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Old 11-30-2018, 06:36 PM   #1
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Battery Issue When Stored

My daughter bought a small Kodiak Cub last summer, and after a couple of camping trips stored it for about 6/8 weeks. When she took it out of storage the batteries (2 deep cycle) were dead. I checked them, indeed dead, 4 volts, destroyed. I got a new battery and checked the current draw with everything off, measured 625 ma (0.626 amps), which would indeed discharge batteries in that time period. I assumed something was wrong, as an automobile with all of the "off" current draws (theft deterrent, keyless entry, clock, heating system, radio, many computers) will go weeks/months with out discharging the battery (about 20 ma). Also, in 20 years of Class "A" experience I have never had a dead battery (coach or chassis), even when stored over winter, batteries not disconnected.
I called the dealer and was told that the battery would normally discharge in 5 to 7 days due to smoke/CO detectors. I found this hard to believe, as home detectors powered by 9v dry cell batteries used to operate for years. Called the factory but was told there are no technicians available to answer customers questions, must contact dealers.

What am I missing? What is your experience?

Rod
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Old 11-30-2018, 06:48 PM   #2
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Sounds typical for a unit without a charger. Disconnect the ground cable while in storage, or add a battery tender.
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Old 11-30-2018, 06:50 PM   #3
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Dealer is correct the batteries will discharge from the co and gas detectors. You need to put in a battery disconnect switch to turn off when not in use, if there isn't one already someplace.
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Old 12-03-2018, 05:12 PM   #4
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Dealer is correct the batteries will discharge from the co and gas detectors. You need to put in a battery disconnect switch to turn off when not in use, if there isn't one already someplace.
I am on a Quixote quest to understand why residential CO/smoke detectors will operate for well over a year on a small 9 volt dry cell but the detectors installed in a travel trailer will discharge an automotive battery in a few days. To that end I tried to read the manufacturer and model number from the detectors, only to find there is no marking whatsoever on the units, not even "Made in China" (there is a paper stick on explaining the meaning of the alarms).

Called the factory and was told I have to talk to the dealer. Dealer has no idea what units were installed by the factory, but needs the model number to order, of which there is none on the units. Told to take photos and email them.

Gota go now, and tilt at some windmills.
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Old 12-03-2018, 06:11 PM   #5
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On my last RV (2013 Aerolite) which is the Kodiak's sister RV, besides the CO, and propane detector ( hard wired) also the radio back light would stay on 24/7. Then there was one light on the fuse panel that would stay on also. My Aerolite did not have a battery dis-connect. I usually just kept it plugged into shore power at home. If I was on a trip where I had a lot of nights off the grid, I dis-connected the radio to conserve extra power.

During the off season, batteries are pulled out of the RV and put in my basement on a battery tender.
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:12 PM   #6
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Most of the rigs I've owned over the years have had smoke alarms that were strictly battery powered. The hard wired detector is either a gas detector, or combination gas/co detector. Most of the ones I've checked draw somewhere between .25 and .5 amps just sitting there, .75amps or so when beeping.


As I recall, my current rig has a battery powered smoke detector, battery powered smoke/co detector, and a hardwired propane Gas/CO detector. in addition to the half amp or so it pulls, the radio as already mentioned never really powers off, it goes into a standby mode that draws .3 amps or so. Without turning off the battery cuttoff switch, the trailer is always drawing close to an amp just sitting there. One of many reasons many of us like at least a battery maintainer type solar installation.
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:35 PM   #7
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This is what I bought.

Zoostliss Battery Isolator Disconnect Cut OFF Power Kill Switch
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071D55VM3..._tMDbCbGJRZF15
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Old 12-04-2018, 12:28 AM   #8
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With batteries in parallel, one will slowly discharge the other due to differences internal resistance. When you replace them, buy two sixes, wire in series, and just for good measure, buy one of those post connectors with the screw knob that disconnects the ground.
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Old 12-04-2018, 05:34 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by VanDiemen23 View Post
With batteries in parallel, one will slowly discharge the other due to differences internal resistance. When you replace them, buy two sixes, wire in series, and just for good measure, buy one of those post connectors with the screw knob that disconnects the ground.
Going with your theory, if someone has 4, or more, 6 volt batteries a in series parallel configuration they will need multiple disconnects. There are MHs that use 4 parallel sets of 6 volt pairs for a total of 8 batteries. You would have 4 disconnects ?

That many would not be needed. The only time a parallel battery will drag down another is if its shorted and bad, otherwise they will settle at an equal state.
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Old 12-04-2018, 12:13 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by VanDiemen23 View Post
With batteries in parallel, one will slowly discharge the other due to differences internal resistance. When you replace them, buy two sixes, wire in series, and just for good measure, buy one of those post connectors with the screw knob that disconnects the ground.
I understand where you are coming from, but the discharge of two batteries in parallel does not come from internal resistance. A real life battery can be modeled as an ideal battery (no resistance) in series with a resistance. When two are paralleled (no other external load) a closed circuit is indeed created. However if any current flow it is due to voltage difference between the two ideal batteries, and any internal resistance in fact mitigates the current flow. In practice the voltage difference/current flow is is negligible. The chassis batteries in my motorhome came with two 12 volt batteries in parallel, and over the course of about 7 or 8 years I had no battery failure, even with no disconnect and overwinter storage with no battery charger/tender. Failure came when one exploded! I as able to continue on one battery, which would not have been possible with a series connection.

My experience with a screw knob disconnect has not been positive. I had one on my towed vehicle as towing for more than two days with the ignition switch in the steering unlock position discharged the battery. With the disconnect in the closed position for normal driving about every week or two when trying to start the car the switch would open, necessitating unscrewing and retightening the knob. It may have an idiosyncrasy with that particular unit, not a general problem, but I now have a knife blade type of disconnect.

Rod
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Old 12-04-2018, 02:05 PM   #11
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I would add that parasitic loads notwithstanding, nominal lead acid self discharge is one percent per day. While I've found it to be not quite that much in practice it's still real, and damage occurs to any battery that is not maintained at 100% - at all times. So keeping batteries on float charge/maintainer will greatly extend the service life of batteries vs leaving them sit and periodically recharging them. So parallel or not, you want a float charger present to mitigate self discharge and any stray leakage.


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Old 12-04-2018, 03:28 PM   #12
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Just install a good battery disconnect like the ones they use on heavy equipment. They will easily handle 400 amps and that way you can disconnect everything. Just about all manufactures have small parasitic loads before the factory installed disconnect which will kill the batteries over a period of time , some in less than a week.
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Old 12-04-2018, 03:48 PM   #13
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I would add that parasitic loads notwithstanding, nominal lead acid self discharge is one percent per day. While I've found it to be not quite that much in practice it's still real, and damage occurs to any battery that is not maintained at 100% - at all times. So keeping batteries on float charge/maintainer will greatly extend the service life of batteries vs leaving them sit and periodically recharging them. So parallel or not, you want a float charger present to mitigate self discharge and any stray leakage.


Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
I am curious as to the source of the 1% per day figure. If taken as a linear progression it would only take 50 days to one half discharge. If taken as 1% of the REMAINING charge each day it still would only take 70 days to one half discharge, which I believe is far from reality.

I agree that keeping batteries in storage on a charger or maintainer is ideal. In practice, at least in my case, impractical. My storage building is one half mile from my house and has no electricity, which means disconnecting, removing and transporting 6 batteries from the motor home and 3 from tractors, something I do not relish doing, and cannot justify. Of the two chassis batteries in the MH, one is original (15 years) and one was replaced 6 or 7 years ago (It exploded). I believe the four house batteries and 3 tractor batteries have been replaced once in 20 years, IIRC.

Rod
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Old 12-04-2018, 04:18 PM   #14
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Just install a good battery disconnect like the ones they use on heavy equipment. They will easily handle 400 amps and that way you can disconnect everything. Just about all manufactures have small parasitic loads before the factory installed disconnect which will kill the batteries over a period of time , some in less than a week.
Yes, I agree that is the only practical solution. I am not pleased that the dealer did not mention to my daughter that it was necessary to disconnect the battery if stored for more than a few days, and that under the circumstances the factory did not install a disconnect switch. It would seem that if dry camping the excessive CO/smoke detector draw would significantly shorten the camping period. I guess after 22 years of motor home ownership I should have learned to expect these situations.

Nevertheless I am on a Quixote quest to understand why a household CO/smoke detector will operate for years on a 9 volt dry cell and detectors installed in a travel trailer will discharge an automotive battery in a few days.
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