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Old 11-03-2016, 05:18 PM   #1
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Winter battery maintenance

I recently purchased a Holiday Rambler 40PLQ diesel pusher. I'm trying to formulate my winter battery maintenance plan, which mainly consists of charging them every several weeks. Does anyone know if running the generator charges all batteries, or do I need to run the engine too?
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Old 11-03-2016, 06:55 PM   #2
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If you can plug in to shore power, even just a 15 amp outlet, you can keep them charged on the converter/charger. You can easily see if house and chassis batteries charge, take voltage measure unhooked, then plug in shore cord, wait a few minutes, then take voltage readings again. Both battery groups should show a voltage increase when plugged in. Your generator will provide the same condition as plugging in the shore cord.

You might want to see how many amps are being used even when the battery disconnect switch(es) are off. I have knife switch disconnect on my house batteries because even with the BDS off, the phantom draw will deplete the batteries.
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Old 11-03-2016, 07:18 PM   #3
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Mine sits from now till Feb, I set the on board Xantrex at 13.1 volts and it's good to go - usually gets cold here in Indy !.
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Old 11-03-2016, 07:27 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
If you can plug in to shore power, even just a 15 amp outlet, you can keep them charged on the converter/charger. You can easily see if house and chassis batteries charge, take voltage measure unhooked, then plug in shore cord, wait a few minutes, then take voltage readings again. Both battery groups should show a voltage increase when plugged in. Your generator will provide the same condition as plugging in the shore cord.

You might want to see how many amps are being used even when the battery disconnect switch(es) are off. I have knife switch disconnect on my house batteries because even with the BDS off, the phantom draw will deplete the batteries.
Good advice.
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Old 11-03-2016, 10:13 PM   #5
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The fun part is checking the water at 15 degrees F.
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Old 11-03-2016, 10:38 PM   #6
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If you keep the batteries clean, charged, and full of water they will not freeze, and if your converter has the correct circuits in it.... it will float charge them to keep them up and ready.... usually a float charger runs at 13.1 vdc or so... the nice thing with a float charger in your converter is that any constant draw.... circuit boards maybe in the furnace, fridge, water heater will be supplied as needed where a small off the shelf unit might not have enough capacity....

Remember only distilled water, and keeping the surface dry....

I put mine away and knowing how cold it will get, I don't worry about the water level... as I know my converter will float charge and the water level won't change...

BTW a discharged battery is basally filled with water and WILL FREEZE..

If I start my engine in the winter... I always let it run until the water temperature comes up at least 75% of normal operation temperature... which might mean for some at least 2 hours.... I want the moisture in the engine block to warm and gas off so that the moisture doesn't damage the oil and related surfaces..
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:25 AM   #7
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There is no shore power available, thus the need to use the generator or engine to periodically top off the batteries. So once again "Does anyone know if the generator typically charges all the batteries or just the house?".
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:35 AM   #8
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As I earlier suggested, take voltage readings of your house and chassis batteries. A fully charged battery should read 12.7v. Start the generator and take voltage readings again. If the voltage is now 13.1v or more, a charging voltage is present at both battery groups. This is the only reliable way to answer your question, test it yourself.

If you disconnect the batteries while in storage, battery drain will be very minimal and you won't have to run the generator as long. It's still good to periodically exercise the generator, but it won't have to be for multiple hours.
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:41 AM   #9
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There is no shore power available, thus the need to use the generator or engine to periodically top off the batteries. So once again "Does anyone know if the generator typically charges all the batteries or just the house?".

This is a big "depends" answer...... some do....some don't. And even the ones that normally do, sometimes have a malfunction which prevents the chassis batteries from charging when on shore or generator power.

The only way to be sure is to take voltage readings with a digital voltmeter, both before starting the generator,and again after to see if the voltage reading increases after.

On some systems you need to wait until the house batteries show nearly full charge before it begins to send a charge to the chassis batteries.
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Old 11-04-2016, 07:26 PM   #10
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Firing your Genny up should provide a charge to your Batteries - After the 30 second delay or so.
If it doesn't then your on board charger is either off or needs to be reset.
As others have mentioned check your Batteries with a volt meter while running the Genny !
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