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Old 12-23-2012, 08:30 PM   #1
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Dead Batteries

Hi, I just purchased a 2013 Newmar Canyon Star 3940 and having dead batteries issues. This is my first motorhome so it's possible what I'm experiencing is normal. If it isn't normal then I guess I'll be making a visit back to the dealer.

History. My first adventure isn't planned til March so after my purchase it was parked for 45 days. After sitting 45 days, the engine would not start and not a single light would come on. This seemed odd but didn't make to much of it, I took the main battery out and fully charged it. With charged battery installed, the motorhome started and before long all the lights were operational. Ran the engine and generator for about half hour.

A week later, I started the engine and generator without any issues. Ran both for about 15-20 minutes. Figured my problems were over and my dead batteries issue was due to the initial storage period (45 days) without external power.

Three weeks later, the batteries are completely dead again. This time I jump started it and before long it started. So now I am really wondering if a more serious issue exists. Is it normal for batteries to drain so quickly?

The motorhome has a switch to put in storage mode. When in storage mode every feature on the coach appears to be off. I would assume that power is still being drawn but didn't think it was this darastic. I'd appreciate any input from experienced owners regarding this issue. Obviously, it's still under warranty so I'm not interested in doing a bunch of trouble shooting. Would rather just take back to dealer for repairs if what I'm experiencing is not normal.

Merry Christmas to everyone,

Steve
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Old 12-23-2012, 08:46 PM   #2
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What you are experiencing sounds normal. There are lots of parasitic draw on the chassis battery bank. The house battery bank supplies 12vdc to not only the lights but to the water heater controls, reefer controls and probably more.
If you can keep the unit plugged in with the charger in the ON position you will find your batteries will provide a much longer service life vs. letting them completely discharge. A rule of thumb is that you should charge them when they are about 50% discharged.
As to the generator use. It should be started and run under at least 50% of rated load for a MINIMUM of 30 minutes a month (an hour is better). Short start-run cycles create moisture as they cool and moisture = problems. If you have a diesel follow the same advice.
To quell concerns about the health of your batteries check each cell with a hydrometer.
Enjoy your new coach. It's made to be run....not parked.
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Old 12-23-2012, 08:55 PM   #3
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Welcome to irv2.
Here is a thread that will answer some of your questions or more.
There are links within the thread that also have info related.
If your coach is at home should not have a problem keeping all your batteries fully charged if its in a storage unit without access to power than you have a problem.
You may have to pull batteries to keep them from freezing living in your state.
You need to follow the thread and read instructions on what to do if you pull batteries, or you will run into more problems next spring, as the owner that had the DP battery problem in last post of thread.
Your Gen will start off your house batteries on your coach and if charging the batteries have your battery cut off switch on when the shore power cord is plugged into 120v or using the Gen.
When you have the time come visit us down in the Newmar forum.
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Old 12-23-2012, 09:05 PM   #4
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We also have a 13 Newmar. We has use it almost every weekend to every weekend since purchase in July. Fridge has been on since day one, but when ever it is home in its heated garage, it is plugged in. If you have a way to plug it in your batteries would be more happy. If you turn the coach switch off and it sets outside I would think the 5 amp solar panel on the roof would keep up with the parasitic draw of the chassis but I don't know. This time of year you don't get very direct sunlight on the panel. Or if you can't plug in to AC power, they make a battery disconect that goes on the cable and you just turn it a half of twist. On on the chassis gro und cable should do the trick if you are charged up good when you park. And turn the salesman (coach) switch to the off position to save the coach batteries. Good luck!
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Old 12-23-2012, 09:41 PM   #5
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Thanks for the quick replies. Bought my unit off the lot and didn't come with the solar panel. Sounds like that might be a good add-on to battle the parasitic draw. For the time being, I am outside with no way to plug in.

Until my storage situation improves, any recommendations for keeping the batteries charged? Should I run the engine and generator and for how long? I like the battery disconnect suggestion, way better than removing the batteries. I have three batteries, guessing I'll need three disconnects unless the two house batteries can be disconnected with one switch.
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Old 12-23-2012, 09:49 PM   #6
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If you have no way of keeping the batteries charged than you need to pull them after taking pictures of battery post positions and labeling the cables to what post.
Take the batteries home and use a 12v battery charger and monitor the charge of your batteries and checking water levels during the process.
The small solar panel will not charge all your batteries its connected to the chassis battery for parasitic draw and most new coach's have them mounted on roof or on top of AC cover.
Yours should be on roof its about 12" square.
If your batteries are flat it will take to long to get them up to full charge with out a battery charger and if your in cold area they could freeze with the low charge.
Read the thread in post #3.
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scbuchholz View Post
Thanks for the quick replies. Bought my unit off the lot and didn't come with the solar panel. Sounds like that might be a good add-on to battle the parasitic draw. For the time being, I am outside with no way to plug in.

Until my storage situation improves, any recommendations for keeping the batteries charged? Should I run the engine and generator and for how long? I like the battery disconnect suggestion, way better than removing the batteries. I have three batteries, guessing I'll need three disconnects unless the two house batteries can be disconnected with one switch.
My Baystar came with the little solar panel, and I bought it off the lot also. I think they are standard equipment on all gas Newmars. Mine sits about right over the drivers seat. Only about 6X10 inches.
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:22 PM   #8
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Not a pro on batteries but I do know that 15 to 30 min. will not be long enough to charge the batteries. Keeping them fully charged is a must if you are going to leave them out all winter or they will freeze. A fully charged battery will not freeze. You problaby should pull them and bring them home, get them charged up and then top off the charge monthly throughout the winter. They do not need to be inside a heated space but a cool spot will probably be the best. (like an enclosed attached garage on shelves and not on the concrete.
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:45 PM   #9
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Pretty sure there is no solar panel on my motor home. Possible it's installed on the roof but dealer definitely didn't mention and nothing I've noticed.

Pulling the batteries is a pain but a bigger pain would be 3 ruined batteries. Great advise thanks.

Deltran makes solar battery tenders. Thinking I might experiment with that once the batteries are fully charged.
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Old 12-24-2012, 01:11 AM   #10
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Do you have a little red light on your AC unit.? That could be an indication that you have a small solar cell on the roof.
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Old 12-24-2012, 07:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scbuchholz View Post
Pretty sure there is no solar panel on my motor home. Possible it's installed on the roof but dealer definitely didn't mention and nothing I've noticed.

Pulling the batteries is a pain but a bigger pain would be 3 ruined batteries. Great advise thanks.

Deltran makes solar battery tenders. Thinking I might experiment with that once the batteries are fully charged.
Just looked at the Newmar site. 5 watt solar panel is standard equipment on all 2013 canyon star models. I was on my roof about 3 times before I spotted mine, as they are so small. There about has to be one up there. And there is no red light on the inside for the solar panel. Look real good and you will find it.
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Old 12-24-2012, 07:57 AM   #12
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Using the battery disconnect helps in storage. However, most MHs do not disconnect the smoke, propane and C02 detectors. These can run your batteries down in short order.

There are also parasidic draws on the chassis battery and usually go flat in 1-2 weeks.

Your best option is probably remove and take home. You could store the coach after confirming all batts are fully charged. Then disconnect them all. However, I would go back every 2 weeks and run the genny for at least an hour.

I have to assume your coach has a B.I.R.D system (keeps chassis batt charged while on shore or genny). This would negate running the engine. Up to you which way is less hassle. However for the very longest life, keep RV batts on a float/trickle charge of 13.2v
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:15 AM   #13
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I have four 6 volt house batteries that are less than a year old and with them turned off they will last about 4 weeks in moderate weather. I have two chassis batteries that will last the same amount time and be able to start the rig. It takes a few hours to completely charge a bank of batteries. When I had 3 batteries like you, I would take them out and store them at home during the winter. With 6 batteries I run the genny when they need to be charged. I need to turn off the inverter in addition to the disconnect or the house batteries will only last a few days.
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:30 AM   #14
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Planning to remove batteries today and keep fully charged until I need.

Curious about the solar panel that maybe already installed. Not questioning at all that it might be standard equipment but what's the practical use. Like I said earlier, my dealer did not mention at all so if there's an on/off switch I've yet to find it. All the other controls are located in the panel above the door. If it is always On, then it had little to no effect in keeping my batteries alive. If anyone knows more about the operation of the solar panel, I'd be interested. Appreciate everything I'd received so far.

Updated: I checked out the Newmar website and solar panel is standard but solar prep is optional. Not much good unless it's actually connecting to batteries. I guess if I found the lead wires and bought a battery controller, I could connect myself.
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