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Old 09-21-2013, 09:25 AM   #1
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Battery Maintenance In Storage

This is the first Winter my coach will be winterized. Because of a health issue, we will be leaving the motorhome parked all Winter. It will get down into the teens here. It has been winterized, is under cover and plugged into shore power. I have a 4-phase Progressive Dynamics PD9245CV inverter/charger with a Trik-L-Start to the chassis battery, which maintains all batteries excellent. I also have a Qwik-Fill On-Board Battery Watering System installed. I check the water each month and it is easy to keep the correct amount of water in the batteries. But it will be sitting for 4 months when no one can check the water. My question is: Can the batteries go 4 months without the water being checked? What are others doing when coach is in storage? I know sometimes I don't check the water in my car battery for that long, but then I'm using the car occasionally. I really need your input.
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:40 AM   #2
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Sorry about your health issues. Here's wishing you a complete and a speedy recovery and a great camping season next year.

The water level is most drastically lowered during hard charging cycles when the inverter/charger boils the plates clean. Your "float" charge will probably not do that. We stored our DP, electric golf cart and toad on similar hook up all winter for the last three years with no water needed in any of the eleven batteries when we return to the USA in the spring. The vehicles all start right up without a problem.

We do substitute a heavy extension cord for shore cable. The demand for electricity is low and I would rather not subject the big cable to the weather. Don't forget a surge protector.

One additional note. The last two years we set a small fan on a timer to operate three hours per day. The inside seemed much fresher when we took off the cover.

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Old 09-21-2013, 08:29 PM   #3
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Our motorhome is stored outside in storage over the winter. I just turn off the coach and chassis switchs and that is it. I try to get out there once a month but it usually is around a month and half to two months to go and start the engine and generator for 30 minutes. If everything is turned off (the switchs) you should be ok for winter storage without any charging. Another thing is a 1.5 watt solar charger (I got one at harbor freight) and that charge level should not require the need to check the water level in the batteries.
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Old 09-21-2013, 08:51 PM   #4
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You have the answer. How much water do you add now in 4 months. With a float charger and cold weather (cold actually slows down the chemical action) you will use less than now.
Don't leave water in the reservoir for filling the batteries. It will freeze. As long as the level stays above the plates and you refill before using it, you are fine. Your car battery is a complete different thing.
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Old 09-22-2013, 07:36 AM   #5
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Thanks, especially to MickBrennan. I may not have been clear. The batteries will be on the 4-phase charger, plugged into shore power, but I will not be able to check the water for 4 months. They shouldn't boil. But will they loose too much water during the 4 months to expose the plates? And, I haven't paid enough attention the past 4 months to know how much water the batteries have used, plus I have used the coach occasionally.
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Old 09-23-2013, 10:44 AM   #6
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I'm thinking of adding mineral oil as an additional safety to keep from loosing water. Any thoughts on that?
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Old 10-03-2013, 01:56 PM   #7
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Probably long past any help, but I use mineral oil in my batteries. Slows down evaporation but does not stop it. Maybe get a trusted friend [or grandson] to check them for you?
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Old 10-03-2013, 04:14 PM   #8
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I think since it's not under heavy battery use , it's winter, you won't have any problems.
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Old 10-03-2013, 04:18 PM   #9
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My batteries only need a little water every 6 months, there's no oil in them. I think the water in your batteries will last 4 months , especially in cooler weather. Just start with fully charged batteries and top off the water before you store the coach.
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:03 PM   #10
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Get them fully charged, let them float on thd chargers, then make sure not bubbling, top.off after charged and after parking make sure all loads are gone and confirm charging voltage not above 14, 13.5 is better.

Should be zero water consumption other that evap, and caps reduce that.

It is charge and discharge that causd the water to gass off, floating uses little if any water
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:24 PM   #11
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The problem with your big charger is that it does NOT stay at 13.2-13.4 float...it cycles automatically into EQ mode and 14.4 V every 21 hours which is gonna lose you some water over the 4 months.
If I were in your shoes I would get a FULL charge on the batts and then get a small battery charger that will maintain at 13.2 and plug it into your main bank leaving the trickle charger where it is. Disconnect the converter of course.
This would be an excellent choice for the job and would give you a backup for the future. Guest ChargePro Battery Charger
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Old 10-04-2013, 08:54 AM   #12
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Just another point you may or may not know, if you keep a good charge on a wet cell battery, it will not freeze in cold weather.

That is for most of the USA--for our friends in the extreme northern US and Canada, I do not know at what point a battery will freeze.

In any event, should one need to use a battery in extreme cold, IMHO a battery blanket [warmer] is an excellent idea.
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