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Old 12-06-2015, 08:44 PM   #1
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Winter Storage & Electrical Hookup Question

I am here in NE Ohio and just finished putting on the new RV cover, ready for the harsh winter. For years, I have used indoor storage, but struck out this year. Antifreeze is in waterlines, tank is full, stabilizer in, but here is my question... Because of the proximity to my house, I may have to use the generator for electric in case of a lasting bad storm, should I keep the coach plugged into electric to keep the converter charging the batteries (Older 1997 National Dolphin, not a inverter) so that I will have a good chance at firing up the generator if needed. My only real fear, it sometimes seems my batteries get overcharged, as I find moisture on the top of the batteries. Also, am I correct in thinking that both house and chassis are charging with the converter?

Carl and Valarie * 1997 National RV Dolphin 535,
2003 Jeep Wrangler, 944 Porsche NASA-GTS/2,
Yamaha Roadstar Silverado/Yamaha CT175/Honda Spree, 24ft Vintage Trailer
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Old 12-06-2015, 10:19 PM   #2
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Don't know anything about your coach, but can give some MH generalities. In my coach and I think many others, the house and chassis battery banks are only tied together when the engine is running, which turns on a charge solenoid and allows the engine alternator to charge both sets. With the engine off and chassis batteries sitting, my coach has a small 1.5amp trickle charger (Mind-er) that plugs into a coach 120 socket. That keeps the chassis batteries charged up. The house batteries are charged by a converter, which could be either a standalone box or incorporated with and inverter/converter, depending on brands. Older converters were single stage charging, which tended to overcharge batteries and boil them away. Newer converters are multi-stange charging, the last stage is a trickle charge. If you have the former, you could be overcharging your batteries. In lieu of a 'Mind-er', some have a device called a Amp-L-Start, which steals some power from your house batteries, to charge the chassis batteries. This assumes you have a good charger/converter on your house batteries. Hope that helps.

DaveB, Raleigh, NC
2015 Tiffin RED 33AA
2014 Honda CRV
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Old 12-07-2015, 04:44 AM   #3
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Unless you know, not think, not maybe, not might be, that your invertor/changer has multistage charging capability leave the coach unplugged. A constant rate charger will, given enough time, boil the batteries dry. Will they batteries dry out over the next six month if plugged in? Don't know but I would expect them to hold a charge, with no loads and the ground terminal disconnected, for the next six months.

Monthly generator exercising should be enough to keep them peaked but pull the negative terminals. Disconnect switches might not fully disconnect ALL the loads and the middle of an ice storm isn't the time to find out you rlife boat has a leak.
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Old 12-07-2015, 11:01 AM   #4
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Read and take Sweetbriar's answer to heart. A coach of your vintage is not likely to have a "smart - multistage" converter/charger. You could do well to get one, but for now or until you find out you have one. Leave the shore power off. Those old unit have killed an amazing number if good battery banks.

A lifelong waterman and his bride going dry places for as long as the fuel money lasts.
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Old 12-07-2015, 01:43 PM   #5
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Thanks for the responses. My gut feeling was to keep the shore power disconnected, now confirmed. I have the Trojans pulled, and supplanted a regular 12v deep cycle, so the Trojans will be available to drop in (that's an easy task in the middle of that ice storm ) if needed. I will keep an additional trickle charge on all of the batteries periodically too. (I have way to many thing to trickle charge every winter! !!! )
Carl and Valarie * 1997 National RV Dolphin 535,
2003 Jeep Wrangler, 944 Porsche NASA-GTS/2,
Yamaha Roadstar Silverado/Yamaha CT175/Honda Spree, 24ft Vintage Trailer
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Old 12-07-2015, 05:54 PM   #6
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Here is the answer parts one and two.
Part one, the question you ask...
It depends on the converter. .Just this morning I was reminded there are still some Magnetek 6300 converters out there. Not a good idea to leave these plugged in full time.

on the other hand my Progressive Dynamics Intella-Power 9180 with optional Charge Wizard.. That is EXACTLY how I do it. (Best converter in my not very humble opinion).

If you have a decent 3-stage converter. Plug in

Now the question you did not ask.

Have someone who knows how to do it install a 30 amp outlet on your rig, A TT-30 will do nicely

now make an extension cord long enough to go from that outlet to your house.

Have an electrician install a proper INLET on the house (30 amp twist lock this will be a 4 wire outlet but you will "Adapt" when you make the extension cord)

And a proper GENERATOR TRANSFER panel next to your breaker box...

This panel should have circuits for 120 volt devices only (Single breaker) and leave at least ONE light circuit off the transfer panel.

power fail time
Get cord, plug house end in to inlet and twist, uncoil as you walk to RV plug in RV end (NOTE: use of a TT30 instead of a twist lock on teh RV end is for the benefit of someone parked beside you some day.. I've used mine that way) Plug in.. Start generator, verify generator operation and return to basement.. Start flipping switches on the transfer panel

Click and I can turn OFF my flashlight
Click and I hear the furnace kick in
Click and I hear the Refrigerator upstairs (Very faintly)
Click and the deep freeze (At my elbow)
Click click click click. and more lights, the comptuer, television, radio, Miocrowave (OK I do not hear it but it now works)

Because it was combined with other electrical upgrades everything added up to around 2,000 dollars (Would have been less than half that without the other upgrades)


Cord $$$
Transfer box with inlet $$$
Installastion $$

Warm wife: PRICELESS

Home is where I park it!
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electrical, storage, winter

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