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Old 10-14-2016, 12:14 PM   #15
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The Generator should be run at least every two months for 45 minutes or so. It will come up to temp if loaded. I know the factory says two hours a month, but I have run mine every three months for 30 minutes and have had no generator issues since 1985.
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Old 10-15-2016, 01:59 PM   #16
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No, they won't freeze!!

I'm in Alaska, have been for over 55 years.

My hunting rig which has three 12V batteries in it only gets used once a year in Sept for moose hunting. The rest of the year it just sits. The first set of batteries lasted in it for 7 or 8 years. While they were starting to get a little weak, I only changed them out because I go 30+ miles off the highway with it and there's no one to get a jump start from out there. This is the second set of batteries in it now and they've been there for 3 years. This year, turned on the battery disconnect switch, cranked it for about 6 seconds and the old 453 Gimmy started right up again.

That first set of batteries saw several winters of down to -60F. The second set has only seen about -50F. They are not plugged in and there's no solar on them, but there is a true battery disconnect switch. I expect the current batteries to last 7 - 8 years also treating them exactly the same way.

First on your DP, it comes with a battery disconnect switch that DOES NOT disconnect everything - I have a Fleetwood 39S Excursion. You can use the switch, but you'll have dead batteries within a month or two. When I put mine in storage I always disconnect the negative cable on both sets of batteries and no I don't remove them and they're not on a charger. My DP was in Alaska for two winters near Fairbanks (at Anderson) and yes it hit -50F with no problems. The next spring, everything worked fine. I now keep it stateside, but still disconnect the negative cables every time I fly home.

Make sure the batteries are fully charged, pull the negative battery cables and your batteries will be fine.

Bill
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Old 10-15-2016, 02:22 PM   #17
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Count me with those with the "don't exercise" mind set.
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I agree if you are talking about the engine.... but Onan recommends that their generators be exercised once a month ...(I suggest you read the Operator's Manual for your generator).
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Old 10-15-2016, 06:56 PM   #18
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What a thoughtful suggestion (reading the manual, assuming I haven't already).

In this case, I'm of the notion I'm doing more damage than good, or there's a potential for that, no matter what the manual says. My opinion, FWIW.
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Old 10-15-2016, 10:50 PM   #19
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To expand on the connection to the batteries not being complete unless you disconnect the negative cable - true. However, many of the newer coaches, or those retrofitted with this improvement, have a lever or dial in the battery compartment that does completely cutoff all current. At least this is so with the start batteries. I could be corrected, but these are different than the switches inside the door that really do not turn off everything. Prior to this improvement with our previous motorhome, we did have difficulty keeping everything charged up in the winter without intervening by disconnecting and/or going out to charge them up every few weeks.
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Old 10-15-2016, 11:15 PM   #20
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Even with the "salesman" switch off, there will be a drain on the batteries from the LP detector, which must be constantly powered.
The only sure action is to remove the negative battery cables running to the chassis and engine from their posts.
Another potential problem is having different batteries on the same charging system. AGM batteries do not charge like flooded lead-acid. One or the other will over-charge depending on how you have your charger configured.
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Old 10-15-2016, 11:30 PM   #21
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I am going to try to intervene here and head off potential "heated" discussion that I believe might happen due to miscommunication. I believe there are two battery cutoffs that are being confused. One is a shutoff associated with the battery management system. This is electronic and does have a residual drain that will kill the house batteries in a couple weeks. The other is a "knife switch ".... a hard mechanical switch that physically disconnects the batteries (essentially the same as disconnecting the negative cable). We need to be careful I think in this discussion to not confuse the two . (Fwiw - when I killed my batteries, I turned off the "salesman switch", but forgot to throw the mechanical knife switch. Lesson learned)
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Old 10-16-2016, 06:27 AM   #22
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Consider all the RV's that sit on the Snow covered Sales Lots all winter, never started.
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Old 10-16-2016, 07:51 AM   #23
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It is a Clint Eastwood decision. Even Gel Batteries ($3500 worth in this case) have their limits





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Old 10-16-2016, 09:17 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Statgeek View Post
My house batteries are AGM's, and my chassis batteries are whatever came with my 2013 Fleetwood Discovery on Freightliner chassis.

As i mentally plan out my to-do list for winterization...the batteries.

I don't have access to any elec where I am storing it... can't keep it plugged in all winter long.

Assuming that I store it with batteries fully charged and with all elec off, will they freeze during winter? Or will I be ok???

Ugh. Didn't have to do this in TX...
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Because there's no liquid to and expand in AGM batteries, they're practically immune from freezing damage.

However the electrolyte in flooded lead acid batteries will freeze.

Here are the "freeze points" of the electrolyte in lead acid batteries at various "states of charge":

State of Charge Freezing Temperature
100% ...... -92.0 F
92% ........ -71.3 F
85% ........ -62.0 F
62% ........ -16.0 F
40%......... + 5.0 F
20% ....... +19.0 F
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Old 10-17-2016, 06:58 AM   #25
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Thanks for this discussion guys! I knew there were differences of opinion on leaving the generator all winter, vs. exercising it occasionally, and I appreciate the pros and cons.

I have AGM house batteries, but the regular "maintenance free" wet cells for the engine. When I installed the AGM's, I also switched the charging profile of my on-board charging system to match the AGM's, so I am charging them appropriately, but the charging profile is a little "off" for the two engine batteries. I'm ok with that decision.

I have two small "salesman" switches inside the door to my RV, and I verified that one shuts off house power (sort of) and the other shuts off any power from the chassis batteries. I believe that even with these in the off condition, the house batteries may continue to drain, though I can say with certaintly that it's not due to the smoke detectors because I had to replace one that had dual power (house, chassis both) and when those switches are off, I read no power to either of those wires. But maybe the LP alarm is still functioning... I also have a large red dial in the basement compartment next to my charging system. It is a mechancal power-off switch--much more substantial than the "salesman" switches.

When I store my RV for short periods of time, I shut all three of these off, and I've not noticed any power draws. So that's how I intended on the winter shut-off too... Hadn't considered disconnecting the negative terminals. Maybe I'll reconsider that idea, but given that Onan wants me to exercise the generator (a more expensive part to have to replace than batteries), I provably will try my first winter with the red switch and both salesman switches in the off position. I'll occasional visit, check power when I'm there, and exercise the generator for an hour or so. It's probably overkill, but it'll get me out of the house and back on my RV for some pretend camping!!
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Old 10-18-2016, 02:20 PM   #26
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Statgeek, just for consideration. When we bought our present MH it had been stored in a barn for 6 years. The previous owner had used it for 23,xxx miles and put 1,6xx hrs on the Onan 7.5 genset attending NASCAR events, advertising for his company, before he fell ill and placed the MH in his barn.

Point? Even though it is recommended to run a genset 2 hrs. monthly, it will not kill a genset to remain idle in every instance. Mine now has 1,9xx hrs, and operates properly in spite of those 6 years.
I do NOT recommend this, just sayin.
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Old 10-19-2016, 07:56 AM   #27
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Thanks Ray. Good to know that if I'm unable to exercise the Onan every so often, it'll sleep happily!
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