2015 Winnebago Vista 36Y
2007 Honda CRV blue ox toad

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Old 05-06-2016, 08:41 AM   #2
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If you are plugged into external power, you don't need to really do anything with battery switches, refrigerators, or anything else. But you do need to check your water levels in your batteries and refill as needed.

At the beginning of the month, I get out my jug of distilled water, hook up my battery fill system, and add water to batteries. Some months they take a lot, others hardly any. If electrolyte levels are too low in your batteries, then you are shortening their life.

Roger & Mary
2017 Winnebago Navion 24V
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Old 05-07-2016, 07:06 AM   #3
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X2 except that depending on your parasitic draw 15 or 20 amp might not be enough to keep your batteries charged. Ask me how I know.
Shell Bleiweiss
2014 1/2 Thor Challenger 37KT
Sedona, AZ
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:17 AM   #4
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I have been working on this since I bought my first travel trailer in 1968. My final plan was the battery minder. It has a pulse charge that breaks up any plate coating and keeps the battery charged with no gassing. MY batteries are 9 years old and just load tested good. I don't like leaving the coach plugged in because it can boil the batteries dry and we have frequent lightening storms in Georgia that can fry a converter and do all kinds of bad things to the electrical system.
1998 Pace Arrow 35 ft. F53 Ford V10 2012 Honda Civic toad
32 years mechanic at Delta Air Lines 15 year motorhome service manager. 3 popups....2 travel trailers....5 motorhomes....loved them all.
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:57 AM   #5
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OP - Much will depend upon how sophisticated the inverter/charger unit in your coach is... As with most things on coaches, different target price points for a coach, can effect the selection of the coaches components to meet that price point. So research what your specific unit is in your coach. A good quality 3 stage charger, with temp sensor compensation, would allow you to plug it in and forget it the majority of the time. (Always of course, maintain proper water maintenance and yearly cleaning of posts.)

GA Traveler also takes it into consideration the benefit of a unit that protects against heavy sulfating. In normal usage of discharge/charge, sulfating is reduced due to activity. When in extended 'float' mode, which should be the case when plugged in for extended time, the lack of activity is missed. Their is a large following on the Monaco owners site. of the pulsating devices:

PP-12-L PowerPulse 12-Volt Battery Maintenance System

The above seems the be the on that is used the most. If you have a good 3 stage charger, adding one of these can help protect from heavy sulfating.

Or, as GA Travler pointed out, the Batter Minder, in some models, has automatic de-sulfating built into their float/trickle charger. They, as well as PulseTech, have solar power charger units with the pulse/de-sulfating included.

If you do not boon dock too much, probably not needed, but I'm a fan of battery monitors. I actually have two, the BMK-Meter as part of our MS2812 Magnum Inverter/Charger. And we have the WhzBangJr added to our MidNite Classic 150 solar controller. Both of these devices, as well as the also very respected and popular Bogart Trimetric monitor - measure many variables of your batteries, like SOC and current voltage, etc.. They provide the info to make informed conditions about the health of your batteries.

If you are a 'park to park' with power camper, and for sure nothing wrong with that, then you may not need the extra monitoring.

Best of luck to you, have fun,
Roo II is our 04 Country Coach Allure 40'
OnDRoad for The JRNY! Enjoy life...
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Old 05-07-2016, 10:02 AM   #6
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Other options are solar, or an auto generator start system. These two additional methods are extra "insurance" just in case the shore power fails or a breaker trips.

A good solar system will keep your batteries charged without much worry.

The auto generator start system, can be programmed to start the generator when the voltage of the batteries falls below a specific set point. The generator then powers the onboard charger to recharge the batteries, and after a few hours the generator shuts off all automatically.
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Old 05-07-2016, 10:17 AM   #7
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Smile inverter charger

In my Motor Home I installed a new Inverter /4 stage charger which keeps the batteries charged and maintained while hooked to sure power. with the 4 stage charger both chassis and house batteries are never over charged or water boiled out. I keep it plugged in to shore power when not in use. Checked the water level the other day after sitting for 6 months storage and the water level in the batteries was still above the plates. Hardly down at all.
2016 Keystone Cougar 277RLSWE 5th Wheel Towed with a 2011 Ford F-250 Super Cab Heavy Duty 4WD Towing Package,
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Old 05-10-2016, 11:52 AM   #8
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If the chassis and house (override) switches are "Off" can the roof top solar panel get to those batteries with a trickle charge?
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Old 05-10-2016, 12:08 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by FloridaNative49 View Post
If the chassis and house (override) switches are "Off" can the roof top solar panel get to those batteries with a trickle charge?

Depends upon how your system is wired. Most of the time the solar is wired directly to the batteries. A quick check with a voltmeter can confirm the batteries are getting charged
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Old 05-10-2016, 12:14 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by FloridaNative49 View Post
If the chassis and house (override) switches are "Off" can the roof top solar panel get to those batteries with a trickle charge?
Solar panels should be directly wired to the batteries and not run through any switches. As mentioned, check voltage when the sun is out. You could also get a Trimetric monitor so you can know exactly what is going in and out of the batteries.

2011 Monaco Knight 40PBQ towing a Jeep JK Rubicon Wrangler
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