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Old 01-23-2013, 10:24 AM   #1
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Question Coach Batteries: To disconnect or not?

We're in Florida for 2 more months, hooked up to 50 amp power, and it just dawned on me that I have no idea why I haven't hit my " Battery Disconnect " switch. Now, I'm wondering whether I should, or whether I shouldn't. What is your opinion?
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:30 AM   #2
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I would leave it on. That will allow your converter/charger to keep your house batteries charged. If you have something like a BIRD or Trick-L-Start then you also keep you chassis batteries charged too.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:35 AM   #3
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I've never flipped the switch on either of my coaches. If it's plugged in I let the charger take care of them.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:02 AM   #4
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Why - There are items on your rig that only run from 12vdc. These items are usually fed from the chassis/coach batteries even when plugged in. When disconnected you may not be charging the batteries thus running them down. The disconnect switchs are for when you are storing the rig (and/or trouble shooting) with no external power connected to stop the drain from residual sources like dash radio, cb, lp detector if not turned off, furnace/hw heater/ fridge control boards, antenna booster if not turned off, engine and tranny ecm's, security systems, gps's etc.
If plugged in leave the coach and chassis disconnects on as stated earlier.

This assumes you have a decent multi stage battery charger (converter) that will not boil out the batteries when left on and that you need to use some of the items mentioned above.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:15 AM   #5
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Even with the batteries disconnected by the switch there are phantom draws and battery internal resistance that will drain batteries. My Winnebago was real bad in this area. I never did figure out why it drained so easily.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:06 PM   #6
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If you search the forum for battery disconnect problems you will find multiple entries. Basically, the battery disconnect that is implemented via switches near the entry door is an overly complex pile of unreliable parts waiting to cause grief. Not touching it seems the best bet. The much older technology "hardware rotary switch" similar to what is found in boats is usually simple and reliable. Once again, the KISS system is best.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:55 PM   #7
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If your coach is wired anything like ours you can't shut off the batteries and expect any of the lighting or other 12 volt systems to operate. The lights and refrigerator control board draw their power from the batteries. If the batteries are disconnected they will not work. Also the inverter/charger won't charge the batteries if they are disconnected.

The only time we disconnect the batteries (engine and coach) is when the motorhome is in storage. Then there are no parasitic or phantom loads to run them down.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:05 PM   #8
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Even if disconnecting the batteries via a physical turn switch what will happen if shore power goes off? Your refer will not function and spoiled food.

Turning off the switch by the door will only turn off some things inside that you really want working.

Depending on your wiring, shutting off the batteries via battery switches in the battery compartment they should be completely isolated which means no charging and no draining other than self discharging over a period of time.
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:26 PM   #9
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I reckon if you dont want any lights, furnace etc to work go ahead.......lol.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:45 AM   #10
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I'm always on shore power, and never turn the 12v switch off.
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