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Old 04-26-2012, 05:39 AM   #1
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charging house batteries

Not sure that I know what I am talking about--no, wait, I do not know what I am talking about, but here are the questions.

When using shore power at a cg are the house batteries (which are dead at the moment) being charged? Or is the rv power coming from the hookup somehow bypassing the batteries?

I want to go to my local county campground and use their hookups, hoping to charge the house batteries on my 2009 Class C Winnebago Chalet. And, this may be the last cool weekend until October!

Originally, I was going to buy an adapter, run an extention cord to my house and charge the house batteries. But I don't know how long that will take and I didn't want kids, dogs, and whatever tripping over the cord. (Is that even legal to have a cord on the sidewalk at the front of your house? Can you tell that I am a NEWBIE?)

My storage facility has an outlet right next to my space and I am thinking of arranging to plug into that in the future to keep the house batteries charged. But, it seems to me that anyone who was in the area and is a jerk could mess with the plug???

As always, your thoughts and suggestions are appreciated! And, yes, it is 3:40 a.m. and this whole business is ruining my sleep...
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:05 AM   #2
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In most cases when you connect to shore power the house batteries will charge.
Make sure the fluid is up on the batteries.
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:10 AM   #3
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Anytime your rv is plugged into shore power your coach batteries should be charging. I have always plugged our coach in at home with an extension cord and have done the same at our storage facility as that is something that is provided.
I don't know if it's allowed in your neighborhood as far as plugging it in but in ours it's no problem. I just run the cord along where the grass meets the driveway then accross the 5' of cement sidewalk to another short area before it reaches the curb where I can plug it in. Depending how drained your batteries are would determine how long they would take to charge. All you would need would be the adapter to go from your rv power cord to adapt to a 120volt outlet. If you do this make sure your extension cord is of adequate size, in good condtion and properly grounded. Good luck hope everything works out.
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:28 AM   #4
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If your coach has a 12V shut off switch, make sure it is ON. Otherwise, the house batteries may not charge when you plug in.

Also, be aware that the chassis battery will probably not charge. The chassis battery will probably only charge from the vehicle alternator. I keep a trickle charger on our chassis battery when we are parked for relatively long periods.
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:14 AM   #5
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You have to be able to manage the house battery charge and not allow the batteries to go dead. If this continues you will have batteries that won't last the night or will not charge at all.
When the RV is not being used you should find a way to remove all load from the batteries. Easiest way is to charge fully and disconnect the battery ground cable.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:19 AM   #6
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Thanks all, things are a little clearer.

I am wondering if when the generator was recently serviced if something was left on that could drain the batteries?
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:58 AM   #7
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More likely you left the battery disconnect switch ON. Most RVs have propane, CO2 and smoke detectors powered by the coach batteries. These can drain your batteries in a week or so.

Even with no drain on the batts, they will eventually go dead. If I'm not driving or boondocking, I'm plugged in. Anytime you let the batts go to or below 50% discharged (12.1 volts) you are doing them damage.
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:07 AM   #8
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As mentioned, being plugged in should charge the house batteries, provided the battery disconnect switch is on. A quick check it to take a voltmeter and read the battery voltage when plugged in. Depending on your converter/charger, the battery SOC, etc. it has to read at least 12.8 volts and no more than 14.5 volts or so. Any less than the 12.8 and you need to start troubleshooting. If the batteries are completely dead, it can take 15-20 hours to completely charge when plugged in or driving.
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:25 AM   #9
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The batts should charge with the BDS off. Never heard of one that didn't. Easy to check with a volt meter though.
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:46 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by clyon51 View Post
The batts should charge with the BDS off. Never heard of one that didn't. Easy to check with a volt meter though.
With Winnebago - as a rule - when the BDS is set to disengage the batteries there is nothing connected to them.
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Old 04-26-2012, 02:10 PM   #11
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Just to make sure about the battery disconnect switch. In the house, under the steps, are the house batteries. Above the door is a homemade sign which reads "please turn batteries off." Below the sign, on the wall next to the steps is a switch that says "on aux batt off." This switch is on when I drive and off when the rig is in storage. It is on when I am using shore power.

So, that is the bds, I hope. Otherwise I have no idea at all what I am doing.

And, I'm guessing the house batteries died because the rig was in storage and not plugged in to anything for too long, especially in our recent 90+ degree days. NEWBIE mistake?

Any other ideas or suggestions are welcome.
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Old 04-26-2012, 02:25 PM   #12
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Yes, to be clear; the switch that disconnects the batteries should be in the position in which they are connected to all circuits, engaged, active, whatever you like to call it. Some say the BDS is on, some call it off... The batteries need to be "on" so technically by definition the battery disconnect switch would be "off".

The batteries cannot be isolated or else they will be isolated from the charger that provides them power to charge. The rate at which your batteries discharge (if connected) while in storage is a function of your parasitic loads. For some that may be a couple weeks, for others it can be a couple months. It is a good practice to disconnect the batteries(via BDS or manually) whenever stored for long periods.
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Old 04-26-2012, 02:39 PM   #13
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When plugged in at a park the RV's 12 volt power is coming from the converter, HOWEVER the converter has excess capacity and thus it SHOULD be charging the batteires.

That said, some of the older converters like the Magnetek 6300 line were not very good at charging batteries.. Decent at house power, but not so good on the batteries.

Generally the converter is wired in parallel on most MODERN rigs, with the battery.

OF course if the battery disconnect switch is open (Store or OFf position) then they will not charge,, And if the batteries are TOAST, (Bad) they may not accept said charge.
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Old 04-26-2012, 03:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clay L

With Winnebago - as a rule - when the BDS is set to disengage the batteries there is nothing connected to them.
Very strange. I know when I put my coach in storage, I want the power off in the coach and my charger maintaining the batts. I've seen stranger setups I guess.
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