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Old 02-23-2021, 12:24 PM   #1
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House Batteries

We had a cold snap last few week -- 10 days below freezing and a string of nights below zero, one of them at -15. The RV is in storage with the house battery switched off. No load at all on them. Today the temp is in the 60's. I went to check out the RV and found the house batteties dead -- wouldn't even make the LED's glow. I started the engine, then started the generator. After 1/2 hour, I shut down the generator and checked the batteries using the onboard gage. It read 2/3 full. I waited for five minutes and checked again: 2/3 full. I'll go back tomorrow to check again. My questions are: how long ha is e the house bats lasted in your experience. Mine are 4 years old. Has anyone had the batteries fail in these kinds of temps.
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Old 02-23-2021, 12:37 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pylelr View Post
After 1/2 hour, I shut down the generator and checked the batteries using the onboard gage.
That battery level device is a poor judge of battery condition, as they just read the voltage at the panel and not very accurately. You need to have a meter that reads voltage to at least 2 decimal points to measure a battery's condition and you need to do the measurement across the battery posts with the negative cable lifted. It is very unlikely that your batteries were anywhere close to 2/3 charged after only 1/2 hour of generator time. If the generator was still running when you read battery condition, what you were actually measuring was the charge voltage being applied by the converter that changes the 120V alternating current from the generator to 12V direct current to charge the battery.
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Old 02-23-2021, 12:53 PM   #3
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If you want to know if the batteries are compromised I would start the coach and take it for an hour drive, or longer, and let the batteries charge up. Then I would return to the storage place and shut it down, unplugged for an hour. Then use a Hydrometer and test each cell for health. 4 years is probably on the edge and if they are allowed to go dead, they are more likely toast. A Hydrometer will tell you this.
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:15 PM   #4
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Cold doesn't kill batteries, in fact it slows down their activity and their self discharge rate is reduced. *Loads* kill batteries, so I suspect what you think is "disconnected", isn't. If they truly were shot to the point they gave up in storage then they would've been shot before you put them in storage. A simple capacity test will reveal what their current merit is.

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Old 02-23-2021, 09:50 PM   #5
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I always look to see if the batteries are bulging on the sides, that's a good indication they are getting tired.
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Old 02-24-2021, 04:06 PM   #6
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Even with the master battery switch off, there are some items that are powered.
You can purchase an inexpensive clamp on meter and measure the current draw.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

If your batteries sat through the cold snap in a discharged rate there is a good chance they need replacing. I agree with Outbound. Carefully look at the case (both top and sides) for expansion.
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Old 02-24-2021, 08:29 PM   #7
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Mine sit out in the motorhome disconnected with the winter temps dropping to -35 and so far they have survived 12 winters. Before disconnecting them , I make sure they are fully charged.
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Old 02-24-2021, 09:30 PM   #8
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Batteries properly cared for can last a long, long time.
Just replaced the battery in my chevy pickup truck. 2005 model. Got a solid 16 yeats out of it with nary a problem.
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Old 02-25-2021, 12:30 AM   #9
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Need more information about your batteries. Are they AGM or regular flooded cell batteries, Have you checked the water level in them lately? I'm still using the batteries that came with the RV in 2013. I've almost replaced them 2 years ago, but after I performed the annual maintenance that I had been neglecting on them they seem to be holding on. Now I do have to add that I have a 165watt solar panel maintaining a charge on the batteries also.
Now back to what happen, was that I didn't check the water level in them and they stopped holding a charge, also around the same time my ATS and shore power cable fried due to loose wires. There were a few other electrical gremlins around that time also. All do to me not doing annual maintenance checks on the electrical system.
So what you need to do is see what type of batteries they are and if flooded cell batteries check the water level, if low add distilled water to them and then get the generator running an charge them up. Then let them sit a few days and repeat. You might be able to rejuvenate them back to life or you may have to spring for some new ones.
If you are not going to do the required annual maintenance then spend extra and get AGM or go even a step better and get LiFePo batteries.
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