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Old 11-12-2013, 04:46 PM   #1
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Question Disconnect switch for chassis battery

Hello,
Is it recommended to put this on the red or black side? Also, if it's on the red side and you disconnect it (while camping), will that kill power to the propane alarm and the steps?
Or is it mainly for when you are storing it? Something drains my chassis battery fairly quickly and it's brand new. I'd hate to be camping and then have a dead battery one day on a semi short camping trip. Makes me almost want to drag along a spare new battery that I keep charged in my garage when not in use just to have something to be able to jump the RV with. Or, i may try a solar mat while I'm camping and see if that helps maintain the battery charge. Anyone have these issues? I have been reading a lot of threads about battery drains from those ghosts which no one seems to be able to pin down!
Thanks,
Val
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Old 11-12-2013, 05:15 PM   #2
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Installing an aftermarket battery disconnect will do the exact same thing on either post. I have 3 cables on the positive (red), so I put my disconnect on the ground (black) because it was easier with only 1 large cable...YMMV.

But, I don't disconnect the CHASSIS battery anymore...got an automotive dashboard solar charger - plugged into the cigar lighter and it keeps up with the parasites while camping or in storage.


The CHASSIS battery in a Class C (or A - doesn't matter) can be drained from several devices - the ECM, use of the "dome light" in the cab, some relays and solenoids added by the coach builder, the control box for the steps, and -if connected like the factory-the radio when on and memory for the radio when off.

Yes, disconnecting the CHASSIS battery will kill the steps (in many applications), but the propane leak sensor is usually on the HOUSE battery bank.

Hope that helps
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Old 11-12-2013, 05:33 PM   #3
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It's usually better to put the switch on the positive terminal. That way there's less chance of accidentally shorting out something when under the hood. If you disconnect a terminal and put a 12 v light in the gap, by removing fuses one at a time you might narrow down where the phantom draw is. Killing a chassis battery in a few days isn't normal. Do you have a remote to unlock doors? I think a dome light or something like that might be the the culprit.

You might also think about installing a solenoid between the house and chassis batteries to 'boost' the chassis battery when dead. If you're camped hooked up to shore power, you might think a Trik-L-Start hooked up between the batteries so when one is being charged the other will also. http://www.bestconverter.com/Ultra-T...art_c_124.html
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Old 11-12-2013, 06:15 PM   #4
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Great ideas about checking the fuses, and adding a booster and Trik-L-Start

But, I am confused why disconnecting the positive lead is better. Is there an idea that a live wire might drop on to the negative post of the battery?

Unlike 110VAC systems in our houses - "ground" doesn't exist when the negative cable is pulled from the battery.

An argument can be made that disconnecting the negative lead is safer by looking at how experts recommend to jump-start a car...the ground connection should be last.
Like here: Jump-Start

Safe travels
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Old 11-12-2013, 06:19 PM   #5
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When jump starting a car, the last connection should be to ground of the dead car --- NOT ON THE BATTERY POST. Hook the last clamp to a ground on the engine or body away from the battery. That way any spark created when completing the circuit between the two systems will be away from the flammable hydrogen gases vented by the battery.

I know the (+) and (-) both need to be connected to make a circuit, but under the hood grounds are everywhere and most (+) are hidden inside insulation. By disconnecting the (+) wire you reduce possible shorting opportunities. I know it doesn't seem it would make a difference, but I find it usually does.
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Old 11-12-2013, 06:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
When jump starting a car, the last connection should be to ground of the dead car --- NOT ON THE BATTERY POST. Hook the last clamp to a ground on the engine or body away from the battery. That way any spark created when completing the circuit between the two systems will be away from the flammable hydrogen gases vented by the battery.

I know the (+) and (-) both need to be connected to make a circuit, but under the hood grounds are everywhere and most (+) are hidden inside insulation. By disconnecting the (+) wire you reduce possible shorting opportunities. I know it doesn't seem it would make a difference, but I find it usually does.
Bob is right - the jump start thing is mostly about flammable gas near the battery vents. Sorry, that was a bad point to make.

And, we will just have to agree to disagree about the negative/positive post disconnect. I would have no fear about making an accidental short under the hood with the battery negative post disconnected. All the under hood grounds are dead without that big fat ground lead on the battery
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Old 11-12-2013, 06:47 PM   #7
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I will also be disconnecting the chassis batteries ( flipping the switch) while camping. The safety alarms are wired directly to the battery . The only time I will have to reconnect the battery is when using the electric awning. Steps are no issue because they stay in the out position.
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:21 PM   #8
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Why do you not know what your drains are? A VOM/Multimeter checking at your 12V fuses, pull fuse consecutively test with leads, set meter on amps.
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Old 11-13-2013, 11:25 AM   #9
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What size/wattage solar mat are you using? I bought one but it's only a low wattage one like 2 watts I think. Do you think that will work?
Thanks!
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Old 11-13-2013, 11:29 AM   #10
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What size/wattage solar mat are you using? I bought one but it's only a low wattage one like 2 watts I think. Do you think that will work?
Thanks!
If you have extremely bright sun (not a problem in most of CO) it will perhaps maintain the battery if it's disconnected from parasitic draws.
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Old 11-13-2013, 12:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simtec820 View Post
What size/wattage solar mat are you using? I bought one but it's only a low wattage one like 2 watts I think. Do you think that will work?
Thanks!
Yes, 2 watts will probably make up for the parasitic draws in your RV when sitting.

I went with a slightly larger panel...it is capable of 4.8Watts. It works while camping on a clear day or when cloudy and when in storage (I use a cover on the RV). And it is a smart charger, reducing charge when the battery doesn't need a full 4.8Watts.

Just like this Schumacher: Schumacher Electric SP-400 - Solar Battery Maintainer | O'Reilly Auto Parts

Best luck
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