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Old 11-10-2015, 11:29 PM   #15
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Two hours per month is the recommended time to run a generator under at least load. I'm going to have to do mine this week.
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Old 11-11-2015, 06:48 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich-n-Linda View Post
When we are home, ours is plugged in to a standard 110 volt household outlet 24/7.


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Same here.
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Old 11-11-2015, 08:08 AM   #17
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Solar?

I was afraid somebody was going to say 30 minutes isn't enough. Thanks. Well if I am firm on not removing the batteries, then maybe I should consider a solar powered battery charger. Not sure I can putz around the MH at the storage yard for 2 hours in freezing temps. Solar may be the best solution if it does its job as expected.
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Old 11-11-2015, 08:37 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by scharfm View Post
I was afraid somebody was going to say 30 minutes isn't enough. Thanks. Well if I am firm on not removing the batteries, then maybe I should consider a solar powered battery charger. Not sure I can putz around the MH at the storage yard for 2 hours in freezing temps. Solar may be the best solution if it does its job as expected.
Solar for battery maintenance is very do-able, there are lots of threads on installing solar so I won't go into detail, except to say you do not need a big system, around 50-100 watts should do fine, even if you're in a part of the country with cloudy winters. Snow is an issue, though. We lost solar output for two months last winter because we couldn't get on the roof of our S&B and clean them off.

BTW, recommended generator exercise (at least for my Onan HGJAB) is at least 1 hour per month at at least 1/2 load, so you really should try for that even if it means hanging around the storage facility for that long. I was somewhat lax on this and ended up replacing a rotor after only about 4 years and 500 hours on the generator.

Here's the quote from the manual:

"Exercise the genset at least 1 hour each month if
use is infrequent. Run the genset at approximately
1/2 rated power. See LOADING THE GENSET
(Page 9). A single exercise period is better than
several shorter periods.
Exercising a genset drives off moisture, re-lubricates
the engine, replaces stale fuel in fuel lines and
carburetor and removes oxides from electrical contacts
and generator slip rings. The result is better
starting, more reliable operation and longer engine
life."
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Old 11-11-2015, 08:38 AM   #19
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Just fully charge them and disconnect the ground wires. Then just leave them until spring. They will not freeze. And the cold weather actually slows the self-discharge. Also make sure to clean the tops of the batteries first.
As for your generator, give it a good run before you put it in storage and leave until spring. Running it for 30 minutes will do more harm than good.
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Old 11-11-2015, 08:43 AM   #20
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I was waiting for someone to mention this strategy. Thank you. That is what I plan on doing as I do not have access to shore power and removing my batteries and reinstalling would be a major PIA and back, too (3 batteries located under stairs).

Two hours is a long time as my MH will be in a remote storage facility and not at home. I'm uncomfortable running the generator without being there, so I plan on 30 minutes every month as I have read elsewhere, just making sure I have the battery switches on while running gen.

The other question is that all recommendations cite running the gen "under load", as in running the air conditioner. How do you do that when its 20 degrees F inside and outside of coach?
This is what I do, run the generator for 30-40 minutes monthly. I also heat up the microwave convection oven (no microwave, just convection) which puts a good load on the generator. If it's really cold I'll plug in a heater too.
Thirty to forty minutes is plenty long enough for a "top off' charge for the batteries.
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Old 11-11-2015, 08:51 AM   #21
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Thanks ChasA. Since this is my first MH I want to do all I can the right way. It's tough distilling all the information available these days. I have heard from others to do just what you say. Many have taken the "low maintenance", but "smart" approach and I think I will go that route. I've serviced the generator at CW and will add Seafoam to the gas tank, and fill that to the top. Then I'll run the generator for an hour before storing. Disconnecting the cables and will be the last step and we will see what happens. The worse thing that can happen to the batteries is I'll have to replace them. The cost of a lesson learned, but low risk, IMO. Thanks again and wish me luck.
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Old 11-11-2015, 09:02 AM   #22
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baraff, for how many winters have you been taking this approach? Any issues with either generator or batteries? This was my original plan. Thanks.
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:36 AM   #23
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Scharfm
Just fully charge them and disconnect the ground wires. Then just leave them until spring. They will not freeze. And the cold weather actually slows the self-discharge. Also make sure to clean the tops of the batteries first.
As for your generator, give it a good run before you put it in storage and leave until spring. Running it for 30 minutes will do more harm than good.
ChasA, Best advice so far,

Scharfm,

Understand the #1 reason for running the generator is to keep the windings dry. When you start the generator, especially in cold weather, you will create Condensation during the warm up period. If you do not run it long enough and with sufficient load to disperse the condensation, the moisture remains in the windings and eventually results an generator failure.
If you can't run it for a couple hours, don't run it at all.
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:45 AM   #24
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2 electric heaters will be enough load. The ceramic heaters will do the job.
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:46 AM   #25
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I don't keep the thing pluged in when not in use, lllkrob has the right idea. Start the coach and let it run for a while then the gen and let it run for a while and it will get the exercise it needs and keep the batteries up. Gas geni more so then diesel just because todays gas sucks. Its worked for me for 40+ years.
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Old 11-12-2015, 07:34 AM   #26
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baraff, for how many winters have you been taking this approach? Any issues with either generator or batteries? This was my original plan. Thanks.
Been doing it since we bought the motorhome in 2010. Never had a problem with the batteries being dead, except for the time I forgot to turn off the cabin power when leaving. That time I started the engine and then the generator.

Sometimes the generator will take longer to start, when it's very cold. I usually have to crank it for 7-8 seconds, then let it sit for a few seconds, then try again. It has always started. Never had a problem with frozen batteries, and we're in the Chicago area where it gets really cold and stays cold.
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Old 11-12-2015, 09:42 AM   #27
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I solved my battery storage problem last night. I have my MH stored in a building about ten miles from home. I pulled the chassis battery out and the two House batteries out when I parked it knowing I wouldn't be back there for five to six months and brought the batteries home. I had intended to keep them warm and dry and charged throughout the winter in my garage.
My pick up truck is stored at home in my barn for the winter so I am driving my older GMC Surburban for the winter now. I brought the Surburban in to my garage last night to check it over and realized I didn't really know how old the battery in it was. That was when I discovered the battery from the MH is exactly the same size as the battery in the Surburban. The batteries are now switched and I can baby sit the removed battery from the Surburban and run the MH battery all winter long.
I have a new Snowmobile trailer being built which should be delivered soon. In it will be 12V. lights as well as circulating fans and the blower in the propane wall gas heater. These will be wired into the tow vehicle wiring plug so I will have power when hooked to the truck. Now I will take the MH house batteries put them in a box and wire up the 12V. system in the trailer so I will have power even if I am not hooked to a tow vehicle. The batteries will charge each time I am hooked to and using the trailer.
The trailer will also have 110V. lighting which I will run from my portable generator. I can also wire in a charger to keep the batteries fully charged. I can also plug the trailer in if the trailer is going to sit a long period of time which I doubt it will.
In the spring I will pull the batteries and put them back in the MH. By then I will be using the trailer for storage throughout the summer. I really won't have a use for power. If I did I could always hook a battery to it or run the generator for 110.
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Old 11-12-2015, 09:54 AM   #28
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I was afraid somebody was going to say 30 minutes isn't enough. Thanks...... Not sure I can putz around the MH at the storage yard for 2 hours in freezing temps.

Well with two electric heaters plugged in and running, the MH should warm up pretty fast......why not also fire up the propane furnace and excercise it as well? Turn on the TV and bring a movie. Kick back, relax and watch the movie while the batteries charge and the generator gets its monthly excercise. 😃
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