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Old 06-24-2014, 01:06 PM   #1
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Battery Care

I am new to the world of TT and was wondering about my Battery. I tend to go out every two or three weeks. For the weekends only. Should I disconnect the battery after each trip? and when should I put a Trickle charge on it?

Should I invest ion a shutoff switch? And how oftern should I check with a Hydrometer?

Lot's of questions but curious to how others handle this item.
TernnesseeMike
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Old 06-24-2014, 03:18 PM   #2
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I mounted a weatherproof enclosure next to the battery. Originally there were 2 fuse holders coming off the battery. I replaced them with 2 circuit breakers inside the enclosure. Mounted a heavy duty cut off switch inside the enclosure with control knob on the outside. Have power and ground from battery to the connections inside the enclosure. In between trips I shut off the switch. At the end of the season battery comes out and goes on a tender till 1st trip.
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Old 06-24-2014, 10:27 PM   #3
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it only takes me literally 40-50 seconds to unscrew the negative connector on the battery when I store it.....

I am investing in a simple low amp solar panel that just clips to the battery and will trickle charge during sunny dayswhile in the storage yard.
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Old 06-25-2014, 01:25 PM   #4
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HI TernnesseeMike -- I put a cutoff switch on mine--but disconnecting the ground will do the same thing. I would disconnect after each trip. As long as the battery stays charged, you shouldn't have any problems. Just keep water in the battery. Happy travels. John
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Old 06-25-2014, 03:05 PM   #5
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I am investing in a simple low amp solar panel that just clips to the battery and will trickle charge during sunny dayswhile in the storage yard.
This is the way I intend to do it...a 160 watt solar panel on the roof and a charge controller to keep the battery charged. A deep cycle 12v car battery with a 100 AH rating takes about 5 hours to charge with a 160w panel. It'll take a lot less if the battery has a decent charge level. We'll be doing a lot of dry camping, so a solar panel is the way to go for us.

I don't know exactly what type of battery most trailers have, but some have decent RV/Marine batteries that can handle deep discharge cycles. With a solar panel I would expect to get at least 10 years out of a battery.
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Old 06-25-2014, 06:42 PM   #6
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What year is your trailer? Do you have power where you store it? Most modern converters have 3 stage charging so they can stay plugged in. As for the batteries, check them once a month for water level (never add tap water, only distilled) and check them with a hygrometer twice a year.
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Old 06-25-2014, 09:51 PM   #7
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What year is your trailer? Do you have power where you store it? Most modern converters have 3 stage charging so they can stay plugged in. As for the batteries, check them once a month for water level (never add tap water, only distilled) and check them with a hygrometer twice a year.
Unless it's a sealed battery...they don't spill and they never need water added to them. Many automotive batteries are now sealed.
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Old 06-25-2014, 10:08 PM   #8
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I tend to go out every two or three weeks. For the weekends only. Should I disconnect the battery after each trip? and when should I put a Trickle charge on it?
I think all trailers that have a 12v battery gets charged by the tow vehicle. Lead-Acid batteries have a typical self-discharge rate of about 5% per month. If you have a disconnect switch, that will prevent any draw on the battery from a light or other device that was left on in the trailer by mistake. But it won't help reduce the self-discharge rate so it's a good idea to ensure it gets charged at least once a month or so. A smart charger is a good idea if you won't be connecting it to your tow vehicle for extended periods, like the winter season. But if you use it once a month or more often it should get charged up during the drive, then disconnect the battery or use a disconnect switch when you park it.

These automotive type batteries work best and last the longest when kept fully charged, so if it's going to sit for long periods, it's a good idea to keep it charged somehow. I always recommend a smart charger as it will cut off the charge when the battery is full. But as I said, if you use it regularly, the tow vehicle should charge it up when connected.
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Old 06-25-2014, 10:45 PM   #9
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Unless it's a sealed battery...they don't spill and they never need water added to them. Many automotive batteries are now sealed.
Most travel trailers use flooded deep cycle batteries which unlike automotive starting batteries are not sealed and require ongoing maintenance. They have removable caps for adding distilled water. The only common deep cycle batteries which are sealed are AGM. Most travel trailers do not have AGM batteries because they are more expensive and require a different charge profile.
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Old 06-25-2014, 11:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by TennesseMike View Post
I am new to the world of TT and was wondering about my Battery. I tend to go out every two or three weeks. For the weekends only. Should I disconnect the battery after each trip? and when should I put a Trickle charge on it?

Should I invest ion a shutoff switch? And how oftern should I check with a Hydrometer?

Lot's of questions but curious to how others handle this item.
TernnesseeMike
Mike; you've certainly struck the question which preoccupies many in the TT community. When I started TT RVing, it was in 2006. My trailer had a 12v battery, and I installed a 110 watt solar panel to keep it charged. In the off season I either put the battery in storage, or disconnected it. This treatment led to a dead battery every winter, so when we traded up last year, I specified a 160 solar panel and a couple of 6v golf car batteries. I did not disconnect the batteries, and by and large, the solar panel has kept the batteries up to about 95%. My fear of freezing the batteries has evaporated - around here it rarely gets much below freezing, and I understand a fully charged battery can easily withstand many degrees below zero. I check my water levels every few weeks, and in 7 months, have not yet had to add water.

Solar has certainly eased my concerns, and my problems. If I get to do more boondocking, I may add another 160 panel, but for me it's certainly been the way to go.

I've only been a forum member for about 6 months,and I have to say people are very friendly, share their experiences and often offer valuable advice.

Nick B
2007 GMC Sierra 4.8L, 2014 Black Rock 19B
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