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Old 10-10-2015, 09:35 AM   #1
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RV Batteries and Winter

Hello All,

quick question for you all about batteries and winter, my dilemma is:

do I keep the motorhome plugged in to power all thru the winter

or

do I unplug the main power and connect the batteries to a trickle charger


which is better in your opinion?


thanks
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Old 10-10-2015, 09:48 AM   #2
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I don't know the correct answer, but I ordered 2 of these. One for the house batteries and one for the chassis batteries.

Amazon.com: CTEK (56-158) MULTI US 3300 12 Volt Fully Automatic 4 step Battery Charger: Automotive

The corvette community seems pretty enamored with them so I figured they must be OK.
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Old 10-10-2015, 10:08 AM   #3
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I make sure everything is totally off, then check the batteries with a volt meter once a month. I then plug motor home in to charge batteries if they are a bit low. I'm always surprised at how stable the batteries remain. My house batteries are seven years old so it's working for me. I also take batteries out of the tray each spring, clean as well as I can, check water levels, replace making sure connections are tight, and liberally use a terminal protection product.
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Old 10-10-2015, 06:34 PM   #4
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If concerned about winter temps, a fully charged battery can't freeze. I leave MH connected to 20amp socket.
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Old 10-10-2015, 06:47 PM   #5
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Fully charged batteries Will Not Freeze.
So, if you have access to shore power (20 Amp Min) leave the disconnect switches for the Chassis and House Batteries turned on and plug into shore power for the winter.
All you need to do is check the Electrolyte levels every 6-8 weeks to make sure the level does not drop below the top of the plates.
No need for aux charger or disconnecting your batteries.
By keeping them fully charged, they will not freeze and will extend the normal service life to about 8-10 years. As long as the charge rate is no more than 13.9 volts, electrolyte levels are maintained and terminal connections are kept clean.
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Old 10-10-2015, 06:50 PM   #6
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It depends on what you have for a built in charger. Most folks have a simple converter that will cook the batteries over time. If one really has a 4 level charger that really monitors the state of charge and adjusts accordingly then plug in. Make sure it also monitors the starting battery. If not sure or if there is no charging function for the starting battery then it is time for the small battery minder type of devices or periodic monitoring and charging. Either way works.
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Old 10-10-2015, 06:53 PM   #7
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Why not do two things at once. Start your generator and let it charge the batteries for two hours each month while in storage. That way the batteries stay charged and the generator gets the exercise it needs on a monthly basis.
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Old 10-10-2015, 06:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nothermark View Post
It depends on what you have for a built in charger. Most folks have a simple converter that will cook the batteries over time. If one really has a 4 level charger that really monitors the state of charge and adjusts accordingly then plug in. Make sure it also monitors the starting battery. If not sure or if there is no charging function for the starting battery then it is time for the small battery minder type of devices or periodic monitoring and charging. Either way works.

Good point, the OP does not give us any information as to what what model/year the motorhome is. Most late model coaches have a 3 stage charging system.
I keep forgetting not everyone has a Newmar,
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Old 10-10-2015, 10:49 PM   #9
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When we are home, ours is plugged in to a standard 110 volt household outlet 24/7.


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Old 10-11-2015, 06:53 AM   #10
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Forgot to mention that it is a 2016 Thor A.C.E. 30.2

Thanks
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Old 11-10-2015, 07:31 PM   #11
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Running gen under load with "AC on" in winter????

Quote:
Originally Posted by lllkrob View Post
Why not do two things at once. Start your generator and let it charge the batteries for two hours each month while in storage. That way the batteries stay charged and the generator gets the exercise it needs on a monthly basis.
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?
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Old 11-10-2015, 07:33 PM   #12
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2 electric heaters will be enough load. The ceramic heaters will do the job.
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Old 11-10-2015, 10:00 PM   #13
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That's a great idea. Thanks!
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Old 11-10-2015, 11:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scharfm View Post
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?

First, if you don't have power, I suggest removing the Negative cable from each battery bank. Just shutting off the switches will not fully isolate the batteries and as such, in a months time, they will likely be dead and frozen. You need to remove ALL Parasitic load by removing the Negative cable.
Next, Running the generator for 30 minutes per month will not bring them to full charge. Suggest reconnecting the Neg cables, start the generator with a couple of Ceramic Heaters and run for at least 1.5 - 2 hours.
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