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Old 03-20-2012, 11:37 PM   #1
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Charging batteries with external charger

My 2003 Itasca Horizon 36LD has the coach and chassis batteries in slide-out trays. Each tray has a big warning sticker on on the front warning not to charge the batteries without first disconnecting the cables. On my previous MH I would always connect up a Deltran Battery Tender smart charger to each bank of batteries to keep them charged up while in storage. (without disconnecting the cables) Will I do some harm to the coach or batteries if I do this on the Horizon?
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:23 AM   #2
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Have you called the manufacturer to ask why the have this sticker?
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:04 AM   #3
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The reason they do not want you to hook up a outside charger is to prevent you from
back feeding into the inverter / charger.
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogueJeff View Post
My 2003 Itasca Horizon 36LD has the coach and chassis batteries in slide-out trays. Each tray has a big warning sticker on on the front warning not to charge the batteries without first disconnecting the cables. On my previous MH I would always connect up a Deltran Battery Tender smart charger to each bank of batteries to keep them charged up while in storage. (without disconnecting the cables) Will I do some harm to the coach or batteries if I do this on the Horizon?
Your coach is a little newer than ours so you might have a different system. On ours the converter/inverter/charger is fairly sophisticated and it monitors our battery state. This is displayed on our one place panel near the bottom where the controls for the inverter are located.

My suggestion is that you become familiar with the system that's already built-in before you assume you need an external charger to maintain the batteries.

When we're at home, our rig is plugged in all the time to maintain the charge and without boiling the batteries dry. I check them about twice a year to make sure and I've never had a problem.
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:14 PM   #5
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I agree with Martind4. If you have power to plug in a battery tender, why not just use your coach's inverter/charger. Depending on the manufacturer, there's a good chance your inverter/charger will keep your engine batteries charged up as well.

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Old 03-21-2012, 10:32 PM   #6
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Thanks to those who responded to my query about battery charging. Unfortunately on my rig the inverter/charger does not charge the chassis batteries. I do use the coach system to keep the coach batteries at optimum charge and that works well. As I was preparing to leave on a trip two weeks ago I discovered that the new chassis batteries purchased this summer were totally dead despite being plugged into shore power the whole 4 months of storage. I will be contacting the manufacturer as suggested above.
Thanks again.
Jeff
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Old 03-22-2012, 12:20 PM   #7
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Simple solution. Use a Trik-L-Start.

Ultra TRIK-L-START Starting Battery Charger/Maintainer

Costs about $50 and you never have to hook up anything again.
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:53 AM   #8
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There are chargers, and there are chargers, and there are chargers,

I have seen big chargers at gas statins that can pump 100 amps or more into a poor little Group 24 battery, to do this you need to hit them with some SERIOUS voltage, perhaps 20 or more, this can and will damage 12 volt electronics if you are not careful.

ON the other hand your smart charger likely limts to 15 or 16 volts.

Some chargers only push a few amps (And thus far lower voltage, since voltage is what pushes)

Some (like smart chargers) know when to quit

Some, (Like Magnetek 6300's and old fashion single stage auto chargers) do not.

SO the advice to disconnect first, that way if you use the wrong type of charger (High capacity service station type or smaller non-smart which can drive the voltage way too high in either a short, or long, time) you don't fry stuff down-line.
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Old 03-24-2012, 04:03 PM   #9
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On my Winnebago, there is a switch to disconnect the house batteries. The switch is next to the steps and on my older Winnebago it was on the dash. For storage applications I use the "Deltran 2-bank International Battery Tender". Two separate battery tenders in one case. Only 1.25 amp chargeing, but uses 4-step charging method. One bank of the charger for the engine battery and the other bank for the house batteries.
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:03 PM   #10
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Simple solution. Use a Trik-L-Start.

Ultra TRIK-L-START Starting Battery Charger/Maintainer

Costs about $50 and you never have to hook up anything again.


Me too. Excellent product, standard on new Winnebago coaches now.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:09 AM   #12
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I replaced my converter years ago, with one of these: RV Power Converter/Chargers

I also installed the Charge Wizard, which shows you which mode it is in, and allows you to change it.

I also replaced my battery boost solenoid/relay, with one that has electronics in it, to sense which bank (house or chassis), is lower, and applies whatever charging source that is available, to that bank first, then brings both banks up to the same level. It uses shore power (your converter), generator, or engine alternator, to charge both banks.

I installed this about 5 years ago (+/-), and it has worked flawlessly; always keeping both banks properly charged.

I posted some pics of this project way back, when I did it.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:37 AM   #13
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The device CaptBill is reffering to is a Intellitec Bi-Directional Isolator Relay Delay (BIRD) Controller (Chassis battery drain). Used to control the Aux Start relay. There are 3 seperate models depending on if your rig is Gas or Diesel.

Dave
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