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Old 10-21-2021, 03:55 PM   #1
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How to setup trickle charger

Hi all,

I'm a complete newbie, so please excuse my lack of knowledge.... I really am trying to learn this stuff, but I get a bit overwhelmed with all the different systems to learn...

I have 4 coach batteries and I want to put them on a trickle charger while the MH is in a storage unit over the winter. They all seem to be wired together. Exactly what battery posts do I hook up the trickle charger on ??? Do I disconnect the batteries from the coach before hooking up the charger, or is turning the "kill switch" in the battery compartment to "off" good enough? Also, any suggestions on what charger to buy?

Thanks in advance.... Glenn

2022 Tiffin Open Road 32SA
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Old 10-21-2021, 04:26 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skibumvt View Post
Hi all,



I'm a complete newbie, so please excuse my lack of knowledge.... I really am trying to learn this stuff, but I get a bit overwhelmed with all the different systems to learn...



I have 4 coach batteries and I want to put them on a trickle charger while the MH is in a storage unit over the winter. They all seem to be wired together. Exactly what battery posts do I hook up the trickle charger on ??? Do I disconnect the batteries from the coach before hooking up the charger, or is turning the "kill switch" in the battery compartment to "off" good enough? Also, any suggestions on what charger to buy?



Thanks in advance.... Glenn



2022 Tiffin Open Road 32SA


The ground that your main ground wire leaving batteries and same where your hot wire is leaving batteries. Should be able to take a multimeter and touch those 2 points and get 12+ volts.
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Old 10-21-2021, 05:31 PM   #3
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The proper way will depend on what voltage each of the batteries is. You can treat each set of 12V output as one battery and just leave the batteries paralleled and it will take care of its self.
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Old 10-21-2021, 07:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skibumvt View Post
Hi all,

I'm a complete newbie, so please excuse my lack of knowledge.... I really am trying to learn this stuff, but I get a bit overwhelmed with all the different systems to learn...

I have 4 coach batteries and I want to put them on a trickle charger while the MH is in a storage unit over the winter. They all seem to be wired together. Exactly what battery posts do I hook up the trickle charger on ??? Do I disconnect the batteries from the coach before hooking up the charger, or is turning the "kill switch" in the battery compartment to "off" good enough? Also, any suggestions on what charger to buy?

Thanks in advance.... Glenn

2022 Tiffin Open Road 32SA
Your motor home has a quality battery charger already in place. If you have power, just plug the coach in. If they're AGM, you're done. If they're lead acid, you need to check the water in them once a month, even with a trickle charger. No need to mess with a trickle charger.
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Old 10-21-2021, 09:43 PM   #5
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Dutchstar Don has it right! The best battery maintainer is the modern converter/charger in you RV. Leave the battery disconnect near the battery bank "on".

You can double check using a digital voltmeter. The ideal storage voltage is 13.2. 13.6 is OK for flooded cell batteries. Less than 12.4 means a full 14 hour charge is required and something is discharging the batteries.
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Old 10-22-2021, 07:19 AM   #6
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The on board converter is an excellent way to maintain batteries, with the small exception of when the unit is stored somewhere not directly monitored, then for some reason the power gets interrupted and the batteries go flat from the phantom loads. Best storage solution is to disconnect the batteries and use a maintainer. The maintainer keeps the batteries at 100% and in the event of a power interruption, they're disconnected and won't quickly discharge.

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Old 10-22-2021, 07:41 AM   #7
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With an RV that new I know the owners manual can be a bit overwhelming but there most likely is an area that addresses storing the unit. Maybe in the "winterizing" section.

In any case as mentioned, the onboard charger should do a great job. If you have a wimpy shoreline supply such as a 15 amp outlet and then using adaptors you may be able to turn the charging down to a very low level to prevent overloading the outlet.

You could or may run into issues if the outlet is a GFCI outlet. They often do not play well based on the history of folks reporting issues here.

A trickle charger can eliminate that hassle but as you are finding out it can be a bit intimidating trying to find out the best way to connect things.

If you do not get them connected correctly and they run down and freeze you are in for an expensive lesson.

Read your manual very carefully with note pad in hand. There will be a test I promise you.

Fully charged batteries can be left disconnected if done properly without any chargers on them.

I know this is not the specific answer you want but you really need to know your systems. Now is a great time to take pictures, print them out and take voltage measurements to write on the pictures. Nothing like having that information when something goes wrong. And as pointed out, "there will be a test".
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Old 10-22-2021, 12:32 PM   #8
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If you inverter has charge only function it would take way longer to discharge if loss of power. A lot of coaches will trip a GFCI outlet and it can be very hard to find why better chance if all but charge inverter circuit breaker is only one on .Many owners rely on complete battery disconnect after a deep charge with the cables. Many OEM coach manual disconnects do not disconnect everything and batteries will slowly drain.
A decent 10-20amp dual bank marine charge maintainer is another option. I had a couple on my Amazon watch list the price seems to go up come winter .
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Old 10-25-2021, 08:37 AM   #9
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OK, thanks for all the things to consider. Where I've landed is here... Yes, I'm going to be in heated storage, but I have to play the "what's the worst case' scenario and store the MH as if it's going to see a possible temp of -30. (i live in northern vermont). So, since I will not have access to the storage facility over the winter there's no way I can check he battery water level from november to mid april. It appears to me that with the batteries fully charged (both house and chassis) going into storage my best option is to simply disconnect the positive cables and ziptie them off to the side. The storage facility is heated, and if something drastic were to happen and the heat shut off it would only be for a short number of days at the most. I think the batteries can survive a short freeze spell. For the past 12 years my chevelle has sat in my unheated garage with only the positive cable disconnected and no charger connected and it never failed to crank over in the spring.

Again, thanks for everyone's opinions

Glenn

2022 Tiffin Open Road 32SA
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Old 10-26-2021, 07:50 AM   #10
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I think the batteries can survive a short freeze spell.
A fully charged lead acid battery doesn't freeze until about -70F so your disconnect theory is sound. The "belt and suspenders" solution of disconnecting and also using a maintainer ensures your batteries are always at 100%, overcoming self discharge. Barring that though, disconnecting should get you through the storage period OK.

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