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Old 08-16-2017, 12:17 AM   #1
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Leaving a Motorhome plugged in.

Can I leave my motorhome plugged in for long periods of time when not in use or over the winter to maintain the battery's?

Can I connect the coach and starting battery's with removable jumper cables to maintain the starting battery's too?

Thanks.
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Old 08-16-2017, 12:35 AM   #2
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You can leave your coach plugged in 24/7/365 if you want. You need to check the battery electrolyte level every 4-6 weeks to make sure they don't go dry. You should also check the battery voltage while plugged in to confirm it's in the 13.5 - 13.8 VDC range.
Not sure what type of battery maintenance system your coach has but if it does not have provision to charge the chassis battery when plugged into shore power you can add an Echo charger that will sense chassis battery voltage and direct charging current from the converter to the chassis batteries.
I have installed one of these for a friend and can say it does a real good job and is very simple to install.

https://www.amazon.com/Xantrex-82-01...V+echo+charger

P/S, my coach is plugged in 24/7/365 unless we are traveling. The coach and chassis batteries are going on seven years and still going strong.

This is my battery filling device. A retired ketchup bottle and a piece of 3/16" clear plastic hose.
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Old 08-16-2017, 03:09 AM   #3
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Look at Progressive Dynamics chargers. They have a three stage charging system call "charge wizard" which extends battery life
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:26 AM   #4
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I've always left my rigs plugged in. The OEM batteries in the '02 DSDP lasted 10 years and were still good enough to go all night with TV, lights and furnace. I only have about 1-1/2 years on the present rigs batteries so far.
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Old 08-16-2017, 10:12 PM   #5
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I leave my coach plugged in when not in use, for 3 - 4 months at a time. I also use the ketchup bottle with plastic hose and check my batteries monthly for water. To keep my chassis batteries charged, I installed the Amp-L-Start. I often listen to the radio when we are on shore power, and the radio only runs on the chassis batteries which over time runs them low. It steals a little charging power from the coach batteries when they are fully charged and directs it to the chassis batteries. Works great and keeps my chassis batteries a 13.2v. Easy install and around $60.

(https://www.rvupgradestore.com/15-Am...3463BDBB089708)
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Old 08-16-2017, 10:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Balou View Post
Can I leave my motorhome plugged in for long periods of time when not in use or over the winter to maintain the battery's?
First you need to determine what type of charger you have. If you have a single stage charger, then you can not leave it plugged in or you will boil your batteries dry. If you have a three stage charger that goes from bulk to absorb then to float charging, then you will be okay. Our '06 Itasca only had a single stage charger.
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Old 08-17-2017, 04:52 AM   #7
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We left our Miranda plugged in year round, it had a four stage converter, and I never had to add water to the batteries. The four stage converter had a battery maintenance/float mode so it won't boil the batteries.

http://www.2001mirada.com/upgrading-...er-to-4-stage/


On our New-to-Us Southwind, It has the old original single stage converter. I haven't been leaving it plugged in so it won't boil the batteries.. However the Southwind has a feature the Mirada didn't have, Battery disconnects for the chassis and coach batteries. I've been leaving the batteries in the "disconnect" mode.

Quote:
Can I connect the coach and starting battery's with removable jumper cables to maintain the starting battery's too?
My Southwind has this feature built in. If yours doesn't you can add a small device call a "Trik-L-Start" Its a small electronic device that connects the two batteries together for charging only, (not for starting)

I have a brand new one I bought for my Southward until I found out I don't need it. Send me a PM if your interested.
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Old 08-17-2017, 10:17 AM   #8
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Great information. Thanks all.

My coach has top and bottom pull out battery trays. I was wondering where others have mounted the "charge stealer" so the trays can still be pulled out with ease?

Again, thanks you all the replies. This site is an invaluable wealth of knowledgeable people.
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Old 08-17-2017, 10:30 AM   #9
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Agree with all the above. Good stuff.

To determine if you need an additional charger for the engine battery, plug in your coach and then check the voltage on your engine battery. If it's above 13v then you don't need any additional chargers.
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Old 08-17-2017, 10:37 AM   #10
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I was under the impression that being plugged in to shore power charged all the batteries. If that isn't the case, all the motorhomes I've dealt with have the switch on the dash that allows the driver to use the house batteries to aid the chassis batteries in an engine start.
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Old 08-17-2017, 11:40 AM   #11
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Quote:
I was under the impression that being plugged in to shore power charged all the batteries
A lot of MHs do this. My Southwind does it. It has a circuit in the BCC (Battery Control Center) that monitors the battery voltages, when it sees either the coach or chassis battery above 13.4 (?) for more than 30 seconds, it energizes the isolator solenoid and ties the batteries together. When the battery voltage drops below 13.2, it de-eneriges the solenoid.

My Mirada didn't have this.

Quote:
switch on the dash that allows the driver to use the house batteries to aid the chassis batteries in an engine start.
Yes, every MH I've seen has this feature. the button gets pressed and held, this energizes the isolator solenoid that ties the batteries together and give a boost for from one battery to the other.
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Old 08-17-2017, 11:54 AM   #12
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Balou - The best location to mount the Trik L Start or Amp L Start on your Journey is next to the solenoid. It's under the chassis fuse panel above the Generator. I've posted a picture of how I installed the Trik L Start on my 2002 Horizon which is the same as your Journey. Look closely and you'll see it on the left partially hidden behind some wires. Two self drilling screws mount the controller to the fire wall. The yellow wire connects to the house side and the blue wire to the chassis side of the solenoid, black is the ground. I've had it hooked up for over three years and it's worth every penny. I hope this helps.
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Old 08-17-2017, 04:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiter21 View Post
We left our Miranda plugged in year round, it had a four stage converter, and I never had to add water to the batteries. The four stage converter had a battery maintenance/float mode so it won't boil the batteries.

http://www.2001mirada.com/upgrading-...er-to-4-stage/


On our New-to-Us Southwind, It has the old original single stage converter. I haven't been leaving it plugged in so it won't boil the batteries.. However the Southwind has a feature the Mirada didn't have, Battery disconnects for the chassis and coach batteries. I've been leaving the batteries in the "disconnect" mode.

My Southwind has this feature built in. If yours doesn't you can add a small device call a "Trik-L-Start" Its a small electronic device that connects the two batteries together for charging only, (not for starting)

I have a brand new one I bought for my Southward until I found out I don't need it. Send me a PM if your interested.


My 2002 Southwind had a Progressive Dynamics converter that could be upgraded by the addition of the Charge Wizard - makes it a 3 stage charger.
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Old 08-20-2017, 03:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lt Dan View Post
First you need to determine what type of charger you have. If you have a single stage charger, then you can not leave it plugged in or you will boil your batteries dry. If you have a three stage charger that goes from bulk to absorb then to float charging, then you will be okay. Our '06 Itasca only had a single stage charger.
Wow!
By '06, I didn't think any coach manufacturers were still installing single stage bulk chargers
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